Friday, October 16, 2009

1 Tim 1

1:20. Going from 2 Th to 1 Tim 1 is, in a way, like going from a sunny day yesterday and waking up to a stormy day. Paul is dealing almost right off the bat with harsher realities -- the teaching of different or strange doctrines, speculating, lists of heinous sins and sinners, the necessity to be waging war in some sense, and the last verse in this chapter, about Paul handing two people over to Satan, to be taught not to blaspheme. Evidently in their case they previously rejected faith and/or a good conscience, which on the face of it doesn't seem so impossible to do to some degree.

However there are some things overlooked about this stormy day. "Christ Jesus our hope" (1:1). If this one line were in Romans or one of the more quoted epistles there would be a ton of theology books about it, because it's quite unique. If it seems foolish to unconditionally hope in anyone outside our family, or to "get our hopes up" for anything, how in the world will we identify with saying that Christ Jesus IS our hope, hands down, altogether, categorically so? This idea deserves to be put right alongside Paul's other categorical statements about what Christ became to us, namely, from 1 Cor 1:30, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, redemption. Here, hope. We have to add that as significant.

Therefore if 1 Tim is a storm, it starts with the sun coming up extremely bright first, and in a big way. Garden variety hopes evanesce. Especially hopes in people. For Christ Jesus to be our hope, permanently so, not just a means, a plank, to hold till we get to some other hope to get to some other hope to get to some other hope, etc., ad infinitum -- a relief!

And how great it is that He's not a concept or a cause or an "inspirational thought" or something like the things we often concoct to inspire ourselves. Ask anyone who can't swim. To stay afloat, you need something outside yourself.

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