“The law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and unruly … and if there be any other thing contrary to the sound doctrine; according to the gospel of the glory of the blessed God … committed to my trust.” 1 Timothy i.11 (ASV)
The good news of Jesus Christ is about redeeming man from his sinfulness so that the glory of the blessed God may be revealed through him. Every Christian, therefore, has to depart from sin and maintain a conduct that is according to the gospel. God’s moral standard for mankind has always remained the same. In the Old Testament times, the Ten Commandments spelled out our moral obligations. In the New Testament times, the same moral obligations are referred to as “the sound doctrine” that is in line with the gospel. The Decalogue is a common ground shared by the law of Moses and the gospel of Jesus Christ.
When the apostle Paul asked Timothy to stay at Ephesus, he required the young church leader to order some men to stop teaching “a different doctrine.” This variant doctrine was not merely a different teaching; it was accompanied by a sinful life. The apostle condemns these sins. He enumerates certain sins in a way that reminds us of the Ten Commandments. The particular set of sins that are listed here and their order are no mere accidents.
“The law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane [third and fourth commandments], for those who kill their fathers or mothers [fifth commandment], for murderers [sixth commandment] and immoral men and homosexuals [seventh commandment] and kidnappers [eighth commandment] and liars and perjurers [ninth commandment], and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching …” (1 Timothy i.9-10 NASB)
The so-called ‘teachers of the Law’ who presumed to teach fellow Ephesian Christians even after erring in teaching and life had to be silenced. The integrity of the gospel was at stake. Paul’s command to Timothy was urgent. We have similar teachers in today’s world as well. Instead of accepting God’s standard of holiness, they condone the very sins mentioned in the above list. Worse still, they allow “immoral men and homosexuals” to be “ministers” of the gospel! They pitch the “gospel of grace” against what they think is “legalism of the Old Testament” without realizing that both the Law and the Gospel seek to uphold God’s moral code.
Just as it was apostle Paul’s duty to uphold the “gospel of the glory of the blessed God,” it is up to us to safeguard that which is committed to our trust. Accuracy regarding the content of the gospel must be matched by the outcome of the gospel in our daily lives. Do our lives reflect the glory of God?