1 Timothy 2:3-4
For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior;…
Prayer is not everything, but it is "good." Effort is not everything, but it is "good." Fervent prayer and earnest work, blended in a good man's experience, become means of grace in no small degree.
I. Let us think, by way of preparing our minds for this broad truth, of THE TITLE CHOSEN BY OUR APOSTLE — "God our Saviour," or "our Saviour God." It is the good pleasure of God as the Saviour, that is uppermost in his mind. The intercessions of the Church as well as the intercessions of the Christ, are but the outgrowth of a Divine purpose, a saving purpose. Surely here is abundant proof, that whatever may be said of mediation, it cannot be an intervention by a third party between a guilty world and a holy Creator. Surely, also, we ought to look upon redemption as having its spring and source in an unsolicited love of the Divine heart. It would have been well had there been more use made of this beautiful phrase, "God our Saviour," and less of "God the Sovereign," which is not a Scriptural one. When the lost are found, they are found through the mercy of God our Saviour.
II. Then let us observe, that if there be any meaning in words, HERE IS ALSO A DIVINE PREFERENCE DISCLOSED TO US; yes, and more than a preference, an energy going forth in order to attain the object of that preference "who willeth that all men should be saved." It is not that, of the two, He would rather men should be saved than that they should be lost. This would be a poor and pitiful rendering of the teaching here conveyed to us. Nor is it that there is a sentimental preference; this again might be very unpractical in its results. Many people are conscious of decided preferences, but the preferences are not thrown into their wills. "God willeth." Oh that is a strong will of God. He willeth, and lo, the creation became a fact. Are you afraid to allow that there is a strong will — the will of God our Saviour, behind all the acts and processes of Redemption? You say that a purpose may be thwarted and a preference crossed. Yes, yes, but don't let this beguile you into any loss of comfort which these words ought to bring you. Especially let them not rob you of any conviction about the absolute and irreversible favourableness of God to your personal, your present, and your future salvation.
III. THE BREADTH AND GRANDEUR OF THIS STATEMENT MY STARTLE US. But what will familiarity with it do for us? "Oh," says one, "it will not do to speak it out too boldly. Men will grow daring in their sins; and they will come to believe that if love be indeed almighty and all-embracing, they may do just as they like, and all will be right at last." Do you not see, however, that, though our apostle entertained this conviction, he saw that all men needed to be prayed for and laboured for? He who is our Saviour God wills that all should be saved; therefore it is good and acceptable in His sight that we should pray for all without distinction, h true prayer becomes a purpose. He who prays for what God loves and wishes, must come to love what God loves; else his prayer is not a true prayer. Why was the Cross planted? Not that the good might be strengthened in their goodness, but that the bad might be assured there was a means whereby they might be recovered. The salvation of Christ is not simply a protection of virtuous men, but a recovery of the vicious; not simply an incentive to continuance in well-doing, but a restoration from evil-doing. What that salvation is, at which our apostle glances, you must look elsewhere to find. If he says, "knowledge of the truth," do not think that this requires a vast deal of learning to reach. Do not suppose that mere opinion, or Scripture knowledge even, is what he means. He means, that associated with salvation is a true knowledge, a true recognition of God as the Saviour. The false lie gives place to the true knowledge: there is nothing more than this in the phrase. You have believed Satan's lie, now believe God's truth. Salvation, again — do you ask what it is? It is a renewed moral energy — the power to do right, the strength to overcome evil. It is safety when the enemy may tempt or taunt. It is eternal life in Christ. It is to have God dwelling with, in us — the assurance of victory.
(G. J. Proctor.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;