FOR GOD SO LOVED...WHO? (part 16)

 

 

Grace is not something which is dependent upon a man’s will, or a man’s actions, for it would then cease to be grace. Grace cannot be dependent upon anything, outside the will of God, but only that which is depended on. Grace is dependent on nothing and no one, but the will of Almighty God. Grace is solely dependent on the will and purpose of God. God’s purpose is all wrapped up in God’s will, and the outcome is grace. To say salvation is by grace is to say salvation is by God, for grace is God doing, first. To say salvation is of the Lord is to say salvation is by grace according to God’s will and God’s purpose. To say that salvation is by grace is to say that salvation belongs to God, and is, therefore, conditioned, dependent, reliant, on nothing else, and no one else, but the will and purpose of Almighty God. If salvation is dependent on man, then grace, by which salvation comes, must also be dependent on man. This would be like saying that man can influence which way the wind blows, or that a man can direct the Holy Spirit of God (see Jn. 3:8; Eccl. 11:5). Grace relies solely upon the will of God, and the purpose of God. Grace hears only God’s voice, and obeys only His command. Grace is subject to God, and not man. The Holy Spirit is directed by God, not attracted to man, or by anything a man does. Salvation is solely dependent on grace, for it is by grace that a man is saved. And, if by grace then nothing can be done before grace that can in any way attract salvation, and nothing needs to be done after grace has saved. GRACE IS NOT SOMETHING WHICH CAN BE COMMANDEERED BY THE WILL, OR ACT, OF A MAN. It is God’s grace, and it is His to give to whomsoever He wills. It is grace alone which does it all. Let this sink deeply into your mind dear reader, that the Word of God states that salvation is according to whomsoever God wills to be saved, and is not something which is subject to whomsoever wills to be saved. Salvation is subject solely to God’s will, not man’s. God must have the pre-eminence in all things otherwise He cannot be God, and salvation cannot be by grace alone. Grace comes first just as God comes first in anything, and everything, to do with salvation, and life. Before creation there was the Creator, before salvation there must be a Saviour. If this were not so, then grace would necessarily follow some act on the part of man, and could no longer legitimately, Scripturally, be called grace. Grace is something which is unmeritable, and so, can never come after something else is done, by someone else doing something first. We are saved because of God, we believe because of God, and we do good works because of God working in us, and through us. “…by grace (God) are ye saved…” (Eph. 2:8); “Who by Him do believe in God…” (1Pet. 1:21); “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13 cf. Eph. 2:10). Nothing can be done without God, or before God makes one alive unto Him. It is quite an amazing thing to see a man, in accord with his sinful nature, more wary of a Sovereign God Who provides salvation for those who are hopeless without Him, than the blasphemy—based on the Satanic lie that man would not die and is not dead—which teaches man can come to God of his own volition despite the Lord Jesus making it perfectly clear that “No man can come unto Me, except the Father…” (Jn.6:44). Before the Father no man can come to the Saviour, for a man must first be made alive, born again. Salvation is conditioned on the actions of God, not man. No effort on man’s part can possibly bring about a new creation, for this is solely the work of God: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works…” (Eph. 2:10), not because of good works. Obviously, the new creation precedes any and all good works. “…we all are the work of Thy hand” (Isa. 64:8 cf. Eph. 4:24). Before grace, no man can do anything to come to God, or even will to seek the true God. After the work of grace in a man’s heart nothing more needs be done to save him. Grace is what saves a man, and that which keeps him saved.

 

