Wednesday, March 15, 2006

1 Tim 1:13

"I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and an arrogant man, but I have been mercifully treated because I acted out of ignorance in my unbelief" (1 Tim. 1:13)
Does this verse mean that sins not committed in ignorance are unforgivable??
Does the verse also imply that Owen's view that Muslims can be saved because they are ignorant be true?
Just interested in your opinion on this verse (especially the first question).
T-blog reader


Here Paul is evoking a Biblical distinction between unwitting sins and presumptuous sins (Lev 22:14; Num 15:22-31).

There are degrees of guilt, aggravating circumstances as well as attenuating circumstances.

To be guilty of presumptuous or high-handed sin is a mark of a hardened sinner, hardened by God or reprobated by God. An apostate is a classic example.

As Paul goes on to explain in v16, he was shown mercy as a prototype of those who are saved by exercising faith in Christ.

So this is not a form of divine mercy which saves apart from faith in Christ, but a form of divine mercy which saves the sinner through the instrumentality of faith in Christ.

Some people are exposed to the gospel as well as being given the grace of faith to believe it, while others are exposed to the gospel, but respond in defiant unbelief.

So v13 needs to be read in light of v16.