Pray for our Leaders

29 01 2016

“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have 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.” 1 Timothy 2:1-6

 

This is a great passage but one that has often been misunderstood. Often times when debating Calvinism someone will quote part of this passage. They will be quick to say, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” They want to prove that all individual people can be saved so they lift this small portion from its context to make their point. This post isn’t to debate Calvinism but to demonstrate the problem with lifting verses from their context to prove a point.

Another common quote taken from this passage is at the end. When debating Marian doctrines with Roman Catholics we are quick to say, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” The problem is that we seldom if ever consider what the passage is actually teaching. Why is it pointing out that Jesus is the only mediator? And in the first quote what is good and acceptable in the sight of God?

I believe Christians today are far too political. There is an unholy marriage between the evangelical church and the Republican Party. During the Presidency of Barack Obama it seems this relationship has disconnected all connection to the Bible. I have even heard believers tell me the Bible commands us to disobey this particular President. I easily criticize our leaders to the point of absolute hatred.

While Christians speak out against our President and leadership few if any are actually praying for him. I have even heard some wish harm or death on him. A few have said they hope he repents but that he should still suffer the consequences for all of his actions. I too once hated and maligned our President until I read this particular passage. There are many Scriptures which urge us to submit to and honor our national leaders but this one here is probably the most important.

Of course we never teach this passage in context so we don’t know what it says. This verse is a command to pray for our leaders. Why should we pray for them? The answer is so very important. Let’s look at the passage. The verse says to pray and intercede for all men. This of course means all kinds of men because if it meant all 7 billion people then I could never fulfill its demands.

The verse also says and this is noteworthy to give thanks for them as well. The next phrase points out one particular kind of person. It points out our leaders including the President. That’s right we are commanded to give thanks for President Obama because it’s ultimately God who appointed him as our leader. So we are commanded to pray for all kinds of men and the emphasis is placed on national leaders such as kings (or in our case Presidents) and all in authority.

The verse goes on to say that praying for our leaders is good and acceptable in the eyes of God. Why is it good and acceptable? Because He will have all men, that is all kinds of men to be saved including secular authorities. I’m not making a statement that God doesn’t want all people to be saved I’m simply pointing out the context of the passage. The “all men” in this passage clearly means all kinds of men by the context.

So back to why we pray for them. The answer is because God would have even oppressive tyrants to be saved and since Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and men we go to Him to ask for their salvation. We don’t hear this taught in context because churches and church leadership don’t want to pray for the other political party. They want to criticize and malign. I fear deep down many don’t really want them to get saved.

The command is clear to pray for our leaders because God wants them to be saved as well and since there is no mediator but Christ we must go to Him with intercession on their behalf. So here is the question: have you prayed for the President’s salvation today? Will you tomorrow? Before you malign the President pray for him, I’ll bet when you do you’ll find it hard to malign because your heart will be soft and tender towards him.

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