Posts Tagged “1 Timothy”

What is This “Eternal Life?
By guest blogger, Phil Hovatter

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
1 Timothy 6:12

I’d guess that most Christians think of eternal life as life in Heaven — you know, “pie in the sky in the sweet by-and-by.” I believe that if we think of this eternal life only as a future thing, we miss much of the blessing it offers us for the here-and-now.

In John 11:25, Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life.” Taken in the context that it was spoken (the resurrection of Lazarus), He means that this eternal life starts right now. Yes, Lazarus will be raised to eternal life on the last day, but Jesus also brought him back to life the very day He spoke these words. Eternal life is something we can take hold of here and now. It doesn’t start when we die. It starts here and now for all those who trust in Jesus for the life that only He can give.

So what is this “eternal life?”

  • Eternal life is the Jesus-authored life. Scripture says that Jesus is the author of all life. In John 14:6, Jesus told us that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He went on to make a significant statement: “No one comes to the Father but by me.”
    • Eternal life, then, is a life lived through Jesus that gives us access to God the Father and the heavenly realm. Access to God is not possible without Christ.
  • Eternal life is the Christ-centered life. As we focus on Him, we gain His eternal perspective on the events and situations that come our way.
    • Eternal life is all about living out, experiencing, walking in all that God has for us. In this earthly phase, that’s going to mean times of suffering and pain as well as times of joy and pleasure. But James instructs us to take a different view of these things and to count the suffering and pain as pure joy because it builds godly character into us which helps us to draw closer to God (James 1:2).
  • Eternal life is also a cross-centered life. The cross is the means by which Jesus purchased eternal life for us. Because our sin was great, the price He paid to redeem us was great.
    • The challenge for each of us is to walk worthy of the price Jesus paid to be able to offer His eternal life as a free gift to us. Part of the life He is calling us to is to die daily to ourselves. It’s a paradox that our eternal life involves dying daily, but there you go – it’s true nonetheless.

In this present earthly life, there are only two things that last forever: the Word of God, which will never pass away, and human beings, all of whom are created in the image of God. So those two things must be our focus – they must be priorities for us as we walk out eternal life.

Comments 2 Comments »

11But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
1 Timothy 6: 11-12

As I read this passage a few days ago, my attention was captured by one phrase: “Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called.” What a great exhortation to consider as we look forward to 2010. I looked up the word that is translated “take hold” and found that it is a cousin to the word from which ApprehendingGrace.com gets its name.

The word katalambano is used by Paul in Philippians 3:12, when he says “I press on to apprehend that for which Christ has apprehended me.” (For more on how the blog was named, click here.)

The word used by Paul in 1 Timothy is epilambanomai. It means to take hold of, to seize or to take possession of.

I want to do that with my “eternal life.” I have claimed Christ as my Savior. I have asked Him to forgive me of my sins. I seek to give Him full authority in my life. I want also to fully take hold of the eternal life to which I have been called. To me, that is much more than the eternal life I will some day live out with my Lord. It means living this life differently from those who do not have the promise of eternal life after this life is over:

  • It means living this life with freedom from condemnation from myself, others or Satan.
  • It means living this life with a willingness to take risks that I might otherwise be too timid to take because Christ is in me and has made many promises in and for my life that have yet to be fulfilled.
  • It means aligning my priorities with the priorities of God.
  • It means constant dependence on a God who has promised to supply all I need for life and Godliness (2 Peter 1:3) and has promised to never leave or forsake me (Deuteronomy 31:6, et. al.).

Our first series of blogs this year is going to focus on what it means to take hold of eternal life. I know, I wrote a blog earlier in the week in which it looked like God had given me a theme for 2010 –

“Learning to hear God’s Voice more clearly and regularly. Of course that requires listening for His voice, as it says in verse 3 – ‘…the sheep listen to his voice.’ It also carries with it the implication that I will follow His Voice after hearing it.”