After John 3:15 comes the familiar words, ‘For God so loved...’ “Verse 16 begins with the assertion that God’s love is the basis of His redemptive work in Jesus Christ. God’s love for the world comes to expression in the sending of His unique Son into the world (not for everyone in the world), and in the provision of eternal life for a specific and limited group. The same delineation and particularity that is found in the last phrase of v. 15 is repeated here. The next two words John wrote were ‘houtoos gar’, literally meaning ‘so for’. To make the words flow in English, the word ‘so’ was pushed back into the sentence structure and ‘for’ became the opening word. But, we need to understand each of these words. ‘Houto’ (the root of ‘houtoos’) means ‘in this manner’, or ‘after this fashion’. That’s the same way we use the word ‘so’ when we instruct a child to do something ‘just so’. We mean, do it ‘like this’, or ‘after this manner,’” or ‘in this way’. “The text’s meaning is transparent, though again, the challenge is hearing the text outside of pre-existing traditions. ‘So’ is best understood as ‘in this manner’ or ‘to this extent’ rather than the common ‘sooooo much’. God’s love is shown, illustrated, or revealed in His giving of His Son. The Incarnation is an act of grace, but that Incarnation is never seen separately from the purpose of Christ in coming into the world, specifically, providing redemption through faith in Him.” “…thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21 cf. 1 Jn. 3:23; Lk. 1:77). He shall save His predestinated, predetermined, people from their sins, for it is they whom He loves, thus it is for them that He was sent, and for whom He specifically laid down His life (see Eph. 5:25,26). “He sent redemption unto His people: He hath commanded His covenant for ever: Holy and Reverend is His name” (Psa. 111:9 cf. Lk. 1:68). This love and salvation for His people is encapsulated in Galatians 1:1-4: Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead;) And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia: Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father.” God’s love does not follow a person’s believing, for those who love Him do so because He loved them first, evidenced in His giving His Son for them. “…the love of God is demonstrated in the giving of Christ so as to bring about the eternal life of believers. In the modern readings of John 3:16, folk get the impression that John was exclaiming, ‘God loves the world ssssooooo much!’ But, that was not John’s meaning. He said, ‘For in this manner (the aforementioned lifting up of Christ) God demonstrated His love’.”

 

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3:16). “Many modern per-versions of the Bible translate the word ‘so’, by implying ‘God loved the world so much’.” The ‘Good News Bible’, as well as the ‘New English Bible’ (NEB) perversions recklessly, irresponsibly and literally state: “God loved the world so much that he gave His only Son…” The ‘Contemporary English Version’ (CEV) even goes so far as to say: “For God loved the people of this world so much…” The truth of the matter is “…this word ‘so’—HOUTOS in the original—does not EVER mean ‘so much’, but rather it means ‘thus’ or ‘so,’ as in ‘in this manner’. That is why this is the key verse in the Bible, because it tells in what manner God loved the world. To love the world as such is to be the enemy of God (Jas. 4:4). God does not love the world at all apart from what He purposed in Christ. The word ‘so’ or ‘thus’ actually refers back to the words just before John 3:16.” More on this later. 1 John 4:9-11 provides great assistance in arriving at the only accurate understanding of John 3:16 which is in accord with the Scriptures, the whole of God’s Word. In this passage, the apostle John again makes reference to God’s love, but this time clearly states that God’s love is to us, meaning himself and those believers he was writing to: “In this was manifested the love of God toward US, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that WE might live through Him. Herein is love (motivated by the will, purpose and grace of God), not that we loved God, but that He loved US, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for OUR sins. Beloved, if God so loved US, WE ought also to love one another” (cf. 1 Jn. 3:1). One should never even attempt to interpret John 3:16 without the light that these Scriptures provide. There is no love for everyone without exception here, but only for the beloved children of God, those who have been appointed to believe. God does not save any because of their love for Him, but because of His love for them. That is grace. Notice here the very important phrase Beloved, if God so loved us…”, which is expressed in the following manner in 1 John 3:2: Beloved, Now are we the sons of God…” The term beloved is one which is exclusively reserved for God’s people throughout the Bible. The term beloved here is a reference to fellow believers. 1 John 5:13 shows clearly that John was writing to believers. “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God…” (1 Jn. 5:13 cf. 1 Jn. 2:1). Whenever beloved is used in the New Testament it is either referring to Christ as loved by God (see Matt. 3:17, 12:18, 17:5; Mk. 1:11, 9:7; Lk. 3:22, 9:35; 2 Pet. 1:17), or of  believers (Rom. 1:7; 9:25; 12:19; 16:12; 1 Cor. 10:14; 15:58; 2 Cor. 7:1; 12:19; Phil. 4:1; Col. 3:12; 1 Thess. 1:14; 2 Thess. 2:13; Heb. 6:9; Jas. 1:16,19; 2:5; 1 Pet. 2:11; 4:12; 2 Pet. 3:1,8,14,17; 1 Jn. 3:2,21; 4:1,7,11; 3 Jn. 1:2,5,11; Jd. 1:3,17,20)—often as a form of address “Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry” (1 Cor. 10:14). The phrase dearly beloved is also used in Rom. 12:19; 2 Cor. 7:1; 12:19; Phil. 4:1; 2 Tim. 1:2; Phile. v. 1 and 1 Pet. 2:11. In John’s first Letter he refers to fellow believers as “little children”, “brethren”, “beloved” (see 1 Jn. 2:1,7,12). In 1 John 3:2 one quickly discovers who the beloved are: “BELOVED, now are WE THE SONS OF GOD...” In the New Testament the term beloved is used when describing those who love the Lord, meaning faithful disciples, or followers, of the True God, or those loved by the person using the word ‘beloved’ (see Eph. 6:24; Js. 1:12, 2:5). Romans 1:7 refers to the “…beloved of God…” The term is “Spoken only of Christians as united with God or with each other in the bonds of holy love” (see 1 Cor. 15:58; Eph. 6:21; Phil. 4:1; Col. 4:7). The beloved of God are those chosen by Him to salvation (see Rom. 11:28; Eph. 5:1). The apostle Paul often used the term beloved when referring to those converted under his ministry (see Rom. 16:5,8,9,12; 1 Cor. 4:17; 2 Tim. 1:2; cf. 1 Cor. 4:14, 10:14; Phil. 2:12). In fact, you’ll find the term beloved in 23 of the 27 Books and Letters of the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke, Acts, Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1 & 2 Peter, 1 & 3 John, Jude and Revelation. The phrase “…if God so loved us…” (1 Jn. 4:11), denotes God’s love as being exclusively for those whom He calls beloved, and not at all for those who make up the world of the ungodly, for they are never referred to in Scripture as beloved. One of the major problems with a carnal, human interpretation of Scripture is that the words ‘us’, ‘we’, ‘our’, and the like are so often wrongly given a universal meaning rather than the clear and obvious contextual, and inescapable, meaning which always accompanies such words, revealing they are an exclusive reference to the believers that were being written to, or spoken about. The Bible knows nothing of the terms we, us, our etc., as referring to believer and non-believer alike. They are never used as general references to all without exception, but always and specifically in relation to believers. There is no reference to a collective universal entity in the Scriptures when such words are employed. They are always used with reference to Israel, specific groups of believers, or the whole Church of Christ, as the people of God. The manner in which God loved His people who were in the world, but not of the world, is seen in His sending His Son into the world, but giving Him to His beloved, whether Jew, or Greek, to be the propitiation, or satisfaction, for their sins. This clearly, and completely, contradicts the entire premise of those who hold to a false interpretation of John 3:16.

