The Berean Expositor
Volume 31 - Page 175 of 181
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were so "fierce" (Matt. 8: 28). The times that are upon us, said the Apostle, are
"fierce", "perilous", the effect of the "doctrine of demons" (I Tim. 4: 1) just as surely as
was manifest in the demon-possessed men who came into contact with the Lord. He uses
the same word, sophroneo ("be sober"), in II Cor. 5: 13 in contrast with "beside
ourselves". The times were such that only the grace of God in abundant measure could
prevent the believer from being "beside himself" as he contemplated the fate that Rome
reserved for those who believed the truth.
Sophonos occurs in Titus 2: 12, where it is translated "soberly"; the state of mind of
one who looks for that blessed hope and the appearing of the great God and our Saviour
Jesus Christ. Sophron, "sober", was one of the qualifications for the office of a bishop
(I Tim. 3: 2; Titus 1: 8), and Timothy could not be "an example to the believers"
(I Tim. 4: 12) without it.
Throughout all the stress and strain of life and witness, in face of all the deadly perils
that threatened and drew ever nearer, the blessed fact of salvation (so, the root word)
acted as a steadying, reassuring consciousness. It enable Paul to stand unashamed even
though forsaken, and Paul greatly desired that his own son and successor in the faith and
the ministry should have this holy boldness, this power, this love, this sanity, that flowed
from a consciousness of sins forgiven, of a Saviour in glory, of a blessed hope.