The two subjects dovetail quite nicely – living the eternal life means living ever attentive to God’s Voice. And I think combined He has given us a great theme for 2010. I don’t have a nifty catch-phrase or title, or a perfectly gift-wrapped paragraph that defines it yet. But God is developing it in my heart as I type. I’m sure it’ll fall into place soon.

In the meantime, come back regularly as we “flesh out” what it means to take hold of the eternal life to which we have been called. Our next blog in the series will be by a guess blogger, my husband Phil. Watch for it early next week.

Comments 1 Comment »

Have you been enjoying Hebrews as you’ve Rested at the River’s Edge with us this month? I sure have. I’ve especially enjoyed chapters 10-12. Let’s look at a passage in chapter 10:

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
         Hebrews 10:19-23 (NIV)

If you’ve also been reading through the Old Testament with us, this passage makes so much more sense. Some of the references are still easy to miss though, and I can’t help but comment on them. They’re just too good.

V19: We have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus – In the Old Testament, we read that only the high priest was allowed to enter the most holy place, and then only once each year. They entered in fear and trepidation, lest their sin not be atoned for and they be struck down by the holy and perfect God who dwelled in that place. But now, under the new covenant, we can have confidence to enter the most holy place because we enter by the blood of Jesus. In the Old Testament, they sprinkled the blood of a sacrifice upon the altar and other items in the temple. We no longer have to do that because Jesus’ blood has already been shed.

V20: By a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, His body – Jesus has opened a new and living way – one that surpasses the old way of sacrifice. There was a curtain in front of the most holy place that the priests entered through. That curtain was torn in two when Jesus died on the cross (Matthew 27:51) – we now enter through His body. In other words, if we want to enter the most holy place, we must go through Jesus, the mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5).

V21: And since we have a great priest over the house of God – Jesus is our great priest (Hebrews 4:14)

V22: Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water – Jesus made it possible for us to draw near to God. We are to approach Him sincerely, not in rebellion or flippantly. We can approach Him in full assurance because of what Christ has done for us – He has sprinkled our hearts with His blood to cleanse us from our guilty conscience. Again, the priests sprinkled the blood of a sacrifice to cleanse the Israelites from their sins, and they washed to purify themselves. Figuratively, Christ has sprinkled our hearts with the blood to cleanse us and He has washed us with pure water.

V23: Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful – The writer of the letter to the Hebrews is encouraging the Jewish believers, who would have understood all of the Old Testament references, to continue to follow Christ unswervingly. That last line – “for He who promised is faithful” – the entire passage is proof that God is faithful. He was faithful to His promise to send a Messiah, to save His people, to make a way for the entire world to be blessed by the sons of Abraham.

The writer then continues to encourage the Hebrews to be faithful, leading into chapter 11 which begins:

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
          Hebrews 11:1

It’s being sure! It’s being certain even though we can’t see it!

What follows is a long line of people who demonstrated their faith through their actions. You know many of them, but what I especially love are verses 32 through 34. After going through a long list of people who make everyone’s top ten list of heroes of the faith, the writer of Hebrews almost sounds exasperated to me when he writes the following:

And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.
          Hebrews 11:32-34

The author is saying “Hey guys, I don’t have time to tell you all these other stories, but man, the things they did through faith – conquered kingdoms, administered justice, gained what was promised, quenched the fury of the flames, and whose weakness was turned to strength. Wow! That’s the person I want to be! Our faith turns our weakness into strength. Hallelujah! That’s worth shouting about!

I know that Hebrews 10 and 11 were readings last Friday and Monday, but I didn’t get a chance to blog about them and they are chapters that speak so strongly to me. Tomorrow I’ll blog more about faith…Did you know that there is something beyond faith? Tune in tomorrow!

Comments Comments Off on Our Confidence and Faith

© copyright 2009-2013, Data Designs Publishing and Sandra J. Hovatter