Verse of the Day Devotion: 1 Timothy 2:4
“Who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” – 1 Timothy 2:4
Our focus verse today speaks of what our purpose is. “And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Mark 16:15. Before His ascension into heaven, Jesus called His disciples to share the gospel with all people in all nations. No one was to be left out. This is our calling. When we look in Matthew, we see a more clear outline of His calling to us. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20. Here, Matthew states that Jesus not only called them to preach the gospel, but to make disciples. He has called us to make disciples who will make disciples who will make disciples, going on ad infinitum.
This is important because God desires that all men be saved. There is a teaching in many churches that God has chosen a remnant to be saved, meaning that the rest are chosen for damnation. This idea, known as Calvinism, is not taught in the scriptures. In the three leading verses in this chapter we read, “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,” 1 Timothy 2:1-3. And then our focus verse. “Who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:4. Paul is calling on all of us to pray for the salvation of all people. And it is critical that we do pray for all and not just those we deem as worthy. Nikki Cruz, a cruel gang leader in New York was one many believed should not be saved for all the evil he had done. However, God sent David Wilkerson to the two most vicious gangs in the city, and because of this Nikki, along with Cookie Rodriguez and other members were saved. God loved and loved Nikki Cruz regardless of what he had done.
Peter in His second letter says it this way. “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9. God does not want anyone to perish. His nature is one of love and He sincerely desires the eternal happiness and joy of everyone. And His patience toward sinners shows that He is willing and desirous of them to repent. However, it is important also to know that He knows everything from eternity past to eternity future. “Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’”. God knows those who will accept His Son, and those who will reject Him. But this does not negate the fact that He loves all people from all times and is saddened that many choose not to accept His merciful call to salvation. The truth is He desires all to be saved but will not go against their will and force the issue.
If God desires this and has called us to make disciples of all men, then we must do what we can to reach out to everyone we can. We should endeavor to, as Jesus said to His disciples, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Mark 16:15b. If it is simply a word or phrase spoken to someone you meet, or a discussion that evolves with another, we never know the impact we can have in their life and heart. Especially when what they see in us is the reality of this Christian walk and love for them and your desire to introduce them to Christ. And as today’s verse of the day alludes to, we are to pray on behalf of all men that they may accept the salvation God provides. God loves everyone, and we should love everyone as well. “Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” Ephesians 5:1-2.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.