 

‘The world’. “The common reading of John 3:16 insists that God loved ‘the whole world’ – meaning ‘everyone who has ever lived’. And, He loved them immensely. After all ‘God ssssoooo loved the world!’ That’s emotionally appealing, but it’s not what John wrote!” One book, entitled: ‘Divine Obsession’, was subtitled: ‘God’s Illogical, Insane, Incomprehensible, Impassioned Love for You'", ‘you’ meaning everyone without exception. Such claims betray an illogical, insane, incomprehensible, and impassioned ignorance of just Who God is, and what God’s great love is all about. To speak of God as loving everyone and wanting everyone to be saved is far more appealing to the carnal nature of man than the reality of the true God not loving all, but only His own, of Christ not dying for all, but only those His Father gave to Him. Moreover, what is missed in all this ‘God loves all’ doctrine, and related teachings, is the hidden, deadly leaven concealed within this dogma that blasphemously does away with one of the key attributes of the Holy God: the Sovereignty of God. If God loves all, but not all are saved—something which is readily taught by most so-called Christian institutions—then of what significance is, and what relevance has, God’s love when it obviously makes no difference as to who is, or how many are, saved? Man’s incompetent interpretation of John 3:16 describes God’s love as a love for everyone that does nothing for anyone, but impotently awaits the actions of its objects to make the difference. Of what purpose is God’s alleged love for all without exception if not all without exception are saved? We learn in Deuteronomy 7:6-8 that the only reason Israel became God’s people, the only thing which caused them to differ from all other nations was God’s love. The following illustrates the Sovereignty of God, and the kind of difference which God’s love makes, and is responsible for: “For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee TO BE a special people unto Himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The Lord did not set His love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people:  But because the Lord loved you…” (cf. Jer. 31:3); “You only have I known of all the families of the earth…” (Amos 3:2 cf. Psa. 106:4). God did not choose Israel because they were a special people. God did not choose Israel because of their love for Him, but because of His love for them. IT WAS GOD’S LOVE THAT DISTINGUISHED ISRAEL FROM ALL OTHER NATIONS. God’s choice of them was so that they would be a special people, not because they were an intrinsically special people. Only God could and did make them special people, it was nothing of their own doing. God’s will, purpose and grace manifested by His love is what made the difference. God’s love is an active love, it is a purposeful love, it is an elective love, and it is a love which is guaranteed to make a difference. Surely if a mere man’s love for his wife is the difference between how he deals differently with her, compared with all other women, whom he does not love, the love of the Lord God for His people is what makes the difference between how God deals with them as opposed to those whom He does not love. God’s love, like His Word, never returns to Him without having fully accomplished what it was sent out to do. God’s love can never be separated from God’s purpose, for God’s love is never without purpose, because His love is inseparable from His will. Likewise, if Christ died for all without exception, but not all are saved, then of what worth, what value would Christ’s death have been if even some of those He died for end up in Hell regardless? What kind of atonement is this which was allegedly made for all without exception, and accepted by God, but did not wipe away the sins of all? The doctrines which teach neither God’s love, or the death of Christ, as that which makes the difference in the salvation of any, but insist a man’s ‘free will’ decision is what makes a saved man to differ from a lost man, are, far from being God-honoring, the most anti-God teachings the world has ever known. More on this later.

