These are the things you are to teach and insist on. 3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4 they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5 and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
1 Timothy 6: 2- 5
It seems that people want to get rich, and are happy to do almost anything to do so. It also seems that ‘get rich quick’ defines the dreams of much of society whether two thousand years ago or today, and that in the pursuit of pounds, people frequently leave their brains behind as they get lured in by offers too good to be true…
However, I am in luck… Just this last week I received an email declaring that happily, I am the sole inheritor of a small fortune of £1.2 million from a family member who recently (& sadly) died, and although I never personally met (or heard of) said family member, it seems they were kind enough to think of me in their will (!) It sounds just like the nice kind of thing one of my family members whom I have never met would do!
All I need to now do is get back in contact with the helpful bank in Nigeria, who will sort out the monies transfer for me on receipt of a few of my bank details… Happy days!
Paul is back in these verses with his sight aimed on his usual target in his letter to Timothy, false teachers. It seems, that the false teachers were pulling ‘get rich quick’ out of the bag too, as they declared that ‘godliness is a means to financial gain’. They were not interested in godliness as the goal of truth, but that it apparently it is financially profitable!
Again, Paul is stating to Timothy that there is a sound truth that was taught by Jesus and the Apostles, which is to be the Churches standard teaching. The false teachers however, ‘are conceited and understand nothing’ about the truth, they are more concerned with their ‘secret’ teaching, interest in controversies and words that fuel factions and divisions with in the church.
Paul’s point to Timothy is that the false teachers were teaching that financial prosperity ‘now’, was the fruit of faith. Sadly, in the process of listening to this false teaching and far from receiving riches, ‘believers’ were being robbed of something far more valuable than money, they were being robbed of what was truly valuable, ‘the Truth’!
This idea of getting rich off of the gospel is definitely not new, and it has definitely not gone away. What Paul wrote two thousand years ago could have just as easily been written yesterday.
If you turn on ‘Christian’ TV any day of the week, many of the programmes claim to be a proclamation of the truth, but are doing exactly what Paul is speaking about here, they are turning Christianity into a means of gain. It’s everywhere.
Along with the increasingly common false teaching of a ‘liberal limp gospel’, it seems that the most common false teaching in churches today across the English speaking world is the false teaching that- you are to be physically healthy and materially wealthy all the time right now; and that if you’re not, it’s because you don’t’ have enough faith or you haven’t made the commitment to the secret teaching of whoever it is that’s teaching that particular message.
Now, I do not say that to imply that God does not heal, or bring financial blessing to people today, he does, and frequently! But Paul’s point here and in the next verses we will look at tomorrow is that financial gain is not the goal of faith; it is not what Christianity is about…
Christianity is about Jesus, faith is faith in Jesus, and the goal is Jesus. He is the Truth, He is our Hope, and He is our Reward!
Is godliness a means to financial gain? Well, not in the way the false teachers pedaled it. But the good news is that if you have Jesus, you have everything!
- Take time to worship God with thanks that He blesses us in every way
- Thank God for all the provision He has given you, and specific times He has met your needs
- Ask God to keep your heart devoted to Jesus and not to dosh!