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Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace (Part 44) - 1Ti 2:4-6

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For a paperback book in outline form which addresses over 150 difficult verses that Arminians use against Sovereign Grace, check out: Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace: Rooting Arminianism Out of Every Verse.

For a master copy of the outline, click here: Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace

109. 1Ti 2:4-6
A. "Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 5) For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6) Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." (1Ti 2:4-6)
i. Do these verses teach that God desires to have the entire human race to be eternally saved and that Jesus gave Himself a ransom for them?
ii. Do these verses teach that God shall save the entire human race eternally?
B. Who are the all men whom God will have to be saved? (1Ti 2:4)
i. The all men are the all for whom Jesus was the ransom (1Ti 2:6).
a. Ransom - 1. The action of procuring the release of a prisoner or captive by paying a certain sum, or of obtaining one's own freedom in this way; the fact or possibility of being set free on this condition; the paying of money to this end.
b. If the "all" in 1Ti 2:6 is understood to be the entire human race, then that means that Christ freed the entire human race from their bondage under sin (Rom 6:18).
c. In other words, it would mean that He eternally saved the entire human race from their sins.
d. The verse actually says: "Who gave himself a ransom for all..." It doesn't say that he offered to be a ransom for all, or that He was a potential ransom for all; it says he GAVE himself a ransom for all.
e. Whoever the "all" are in the verse were ransomed by Christ.
f. Was the entire human race ransomed from their captivity of sin and death? No. (Rev 20:15)
g. So then if the entire human race are not saved from their sins, then that necessarily means that the "all" for whom Christ was the ransom are some other group than the entire human race.
h. So who is the "all" for whom Jesus was the ransom? Jesus told us:
1. The "all" is all that the Father gave him; "And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day." (Joh 6:39)
2. The "all" are the sheep for whom Jesus gave his life (a ransom - Mat 20:28): "As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep." (Joh 10:15)
3. Jesus died for the sheep, not the goats (Mat 25:33,41).
4. Had Jesus died for the goats, they would be justified by His blood, saved from wrath, and reconciled to God, not going to the lake of fire (Rom 5:8-10).
5. The "all" are as many as God gave Him (the elect): "As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him." (Joh 17:2 c/w Eph 1:4)
ii. The all for whom Jesus was the ransom are those for whom Jesus is the mediator (1Ti 2:5).
a. Jesus is the mediator for "they which are called" (Heb 9:15).
b. "The called" (Rom 8:28) are the elect who were foreknown, predestinated, called, justified, and glorified (Rom 8:29-30).
iii. Since 1Ti 2:4 is connected to 1Ti 2:5-6 by the word for, therefore the all men whom God will have to be saved are the elect whom God gave to Christ for Him to be the ransom and the mediator.
iv. "All men" doesn't always mean "the entire human race without exception" (2Co 9:13; Joh 3:26). (See Section II,11,A on Universal Language)
a. Jesus died for all men distributively, not collectively.
b. The all men are men out of every kindred, tongue, people, and nation (Rev 5:9).
c. They are all kinds of men such as kings and all that are in authority for whom Paul told Timothy to pray (1Ti 2:1-2).
d. The all men whom God will have to be saved is no more every human being without exception than the all things a mature believer can eat are hammers, nails, and battery acid (Rom 14:2).
C. What does it mean that God will have all men (the elect) to be saved? (1Ti 2:4)
i. The following are possibilities for the meaning of will have and be saved.
a. Will have means desires to have.
b. Will have means shall have.
c. Saved means eternally saved.
d. Saved means temporally saved.
ii. Whatever is the case concerning God's actions to have all men be saved is likewise the case concerning God's actions to have all men come to the knowledge of the truth.
a. In other words if God desires to have all men be saved, then He desires to have all men come to the knowledge of the truth.
b. Conversely, if God shall have all men be saved, then He shall have all men come to the knowledge of the truth
iii. This makes for the following possibilities:
a. Possibility #1: God desires to have all of the elect to be eternally saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
1. This interpretation would be superfluous.
2. All of the elect shall be eternally saved; therefore it doesn't make sense to say that God desires to have something happen which is an accomplished fact (Rom 5:10; 2Ti 1:9; Heb 9:12; Heb 10:14; 2Co 5:18).
b. Possibility #2: God desires to have all of the elect to be temporally saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
1. This is an incorrect interpretation based on the context.
2. The salvation under consideration is eternal salvation (1Ti 2:5-6) (see previous section).
c. Possibility #3: God shall have all of the elect to be temporally saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
1. This is also an incorrect interpretation based on the context, and also because it is contradictory to other scripture.
2. As was the case with Possibility #2, the salvation under consideration is eternal salvation (1Ti 2:5-6) (see previous section).
3. Secondly, it is not true that all of the elect shall be temporally saved; some of them will not be (Mar 10:21-23; Rom 11:28-29; 1Co 10:1-5).
4. (See Section II,7,B on Temporal Salvation)
d. Possibility #4: God shall have all of the elect to be eternally saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
1. This is the truth.
2. All of the elect shall be saved eternally.
i. They are saved, reconciled, and redeemed already by the death of Christ (2Ti 1:9; 2Co 5:18; Rev 5:9).
ii. Because of that they shall be saved from the wrath to come (Rom 5:9-10; Rom 9:27-29; Act 15:11; Heb 9:28).
3. How is it that God will (shall) have all of the elect come unto the knowledge of the truth? (1Ti 2:4)
4. Not all of the elect come to the full knowledge of the truth in this life by believing and obeying the truth.
i. This is the case with the elect who die in infancy, who live in remote parts of the earth and never hear the gospel, or are mentally handicapped and can't believe.
ii. It is God's will and desire for all of the elect to come unto the knowledge of the truth in this life (Act 17:30; 2Pe 3:9; 1Jo 3:23), but that doesn't always happen because the elect are still sinners and don't always obey God.
iii. Some of the elect are disobedient children of God who never come to the knowledge of the truth in their lives (Rom 11:28-29).
iv. Different children of God will come to various levels of understanding of the truth in their lives, but not all will come to a full and complete knowledge of the truth.
5. Though not all of the elect will come to a complete knowledge of the truth in this life, they all will come to the knowledge of the truth that God imparts to each of the elect in regeneration when the law is written in their hearts (Heb 8:10-12).
i. This is the unction and anointing which God gives His elect when He gives them His Spirit (1Jo 2:27 c/w 1Jo 2:20 c/w 1Co 2:12 c/w Act 10:38).
ii. This is the understanding that Jesus Christ gives His children (1Jo 5:20).
iii. This is why the elect can do by nature the things contained in the law even when they haven't heard it (Rom 2:14-15).
iv. The elect are taught of God directly in this way (Eph 4:21; 1Th 4:9).
v. This being "taught of God" happens when God draws His elect to Christ (Joh 6:44-45).
vi. It is in this way that all of the elect come to Christ, know Him, and follow Him (Joh 6:37 c/w Joh 10:14,27).
vii. Jesus gave His elect eternal life that they might know God (Joh 17:2-3).
6. All of the elect will personally and fully come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ who is the truth at the Second Coming.
i. At that time we shall see Him as He is (1Jo 3:2).
ii. We shall know Him as we are known (1Co 13:12).
iii. We shall see His face on that day (Rev 22:4).

For a master copy of the outline, click here: Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace