I Timothy 6:11 But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, 14 to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.
I was visiting a lady in Grand Manan once whose husband had recently died. Grand Manan is a small island in the Bay of Fundy, a mere 55 square miles in area (compared to Toronto, which is 630 square miles). The Anglican pastor had been in to see her shortly before I had. In Grand Manan, every pastor pastored everybody to a certain degree, because everybody knew everybody and the degrees of separation were a lot closer than 6. In any case, in the course of the conversation, I mentioned that Pastor Atkinson and I were good friends and that we met for prayer and our families got together frequently. “He is a real man of God” she replied.
What did she mean? What is a man of God? In I Timothy 6:11, Paul calls Timothy a “man of God”. Timothy, and my friend, were church leaders; Timothy a pastor and overseer of churches and my friend a pastor. Is that what a man of God is? Well, I hope that pastors are men of God but that is not what the phrase means. Paul is not telling Timothy that because he is a church leader he is a man of God. He is saying that because he is a Christian he is a real man of God. The woman in Grand Manan meant, I think, that my friend took his holiness seriously, he sought to do as God wanted him to do. He lived out the claims of the Gospel in his life. And she was right. People of God are the people that God makes. Gospel changed people – not super saints, not miracle workers. Just saved people who show that they truly are children of God.
Let’s consider a few things about being a “man (woman, mature believer) of God”
Men of God are, in the words of this text, people who flee from sin. They are people who chase after righteousness. They are people who fight the good fight of the faith. They are Christians.
But in these opening thoughts regarding “man of God” let us ask ourselves if we fit the definition. When Paul addresses Timothy here he does not say “O man”. He does not say “O you who have been baptized”, or “O church member”, or “O Pastor”, “O teacher” or “O missionary” or “O you who came forward when the invitation was given”. He says “O man of God”. So here is the question we need to consider about ourselves: Is this text addressed to me? How do you know? How do you know that when Paul says “O man of God, that he could legitimately be talking to you?”
Paul tells Timothy two things he must do, indeed will do, if he is a true man of God, a real Christian. Flee and Pursue. Run away and run toward. These are two essential marks of a true believer/saved person/Christian. Continue reading “Men of God”