O man of God. The force of this address is very great. It indicates that the money-lovers just spoken of were not and could not be "men of God," whatever they might profess; and it leads with singular strength to the opposite direction in which Timothy's aspirations should point. The treasures which he must covet as "a man of God" were "righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience meekness." For the phrase, "man of God," see 2 Timothy 3:17 and 2 Peter 1:21 . In the Old Testament it always applies to a prophet ( Deuteronomy 33:1 ; 13:6 ; 1 Samuel 2:27 ; 1 Kings 12:22 ; 2 Kings 1:9 ; Jeremiah 35:4 ; and a great many other passages). St. Paul uses the expression with especial reference to Timothy and his holy office, and here, perhaps, in contrast with the τοὺς ἀνθρώπους mentioned in 2 Peter 1:9 . Flee these things. Note the sharp contrast between "the men" of the world, who reach after, and the man of God, who avoids, φιλαργυρία . The expression, "these things," is a little loose, but seems to apply to the love of money, and the desire to be rich, with all their attendant "foolish and hurtful lusts." The man of God avoids the perdition and maul fold sorrows of the covetous, by avoiding the covetousness which is their root. Follow after ( δίωκε ); pursue, in direct contrast with φεύγε , flee from, avoid (see 2 Timothy 2:22 ). Meekness ( πραΰπαθείαν ). This rare word, found in Philo, but nowhere in the New Testament, is the reading of the R.T. (instead of the πρᾳότητα of the T.R.) and accepted by almost all critics on the authority of all the older manuscripts. It has no perceptible difference of meaning from πραότης , meekness or gentleness.
The contrast . There is no more effectual way of bringing out the peculiar beauties and excellences of any system or character than by contrasting with it the opposite system or character. Let us do this in regard to the two characters which are here brought before us, and the uses of money by them respectively.
I. THE MONEY - LOVER . The love of money sits at the helm of his inner man. It is the spring of all his thoughts, desires, and actions. Observe what is his ruling motive, what takes the lead in his plans and schemes of life, and you will find that it is the desire to be rich. To be rich ranks in his estimation before being good or doing good; and personal goodness and benevolence towards others, if they have existed before the entering into the heart of the love of money, gradually fade and die away under its withering influence. As the thistles and rushes, the docks and the plantains, prevail, the good herbage disappears. A hard selfish character, indifferent to the feelings and wants of others, and ready to brush on one side every obstacle which stands in the way of getting, is the common result of the love of money. But in many cases it leads on into impiety and crime, and through them to sorrows and perdition. It was his greed for the wages of unrighteousness which urged Balsam on to his destruction; it was his greed for money that made Judas a thief, a traitor, and a murderer of his Lord. Many an heresiarch has adopted false doctrines and led schisms merely as a means of enriching himself at the expense of his followers; and every day we see crimes of the blackest dye springing from the lust of riches. In other cases the coveted possession of wealth is followed by inordinate pride and contempt of those who are not rich, by a feeling of superiority to all the restraints which bind other men, and by a headlong descent into the vices and self-indulgences to which money paves the way. In a word, then, the lover of money stands before us as at best a selfish man—a man of low and narrow ends; one pandering to his own base desires; one sacrificing to an ignoble and futile purpose all the loftier parts of his own nature; one from whom his fellow-men get no good, and often get much harm; one whose toil and labor at the best end in emptiness, and very often lead him into sorrow and destruction. His progress is a continued debasement of himself, and moral bankruptcy is his end.
II. THE MAN OF GOD IS OF A DIFFERENT MOLD . He views his own nature and his own wants in their true light. He is a man, he is a moral agent, he is a child of God. His hunger and thirst are after the things that are needful for the life and the growth of his immortal soul, his very self. He is a man; he is one of those whom the Lord Jesus is not ashamed to call his brethren, and who has been made partaker of his Divine nature, and therefore, like his Divine Lord, he wishes to live, not for himself, but for his brethren, whom he loves even as Christ loved them and gave himself for them. And so, on the one hand, he lays himself out to enrich himself with those treasures which make a man rich toward God—righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness; and, on the other, he uses his worldly wealth for the comfort of the poor and needy; doing good, distributing freely of his substance for every good work, and admit-ring others to a share of the wealth that God has given him. It is very remarkable, too, how he both degrades and yet elevates wealth. He degrades it by depriving it of all its false value. He does not trust in it, because he knows its uncertainty; he does not desire it, because he knows its dangers; he does not boast of it, because he knows it adds nothing to his real worth. But he elevates it by making it an instrument of doing good to others, and by making it a provocative of love to man and of thankfulness to God; and though it is so fleeting and so uncertain in itself, he forces into it an element of eternity by consecrating it to God, and compelling it to bear witness on his behalf in the great day of judgment that he loved Christ and did good to those whom Christ loves.
