1 Timothy 1:4-11
Timothy was a young preacher who was saved under the ministry of, and mentored by, the Apostle Paul. Paul felt a special closeness to this young man, and reserved some of his finest instruction for ministry and preaching in the final two letters of his life, both addressed to Timothy.
The first few verses of his first letter to Timothy are rich in good advice about what not to preach. He tells him to avoid fables and endless genealogies, which only cause people to ask questions that lead nowhere (verse 4). On the contrary, he instructs Timothy to edify the hearers, challenging their faith (verse 4).
Paul’s instruction to Timothy is not unlike Jesus’ very simple command to Peter, when He asked Peter if Peter loved Him. When Peter said that did indeed love Him, Jesus replied, “Feed my sheep” (John 21:17).
Then Paul begins to get specific with Timothy as to how to edify the listeners. Every preacher, pastor, evangelist, and even lay person would do well to grasp what Paul says about the “glorious gospel” (verse 11). He tells him that the end of the commandment is “charity out of pure heart and a good conscience and faith unfeigned (not pretending)” (verse 5). The Law demanded that men love the Lord with all of the heart, mind and soul, but no man was able to do that without a heart reformation. Christ entering into us gives us that reformation, thus completing the demand of the Law. Paul then warns that some preachers have turned aside from preaching that, to “vain jangling” or “useless talk” (verse 6).
What a bold thing to say! By continuing to preach the commandments, Paul says that a preacher is presenting useless talk. To further the argument, he continues in verse 7 with this powerful comment:
“Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm” (1 Timothy 1:7).
Now Paul wants to make sure that no one thinks that he is against the law, so he says that it is good, “if a man use it lawfully” (verse 8). Wait a minute! If there is a lawful way to use the law, then there must be an unlawful way to use the law. Paul says, “Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane…” (verse 9). In light of this instruction, why is the law so frequently used against Christians? When a saint fails, we often hear the same condemnatory remarks used, citing the Law of God, as we do against the sinner. Instead, we should edify the believer, reminding them of who they are in Christ. Only the grace of God is going to teach them how to live righteous in this present world (Titus 2:11, 12).
Saint, receive no condemnation today. Let the love of God and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son silence the voice of condemnation in your spirit. God’s Law is just, holy and good and it shows people their sins. You are clean in Jesus, so see His grace and favor, and walk therein.