Paul is continuing to charge Timothy with his duties as Timothy continues his work in Ephesus. He reminds Timothy of the great truth about God’s desire to bring all people back to himself:
This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people.1 Timothy 2:3-6
Frequently, I hear a refrain from my Muslim friends as they try to proactively convince me that everything is OK, that the values that they had in their home country were the best. They say things like these:
- Christians and Muslims…we are the same. We serve the same God!
- You know… where I come from, the Muslims and the Christians are all together. When the Christians celebrate Christmas, the Muslims are there with them. When the Muslims celebrate Eid, the Christians are there too.
- Yeah, the Christians have Jesus, and the Muslims have Mohammad, but we are all the same.
On the one hand, they have a point. I might typically respond that I do believe that we are all of the same as we stand before God. We are all people that are in need of God.
But that is, of course, very different from understanding who God says that he is and the truth that he is telling us about himself.
Yesterday, I was speaking with a man who was saying these things above, but I explained that Jesus said that he was the way, the truth, and the life, and that no one could come to the Father except through him. Jesus is therefore specifically not saying that you can come to God in one way or another. He is saying that there is one way, and if we do not know that way – a very real risk if we maintain the attitude that everyone is just OK as they are – then we cannot come to the Father, and we would be lost and destined for punishment forever.
Paul is emphasizing this once again to Timothy. There is one God and there is one Mediator, who is Jesus. And this Jesus gave himself as a ransom, a payment, to receive back the people that have been lost into the kingdom of darkness. He ransoms them away, paying for God’s wrath as he took it upon himself.