Our world is inundated with competing voices, conflicting perspectives and constant strife. From political posturing and divergent medical opinions to contrasting economic theories and social viewpoints, we are surrounded by what seems like chaos.
Ever long for a quiet moment to reflect upon something you can trust? In 1 Timothy Paul served up three wonderful nuggets. The first and third offer a profound impact for all of our lives, if we will embrace them.
Three times within 1 Timothy Paul penned: “the saying is trustworthy.” Expressed literally he wrote, “The word (is) faithful.” These three affirmation are worthy of deep reflection.
The first occurs in 1 Timothy 1:15. “This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance: ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’—and I am the worst of them!” What an encouraging thought for meditation!
Jesus did not come to put us down or show how bad we are. The Messiah came in order to save us from the broken mess we created for ourselves. He came to rescue us. In other words, Jesus is seeking our good. If we will embrace this, this truth calls us to act which can lead to transforming our allegiances, attitudes, values and behaviors. We become changed from the inside out.
Furthermore, Paul’s self-identification holds implications for us as well. Since Jesus even wanted to save someone who had consented to the death of God’s people and who had tried to destroy the church, this reveals Jesus desires to save us too regardless of what we might have done!
Paul’s second reliable statement involved overseers. “This saying is trustworthy: “If someone aspires to the office of overseer he desires a good work” (1 Timothy 3:1).
We recognize the role of a church’s overseer by a set of descriptions originating from different settings. From the urban context comes the term episcopos meaning overseer or bishop. The countryside provided us with shepherd or pastor. And the Jewish background contributed elder or presbyter. All of these terms designate the same person performing the same ecclesiastical role (1 Peter 5:1-3; Acts 20:17,28). Within scripture the pastor and the elder are the same person!
When men function in this role by teaching, providing a living example of what it means to serve Christ, encouraging and protecting God’s people, their activities can contribute to making a difference for eternity in the lives of others. Furthermore, when the Chief Shepherd appears, they will receive the crown of glory that never fades away (1 Peter 5:4). While shepherding God’s people may not be easy, we can count on this – serving as an elder / pastor / overseer involves being engaged in good work.
1 Timothy 4:9 points toward a third trustworthy statement. We can know for certain that if we will train ourselves to live with godliness this “holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:8,9).
Thus to intentionally and repeatedly seek to practice the qualities of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23), to implement the various Christian virtues until they become second nature (2 Peter 1:5-7), to carry out what we learn from Christ and to engage in biblical study (Ephesians 4:21-24; 2 Timothy 2:15) will make a difference both now and later. We can be sure of this.
Our lives are filled with so much uncertainty. What will happen tomorrow? From this simple beginning the list grows much longer. Yet we can can hold onto some things with confidence. Paul listed three within 1 Timothy. We would do well to reflect upon them and to respond.
If we will take inventory where our lives are today, which of these three would be the most appropriate next step? Will we take it?
Certainty of salvation is a wonderful thing. Richard Mansel starts from the first on this subject, in The Most Important Thing in the World.