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I Tim. 1:5-11 Wednesday of Michaelmass IV, 2016

October 26, 2016

Passage: 1 Timothy 1:5–1:11

1 Timothy 1:5-11
Wednesday of Michaelmass IV, 2016 A.D.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
Lawlessness is a major problem of our time. Those who would be our national leaders cheat, lie and break the law, and then lie about having done so. And these are they who are to be the examples, models of behavior to our country and to our children. Rather than manifesting the best qualities, the very worst behaviors and attitudes of fallen men are clearly seen in their words and actions.
Truth is not valued, multiple so-called “truths” abound. Lies and even criminal activity are accepted in a teleology fulfilled in “getting away with it,” which is seen as vindication for the means by which it is achieved.

But the hatred of the fallen for the Law does not stop there. Criminals are released from prison before their sentences are served, at the same time those who enforce the laws are reviled and assaulted. Many work to legalize drug use. Even natural law is rejected, as if that were possible. Men desire to be women and women men. And they are outraged when anyone questions such perversion.

Quite naturally, with the rejection of law there is a prohibition against judging, even judging rightly, because judging requires a truth by which to judge. The only judgment that seems acceptable in our society is the condemnation of those who hold to the truth.

The Apostle provides us a list, a 2000 year-old list, that aptly describes the contemporary situation: fallen men are lawless and insubordinate, ungodly sinners, unholy, profane, murderers, fornicators, sodomites, liars, and perjurers.

At the same time the fallen flesh believes it can keep the Law, so too does the flesh rail against the Law. But the Law, God’s Law, the Decalogue, is perfect. It is true. It stands as the objective Truth against those who deny it and reject it. Their uninformed, ignorant rejection of Truth is no defense. In fact it is testimony against them. They will be judged by their words, and by their lawless deeds. No one “gets away” with anything.

And as much as you have allowed their rhetoric and dark teachings to influence you, as much as you have been persuaded by their lies, you have strayed. You have, as the Apostle writes, turned aside to idle talk, understanding neither what you say nor the things you affirm. And against such there will be a judgment, a true judgment, a judgment based on the Law of God, which does not change, the Law which remains forever.

But of the Christian, of the one who believes the Word of God, of the one who fears, loves and trusts in God above all things, the Apostle writes “let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: "That You may be justified in Your words, And may overcome when You are judged.” These Words of hope and comfort are for you, O Redeemed of Christ. They are Words of hope that pierce the hopeless darkness of the fallen world. And that you rightly know God and His Law, that you may know the Truth, the same Apostle writes “The purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith.”

These – love from a pure heart, a good conscience, sincere faith – cannot be found among the fallen. They are super-human traits, attributes that no sinful man can possess or attain. Truth be told, they are a description of what is true only of God, God the Son, the One who became Man to save you.
He alone has a pure heart, an undefiled, holy heart. He alone has a good conscience, free from idolatry and falsehood and guilt and shame. And He alone has a sincere faith, faith pure and holy enough that He did not waver even when forsaken by God the Father.
He who is God deigned to take on Flesh. He brought Truth into a fallen world.And that He did in the midst of the lawless and insubordinate, the ungodly and sinners, the unholy and the profane. And He, being Holy, willingly fell into the hands of corrupt politicians and unethical men. He endured their lies and their false accusations. He allowed Himself to be found guilty and sentenced to death, although He committed no wrong.

But according to the glorious Gospel of the Blessed God, according to His Promise, what He did He did for you. That is Truth. And therein, in Christ, is found the love that gives the Commandments their purpose. It is He that imputes to you His purity of heart.

It is He, by the indwelling of His Spirit, that gives you a good conscience and a sincere faith. It is He that in His grace declares you to be the righteous man of whom the Apostle writes, the man whose sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake, the man who by faith receives the Gifts of God.

That Gospel, the glorious Gospel of the Blessed God committed to the Apostle’s trust, works in you what it requires and what it promises. In Christ all your sins are forgiven. In Christ you are set apart from the world, called out of the cesspool of fallenness, and given to know and believe a Truth that overcomes the world.

In sincere faith, with a good conscience, forgiven, redeemed, made new in Christ, a citizen of the Kingdom of God, you kneel to receive your Lord in the Holy Eucharist. In that Meal, the Meal He gives, the Meal He instituted, you receive the glorious Gospel of the Blessed God as God the Son places His Body with Bread and His Blood with Wine.

You eat and drink in faith, and you answer the Lord with your “Amen.” As the Apostle writes you understand what you say, and the Things you affirm.

The Law was not made for a righteous person. In Christ you are declared to be righteous before God. In Christ the Law has no mastery over you, and yet faith strives to please God in its keeping.

Faith strives to use the Law lawfully. And faith knows that the keeping of the Law that saves is the keeping of the Law accomplished by Christ and imputed to you: you given a pure heart, you given a good conscience, you given sincere faith, faith that trusts in Christ, faith that clings to Christ, faith that knows the heavenly reward that He has won for you.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.