True Child in the Faith Part 1
I. The Format
II. The Father (vs. 1)
A. Paul’s Character (vs. 1a)
You here see a comparison of contraries, and an intimation that every one who would obtain the righteousness of Christ must renounce his own.
But it must be said—and let the apostle say it with all authority—that the secret beneath this severe discipline, the secret to severing all else as rubbish, is to savor Christ as gain
In order to attain this knowledge of Christ, it was necessary for Paul to declare spiritual bankruptcy. All the things he formerly had counted as assets—his ethnic heritage, his educational background, his ecclesiastical pedigree, his ethical standards—all these things had to be written off as liabilities (Phil. 3:4–7). Furthermore, compared to the superlative joy of knowing Christ, Paul calculated that his religious achievements added up to nothing more than a filthy pile of refuse
B. Paul’s Calling (vs. 1b)
C. His Credentials (vs. 1c)
III. The Follower (vs. 2)
A. Paul’s Commentary about Timothy (vs. 2a)
1. Converting Faith
It is obviously impossible to be a true child in the faith without experiencing divine salvation in Jesus Christ. Paul testifies throughout the epistle to the genuineness of Timothy’s conversion. In 1:1–2, he suggests through the use of the plural pronouns that Timothy has the same God and the same Christ as he does (cf. 4:10). In 6:11, Paul calls him “you man of God,” then exhorts him to “fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (6:12). Timothy was not only called to eternal life by God, but also publicly professed his faith in Christ. Unmistakable affirmation of Timothy’s salvation comes in 2 Timothy 1:5, where Paul speaks of his “sincere faith.”
2. Compliant Faith
As Martin Luther put it, “Good works do not make a good man, but a good man does good works”
3. Caring Faith
Paul described the conversion of the Thessalonians in these words, “you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God” (1 Thess. 1:9). The Christian life is to be lived as a stewardship of service to the sovereign lordship of Jesus Christ. The disciples left everything to follow and serve Jesus. True salvation is marked by a servant’s heart.
Humble service characterized Timothy’s life. At Paul’s urging, he willingly remained in the difficult post at Ephesus (1:3). Although in his late teens or early twenties at the time, he endured circumcision to better serve with Paul (Acts 16:3). As already noted, he served Paul for many years, through difficult circumstances. No wonder, then, that Paul called him “my fellow worker” (Rom. 16:21). There is no higher praise.
4. Communicating Faith
Some had turned aside from the truth to fruitless discussion (1:6). They presumed to be teachers of the law, though they did not understand it (1:7). Paul disciplined two of them, Hymenaeus and Alexander (1:20). Paul describes the false teaching at Ephesus as “worldly fables fit only for old women” (4:7), “disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions” (6:4). Its perpetrators were conceited and understood nothing (6:4).
5. Courageous Faith
Those who make an impact for the cause of Christ must have the courage of their convictions. Any dead fish can float downstream; it takes a live one to fight the current. Strong conviction comes from spiritual maturity and knowledge of the Word, and is an essential element in any effective ministry.
Many in the Ephesian congregation lacked the convictions of their pastor. They were compromisers. Such men were not qualified to be elders (3:2), or deacons (3:10), since they were not above reproach. Some of the younger widows were in danger of reneging on their commitment to Christ (5:11–12). Still others in the congregation had compromised with money and “pierced themselves with many a pang” (6:10).
In contrast, Timothy maintained his convictions, even when that cost him his life. According to tradition, he was martyred in Ephesus some thirty years later for opposing the worship of the goddess Diana. He “[held] fast the beginning of [his] assurance firm until the end” (Heb. 3:14).
B. Paul’s Craving for Timothy (vs. 2b)
Grace and peace is the familiar Pauline greeting, appearing in all of his epistles. Only here and in 2 Tim. 1:2 does he add mercy. Timothy would need all three in dealing with the situation at Ephesus. Grace refers to God’s undeserved favor, love, and forgiveness that frees sinners from the consequences of sin. Mercy frees us not from the consequences of sin, but from the misery that accompanies it. Peace is the result of grace and mercy. It refers not only to harmony with God but also to tranquillity of soul. Grace, mercy, and peace are needed throughout the Christian life, not merely at salvation.