By Joseph L. Watkins
Our lesson is Right Division, but we are trying to justify our enjoining parts of Holy Scripture this time. For us to refer to Paul's seven post-Acts epistles as "Paul's Book" is a bit of a stretch, I must admit, however I see those Seven-asONE. I might have called them Paul's paper, that would make them one, but we find far too many different subjects in them to use that term. I have at times called them Paul's message, but again they contain much more then one single message, and they are also addressing more than one single audience, or group. I first considered "book" for seven different epistles or chapters bring into view a book, and folks would not expect each chapter to be covering the same ground over and over.
Yes - as some folks say 1st Timothy and Titus do not sound like Ephesians or the Colossians letters. However, I must ask, why do they need to? A letter or a chapter that introduces and works to expound upon the heart of the main subject of a book would most naturally be and sound different than one dealing with those who have rejected the heart of the matter. One would be of a positive sound, and the other of a negative nature, one holds the faithing ones in view, one has mostly the unbelieving and nay-sayers in view.
Paul left the joy and blessings of prison to go out and encounter the almost total rejection in some churches, and most all synagogues, many in which he had at the first found some encouragement, and with the unbelieving he had been able to reason from the scriptures, and gain not a few, but now he is working to ... "Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach the unsearchable riches of Christ Jesus" (Eph. 3:8) and mostly working without a Bible, as we see it, for this new message can only be found in Paul's Book, and it was yet to be completed. Was it to have just five parts or should we make it seven? You decide.
Now let us try to deal with a few of the things in the text that some folks find grounds to reject, both 1st Timothy and Titus, their rightful place in Paul's Book, and as being "Truth For Today".
"But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; Knowing that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient" (1 Tim. 1:8,9). "Avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and striving about the law:for they are unprofitable and vain" (Titus 3:9).
Yes - the LAW is good, the Law is Holy, it is SPIRITUAL, that is, OUT OF GOD.
First let us Divide the Law, and let us do it rightly, knowing that all the work of a workman must find the Lord's approval and not another. The Divine Laws of Morality, and The Divine Laws of Ceremony, must never be mixed. To do that, renders both of none effect.
"Thou shall not covet" is a Law of God knowing no limitations, neither as to time, or to persons.
"Thou shall bring a sin offering of the flock," being a Law of Religious Ceremony, can find no place in this age, A.D. 70 to 1999. And to try to do so today would be very displeasing to the Lord.
"Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, thoushalt not commit adultery" are all Divine Laws For Today. Do we have any that can rightfully question that? For all have to do with our morality before man and God.
"Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy." Now, should we include this Divine Law as a moral law or as ceremonial, or perhaps as both? How do we decide? Well we have found that in most all such cases, The One Spirit of All Truth has made His desire known in His Word of Truth- "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that wasagainst us...nailing it to His cross...Let no man therefore judge you (or put you in a position where he might judge you) in meat, or in drink,or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moons, or of the sabbath days" (Col.2:14-19).
We have "learned and have been assured" of this one truth: Our Lord, Christ Jesus, was not "well pleased" with the ceremonial sabbaths of the people of Israel. And when they became "lo-ammi" (not My people), all such "religious days, and fleshly things" was to be put off with them.
The Law of Moses was the National Constitution of The One People of Israel. Today that people is not the people of God, as such, so that Law is not valid, as such. However, the Divine Moral Precepts out of The One Creator of all men, is very valid, and greatly "VALUED - both Today, and in all times.
Yes - the Law is good, "If" one use it lawfully, but there are many folks that seem to set law on the side of evil over against grace. To them the laws of God only nullify the grace of God, they say the so-called dispensation of grace replaced the dispensation of law, but they have the same mistaken views of our Lord and His words of Truth - only in reverse-- "Desiring to be teachers of the law (or of GRACE alone) understanding neither what they say nor whereof they affirm"