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.
17 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.
I love it when the Bible gives you some commands to uphold and live by, and then when you think “How am I supposed to do that?!” you realize that the how-to is built into the what-to-do.
And of course, to figure that out, we’re going to read it backward. Any time actions and duty come out of compulsion or commands, you’re going to turn it into legalism and a bunch of rules. So when you see some rules in the New Testament, look around to see what the motivator and method is. He’ll be nearby.
When you read v. 17–19 and you have any kind of money, you might feel uncomfortable. That’s good! “Rich” is such a relative term. I’ve been around people that couldn’t buy bananas because they were too expensive. When I gave them one, they scarfed it right down before anyone else asked to share (or before bullies came and took it, which I had also witnessed). That kid was not generous with that banana. He was rich compared to all of the kids around him, and he was having all of it.
If that sounds heartbreaking, it’s because it is. It also scales up to any number of possessions. How do you not be the guy scarfing while those around you look on?
Read v. 13–16.
Look at the One who alone has immortality. He has an infinite supply of bananas and 401Ks to give you and to provide for you. He dwells in unapproachable light and comes to live in you by His Spirit.
That is a motivator to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, isn’t it?
As you dwell on this passage you can see how Peter would say “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk,” and the handicapped man would get up and walk.
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