Saturday, 25 November 2017
…who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, 1 Timothy 2:6
This is a wonderful verse which builds upon the words of the previous verse. Taken together, they read, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time…” Paul says that “the Man Christ Jesus” is He who “gave Himself a ransom for all.” The word “ransom” here signifies the act, not the means of the redemption.
The first thought that must be understood is that a ransom was required for man. In other words, without that, there can be no mediation between God and man. That is obvious on the surface. Therefore, if one is not ransomed by the Lord Jesus, then there can be no access to God. That becomes obvious based on the first thought. Further, as only Christ is the satisfactory ransom for man, then there can be no vicarious mediation by any other. Only He was qualified to give Himself up to death as the price of redemption for fallen man.
Stated explicitly, what this means is that personal prayer to God is not acceptable to Him apart from being “in Christ.” It also means that apart from Christ Jesus, no other person can mediate for another. The doctrine of priestly mediation within the church is as far from biblical truth as east is from west. One can only come to God through Jesus Christ. And yet, he (meaning any in Christ) can freely come to God through Him. There are no restrictions when one is in Christ. Being in Christ means that access to the throne of grace is ever available.
The words, “for all” must be kept in their proper context here. Christ died for all potentially. The issue is not one of efficacy, but of sufficiency. His death was sufficient to redeem all, but not all are necessarily redeemed. His life was given to redeem fallen man, and any and all who come to Him are ransomed. There are none who will be excluded when they come to God through faith in Christ, and there are none who are accepted who do not come to God through faith in Christ. This is the reason why Paul exhorted in verse 1 that prayers, intercessions, and etc., be made “for all men.”
Again, as noted in a previous verse, this is completely contrary to the doctrine of Calvinism. If God elected those for salvation apart from free will, none of these things would have been stated by Paul. That doctrine is likewise as far from the truth as the east is from the west. One is saved by faith, and that is an expression which proceeds from the man by a volitional act of the free will. The entire thought thus far is a resounding proof that God desires the salvation of all, and that it is our job to share this message, pray for the lost, and that the lost must then choose.
Finally, the words, “to be testified in due time” are literally rendered “the testimony in its own times.” The word “times” is plural, and it is thus shows that “the gift of Christ as a ransom was to be the substance or import of the testimony which was to be set forth in its proper seasons” (Vincent’s Word Studies). Jesus Christ was determined in the eternal counsels of God’s mind to give Himself as a ransom at a particular time in redemptive history. When that moment came, Christ entered into the stream of humanity and fulfilled the work which was set forth for Him to accomplish.
Life application: Doctrine matters. Who we pray to (or through) matters. How we pray to God matters. The decisions we make, or fail to make, matter. Each of these things must be fleshed out of what is said in Scripture. When we begin to veer off of what is sound and reasonable, we eventually come to a point where we are completely apart from God, even though we think we are near to Him. This is why we must continue to search the word and evaluate its truths with care and contemplation.
Most gracious heavenly Father, Your word tells us that Christ came to give Himself a ransom for all. But it also tells us that not all are saved. Christ is sufficient to redeem all mankind, but we have a part of the responsibility. We must first believe by faith that He has done this for us. And then we are to get out and share this as well. Unless we act, the Gift has no value. Help us to be wise, and to do our part. And thank You that the Gift is available to us still. Thank You for Jesus. Amen.