1 Timothy 4:10 (MEV): For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.
Sometimes, Scripture is very precise in what is being said. Many times, that precision is glossed over. This is one of those things that is passed over, and more often than not argued over.
Paul is teaching his disciple Timothy. He is explaining the reason for suffering reproach. Trusting in the living God will do that. Yet in that Paul states God is the Savior of all men.
Wasn’t it Jesus Who died?
Let’s find out. Paul is blatantly saying Jesus is God. I love that. It’s a precise statement that might be overlooked.
But what about Savior of all men… Did God save all men?
Let’s see what Paul reveals elsewhere.
Romans 5:10 (MEV): For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, how much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by His life.
This is another place where the precision of what is real is overlooked. For now, I want to focus on the reconciliation. We were reconciled to God by the death of His Son. It’s a simple statement. It’s done. That is what Jesus did when He said “It is finished!” You and I, in fact all humanity was reconciled to God.
That is, Jesus’ death conciliates mercy in the presence of God. It provides the forbearance of punishment to any in sin and such are not immediately cut-off from life the moment sin is purposed in the heart. (Did you ever wonder why Daniel said Messiah would be cut off? It’s for this reason. It’s sudden.)
It is why the writer of Hebrews said Jesus tasted death for every man.
Hebrews 2:9 (MEV): But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels to suffer death, crowned with glory and honor, so that He, by the grace of God, should experience death for everyone.
He humbled Himself, in this case made as a man to suffer death for men. The death due for sin is sudden. It’s evident in Jesus. He died suddenly and for sin. In that way He Yates that death for every man.
He didn’t spend time in Hell serving infinite punishment or warring for your freedom. That was done already when He died. “It is finished!”
To Those Who Believe
Look back at our first text. Why would Paul differentiate Who God is to those who believe?
It’s like Paul is saying believers have something extra that not all men have.
Reread the second text. Now, note how Paul differentiates the reconciliation from salvation. He says we are saved by His life.
What Paul is concisely explaining is the double nature of atonement taught in the law (Lev 16.) There is a dead offering, one that conciliates mercy. That seated mercy provides a respite from justice, but it doesn’t remove the curse of sin and the condemnation it brings. For that, confession is needed. It is typified in Leviticus 16 by the high priest leaning on the head (think authority) of the live offering. As he does, he confesses sin for the people. That offering is then led away alive and released into the wilderness carrying all the confessed sin away.
We need the resurrected Jesus. We need that authority to Whom we can confess our sin and have it removed… Forever! That is why Paul says especially to us believers.
The death of Christ is effectual for all men. Remission of sin and eternal life are the gifts given to the believer.
This is explained succinctly by one of my mentors.
“All men are commended mercy which preserves from being destroyed immediately and that so they can be and are, led to repentance and by repentance, the forgiveness of sins and by the remission of sins, salvation everlasting. Being led does not mean they will follow.” Jeff Thomas
I do love how Paul seems to say these things that he would know intimately, being very familiar with the Law of Moses. Its prophetic implications are interwoven into much of what he writes.
My hope for you, as you’ve read this far… Is that you are one of those especially saved by His life. This requires a conscious decision on your part.