 

“The word ‘world’ in John 3:16 is the Greek word ‘kosmos’. While it is true that ‘kosmos’ sometimes denotes ‘every part and parcel of the whole earth’, most often it means, ‘people of all kindred, tribes and nations, as opposed to Israelites exclusively’. This variation of meaning becomes obvious as we look at John’s own use of this word. The apostle employed the word ‘kosmos’ 59 times in his Gospel. Here’s just a sampling: ‘He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not’ (Jn. 1:10); Jesus was in the world—a reference to both the planet and its inhabitants. And, He made the world—the physical structure was created and is sustained by Him. And, the world knew Him not—the people did not recognize Him. In that short verse we get three different nuances of the single word ‘kosmos’. ‘The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world’ (Jn. 1:29). John was saying one of two things, here. Either he was saying: 1) Behold the sacrificial Lamb (typified by Israel’s sin offerings) that will remove every sin of every person who ever lived. Or, 2) Behold the sacrificial Lamb that will remove not only the sin of Israelites, but of people from every kindred, tribe, tongue and nation. If statement number 1 is true, then every sin of every person who ever lived was paid for at Calvary and God cannot judge anyone on the basis of their actions, thoughts, deeds, rebellion or even unbelief, inasmuch as those sins are all paid for. If the second statement is true, then the word ‘kosmos’ can be used in a more narrow sense that includes people of all nations, but not every single person of all nations”, just like it does not include every single person of the Jewish nation (see Rom. 9:6-8). “As we’ll see, the latter statement is the more tenable and exegetically consistent reading of that verse.” Significantly, it also aligns perfectly with the prophecy given by Caiaphas in John 11:51,52: “And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; And not for that nation only, but that also He should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad” (cf. Matt. 24:31; Mk. 13:27; Eph. 1:10). Notice who would be gathered together from all nations, including Israel—only the children of God, and not all without exception. How can one propose to defend God’s alleged love for all, if God does not gather all without exception? Clearly, the ones God loves are the ones He gathers to Himself. Notice, also, that Christ’s dying is synonymous with His gathering together the children of God. These are the beloved of God, the people He loved and gave unto His Son. Jesus’ dying for ‘that nation’ does not mean He would die for everyone of that nation, but only for the children God had given Him out of that nation. This rules out the ridiculous idea that the efficaciousness of Christ’s death is in any way reliant upon each individual’s free will acceptance of it, for Christ did not die for all without exception, but only for those who were the children of God chosen out of the Jewish nation, and out of the nations of the world. “…for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Rev. 5:9 cf. 1 Pet. 1:18,19). This verse  reinforces the fact that those for whom Christ died were not all people without exception of every kindred, tongue, people and nation, but those out of every kindred, tongue, people and nation. God does not love, and Christ did not die for all people from all nations; nor all people from some nations, or some people from some nations, but some people—His chosen people, His loved people—from all nations. Christ’s dying only for the children of God shows conclusively that the acceptance of Christ’s atonement was dependent upon God to whom the sacrifice was made, and not at all on those for whom it was made.

 

