In this letter to Timothy, Paul highlights the work to be done in Ephesus and highlights some important reminders that are important in contextualizing the place of the gospel in society.
1. Godly righteousness and the law
In modern society, we are constantly surrounded by social and political debates. The idea of what is “right” is constantly challenged. While this has stirred up a lot of confusion and frustration amongst believers and non-believers, we must remember that God’s word is unchanging.
8 We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. 9 We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11 that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.
It is suggested here that the law on Earth is simply a ‘behavioral guideline’, but following the law does not equal righteousness. Beyond the laws of our society, we need to, as believers, be wary of our approach toward the ‘laws’ set by God or in the Bible. We must not fall into a “checklist” mentality where we claim “righteousness” simply by checking off the rules.
We must remember that God is our moral compass and one that is truly righteous must know His heart and mind. As followers of God, we align our desires with His and gain the wisdom for discernment between right and wrong. In face of so many conflicting ideas in the 21st century, we must rely on God in forming a stance and a viewpoint — even if our initial reactions and instincts tell us otherwise.