by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 2 Study # 4 Lincolnton, NC October 30, 2005
7 And these things give in charge, that they may be blameless.
8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
1901 ASV Translation:
7 These things also command, that they may be without reproach.
8 But if any provideth not for his own, and specially his own household, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever.
I. Paul's Insistence on "These Things".
A. In the light of "forgiveness" (which tends to "make light of" sin), what is the point of making sure that Timothy "commands" these things?
1. On the one hand, "forgiveness" is always "at significant cost" to the one forgiving; it only seems "light" to the one seeking it.
2. On the other hand, "forgiveness" does not erase the consequences that continue to unfold as time goes on.
3. The issue of "sin" is that it generates "death" every time and nothing, not even "forgiveness", stops its on-going impact downline until physical death intervenes.
a. An example is in this text: if a woman does not mature in Christ so that her reputation is in accord with Paul's "restrictions", she cannot be put "on the list" no matter what her sorry state in life might be. In other words, even if the "church" is the only thing between her and starvation, she is not to be put on the list if she did not exercise the responsibility of faith while she was growing older.
b. There is no indication in the Scriptures that the "privileges" of "faithfulness" are to be extended to the unfaithful.
c. The problem is that "forgiveness" is often taught as an "instant qualifier for privilege" when it really is only an "instant eraser of retaliation". In other words, if we confess our sins, we are "forgiven", but we are not, by that, suddenly qualified for those things that only come to the faithful. One who is forgiven is not one who is awarded the benefits that come only by enduring faith.
B. In the light of "command", what is the implication regarding the behavior?
1. How does "commanding" not put one "under law"?
a. The word "command" invariably assumes that those "commanded" will do as they have been told.
1) It may be as small a matter as "commanding" people to sit down (Mark 8:6), or it may be as great a matter as "commanding" a demon to leave a person (Luke 8:29).
2) The "assumption" may be invalid -- depending upon the power of the one making the command -- but the word still indicates the expectation of obedience.
b. The issue of being "under law" is not only about being "commanded" to do this or that.
1) Nowhere in the Bible are we told that disobedience is permissable, or that sin does not lead to death. In Romans 5:12-14 Paul clearly declared that even when sin is not "imputed", its consequences continue. Thus, even if God refuses to "impute" sin to a person, that does not keep that person from experiencing the consequences.
2) The "problem" with being "under Law" is the reality of being personally incapable of obedience in the light of the inevitable wrath that is built into the Law. The solution to that problem is not the elimination of consequences, but...
a) The elimination of wrath, ... [This is the doctrine of the Lamb of God]
b) And the elimination of the incapacity. Note Galatians 3:21 in the light of the fact that we have been made alive and have been "made capable" by the indwelling Spirit of God. [This is the doctrine of the indwelling Spirit of God]
2. Not only is Timothy to "command" this behavior, he is to "enforce" it so that no one is permitted to ignore it without consequences.
3. Those under Timothy's charge are going to be "blameless".
a. This is not a "blanket blamelessness" in contradiction to James 3:2.
b. This is a "blamelessness" that results in widows being provided for by, first, their own developed godliness, and by, second, those who are charged with their care.