In All Godliness

Friday, June 26, 2015, 4:56 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “When I’m With You.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 1 Timothy 2 (NASB).

Entreaties and Prayers (vv. 1-4, 8)

First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth…

Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension.

An entreaty is a plea. A plea is “a serious and emotional request for something” (M-W), such as a call (cry) for help, or a humble, passionate and/or ardent appeal for mercy. These are not “God bless so-and-so” types of prayers, nor are they routine and emotionless repetitions. Often these types of prayers are accompanied by tears, anguish of heart and mind, and distress over situations going on in people’s lives or in the world around us. They can be requests for God to intervene in certain situations, or prayers for wisdom to know how to respond in particular circumstances. They can be appeals for human hearts to turn to God in faith, or for the wandering Christian to return to his or her first love. They may be petitions to God for the healing of a loved one who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, or for a child who has left the right way, and is in living in open rebellion, to come to his or her senses, and to be brought back to God, and to walk in the way of the Lord.

These types of prayers are not demanding or lacking in reverence (respect, honor) of Almighty God. They are humble and submissive. We don’t come to God with a list of demands and ask him to do something about them, and/or to ask, in a demanding way, why it is that he is not doing something, meaning doing something our way, and in our timing. This is also not about “give me, give me” this or that, nor is it about a “wish list” of things we want in order for us to feel happier and more fulfilled. These types of prayers come from the depths of our souls, and are usually prompted by some serious situation which requires or which necessitates such ardent prayers to God for his divine intervention. Often such situations, which lead us to this type of praying, will also help strengthen us in our own faith, and in our walks of obedience to our Lord, in surrender to his will, and in our own resolve to persevere and to persist, even despite the situations over which we are praying still continuing for some time, without apparent (visible) answers to our requests.

We are to be in submission to those God has placed in authority over us, with biblical exceptions. In other words, if any authority asks us to disobey God, then we have the right to refuse, because God’s law, rule, and authority always trumps man’s, and we are NOT to disobey God. Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, as well as the apostles were prime biblical examples of those who were in submission to authority, but who had to obey God over man when man was demanding of them that they disobey God. Yet, even a refusal to obey man over God can be done respectfully.

And, we are to pray for those in authority over us. We should, I believe, first of all pray that our leaders will come to know Jesus Christ, and will walk in obedience to him, so that they serve the people according to God’s ways. Yet, we know that God is the one who places people in positions of rule and authority, and we know that he even puts evil kings in place, at times, because he uses them to serve his purposes in the lives of his people, and in the lives of all people living on the earth. In those cases, I don’t always know how to pray, other than I will pray “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Or, other than just praying for their salvation, I will also pray that God will fulfill his purposes through the lives of these leaders, and that he will accomplish his will in our lives through their leadership.

Yet, obeying these leaders, and praying for these leaders, should never mean worshiping them, or following them over God, or closing our minds and eyes off from seeing evil where evil truly exists. Jesus always taught obedience to human authority, but he also stood up to those in authority who were abusing their authority, and who were leading the people astray. He exposed their lies and deceptions, because he didn’t want his followers to be deceived. So, we should obey and pray for those in authority over us, yet always obey God over man, and we should never give our unquestioning loyalty and devotion to any human authority, but we should always pray for wisdom and discernment to recognize evil, lies, and deceptions for what they are, so that we can reject what is false and cling to what is truth. As well, God is the only one deserving of our worship and unquestioning devotion, loyalty, and allegiance. We are to be followers of God, and not followers of mankind.

Gave Himself a Ransom (vv. 5-7)

For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying) as a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

All of us who are born of the Spirit of God, who are being saved by God’s grace, and who are being transformed by God into Christ’s likeness, have the Spirit of God living within us. We are the body of Christ, the church. We are, thus, the light of the world and the salt of the earth, and we are to not hide our lights, but we are to let them shine before humans. We are Christ’s servants and witnesses, and those who are to go out into the world and to make followers of Christ of people of all nations, baptizing them, and teaching them to obey Christ’s commandments. We are to snatch people from the flames, and turn sinners from the error of their ways, so they may be saved. So, although not every one of us is called of God to be an apostle, and not all of us can serve in positions of authority within the church, we can all tell others about Jesus’ saving grace to us, so that they may be saved.

