Author: Ron Graham
Continuing our verse-by-verse study of Paul’s first letter to Timothy, we now study 1Timothy 2:5-8. We are still looking at God’s agenda for mankind. Previously, we emphasized that Paul sees all human beings as being under God’s desire and provision for salvation (1Timothy 2:4). In this lesson we emphasize the oneness in God’s agenda.
Whilst God’s agenda is so broad as to include all mankind, the means of achieving his agenda is so narrow as to include but one man alone, "the man Christ Jesus". He is the only mediator between God and men, but the mediator for all. He is the only ransom for men, but the ransom for all. "Through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men... through the obedience of the one, the many will be made righteous" (Romans 5:18-19). There is but one path to eternal life, the path of faith in Jesus Christ and full obedience to him. Such faith is the center of the gospel.
"The testimony at the proper time" here in verse 6, is "the truth" of verse 4. This is the truth which God wants all mankind to know. This is the gospel to which Paul earlier referred —the message that Paul and the other apostles preached (1Timothy 1:11). There are not many truths; not many messages of hope and light; not numerous faiths. There is only one. Everything else is error and falsehood. Just as there is only one man who can bring all men to God, so there is only one truth, namely the testimony of that one man.
The one true gospel of Christ came into the world "at the proper time" (1Timothy 2:6). This is an important point that Paul makes, a point which should not escape our notice. The world is full of different gospels, testimonies, and “truths”. But they all came at different times, didn't they? Even if we confine ourselves to doctrines that claim to be “Christian”, we can see that various doctrines and faiths arose at different times.
One of the marks of the one true faith is that it came at "the proper time" namely at the time it was due in God’ agenda and plan. This proper time was the time of Christ and the establishment of his original church by the apostles. The doctrines that arose "in later times" (1Timothy 4:1) are identified as false because, among other things, they came at "later times" rather than the due and "proper time".
The church should be an example of what God wants the whole world to be. The church ought not to be like the world is. The world is full of unholiness, and of wrath and dissension. The church should be made up of sincere and holy people who dwell together in unity. This should be especially true of the men Paul mentions, who lead the church in prayers. However it ought to be true of the church as a whole. If the church does not follow God’s agenda for mankind, and his goal of oneness, who will?