Comments On Critical Passages for Critical Times

Passage One

Caught in the web of materialism – 1 Timothy 6:6-10

Vs. 6,7,8 But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. Godliness is ever accompanied with contentment in a greater or less degree; all truly godly people have learned with Paul, in whatever state they are, to be therewith content (Phil. 4:11). They are content with what God allots for them, well knowing that this is best for them. We brought nothing with us into this world, and yet God provided for us, care was taken of us, we have been fed all our life long unto this day; and therefore, when we are reduced to the greatest straits, we cannot be poorer than when we came into this world, and yet then we were provided for; therefore, let us trust in God for the remaining part of our pilgrimage. We shall carry nothing with us out of this world. Why should we not be content with a little? Because, no matter how much we have, we must leave it behind us (Eccl. 5:15,16). Hence he infers, if God gives us the necessary supports of life, we ought to be content therewith, though we have not the ornaments and delights of it. If nature should be content with a little, grace should be content with less. Though we have not dainty food, though we have not costly raiment, if we have but food and raiment convenient for us we ought to be content. Matthew Henry

Vs. 9 – But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. The word BOULOMAI, rendered “desire,” implies a deliberate grasping after wealth as a dominating object in life. The danger lies in attempting to acquire for one’s own ends more than satisfies one’s needs (Prov. 28:20). There is perhaps a suggestion of various stages in the descent to which the desire leads. To begin with, there is certainly in aiming at the increase of riches a temptation to aim at the acquisition of more, and this carried with it the danger of gaining it by doubtful or unrighteous means, a veritable snare. This trap is used of the allurements to evil by which the devil ensnares a person (2 Tim. 2:26). Here it indicates the seductions to evil which result from tendencies within. There is a further snare of being involved in worldly associations. The series now broadens out to a variety of foolish and hurtful lusts; foolish because the determination to obtain wealth tends to involve a passionate craving for things undesirable; hurtful because of the injury done not only to the soul but to the body. The metaphor of drowning is suggestive of the suddenness with which calamity falls upon the self-willed aspirant. What may appear to outward observers as a sudden disaster is here shown to be the climax of a course of evil. W. E. Vine

Vs. 10 – For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. Not all evil in the universe springs from the love of money. But it is certainly one of the great sources of many varieties of evil. For instance, it leads to envy, strife, theft, dishonesty, intemperance, forgetfulness of God, selfishness, embezzlement, etc. It is not money in itself which is spoken of, but the love of money. Money might be used in the service of the Lord in a variety of ways where only good would result. But here it is the inordinate desire for money that leads to sin and shame. One particular evil of the love of money is a wandering from the Christian faith. In their mad striving after gold, men neglect spiritual things, and it becomes difficult to tell whether they were ever really saved at all. Not only did they lose their grip on spiritual values, but they pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
William MacDonald

Passage Two

Falling asleep on the job – Romans 13:11-14

Vs. 11 – And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. It is time to awake out of sleep, such sleep as the world all around us is in (1 Thess 5:6), knowing nothing of what is at hand. But with a certainty which comes by believing the last recorded word of the living Lord in heaven, “Surely I come quickly” (Rev. 22:20), the Christian knows that now his salvation in its fullness, including the redemption of the body, is nearer than when he believed, on that happy day, when by faith in the Great Redeemer, salvation from sin’s penalty and power, became a personal possession, and the bright and blessed hope of glory, first lit up his soul. John Ritchie

Vs. 12 – The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. The night signifies the whole period of man’s alienation from God (1 Thess. 5:5). The day is the day of Christ, to be introduced when the Lord comes to receive His saints to Himself. The believer is to have no fellowship with darkness (Eph. 5:11). As the believer is now in the night season, he is involved in conflict with the spiritual forces of darkness, and victory can be gained only by putting on the armor of light. As spiritual light can be received only by those who are born of God, so alone by such can righteousness in character and conduct, of which the armor of light consists, be worn. For they alone are sons of light.

