1 Timothy 1.8-11 – What to Focus On

Today Paul expands on the idea that those who do not understand the law should not teach the law (vv.6-7). 

Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.

Paul says right away that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, and this seems to be the problem; whether it is used well.


Those who desired to be teachers of the law but had no understanding of the law were actually using God’s very vehicle for salvation as a barrier to it.


So, rather than the law being used to show us that we are sinners, that we will never work our way to God, that we can never earn His approval and justification, and instead we need to come to Him by faith in the substitute that He provides, these wanna-be teachers are condemning people for not living up to the holy and righteous standards that only One can live up to. 

Paul gives an overview of the kinds of ways we have fallen short of the glory of God (vv.9-10), and finishes by saying that, along with the examples given, whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God is what the law came to expose. 

However, for you and for me living today, and for the people in Paul and Timothy’s day too, grace and righteousness and salvation is not actually found in the law, is it. The grace of God, the righteousness of God, the salvation He offers, none of these are to be found by adhering to law, they are to be found by being in right relationship with God by having faith in Jesus. 

Let us focus on that today, not trying to earn our way to God through our good conduct, rather, focusing on being a follower and disciple of Jesus, relying on His good conduct and His finished work on the cross, and the acceptance, justification, and salvation He offers. 

29.04.19 – Romans 7.7-12 – Like Little Children

Recently I attended a pastor’s conference in New York and one evening went for dinner with a couple of guys in Manhattan. As we were crossing the road, this convoy approached…

…lots of people stopped to take pictures and videos of New York’s bravest heading off into action, as evidently did I, and I couldn’t wait to get home to show this to Roman, our 4 year old. He loves Fireman Sam, and his face when he saw my video of FDNY flying past was just wonderful. Wide-eyed, open-mouthed, just thrilled to see real life heroes heading into action. As his Dad, seeing him like that brings a tear to my eye.

Today in his letter to the church in Rome, Paul references this exact point in our life; when we lived so simply, so purely, and with awe-struck wonder,

What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead. I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. 10 The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. 11 For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. 12 So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.

Paul writes that without the law, we would not know what sin is (v.7), and gives the example of coveting. Nobody knows what this is until someone says, ‘Don’t covet’, or, ‘That is coveting, stop it’. Now we know what covetousness is, Paul writes, we find ourselves doing it all the time, and calling it sin. Apart from the law, he goes on to say,  sin lies dead. What promised to be good and what promised abundant life actually turned out to be a holy and righteous standard (v.12) that we can never actually reach.

But, despair not, there is something in there that alludes to a better way. Paul writes I was once alive apart from the law; do our children know what covetousness is? Do our children know a strict regime of rules, regulations, and laws? Or do our children know that to love one another is good, to treat each other with kindness is good, to show forgiveness is good, to think of others before ourselves is good? 

Do they know that thou shalt not…or do they know that Jesus loves them and they should love others?

Paul writes very clearly that the law itself is not sin, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. The problem is us. Sin corrupts the law, so, as we have talked about in the last few days, we must die to both, to sin and to the law. The law is holy, righteous, and good, but the problem is us. 

We need another way to become holy, righteous, and good

There was One who lived this life. 

There was One who fulfilled, to the last iota, the holy, righteous, and good law. 

There was One who took the consequence of sin upon Himself and put it to death. 

There is One who says ‘Follow me’.

There is One who says ‘I am the way, I am the truth, and I am the life’.

There is One who says ‘Abide in me, and I in you.’

The One is Jesus.

He is our way to become alive apart from the law, to live a life of wide-eyed, open-mouthed, and awe-struck wonder.


Point to ponder – Am I alive apart from the law, or am I trying to supplement the all sufficient work of Jesus by keeping rules and laws?


Prayer – Father, we thank you that we have this amazing opportunity to become as little children again, to live with such simplicity, with such purity, and with such awe-struck wonder. We thank you that this is all because of Jesus and His finished work on the cross, and nothing that we can bring. Remind us of that today; more of He, less of me. Amen.