Terry R. Baughman
“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (1 Timothy 6:12).
A most vital aspect of our legal system requires the sworn statement of witnesses. The testimonies of these witnesses have the power to condemn or exonerate the accused. Prosecutors produce eyewitnesses, if possible, to establish the guilt of the defendant. If none can be found who saw the crime being committed they might produce other evidence of implication. Another tactic is to seek out individuals who might be able to discredit the testimony of those who speak for the defendant. On the other hand the defense seeks witnesses who can provide an alibi for the defendant or character witnesses who will speak for the trustworthiness of the accused. Much of the time the outcome of the hearing is dependent on the testimony of the witnesses.
The precedent for verification by witnesses comes from the Torah, our Old Testament in the Bible, “By the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established” (Deuteronomy 19:15). Guilt for crimes committed was predicated on the statement of witnesses. A death sentence could only be delivered if there were “two or three witnesses” (Deuteronomy 17:6). A single witness might be biased or have other motivations for producing inaccurate testimony. The New Testament references this principle on more than one occasion and it has been adopted by many legal systems of societies through the centuries.
It is interesting to note that even the two primary sections of our Bible are identified as testaments. Jesus declared a new covenant before His disciples in the Last Supper, “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28 KJV). The New Testament stands as a witness to the character and righteous acts of His divine purpose and promises. The Old and New Testaments are the two witnesses of God’s Word throughout recorded history.
In past times church gatherings featured a segment of time for congregational testimonies. Volunteers could share their stories of faith, recent challenges they had overcome, or answers to specific prayers they had experienced. Some of these shared accounts were encouraging to others who found themselves in similar circumstances. Whether spoken before the congregation, written as a witness statement, or lived out in an exemplary life, the testimony is a powerful affirmation of faith.
In The Book of Revelation John identified the source of victory over the enemy when confronted by the false statements of the accuser, “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony” (Revelation 12:11). There is power in our witness and our relationship with Jesus Christ.
When we are persuaded of the validity of a cause we find greater resolve to stand firm. Paul spoke of the testimony of Timothy and his, “good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (1 Timothy 6:12). The Message interprets the passage, “the life you so fervently embraced in the presence of so many witnesses.” Let us likewise live out our testimony effectively in the presence of many witnesses.
“You shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).