1 & 2 Timothyby Robert M. Solomon
Mahatma Gandhi told Dr E. Stanley Jones, a missionary to India, that he had no problem with the Christ of Christianity; his problem was with Christians. He observed that many of them did not live according to the teachings of Christ.
There are many people like Gandhi who are turned away from Christ because of the bad testimony of Christians. It is important to remember that Christians are, to the watching world, the living examples of the truth and power of the gospel.
Ideal Christian witness (that attracts rather than repels) is marked by “peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:2). Such living is good and pleasing to God (v. 3), for it reflects the character of God and leads to the salvation of people.
Paul portrays God as wanting “all people to be saved” (v. 4, see 2 Peter 3:9). And there is only one Saviour for all, the Lord Jesus Christ who “gave himself as a ransom for all people” (v. 6). Jesus paid the price upon the cross to redeem all people from their sins by offering himself as the ransom. He is the only Mediator between sinful men and the one holy God (for there are no other gods) and, therefore, the only One who can bring salvation to all (v. 5).
The point is that because Jesus is the only Saviour for all, we should not distract or divert people away from Jesus—that would be an awful thing. We should not become obstacles to the salvation of others because of our unfaithfulness or disobedience.
The faithful teaching of sound doctrine brings about truly beautiful and godly lives, which in turn help to bring others to Christ by convincing them of the truth of the gospel (1 Peter 2:12). Paul was totally committed to his ministry as a herald (preacher), apostle (leader), and teacher of this true faith (1 Timothy 2:7) that saves and transforms people.
It is therefore important to pray for all (so that all can be saved), including world leaders who need to rule responsibly so that the social environment is conducive to godliness and evangelism.
Make as many connections as you can between holiness and the evangelisation of the world. What are common reasons why people are turned off by the church?
How would you explain that Jesus is the only Saviour of the whole human race? What are the implications of this for your witness and prayer life?