“Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses.” – 1 Timothy 6:12 (NLT)
I absolutely love Paul’s letters to Timothy! Not that he doesn’t in his other letters, but I feel like Paul speaks so plainly and to the point in what he writes to Timothy, making it impossible for anyone to twist Paul’s words (though many have tried and continue to try). But Paul knew this would happen. And this is why he instructed Timothy the way he did in verse 12.
“Fight the good fight for the true faith.”
Paul has already said multiple times to Timothy, but this sentence alone tells two things:
- There is only one true faith
- There are those who have tried, and will continue to try, to teach a faith that is contrary to the Truth
And what is the Truth? Well, it is the Gospel of Jesus Christ in its entirety. It is the understanding that, as believers, the truth requires and promotes godly living. As Paul says in 1 Timothy 6:3, “Some people may contradict our teaching, but these are the wholesome teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. These teachings promote a godly life.” And a few verses down in verse 11, “Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.”
Godliness. It is not a suggestion in the Gospel. It quite literally is an encompassing part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You see, Jesus’ death on the cross wasn’t merely an atonement for sins and nothing more. As Paul teaches in his letter to the Corinthian Church, the crucifixion of Jesus was to set us free from the requirements of the Law because without the Holy Spirit, no man or woman could ever meet what the Law required. But the letter of the Law, the commandments from the Lord, they were not done away with. The requirement for atonement was simply met and paid for through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. THIS now allows us to be able to live a life that is led by the Holy Spirit, which is a life of godliness and holiness before the Lord.
The True Faith is not this idea of simply saying a “sinner’s prayer” and then we’re good, with nothing else required. In fact, the “sinner’s prayer” isn’t even a Biblical concept. Not to beat a dead horse (as the saying goes), but the standard of the True Faith is the standard that we have dropped in our culture today. We have become the very people Paul warned Timothy to avoid. We have become those who are not content with godliness, and instead we want to pursue riches and wealth. Our love for money has driven us away from the True Faith and replaced it with the root of evil. And yet we wonder why we are seeing so much moral failure within those proclaiming to be the “Church.”
We MUST get back to the True Faith in Jesus Christ that promotes and requires living a godly life. We MUST return to the reality that was lived out by the Early Church in Acts and beyond. There is no other way for us to go and still be saved. Every other road leads only to eternal death. We MUST return to the realization that the truth of the Gospel, the Way of Faith in Christ, it is a close-minded faith. There is no way around it. Either we abide in the whole truth which leaves no room for compromise, or we live in a constant state of compromise and evil, separating us from the Lord for eternity.
“Timothy, guard what God has entrusted to you. Avoid godless, foolish discussions with those who oppose you with their so-called knowledge. Some people have wandered from the faith by following such foolishness. May God’s grace be with you all.” – 1 Timothy 6:20-21 (NLT)