Scripture Note.

1 Timothy 6:11-12.

The exhortations contained in this scripture are very remarkable when considered in their connection. Although the germs of abounding corruptions are much more fully developed in the next epistle, already they were very apparent, as seen, for example, in chapter 3, and in verses 5, 9, and 10 of this chapter. In the face of the growing confusion the apostle gives the moral features which should mark the "man of God," and which would qualify him for his unavoidable conflict with the power of evil. No servant of Christ can hold aloft the standard of the truth unless he himself has been formed by it. Should he venture to do so, it will be only to court a disastrous defeat. In life, as well as in word, he must be a representative of the Master whom he serves. (See 1 Thess. 1:5.) First of all, therefore, Paul charges Timothy to flee the evils he had exposed, and then to follow after righteousness (v. 11); in a word, to walk as Christ walked through a scene of evil, only that Timothy's sphere was more limited to professed believers. These qualifications gained, and maintained in the power of the Spirit, activity can follow. The good fight of faith is contending earnestly for the faith once delivered unto the saints, that is, the truth which had been promulgated among and received by the saints. The faith is thus the thing believed, only it must be remembered that without the present activity of faith in the soul this combat could not successfully be waged. There must therefore, if we may venture to use a technical term, be subjective faith in the thing believed, the suited state of soul produced by the truth held, as otherwise, whatever the earnestness of the advocacy, "the faith" might be nothing more than a dead creed. Then the apostle adds, and adds, we cannot doubt, as giving the source of power for the conflict, "Lay hold on eternal life." In the enjoyment of this, through the appropriation of the death of Christ (John 6:54) and thus apprehending unseen things, all his motives as well as his energy for the conflict would be drawn from that region where Christ is and where His glory floods the scene. Faith gives reality to what is hoped for (Titus 1:2), and also certainty to things not seen, and in this way the man of God, in fellowship now with the purpose of God as to eternal life, is equipped and encouraged for his warfare. The eternal life, moreover, on which he was to lay hold was that to which he had been called; and he was thus reminded that he was one of the many sons whom God was leading to glory in association with the Captain of their salvation. Of this Timothy had made a good confession before many witnesses.