Online Bible Commentary
Our Solemn Charge
1 Timothy 6:11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 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. 13 In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14 to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which God will bring about in his own time--God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen. (NIV)
Paul is closing his letter to Timothy on the subject of false teaching in the church. In the previous passage he called out the false teachers as being motivated by the love of money. In this passage Paul is exhorting Timothy to not be like the false teachers. The passage consists of four exhortations (vv. 11-12) and a solemn charge (vv. 13-16).
In contrast to the false teachers, Paul addresses Timothy as a “man of God” (v.11a). This is someone who is a loyal servant of God. It is someone who is personally obedient to God and involved in service to God. The false teachers were neither. They were not obedient to the word of God, instead preaching a false gospel. They did not serve God, but instead were servants of Satan.
The first exhortation is to “flee” (v. 11b). Timothy, and all Christians, should “flee” from the teachings of false teachers. Our reaction to assaults from Satan should always be to flee. We should always be moving away from the things of Satan and towards the things of God.
The second exhortation is to “pursue” (v. 11c). We are to “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” The first three (righteousness, godliness, and faith), Paul directly addressed in this letter. He wrote of righteousness, having to do with holding to Christian conduct. He wrote of godliness, having to do with becoming Christlike. And He wrote of faith, not straying from the faith. The last three (love, endurance, and gentleness) are fruit of the Spirit which every Christian is given, but needs to appropriate into their behavior.
Paul’s third exhortation is to “fight” (v. 12a). We are to “Fight the good fight of the faith” (v. 12b). The metaphor for “fight” in this context is that of an athletic contest, not a war. Paul previously used this metaphor in this letter calling for us to train, as an athlete, in order to become godly. Just as we should train to be godly, we should then fight to win the contest. The contest is to remain faithful, to hear the words “Well done my good and faithful servant”.
The fourth exhortation is to “take hold” (v. 12b). We are to “take hold of the eternal life”, which we were given upon our “confession” of Jesus Christ as our Savior. We are saved, but the proof of our “confession” lies in our perseverance in the faith to the end.
The solemn charge is given “in the sight of God”, God the Father, and “Christ Jesus” (v.13). Our charge, or commandment, is to “keep this command” until Christ returns to rule the earth (vv. 14-16). “This command” refers to the subject of the entire letter. It is a command to stay true to the Christian faith. The four exhortations provide a means of doing so. When we flee the things of Satan, pursue God, fight the good fight, and take hold of our eternal life we will stay true to the Christian faith.
You see, it is not enough just for us Christians to resist false teachers. Their teachings are still out there, influencing the world against Christ. We must show the true Christ to the world, through becoming Godly. We must fight against Satan, and his false teachers, revealing to the world the deception of the false teachers. And we must share with the world the reward for following the true Christ, eternal life in Heaven. This is what we are called to do. This is our solemn charge.