Not incidentally, the effectiveness of the Old Testament high priest's sacrifice, under the direction of God, was determined not by those who 'chose to accept it', but on God’s predetermination of whom the sacrifice was to be made on the behalf of. For example, “And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year. And he did as the LORD commanded Moses” (Lev. 16:34). The matter of who atonement was to be made, that is, JUST EXACTLY WHOSE SINS WERE TO BE ATONED FOR, was settled BEFORE the sacrifice took place. What was done was successfully accomplished for those whom God intended to receive the full benefits of what was actually done on their behalf. God’s will is never without purpose, and God’s purpose never goes unfulfilled. God’s will is subject to His approval, not a man’s compliance. It is important to note that God is under no obligation to do anything other than what He wills to do. Moreover, God is under no obligation to do anything for anyone other than those He has elected to be merciful toward. All have sinned and abandoned God, and there are none, by nature, who seek Him. God cannot, and has not, promised anything to anyone whom He has not done anything for! (see Rom. 4:16). There is nothing in the Scriptures which substantiates the teaching that God EVER ordered even a single sacrifice for all the people in the entire world! Nor is there any mention, whatsoever, that any provision has been made by way of atonement, reconciliation, the granting of eternal life, etc., for those who are appointed to God’s Wrath. To say atonement is dependent upon the acceptance of those for whom it is made in order for it to be effectual, is to say a person’s electricity bill has been paid, but the effectiveness of the payment all depends upon the person’s acceptance, rather than that of the electricity company. If someone tells you that they have paid your electricity bill, then either they have paid it, or they have not. They cannot say to you, ‘If you accept what I have done for you then I have paid your bill’. Either they have paid it, that is, handed over the money, made the transaction, and the bill has been stamped PAID, or they are lying! This is in fact a perfect illustration, for the Bible says that the sins for which Christ has paid the penalty have all been NAILED to His Cross (Col. 2:14), alluding to the middle eastern tradition which is even used in many western countries, of driving a nail through an account thus signifying payment/satisfaction made, and that no further payment is required or necessary. The debt is paid, and the company to whom it was paid is satisfied, and demands nothing else, no further satisfaction to be made, from the one for whom the bill was paid. How many times must one pay an electricity bill in order for the electric company to be satisfied? For that matter, what has your acceptance got to do with this transaction made on your behalf? Your acceptance is not that which validates, or gives legal force to, the transaction, IT IS THE PAYMENT MADE WHICH CANCELS THE DEBT! Is it not the sole business of the one who has paid the debt, and the one to whom the debt was owing? “It is always the creditor who accepts the payment which the debtor makes, and, when payment has been once accepted, no further demand can be made upon the debtor. It is not a question of whether the sinner accepts Christ but whether he believes God when God says that He has accepted Christ.” The one who has had his bill paid is merely the beneficiary of what was done on his behalf. He has absolutely no say in the matter, and cannot effect it in any way. Whoever heard of a due, proper and legitimate payment being made and accepted, but later refunded at the request of the one whose debt was paid? How many times must God punish sin in order to be satisfied? Surely God’s Wrath towards the sin of those Christ suffered punishment for, was exhausted on the cross. Surely God’s method of dealing with sins was successful, and absolutely fulfilled by Christ’s blood poured out on the cross, for this was the method God designated to deal with the sins of His people. This was God’s perfect solution to their sin problem.

 

The Word of God knows nothing of an atonement which was dependent upon the acceptance of those for whom it was made. After all, the atoning sacrifice was offered to God (see Eph. 5:2; Heb. 9:14), it was offered to meet with His acceptance, FOR those for whom it was made. Something which is offered TO someone must meet with THEIR acceptance, and not the acceptance of the one on whose behalf the offer is made. “…the Lord Jesus did not leave the virtues of His atonement to depend upon the creature. No, He committed His cause and interests unto the Father. Hear Him saying, ‘And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to Thee. Holy Father, keep through Thine own name those whom Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, as We are’ (Jn. 17:11). Unto the keeping power of the Father did Christ entrust those for whom He died…Christ died not as a private person, but as the federal Head of the whole election of grace; therefore His final act on the cross must be understood as signifying ‘…Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit…’ (Lk. 23:46). And what was the Father’s response? Psalm 110 tells us. The Father not only exalted Christ to His own right hand, but solemnly assured Him that, ‘The Lord shall send the rod of Thy strength out of Zion…Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power…’ (v. 2,3)…There are many who plead for the atonement of Christ, who, in effect, deny it, as well as its open opposers. They suppose that it is a conditional atonement, of efficacy only to those who comply with certain terms. It is evident, however, that a conditional atonement is no atonement in the proper sense of the word; for an atonement must expiate the sins atoned for, just as a payment cancels a debt.” Christ’s atonement cancelled the debt His people owed God. Christ’s payment was made to God on the behalf of His people. God’s not accepting His Son’s payment was the only way Christ’s atonement could have been non-efficacious.

