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1 Timothy 2:5-7

5. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

5. Unus enim Deus, unus et Mediator Dei et hominum, homo Christus Iesus,

6. Who gave himself for all, to be testified in due time.

6. Qui dedit semetipsum pretium redemtionis pro omnibus, (ut esset) testimonium temporibus suis,

7. Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.

7. In quod positus sum praeco et Apostolus: veritatem dico in Christo, non menitor, Doctor Gentium in fide et veritate.

5 For there is one God This argument might, at first sight, appear to be not very strong, that God wishes all men to be saved, because he is one; if a transition had not been made from God to men. Chrysostom — and, after him, others — view it in this sense, that there are not many gods, as idolaters imagine. But I think that Paul’s design was different, and that there is here an implied comparison of one God with the whole world and with various nations, out of which comparison arises a view of both, as they mutually regard each other. In like manner the Apostle says,

“Is he the God of the Jews only? Is he not also of the Gentiles? Yea, it is one God who justifieth the circumcision by faith, and the uncircumcision through faith.’ (Romans 3:29.)

Accordingly, whatever diversity might at that time exist among men, because many ranks and many nations were strangers to faith, Paul brings to the remembrance of believers the unity of God, that they may know that they are connected with all, because there is one God of all — that they may know that they who are under the power of the same God are not excluded for ever from the hope of salvation.

And one Mediator between God and men This clause is of a similar import with the former; for, as there is one God, the Creator and Father of all, so he says that there is but one Mediator, 3333     “Christ is said to be the one Mediator in the same sense that God is said to be the one God. As there is but one Creator of man, so there is but one Mediator for men. As God is the God of all that died before Christ came, as well as of those that died after; so Christ is the Mediator of all that died before his coming, as well as of those that saw his day. They had Christ for their Mediator, or some other; some other they could not have, because there is but one. They might as well have had another Creator besides God, as another Mediator besides the man Christ Jesus. In regard of the antiquity of his mediation, from the foundation of the world, he us represented, when he walks as Mediator ‘in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks,’ with ‘hair as white as wool,’ a character of age (Revelation 1:14); as God is described so in regard of his eternity, (Daniel 7:9.) There is but one God from eternity; but one Mediator, whose mediation hath the same date as the foundation of the world, and runs parallel with it.” — Charnock. through whom we have access to the Father; and that this Mediator was given, not only to one nation, or to a small number of persons of some particular rank, but to all; because the fruit of the sacrifice, by which he made atonement for sins, extends to all. More especially because a large portion of the world was at that time alienated from God, he expressly mentions the Mediator, through whom they that were afar off now approach.

The universal term all must always be referred to classes: of men, and not to persons; as if he had said, that not only Jews, but Gentiles also, not only persons of humble rank, but princes also, were redeemed by the death of Christ. Since, therefore, he wishes the benefit of his death to be common to all, an insult is offered to him by those who, by their opinion, shut out any person from the hope of salvation.

The man Christ Jesus. When he declares that he is “a man,” the Apostle does not deny that the Mediator is God, but, intending to point out the bond of our union with God, he mentions the human nature rather than the divine. This ought to be carefully observed. From the beginning, men, by contriving for themselves this or that mediator, departed farther from God; and the reason was, that, being prejudiced in favor of this error, that God was at a great distance from them, they knew not to what hand to turn. Paul remedies this evil, when he represents God as present with us; for he has descended even to us, so that we do not need to seek him above the clouds. The same thing is said in Hebrews 4:15,

“We have not a high priest who cannot sympathize within our infirmities, for in all things he was tempted.”

And, indeed, if this were deeply impressed on the hearts of all, that the Son of God holds out to us the hand of a brother, and that we are united to him by the fellowship of our nature, in order that, out of our low condition, he may raise us to heaven; who would not choose to keep by this straight road, instead of wandering in uncertain and stormy paths! Accordingly, whenever we ought to pray to God, if we call to remembrance that exalted and unapproachable majesty, that we may not be driven back by the dread of it, let us, at the same time, remember “the man Christ,” who gently invites us, and takes us, as it were, by the hand, in order that the Father, who had been the object of terror and alarm, may be reconciled by him and rendered friendly to us. This is the only key to open for us the gate of the heavenly kingdom, that we may appear in the presence of God with confidence.

Hence we see, that Satan has, in all ages, followed this course, for the purpose of leading men astray from the right path. I say nothing of the various devices by which, before the coming of Christ, he alienated the minds of men, to contrive methods of approaching to God. At the very commencement of the Christian Church, when Christ, with so excellent a pledge, was fresh in their remembrance, and while the earth was still ringing with that delightfully sweet word from his mouth,

“Come to me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest,” (Matthew 11:28,)

there were, nevertheless, some persons skilled in deception, who thrust angels into his room as mediators; which is evident from Colossians 2:18. But what Satan, at that time, contrived secretly, he carried to such a pitch, during the times of Popery, that scarcely one person in a thousand acknowledged Christ, even in words, to be the Mediator. And while the name was buried, still more was the reality unknown.

