“… (for, for this are we toiling and being reproached), that we rely on the living God, Who is the Saviour of all mankind, especially of believers.”
I Timothy 4:10
The word of the day: “Especially”.
“When you come to the party on Saturday, bring the cokes, especially the diet cokes.”
Overheard at a party planner’s house.
(Paul’s 2nd letter to Timothy): “When you come, bring the traveling cloak which I left in Troas with Carpus, and the scrolls, especially the vellums.”
II Timothy 4:13
(Vellums are unused scrolls, like blank paper.)
Now keep in mind, our favorite passage from Paul’s letters (I TIM 4:10) tells us, that God is the Saviour of all mankind… not “exclusively” of believers, but “especially” of believers.
The word “especially” is a superlative, it puts a temporary emphasis of one thing above another. Temporary.
Yes, God is the Savior of all, but temporarily God puts an emphasis on believers.
The believers are brought in first… then when the “end” comes, “all” are to be made alive in Christ.
PROOF: I Corinthians 15:20-28 reveals the ultimate prophecy and timing of God’s eonian purpose.
It is the passage that promised that one day, all will be made alive in Christ.
But… Verse 23 promises “Yet each in his own order”.
It tells of Christ’s resurrection beyond the grip of death. The first order of those made alive.
NEXT, it tells of those who belong to Christ being made alive beyond the reach of death. The second order.
Finally it tells of the last group, the last order of who are made alive beyond the reach of death…
It says “then comes the end.” Or as the Concordant Literal New Testament says “Thereafter the consummation.”
The “consummation” is everyone not found in the first two groups.
Group one: Christ “the Firstfruit” of those who are “made alive”
Group two: “Thereupon those who are Christ’s in His presence…” are “made alive”.
Group three: “Then comes the end”… the end of what? (CLNT: “the consummation”) That’s easy… it’s the “end” of the process of vivification… the process of “making all alive in Christ”.
23 Yet each in his own class: the Firstfruit, Christ; thereupon those who are Christ’s in His presence;
24 thereafter the consummation, whenever He may be giving up the kingdom to His God and Father, whenever He should be nullifying all sovereignty and all authority and power.
The point is… God is the saviour of believers before He is the saviour of all.
Believers get a “special” salvation. And it’s not because they deserve salvation, it’s not because they earned salvation, it’s not because they somehow merit it, it’s just that God has a plan and purpose.
God has to start somewhere. So, he starts by saving Christ in His resurrection. Then, he saves those who are Christ’s in His presence. Then comes the end, the consummation, when God totally abolished the wages of sin (death) and becomes All in All.
God has to start somewhere, so creation begins with Christ, the firstborn of every creature. (See Colossians 1:15.) But creation will not be complete until God is all in all. (I Cor 15:28).
It’s a mistake that “creation” is somehow complete now. And each one’s destiny depends on how you use your “freewill.” No. Creation has begun but has not even near completion.
Salvation is God’s redemptive work. And Christ resurrection is the first proof of salvation. The believers are the second proof of God’s redemptive work .
“Then comes the end” is a powerful concept. Yes, Christ is the firstfruit. But that’s just the beginning. Then, in the process of “making all alive in Christ”, those who belong to Christ will be “made alive” at his presence, but it’s not done yet. It will only completed when Death, the wages of sin, is abolished and all are made alive in Christ and God becomes All in All.
The word “especially” is meant to give believers hope for the future. Not just their future, but the future of all. Hope that God will indeed show himself as the Saviour of all. One proof, is that He is the Saviour of Believers first. Or, He is especially their Saviour.
If you have family members and loved ones who don’t believe, no worries. God is the Saviour of all.
They must one day believe for it is true that God is the Saviour of all.
It’s not they “must” believe to make it true. It is already true. If you “must” believe to make it true, then it’s not true at all.
If you “must” believe that the moon is made of cheese, and it’s not really made of cheese, your belief is useless. The moon must really be made of cheese in order for your “belief” to mean anything.
Faith is a gift. The vast majority, at the moment, do not believe because God has not given them faith yet. But one day, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess. (Phil 2:10-11).
The word “especially” is a time-related word. The eons of God’s purpose have to run its course. (Eph 3:11).
Not everything happens all at once. We would do well to trust God’s purpose.
Human destiny is determined by God’s purpose.
And God’s purpose is the be All in All.
Grace to you.