May 8, 2013

Cultural Crossroad XII: Timothy's Commission & The Arsenokoitai

1 Timothy 1:8-10 Timothy’s Commission and the Law

But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 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 and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching..."

Here's a short one...

The overarching context of this passage is that it is Timothy’s commission to ministry. 1 & 2 Timothy are Paul’s last two letters and he knows his time on earth is short. In this passage, Paul exhorts Timothy to resist or oppose false teachers. We then see a comment about the law not being made for the righteous person but rather for those who are rebellious and lawless. Paul list fourteen kinds of people condemned by the Law and the list again includes ἀρσενοκοῖται / arsenokoitai or homosexuals. As this has been discussed previously the point will not be belabored here. It must be understood that the law does not save sinners. It only exposes the need for a Savior by exposing the sin. When a sinner finally concedes to the need of a savior and repents, they are then freed from the curse of the Law (Galatians 3:13).
The unrepentant people in Paul’s list have not been freed from the curse of the Law. The demands of the Law are met only when the Holy Spirit indwells a believer when they give themselves over to Jesus Christ (Wiersbe-Vol. 2 211). It is ironic that immediately following this list of the condemned…Paul mentions the Gospel to Timothy (v.11). The Gospel is the very thing that can save these lost condemned people from their sins! Paul then goes on to show that the Gospel of grace truly works by using his own testimony to prove it (Paul being murderer and persecutor of the brethren). In verse 9 it should also be noted that the word πόρνοις/pornois sexual immorality or fornication precedes the word homosexual. Paul again is clear. Homosexuality is unmistakably sexual immorality and those that perform homosexuality are those that do what is contrary to the sound teaching (v.10). Accordingly, they are viewed as people who are lawless, disobedient, godless, sinful and unholy and profane (v.9) (Furnish et al 388).

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