I Timothy

I Timothy 4:1-5 Apostasy In Doctrine And Life.

According to Paul and the Spirit there will be apostasy, some “will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons” (v. 1 Cf. II Tim. 3:13). Issues of doctrine have always been about spiritual warfare. Furthermore, what one believes affects how one lives. Some will teach lies while claiming to hold to the truth-these are hypocrites whose consciences have been “seared with a hot iron” (v. 2). Such false teachers have silenced their consciences for so long that they are no longer sensitive to the truth of scripture. One might imagine that such a time as this would lead the church to retreat from life, but Paul criticizes this approach.

The religion of the apostate heretics involved abstaining from marriage and “foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth” (v. 3). These are not satisfied with simply falling into error themselves, they insist on commanding and thus binding other people’s consciences to their apostasy. With the new covenant there was a change in the ceremonial laws. When Peter got the revelation that all foods were now clean, besides it meaning the opening of the gospel to the Gentiles, it also meant that foods that were previously considered unclean were now clean (vv. 4-5 Cf. Acts 10:9-16).

Paul would never advocate doing anything contrary to the word, this is why he defends what may be called “the regulative principle,” which is to follow only that which God commands in holy scripture. With the change of sacrifices to the once for all sacrifice of Christ, the ceremonial system of the old covenant found fulfillment. The apostolic witness was that “word of God” which declares every creature good and not to be refused, “if it is received with thanksgiving” (v. 4). Our response must be one of thanksgiving to God in prayer for all that He has given. This also includes marriage, which from the dawn of creation God declared to be good and honourable (Heb. 13:4).

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