“Godly and dignified”
We live in a world where those in authority are constantly being challenged. Where democracy is practised, elections become public confrontations. An earnest and committed Bible believer has feelings of dismay. What attitudes should they take?
“our citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20).
Our God and Saviour are the highest authority, and, as we will read next week in Hebrews, that authority is
“discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart … no creature is hidden from his sight” (Hebrews 4:12,13).
Our Lord in heaven sees all.
Today’s chapters in 1 Timothy contain some valuable principles we need to ‘hold’ in our minds. Timothy has been left at Ephesus to help the ecclesia grow (1:3). Paul’s letter highlights the fact that our foremost allegiance is to “the king of the ages, immortal, the only God”, to him
“be honour and glory for ever and ever” (1:7).
A true believer’s relationship with human authorities is not one of rebellious actions against such authority – however justified than might sometimes seem. However, history shows that some believers have destroyed their faith and service before God by doing this. Paul tells Timothy,
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and dignified in every way” (2:1,2).
What a challenge this was to Paul in his own life, such was the nature of the opposition he encountered, yet he was “godly and dignified” in all the confrontations that were forced upon him. It becomes increasingly evident that the true believer takes no part, or sides, in the confrontations between factions in elections because he (or she) serves a higher authority.
Chapter 3 today illustrated Paul’s concern that those in authority in the church
“must be above reproach” (verse 2)
and details the spiritual qualities they should have.
“I am writing these things to you that … you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of truth” (verses 14,15).
For those who will, by His grace, have authority in God’s coming kingdom, this is a valuable period of training.