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I Entrust to You... the Prophecies... That by Them You May Wage the Good Warfare

12 March • Tuesday of the Fourth Week in Lent


1 Timothy 1:18—2:15

18 This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, 20 among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.


2:1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. 7 For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.


8 I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; 9 likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. 11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

Meditation

 

Recently I stumbled upon a YouTube video of then President George W Bush’s address to the US Congress in the wake of the terrorist attack on September 11th 2001. The speech effectively launched the world’s war on terror, which is still ongoing today. Since then, other wars have taken place, such as the war in Iraq and the current war in Ukraine. But here Paul reminds us that there is a very different kind of war. He charges Timothy to “wage the good warfare” (ESV) or to “fight the good fight” (NIV). This is the battle to uphold the truth that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15), and that “there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all” (1 Timothy 2:5-6). This is a struggle that not only Pastors like Timothy faced, but one faced by every Christian. It is not a battle over physical territory, but over the hearts and minds of every believer—a fight that could end up with our faith shipwrecked by Satan’s deceptions and false teachers.


How will this “good warfare” be fought? By holding faith and a good conscience (1 Timothy 1:19). Notice it is by “holding” (ESV) or “holding on to” (NIV) faith and a good conscience—not by producing or drumming up one’s own faith and good conscience, but by “holding on” to that which is given—God’s gifts of faith and a good conscience.


How may we hold on to these gifts? By anchoring them to the never changing Word of God. God’s word is both the source and anchor of faith and a good conscience, it is our beacon of truth in our struggle against falsehood and deception.


Paul implicitly anchored faith and good conscience in God’s Word in his charge to Timothy (1 Timothy 1:18). Paul called Timothy to wage this good war in accordance to “the prophesies” made about him at his ordination, also referred to in 1 Timothy 4:14. We don’t have details of what specific prophecies were spoken, but we can surmise that they were words expressing God’s will and gifts relevant to Timothy and the ministry he was called. They would have been words akin to what we would hear today at the ordination of a Pastor. They were God’s words to Timothy, which anchor his faith and conscience as he fought the good fight to uphold the gospel of God in Christ Jesus.


In fighting this good fight, Martin Luther explicitly anchored his faith and good conscience to God’s Word. At the Diet of Worms in 1521, he refused to recant his teachings which were based on Scripture. He risked his own life and safety, by declaring that “my conscience is captive to the Word of God.” Luther anchored his trust, conscience, life, not on the power of his intellect, nor the merits of his labours, but on God’s word in Christ alone.


This is the Word which is read and proclaimed in the worship services of the church. The Word guides the church to pray for all people, and for kings and those in authority, so that with peaceful, ordered lives, people may come to a knowledge of that Word of truth—the Saviour who by His death and resurrection, has won for us the forgiveness of our sins, life and salvation.


Thanks be to God for the gift of His Word on which we anchor our faith and good conscience. Thanks be to God again for He has made His Word available to through the church, through our Pastors who are called and ordained to the ministry of the gospel of Christ, as Timothy was. We pray that the Holy Spirit will create and anchor that faith and good conscience in us, through God’s word, so that we may wage that good warfare against the deceptions of the devil and false teachings, and lead holy lives pleasing unto Him.


Prayer

 

Heavenly Father, in my sinful nature I cannot produce faith in Christ, nor a good conscience before God, no matter how hard I may try. Help me in my daily struggle against sin to hold on to faith and a good conscience, gifts of Holy Spirit through Your Word. Forgive my sins, keep me from Satan’s lies and help me bear witness for You in prayer for all people, as well as in good works that faith produces in me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.


Action

 
  1. Cultivate the good habits of daily repentance using God’s Word, and of regular presence and participation at the worship service of your church.

  2. Pray for your Pastors, that they will preach and teach God’s Word with diligence and discernment as guided by the Holy Spirit.


Rev Soh Guan Kheng

Pastor

Lutheran Church in Singapore

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