“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor.” – 1 Timothy 1:12-13 (NASB)
Our passage comes from the first letter to Timothy. This letter to Timothy was written after Paul was released from his first Roman imprisonment. Paul acknowledges his gratitude to Christ for: a) having imparted strength to him, b) having judged him to be trustworthy and c) having appointed him to the ministry. Paul acclaims the mercy God showed to him. For as a very great sinner Paul was not only saved, but was even considered worthy to be entrusted with the ministry of the apostleship! Before his conversion the apostle had been of the very category of terrible sinners whom he describes as unholy and profane persons (1 Timothy 1:9-10). Yes, the apostle had been a blasphemer (Acts 26:11), ridiculing the name of Christ; he had been a persecutor for his very breath had been a threat of murder (Acts 9:1) making him nothing less than “a wanton and violent aggressor,” who committed horror and outrage against those who were of “The Way.” Our promise is that God saves the worst of sinners who in faith believe and all are equally in need of salvation. It is by the mercy of God that we receive the faith to believe and receive eternal life.
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” – 1 Timothy 2:1-4 (NIV)
Is it possible that the turmoil governments in many countries cause a certain amount of anxiety? Is it possible that we find ourselves wondering how to respond or pray for those in leadership of the government? So much seems bent on an evil course. Because Jesus always prays, we can always pray. Every sinner is in the reach of God’s grace, and no sinner is beyond the need for prayer. When the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, he gave these instructions for prayer. God desires all kinds of men and women to be saved. So he instructs us to pray for the salvation of all kinds of men and women. No boundary is set to limit our prayers for the salvation of the lost. We are to follow in obedience these instructions even though we know it is God who saves. He chose us even before the foundation of the world. It may seem like a contradiction or dichotomy we cannot resolve. In our limited abilities to reason and understand, it is just that. But it is what God has given us to do. Pray for all and exclude none as our Lord God has assigned to us this duty.
“For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.” 1 Timothy 2:5-6 (NASB)
Have you ever needed someone to stand up for you or stand between you and another who has reason to hold your behavior or actions accountable? Some of us have had mediators plead our case for us. We hope our mediators are good at their job and can persuade the judge to decide in our favor. The Judge in our verse today is God our Father and our Mediator is the man Christ Jesus. The Anointed Son of God, Jesus. It is good and reassuring that we are promised here that there is one God. An exact translation is, “For (there is but) one God, and (there is but) one Mediator…” Also the promise that our Mediator, Christ Jesus gave Himself as a ransom for all. And all who by faith believe Christ Jesus, will receive eternal life purchased by that ransom. There is not one God for this nation, one for another; one God for slaves and one for free men; one God for rulers, one for subjects; there’s but one God for all the race of Adam, the one and only true race. It’s wonderful that our Mediator purchased our salvation.