1 Timothy 3:1-16
Wednesday, 11 November 2020
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” -1Timothy 3:16 (KJV)
Apostle Paul describes the qualification for church leaders in the third chapter of this epistle and the next chapter begins with the warning of false teachings rising in the near future. In between, he emphasizes the eternal truth about godliness in our key verse for today. All the mysteries (or now, revelations for us) Paul had listed in the key verse- God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among nations, believed on in the world, and received up into glory—were all fulfilled in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ—the incarnate God. As Bible commentators explain, even though all these were the eternal plan of God from the beginning, and God had given glimpses of it in the Old Testament, the Israelites failed to understand the true nature of godliness Jesus revealed; instead they were expecting a mighty King like David as their Messiah.
Apostle Paul has condensed the background of the whole gospel message in this verse for the teachers to teach and the believers to guard against the false teachings which the Apostle knew in his spirit, would soon come to the churches. Jesus was born into this world in the form of a human being and lived among the Israelites in the flesh. At times He was thirsty, hungry, tired and was tempted like any other man. He was crucified being accused of sin He never committed. But God the Father accepted His sacrifice as retribution for the sins of Mankind. He was raised again by the Spirit, and so was justified from all the false charges with which he was accused of. Angels ministered to him, for he is the Lord of angels. He was preached to the Jews first and in general Jews rejected Him and He ascended into Heaven to be on the right hand side of God the Father. (Adapted: Matthew Henry’s Commentary). These revelations were mysteries or hidden to the people till the time of Christ; and in Christ, all these mysteries of God were revealed so that those who come to Christ can see, understand, believe and love God whole heartedly for their salvation. Believers can meditate and marvel on this great truth endlessly to draw strength from, and sustain holy Christian living.
When we believe in Him as our Lord and Saviour and follow the example set by Jesus, in living as Christians should, we can see a reflection of the mysteries described in the key verse being fulfilled in our lives too. The mystery of godliness prompts us to live a life reflecting those truths.
We who were worldly (or are in the flesh)—when we believe in Jesus Christ and accept His death as penalty for our sins, become justified. Such believers, who are justified and saved will preach the Gospel to the nations literally or through the way they live their lives and will cause others to believe in Jesus Christ. They are to imbibe the character described by Apostle Paul here (Vs.2-13), urging them to practice so that they will be teachers and elders to the world. Such believers in turn will be received up into the glory when Jesus Christ comes in glory to gather His beloved, which is what the Lord desires of us.
Prayer: Dear Lord thank You for the revelations You have given us about You through the Bible. Help us to reflect Your godliness to the nations around us and be with You in eternity in Your glory. Amen