Now that God has raised up good and faithful teachers, who have labored to restore and bring to the remembrance of men what ought to have been one of the best-known principles of our faith, the sophists of the Church of Rome have resorted to every contrivance for darkening a point so clear. First, the name is so hateful to them, that, if any one mentions Christ as Mediator, without taking notice of the saints, he instantly falls under a suspicion of heresy. But, because they do not venture to reject altogether what Paul teaches in this passage, they evade it by a foolish exposition, that he is called “one Mediator,” not “the only Mediator.” As if the Apostle had mentioned God as one out of a vast multitude of gods; for the two clauses are closely connected, that “there is one God and one Mediator;” and therefore they who make Christ one out of many mediators must apply the same interpretation in speaking of God. Would they rise to such a height of impudence, if they were not impelled by blind rage to crush the glory of Christ?

There are others who think themselves more acute, and who lay down this distinction, that Christ is the only Mediator of redemption, while they pronounce the saints to be mediators of intercession. But the folly of these interpreters is reproved by the scope of the passage, in which the Apostle speaks expressly about prayer. The Holy Spirit commands us to pray for all, because our only Mediator admits all to come to him; just as by his death he reconciled all to the Father. And yet they who thus, with daring sacrilege, strip Christ of his honor, wish to be regarded as Christians.

But it is objected that this has the appearance of contradiction; for in this very passage Paul enjoins us to intercede for others, while, in the Epistle to the Romans, he declares that intercession belongs to Christ alone. (Romans 8:34.) I reply, the intercessions of the saints, by which they aid each other in their addresses to God, do not contradict the doctrine, that all have but one Intercessor; for no man’s prayers are heard either in behalf of himself, or in behalf of another, unless he rely on Christ as his advocate. When we intercede for one another, this is so far from setting aside the intercession of Christ, as belonging to him alone, that the chief reliance is given, and the chief reference made, to that very intercession.

Some person will perhaps think, that it will, therefore, be easy for us to come to an agreement with the Papists, if they place below the only intercession of Christ, all that they ascribe to the saints. This is not the case; for the reason why they transfer to the saints the office of interceding is, that they imagine that otherwise we are destitute of an advocate. It is a common opinion among them, that we need intercessors, because in ourselves we are unworthy of appearing in the presence of God. By speaking in this manner, they deprive Christ of his honor. Besides, it is a shocking blasphemy, to ascribe to saints such excellence as would procure for us the favor of God: and all the prophets, and apostles, and martyrs, and even the angels themselves — are so far from making any pretension to this, that they too have need of the same intercession as ourselves.

Again, it is a mere dream, originating in their own brain, that the dead intercede for us; and, therefore, to found our prayers on this is altogether to withdraw our trust from calling upon God. But Paul lays down, as the rule for calling on God in a proper manner, faith grounded on the word of God. (Romans 10:17.) Justly, therefore, everything that men contrive, in the exercise of their own thoughts, without the authority of the word of God, is rejected by us.

But not to dwell on this subject longer than the exposition of the passage demands, let it be summed up in this manner; that they who have actually learned the office of Christ will be satisfied with having him alone, and that none will make mediators at their own pleasure but those who neither know God nor Christ. Hence I conclude, that the doctrine of the Papists — which darkens, and almost buries, the intercession of Christ, and introduces pretended intercessors without any support from Scripture — is full of wicked distrust, and also of wicked rashness.

