Summary: The good servant of Christ Jesus must always remember that our hope lies in God who is Saviour of all people, especially of those who believe.

“If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. 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. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. 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.” [1]

Someone has said, quite accurately, I might add, that one can live about forty days without food, about four days without water, about four minutes without oxygen and about four seconds without hope. Hope is not merely important for us—it is essential. However, hope can be misplaced, creating serious problems for the one hoping; likewise, the object of one’s hope is critical. Whether one places hope in that which is worthy of hope or whether one rests in that which is certain to disappoint will determine whether that individual shall succeed in this Christian life or whether that one will fail.

For far too many of the professed saints of the True and Living God, hope is synonymous with wishing—a feeling that what is wanted will happen. Like the little boy walking past the graveyard in the evening, many professed Christians see hope as an act symbolised by whistling during the terrifying stroll. The Bible presents quite a different picture of “hope,” however. Hope, in biblical terms, speaks of expectation; it is grounded in faith, though it is distinct from faith. Faith is based on the presence of God in one’s life; whereas hope presents an element of desire. Faith has more of a grounding in facts and rational consideration growing out of God’s presence and promise; hope speaks of intensity as well as confidence. We hope for the transition into the likeness of Christ, and our hope is grounded in our faith in Him as Master of life. We hope for the rapture, and our hope is established on the promise of Christ to come for His own. Thus, hope is akin to anticipation built upon the promises of God.

Paul reminds us that Christians have set their hope on the Living God. Consequently, we are a hopeful people. We live in hope—hope of Christ’s return, hope of the resurrection, hope of the transformation of creation and hope in the grace that will be brought to us at the revelation of Christ Jesus. All that we hope for grows out of the knowledge of God and of His love for us. Knowing this to be true, it will prove valuable for Christians to consider Him in whom we have hoped. It will be to our benefit to look to the True and Living God, renewing our hope in Him.

MINISTERIAL RESPONSIBILITIES — Paul has been urging Timothy to excel in the service he presents before the Lord. In relating these truths, Paul reveals Christian characteristics that must be seen in the life and service of any minister who will qualify as the good servant of Christ. THE GOOD SERVANT OF CHRIST JESUS WARNS HIS PEOPLE AGAINST ERROR. “These things” refers back to all that has preceded the text. From the very beginning of the letter, Paul was warning Timothy to expose false teachers [1:3-11] and to warn his listeners of the progress of this present age [4:1-5]. To be certain, interspersed with these warnings is to be sound instruction.

Let’s look at the substance of Paul’s admonition for the minister to warn against error. In 1 TIMOTHY 1:3-11, Paul writes, “As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.

“Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.”

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