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The Apostle is prosecuting, in this Chapter, his Exhortation to Timothy concerning Church government. And having noticed several wise Regulations on this Subject with others, closeth his Epistle with praying for Grace to be with him.
(1) ¶ Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. (2) And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort. (3) If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; (4) He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, (5) Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. (6) ¶ But godliness with contentment is great gain. (7) For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. (8) And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. (9) But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. (10) For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
The corruption of human nature which hath produced all the evils of life, very early in the world, among other deadly fruits, produced that abominable traffic the Slave trade, and which, awful to relate, hath continued from one generation to another, even to the present hour.
This chapter opens with directions to both servants and masters concerning their mutual behavior to each other, in those instances where sovereign grace hath called a child of God from either department. It is hardly possible to conceive what effects have followed the conversion of the heart to God, in cases where masters have been called by grace, who were before concerned in this nefarious practice. Oh! the change when God changeth the heart!
The Apostle hath beautifully closed this paragraph, in showing the folly, as well as wickedness of coveting more than the common necessaries of life; and by that humbling truth, of bringing nothing into the world, and the consciousness of carrying nothing out. It is a similar expression to that of Job. Naked (said he) came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither. Job 1:21 . Oh! who that considers his original nakedness and helplessness, when corning first from the womb of the earth, or from the womb of his mother, and the humbling state to which he will shortly return, to the same poverty and insensibility again, would be anxious to load himself with golden clay, or croud between those periods of entering and returning from the world, anxieties for anything, but the one thing needful. Precious Jesus! be thou my portion, for durable riches and righteousness are only with thee. Having thee, thou dear Lord! thou wilt cause me, indeed, to inherit substance, and thou wilt all, and be thyself all my treasure. Proverbs 8:18-21 .
(11) But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. (12) Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. (13) ¶ I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; (14) That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: (15) Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; (16) Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.
There is somewhat particularly striking in the name which Paul here gives to Timothy, as a minister of Christ, Man of God. Man of God, by virtue of right, in electing, redeeming, regenerating grace; and, specially, as ministering in holy things. So the Prophets of old were distinguished. 2 Kings 4:0 throughout. And the direction to flee from the corrupt affections of the heart, and the pursuits of the world, and follow Christ and his righteousness, with all the sweet and blessed connections in Christ, is very beautiful.
What a very sublime description is here given of the divine essence? God, in his threefold character of Persons, is undoubtedly invisible, and incomprehensible, and never to be known, or seen, or apprehended, but in the Person of the God-man Mediator. It is the Son of God who hath come forth from the invisibility or Jehovah, to make known all that can be made known of the essence and nature of God. John 1:18 . See Colossians 1:20 . and Commentary.
(17) Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; (18) That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; (19) Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. (20) O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: (21) Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.
These are all most beautiful, and highly interesting recommendations, to the faithful discharge of the several relative obligations, which arise out of the diversities of life. But they are too plain to need a Comment. And where grace is began in the heart, divine teaching both dictates and gives ability to the performance. Here, indeed, lies the great beauty of all Gospel truths, that in all cases where God the Spirit hath quickened to a new and spiritual life, there will be a quickening also, and a strength imparted to the performance. Blessedly the Apostle hath shown this, when drawing the carnal state of an unawakened nature, and the blessed effects which follow being taken out of it. If so be, (saith Paul,) ye have heard Christ, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: that ye put of concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God, is created in righteousness and true holiness. Ephesians 4:21-24 . It were unnecessary to offer any observations upon the Apostle's conclusion of grace. Everything that is truly blessed is contained in it, as it relates to all the Persons of the Godhead, in their joint love and favor to the Church. So Paul prays, and then closeth his Epistle with Amen.
READER! think what a lovely family that is of the all lovely, and all loving Jesus, which considers all the members as mutually engaged, and everlastingly supposed to be actuated by one spirit, for the general and complete happiness of the whole. Oh! if masters would thus consider servants, and servants masters, there could be no schism of the body, but all would study each other's happiness, and have the same care one for another. And, surely, if anything under grace can tend to the promotion of this great end, the consciousness of a dying, sinful, sorrowful world, from which we are hourly departing, and from which as we brought nothing in, we can carry nothing out, would be enough to induce these blessed effects.
But, oh! precious Jesus! It is thou Lord who must both go before, and guide in this, and every path, which thy redeemed have to follow. Blessed and glorious Potentate! Oh! what a good confession didst thou witness before many witnesses! Lord! grant to all thy servants to keep the commandment of the same confession, without spot, and unrebukable, until thy appearing. Jesus will shortly come. He, and He alone, will show, as the only visible Jehovah, who is the blessed and only Potentate, King of kings, and Lord of lords! Till then may every knee bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 6". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 12 / Ordinary 17