Saviour of All Fellowship
December 2002

Dear Friends in Faith,
    Why did Christ Jesus come into the world two thousand years ago? The heavenly hosts associated it with “Glory to God among the highest! And on earth peace, among men delight!” (Luke 2:13,14). The apostle Paul carries this further when he writes, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim.1:15).
    Did Christ do what He came to do? We ask this in view of the fact that all are sinners (Rom.3:23) and that God wills the salvation of all mankind (1 Tim.2:4). The answer is: Yes, Christ Jesus gave Himself a Ransom for all (1 Tim.2:6). Consequently, God is the Saviour of all mankind, especially of believers (1 Tim.4:10).
    That seems pretty clear. But what has been said about these passages of Scripture has not always been so glorifying to God. For instance, Tony recently looked up the marginal notes on 1 Timothy 2:4 and 4:10 in the Geneva Bible. Concerning the first passage it says, “As, Iewe, & Gentile: poore and riche.” In other words, God wills to save all types of people, but not all sinners absolutely. Then concerning 1 Timothy 4:10 the note says this: “The goodness of God declareth itselfe towardes all men: but chiefely towards the faithful by preserving them, and here he meaneth not of life everlasting.”
    As best we can figure it, Paul’s words should be edited as follows (with Paul’s rejected expressions put in brackets): We rely on the living God, Whose goodness is declared to all mankind in their present lives [Who is the Saviour of all mankind], but chiefly towards the faithful by preserving them in the present lives [and especially of those who believe]. Paul says God is the Saviour of all mankind and especially of believers. The note refrains from acknowledging God as the Saviour of all, even though God as Saviour is associated by Paul directly in reference to all. When the note considers salvation, it is spoken of only as a matter of preservation which is then confined to the believer.
    When we consider the many harrowing experiences of Paul and others through the centuries, the text, as explained, ends up saying very little of anything, even though Paul called it a faithful and welcome word.
    Thankfully, however, the text itself in the Geneva Bible brings out the good news and belies the note: We haue sure hope in the lyuing God, which is the Sauiour of all men, but specially of those that beleue.
    We look back at the year 2002 with thanksgiving for many times of fellowship with others who were privileged with us to rely on the living God Who is the Saviour of all mankind. To be sure there were struggles, and some special sorrows in the death of friends such as Dorothy Hibberd, Robert Killen and Jacob Goerzen (we should add the name of Brother Victor Munnings of the Toronto area who died last June). But this only makes the message of God’s saving achievements through the gift of His Son all that more welcome.

Yours in God’s grace and peace,
Dean Hough and Tony Nungesser

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