 

Where, then, there has been an actual atonement made, the sins atoned for never can be punished again, any more than a debt once paid can be charged a second time. It would be unjust in God to charge the debt to the account of man that was fully paid by man’s Surety…Jesus HAS PAID the debt. He has already made atonement; and if they for whom He died are not absolved, the debt is charged a second time. Christ can never be refunded. His blood has been shed; and there is no possibility that what He suffered can be now either more or less. They, then, who suspend the efficacy of the atonement of Christ upon conditions to be complied with by man, in effect deny that atonement has been truly made.” Their denial is centred on the desperate, baseless and Satanic lie that Christ’s atonement was simply not enough. It is nothing but a direct attack on the Person of Christ—Who He is—and the blood of Christ—what He has done. The lie is that a man must make a decision to accept what was allegedly done for all in order to validate the payment, and if he does not, then what was done for him becomes null and void. What the Arminian christ has done is something that hangs in limbo—in-between reality and fantasy—which awaits a touch from the magic wand of our belief and acceptance in order to make it ‘really real’. Arminianism denies the very meaning of the word atonement. The term atonement means ‘exchange, reconciliation’, "...and is the result of the redemption, the Divine act of salvation, the ceasing of God’s Wrath" through the imputation of the sins of His people to Christ, and of Christ’s Righteousness to His people. “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom we have now received the atonement (Rom. 5:10,11). Christ’s work of atonement was about EXCHANGING the sins of His people for His Righteousness. Imputation is a two way street: one cannot separate the act of the taking away of sins from the charging of His Righteousness. The Lamb has taken away the sins of those for whom He died, and His Righteousness is/will be imputed to them. It is all the Work of God in order to save all those for whom it was done. To talk of a man’s will impeding the will of God and the atoning work of Christ, is sheer folly, for the Word of God states “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me…” (Jn. 6:37). Christ has paid the debt of His people, those whom the Father gave Him, and the Father has fully accepted Christ’s payment. Nothing else needs to be done to make Christ’s atonement complete.

 

Once a debt is paid, the issue is forever settled. In addition to all this, there is no Biblical precedent, nor justification, for a sacrifice directed by God to be made for any except His chosen people. The sacrificial system of the Old Testament is filled with types and shadows of that One Great Sacrifice of the Lord’s Great High Priest the Lord Jesus Christ (see Heb. 8:5; 9:11-14,23; 13:10-13). Even pagan sacrifices were always offered to the god on behalf of the people in the hope that he would accept, and be appeased by, what was done to mollify his wrath. The sacrifice for the people was made on behalf of the people. Jesus is the Lamb of God, the sacrifice provided by God for His people, to atone for their sins. The sacrifice directed by God in the Old Testament was not conditioned on man's acceptance of it, but solely upon God's acceptance of it signified by the high priest reappearing from the Holy of Holies. So too, Christ the great High Priest's sacrifice was not something made for all, and its effectiveness determined by an individual's acceptance of what was done, but solely and exclusively upon the acceptance of God, signified by Christ's Resurrection from the dead. “And Aaron shall come into the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall put off the linen garments, which he put on when he went into the holy place, and shall leave them there” (Lev.16:23). “Why? To denote that his work was finished. The blessed antitype of this we see in Luke 24:12: on the resurrection morning, those who came to Christ’s empty sepulchre 'beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves', a token that He was risen from the dead, and so of atonement completed, and accepted by God.” Christ's Resurrection was confirmation from God that the sacrifice performed for all His chosen ones whom He had given to His Son was accepted by Him, thereby, securing and ensuring the salvation of all for whom it was made.

 

