FOR GOD SO LOVED...WHO? (part 17)
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son…” (Jn. 3:16). We have learned that “‘for’ (gar) God so (in this manner) loved (agapao) the world (people from every nationality) that…’ Or in context, Jesus said, ‘Remember how Moses lifted up the brazen serpent in the wilderness and those who looked on it were healed? Likewise, the Son of man will be lifted up and all those who believe in Him will have everlasting life, for, God will demonstrate His sacrificial love for people of all nations (not just His children in Israel) in this manner …And, here’s the manner, ‘His only begotten Son’. Once again the Greek construction of this phrase literally reads, ‘that Son, His only begotten, He gave’. This is the manner in which God demonstrated His gracious, sacrificial love for His people that were in the world. He gave. He gave His Son. He gave His only begotten Son. Just as God provided a solution to the rampant death caused by the fiery serpents in the camp, God also provided a solution for the rampant death that eats mercilessly and terrifyingly through humanity. As the serpent was raised up, Christ was raised up. Those who looked on the serpent were healed and those who believe on the Son are healed (see Isa. 53:5). Those who were healed by the serpent did not die physically. Those who are healed by the Son have eternal life. ‘That all the believing in Him’. As mentioned above, the proper rendering of the phrase ‘that whosoever believeth’ is ‘all the believing’. It is not an infinite group made up of all those who exercise themselves to believe. It is an exclusive group made up only of those who actually do believe in the finished atoning work that Christ fully accomplished on His cross. As we will see when we get to verse 18, this stands in stark contrast to ‘he that believeth not’. The phrase ‘should not perish’ actually does appear in the original text. The good likelihood is that, due to familiarity, an early copyist inserted this phrase in verse 15. John’s point here is that ‘all the believing’ in Christ will not suffer eternal separation from God (see also 1 Thess. 5:9,10). Those who failed to look on the brazen serpent died. Those who fail to trust Christ will perish eternally. Again, verse 18 will make this abundantly clear. ‘But have everlasting life’. As opposed to perishing, ‘all the believing’ as a distinct group ‘have’ (the Greek ‘echo’, a present holding and possession) ‘zoe aioonion’, life everlasting.
“So, let’s put John 3:16 back together in light of this brief exegesis: ‘For in this manner (way) God sacrificially loved people from every nationality, in that His Son, His only begotten, He gave, so that all the believing in Him should not perish, but possess life everlasting’.” How can salvation be dependent upon each individual’s ‘free will’ decision, when Almighty God has already chosen those He wants saved before the foundation of the world, and given them to His Son? This whole fantasy world which lost, cursed, men have created for themselves, and gleefully wallow in, a world where God loves everyone, Christ died for everyone, and now anyone can choose Him according to their will, is diametrically opposed to all that is true about the most High God, His Son and the Holy Spirit of God. Scripture teaches with abundant clarity that God has chosen a people for Himself from every nation from before the foundation of the world: “God…did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for His name” (Acts 15:14 cf. Rev. 7:9); “…He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love” (Eph. 1:4), and that Christ laid down His life for the Church, His people, His sheep, FOR He is their Shepherd: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church, and gave Himself for it; That He might sanctify and cleanse it…no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the Church: For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones…And she shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins…I am the good Shepherd: the good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep” (Eph. 5:25,26,29,30; Matt. 1:21; Jn. 10:11). The Lord loves, nourishes and cherishes His people (see Eph. 5:25): “…feed the Church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28). The reason why God has chosen a people is made perfectly clear in Scripture: “…God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth” (2 Thess. 2:13; cf. 1 Thess. 5:9,10). The choosing and the sanctification are by the grace of God, and the belief of the truth is through the gift of faith given to His chosen by grace. The matter and purpose of who is saved, and why, was settled by God before the foundation of the world. God chose a people to be loved and saved, He gave those people—His Church—to His Son, and His Son provided a sacrifice to God on their behalf, in order to satisfy the rigid demands of God’s Justice and Holiness. People are born again only by the will of God, and not their own will, for before being made alive man in his natural condition is dead in sins, can do nothing to please God, or even seek God. Despite the fact that “…light is come into the world…men loved darkness rather than light…” (Jn. 3:19). Were it not for God, all would have remained lovers of darkness, and condemned to an eternity in Hell. The glorious Good News of God is that He has willed to be merciful to some, and save them. It is the will of God which is the determining factor. It is the will of God which makes the difference; it is the will of God which is the definitive and distinguishing feature which separates a saved man appointed to obtain salvation, from a lost man who is appointed to Wrath and eternal damnation.
