Timothy was leading the local Christian church in Ephesus (Turkey). Paul opened his first letter (332) by telling Timothy to contend against false teaching by some church members.
Underlying Paul’s comments are two ideas presented explicitly in his earlier letter to Christians in Rome: (1) All men are naturally sinful. (2) God must punish sin; he cannot & will not tolerate sin in his holy presence.
Apparently, some in Ephesus were teaching slavish obedience to the law of Moses as the sole means of avoiding God’s punishment for sin. But Paul reminds Timothy that we cannot rescue ourselves from God’s punishment by slavish obedience to the law. Instead, God graciously & mercifully rescues sinners through the sacrifice of his son Jesus.
This actually frees us from the futility of trying to obey God’s law in the strength of our flesh, and empowers us to obey God’s law in the strength given by God’s Holy Spirit. Genuine faith is the key to this power for righteous living. Genuine faith results in purity of heart & a clear conscience.
Paul then says that worship is an offering to God. We can see that worship is being offered from a pure heart & a clear conscience, when men & women are praying with modest humility before God & one another, without any hint of anger or argument.
Paul goes on to tell Timothy that faithful leaders are essential for the church to fulfill its role as the proclaimer & defender of God’s truth.
- Choose people to lead & serve in the church because they live in modest humility all week long, not just on Sunday.
- Emphasize that the power to live in modest humility all week long comes only from God.
(332) 1 Timothy 1-3