Laying Hold of Eternal Life
Laying Hold of Eternal Life | 1 Timothy 6:11-16
Authentic Christianity lays hold of that which is freely given to us by Christ according to the grace of our glorious God.
11 But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, 14 to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.
Paul’s charge to Timothy is a charge common to all who profess faith in Christ. This is a good reminder that the distinction between pastor and laity is one of function, not nature. Ultimately, when it comes to living out our faith, we have the same Spirit and the same charge. Pastors and laity simply have distinct ways in which they help others live out the one, true faith.
What to Do: Paul’s Fourfold Charge
- Flee worldliness.
When we walk in worldliness, we willingly go back to the old brokenness with God, self, and others. However, we should not reduce Paul’s charge here to merely a call to not do “bad things,” but to embrace a particular posture toward worldliness. He wants us to flee. Joseph, when he rose to rank in Potiphar’s house, caught the eye of his master’s wife.
What places are we lingering in which God has called us to flee?
- Pursue the new life in Christ.
By nature, when we pursue the new life in Christ, we leave behind the old ways of wickedness. The things of this world grow dim in the light of his glory and grace. In your fleeing, let your focus not be on the worldliness behind you but on the cross and glory of Christ in front of you.
- Fight the good fight of the faith.
Our contention for the truth cannot be divorced from his pursuit of righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. The ends never justify the means for the disciple of Christ.
We are to endure opposition and trials that come as a result of our devotion to the truth in righteousness and enduring faith.
- Lay hold of eternal life.
Eternal life does not begin when you die, but when you are converted! Thus, we do not seek to acquire something we do not already have. Rather, we mature in our new identity, that is, in fact, our own.
How to Do It: By the Gracious Empowerment of God
- Live according to the call of God and the faith made public at their baptism.
Simply put, if you are not a disciple of Christ, saved by the grace of God, the Christian life is impossible. You must be born again to know the eternal and abundant life of Christ.
- Live by the power of God who gives life to all.
The idea here is that God both gives and sustains life, both physically and spiritually. The Christian life is not a feat of strength, but a continual recognition of one’s own weakness and a continual reliance on Christ, the true vine.
Abide in Christ. Abide in his Word, the Scriptures. Abide in his body, the church. Abide in his throne room through prayer. Reading the Bible, gathering with the saints, and prayer are not ways we prove ourselves to God, but ways that God by his Spirit ministers to us.
- Walk in the footsteps of Christ.
We should drink deeply from the fountain of the four gospels that we might glory in Christ and by his Spirit’s power walk in his example.
- Look forward to the return of Christ.
Eschatology, or the theology and study of the end times, for Paul is not about the minutiae. God will make it known in its own time. Rather, a proper understanding of the return of Christ and the coming resurrection is meant to encourage the faithful.
- Focus your heart on our transcendent God.
Our God is the eternal King of kings and Lord of lords incomprehensible in his glorious light. However, because of Christ, we know this God truly. Not only that, by the Holy Spirit, this God indwells us. To the Triune God alone belongs honor and power forever.
Satan is going to consistently seek to draw your eyes to this world, to the ever-fleeting approval of man, but that’s not where our focus should lie. Our focus must be on the God from whom all blessings flow. There is no need to look elsewhere for approval.