Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Oct 17 2013 - 1 Timothy 2:1-15 – God wants everyone to be saved

Paul's ministry had been driven by the conviction that "there is only one God and there is only one mediator between God and men. That mediator is the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for everyone" (1 Timothy 2:5-6). Since Jesus Christ died for everyone, it is clear that "God wants everyone to be saved" (2:4). This conviction had driven Paul through shipwrecks and beatings to take the good news concerning Jesus to the ends of the earth. Now he urges Timothy to remind the Christians at Ephesus to pray for everyone (2:1).

We need to have the same large vision of the plans and purposes of God that we may never give up praying for others; never give up witnessing to others; never give up on the hope that they too may be saved. Let's make our prayers, hopes and activity as wide as the grace and mercy of God in Christ.

One particular focus for prayer, says Paul, should be “for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (2:2). Paul’s own missionary ministry had been facilitated by the Pax Romanum – the peace that had been imposed by the dominance of the Roman Empire. Paul was able to make use of Roman roads and sea travel on well-established trade routes because of the power of Rome. He was able to make himself understood across the Mediterranean world because the previous empire of Greece had left the legacy of a shared lingua franca. However much such empires might sometimes prove a threat to the people of God, Paul saw that, in the providence of God, they also offered enormous opportunities for the spread of the gospel. Paul urges that Christians pray that this peace might continue and that opportunities for the gospel might abound.

But Paul is also writing from prison; Jewish opposition to his preaching has landed him in Rome, waiting to be brought before Caesar. Paul is acutely aware that those in authority could decide to make life difficult for Christian believers. He urges that prayer should be made for them that they might recognise that the Christian faith is no threat to civil order and that Christians might be left to live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

As I write these notes, many Christians are fleeing from Syria because of the war that has torn the country apart. Such tragic events underline the urgent need for prayer for those in authority, whether in Syria or in the international community. We need to pray for an end to hostilities and for lasting peace and security for all who live in that troubled country. We need to pray that Christians might be free to live at peace and to bring the peace of God to their neighbours. Pray for those in positions of power and authority knowing that no-one is beyond the reach of God's grace and transforming power.

And we who enjoy peace and security should receive these blessings with thanksgiving. But we should not value a quiet life as an end in itself; we should use the opportunity provided to make Christ known.

Father, we thank you that you are the living God, the creator of heaven and earth. We thank you that the Lord Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords. We pray today for those in positions of power and authority that they may govern wisely and well and for the peace, blessing and flourishing of those whom they govern. We pray particularly for countries torn by war, where people live in an atmosphere of hatred and terror. Lord we long that your reign of peace may extend over all the earth. Have mercy O Lord upon our warring world and help your people always to be peacemakers for Jesus’ sake.

Peter Misselbrook