1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. 7 For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. (1 Timothy 2:3-4)
The Bible is always relevant to our lives. It bothers me and it should you too as a Christian to hear people complain that the Bible is not fitting for today or does not really address the issues of modern life, or that it is old and boring, out of date, no longer relevant. The Bible is none of these things. It is the conduit that takes us to God. It tells us so much about life and the life to come. It addresses our problems, it explains our struggles, and more than that it leads us to solutions in the person and work of Christ. Our passage for today is no exception. In these three verses we find what gives meaning to life! That is pretty big! It answers our most pressing question and shows us the way to a life with God. It obliterates false teaching and false gods and contains simple truth.
These are verses of exclusivity, speaking of one God and one mediator who is the Lord Jesus. It speaks of a ransom that has been paid for sinners, a ransom, a cost that no other could cover, no one can pay on their own. It helps to define God. We live in a time where many are trying to say that all religions worship the same God. This verse will have none of that. This verse will not allow for that. We need to talk about that. We will talk about that. The God of the Bible is not the same as false gods of this world. There is one God who is over all, all powerful and almighty, only one, and He is understood and recognized in many ways through the Lord Jesus Christ. While people in our world try to blur the lines of truth, the Bible is about making those lines bold, making them clear. The true God is distinct in His character and in His person.
So let’s explore these words together and thank God for the clarity that He gives us regarding Himself and our salvation. We will look at five truths from verses 5-7 this morning.
First, the true God is always identified with Jesus Christ. Verse 5 says, “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” We see here that between the one God, God the Father, and man there is one person who is able to mediate, and that is Jesus Christ. Jesus has His Father’s ear. Jesus is qualified and capable to stand between God and you, and God and me. This one God, there is not this God and then another for the non-Jews, other gods like this God who rule over other people. There is one God. Paul likes to emphasize this critical truth in many ways. He does this also in 1 Corinthians 8…
4 Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “an idol has no real existence,” and that “there is no God but one.” 5 For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”— 6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. (1 Corinthians 8:4-6)
His point is that there are many “so called” gods. These are not real gods, they are made up gods. They are gods of people’s imaginations. But the one God, he says, is God the Father from whom all things exist, and once again, he identifies Jesus Christ with the Father with the further description of Jesus as being the one through whom all things exist.
4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. (Ephesians 4:3-7)
Again, a declaration that there is one true God the Father who is over all and in all. There is one God, and then this grace given according to the measure of Christ Jesus’ gift.
The name God or title God can be used with such vagueness. But if we are talking about the one true God, the God of the Bible, then we can identify Him as such and in His relation to the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the God of the Bible, this is the true God. When talking to others we can ask, “What does your god say about Jesus?” The answer to that question may well indicate if the God they worship is the same God that we worship.
I want you to see another example of this, that is God the Father, of the Bible, being described in His relation to Jesus. In this account that I’m going to read I want you to notice that as Paul speaks, it is when God’s relationship with Jesus is mentioned that it is precisely at that point where conflict arose. Why? Because it is in this way that the true God is defined, and people often would rather have their made up God rather than the true one to whom we will all give an account. Listen to this from Acts 17. This is where Paul addresses the religious men of Athens, religious in that they worshiped many gods, but here Paul is masterfully introducing them to the one true God!
23 For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 28 for
“ ‘In him we live and move and have our being’;
as even some of your own poets have said,
“ ‘For we are indeed his offspring.’
29 Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. 30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”
32 Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, “We will hear you again about this.” (Acts 17:23-32)
Some seemed open, but for those who were not the point in which they protest is when the resurrection of Jesus was introduced in Paul’s address.
The true God is one with Christ, that is the first point. Jesus, speaking of His followers, praying to the Father, said in John 17, He prayed: “that they may be one, even as we are one.”
Secondly from our passage this morning, we see that Jesus is a mediator. Jesus is the mediator between God and man. Again in verse 5: “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” This is a critical truth for our faith. The one God provided one mediator and this is Jesus Christ. There is only one who can, who is sufficiently able to bridge the gap between humanity and deity. Only one can and He is Jesus.
