나성세계로교회 임지석 목사
(Photo : 기독일보) 나성세계로교회 임지석 목사

There have always been activities of evil spirits on this land, and it was also Satan that seduced Eve to fall Adam in the Garden of Eden in Genesis. Satan still dominates the world as an acting spirit among the children of disobedience. Apostle Paul predicted later that some people would leave faith, and we are actually seeing this reality before our eyes. The signs of apostasy have already appeared since the end of the Apostolic Time and John says this on 1 John 2:18. "Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour."

Then how are we supposed to live in this Age of Apostasy? Paul teaches full piety in today's text of 1 Tim 4:7-11, which means that we must confront evil spirits through piety. Even now, there are people who confuse people and make them not realize the gospel of Christ while those who continue to spread wrong ideology, philosophy and religion. We must achieve a pious faith life based on the lessons of the Bible, while believing and following only Words of God. Therefore, I sincerely hope that we all can honor the Lord through the practice of piety at this time.

Throw away the godless myth and old wives tales

As Verse 7 of the text says, "Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives' tales; rather, train yourself to be godly." Here, the word "godless" has a meaning of 'secular, worldly,' and Greek word of 'graodes' which means 'empty and 'old wives tales.' Myths are stories that are deliberately made up by someone like Fake News today which is not based on the truth. The obvious fact is that the Christianity we believe is based on facts and the events of the Bible are not myths. For that reason, we must thoroughly reject godless and false stories. Secular and foolish stories may bring fun and pleasure to the flesh, but they must be discarded because they cannot bring any benefit to faith.

Henry Nauwen wrote in his book: "You will be delighted to discover the treasure. But finding a treasure does not make it yours. When you give up everything else, you can make the treasure as yours." In other words, it is more important to make a treasure one's own than to discover it. According to the Biblical parable of heaven, the man who discovered the treasure buried in the ground sold all his property and bought the field. Furthermore, it is more important where you store the treasure than how you make it. People like to have treasure in their hands, but it's much safer to pile it up in heaven. Thus, Bible tells us to pile treasures in heaven as it is valuable and intact when we pile them in there. "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it."

Pastor David Jeremiah, a senior in Christian world, warns that it could be the beginning of a last-minute wave of de-Christianization, fearing the departure of famous ministers from the faith. He predicts that the same thing will happen as believers leaving the church before Jesus comes again and says, "Their interests in His work will gradually decrease before the Lord returns." Rapture can happen at any time, but what we know from Bible is that the Time of Tribulation that all hell unfolds will last for seven years on this land as soon as the church rises into the air. Assuming that the apostasy does not take place until half the time has passed, he warned that we may only have three and a half years left from the apostasy if there is a rapture at any time.

For that reason, we should be able to practice constantly reaching piety which is to trust and serve God while knowing and fearing Him. In short, piety means living in front of God, which requires practice. Practice means training and it means training is necessary to achieve piety. Piety is a matter of course for those who believe in it, and a true saint should be able to achieve it. This is because you can't actually manage this kind of life without training of piety. If you don't work hard on the training of piety, you have no choice but to follow the world momentarily no matter how eager you are of faith. Of course, one should live in the midst of personal proximity to Bible as well as striving for prayer life and dedication. In other words, he should be wary of those who are hypocrites and lie because of the seducing spirits, teachings of the evil spirits and striking fire on conscience. Therefore, we should abandon godless myths and old wives tales, believing in the fact that we should be wary of various heretics with names of pagan religion, philosophy and Christianity.

There is promise of life on this land and to come in piety life

Piety is a Greek word called 'Yusebeia,' which is a word comes from the combination of 'Yu' and 'Sebeia.' 'Yu' means 'good' and 'Sebeia' means 'fear,' so 'Yusebeia' can be translated into 'good fear' and 'desirable fear' with more meaning. In a word, piety is the desirable fear that man has before the Creator God. Desirable fear is a necessary thing for us to have before the living God. Life is not uncomfortable and hard, but rather beneficial by having these fears. As such, piety is a fear that makes life more awake and powerful for the believers.