To sum up, the money-lover, by putting a false value upon money, makes it a snare and an instrument of hurt to himself and others, and an eternal loss to his own soul; the man of God, by putting the true value upon money, makes it a joyful possession to himself and his brethren, a nourisher of unselfish virtue, and an eternal gain.
1 Timothy 6:11-16 .—The man of God.
The character of the man of God is here portrayed with a master's hand. We may go back and contemplate it with a little more exactness. He is covetous, he is eager in the pursuit of good things; but the good things which he covets and pursues are the everlasting possessions of the soul. And what are these? Righteousness— that great quality of God himself; that quality which makes eternal, unchangeable, right the sole and inflexible rule of conduct. Righteousness—that condition of thought and will and purpose which does not fluctuate with the changing opinions and fashions of inconstant men, which does not vary according to the outward influences to which it is subject, which is not overborne by fear, or appetite, or persuasion, or interest; but abides steadfast, unaltered, the same under all circumstances and through all time. And with righteousness , which he has in common with God, he covets godliness , the proper relative condition of the rational creature towards the Creator. Godliness is that reverential, devout attitude towards God which we sometimes call piety, sometimes holiness, sometimes devotion. It comprehends the sentiments of fear, love, and reverence which a good man entertains toward God; and the whole conduct, such as worship, prayer, almsgiving, etc., which springs from those sentiments. And though it cannot be predicated of God that he is εὐσεβής , it is an essential feature of the godly man, who therefore covets it as an integral part of the wealth of the soul. And then, by a natural association with this reverential attitude towards God described by "godliness," there follows faith ; the entire reliance of the soul upon God's goodness, and specially on all his promises—those promises which are yea and amen in Christ Jesus; faith which fastens on Jesus Christ as the sum and substance, the head and completeness, of God's good will to man; as the infallible proof, which nothing can detract from, of God's purpose of love to man; as the immovable rock of man's salvation, which may not and cannot be moved forever. And, as by a necessary law, from this faith there flows forth love ; love to God and love to man; love which, like righteousness, is an attribute which the man of God has in common with God; love which, in proportion to its pureness and its intensity, assimilates the man of God to God himself, and is therefore the most prized portion of his treasures. Nor must another essential virtue of the man of God be overlooked by him, and that is patience . Just as godliness and faith are qualities in the man of God relatively to God, so is patience a necessary quality relatively to the hindrances and impediments of the evil world in which he lives. The primary idea of ὑπομονή is continuance— "patient continuance," as it is well rendered in the Authorized Version of Romans 2:7 . The enmity of the world, the outward and inward temptations to evil, the weariness and tension induced by prolonged resistance, are constantly pressing upon the man of God and counseling cessation from a wearisome and (it is suggested) a fruitless struggle. He has, therefore, need of patience; it is only through faith and patience that he can obtain the promises. He must endure to the end if he would grasp the coveted salvation. Patience must mingle with has faith, patience must mingle with his hope, and patience must mingle with his love. There must be no fainting, no halting, no turning aside, no growing weary in well-doing. Tribulations may come, afflictions may press sore, provocations may be multiplied, and labors may be a heavy burden; but the man of God, with the sure hope of the coming of Christ to cheer and support him, will go steadily forward, will endure, will stand fast, unto the end. And as regards the provocations of men, he will endure them with meekness . Not only will he not turn back from his purpose on account of them, but he will not let his spirit be ruffled by them. He will still be kind to those who are unkind, and gentle with those who are rough. He will render good for evil, and blessing for cursing, if so be he may overcome evil with good, ever setting before him the blessed example of him "who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously." Thus fighting the good fight of faith, he lays hold and keeps hold of eternal life, and will be found without spot, unrebukable, in that great and blessed day of the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, "to whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen."