Today’s Scrip-Bit   16 April 2023   1 Timothy 2:4.

1 Timothy 2:4.Who will have (desires) all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

Hurrah! It’s Sunday, the first Sunday after Easter Sunday when our Lord and Saviour rose triumphantly from the dead! Wow! And yuh know what? We’re still celebrating that immortal victory, because it’s Christ’s death on the cross and His magnificent resurrection that gives us the option, the joy and promise of salvation and eternal life! And if you don’t think that is sufficient cause for celebration, then you’re either a die-hard heretic, sick in the brain, a fool, or all three. (smile) 

Anyway, for those of us who believe that Jesus’ sacrificial death and amazing resurrection are justifiable cause to celebrate, let’s open today’s proceedings with an oldie but goodie; appropriately titled ‘At the Cross.’ The lyrics were written by Isaac Watts (1674-1748) somewhere around 1707, and apparently Ralph E.  Hudson (1843-1901) added the chorus in the following century. (smile) But be that as it may, ‘At the Cross’ is still a marvellous tune reflecting the salvation brought to us sinners by Jesus Christ, through the LOVE and machinations of our heavenly Father. 

And if that isn’t cause for much celebration, then I don’t know what is nuh. So, let’s offer up our sacrificial praise with sweet, harmonious voices, in an upbeat tempo version of the song, because it’s a song of joy and freedom, and you can’t sing such tunes in a dirge like manner. And we’ll begin with a rousing rendition of the chorus. Singing: ‘(Refrain: At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light, And the burden of my heart rolled away, It was there by faith I received my sight, And now I am happy all the day!) ‘Alas! and did my Savior bleed And did my Sovereign die? Would He devote that sacred head For sinners such as I? 

(Refrain:) Thy body slain, sweet Jesus, Thine— And bathed in its own blood— While the firm mark of wrath divine, His Soul in anguish stood. (Refrain) Was it for crimes that I had done He groaned upon the tree? Amazing pity! grace unknown! And love beyond degree! (Refrain) Well might the sun in darkness hide And shut his glories in, When Christ, the mighty Maker died, For man the creature’s sin. (Refrain) Thus might I hide my blushing face While His dear cross appears, Dissolve my heart in thankfulness, And melt my eyes to tears. 

(Refrain) But drops of grief can ne’er repay The debt of love I owe: Here, Lord, I give my self away ’Tis all that I can do. (Refrain: At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light, And the burden of my heart rolled away, It was there by faith I received my sight, And now I am happy all the day! Now I am happy all the day…happy all the day…happy all the day…’ 

Yes, my fellow believers, that’s how we ought to be, happy all the day…or rather, joyful all the day, because happiness tends to be tied up with our circumstances, while joy exists even when our circumstances are not so good. And I’m sure we all enjoyed singing that ageless tune, especially the rollicking chorus. Today, we can look back and sigh with sadness and wonder and eternal gratitude at Jesus’ death on the cross at Calvary, but that’s the most important and integral aspect of the whole situation, for without His death and the payment of our sins that that death covered, no resurrection or any celebration would have been possible. 

Oh friends, the cross of Christ is where it all begins and ends! You first have to go there and lay your burdens down before you can go any further along the Christian continuum. And when Christ cried out ‘It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost (His spirit),’ (John 19:30) it meant that His work on earth was done. As He said to the disciples earlier on: ‘For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto (to be served), but to minister (to serve), and to give his life for a ransom for many.’ (Mark 10:45) 

And that’s exactly what He did on that old, rugged cross on Good Friday; died for many, gave His sinless life selflessly as a ransom for all who choose to believe in Him. As one commentary says: ‘He has borne the guilt of our sins. He has endured the punishment of our hell. The divine wrath has been spent on him. The justice of God has been satisfied in him.’ And for that selfless sacrifice, we all ought to be eternally grateful. But let’s never forget that it all began with the Father, with His wondrous, unconditional LOVE for His most amazing creation. 

As Bruh Paul wrote to the church at Rome: ‘For God commendeth (demonstrated) his (own) LOVE for us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.’ (Rom. 5:8) And these words of Bruh Paul to Timothy further enlightens us, as he expounds to the young pastor on the importance of extending prayers, supplications, intercessions and the giving of thanks for all men. 

‘For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have (desires) all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 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. Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the gentiles in faith and verity (truth).’ (1 Tim. 2:3-7) 

And what does all of that mean? Let’s hear what the scholars have to offer. They say of verses 5-7: ‘These verses provide a threefold evidence confirming the assertation in verse 4 that God “will have all men to be saved”: (1) There being but one God that He must have the same desire toward all people, which is, namely, their salvation. One mediator suggests His Having made the same provision for all people, namely, redemption. (2) Jesus gave himself a ransom for all (vs. 6). (3) Paul’s being divinely ordained … a teacher of the Gentiles (vs. 7) shows that if sinful pagans are instructed in faith and verity (truth), then surely God does indeed want all to be saved.’ 

It’s a closed and shut case friends! God wanted ALL His human creation to be saved, and thus put the wheels in motion, in the fullness of time, that’s in His timing, to have it done. And all I can say is that He gave us free will when He first created us, but we turned to sin instead of to Him. Now, He’s given us another chance, hoping that this time we will wisely use that free will to come back to Him through His august Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Just remember friends, it’s all up to us now. God has done His part; the rest is up to us. Much LOVE!

…God’s given us the choice between life and death…please, I implore us…let’s choose life nuh…for that’s the wise option… 

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