The whole concept of atonement is to effectively deal with the penalty which sin has incurred, and that it be fully paid to the satisfaction of the offended party. If successfully performed to the specifications of the one offended, then atonement is accepted, and so no punishment whatsoever remains for those for whom the penalty has been paid. This is Biblical atonement. The price has been paid, God is appeased, and, therefore, those for whom atonement was made will all reap its benefits. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1). It is as certain and definite as “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me…” (Jn. 6:37). Christ died for the people the Father gave to Him, and so they will all come to Him. “…the blood is the life…” (Deut. 12:23), and the blood of Christ’s atonement is the guarantee that those it was poured out for will receive eternal life. Atonement was made so as to blot out the sins of those for whom it was made, forever. “The intent of the atonement is the extent of the atonement. The atonement is infinite in nature and an exact equivalent of the penalty required for the sins of the elect and satisfies the demands of the law. The atonement secures the object for which it was intended, the salvation of all the elect. The intent of the atonement and the extent are equal.” “I am the good Shepherd, and know My sheep, and am known of Mine. As the Father knoweth Me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one Shepherd” (Jn. 10:14-16 cf. Jn. 11:51,52). The ones Christ must bring are His sheep scattered among all nations, for He has laid down His life for them. Consequently they will all hear His voice, and come to Him. These are the only ones who will come to Him, for they are the only ones the Father has given to Him: “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me…” (Jn. 6:37). Christ became a curse for all those for whom He died, and all these ones would, in time, be imputed with His Righteousness. The curse of sin is lifted from all those for whom atonement has been made. Christ’s death was their death, His people’s death, just as His Righteousness became their Righteousness. The sacrifice of Christ was made to God for the people of God, and God was pleased to accept it, thus it was effective for all for whom it was made. The transaction was between the Father and the Son for all the elect. All those for whom Christ died were appointed to obtain salvation by Him (see 1 Thess. 5:9,10). God's acceptance of what Christ had done is proof positive that what Christ has done on the Cross was 100% sufficient AND EFFICIENT!! ALL FOR WHOM CHRIST DIED WILL BE SAVED BECAUSE HE OBTAINED ETERNAL REDEMPTION FOR ALL THOSE WHOM THE FATHER HAD APPOINTED TO SALVATION, AND GIVEN TO HIM. So, either all are saved, or only all for whom Christ  made sacrifice on the behalf of are saved. In light of this, why would any person even theoretically state that Christ's death was for all in any capacity. The Old Testament high priest was a shadow or type, a signifier, of what the great High Priest would do: make sacrifice for God's chosen people (see Heb. 8:5; 9:23).

 

Resuming our closer look at various verses which contain the word ‘world’. “For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If Thou do these things, shew Thyself to the world” (Jn. 7:4). “In this verse, Jesus’ brothers were encouraging Him to go up to the feast at Jerusalem, work some miracles and spread His fame. But obviously, the whole world was not at Jerusalem. They were simply saying, ‘Go make yourself public’. Again, this shows the narrow scope that is possible with the word ‘kosmos’.” “Then went out to Him Jerusalem, and all Judea, and all the region round about Jordan” (Matt. 3:5). Did every single person in Jerusalem and Judea and the surrounding region go out to Him? Not at all. Were all without exception baptized in the Jordan river? Clearly not. No one has ever taught this, and no one has ever believed such a thing, not even among the most optimistic of universalists. ‘The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? Behold, the world is gone after Him’ (Jn. 12:19 cf. Mk.1:37). Likewise, the Pharisees did not mean to claim that people on distant continents were following Jesus at that moment. But, a large crowd in Jerusalem did. So again we see an example of the narrow scope of ‘kosmos’. ‘The world cannot hate you; but Me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil’ (Jn. 7:7). Here, Jesus spoke of the ‘kosmos’ hating Him. But, not everyone who ever lived hated Him.” Christ’s disciples certainly did not hate Him, nor would those who would believe through their word hate Him. Therefore, the world here cannot include the chosen of God, it cannot be speaking of every individual without exception. It is the world of non-believers that is referred to, and not everyone without exception. “Jesus spoke of the majority of the populace who stood against Him. He may even have been referring to the religions and governmental systems that stood in opposition to His Lordship. But importantly, He did not mean that ‘everyone who ever lived’ opposed Him. ‘Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour was come that He should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end’ (Jn. 13:1). In this verse, John drew a distinction between the ‘kosmos’ and those that Jesus loved. In other words, those that belonged to Him were in the world and He loved them to the end. But, He contrasted them with ‘the world’. That’s a critical distinction. So critical, in fact, that Jesus went on to pray only for His own beloved people, but not for the world” (see Jn. 17:9). John 3:16 should never be read, or taught, outside the context of John 13:1 which clearly indicates that God does not love everyone in the world without exception, but only those who were chosen to be His own people.

 