“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” (1 Jn. 4:9). This verse sheds much light and is an invaluable aid to having an accurate Scriptural understanding of John 3:16, for it corroborates what has been said concerning in what manner God has loved. The reader needs to realise that John 3:16 is not saying how much God loved, but is describing how God has loved, in what manner God has loved. The original Greek uses the word ‘thus’, literally, ‘Thus for loves the God…’ or, ‘Thus God loves…’ Scripture says: “Herein is love…that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us…” (1 Jn. 4:10,11). “‘Beloved, if God so loved us’, as to send His Son to be a propitiatory sacrifice for our sins, and to obtain eternal life for us through His sufferings and death: the apostle uses the same language his Lord and Master did in John 3:16.” Here we have God’s love demonstrated: God loved His people by sending His Son for them, and, THIS is how God so loved them. It was the manner of God’s love to send His Son for His people. “…thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). We gain further support for all of the above from chapter 3 of John’s first Letter and verse 1: “Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not.” Here we see that God’s love was bestowed, not upon the whole world, but upon those who should be called the sons of God: the ones He manifested His love toward by sending His Son to save them from their sins. These sons of God are here clearly distinguished from the world—those who are not the chosen sons of God—who knew not God, and hated His brethren (see 1 Jn. 3:13). GOD’S CHOSEN ARE DISTINGUISHED FROM THE REST OF MANKIND BY HIS LOVE FOR THEM, AND BY CHRIST’S DEATH FOR THEM. “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8 cf. Eph. 2:5). Who is Paul writing to? “To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints…” (Rom. 1:7). Referring to those whom God loves as sons signifies that they are family (see Gal. 4:6; Eph. 1:4-6). Obviously, those who are not called the sons of God are not among those whom God loved. This is also evidenced by the fact that those who are of the world, the un-loved ones, know not, do not recognise, the true sons of God, because they do not know God. Those who love God do so only because God loved them first, ergo, it stands to Biblical reason that those who know not God were never known of Him (see Matt. 7:23), they were never loved by Him. Notice that 1John 4 says God sent His only begotten Son into the world, while John 3:16 tells us that God gave His Son. The word gave in John 3:16 is used rather than sent ‘emphasizing the idea of sacrifice’. God has not offered His Son to any, let alone to all, but has specifically given Him, promised Him, as the Passover Lamb of God to His chosen people. Gave, given, or gives emphasizes the idea of sacrifice for, or on the behalf of, and not an offering to.
As Christ loved only His own who were in the world, not those who were of the world (see Jn. 13:1; 17:23), so too, the Father must have sent His Son exclusively for, or because of, those whom He loved—the ones He gave to His Son. Christ loves His own for they are the Father’s loved ones signified by the Father giving only them to His Son (see Jn. 17:9). It stands to Biblical reason that those whom the Father has given to the Son are the very ones the Father has loved and given His Son for, in order that they would believe and have eternal life. These are the ones the Son was to give eternal life to (see Jn. 17:2), for they are the ones God has chosen and appointed to salvation. God loves His people who are scattered throughout all nations, for He gave His Son to them, and gave them to His Son. The Father expressed His love for them by giving them to His Son, and He also expressed His love for His Son by giving His chosen to Him. According to 1 John 4:9, God’s sending His only begotten Son into the world was a manifestation of His love toward His beloved, those who believed, and would believe, on the name of the Son of God (see also 1 Jn. 3:1; 1 Jn. 4:7; 1 Jn. 5:13). It is clear that the apostle John, who is inarguably addressing the beloved in 1 Jn. 4:7-11), is simultaneously revealing in this passage just exactly to whom he is referring in his use of the phrase the world in John 3:16. Listen to the Scriptures, the Word and language of God: “BELOVED…In this was manifested the love of God toward US (the beloved), because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that WE (the beloved) might live through Him. Herein is love, not that we (the beloved) loved God, but that He loved US (the beloved), and sent His Son to be the propitiation for OUR (the beloved’s) sins. BELOVED, if God so loved US, WE ought also to love one another” (1 Jn. 4:7-11 cf. 1 Jn. 3:16). “In this was manifested the love of God—Namely, most eminently above all other instances thereof; because that God sent his only-begotten Son into the world”, and the express purpose for God sending His Son into the world was to save His people—the beloved—from their sins. One can just as properly read this passage in the following manner: ‘Beloved…In this was manifested the love of God toward His beloved, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, so that His beloved might live through Him. Herein is love, not that His beloved loved God, but that God loved His beloved, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for the sins of His beloved. BELOVED, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another’. I am sure the reader can see just how significant, and completely and utterly indispensable this passage is to a proper, Biblical, interpretation of John 3:16, revealing that the world could not possibly be referring to anything other than the world of the beloved of God. No other conclusion could possibly fit the language of the Scriptures.
