Vs. 12. "Fight the good fight of faith." We have much more business at hand than to be over-concerned with the things of this world. The life of faith is called a warfare (I Tim. 1:18; II Tim. 2:3, 4). Our enemies are Satan (I Peter 5:8; Luke 22:31), our fleshly nature (Rom. 7:23; Gal. 5:17), powers of evil (Eph. 6:12, 13) and false teachers (Matt. 24:11). The weapons of our warfare are not carnal (II Cor. 10:3, 4), but spiritual (Eph. 6:13-16). The prize of the high calling of Christ is eternal life. Above all, "lay hold upon it" by believing it, by receiving it, by enjoying it, by cherishing it and by expecting it. We are called unto this divine life not only by the word of the gospel, but by the internal grace and power of the Spirit. Paul commends Timothy for "witnessing a good profession" before the apostles, the people of the church, false teachers and men of the world (Matt. 10:32-39).
Vs. 13, 14. A solemn charge is laid before Timothy, before ministers of the gospel and before every believer to fight good fight of faith, to lay hold of eternal life, to observe doctrine and discipline of the church and to preach the gospel of the grace of Christ in sincerity, purity and without compromise.
1. "Before God, who quickeneth all things," that is, who gives life to all creatures, who quickened us to spiritual life in Christ and who shall quicken the dead at the last day (Acts 17:24-28). Natural men, the world and all therein are nothing; we live unto God.
2. "Before Christ Jesus" who is not only our Lord and Saviour but our example, in that he bore a faithful, plain and open witness to truth even in the face of unparalleled suffering, even the death of the cross (Phil. 2:5-8; 3:8; Acts 20:24). "Till the coming of Christ." This shows that Paul did not design this charge for Timothy only, but for all believers. We seek not the praise, approval and honour which comes from men, but we preach, walk and live before God.
Vs. 15. The time of Christ's appearing is unknown to all but God, but it is certain. God will bring it to pass in the time appointed by him. Our Lord Jesus Christ is now, and always has been, the blessed God. He is all-sufficient, the fountain and source of all blessedness, and the only Potentate or Governor of the whole universe. He rules over the armies of heaven and over the kingdoms of men (Dan. 4:34, 35). He is King of kings and Lord of lords: he sets up kings and removes them at his pleasure (Prov. 21:1).
Vs. 16. "Who only hath immortality." Angels are immortal and so are the souls of men, but they have their immortality from God. Only God has immortality of himself. "Dwelling in that light." In this frail and mortal state no man can bear to see the holiness, glory and lustre of God (Exod. 33:18-20). Even the heavenly creatures cover their faces before him. We see God in Christ spiritually and savingly, and that imperfectly, but when that glorious day of resurrection comes and the mortality of human nature is removed, we shall see him as he is! (I John 3:1,2.)
Vs. 17 "Warn them that are well off and blessed with material wealth, influence and possessions not to be proud and lifted up because of their blessings, so as to look down on and despise the poor." Riches are prone to produce pride. Rich men are prone to feel self-sufficient and to hold the poor in contempt. Rich men are prone to neglect prayer, become indifferent to the worship and fear of the Lord and to rest in the security of their position and possessions. This is folly. A fool may be rich and a wise man poor, for God in his purpose and providence is the one who gives us all that we have to enjoy and can remove it as easily as he gave it! (I Sam. 2:6-8; I Cor. 4:7.)
Vs. 18, 19. Much is required of those to whom much is given, which they are accountable! True riches lie in the exercise and the fruits of grace and doing good works. Be ready to distribute and willing to give for the glory of God and the good of others!
Doing good works, sharing with others and being kind to the poor cannot lay a foundation for salvation, life and eternal happiness, for Christ alone is our sure, tried and lasting foundation (I Cor. 3:11). But a man's attitude towards others, his attitude towards material and spiritual things and his general conduct in regard to love, generosity, kindness and good works will certainly reveal whether he has Christ as his foundation and whether he has laid hold of eternal life (James 2:14-17; Matt. 25:41-46).
Vs. 20, 21. "Keep that which is committed to thy trust," which is the gospel (I Tim. 1:11; I Thess. 2:4). Keep it pure and incorrupt, faithfully preach it and be not moved away from the gospel by vain debates and babblings about the law, circumcision, prophecy or new doctrines which ought not to be introduced. The false teachers boast of their scientific knowledge and oppose the Scriptures. Avoid them, for some pretending to be masters of science and knowledge have departed from the faith of Christ! (Titus 3:9.)