Also available as MP3: Supposing That Gain is Godliness – 1 Tim 6:5-10
It was the Jews who supposed “that gain is godliness” (6:5) since under the Law God blessed them with gain if they were godly (Deut.28:1-11). But while that was once the truth of God, men who taught that to Gentiles were “destitute of the truth.” Paul calls that thinking “perverse disputings” because the law was now a perversion of the truth. The legalizers in Galatia perverted the gospel (Gal.1:7).
It was no longer true that gain was godliness, but it was now true that godliness is gain (v.6). It gains the profit of a rich and satisfying life in this life and rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ (ITim.4:8).
“Contentment” (v.6) means not wanting more (Lu.3:14). Being content with your wages makes it easier to obey Hebrews 13:5a. If you’re not content with what you have, you won’t find life satisfying because you’ll always want more, and that will affect your rewards in the next life. But if you’re not content, you can learn to be (Phil.3:11). Paul learned by being “instructed” (v.12) that if Christ couldn’t leave him he should be content (cf. Heb.13:5b). You can lose riches (Pr.23:5), so you shouldn’t be content in them.
If you’re thinking it was easy for a great apostle to learn to be content, remember he was profiting financially above many in his day (Gal.1:13,14) but walked away from it. If he could learn contentment, you can. We’re entering into the biggest merchandising season of the year, but the merchandise of wisdom is better than that of silver (Pr.3: 15). The sales of “durable goods” goes up and down, but “durable riches and righteousness” is something of “sub-stance” (Pr.8:12-21). Silver and gold are good sources of gain, but if you want to talk about “great gain” (6:6) you have to stop talking money and start talking godliness.
It’s still true that you can’t take it with you (6:7 cf. Ps.49:16,17). This is “a sore evil” to the unsaved (Eccl.5:15,16), for it means they have “labored for the wind.” You feel the wind a few seconds and it is gone. That’s what life is compared to eternity. So you have to ask yourself, when you die, will you be leaving your treasures or going to them (Mt. 6:20). Of course, if you had riches and lost them, bless the Lord like Job (Job 1:20,21).
You should be content with food and clothing (6:8) because they aren’t guaranteed in the dispensation of grace. Jacob could bank on it after he pitched a deal with God (Gen.28: 20,21) and God honored it (48:15), but He won’t honor it today. After what God did for you at Calvary, you it be easy to be content with no more than food and clothing. By the way, God made the same agreement with Israel (Deut.8:3,4), but your clothes wear out and you have to buy food, so you should be content if you have them. Also by the way, housing isn’t part of contentment. Abraham lived in tents (Heb.11:8) and some lived in caves (Heb.11:38).
There’s nothing wrong with being rich, but those who “desire” to be rich fall into temptation (6:9), the temptation to steal (Pr.28:20). And they fall into “a snare,” something that looks like it will be for your “welfare” (Ps.69:22), but ends up being against your welfare. Like riches. This desire can “drown” men (6:9). People say, “But I only want to be a little rich,” but you can drown in a bathtub as well as in an ocean. Judas drowned in 30 pieces of silver.
The Bible doesn’t say that money is the root of all evil, as the world criticizes it for saying, it says the love of money is the root of all evil (6:10). The world then says the love of money isn’t the root of rape, etc., but when Lucifer wanted to be like the most High (Is.14:14) it meant he wanted to possess heaven and earth (Gen.14:19,22) and all therein (Deut.10:14) including all the money, lands and possessions. And his love of money was the root of all evil.
And it still is. Paul says some coveted after it in the minis-try and “erred from the faith.” Men who corrupt God’s Word for gain, as Satan did in Eden to gain the world, teach all kinds of evil things that lead to all kinds of evil.
The unseen rulers who pierced the Lord thought they were gaining the world, but “pierced themselves through with many sorrows” instead (6:10), as do all false teachers since.