1 Timothy 2:5-7 – The Gospel is for all
The first few verses of 1 Timothy 2 called us to pray for everyone because God wants all to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth (vv.1-4). From verse 5 onwards, Paul continues this ‘zooming out’ from focussing on his own salvation (1:12-15) and look to the bigger picture, just like you might rapidly zoom out on Google Maps from your address to see an image of the whole world from space.
The Gospel is not just about the Lord’s grace to Paul, but to all people. Paul states that there is only one God and only one mediator between God and men (v.5). Salvation may have come from the Jews, but it cannot only be for the Jews. Paul knew this from the time of his conversion as God revealed to Ananias that Paul was God’s “chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles” (Acts 9:15).
In 1 Timothy 1:15, Paul explained God’s salvation plan: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” Here, Paul unpacks his soteriology (theology of salvation) a little more by stating that Jesus “gave himself as a ransom for all men” (v.6), echoing Jesus’ own words in Mark 10:45. On the cross, Jesus ransomed us from Satan’s grasp. Through faith in Christ and the grace of God, we are rescued from the realm of sin and brought into the holy and righteous realm of the one true God. Baptism, the sacrament of faith, is comparable to the Exodus as we, like the Israelites, are led from slavery into freedom. Jesus has won the victory over sin for us and we can stand firm in him against the devil’s tactics and temptations.
This is indeed good news! Paul says that it was “for this purpose” that he was “appointed a herald and an apostle…and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles” (v.7). For us too this is the reason why we are Christians, chosen and sent by God to bring good news to a dying world. This is the centre of all that we believe and all that we do. Without grasping and being transformed by Christ’s redeeming death, everything else is meaningless.
We can fall into the trap of thinking that we can ‘pick and choose’ our mission, whether it be ecumenism or creation care, church growth or global partnerships, spirituality or social justice. There are so many valid and worthwhile things that can, if we are not careful, override the main thing and lead us astray. The main thing is Christ crucified and risen. Our prime mission – just like Paul’s – is to proclaim that good news to all people.