For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave Himself a ransom for all to be testified in due time. 1Timothy 2:5,6 KJV
For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time. 1Timothy 2:5-6 NASB
The background to 1 Timothy is the assembly in Ephesus. It is not a stretch of our imaginations to think that many in the assembly were once idolaters. Recall that the temple to Diana of the Ephesians was in Ephesus. The heathen world had “gods many and lords many” 1Corinthians 8:5. The many altars in Athens attest to the polytheism of the ancient world. A modern-day equivalent would be the Hindu religion which has over a million gods.
The difficulty that would arise in the heathen mind would be to which god they should give supreme allegiance. The gods could well be at variance from each other. Some were in charge of rain and others with the harvest. Some were linked with fertility and others with vengeance on your enemies. There were gods of war and gods of peace. There were many gods with many different “wills” for humanity. The great game of heathen religion was to placate the gods and to wisely play them against each other. But however much they tried, there was still the worry of having failed to honor one of the gods appropriately. And that could spell disaster for you. The altar to the “unknown god” in Athens eloquently speaks to this.
Into this morass of human ignorance, the light of the gospel came. “There is one God” is not only a statement affirming monotheism and relegating all the other gods to the scrap-bin of history, but it revealed a far more important truth. If there is only one God that means there is only one “will” for humanity. That will is expressed in these verses: He desires “all men to be saved” (1Timothy 2:4).
In his statement affirming the uniqueness of God, Paul flung open the door of heaven to the entire race of men. No longer need there be confusion over what the “gods” wanted of men or desired for men. Here was the clear and unequivocal expression of the heart of God. He wants all to be saved and to know Him.
The confirmation that God desires all men to be saved is seen in the fact that He has provided a mediator Who is sufficient and suitable to affect the salvation. He gave Himself a substitutionary ransom on behalf of all. No one has been excluded. The desire of God was expressed when God the Son came on His mission to earth to make redemption possible.
“To be testified in due (its own time, Newberry) time,” means that at the right moment in the history of the world, God testified in a clear manner that His desire for men is that they might be saved. He has given clear witness to His desire when He provided His Son a ransom for all. There can be no question or confusion as to God’s desire for mankind. He has given adequate and ample testimony to it in the gift of His Son. The insinuating lie of Satan to Eve that God did not genuinely care for His creature and desire what was in their best interests, has been answered in the cross.
What is the context of the chapter and how does it help us to appreciate that there is no limit to the atoning work of Christ?