Keeping Pure

          1 Timothy 5:22 reads, “Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.”

In the New Testament, the laying on of hands is an act done by Jesus and the apostles. They commonly healed sick people by placing their hands upon them (Mark 6:5, Mark 16:18). After Jesus ascended into heaven (Acts 1:9-11), the apostles were commissioned to grow His church by carrying on His ministry (Mark 16:15). The apostles recognized they needed help and would often ordain others by laying their hands on them (Acts 6:6; Acts 8:17, Acts 13:2-3).

            Paul instructs Timothy not to rush to ordain disciples and ministers for the early church. Since Paul and Timothy were trying to grow Christ’s church, this charge to Timothy might sound counterintuitive. However, Paul also tells Timothy to not share in the sins of others. This is both a general warning for Timothy to not conform to worldly ideals and reminding him of what Jesus said to the Pharisees. In Matthew 23:15 Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.” Paul does not want him to repeat the Pharisees' mistakes. As a teacher, converting others to Christianity is not for personal gain, but His glorification. Someone should also want to become Christ’s servant because they strive to have an intimate relationship with God.

            How can Christians follow Paul's third encouragement to Timothy to stay pure? Psalm 119:9 tells us, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.” In John 17, Jesus tells God that He sent us out into the world as He sent Him. On our behalf, Jesus asks God to sanctify us with His truth and protect us from the devil. God will purify our souls if we commit our lives to Him in baptism. God’s word will give everyone the tools necessary to, “keep his way pure“. 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 reads, “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”