by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 6 Paragraph # 3 Study # 2 Lincolnton, NC March 19, 2006
8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
1901 ASV Translation:
8 but having food and covering we shall be therewith content.
9 But they that are minded to be rich fall into a temptation and a snare and many foolish and hurtful lusts, such as drown men in destruction and perdition.
10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil: which some reaching after have been led astray from the faith, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
I. The Apostle's Meaning.
A. The focus of his attention.
1. "Focus" is established by the words and the way they are used.
2. Paul deliberately chose the word translated "will be" and "love of money" and "coveted/reaching after".
a. The word translated "will be" is a term that indicates "determination". It is far beyond simple "desire" as it indicates a marshalling of resources to apply to the "intention". The only thing that keeps a thing so "determined" from actually coming to pass is the lack of resources on the part of the one so determining. In Romans 9:19 Paul used this word to indicate the impossibility of man's actual accomplishment of opposition to the "will" of God. Peter used the same word in 2 Peter 3:9 to declare that God's elect will not perish because God is not "willing" that any of them perish.
b. The word translated "love of money" is a term that indicates a significant emotional investment in the possession of material wealth.
c. The word translated "coveted/reaching after" is a term that indicates the deliberate pursuit of an objective. Any "pursuit" is a danger: it signals the inner core of the value system (agape) as well as the inner core of the belief system (pistis).
d. It is impossible to use all three of these terms in the same context without painting a picture of a person whose commitment is unveiled.
B. The reality of the godly alternative.
1. Material possessions ought to be nothingmorethan a by-product of diligence in the pursuit of one's perception of the desires of God.
2. Material consequences ought to never be a deeper level consideration in the deliberations regarding the nature of the desires of God for the "deliberater". Stewardship issues mean that "cost" will be involved in decision making, but "cost" is never to be the determinative issue regarding the determination of the will of God.
C. The ungodly reality.
1. Discontentment with minimal material possessions is an indication of a value/faith system that is off target.
2. Being "intent" on obtaining "wealth" creates an inescapable bondage. He that so intends "falls into" what Paul names by means of three words/phrases: "temptation" and "snare" and "foolish and hurtful lusts".
a. He does not use "temptation" in this text as simply the "temptation to make a bad choice" (the bad choice has already been made). He uses the term to indicate one's collapse in the face of a seductive option. "Falling into temptation" is not being faced with a seductive option; it is being overcome by it. Joseph did not "fall into temptation" in respect to Potiphar's wife; David did "fall into temptation" with Uriah's wife. The meaning is as if Paul had written "fall by means of an irresistible seduction". Jesus' "...lead us not into temptation..." signals this aspect of meaning. He did not mean "Do not let us be faced with seductive options"; He meant "Do not let us be led into irresistible compulsions to do evil."
b. The word "snare" fortifies our understanding of "temptation": "falling into a snare" means to be trapped so as to have no way to obtain freedom.
c. The phrase "many foolish and hurtful lusts" simply further explains what Paul means: there is no "understanding" in operating by these "lusts" and there is no escape from the hurtful consequences of operating by these "lusts".
1) The issue of "lusts" is important. It indicates a relatively strong level of desire that is rarely denied; it carries its hapless victim away.
a) There are those who use the acquisition of wealth to "prove" their "worth".
b) There are those who use the acquisition of wealth to "establish" their "security".
c) There are those who use the acquisition of wealth to "indulge" their "fleshly appetites".
2) The issue of the outcome of the indulgence of these "lusts" is also important. Though the grace of God is greater than our sin, it is more often than not that the deceitfulness of sin blocks the appropriation of the available grace. There is grace sufficient to any moral victory, but that grace can be resisted and rejected so that there is no moral victory. In theory, there is no aspect of a person's value/faith system that cannot be brought into submission to the word of God by the grace of God; but, the historical reality is that there are few, if any, who ever "get there" in terms of being in the place of having a comprehensive alignment of the held values and faith with God's Love and Truth. In fact, the very fact that it is only "elders" who ever "get there" in terms of a general alignment is an indication of the difficulty that even God has in addressing our sin...it takes Him all of our lifetime. The apostle says that these "lusts" cause men to sink down into "destruction" and "perdition". The word "destruction" has with the dismantling of the physical man and the word "perdition" has to do with "final waste"...the ultimate rejection by God of the person and his works. It is such a strong term that Hebrews 10:39 seems to say that believers are incapable of "getting there" (just as Paul seems to say in 1 Corinthians 11:32).