On a strictly human basis we understand a mediator as one who intervenes between people with a goal of restoring peace, or at least a peaceful agreement in some particular area. Mediation is big business in our country. There are many businessmen and women who seek mediation. A conflict arises and a mediator is called in. In cases of divorce where a husband and wife cannot agree regarding the splitting of property or the care of the children, sometimes a mediator will be used to attempt to bring peace and agreement. There is conflict and a need for or desire for resolution, and mediation is an option.
In the case of us and God, there is only one mediator capable of bringing peace, only one. Only Jesus can bring peace. Many search for peace with God in other ways. Some pray to Mary, or old dead saints. Some seek peace with God through hard work. Others seek peace through sacrifice, doing without things as sort of a paying for their own sin. I think most simply try to be better than someone else in their own estimation. Like if one can say, “Well I’m not as bad as so and so, so I’m okay with God.” I mean, who can’t say that? We can try all kinds of things to lift ourselves up, usually in comparison to others, thinking that it will accomplish peace with God. But the Bible is clear, there is only one mediator, there is only one who can deliver to us peace with God, and He is Jesus Christ.
Third from our passage, Jesus our mediator willingly gave Himself to accomplish this role. How did Jesus get this title as a mediator between God and man? What had to happen? Well, we know, don’t we? He had to agree to this incredible plan that He would be born into this world as not only God but also man.
5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself (1 Timothy 2:5-6a)
He gave Himself to this. He chose to walk among us as a man. He subjected Himself to people who would ridicule Him, who would arrogantly question Him, who would plot to kill Him. He chose to humble Himself and face severe persecution, to walk among sinners, out of place, out from His heavenly dwelling, misunderstood and rejected by those whom He loved and those whom He created.
We can’t take it sometimes just when someone makes fun of us. What about this perfect one being taunted by such lowly creatures as man? Think of His meekness, His restraint, but He was on board, He chose to give Himself, to give Himself to this work. He freely gave, gave Himself.
17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” (John 17:17-18)
Fourthly, He gave Himself as a ransom.
5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. (1 Timothy 2:5-6)
Jesus gave Himself as a ransom. The word translated ransom here is the only time it is used in the New Testament. We see a very similar word in Mark 10:45 that is also translated in English to the word ransom in the ESV: “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” This concept of ransom was a common one outside of the New Testament. It was used to describe the setting free of those taken captive in war. A superior force would defeat an opposing country and take the townspeople as prisoners. A price would then be placed on each one, and if the price was paid they would be set free. The price, the exchange, was a ransom.
Jesus’ death is the price paid for the release of mankind from captivity to sin. We have all been imprisoned to sin. Adam sinned and we all inherited that sin nature. We are all sinners. We are held captive. Christ Jesus steps in, gives Himself in death, at the cost of His life, that was the cost, His death, at that great cost we have been set free, that is all who will believe. This is a picture of the substitutionary nature of Christ’s work for us. He stepped in and died for us. Christ’s purpose in giving Himself as a ransom is to provide deliverance from sin for you and for me.
The fifth and final truth that I want us to see is from verse 7. After giving us such grand truth about the Father and the work of Christ for the salvation of people, we see this statement from Paul about Paul. Listen to what he says, “For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.”
Paul is quick to say, “What I have just described about God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, this is what I have been appointed to pass on, this is what I am to teach,” and adds that he is a teacher of this message to the Gentiles in faith and truth. Now, this is tremendous truth for you and for me, that is if you are a Gentile. This one God of which Paul speaks and this one mediator Christ Jesus, they are not just for the Jew. Yes, God chose the Jewish nation to be a people for Himself, we know that from the Old Testament. But God and Christ are not exclusively for the Jew. There is one God and one mediator and they are for all nations, all peoples, all races and ethnicities.
This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. (Ephesians 3:6)
11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility. (Ephesians 2:11-14)
There is not a God for this group and a God for that group, a God for this people group and that people group, no, there is one God and He is for all people groups, we all can come to Him by faith, we can all be united with Him by faith.
The Bible has a unifying theme, calling on all to embrace Christ and to worship the one true God. That is the call of the Bible. And at the same time it is not bending in this truth. It is only in embracing this God and the truth of Christ that will lead to salvation. It is a universal call, yes, but it is a singular, even narrow message.
1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. (Romans 5:1-9)
This is the message, this is the truth.
5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. 7 For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. (1 Timothy 2:5-7)