In December, we completed a study of 1 Timothy. I have always been taught that Paul writes this letter to Timothy instructing him how to be a good “minister”. There are certainly instructions for elders and deacons, but there are also instructions for widows, slaves, etc.
One of the things that caught my attention as I was learning and teaching 1 Timothy was the number of times that Paul reminded Timothy of the life that we have in Jesus Christ. Consider the following passages from 1 Timothy (ESV):
But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. (1:16)
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. (2:1-2)
I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of truth. (3:14-15)
Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. (4:7-8)
For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. (4:10)
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. (6:12)
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, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. (6:13-14)
They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. (6:18-19)
According to Paul, we truly have life (life now and life to come) because God is living and he gives us life. We are to live in that true life that God gives us.
Interesting, I started studying 2 Timothy a couple of weeks ago. After reading through it a few times, I recogized that Paul sees his death as imminent. However, it was only on the third or fourth reading that a phrase in the first verse jumped out at me:
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus. (2 Tim 1:1)
Even in the shadow of his death, Paul recognized that he had the promise of life (life now and life to come) because of Jesus Christ. Paul knew that his death would not truly end his life.
May we live a life that is truly life.