1 TIMOTHY 6
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1 Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.
Chapter 6 is all related, though the relationship may not be immediately apparent. It is about slavery, and godliness, and contentment, and riches, and the good fight of faith, and finally and above all, defending and preserving that glorious treasure entrusted to our care.
The common theme throughout is that present conditions and circumstances -- either of handicap or privilege -- from the extremes of abject slavery on the one hand to abundant riches on the other -- are utterly unimportant, and not to be either rebelled against or sought. Life is too short.
The important thing is GODLINESS WITH CONTENTMENT. Not just godliness, not just contentment, but godliness with contentment. A faithful life; and a joyful, peaceful, thankful mind.
This chapter is the complete opposite -- the complete rebuttal -- of the common, natural philosophy of life. The natural mind rebels against slavery and poverty, and desires freedom and material possessions. This is the highest ideal of the natural mind -- the "Great Society."
The Scriptures do not condone slavery. But neither do they seek to destroy it, any more than they seek to directly destroy any others of the vast multitude of inequities that make up natural human society.
The purpose of God is, at the present time, concerned with something on an entirely different and vastly higher plane --
PREPARING A PEOPLE FOR ETERNITY BY ADVERSITY.
And, in God's wisdom, slavery and poverty are sometimes part of the general, evil, human background that God is using to develop character and shape His determined ends.
Slaves are told to count their owners worthy of all honour. This is galling to the pride of the flesh, but as the command of God, faithfully obeyed, it is strengthening to the spirit.
Anything that contributes to pride and self-satisfaction -- possessions, position, knowledge, power, prestige -- hinders in the Way of Life.
Anything that contributes to humility and self-abasement and recognition of weakness and need -- slavery, poverty, low position -- helps in the Way of Life.
To the "wise" of the world, this is incomprehensible folly.
Bro Growcott. Grace, Mercy and Peace.
3 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;
'If any man teach otherwise...'
By what means shall a community, based on the truth, preserve the truth in purity in its midst?
Obviously by the means indicated by Paul and John, that is, by exacting of all who are in it an implicit adherence to the things, facts, principles, points, tenets, or whatever else they may be called, which go to make up the truth in its entirety and by refusing to associate with those who oppose or refuse to endorse any of its elements.
The ecclesia is not a place for argument; it is for worship in agreement. When a man requires to be argued with, his natural place is outside, and if he will not go outside, separation must be enforced by withdrawal on the part of the rest.
Division is the inevitable concomitant of an uncompromising adherence to the truth. Peace purchased at the cost of compromise is doubly dangerous.
The truth is the standard and must alone be allowed to rule.
Bro Roberts - 'Contending for the Faith'
Those who are indifferent can easily afford to ignore disagreement, and to preach cordially of the virtue of "agreeing to differ." This is no characteristic of the Ecclesia of the Living God. It contends for the Faith once delivered to the saints, and obeys Paul's command to "turn away" from the perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds.
5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. (cp. Rom 16:17: Gal 1:6-7)
What does this phrase mean -- "supposing that gain is godliness" -- and what connection does it have with the general line of exhortation about slavery?
It is this: they confused the aim and purpose of the Gospel -- which is godliness -- with the aim of present human betterment and improvement of social conditions. This is sacrificing an eternal betterment for a mere temporal one.
Their course, though well-meant, would at best bring only present, external, material betterment; and in the endless upheaval and striving for present good, the eternal purpose would be confused and lost.
The basic principle involved is a vital one, and one we all need to learn lest we well-meaningly fall into the same diversion of effort and attention. It is, this --
Accept all outward conditions as they are -- evil and good -- and concentrate directly and continuously on the eternal, spiritual work of preparing a holy people.
The aspect of riches, into which he goes next, is the other side of the same picture. The natural desire and tendency is to accumulate money and possessions, for various real and supposed motives of "taking care of their own" or doing great and spectacular things for the Truth.
This, if we are not very careful, leads again to confusing gain with godliness.
God's work is primarily with the poor, and He chooses weak and poor instruments for the purpose that the glory may be of God and not of man. He sends the 30,000 home, that the 300 with Gideon may manifest THEIR faith and HIS glory in victory.
We must keep bringing ourselves back to this -- the simple, personal work of each individual, day after day -- not the great well-financed and well-organized schemes.
The Truth is a very simple, individual, personal thing -- passed on in joyful zeal from person to person -- radiated in personal example, personal dedication, personal holiness.
Look at the example of Christ. Look at the example of Paul. This was the living power that swept the Roman Empire in the early centuries, and this is the work we have to carry forward each individual one of us, in this our brief day.
Bro Growcott. Grace, Mercy and Peace.
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
CONTENTMENT: absolute, total happiness with things as they are; freedom from the folly and frustration of unsatisfied (and usually illusionary) desire. Contentment, not because things are "ideal," but because they are exactly as God's love and wisdom wills them to be at the moment.
Contentment, not that they stay as they are, but that they are moving in the direction they are going -- "working together for good to those that love God." This is the assurance that underwrites godly contentment.
Without it, "contentment" would be a lunatic's pitiful self-delusion. Happiness is full, thankful enjoyment of that which is. Unhappiness is desire for that which is not. But "that which is" must be seen as the great, eternal "IS" of which God is the center and meaning.
Contentment is not stagnation or indolence or indifference. It is intensely alive and vibrant and active. Paul "yearned" and "wept" and "strove" and "agonised" -- yet he was joyfully content in the most hazardous and miserable and destitute of circumstances
'Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.' (Ph. 4:11).
