“This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck.” (1 Timothy 1:18-19)
Paul had been entrusted with the gospel of Jesus Christ by Christ Himself (vv. 1, 12-16), and he did not take this fact lightly when it was time to pass on the job of guarding and propagating the truth to others.
In our text, following his praise to God for giving him such a function, Paul now “charges” Timothy to follow in his footsteps. The word “commit” finds usage in banking vocabulary and implies a deposit of something of great value. Timothy was to continue to teach the valuable, life-changing truth of the gospel in love (v. 5) while guarding the flock against the teaching of false teachers (v. 3).
Paul had not found such a responsibility to be easy. In our text he reminds Timothy of this fact, encouraging him to “war a good warfare.” Note the two weapons of Timothy’s warfare mentioned here. First, faith, which, while not specified, certainly implies faith in God and Christ’s atoning sacrifice, and faith that this cause is just and right. Second, a good conscience, yielding a life and ministry free from both controlling sin and the guilt of that sin. Such a conscience comes from a lifestyle brought into submission to God’s Word. In fact, this couplet—faith and a good conscience—is said to be “the end of the commandment” (v. 5), along with love.
Some (v. 19) had abandoned these vital weapons to the “shipwreck” of their own faith and the faith of their followers. Nevertheless, such weapons, properly used, are “mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds” (2 Corinthians 10:4). JDM