Further light is shed upon John 3:16 in the following prayer of the Lord Jesus: “I have manifested Thy name unto the men which Thou gavest Me out of the world: Thine they were, and Thou gavest them Me; and they have kept Thy word. Now they have known that all things whatsoever Thou hast given Me are of Thee. For I have given unto them the words which Thou gavest Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from Thee, and they have believed that Thou didst send Me. I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which Thou hast given Me; FOR they are thine” (Jn. 17:6-9). No honest person can possibly presume to believe that John 3:16 is referring to God’s love for all, and Christ’s subsequent death for all without exception, in light of such Scriptures as these. Just one of these Scriptures is enough to shatter the whole of Arminianism, as well as all religion, let alone some lost person’s assumption of what John 3:16 is saying. “I have manifested Thy name unto the men which Thou gavest Me out of the world…” (Jn. 17:6), “Having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them…” (Jn.13:1), “I pray not for the world” (Jn. 17:9), and “…I lay down My life for the sheep” (Jn. 10:15; cf. Jn. 10:11), simply do not correspond with preconceived opinions, and traditional renderings of “For God so loved the world”. Either “I pray not for the world”, is wrong, or the popular understanding of “For God so loved the world” is wrong. THEY CANNOT BOTH BE RIGHT! They cannot co-exist in the same Bible, for the one eliminates the very possibility of the other. There cannot be such a glaringly obvious contradiction in the Scriptures which on the one hand would claim God’s love for everyone, and on the other hand teaches God’s exclusive love for His chosen. How could Christ manifest His so called love for the world by not praying for the world? How indeed could the Father possibly love all without exception, and then demonstrate that love by giving only some to His Son to pray and die for? How could Christ manifest His love for everyone without exception, by loving only those whom the Father has given Him, and praying only for them, and not for all without exception? How could Christ have died for the sins of all without exception, when He Himself stated that He would lay down His life only for the sheep, HIS sheep? The word studies provided in this book, along with comparing Scripture with Scripture provide the relevant evidence needed to distinguish truth from error in a proper exposition of John 3:16 and all related verses.

 

“If ‘kosmos’ means ‘everybody who ever lived’, and God ‘ssssoooo loved’ them all, why would Jesus draw this line of demarcation between the world and ‘the men which Thou gavest Me out of the world’? (Jn. 17:6 cf. Jn. 15:19; Acts 15:14; Heb. 7:25). Jesus prayed specifically for those people God gave Him (‘for they are Thine’) and He specifically did not pray for ‘the world’”, because God did not give them to Him, for they were not His. “Again, ‘kosmos’ does not always mean ‘everyone who ever lived’. It most often means ‘people of every nationality as opposed to Israelites exclusively’. The fact of the matter is: If God so loved everybody who ever lived that He gave His only begotten Son to die for everybody who ever lived, then Jesus was in direct opposition to His Father when—just prior to being lifted up on the cross—He failed to pray for everybody who ever lived! But, the reality is…Neither Jesus nor John ever taught that God loved and paid the sin penalty for everybody who ever lived. Allow me to offer two last verses that will further prove that Jesus created a distinction between those that were His, and the ‘kosmos’. ‘And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; Whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you’ (Jn. 14:16,17).” Does this mean that every one without exception cannot receive the Holy Spirit? Obviously not. “The Holy Ghost is the ‘proof positive’ of salvation. (See Eph. 1:12,13 & 2 Cor. 1:21,22). He is the ‘token’ of the New Covenant of salvation by grace through faith. Only those who receive (are given) the Holy Ghost (the very subject of Jesus’ discussion with Nicodemus in John 3) will receive eternal life. Yet, Jesus said that the world ‘cannot receive’ the Spirit of Truth. In fact, the world does not see Him or know Him. On the other hand, the apostles did know Him because He would be with them and in them. So, if God loved everybody who ever lived so much that He gave His Son for their sins, why is it that those same people—the world—cannot receive the Holy Ghost that is essential for salvation?” The Word of God also states “…no man knoweth Who the Son is, but the Father; and Who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal Him (Lk. 10:22 cf. Jn. 5:21). Matthew 11:27 uses terminology more familiar to the advocates of the false interpretation of John 3:16: “…neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.” It is the prerogative of the Son to reveal the Father to whomsoever He will reveal Him, thus destroying the myth that any can come to Him based on their free will decision, for none to whom the Father is not revealed even know Who He is, thus, there are none by nature who seek Him (see Rom. 3:11). Couple this with the fact that “…the Son quickeneth (makes alive) whom He will” (Jn. 5:21), along with the Scriptural truth that the Holy Spirit of God also does not pray for all without exception, but only for God’s chosen people, and you begin to see the reality which the Word of God presents: “And He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Rom. 8:27 cf. Rom. 8:26,34). It is patently obvious that world in John 14:16,17 is not a reference to everyone without exception, but only to those who cannot receive, who do not see, and who do not know the true God. These are all things which God gives to His elect that they might be converted. The world does not make up God’s people, for God’s children are only those whom God has chosen out of the world to be His people. “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you” (Jn. 15:19). “Now attempt to read this verse and substitute ‘everybody who ever lived’ for the word ‘world’. Suddenly, the verse makes no sense at all. ‘If you were part of everybody who ever lived, then everybody who ever lived would love his own; but you are not part of everybody who ever lived, but I have chosen you out of everybody who ever lived, therefore everybody who ever lived hates you’… There’s only one conclusion. ‘Kosmos’ simply does not mean ‘everybody who ever lived’.