“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us…” (1 Jn. 3:16). One can be assured that whoever Christ laid down His life for, they are the ones whom He and His Father loved. “1 John 4:9 is very similar to 1 John 3:16, (Hereby), ‘in this’ referring to what follows, and introducing a concrete and crucial example of love. Beware of the inadequate and misleading rendering ‘toward us’ for ἐν ἡμῖν. It means ‘in us’, and belongs to ‘manifested’, as John 9:3 plainly shows. We must not connect together ‘the love of God in us’, still less ‘the love of God toward us’, as one idea. ‘In us’ means ‘in our case’, and the whole may be paraphrased: ‘A transcendent manifestation of the love of God has been made in regard to us, in that He hath sent’, etc. The verse might serve as a summary of John's Gospel. The word μονογενής (only begotten) as applied to Christ is peculiar to John; it and ζήσωμεν (we might live) are the key-words of 1 John 4:9. ‘This is love indeed; it is His only Son Whom He has sent, and He has sent Him to give us life'." The word toward is properly interpreted ‘in, on, at, with, by, among’. 1 John 3:16 states: “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us…” The original Greek has it “for the sake of us’, leaving no question as to exactly whom God loved, and whom Christ laid down His precious life for. Christ’s laying down His life was a substitutionary act on the behalf of the people God loved and entrusted to Him. The love of God here spoken of is His great love for His elect, and is manifestly revealed by the Father giving His Son so that His chosen will all believe in Him, and live eternally, because of Him. Why did God give His Son to some, and not all, if He loved all without exception? What made them different from those He did not give to His Son? On what basis did He give them, and not all, to His Son? What made them to differ from those of the world, was the very fact God’s love for them is seen in His giving them, and not all, to His Son. Also, 1 John 3:1,2 reveals just who it is whom the Lord loved: “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God…” Notice that God’s love has been bestowed not on the world—everyone without exception—but on those who are called the sons of God: the beloved. Not all are called, for not all are loved, for not all are the sons of God. The world of the godly and the world of the ungodly are clearly presented in this Scripture passage. Continuing his discourse on the beloved, the sons of God, the apostle John writes: “And ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin” (1 Jn. 3:5). Whose sins was He manifested to take away? Clearly, the Lord Jesus was manifested to specifically take away the sins of His particular people, His beloved (see 1 Jn. 3:2), whom 3:2), whom the Father chose to bestow His love upon that they should be called the sons of God: “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not” (1 Jn. 3:1 cf. 1 Jn. 3:16; 4:9). Those whom the Lord loves He calls the sons of God, the rest of mankind—the world—are not loved, they are not the sons of God upon whom the Lord has bestowed His love. The elect are those whom God has loved and taken out of the world, a world which He, clearly, has not loved. "God’s Love is upon the called. Their calling is the certain and infallible consequence of a Sovereign, eternal, and immutable love." This Love is an everlasting love, which has chosen them and given them to His Son for their eternal safekeeping. The sons of God are the ones whom God loved and sent His Son to be the propitiation for: “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 Jn. 4:10). God specifically sent His Son to be the propitiation for the sins of those whom He specifically loved.
