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Sunday, December 8, 2019

The Non-Prison Epistles - Part 5

We come to my final thoughts on this subject (I'm assuming!). One of the central tenets of my ministry is that I am no one's guru. You have one theology to worry about in this life: your own. I'll answer for what I do, believe, and teach, but so will every individual. I encourage everyone to test my teachings against the full witness of scripture. So it is with my thoughts on Titus and 1 Timothy.

One thing about which I am very convinced; the final seven epistles of Paul are given to me. When I test the address on the envelope, I see only these seven addressed to the Body of this day. I see the Book of John addressed to the world and we come to know life through the name of the Son of God through that inspired text.

For those who want to claim promises or conditions in other parts of scripture, well, that is between you and the Lord.

With this in mind, I would conclude this series by saying that I believe that Titus and 1 Timothy are part of the revelation to the Body, but more suggestive than the five prison epistles. That is, you may have a man appointed to shepherd local believers. You may have a few men step up as good teachers. All of these offices can be valuable, but I don't believe we must appoint all these offices.

If someone steps into a role as a shepherd to protect the flock (pastor, bishop) or opens the Word to help illuminate believers (teachers, evangelists, prophets), he does so under the pattern in these last seven epistles. That is, even if we have the office of Prophet in this dispensation, it differs greatly from previous dispensations.

The reason for this is as we have laid out in this series. Our hope is in the far above the heavens. We are not Israel. She has earthly promises and blessings and is facing days ahead laid out by her prophets. Our revelation is complete in Paul's epistles. Their revelation is complete as well, but it has yet to play out.

This is what we have left:

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. -Titus 2:11-14

We immediately see we are in Titus! Yes, this is a summation of our life instruction and hope.We must note that the "appearing" of the Lord differs from his return to earth, his "parousia." The appearing is not limited to Titus, however. We see it in Paul's final revelation, 2 Timothy where it is mentioned three times. 

Here is another great summation of our life and hope:

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. -2 Tim 4:7-8
The appearing vs the "parousia" is a study of "things that differ." Here are a couple of posts to consider along these lines:



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