Friday, April 8, 2011

Our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all

1Tim. 4:1-10 NLT  
   1 Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons. 2 These people are hypocrites and liars, and their consciences are dead. 
   3 They will say it is wrong to be married and wrong to eat certain foods. But God created those foods to be eaten with thanks by faithful people who know the truth. 4 Since everything God created is good, we should not reject any of it but receive it with thanks. 5 For we know it is made acceptable by the word of God and prayer. 
   6 If you explain these things to the brothers and sisters, Timothy, you will be a worthy servant of Christ Jesus, one who is nourished by the message of faith and the good teaching you have followed. 7 Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives’ tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly. 8 Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come. 9 This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it. 10 This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly of all believers.

Paul lays out for Pastor Tim some more of the principles for Christian life that he should be teaching the church at Galatia, and for us as well. Some among the Jewish Christians and the gentile members of that church were caught up in wrong doctrines. Paul reminds us that this occurs from time to time because of 'deceptive spirits,' and because of the teachings those demons deliver through foolish people whom they can dominate and influence. Paul wants us not to be dismayed about those forces nor those hypocritical people who lie about us and the truth of God. In the end God will bring justice. If they do not repent, if they do not embrace or re-embrace the Salvation that Christ suffered to grant them, there will be 'hell to pay.'

When people start listing for you bunches of prohibitions and permissions you may want to step back from them and just pray for God's wisdom. We can learn directly from God, through Scripture, the things we should do. Some are called to teach us about God's word and we should listen to them. But when their message departs from The Word, we must discount them. And the debates or arguments they might stir up are other distractions. Paul teaches us (vs 7) not to waste our time with arguments. We should be teaching others about Christ-- PERIOD!  The Good News is what we are called to share, not philosophies of life, the world, and all they contain.

To teach like that we need to live simple lives, focused on Christ -- living like the Word teaches us that He lived. That is 'godliness' and vs. 8 explains that we should seek godliness. All people are invited into Godliness.  It is 'believers' who have accepted the invitation but all are invited and could experience it upon believing in the Savior sent by God and embracing the Spirit of God who waits to enter and remake us into His image.
Your Servant in Christ's love

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