A Chasm To Be Bridged prints and framed art include these verses:
For there is one God, and
Although 1 Timothy is a letter addressed to an individual rather than a church, it is more official than personal. This epistle deals primarily with the matter of church order and governance and is the most pastoral of all of the Pastoral Epistles. For example, chapter 3 gives us the most detailed instructions relative to the qualifications of pastors and deacons and chapter 5 bears instructions relative to the church's support of widows.
Great emphasis is placed upon orthodox doctrine in contrast to false teaching and the word "sound doctrine" occurs repeatedly throughout the book in such passages as 1:10; 4:6, and 6:3. It is out of this backdrop that we come to the text of "A Chasm to be Bridged," and the context of 1 Timothy 2:5-6 is extremely important to our understanding of the passage. The main theme of 1 Timothy is to "fight the good fight" of keeping the gospel from being propagated by false, heretical teaching. It is at once practical in its pastoral instructions and deeply theological in its teaching about the nature of Christ.
In verses 1 and 2 of chapter 2, Paul exhorts Timothy to give thanks and engage in intercessory prayer for all men, but especially for men in authority. The Greek term basileus ("king") was applied in the first century A.D. to the emperor at Rome, as well as to lesser rulers. Considering that when Paul wrote 1 Timothy the emperor was the cruel monster Nero who later put Paul and Peter to death, you realize that we should pray for our present rulers, irrespective of how unreasonable they may seem to be. Prayer for "all those in authority" in various levels of government should have a regular place in all public worship. Particularly, however, Timothy was to pray that those men lead peaceable lives, "for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."
And then as if someone posed the questions "Is there only one God, and if so, how might I establish a right relationship with Him?" verses 5 through 7 scream from the pages of the text, "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 . . . " This is one of the most significant verses in all of the New Testament. It declares first of all that "there is one God." This is a primary affirmation in the Old Testament, in opposition to the many polytheisms of that day. Monotheism is the basic premise of both Judaism and Christianity. And yet there remains a major difference. Christianity goes a step further in its assertion that "there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus."
The Greek word for "mediator," mesites, occurs only once in the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament). At once frustrated by the fact that God was not a man with whom he could converse, Job concluded in despair, "Neither is there any daysman [mesites] betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both" (Job 9:33). Christ is the answer to this ancient cry for help.
The basic meaning of mesites is "one who intervenes between two, either in order to make or restore peace and friendship, or to form a compact, or for ratifying a covenant." Thayer goes on to say that Christ is called the mediator between God and men "since he interposed by his death and restored the harmony between God and man which human sin had broken" (Lexicon, p. 401).
To be of any use, a bridge across a chasm or river must be anchored on both sides. Through his sacrificial death, His burial, and His triumphant resurrection, Jesus Christ closed the gap between deity and humanity. He crossed the gulf fixed between heaven and earth and bridged the chasm that once separated man from God. With one foot planted in eternity, Jesus planted the other in time. He who was the eternal Son of God became the Son of Man. And by way of this bridge, the man Christ Jesus, we can come into the very presence of God, knowing that we are accepted because we have a Mediator.
What's more, Christ "gave himself as a ransom for all men." The Greek word for "ransom," antilytron, occurs only here in the entirety of the New Testament. It means "what is given in exchange for another as the price of his redemption" (Thayer). In the first century the simple word lytron was used for the ransom price paid to free a slave. So Christ paid the ransom to free humanity from the slavery of sin. As such we are rightfully His possession. Jesus gave his life as a ransom "for all men." The Greek word translated "for" means "on behalf of." Christ died on behalf of all people, but only those who accept his sacrifice are actually set free from the shackles of sin.
Sources: Expositor's Bible Commentary, New Testament: Zondervan Reference Software. Class Notes, New Testament Epistles; Dr. Dwight Kim, Capital Bible Seminary, (Lanham, Maryland).
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