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Dabney on 1 Tim 2:6

August 31, 2007

I am reposting some of the material that got lost:

Dabney on allusions or references to 1 Tim 2:4-6:

1) These passages doubtless teach that the Son was, in the beginning, the immediate agent of creation for these, as for all other beings; and that the God-man now includes angels in His mediatorial kingdom, in the same sense in which He includes the rest of the universe, besides the saints. But that He is not a mediator for angels is clear, from the fact that, while He is never called such, He is so emphatically called “the Mediator between God and man” (1 Tim. 2:5). Second. He has assumed no community of nature with angels. Last. It is expressly denied in Hebrews 2:16, 17. (Greek.) Lectures, p., 232.

2) In conclusion, the powerful demonstration which the Scripture gives us against creature worship is the strongest proof against creature mediation; for if they mediated, they must be worshiped.

The Scripture testimony must hold the fifth, and crowning place. We have heard the Apostle assert, (1 Tim. 2:5) that as there is one God, there is one Mediator, between God and men, and that this is the Being who gave himself a ransom for all. As the words, “one God,” doubtless express the exclusive unity of God, so we are bound to construe the counterpart words, “one Mediator,” in the same way. And it is implied that He who mediates must have given the adequate ransom, on which to found His plea. So, our Savior declares, (John 14:6) “No man cometh to the Father but by me,” and Peter, (Acts 4:12) “There is none other name under heaven, given among men, whereby ye must be saved.” So, the words of Christ, (John 6:37) “Him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out,” at least prove that any other intercessor is superfluous. It is said, that affirmations do not prove the counterpart negative. But when we find the Scriptures full of such passages as Rom. 8:34; 1 John 2:1, 2, which all assert with emphasis that the Lord Jesus Christ is our Mediator, and that there is an absolute silence throughout the Bible as to any other, even this proof is complete. Lectures, p., 482.

3) The attempt is made to escape the force of the places which assert the oneness of Christ’s intercession, by saying that He is the only Mediator of Redemption; saints and angels are Mediators of Intercession. On this subterfuge I remark. (a) 1 Tim. 2:5, asserts the singleness of Christ’s intercessory work first, and at least as pointedly as of His ransoming work. (b) Since intercession is grounded only in redemption by satisfaction, the two kinds of mediators must be one. (c) Roman Catholics themselves undermine their own distinction by impiously ascribing to their creature intercessors an imputable merit as the necessary ground of their influence with Christ. Lectures, pp., 482-483.

4) Christ Our Ransom. Again, He is said in many places to be our Redeemer—i. e., Ransomer—and His death or He, is our Ransom, Matt. 20:28; 1 Pet. 1:19; 1 Tim. 2:6; 1 Cor. 6:20. It is vain to reply that God is said to redeem His people in many places, when the only meaning is, that He delivered them, and that Moses is called the redeemer of Israel out of Egypt, who certainly did not do this by a vicarious penalty. Christ’s death is a proper ransom, because the very price is mentioned. Lectures, 511.

5) From Texts Teaching A Seeming Universality. The other class of objections is from the Scriptures; e. g., Those which speak of Christ as having compassion for, or dying for, “the whole world,” “all,” “all men,” “every man,” John 1:29; John 3:16; 4:42; 6:51; 2 Cor. 5:19; 1 John 1; John 12:32; 1 Cor. 15:22; 2 Cor. 5:14, 15; 1 Tim. 2:6; 1 Tim. 4:10; Heb. 2:9. The usual explanation, offered by the strict Calvinists, of these texts is this: that terms seemingly universal often have to be limited to a universality within certain bounds by the context, as in Matt. 3:5; that in New Testament times, especially when the gospel was receiving its grand extension from one little nation to all nations, it is reasonable to expect that strong affirmatives would be used as to its extent, which yet should be strained to mean nothing more than this, that persons of every nation in the world were given to Christ. Hence, “the world,” “all the world,” should be taken to mean no more than people of every nation in the world, without distinction. There is a certain amount of justice in these views, and many of these passages, as 1 Cor. 15:22; John 1:29, and 12:32, may be adequately explained by them. The explanation is also greatly strengthened by this fact too little pressed by Calvinists, that ultimately, the vast majority of the whole mass of humanity, including all generations, will be actually redeemed by Christ. There is to be a time, blessed be God, when literally all the then world will be saved by Christ, when the world will be finally, completely, and wholly lifted by Christ out of the gulf, and sink no more. So that there is a sense, most legitimate, in which Christ is the prospective Savior of the world. Lectures, p.,  524-525.

6) To Express His Benevolence. God’s second design in making the common call universal was the exercise of the general holiness goodness, and compassion of His nature, (which generally regard all His creatures), in dissuading all from sin and self destruction. God’s holiness, which is universally opposed to sin, makes it proper that He shall dissuade from sin, every where, and in all sinners. God’s mercy and goodness, being made possible towards the human race by their being under a gospel dispensation, make it proper that He shall dissuade all from self destruction. And this benevolence not only offers a benefit to sinners generally, but actually confers one—i. e., a temporary enjoyment of a dispensation of mercy, and a suspension of wrath, with all the accompanying mercies, and the offer itself of salvation. This offer is itself a benefit, only man’s perverseness turns it into a curse. Blessed be God, His word assures us that this common call is an expression of sincere benevolence towards all sinners, elect and non-elect, (a compassion whose efficient outgoing is, however, conditioned, as to all, on faith and penitence in them). Ezek. 33:11; Ps. 81:13; 1 Tim. 2:4. Lectures p., 555.

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