Flee also youthful lusts - Not only all irregular and sensual desires, but pride, ambition, and, above all, the lust of power, to which most men will sacrifice all other propensities, their ease, pleasure, health, etc. This is the most bewitching passion in the human heart. Both in Church and state it is ruinous; but particularly so in the former. Timothy was now between thirty and forty years of age, the very age in which ambition and the love of power most generally prevail. Carnal pleasures are the sins of youth; ambition and the love of power the sins of middle age; covetousness and carking cares the crimes of old age.
Follow righteousness - Flee from sin, pursue goodness. Righteousness - whatever is just, holy, and innocent. Faith - fidelity both to God and man, improving that grace by which thy soul may be saved, and faithfully discharging the duties of thy office, that thou mayest save the souls of others. Charity - love to God and man. Peace among all the members of the Church, and as far as possible with all men; but especially among those who invoke the Lord out of a pure desire to glorify his name.
Flee also youthful lusts - Such passions as youth are subject to. On the word “flee,” and the pertinency of its use in such a connection, see the notes at 1 Corinthians 6:18. Paul felt that Timothy, then a young man, was subject to the same passions as other young men; and hence, his repeated cautions to him to avoid all those things, arising from his youth, which might be the occasion of scandal; compare the notes at 1 Timothy 4:12; 1 Timothy 5:2. It is to be remembered that this Epistle is applicable to other ministers, as well as to Timothy; and, to a young man in the ministry, no counsel could be more appropriate than to “flee from youthful lusts;” not to indulge for a moment in those corrupt passions to which youth are subject, but to cultivate the pure and sober virtues which become the ministerial office.
But follow righteousness, - compare the notes at Hebrews 12:14. The general meaning here is, that he was to practice all that is good and virtuous. He was to practice righteousness, or justice and equity, in all his dealings with men; faith, or fidelity in his duties; charity, or love to all men (see the notes at 1 Corinthians 1:2; compare Acts 9:11. In all his social contact with them, Timothy was to manifest the virtues above recommended. But not with them alone. It would be incumbent on him to exhibit the same virtues in his intercourse with all.
The burden bearers among us are falling in death. Many of those who have been foremost in carrying out the reforms instituted by us as a people are now past the meridian of life and are declining in physical and mental strength. With the deepest concern the question may be asked, Who will fill their places? To whom are to be committed the vital interests of the church, when the present standard-bearers fall? We can but look anxiously upon the youth of today as those who must take these burdens, and upon whom responsibilities must fall. These must take up the work where others leave it, and their course will determine whether morality, religion, and vital godliness shall prevail, or whether immorality and infidelity shall corrupt and blight all that is valuable. CT 536.1
Those who are older must educate the youth, by precept and example, to discharge the claims that society and their Maker have upon them. Upon these youth must be laid grave responsibilities. The question is, Are they capable of governing themselves, and standing forth in the purity of their God-given manhood, abhorring everything that savors of wickedness? CT 536.2
Never before was there so much at stake; never were there results so mighty depending upon a generation as upon these now coming upon the stage of action. Not for one moment should the youth think that they can acceptably fill any position of trust without possessing a good character. Just as well might they expect to gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles. CT 536.3Read in context »
The Curse of Transgression—Oh, that men and women would consider and inquire what is to be gained by transgressing God's law! At all times and in all places, under any and every circumstance, transgression is a terrible mistake, a dishonor to God and a curse to man. We must regard it thus, however fair its guise and by whomsoever it is committed. As Christ's ambassador I entreat of you who profess present truth to promptly resent any approach to impurity, and forsake the society of those who intimate or breathe an impure suggestion. Loathe these defiling sins with the most intense hatred. Fly from those who would even in conversation let their minds run in such a channel, “for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” Shun them as you would the leprosy. TSB 104.1
I call upon all who have had any confidence in these pretenders whose lives are not elevated and whose conversation is not pure, to measure them by the gospel rule: “To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20). Let the mirror of God's Word reflect upon them, and discern the defects in their moral character. TSB 104.2
Offensive Character of Sin—We are in an age of the world when there is a fascinating, mesmeric power in all that class who would gloss over sin, secretly insinuating impure thoughts and coming as angels of light while they are the servants of sin. They do not sense the offensive character of sin or the retributive justice of God that will fall upon the sinner. I tremble for those who are not fully upon their guard, and who will be in danger of being deceived and corrupted. As a servant of Jesus Christ I warn you to shun the company of this class. Let them not into your houses, neither bid them Godspeed. Separate yourselves from their company, for they corrupt the very atmosphere you breathe.... TSB 104.3Read in context »
The true minister of God will not shun hardship or responsibility. From the Source that never fails those who sincerely seek for divine power, he draws strength that enables him to meet and overcome temptation, and to perform the duties that God places upon him. The nature of the grace that he receives, enlarges his capacity to know God and His Son. His soul goes out in longing desire to do acceptable service for the Master. And as he advances in the Christian pathway he becomes “strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” This grace enables him to be a faithful witness of the things that he has heard. He does not despise or neglect the knowledge that he has received from God, but commits this knowledge to faithful men, who in their turn teach others. AA 501.1
In this his last letter to Timothy, Paul held up before the younger worker a high ideal, pointing out the duties devolving on him as a minister of Christ. “Study to show thyself approved unto God,” the apostle wrote, “a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.” AA 501.2
The apostle warned Timothy against the false teachers who would seek to gain entrance into the church. “This know also,” he declared, “that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy; ... having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” AA 502.1Read in context »