Because we were all born with sin natures, due to the Fall of Man in the Garden, we are, apart from faith in Christ, without hope and without God, and destined to spend eternity in hell. So, Jesus Christ, God the Son, came to earth, took on human flesh, and died on a cross for our sins. He was resurrected from the dead, so that we might have new lives. Then, he ascended back to the Father, sent his Holy Spirit to indwell his followers, and is one day coming again to take us to be with him forever. When he died, our sins died with him, and were buried with him, but when he rose from the dead, he conquered our sin, death, hell and Satan. By faith in Jesus Christ we can be forgiven of our sins, restored to fellowship with God, and be given eternal life with God both now and forevermore. By faith we die with Christ to sin, we are transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God, and we are resurrected with Christ to new lives, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (See: Eph. 4:17-24; cf. Ro. 6-8; Gal. 2:20; 1 Pet. 2:24-25; Ac. 26:16-18).

Living in Submission (vv. 9-15)

Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness. A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.

I believe this is one of the most difficult passages of scripture to interpret in the Bible, or else it is one of the most controversial, and is thus often avoided. First of all, I believe the instruction here on how women are to dress is cultural, to some extent, yet we can learn from what is taught here in principle. We are to dress ourselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly. We should not purposefully draw anyone’s attention to parts of our bodies, which are sensual in nature, by revealing too much, or by wearing extremely tight-fitting clothing, which then just accentuates our female forms, and which might tempt men to lust after us. Instead, we should adorn ourselves with godliness, holiness, goodness, kindness, generosity, thoughtfulness, love, mercy, joy, and faithfulness, etc.

Women, of which I am one, should follow the instructions in scripture on the subject of authority and submission. God is over man (and woman), and man is over woman. Women should not be in positions of authority over men, nor should they be in positions as teachers (instructors) over men within the church, especially as regards authoritative instruction, such as we have received from Jesus and from the apostles. We should receive instruction quietly and with entire submissiveness. This Greek word for “quiet” is the same as was in verse 2, where we read that we (all believers) are to pray for all people, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.

This word “quiet” means peaceful, restful, and calm. It is the opposite of boisterous, clamorous or raucous. In other words, we women are not to cause a disturbance in the church by being loud and unruly or by usurping authority over men, but we should be submissive, reverent, and calm. And, all of us, by praying for all people and for those in authority over us, i.e. by taking these matters of concern to God in prayer, it helps us to remain calm and dignified, to not become raucous or clamorous, and to lead godly lives, because we are bringing our burdens to God. This, however, does not mean we submit to what is sinful, or that we put up with what is clearly false teaching, or as women, that we are restricted from teaching or using our spiritual gifts for the edification of the body of Christ. There is just a proper order and place for things, and we must follow that order.

Women can teach women, and they can teach children, and they can post their quiet times with God on the internet where anyone can read them, but where they have no authority over any man, but are subject to the authorities that exist on the internet itself and on various websites. After all, the gifts of teaching and prophecy were given to women, too. Jesus used the woman at the well to spread the gospel to men, and God used the women at the tomb to take the good news of the resurrection to men (Christ’s disciples), and it was ok for Priscilla and Aquila to approach Apollos and to take him aside and to quietly instruct him in some matters of the gospel on which he was not yet well versed. In the case of the women at the tomb, they were acting under the authority of God. In the case of Priscilla and Aquila, she was acting under the authority of her husband and God. The woman at the well merely responded in excitement to what Jesus told her about himself, and she wanted to tell others, but this was God’s plan, which is why Jesus spoke with her.

The Holy Spirit gifts women just as he does men, and he has a place for each of us in the body of Christ so that we may encourage and strengthen one another in the faith. So, we need to pray, and we need to be in submission to authority, and we need to act under the authority of God, and not be raucous and unruly, but to obey and honor God in all ways.

When I’m With You / An Original Work / April 22, 2011

When I’m with You, Lord,
hear my cries.
Soon I’ll be with You,
by Your side.
Harken to me;
Lord, hear my plea
When I’m with You
and You’re with me

Precious Savior, Lord,
and my friend,
Life with You
has no final end.
I’ll reign with You
When I’m with You
and You’re with me.

Father, God,
my only desire.
Your word is in me
like a fire.
I’ll sing Your praise
all of my days
When I’m with You
and You’re with me.