Two Insights About God: 1 Timothy 2:3-4
“3) This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4) who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy‬ ‭2:3-4‬
Paul now makes a profound observation about God. We should intercede for lost people for two reasons. First, because this kind of praying is good and acceptable in the sight of God. In other words, God wants us to pray for the salvation of lost people.
This kind of praying may include such things as softening their heart to the gospel, arranging circumstances in their life, bringing them in contact with other people to plant or water the gospel, binding the strong man who has them enslaved, cutting off evil influences and friends, exposing deceptive philosophies and thinking, rebuking the god of this world who wants to keep them blinded to the light of the gospel and asking the Holy Spirit to bring conviction and openness to the gospel and actually convert them. These are some of the biblical prayer targets I use when interceding for lost people. Over the years I have witnessed God bring many hard and lost people to salvation.
Second, we should pray for lost people because God “desires all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.” I know this creates tension for some people, but it lines up other Scriptures like 2 Peter 2:9 “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to the truth.”
The truth is that God loves the world and sent Jesus to die for the sins of all lost people. (John 3:16-17) I recognize Jesus Christ is “the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2)
I acknowledge tension in some theological area’s. There are paradoxical truths in the Bible that fit in the category of “mysteries.” One such example is the doctrine of Divine election and the doctrine of human free will. Both are taught in the Bible. I believe in both. I see them as balancing truths.
Therefore, I pray for the salvation of all lost people and sow the seeds of the gospel very abundantly while leaving the results with God. It is our job to preach the gospel and pray for lost people, it is the Holy Spirits job to convert them. I see the doctrine of election as a guarantee of the harvest.
Though the Bible consistently credits God for the salvation of those who come to Christ, it never blames God for those who reject the Gospel and die in rebellion toward God. They are judged and held accountable for their own actions, rejection and unbelief.
Our role as believers is to embrace and participate in the Great Commission. We are to abundantly share the gospel in the world and make disciples of those who respond. We are to see ourselves as ambassadors for Christ and literally beg people to be reconciled to God. (see 2 Corinthians 5:20-21)
I believe the biggest wrestling match for the lost is waged in the prayer closet. The early apostles discovered that praying and preaching go hand in hand. (Acts 6:4) No wonder Paul admonished Timothy in this letter to make intercessory prayer his first method for doing ministry. Do not be negligent or slack in praying for the lost.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global