Nothing compares to eternal life
1 Timothy 6
In this chapter we will see how to soar in our Christian walk.
What path in life should we seek, and what is that pathway like? Paul, the Apostle, describes it succinctly for his dear beloved son in the faith, Timothy, and we have the privilege of reading his words today. Paul wraps up his letter to Timothy, a minister, in this final chapter, by exploring attitudes and pursuits that are beneficial to a life led with Heaven in view. Paul will use the phrase "lay hold on Eternal Life" 2x in this chapter. In Vs 1-5 Paul begins by addressing slaves - and the attitude of being OWNED. Imagine. In this passage we have the incredible situation that occurs today in some corners of the world, but was prevalent in the Roman world, of being an owned person. Paul gives us at what at first must seem an incredible expectation, that not only does the slave not rebel but in fact as a believer, embraces the work they do with an attitude of gratitude that they can serve and does so with "wholesome words." [1 Timothy 6:3] This passage is a comparison between two attitudes and stances in life. Paul encourages that Timothy teach and exhort slaves to remember, that they are slaves to Christ first before they are slaves to another. In the case of a believing owner, the slave is, with love and gratitude glad they are benefiting a brother. This is the highest of Christian maturity. Peter the Apostle learned this after Pentecost occurred when in the Letter of John, chapter 21 Peter 'gets an attitude' toward John with Jesus. Later in Peter's letter he rejoices and promotes others [2 Peter 3:15] above himself and he shows this greatest of Christian maturity.
Paul continues on, that anyone, slave or free, who is refusing wholesome words, who does not have gratitude to God, is resisting God and is proud - 'Knowing Nothing' [ the Greek indicates the person was never taught right and wrong as a child - it is very derisive.] Paul calls them 'inflated smoke' [Greek proud]. Such people engage in wrangling over words, are angry, defensive, uncaring, full of strife and 'evil suspicions'. He says that they are "obsessed" by argument. The argument owns them and controls them. These are two Paths. In one, the believer, even slaves, use wholesome words, and have attitudes that are superhuman in that they have love and gratitude in the midst of the lowest servitude, vs. a path of destruction, a path in which we will enlarge upon in a moment as Paul continues in this passage.
Paul continues in vs 4 - The effect of the destructive path is envy or ill will, wrangling and blasphemy against God, with the mind developing low moral conclusions about matters of importance this passage states. This is where racism, sexism, bias and bigotry develop. The great Apostle next describes for us again, first the positive pathway and then a negative pathway. In Vs 6-8 we have the positive path. "Godliness with contentment is great gain."
The Perfect Picture. Think of this as a picture in a frame as if an image of Godliness, has about it a golden frame made of Contentment. This is a perfect picture. And a perfect picture of the stance in life for the serious Christian. The path by which a believer may "take hold of Eternal Life". Do we have Godliness framed by contentment? It is GAIN now, and gain in the future Kingdom which holds the rewards we build up in this life.
In VS 9-10 Paul returns to the alternative path, the evil path and describes it as the desire for riches. It is interesting that the word 'desire' is in the middle voice in Greek, and is not a strong word. It indicates that it is one who is 'disposed' to desire for riches only. You don't have to be ardent for gain of riches to fall into a snare, just disposed that direction. Whether you are leaning that way or fully engaged the path becomes a snare, harm, perversity and perdition, as foolish lusts appear and form, and one is 'snared' by it. Snare indicates that a trap is set, a latch will trigger and a person will be caught. Indeed there are many snares on that pathway. The word 'destruction' in Greek means to have the body unraveled. Perdition can mean 'waste' or waste away and the phrase "drown in perdition" seems to suggest a process of being taken over, or drowned by degrees. Such is the life when riches are the primary pursuit instead of godliness.
But no, says Paul, rather in Vs 12 we are to "Lay Hold On Eternal Life". Here and in vs 19 the context teaches that it is talking about a pathway for the believer. This could be the title of a persons life journey. Paul tells him to keep THIS command in vs 14. The path is full of light, it contains 'godliness', its frame is 'contentment'. We are to pursue it, and give ourselves to it. It has the 'love feast' [agape], and truth, and behaves 'gently'.
And Jesus is our example, Paul points out in 13-16 who showed this pathway to Pontus Pilate, whether Pilate perceived it fully, Jesus was full of love, gentleness, patience, and contentment during his trial. Recall that Jesus was interviewed and then taken away to be beaten and then interviewed and put on display. His testimony was godliness with contentment. Believer - no matter the trial - hold the path. We wait for Him to return when we will be changed for the 2nd time, transformed again, and are eternally spotless. Here we are mortal yet. We cannot enter His light - we would be destroyed and vaporized, because to us it is unapproachable. Verse 16 says He is "...living in unapproachable light...". Then, we will approach without harm, after our transformation that occurs when Raptured.
And finally Paul speaks to the rich - to not act nor feel superior but to "Lay Hold On Eternal Life", again, to pursue the path of godliness with contentment no matter ones riches here on earth. Trust in the living God. The word phrase, 'Lay hold" most often is used to mean to lay physical hands on someone, and is used 18x in the NT. So actively Lay Hold on this path dear believer. Be encouraged, because the Millennial Kingdom may only be a short distance in time from this moment. No matter the trial, remember the Lord in His testimony before his accusers and enjoy the grace to give the same testimony.