Thursday, October 3, 2013

1 Timothy: The Law Is Good, If It Is Used Right

Without the Word of God we have nothing. Well, allow me to build on that: Without the Word of God and the Spirit we have nothing. The Bible by itself is nothing more that a document filled with stories, poetry, and good thoughts. It is only when we are possessed and empowered by the Spirit of God that the Word comes alive in us. There is no salvation that comes by the Word alone, unless it is inspired by the conviction of the Holy Spirit. This we must understand if we are going to be effective workmen.

Apostle Paul was very serious about getting it right when it came to the correct doctrine. Remember, the foundation of teaching is laid by the Apostles and Prophets. There are those of us who build on that foundation but anything that is built on any other foundation will only cause people to fall. There is no other revelation of God other than what is revealed to us by the Spirit, lining up with the Word of God. Anything else is a lie; a waste of time.

Paul wanted Timothy to work against the teaching of those who thought they knew but who were building on a false foundation:

They want to be teachers of the Law of Moses. But they don’t know what they are talking about, even though they think they do. (1 Timothy 1:7)

A lot of people think they know but the Word says that they do not know as they aught to know. Does it surprise you to know that Paul wrote these words:

We know that the Law is good, if it is used in the right way. (v. 8)

It really is hard to teach grace because we always fear that people will abuse it so we find it easier to teach the Law, to insist on the Ten Commandments. We teach from a place of punishment instead of love. We teach conformity instead of transformation. We do not use the Law in the right way and we kill those who are no longer under the Law but under grace. We are grace killers because we do not know as we aught to know and we build on a wrong foundation.

Read carefully what Paul wrote to Timothy and what the Spirit was writing to us today:

We also understand that it wasn’t given to control people who please God, but to control lawbreakers, criminals, godless people, and sinners. It is for wicked and evil people, and for murderers, who would even kill their own parents. (v. 9)

It is not the Law that controls God's children but love. The Law is for those who do not please God, who live as his enemies, who reject him even while they think they are accepting him. It is for wicked, evil people, for murderers. Ready for the next bit?

The Law was written for people who are sexual perverts or who live as homosexuals or are kidnappers or liars or won’t tell the truth in court. (v.10)

I know a lot of people who think they know but don't know as they aught to know, who would rather not see this part. They want to excuse it away. They want to ignore it. They do so at their own peril. There is no sense arguing this point. Only the conviction of the Spirit can bring them to a point of repentance. We pray for them and it is all we can do because salvation belongs to our God. But, as Paul writes, the Spirit makes sure that everything is covered through this revelation of the Law and God's grace:

It is for anything else that opposes the correct teaching of the good news that the glorious and wonderful God has given me. (v. 10b-11)

That is the proper use of the Law: Not against those under grace but to show the rebellious how it is that they are rebellious. We are so hard on each other even though we walk as creatures of grace. We hold each other up against the Law but we are walking around as forgiven law-breakers. For every sin of a brother or sister we hold up against the law, there are a hundred of our own being held up there with it. What foolish people we are. If the Law could have saved us Jesus would not have had to die.

Instead, we should be able to freely love and accept one another, trusting that the Spirit is doing what the Spirit does. We should be lifting up our brothers and sisters in Christ instead of defending the world. There are those in the Body who have been given the responsibility to correct and they do so under the direction of the Spirit. As for us, we need to love in the manner that we have been loved; we need to forgive in the manner we have been forgiven; we need to show mercy and compassion in the manner in which they have been shown to us. Let's just make sure that we are being built on the right foundation, as has been laid down by the apostles and prophets.

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