Wenstrom Bible MinistriesMarion, IowaPastor-Teacher Bill Wenstromwww.wenstrom.org
Sunday February 13, 20111 Timothy: 1 Timothy 1:8-13a-The Law Cannot Transform Sinners But The Gospel Can And Paul Can Testify To This FactLesson # 23
In 1 Timothy 1:8-11, Paul rebukes the misuse of the Mosaic Law by certain unidentified pastors in Ephesus who sought to be teachers of it.
1 Timothy 1:1, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, who is our hope,
2 To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
3 As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines,
4 nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith.
5 But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
6 For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion,
7 wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions.
9 realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers
10 and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching,
11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted. (NASU)
Verses 8-11 present a contrast between Paul’s apostolic teaching with regards to the proper use and accurate application of the Mosaic Law and the improper use and misapplication of it by these unidentified pastors in Ephesus.
The misapplication of the Law by these pastors makes it absolutely imperative that he presents the proper application of it.
1 Timothy 1:8 But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully. (NASU)
This statement means that the Law is useful if one understands that it reveals God’s perfect standards, personal sins committed by man and his sinful nature as well as his need for the Savior.
1 Timothy 1:9 realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers. (NASU)
“Realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person” presents an eternal spiritual truth that the Ten Commandments are by no means established for the Christian but the unsaved.
Therefore, the unidentified pastors in Ephesus who were attempting to be teachers of the Law and were teaching adherence to the Ten Commandments were misapplying the Law by emphasizing obedience to the Law as the basis for the Christian way of life.
“But for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers” is presenting an emphatic contrast between the Christian’s relationship to the Law and the relationship that the unsaved have with respect to it.
“Sound doctrine” refers to accepted and authoritative apostolic teaching that is free from error or falsehood since it is inspired by the Holy Spirit and promotes spiritual growth in the body of Christ.
This is in contrast to the false doctrine taught by these unidentified pastors in Ephesus who were occupied with Jewish myths and useless genealogies and sought to become teachers of the Law.
1 Timothy 1:11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted. (NASU)
“According to the glorious gospel” indicates that the “sound doctrine” that Paul referred to at the end of verse 10 is “in accordance with” the teaching of his gospel.
The noun doxa does not mean “glorious” but rather “the glory” and refers to the Lord Jesus Christ who is the subject of the gospel (Romans 1:3-4).
The Lord Jesus as the incarnate Son of God is the glory of God since He manifested through His words and actions the absolute perfection of God’s character, which is His holiness.
“Of the blessed God” describes the Lord’s happiness as being transcendent meaning His happiness is beyond the limits of human comprehension and it also speaks of the fact that He is the source of happiness for the Christian.
The believer’s union and identification with Christ is the source of their happiness.
So the word speaks of the joy of the Lord which He seeks to share with those united with Him and identified with Him in His crucifixion, physical and spiritual deaths, burial, resurrection and session.
The noun theos refers to the Lord Jesus Christ with of course emphasis upon His deity.
“With which I have been entrusted” implies that Paul was superior in authority to these apostate pastors who were teaching false doctrine and alludes to His apostleship.
1 Timothy 1:12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. (NASU)
“Who has strengthened me” means that the Lord empowered Paul at his conversion by sending the Spirit to indwell him permanently and by giving him the spiritual gift of apostleship through the Spirit as well.
“Because He considered me faithful” presents the reason for Paul possessing gratitude toward the one who empowered him, namely the Lord Jesus Christ.
It refers to the fact that in eternity past the Lord knew from His omniscience that Paul would be a faithful servant in communicating the gospel, thus, Paul’s faithfulness was a potential yet to be realized.
The fact that the Lord considered him faithful does not mean that Paul merited his salvation since he makes clear in verses 13-14 that he was a blasphemer and a persecutor of the church and an arrogant man.
Therefore, this appointment was based upon the Lord’s grace policy, which is an expression of His attribute of love.
So this does not mean that because the Lord knew that Paul was trustworthy, He appointed him to ministry.
After his conversion, the Lord Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit empowered Paul to serve as an apostle and thus to be a faithful steward of the gospel.
Thus Paul possessed an attitude of gratitude to the Lord because He strengthened Paul through the power of the Holy Spirit to be faithful in exercising his spiritual gift of apostleship and communicating the gospel.
So the emphasis is not that Christ foresaw that in spite of his sin Paul would prove himself faithful but rather, the emphasis is that the Lord’s omnipotence transformed Paul’s life.
Not only His grace and mercy but also His omnipotence transformed the life of the apostle Paul in that he went from a blasphemer and persecutor of the church and an arrogant person to a faithful servant of the gospel.
This would refute those pastors in Ephesus who were emphasizing the Law.
The Law did not have the power to save or transform the life of the sinner but could only condemn the sinner.
Only the gospel had the power to save and to transform sinners (Romans 1:16-17).
“Putting me into service” refers to the Lord Jesus Christ appointing Paul to be an apostle and communicator of the gospel.