May 31Todd Agnew Concert
Todd Agnew is coming to town! See him in concert while supporting a great organization: Antioch ...
Scripture: 2 Kings 1-3, Psalm 82, 1 Timothy 1
1 Timothy 1:4-5 Don’t let them waste their time in endless discussion of myths and spiritual pedigrees. These things only lead to meaningless speculations, which don’t help people live a life of faith in God. 5 The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith.
Paul charged Timothy to straighten out some people “whose teaching is contrary to the truth.” Evidently, they were engaged in “endless discussion” and “meaningless speculation”, which “don’t help people live a life of faith in God.” In verse 6, Paul says they have “missed the whole point”. Sounds familiar. It is so easy to major in the minors, and when we do it distracts us from living the life of faith.
Theology is meant to be practical. In verse 5, Paul says that the goal of his teaching is love—good teaching results in love for God and people in everyday life, not in meaningless speculation.
I’m sometimes approached by people who want to discuss abstract and esoteric theological subjects; I want to ask them how they are doing loving their neighbor. That was Paul’s concern here.
An interesting aside: for centuries, theology was done by pastors who were helping people live out their faith. With the rise of universities, theology became the domain of academics, and became more speculative and less rooted in practical life. There is a growing move to reunite the church and academy, and return theology to its rightful and practical place in the life of Christians and the church.
Also, I am impressed by the connection between a clear conscience and a genuine faith in verse 5, and again in verse 19: “Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked.” When we do what we know is wrong (violate our conscience”), our faith suffers—or may even be shipwrecked. We may justify our behavior or salve our conscience by denying or distancing ourselves from God. If there is no God, there are no rules, and there is no guilt.
I wonder how many Christians who have abandoned or shipwrecked their faith did so not because of careful thought but careless behavior. A violated conscience results in shipwrecked faith.
Prayer: Lord, help me live my faith with a clear conscience—don’t let me compromise and end up shipwrecked! And help me keep the main thing the main thing. I don’t want to miss the point. Let my love for God and people grow and grow.