Thursday, October 19, 2006


Last year or the year before, I underlined this sentence from today's reading:
This is a trustworthy saying... (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.
1 Timothy 4.9-10
I'll bet you can tell why I underlined it -- because I don't quite understand what he means. But now that I've mentioned it, I guess I have to take a whack at it.

So when I look at the context (Context Is King), I see what comes immediately afterwards is this: Command and teach these things. (1 Timothy 4.11). What things? Probably these:
  • Everything God created is good (4.3-4):
    • marriage (including sex),
    • all kinds of food.
  • Train for godliness as a higher priority than physical training. (4.8)
If I have that right, what does verse 10 mean -- especially that "especially" part?

Here's my take on it: If anyone is saved (and for "saved" you can read "healed," "fulfilled," etc.), it's only God who does it. Abstaining from, say, squid with black bean sauce, or an occasional BLT -- that won't bring spiritual maturity or a fulfilled life. You can train physically for the big race, as Abrams did in Chariots of Fire, but without a focus on God that won't bring lasting benefit; you can be just as dissatisfied and unhappy with a gold medal as without one.

So if anyone is healed, saved, fulfilled, it's only God that does it. Those of us who actually believe, though -- we are the ones who get the full benefit of salvation. Not only in this life, but in the world to come.

The other thing this makes me think is... that for us who believe, salvation is a sure thing, which means that whatever happens to me today, God can and will use that for my good. (No, I don't get that from this particular verse, but today's reading reminded me of Romans 8, which promises that.)

And that's good news for me today. Amen!

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