One and All
Dear Father, You alone can keep me from falling and Your power is unbounded. Fill me with Your power.
Read 1 TIMOTHY 2:1-15
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Prayer is the serious business of the church, the first and best service it renders to the world” (William Willimon).
Much attention has been given to the demanding second half of this chapter, so perhaps I may be forgiven for my cowardice if today we concentrate on two words: the word “all” and the word “one.” We are to pray for everyone (1); God desires all to be saved (4); Jesus gave his life for all (6). It is possible that the false teachers in town suggested that truth was only available to a special elite, or those whom they could enlighten (for a modest fee, you understand), but the passage couldn’t be more emphatic in underlining God’s universal purposes. It is of first importance (1) that we give our energies to praying for all, praying all kinds of prayers for all kinds of people (1,2). We long that all will be saved on the basis of Christ’s work, the Savior of all.
This kind of praying is founded on three convictions, now associated with the word “one.” First, there is one God (5). He is the one Creator and Redeemer, and his concerns are for all men and women, irrespective of their background. Second, he has one purpose, and that is that all should hear and respond to the gospel (4). And third, there is one mediator (5), Christ Jesus, through whom all may come to know the one God and Father. I wonder if such theological convictions shape our prayers and order our priorities.
There is one other “all” to notice. It is implied in v. 7. We are to go to all. The message is for Jew and Gentile alike. Paul is making reference to his apostolic calling, but it points to our responsibility, too. We are to pray for all and go to all, because there is one God, with one purpose, achieved through one mediator.
In what ways can you engage, both personally and in the Church, in the priority task to “pray for all” and “go to all”?
Lord, I am grateful Your grace is greater than my sin. Make me an ambassador of this good news to my neighbors and to the world.
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