Writing In Hope

Over the next two months we will be delving into a few more studies in theology:

Theology of Family

Theology of the Body

Theology of Work

Theology of Home, or Place

But–at the outset, I feel the need for a reminder.  Human nature run amok will cause us to shrink away from another reminder.  But redeemed human nature, reconciled human nature, risen with Christ, in Union with Christ–we heed the reminders.  Created anew in Christ, we are being renewed to a true knowledge!  (Colossians 3)  We listen as the writers of the New Testament Epistles tell us what they want to remind us of.  We do not look for new words, we cling to the Word, and we run in the path of His commands.  

1 Timothy 3:14  I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you before long; but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth…

Paul was one such apostle, constantly reminding churches of what he had said, had written, had preached, had taught, had shown.  Here, in this one verse, we have so much to ponder!  This verse is worth a season of meditation (see here).  This is one to write out in your journal, and spend a few days on each phrase, every deliberately chosen word.  

These things.  Which things?  Read the whole epistle, not just one verse to discover which things.  “I write so that you may know…”  There is no mystery here, we can know.  The New Testament is full of knowledge that we are to know and believe; to pass on to future generations; to act on.  We are people who grow in grace and knowledge–not either/or.  Life is not full of situations in which we cannot know what is right, but rather full of situations in which we wish we did not have to make difficult decisions.  The Spirit will guide us as we prayerfully walk in the Spirit.  When we grow weary of reading and praying, we are easily tempted to go with emotions, or let others who are not walking in the Spirit to lead us through broad paths.  

So that you will know “how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God.”  First, remind yourself of all the beautiful metaphors God uses to describe His people!  We are His building, the branches abiding in the True Vine, His household, His family.  Not all humans, but those in Union with Christ.  In the True Church, there are ways of obeying, of having right conduct.  

Sola Scriptura

Not sola feels.  Rid yourself of the temptation to think God changes, or that His truth changes, or that you could have your own truth, or that we should let each other alone saying “you do you.”  ‘You do you’ is unspiritual, demonic.  “This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.” (see James 3:13-18)  True spirituality resides in those who set their minds on things of the Spirit, Who teaches us and guides us into understanding as we read, as we pay attention to His doctrine.  

“But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons…”  1 Timothy 4:1  

Beloved, to what do you devote your attention?  What are you listening to, what books and podcasts?  What you pay attention to will shape your conscience, and become part of the lens through which you view the world.  It will then shape how you understand truth, or will lead you like so many others to redefine truth.  This will ultimately shape your worship, your prayer, and your ability to obey the Gospel.  

Remind yourself, that doctrine does not divide–it unites His true church!  

Pay Attention on Purpose

Do not let your attention be swayed by trendy leaders, by those who merely approve what you feel, or who seem to be the most eloquent with their words.  When Paul teaches Timothy, he tells him to give himself fully to the study of the Word, to be constantly nourished on those words.  When Mary sits at Jesus’ feet that she might listen and learn, He is delighted.  Direct your attention, set your mind, study and read and abide in the Scriptures.  And as you do, sit under teachers, or read good books, that will grow you in understanding theological doctrines.  

While you look through Systematic Theologies, you may not run into any well developed “theology of the body” or “theology of the family.”  But–as you sift through a lot of good biblical literature, you can piece it together.  That is my intent in this series.  To remind you of what is taught in Scripture concerning these topics, and to recommend a few good books to further your studies.  

In Hope

I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you before long; but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth… 1 Timothy 3:14 

Quite frequently the writers of epistles expressed their deep desire, or hope, to be with those they wrote to.  Face to face.  The instructions given in the New Testament to churches express the desire for our discipleship to remain face to face.  In our day and age many have walked away from churches, and get all their theology from Tiktok and Instagram.  

If this is you, I caution you to dig deep into the Scriptures and find a faithful church.  We were meant to be discipled by those in a local church body.  Men discipling men, women discipling women (see Titus 2); all being able to teach and admonish one another (Romans 15) and to stir one another up toward love and good deeds and faithfully gathering (Hebrews 10) and deeper into clinging to true doctrine (Acts 18:26-28), correcting each other gently. 

It ought to be our desire to sit under the Word together; to do life together according to God’s design.  And studying doctrine will enlarge our hearts and minds to do just that!  Next week: Theology of the Family.

May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ. (2 Thess 3:5)  

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash