The security of the believer pops up often in the Word, under various topics. The general topic in this post is the widows list.
Widows in the early church commanded a large part of the concerns of the apostles writing when discussing church issues with Timothy. Not only did Paul direct Timothy about the support of deserving widows, but the danger the young widows fell into if included.
Paul actually commanded Timothy to refuse to “honor” (or assist) the young widows!
If I understand the situation, the churches would aid widows by supplying the widows needs. The list would contain the names of the widows being assisted and Paul is trying to define the character of a widow that is deserving of inclusion on the list.
Lets read the passage before we dig in.
1 Timothy 5:11-15
But refuse to enroll younger widows, for when their passions draw them away from Christ, they desire to marry and so incur condemnation for having abandoned their former faith. Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not. So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander. For some have already strayed after Satan. – 1 Timothy 5:11-15
Some may imagine that the description above is simply Paul’s way of keeping young widows free from being on the “widow list”, locking into some benefit from the church, but not able to maintain their faithfulness to the Lord. Since the young widows have not been tested (like deacons – see 1 Timothy 3:10 – “proved”) they may slip from a faithful lifestyle to that of being idle, tattlers and gossips.
What shocks me when I read a passage like this is that of these Christian widows, some have turned aside after Satan. That can’t be good no matter how you slice it. Unless, of course, the doctrine of eternal security is true, where a Christians security is based on a single act of saving faith, and lifestyle, character and conduct have no bearing on a relationship with Jesus.
As a matter of fact, when the Lord called His disciples, He did so using the same terminology Paul uses of the widows turning aside after Satan. A very interesting passage reflecting this is found in Matthew 16.
But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. Matthew 16:23-24
When Jesus states If any man will come after me…. it is the same term Paul uses of the widows actions toward Satan. Those who follow Jesus are commonly considered Christians. If a Christian follows Satan, is that person still a Christian?
If I am thinking properly, and a Christian maintains their identity as a Christian while following Satan, it empties the power of the original call on the disciples. When Jesus said to follow, He meant to follow HIM, not simply follow anything or anyone!
But what I find even more interesting is the previous verse, where Jesus tells Peter to get behind Him. When Paul tells of the widows turning aside after (or behind) Satan, some word studies explain that the term is identical to Jesus telling Satan to get behind Him.
So let’s get this picture clear – widows who once followed Jesus are beginning to follow after (behind) Satan.
Jesus simply commands Satan behind Him.
You see – Jesus is in charge of all – He has all authority – He is the only One risen from the dead, never to die again.
Following anyone else is foolhardy, and in the end, life threatening. He is the only One placed on King Davids throne, reigning over the Church and all creation. Security is found in the person of Jesus, and following Him is the key.
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