The Pastorals are flush with the works of God in his plan of Salvation. Paul presents the mighty hand of God in the Pastorals to initiate and perform the salvific plan in the now and in the eschatological future.
It seems rather plain that the churches of Ephesus and Crete are under some sort of attack of false brethren and their false teachings. It would be wise to surmise that Ephesus was more directly impacted by the false theology than was Crete at the time of the writing. Paul’s writing to Titus in Crete seemed to be more preventative than corrective in nature. Ephesus appears to be inundated with teachers claiming that the resurrection of the Saints had already passed. It would further seem that these “teachers’ in Ephesus were drawing there teachings from the law and turning the redeemed from the working out of the salvific purpose of God which sees its fullness in love. “But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” (1 Ti 1:5)
Paul seems to stress the Sovereignty of God in the working out of that Salvation in the churches despite the hindrances of these false teachers. In all three letters it is as if Paul was telling the young and capable men to “stick to the script”. In 1Timothy and in Titus it is clear that the initial charge to both men was to appoint capable men to leadership positions, who were able to forward the “true” gospel deposit which was entrusted to them. The implied message is that truth preached and taught will prevail over the cunning and crafty winds of doctrine that would blow through the churches. Paul asserts that nothing has changed in God’s saving work, even though the antagonists teach otherwise. The Apostle’s letters strongly affirm that correct theology should prevail as the shaping force in the life of the community and in the Church.
In all three Pastoral Letters; but especially in 2 Timothy, Paul stress the confidence that he had in the perfect salvation plan of God. He writes to a young man in whom he has entrusted a major work of “troubleshooting” with affirming words of encouragement and cautioning. It does not seem that Timothy has been caught up in the antagonist’s disordering of the gospel; but rather that he was feeling the weight of such false teachings. Paul reminds young Timothy that they are devoid of power and only have a form of godliness; while Timothy, on the other hand, has the gift of God which was in him through the laying on of Paul’s hands. He tells Timothy to stir that gift up; to do the work of an Evangelist: and to endure the present hardship as a good soldier. All of this was to affirm in Timothy the heart of the Christian warrior that Timothy was called to be.
The present heresies could in no way hinder the saving work upon God’s people. The foundation could not be shaken that had been laid by the Spirit of God. The whole of mankind would be judged by what they did with Christ and the faithful would be rewarded. Therefore, it was imperative that Timothy and Titus preach persistently his unaltered word whether the audience wanted to hear it or not. God would prevail in His plan and nothing or nobody would prevent God’s sheep from the saving graces of the Good Shepherd.
Craig Layton is pursuing a BA in Christian Studies with a Great Commission Minor. He is a conference speaker and Revivalist who speaks to issues from Christian Worldview issues to how to prepare for genuine revival within a body of believers. He is senior pastor of Leary Baptist Church in Leary Georgia; which is presently experiencing a protracted season of true God sent revival.. Married for 6 years to his wife Kimberly, they have two children and two grandchildren. You can follow Craig on Twitter at twitter.com/Pastor_COLayton. And on Facebook at facebook.com/craig.layton72