Contentment is bedrock, inner peace with God, desiring nothing but the glorious privilege and honour of serving in the great work of God among men. "Godliness with contentment is great gain."
15 Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;
The elohal superintendence of the affairs of the "thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers" of the world, is clearly revealed in the book of Daniel. In the fourth chapter of this prophet it is declared that the matter set forth therein was revealed to teach
"the living that the Highest One is the ruler in the kingdom of men, and that He giveth it to him whom He shall please, and sets up over it the lowest of men."
Besides this it shows, that though the ruler or Lord, He does not administer the government alone, but associates with Himself others, styled irin "watchers," who are, like Himself, kaddishin, "Holy Ones."
...Our Elohim shall come and not keep silence; a fire before His (Yahweh's) faces (the Elohim) shall devour; and around Him it is very tempestuous.
Phanerosis - Angelic Supervision Of World Events
16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.
It is the "Father-Spirit" that Paul refers to in 1 Tim. 6:16, whom no man hath seen in His unveiled splendour. Veiled in flesh, "the Vail of the Covering" (Exodus 35:12): he that discerneth him who spoke to Philip, "saw the Father" (John 14:9; 12:45). But, veiled or unveiled, the Father-Spirit is substantial. Speaking of the Unveiled Father-Spirit, Paul says in Heb. 1:2, 3, that the Son is the Character of his Hypostasis, rendered, in the common version, "express image of his person."
The Son is the character or exact representation, and the Father is the hypostasis. In reference to the former, the Father says, in Zech 3:9:
"Upon One Stone there shall be Seven Eyes; behold I will engrave the graving thereof (that is, of the stone), saith He who shall be hosts."
The graving engraved on the stone is termed, in Greek, character, an impress wrought into a substance after some archetype or pattern. The archetype is the hypostasis, so that hypostasis is the basis or foundation of character; wherefore the same apostle in Col. 1:15, styles the character engraved the "Image" of Theos the Invisible (eikon tou Theou tou aoratou).
Phanerosis - One Deity in Multiplicity
a Father dwelling in light from whom emanates the Spirit of His own substance, filling all space, and constituting the basis of all creative developments, and yet with which he is essentially one, and by it, consequently fills heaven and earth in consciousness and power... The Spirit of God fills the universe, and all things exist by means of it. Without it, there is no power of any kind.
Bro Roberts TC THE OPERATIONS OF THE DEITY
The Christadelphian, May 1870. p143-151
Paul affirms the plurality of Gods, and Moses shows that they existed before the creation of man.
But then, both Paul and Moses teach that there is One who is surpreme over them all. This is AIL, who created them, and who is alone to be an object of adoration, not with the blank amazement of superstition but of an adoration in an earnest belief of His promises, and willing and loving obedience to His commands. Of this supreme God it is that Paul and Jesus say: "There is none other God but one." He is the only Head of the universe, who will permit none to take precedence of himself in the affection and adoration of His creatures.
He does not, however, manifest Himself to all the intelligences who reside in the sun, moon, stars and earth, through the same medium. To us on earth, He presents Himself, not through Gabriel, but through Jesus as the medium of manifestation -- incipient manifestation, for the manifestation is not yet complete -- "To us there is but one God the Father out of whom are all things and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Anointed, on account of whom are all things, and we through him."
Down to the third verse of the second chapter of Genesis, the creation of all things is affirmed of "God", that is of Elohim or Gods. But from the fourth verse to the end of the third chapter, where the divine power is mentioned, it is not simply "God" but "Lord God", that is Yahweh Elohim. The common version would merely indicate by prefixing Lord to God, that the Lord God was the supreme God. But if this were admitted, we should be unable to reconcile the saying of John, and Jesus, and Paul, who all declare that "no man hath seen God at any time" (John 1:18; 6:46; 1 Tim. 6: 16).
Now Adam and Eve saw and conversed with the Lord God; and multitudes saw Jesus. But we remark that "Lord God" is not used by Moses to express POWER IN-CREATE UNVEILED, or Ail; but as a word-combination synonymous with "Spirit of God" of Gen. 1:2, or literally Ruach Elohim, spirit of Gods or mighty ones -- the "One Spirit" veiled in the mighty ones through whom He made all that was made.
Phanerosis - The Memorial Name
17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
Think Not Highly Of Yourself
Get your mind off yourself! You are totally unimportant. You can BECOME important -- eternally important to God -- but it will never be by thinking about yourself. It will only be forgetting yourself, and setting your mind totally on God and on others.
Thinking of yourself shrinks your mind smaller and smaller until at last it shrivels and dies. Thinking about God and others expands your mind more and more until at last it bursts into glorious, eternal Life and Beauty.
God's Way is the only way. Beware of the great diabolos-deceiver: your own desires.
Bro Growcott - Search Me O God
20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:
Committed to thy Trust.
We are prepared to accept "the co-operation of the intelligence of scripturally-enlightened brethren and sisters," in getting up the Ambassador. We desire such co-operation, and as a matter of fact, we avail ourselves of it, so far as it is within reach in a useful form; but this policy must be kept strictly subordinate to the interests of the truth, the interest of the reader, and the interest of the Ambassador.
It would not be conducive to any of these interests to publish everything that sincerity may put on paper. Sincerity is sometimes ignorant, and sometimes unable to use itself to the profit of others. We are obliged to exercise the degree of supervision, necessary occasionally to hold back the productions of such a state of mind-productions written from the best of motives, but too feeble to be effective for good, too flimsy and hypercritical to be useful, or too narrow (and perhaps a little mistaken) in the apprehension of the subject dealt with, to be profitable.
The Ambassador of the Coming Age, Aug 1867. p227