Today a dear friend of mine posted 1 Timothy 2:4-5 which says that “God wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” and says God will save everyone in the end. Is that what Paul actually means?
It is pertinent for us to therefore ask ourselves why 1st Timothy was written. Let’s see the preamble is chapter 1
2 To Timothy my true son in the faith:
3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer 4 or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith. 5 The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk.7 They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.
8 We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. 9 We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11 that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.
You would note therefore there is an issue about false teachers teaching the law to people who are already righteous by faith. These are Jews who maintain that salvation is limited to those who keep the Jewish law and thus must be circumcised or abstain from certain foods or practices.
4 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 3 They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth.
So it is pertinent to note that the context here is that Paul was warning Timothy about these people who were bringing the Gentile who had begun in grace back to law.
Further Timothy was both Greek and Jewish.
Acts 16:1-3 says,
Paul came also to Derbe and Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer; but his father was a Greek.
As such Paul was saying that the Gospel is not reserved to the Jews but the Gentiles as well. Hence the word “all” means both Jew and Gentile.
2 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. 7 And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles.
See the last line. “A teacher to the Gentiles”.
Paul does the same thing in Romans. In Romans 1 he addresses the Gentiles and in Romans 2 he addresses the Jews. As such when he says, “all have fallen short of the glory of God”, he actually is saying “both Jew and Gentile” has fallen. The key message there is that there is now no difference whether you keep the law of Moses or not, because both Jew (who keep it) and Gentiles (who don’t keep it) can’t keep it. What matters is righteousness by faith.
I am greatly concern as many teachers use this passage to teach that since God wants (by the way this word does not mean “he will force it”, but it means “by Hebraism to delight in: – desire, be disposed (forward), intend, list, love, mean, please, have rather, (Strong’s) ) ALL men to be saved, it means there is no need to believe. They teach as such there is no difference between those who believe and those who don’t.
NO! Paul doesn’t each that! If belief is not important, why does Paul say this “15 Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.” I Tim 1.
Also Paul speaks about judgment, not krema but krisis in 1 Tim 5:
24 The sins of some are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them. 25 In the same way, good deeds are obvious, and even those that are not obvious cannot remain hidden forever.
(Subjectively or objectively, for or against); by extension a tribunal; by implication justice(specifically divine law): – accusation, condemnation, damnation, judgment.
Paul also speaks about eternal separation from God here:
2 Thessalonians 1:7-8
Amplified Bible (AMP)
7 And to [[a]recompense] you who are so distressed and afflicted [by granting you] relief and rest along with us [your fellow sufferers] when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in a flame of fire,
8 To deal out retribution (chastisement and vengeance) upon those who do not know or perceive or become acquainted with God, and [upon those] who ignore and refuse to obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
So there it is. Paul does teach judgment of those who refuse to believe.
While many may argue, in hell you are purified, Paul says you are there because of retribution. In the NIV it is translated as “to punish”
7 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8 punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
So dear friends, we hope you realize while God is gracious, God is also holy. Do not be misled. Grace is inclusive. Inclusion however is not grace.