6 Who gave himself a ransom for all 3434     “He gave himself ἀντίλυτρον ὑπὲρ, ‘a ransom for’ all. If this does not imply the notion of Vicarious, I very much question whether language can express it. Λύτρον is a Ransom; which conveys a vicarious sense, in its most common and authorized acceptation. Ἁντὶ, which is equivalent to Instead, still more fully ascertains and strengthens the idea. (Ἁντὶ, Matthew 2:22.) By this word the LXX. translated the word תהת, (tabhdth.) And that תהת denotes the substitution of one instead of another, no student of the sacred language will venture to deny. (See Genesis 22:13; 2 Samuel 18:33; 2 Kings 10:24.) ὑπὲρ, which is translated For, and denotes a substitution of one in the place of another; this, added to all, renders the expression as determinate and emphatical for the purpose as words can possibly be. Thus writes Clemens Romanus, Τὸ αἷυα αὐτοῦ ἔδωχεν ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς ὁ Κύριος ἡμῶν, χαὶ τὴν σάρχα ὑπερ τὢς εάρχος ἡμῶν, χαὶ τὴν ψυχὴν ὑπὲρ τῶν ψυχῶν ἡμῶν. “Jesus Christ our Lord gave his blood for us, and his flesh for our flesh, and his soul for our souls.” (Ep. 1 ad Corinth.) Exactly to the same purpose Justin the Martyr expresses himself: ‘He gave his own Son a ransom (ὑπὲρ) for us, the holy for transgressors, the sinless for the sinful, the righteous for the unrighteous, the immortal for the mortal.’ (Ep. 1 ad Diogn.)” — Hervey’s Theron and Aspasqo The mention of redemption in this passage is not superfluous; for there is a necessary connection between the two things, the sacrifice of the death of Christ, and his continual intercession. (Romans 8:34.) These are the two parts of his priesthood; for, when Christ is called our priest, it is in this sense, that he once made atonement for our sins by his death, that he might reconcile us to God; and now having entered into the sanctuary of heaven, he appears in presence of the Father, in order to obtain grace for us, that we may be heard in his name. (Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 7:17.) So much the more does he expose the wicked sacrilege of the Papists, who, by making dead saints to be companions of Christ in this affair, transfer to them likewise the glory of the priesthood. Read the fourth chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, towards the conclusion, and the beginning of the fifth chapter, [Hebrews 4:14-5:10,] and you will find what I maintain, that the intercession by which God is reconciled to us is founded on the sacrifice; which, indeed, is demonstrated by the whole system of the ancient priesthood. It follows, therefore, that it is impossible to take from Christ any part of the office of intercession, and bestow it on others, without stripping him of the title of priesthood.

Besides, when the Apostle calls him ἀντίλυτρον, a ransom,” 3535     “Quand il l’appelle Rancon, ou, Pris de redemption.” — “When he calls him the Ransom or Price of our redemption.” — “Christ came to give up his life as a λύτρον. Now λύτρον properly denotes the ransom paid, in order to deliver any one from death, or its equivalent, captivity, or from punishment in general. It has been satisfactorily proved that, among both the Jews and the Gentiles, peculiar victims were accepted as a ransom for the life of an offender, and to atone for his offense. — The ἀντίλυτρον of this passage is a stronger term than the λύτρον of Matthew 20:28, and is well explained by Hesych., ἀντίδοτον, implying the substitution, in suffering punishment, of one person for another. See 1 Corinthians 15:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 1:18.” — Bloomfield. he overthrows all other satisfactions. Yet I am not ignorant of the injurious devices of the Papists, who pretend that the price of redemption, which Christ paid by his death, is applied to us in baptism, so that original sin is effaced, and that afterwards we are reconciled to God by satisfactions. In this way they limit to a small period of time, and to a single class, that benefit which was universal and perpetual. But a full illustration of this subject will be found in the Institutes.

That there might be a testimony in due time; that is, in order that this grace might be revealed at the appointed time. The phrase, for all, which the Apostle had used, might have given rise to the question, “Why then had God chosen a peculiar people, if he revealed himself as a reconciled Father to all without distinction, and if the one redemption through Christ was common to all?” He cuts off all ground for that question, by referring to the purpose of God the season 3636     “Le temps propre et la droite saison.” — “The fit time and proper season.” for revealing his grace. For if we are not astonished that in winter, the trees are stripped of their foliage, the fields are covered with snow, and the meadows are stiff with frost, and that, by the genial warmth of spring, what appeared for a time to be dead, begins to revive, because God appointed the seasons to follow in succession; why should we not allow the same authority to his providence in other matters? Shall we accuse God of instability, because he brings forward, at the proper time, what he had always determined, and settled in his own mind?

Accordingly, although it came upon the world suddenly and was altogether unexpected, that Christ was revealed as a Redeemer to Jews and Gentiles, without distinction; let us not think that it was sudden with respect to God but, on the contrary, let us learn to subject all our sense to his wonderful providence. The consequence will be, that there will be nothing that comes from him which shall not appear to us to be highly seasonable. On that account this admonition frequently occurs in the writings of Paul and especially when he treats of the calling of the Gentiles, by which, at that time, on account of its novelty, many persons were startled and almost confounded. They who are not satisfied with this solution, that God, by his hidden wisdom, arranged the succession of the seasons, will one day feel, that, at the time when they think that he was idle, he was framing a hell for inquisitive persons.

7 For which I have been appointed. That it may not be thought that he makes rash assertions — as many are wont to do — on a subject which he did not well understand, he affirms that God had appointed him for this purpose, that he might bring the Gentiles, who had formerly been alienated from the kingdom of God, to have a share in the gospel; for his apostleship was a sure foundation of the divine calling. And on this account he labors very hard in asserting it, as there are many who received it with no small difficulty.

I speak the truth in Christ, I do not lie. He employs an oath, or protestation, as in a matter of extraordinary weigh and importance, that he is a teacher of the Gentiles, and that in faith and truth These two things denote a good conscience, but still it must rest on the certainty of the will of God. Thus he means, that he preaches the gospel to the Gentiles, not only with pure affection, but also with an upright and fearless conscience; because he does nothing but by the command of God.


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