MONDAY, NOVEMBER 13
SCRIPTURE: 1 TIMOTHY 2
As Paul begins this chapter, he speaks about prayer. He actually uses four different synonyms for prayer: supplication or request, prayer, intercession, and thanksgiving. All of those have a bit of a nuanced meaning that is somewhat different from the others but the point is we are urged to pray as this chapter opens.
Paul says first of all that we should pray for all people. There should be no one that we intentionally exclude from our prayers. One of the reasons for that is verse 4 says God desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. There is not one that God doesn’t want to save. Therefore, there is not one that we shouldn’t want to pray for.
From the category of all people, Paul draws out a select group of kings and people in government positions. At the time Paul was writing this, the Godless Roman Emperor Nero was on the throne. He was certainly not a friend of Christ followers. Yet, here those Christians in Ephesus were told to pray for him. And so, should it be for us. We need to pray for those who have positions of authority in our government. When we agree with them, we should pray for them. When we disagree with them, we should pray for them.
Paul goes on to give us some motivation for praying for those in authority. He speaks of our praying leading to a peaceful and quiet life. Peaceful, here, refers to an inward peace that only Jesus gives. Quiet life refers to an external peace with those around us. Paul adds to that the importance of living a godly and holy life. Godly refers to living in a way that honors God. Holy refers to living a life that is different from those who don’t know Jesus.
As we have already seen, in verse 4, the Bible is clear that God desires or wants all people to be saved. This does not mean that everyone everywhere will be saved. It simply means God wants everyone to be saved. So, if God wants this, why doesn’t it happen? When we were created we were given a free will. Among other things that means we have the power to choose. So, while God may choose for us to be saved, we may not choose that. And if we don’t choose God’s offer of salvation, we will not be saved. God honors the free will that He gave us.
From there we move on to a most powerful statement. “There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. The word for mediator refers to being in the middle. One who mediates in any dispute or deal stands between the two parties but he must be able to relate to both parties. The only way Jesus can relate to both parties is He is God and He is man. Because He is the only one who fits that description, He is the only one who can serve as mediator between God and man.
From there we move to verse 6 which says that Jesus gave Himself as a ransom for all. In other words, Jesus gave Himself as a payment for all. When He died on Calvary’s cross, He died once for all. His sacrifice was sufficient for all people of all time. His payment covered the sin debt of all humanity. That’s the reason God can desire that all men be saved. Because of what Jesus accomplished, salvation is available to everyone.