Vs. 13 – Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in licentiousness and lewdness, not in strife and envy. Men choose the night for their revels; but our night is past. Let us therefore do what is fit for the light and for the day. We belong to that day which our Lord’s coming will usher in; therefore, let us walk as those already in the daylight of that day. How needful the warning to keep clear of these things in this hour when the time of “the iniquity of the end” (Ezk. 21:25,29) is drawing nigh. David said, “The floods of ungodliness made me afraid” (Ps. 18:4). Earth’s steadily increasing tide of Noah’s–day wickedness would terrify us, did we not know that the Lord is coming, to deliver His saints and to judge this very wickedness.
William R. Newell

Vs. 14 – But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. The true secret of Christian living is stated, first positively and then negatively. Positively; the Christian is to put on Christ as a garment. He is the soul’s true clothing. Negatively; no forethought is to be taken for the sinful nature. No preoccupation of mind with anything except with Christ. This is the Christian’s twofold method of victory. He is not to fight in his own strength, but commit himself to Him Who has won the victory. We are to say “no” to the flesh on every occasion and occupy ourselves solely with the Lord Jesus Christ in the personal appropriation of faith. W. H. Griffith Thomas

Passage Three

Functioning in the body of Christ
(1 Corinthians 12:11-14)

Vs. 11 – But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. We have no right to say we want such and such a gift. “As He will.” If He bestows, let us recognize and use the gift. If He withhold, and does not bestow any particular gift, it is still within His own will, and according to His infinite wisdom. Paul gives illustrations of nine gifts that are bestowed within the entity and company of the church. Differentiation will be found all the way through. There are these diversities of gifts and there is always an intimate relationship of one gift with another. You have one, and I have another, and someone else a third, a fourth, a fifth; and they are all intimately related. They are separated, but related; and the unifying principle is the Personality of the Holy Spirit Who bestows gifts as He will. They are never in conflict with one another, and they are all contributing to the fulfillment of function, not of the individual but of the church.
G. Campbell Morgan

Vs. 12 – For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. The human body is an illustration of unity and diversity. Although all believers are different and perform different functions, yet they all combine to make one functioning unit—the body. All believers are members of the Body of Christ. Just as the human body is a vehicle by which a person expresses himself to others, so the Body of Christ is the vehicle on earth by which He chooses to make Himself known to the world. It is an evidence of wonderful grace that the Lord would ever allow the expression “the Christ” to be used to include those of us who are members of His body. William Macdonald

Vs. 13 – For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free – and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. In Acts 2, the Spirit “filled all the house where they were sitting”; but they also were “filled with the Spirit.” They were in the Spirit, and the Spirit was in them. These two things are true of every child of God. In the Spirit they are constituted members of one body—one with Christ the Head, and one with every fellow–member. And not only so, but that same Spirit dwells in every child of God. Who that has formed any conception of this Divine thought of the oneness of the body of Christ, through the baptism and indwelling of the Spirit of God, can fail to be amazed at the spectacle now presented in Christendom with its hundreds of sects, each professing to constitute in itself a body, with a distinct membership, and practically denying both the unity constituted by the Spirit and the power for edification that is provided by the indwelling of the Spirit. But in spite of all man’s failure, this unity remains intact according to the purpose of God. It is altogether of God, a Divine work in which man can neither make, nor mar, nor meddle. J. R. Caldwell

Vs. 14 – For in fact the body is not one member but many. As men and women not yet glorified we still possess that old carnal nature. Even though set apart to God in Christ with new natures, we so often still find working within us envy and jealousy, and there is the tendency to say, “Well, as I cannot do what so and so does, I will not do anything,” and so discontent is engendered. Remember that every member of your physical body has its own special function. If every member of the body does its own work and does it well, the whole body is benefitted thereby. (Eph. 4:3,16) Just so the church or assembly of God. He does not gift everyone in the same way; some have special public ministry, others have quiet, private service for the Lord, but all are important. I think I shall never have the least inkling until I get to Heaven and stand at the judgment seat of Christ, how much I have owed to quiet saints shut away in hidden places who have bowed on their knees before God and asked His blessing upon my ministry. I have had the public place, but I am sure that the greatest amount of the credit for work done goes to those hidden saints who have thought enough about me to be me up in prayer, that God might keep me from sin and use my testimony for the glory of His name. So let us be content to labor on in the place God has given us. H. A. Ironside