In this lesson Paul gives some instructions to servants or those who work for others, rebukes false teachers, advises to contentment, and exposes the sin of covetousness.
(Vs. 1) Every believer who works for a living has someone with authority over him. This is called "under the yoke." It is under the yoke of authority or government or in the service of someone (bought with their money or hired by them). Whether his master is a believer or an unbeliever, kind or unkind, good natured or peevish, the believer is to respect, honor, and obey him, which includes obedience to commands, a good day's work, and respect expressed in word and gesture. If a professed believer is lazy, rebellious, disobedient, disrespectful, or careless in his duties, the unbelieving master will say, "Is this his religion? Is this the gospel he preaches? Does his God and his doctrine teach him to rebel against authority and destroy the order that exists between man and man?" (Eph. 6:5-6; Col. 3:22-25.)
(Vs. 2) The name of "brother" may be thought to constitute equality and consequently to take away authority and dominion, but PAUL TEACHES DIFFERENTLY. Actually, if a believer serves under or is employed by another believer, he should show even greater respect, more willing obedience, and subject himself to the authority of his brother, making the master's place of authority easier and more pleasant. Let us give thanks for faithful, beloved, and believing masters who are partakers of the grace of God, not using their spiritual relationship as an EXCUSE for taking advantage, but as a reason for BETTER SERVICE and MORE DEDICATED LABOR (Philemon 15-16).
(Vs. 3) Paul condemns all those who do not agree with and teach the above. Some of these false teachers despised authority and dominion (II Peter 2:10), even encouraging disobedience to parents, masters, and government. The words of Christ and the doctrines of Christ are in agreement with godliness of heart and life. The gospel is the mystery of godliness, which promotes both internal and external holiness. It leads to faith, love, humility, patience, and all the duties which we owe to our fellow man (II Cor. 5:17; Titus 2:9-10).
(Vs. 4-5) False teachers are puffed up with pride. The gospel of grace produces a humble spirit (Eph. 3:8); but the doctrines of men (works and self-righteousness) fill the mind with pride, vanity, and self-esteem.
They really KNOW NOTHING of spiritual things, of the gospel of Christ, but spend their time in controversy, disputes, and strife over words, laws, foolish and unanswerable questions. Their ministry produces envy and jealousy, quarrels and dissension, insults and slander, and evil suspicions. The true grace of God promotes peace in the home, in the church, between labor and management, and in the neighborhood (II Tim. 2:22-23; Rom. 14:19).
WITHDRAW YOURSELF FROM THESE MEN who are contentious and quarrelsome, who are always disputing and galling one another, provoking men to strife, envy, and anger. They are destitute of the truth of Christ and have not the Spirit of God. They suppose that religion and Christianity are a source of profit, a money-making business, or a means of personal gain. They serve themselves and their selfish interests, making merchandise of you (II Peter 2:1-3).
(Vs. 6) By godliness is meant a true knowledge of God's grace in Christ Jesus, which shows itself not only in the internal fruit of the Holy Spirit (such as faith, love, humility, joy, patience) and in outward acts of worship, but also in a peaceful disposition and a gracious conduct toward others. This spirit and position with contentment (His grace is sufficient! His sacrifice is sufficient! His love and presence is sufficient! Christ is all we need!) is great and abundant gain (Matt. 11:28-30). The believer is content with his lot, his place, his duties, and his gifts; for in Christ he has all things! (I Cor. 7:20-24.)