I Timothy 1:1-11 was our kick-off passage for our Fall Series
I Timothy:: God’s Design for the Church
The main thrust of I Timothy 1 is that God has designed the church with and for Gospel Clarity (to hear more of this take some time and listen to the podcast)
We had some great discussions during Questions and Comments coming out of this passage. Here’s some of the conversation we had- with a bit more added to help in our thinking:
Question #1 From I Timothy 1:8-11 – talking about the right and wrong use of the law- as a part of Gospel Clarity
” Curious to why slave trading and perjury are in this list? Why was it important to Paul? Why should it be important for us?”
Some of the follow up Theology in Community responses were:
“The law when used properly points us to the brokenness of our own hearts and of the cultures we live in. This kind of using of others (perjury and slavery) was condemned in the law.” Romans 1-3 also Romans 7:7 demonstrate and confirm this use of the law.
” The law confronts the sinful tendencies of our heart to ‘own’ or ‘take advantage of others- this is good use of the law. -Points out our moral failure as a culture even though we think we are more sophisticated now.”
However Paul’s main point here as you move through the text is the law can convict us, may even convince us of our inabilities to live good moral, fully God-pleasing lives but this is where it stops. The law is impotent to transform us. We can’t transform our internal state of sin and brokenness simply by acting better (this is what we would call religious moralism). NEXT week we will look further at how the Gospel is the only means of transforming a condemned-under-the-law sinner, like Paul.
(I Timothy 1:12-18; Ephesians 2:8-9)
One of the conversations/ arguments that we touched on is the contradiction that we perceive in the Bible and in the history of the Church regarding slavery. (i.e Paul condemns slavery here, yet instructs slaves to remain with and be obedient to masters elsewhere. Eph. 6:5; Col. 3:22 The O.T. law allowed for paying back a debt by becoming a bond slave Lev. 25:39 to a debtor until paid) – this is to say nothing of the Slave trade of modern history and even today. This propels us into some bigger, and maybe more uncomfortable questions for those who call themselves Christians who believe the Bible.
Questions like: Why has the church been responsible for so much injustice? Why are Christians such hypocrites?
The length and purpose of this blog precludes from a full answer to these questions here but let me highlight a couple of recommended articles and a video to help us wrestle through these questions:
Blog Articles Does God and Jesus Condone Slavery?
Christianity and it’s role in Slavery?
All Christians are Hypocrites , so aren’t Christians the best argument against Christianity?
Highly recommend this Veritas video series to help you both think through and navigate conversations like the ones we are having at PAXnorth.
GET IN ON THE CONVERSATION but remember:
We don’t purpose to be able to solve all the mysteries and difficulties of faith lived out. But we are willing to wrestle through them openly and honestly. Saying that, we expect respectful answers and comments (we won’t repost disrespect) and we don’t post anonymous comments. Being in community, as a church demands both that we are known by each other and that we err on the side of respectful conversation (grace).
More Questions and Comments to Follow