Verse 8 in the text also says, "For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come." Piety is the most beneficial thing in achieving a faithful life. People regularly walk or climb mountains for their health because such training is physically beneficial and provides health to the body. However, those who take good care of their health still can have unexpected diseases and even die. In other words, these can help the health of the body to some extent, but they cannot be complete. Furthermore, it is only natural that walking or exercising regularly does not help our faith life.

Cornelius, appearing in the Book of Acts, was able to achieve the benefits of piety through the life of prayer, which led his family as well as himself to God. Cornelius and his family were able to achieve their piety when they went to God in prayer. Likewise, when we are mindful of God's Word by holding on to it, reading and obeying it, we can achieve true piety. Furthermore, we can achieve piety when we suffer for the sake of the Lord. Paul is witnessing this in Rom 5:3-4, "Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope." Our faith can deepen not when we are at peace and complacency, but when we strive for piety in the reality of persecution and suffering. When we fulfill piety through God's will, we will enjoy the eternal blessings He promised.

Piety is beneficial to everything, and promises are given not only in life on this land but also in life to come. Here, the promise of life on this land refers to health, material stability and social peace. As shown in Chapter 28 of Deuteronomy, we can think of the fact that God promised blessings of health, business, and social stability to those who obey His laws and commands. In response, the writer of Proverbs said in Chapter 3, "fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones." Furthermore, the promise of life to come means eternal life, and outcome of faith depends on enjoying eternal life. There is more obvious salvation for those who struggle with piety. Peter says Chapter 1 of 2 Peter: "Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

We should command and teach piety in the world

Paul commands Timothy in Verse 11, "Command and teach these things." These refer to the contents taught before this letter that you should not be tempted by the asceticism that he mentioned earlier, but work on true piety training. God's lessons in this letter are not only for Timothy, but he had to command and teach these truths to other saints. This is clearly God's will and also his purpose to record Bible through the Apostles. 2 Tim 3:5 advises, "having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them." We can meet people who come to church, worship in order, pray well and handle many things well. Unfortunately, however, we can consider the reality that there were many people like Pharisees in the past who had a form of piety but failed to show the pious life.

David was one of the people who lived a pious life in fear of God as he was a representing figure who feared God until the end of his life. He always followed God's will even though he could control and manage everything with his own power. He could hide lies through his position and ability but he did not lose his fear of God. On the other hand, his son Solomon was not like David as 1 King 11:4 well explains his life. "As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been." Solomon may have thought God was a comfortable one, but he did not fear Him at all. It can be seen that he had lost his piety by living with a pagan woman but not realizing any fear of God.

Piety is the deep knowledge and experience of God's grace, love, and forgiveness and acceptance. In other words, we should not carelessly regard His love and forgiveness, but stay awake in fear of God. We should be aware of and acknowledge His authority as the mastermind of heaven and earth but we forget this continually. Worship is to stand before Him in fear of His authority. In particular, the word 'command' in Verse 11 of the text means that we should proclaim this truth to have divine authority. If the teachings of the Apostles have human authority, they cannot command recklessly. But the Bible must command God's will because it represents His will and He commands it. The Bible is beneficial to all lives as God's commands and lessons to ourselves and to all those who are called by the Lord.

The word godliness to God is important and blessed means that everyone deserves it and that they are worthy to receive it. "Here is a trustworthy saying: If we die with him, we will also live with him." Thus, the message of the gospel from the Lord is something to prove and teach to everyone in the world. Possessing His life is the path of eternal life because God is the source of life and blessings. For that reason, we should reach piety by not questioning these truths, not believing them slowly and receiving them completely. Paul was able to teach in Verse 10 because training leading to piety was a valuable thing in the world. "we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe." Paul was a man who worked hard and insulted to make people believe and serve Him while they knew and feared God. The reason is that his desire was only in God not in a world like money or the pleasures of the flesh. Therefore, he was able to witness to the world that God was a living one and that He sacrificed His only Son to save mankind.