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William Burkitt (1650-1703) on 1 Timothy 2:3-5

June 1, 2009

Burkitt:

3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

Our apostle subjoins his reasons for our praying for all men, because Christ came into the world to save all men, chap. i. 15. Because it is the desire of God, us well as the design of Christ, that all men should be saved, and because such prayers are good and acceptable in the sight of God. Learn hence, 1. That to pray for all men, as well enemies as friends, especially and particularly for rulers and magistrates, magistrates, is good, acceptable, and agreeable to Almighty God, as all acts of obedience to his commanding will are: This is good and acceptable in the sight of God. Learn, 2. That it is not only all sorts of men that God and Christ desire should be saved, but our Lord willed, together with his Father, the salvation of all men in general, so far as to make a sacrifice sufficient for all, if they repent and believe, and to other a general pardon to all on condition of acceptance, and to send his ministers amongst all with the word of reconciliation, accompanying it with an hearty desire that all would accept of it; in short, what Christ offered to all, he undoubtedly purchased for all; but he offers to all pardon and life upon condition of acceptance, therefore he is so far willing that all men should be saved. Learn, 3. The means and method by which and in which God would have all men to be saved, namely, by coming to the knowledge of the truth; it is evidently false then, which some confidently affirm, that a man may be saved in any religion: no, he cannot come to salvation but by the knowledge of the truth ; without the knowledge of God, without faith in Christ, where he has been revealed, and without obedience to the gospel, where it has been made known, there is no possibility of salvation; God would have all men to be saved, by coming to the knowledge of the truth.

5 For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus: 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

The apostle’s argument runs thus: We ought to pray for all, because there is one God who is good to all, and one Mediator between God and mankind, who took upon him the common nature of all men, and gave himself a satisfactory and sufficient ransom for all, which was in due time testified and borne witness to by us his apostles. Learn hence, 1. That the only way of friendly intercourse between God and fallen man, is by and through a Mediator, God cannot look upon fallen men out of a Mediator, but as rebels, traitors, and objects of his vindictive wrath; nor can fallen man, without a Mediator, look up to God, but as a provoked majesty, an angry judge, and a consuming fire. Learn, 2. That there is no other Mediator between God and man, but Jesus Christ, who was both God and man; for though the apostle calls him the Jesus Christ Jesus, this is not added to exclude the divine nature from the Mediatorship, but emphatically to declare that nature in which he gave himself a ransom for us; the human nature is the matter of our ransom; the divine nature gave worth and value to it; Christ suffered being man, and satisfied being God. Learn, 3. That this one Mediator, Jesus Christ, gave himself a ransom for all; whoever perishes under the gospel, it is not because no ransom was paid for him, nor because it was not sufficient for him, for it is most notorious that God has issued forth an universal act of grace, offering pardon of sin and eternal salvation to all men without exception, living under the gospel, upon condition of their believing acceptance; if they reject and refuse it, ’tis to their unutterable and inevitable condemnation. Learn, 4. That Christ’s mediation and intercession is founded upon redemption; because he gave himself a ransom for all, therefore is he, and he only, qualified to intercede for all, in virtue of that sacrifice which he offered for the salvation of mankind: therefore the distinction of the church of Rome, between a mediator of redemption, and a mediator of intercession, is groundless; for who dares plead with an offended God as an intercessor on the behalf of sinners, that has not first, as a redeemer, satisfied the justice of God for sin? As there was no redemption wrought by any, so there is no intercession to be made by any, but by Christ ; as there is but one God, so but one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.

William Burkitt, Expostory Notes With Practical Observations on the New Testament (Philadelphia: Published by Thomas Wardle, 1835), 2:519-520. [Underlining mine.]

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