Monday, January 9, 2017

Children of God, Who Desires All Men to Be Saved

God desires all men to be saved (1Ti 2:3).

This doesn't mean that God's plan is to save every individual man. In fact, God has planned to show His wrath in vessels [people] that are prepared for wrath (Rom 9:22).

But God's "desire" to save all men is a reflection of the fact that God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Eze 18:23, 32). And, the Holy Spirit has just followed "all men" in v1 by explaining that this includes "kings and all who are in authority." There is no kind of person that God has written off; He delights to save all kinds.

What, then, should His children do?

This is the real question that drives prayer. Some, foolishly, approach the idea of prayer from the question, "What difference does it make?"

They reason that it doesn't make sense to pray, if God has already planned what He will do. But such reasoning completely paralyzes, because God "works all things according to the counsel of His will" (Eph 1:11), so if you only do what will change the future, then you would do nothing at all, let alone pray.

No, the right question is how to live as children of God (Php 2:15). How do we shine like stars (Php 2:15; Mat 5:14; Mat 13:43)? How do we, more and more, display the character of Christ, the Firstborn in our new family (Rom 8:29).

Well, Father's desire becomes our desire. And Father's attitude becomes our attitude. So, if we love our enemies, we will bear the family resemblance.

"But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven" (Mat 5:44-45a)

What we see in 1Tim 2:1-3 is this: that we are to make all kinds of prayer, for all kinds of men, especially those in high position, and particularly those who are not yet saved. When we love and bless and do good to the wicked, we are growing up into the shape of Christ. We are displaying the family resemblance of our Father.

When was the last time that you or I did this? Pray with a sincere heart for those wicked who are hindering and harming us? Particularly for those in authority over us?

Let us do so, not because "it will make a difference." But because "it is what children of God do."

This God of unimaginable love has adopted us as His own dear sons and daughters (1Jo 3:1-3). Let us think, speak, and act like the children of God that we are!

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