“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4).
One common misrepresentation of God is that He is a Being who capriciously seeks to punish others. While God will certainly act to punish evil, injustice, and disobedience, the Scriptures tell us that God desires to establish a state of peace and reconciliation between humanity and Himself. God demonstrated His desire for peace with His creation through Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross. As we’re told in the New Testament book of Romans, “…since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).
1 Timothy 2:4 goes on to tell us that God desires all to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. In this context, we can associate “the truth” with Christ Himself based on Jesus’ statement from John 14:6: “…’I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”.
That leads us to another important question: “what does it mean to ‘be saved’?” We can address this question by observing that the word “salvation” is linked to the concept of “deliverance” when used in a spiritual sense. It involves God’s liberation of human beings from their state of separation from Him. This state of separation exists because “…all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Romans 3:23 NLT).
Unfortunately, everyone has failed to live up to the standard of perfection that God established when He created the very first human couple. As the Biblical book of James reminds us, “…the person who keeps every law of God but makes one little slip is just as guilty as the person who has broken every law there is” (James 2:10 TLB).
This is why Jesus Christ -who was perfect- accepted the death penalty on our behalf through His sinless life and atoning, sacrificial death on the cross. Those who accept Jesus by faith receive salvation (or deliverance) from an eternity of separation and punishment from their Creator. One paraphrase of John 3:17-18 summarizes this concept in the following manner…
“God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it. There is no eternal doom awaiting those who trust him to save them. But those who don’t trust him have already been tried and condemned for not believing in the only Son of God” (TLB).