A person who is born of the Spirit (has a saving interest in the Lord Jesus, is an heir of God and joint-heir with Christ and is rich in faith) has God as his portion, is contented with his lot and thankful for what he has, for in Christ he has all things that are worth having! (Phil. 4:19; Ps. 103:1-5; 2 Cor. 12:9.)
Vs. 7. This is a reason why godliness with contentment is great gain. We brought nothing with us into this world but sin, and we shall go out the same way. Earthly possessions and worldly things have no value after death; but to be forgiven of sin and made an heir of Christ is of the greatest value. As soon as a man really learns this, he ceases to be concerned about his flesh and earthly possessions and becomes dedicated to laying hold of eternal life.
Having food to eat, clothes to wear and a house to dwell in, we should be content (Phil. 4:11-13; Heb. 13:5, 6). The believer is rich in grace, love, joy and faith, whatever his earthly condition. We realize that the will of God has everything to do with our present state (I Thess. 5:18).
Vs. 9. Having exhorted believers to be content with what they have and to consider worldly possessions in their proper light (as only fleeting vanities), he now explains how dangerous are the desire and pursuit of these earthly riches. If God has prospered you, use it for his glory, but to set one's heart and mind on attaining worldly place, position, possessions or praise is to be covetous (which is idolatry), to question the will of God, and usually involves the neglect of spiritual exercises and puts one in the company and fellowship of evil men. This is the snare of Satan; it is a trap filled with the foolish and harmful lusts of the world, the flesh and the devil, and will finally totally consume and destroy.
Vs. 10. "For the love of money is the root of all evil." If we confine this only to silver and gold, we will miss the apostle's message and meaning (although greed for gold produces fraud, falsehood, cheating, hatred and almost every crime). This "immoderate, insatiable desire for earthly treasure and possessions has caused some professors to depart from the fellowship of believers and from the gospel they professed, and they have suffered the terrible consequences.
Love is a heart emotion or condition and denotes a craving, desire or concern of the inward person. So that this love for money, or possessions (which I do not have in God's purpose), or position (which I do not occupy in God's will), or power (which I do not possess) is the root of all evil. This was Satan's sin (Isa. 14:12-15). Was this not Adam's sin? (Gen. 3:5, 6.) Did not the wrath of God fall on Israel in the wilderness because of their murmuring against his providence? We come back to the statement that "Godliness with contentment is great gain!" It is not just contentment, for the rebellious layabout may be content in his poverty and laziness, but godliness with contentment!
Vs. 11. "Oh, believer, flee pride, covetousness and worldly ambition, which are the root and source of rebellion. Desire the sincere milk of the Word that you may grow! Covet the best gifts, starting with love! Seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness! Follow after the righteousness of Christ and the honour of the gospel before men. Follow after true godliness in spirit, attitude and motive before God and men. Follow after faith, love, patience and humility! What shall it profit a man if he gain the world and lose his soul? (Matt. 6:24-34.)