3 …God our Savior, 4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time. 7 And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying —and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles.
1 Timothy 2:3-7
FACT: There is one God. The book of Genesis (the first book of the Bible) opens with the words: ‘In the beginning God…’
Now, I’ve never attended a writer’s masterclass class on ‘how to write a ‘best-seller”, but I am pretty confident that if I did, the first rule taught might well be – when you are writing a book intended for a wide audience: DO NOT offend your readers in your opening paragraph.
I therefore imagine that Moses (who wrote Genesis) also missed this class, his opening line is one that certainly offends most of the world: ‘there is one God’!
In fact the Bible is offensively and uncompromisingly monotheistic (there is one God). It doesn’t reason or apologise for this fact, and it does not allow for the idea that God was created, He is and always has been!
Indeed, the Old Testament frequently employs strong irony to mock those who worship many (mute and powerless) gods made by human hands – no doubt, a recipe for a book quickly destined for the bargain bucket by the tills, along with sparkly mobile phone cases, fans for your dashboard and the ‘little book of poetry for busy people’!
So, Genesis states ‘there is one God’ up front and then moves on, revealing who God is, what He is like and telling His great story of bringing us back to Himself after sin unravelled creation, making it clear that there is only one saviour for all of humanity: ‘for there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus’ (verse 5).
This truth was just as offensive in Paul’s day as it was in Moses’ day, as it is in our day!
Israel, a small nation, was always surrounded by huge superpowers who worshipped many gods (polytheistic), and they had to carry the message of the living God and represent Him to the nations of the world, a light to the nations.
In the same way, all local churches too have a global mission and global responsibility. According to Paul (in this part of 1 Timothy 2) the first part of this responsibility is that the church is to pray (verse 1), and secondly, like Paul we are expected to proclaim (verse 7) the gospel to all people.
One good question here is, if the majority of the world doesn’t even agree with the Bible’s declaration on who God is, how can local churches be expected to include the whole world in its mission through prayer and proclamation? Is this not arrogant, presumptuous or even imperialistic?
No! Remember, God’s heart is for all peoples, tribes and languages, so this is also to be the heart of the church. It is precisely because there is only one God and only one mediator that all people must be included in the Church’s scope of prayer and mission. God’s ‘desire’ and Christ’s death concern all people; therefore the Church’s duty concerns all people.
In our day when culture would declare it arrogant, intolerant and ‘untrue’ to say ‘there is only one God and this is how you know him’, there is huge pressure on the church to stay silent, and the temptation can be to fail to pray and witness.
The deal is, there are no other gods or mediators who are able to rescue people from the bondage of sin and death into relationship and new life with God, so it is a sobering thought that if we fail to pray for our nation, or tell them about the one true God and mediator- who will?
This message of truth that we have is a message that is to cross all cultural barriers, therefore your attitude towards other nations and cultures is critical in the message of ‘Christ our mediator’ being proclaimed.
- Does your heart reflect God’s heart when it comes to other nations and cultures?
- Do you pray for other nations, or leave it up to others who are ‘in to that sort of thing?’
- Why not take some time this morning to ask God to grow your heart for other nations
- Thank God that because of his heart for all people and because of faithful believers, that you have heard the good news about Christ the mediator!