1 Timothy 1:6-11
6 For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion, 7 wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions. 8 But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9 realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers 10 and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.
As we continue to read the opening of Paul’s letter, it almost seems as if he shifts his thought process. I must point out that it merely seems like he does for two reasons: 1) because I broke it up into these sections and 2) because we tend to only see what we want to see. I want to make sure we don’t read this as a condemnation nor a comprehensive list of sins/ sinners. We should also caution to use this as a judgment list of sorts, since this is considered a pastoral epistle; this is certainly not meant to be a checklist of who is and who isn’t allowed in a church building. In fact, Paul is saying quite the opposite here.
In verses 1-5, Paul explained that a congregation is to be lead and taught with a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. Paul is continuing here to explain to us why that is necessary and the contrast of those elements. These are the things that men have strayed from, which he refers to in verse 6. Later, Paul is going to explain the Gospel of Grace through Jesus Christ. Here, he is prefacing that with the contrast of The Law, referring to the ancient Mosaic Law which the Jews try to follow and the religious leaders use to earn their self righteousness.
Note that Paul is not saying that the Law is bad, but rather that according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ; teachers misuse it when the teacher does not have the three aforementioned elements. The Law doesn’t make us any more righteous, rather it exposes our sinfulness which does the exact opposite. In verse 8 Paul accents the fact that if it is used properly, it can be used for good, but generally it isn’t when teachers use it for condemnation or self-righteousness. I don’t think Paul’s list of sins and sinners is meant to be exhaustive, but representative of the range of sinfulness and societal infractions, from liars to murderers.
How often do we condemn others with The Law? Have you ever quoted one of the Ten Commandments to expose someone else’s wrongdoing? Have you ever been condemned by someone likewise? We have completely distorted the Gospel of Christ! It is a gospel of love of people. If churches across the globe keep pointing fingers, they aren’t spreading the love of Christ, they are teaching the condemnation of the Mosaic Law. We have lost sight of purity of heart, good conscience, and sincerity of faith. The elements of the Law have their place, but it is not to be one of condemnation since it is now put under the authority of Christ.
I have had in the back of my mind lately how we have (or at least had) the Ten Commandments posted on or around our courtrooms. It is a complete misrepresentation of the Mosaic Law and doesn’t accurately portray what our American courtrooms are supposed to be. Maybe it accurately portrays what they have become. The Law doesn’t create justice, only condemnation. It reveals the unrighteousness of all men and if it is used as such, then all men (and women) who enter the courtroom will leave with a guilty verdict. Likewise, with the Gospel of Christ, all men and women would leave the courtroom with an innocent verdict (should they choose to accept it).
It really disturbs me that our country, built on the foundation of a Holy and Just God, has turned its back on Him and distorted His truth. It frustrates me that church organizations, claiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ, have reverted back to the very system He fulfilled and saved us from, distorting His message and freedom. We are only making ourselves slaves once again! How has your judgment according to the Law made you a slave? Are you accepting the judgment of others? Are you judging others and therefore exposing your own sinfulness?