The following Scriptures provide further invaluable insight into just exactly who Christ was given to, and what He has done for them. This also reveals precisely whom the Lord loves, and what He has done for those He has chosen to love and provide His Son, as Saviour, for. In writing to those at Rome who were called to be saints, the apostle Paul stated: “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that…Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8 cf.1 Cor. 15:3; Rev. 13:8). In writing to the churches of Galatia, Paul spoke of 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” (Gal. 1:4 cf. Gal. 2:20). In writing to Titus, Paul spoke of Christ “…Who gave Himself for us, THAT He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:14 cf. Col. 1:12). The original Greek has it: ‘Who gives Himself for the sake of us that He should be redeeming us’. Clearly, the ones whom Christ gave Himself for are the only ones who will be delivered from this present evil world, and redeemed from all iniquity, and purified. Again, we see the theme of substitution at work. The result of Christ’s giving Himself is the sure redemption of all those for whom He gave Himself. If the word us, in Titus 2:14, means everyone without exception, the verse would make absolutely no sense at all, for not all are saved, thus Christ giving Himself for all is simply a nonsensical doctrine. These Scriptures make it perfectly clear that whomever Christ gave Himself for, it was for the express purpose of redeeming them from their sins (see Matt. 1:21), and purifying unto Himself a special people. Christ became a curse for all those He gave Himself for in order to redeem them from their sins. Thus we have confirmation that God’s love, is connected to His giving His Son for His elect for the express purpose of redeeming them from their sins. “…for the transgressions of My people was He stricken…” (Isa. 53:8). God gave His Son for the redemption of all His chosen. Christ’s sacrifice actually realised the redemption of all those He died for (see Isa. 53:11; Heb.12:2). Their redemption depended upon the Redeemer, and what He did, and not upon the people He did it for, or what they would do in response.
“If we concentrate on the thought of redemption, we shall be able perhaps to sense more readily the impossibility of universalizing the atonement. What does redemption mean? It does not mean redeemability, that we are placed in a redeemable position. It means that Christ purchased and procured redemption." “…by His own blood He entered in once into the Holy place, HAVING OBTAINED eternal redemption for us” (Heb. 9:12 cf. Eph. 1:14; Col. 1:14, 20-22). Having obtained eternal redemption, HE has SECURED eternal redemption for all for whom He obtained it for. The sufficiency of Christ's sacrifice cannot be separated from the efficiency of it. What Christ's atoning work has accomplished can never be dissociated from its efficaciousness and, accordingly, for whom it was accomplished. In other words, Christ's sacrifice was effective for all those for whom it was accomplished. To speak of any inefficient element to Christ's atoning work is to enter into the very realms of fantasy. Scripture teaches Christ gave His life for His sheep, His Church, and none other (see Jn. 10:15; Acts 20:28; Eph. 5:25). Couple this with the fact that He "...by His own blood...entered in once into the Holy place, HAVING OBTAINED ETERNAL REDEMPTION FOR US" (Heb. 9:12; cf. Col. 1:14), and you have a sacrifice that was efficiently sufficient and sufficiently efficient for all those for whom Christ laid down His precious life. In having obtained eternal redemption by His death for His people we learn that Christ could not have died for all, for this Scripture teaches that He actually obtained eternal redemption for all for whom He died. This redemption was not merely obtained and now awaits an individual’s choice to receive it, for the obtaining of it SECURED AND GUARANTEED it would be fully effectual for those for whom it was obtained. “All that the Father giveth Me SHALL COME to Me…” (Jn. 6:37), because Christ has “obtained eternal redemption” for them. Their eternal destiny was secured by the Father giving them to His Son, and His Son giving Himself for them. How can eternal redemption await a man’s decision before it can be implemented, when eternal redemption was predetermined by God and successfully obtained by the Lord Jesus Christ for the people God had appointed to salvation and given to His Son? “Redemption was completed when the price was completely paid (see Lev. 25:27; Ruth 4:7-11)." Eternal redemption is not conditioned on a man’s choice, but on what Christ has done. The redemption obtained by Christ for His people is an applied redemption, an actual redemption, and not merely a theoretical, or potential, one. It does not hang on a hook waiting for someone to choose it, but was obtained by Christ for the people He substituted for. The redemption of God’s chosen has been brought into action—put into effect—by Christ’s obtaining it. Christ succeeded in what He set out to do, and that was to obtain eternal redemption for all those He laid down His life for. The word obtained in Hebrews 9:12 “..denotes ‘to find’; in the Middle Voice, ‘to find for oneself, to procure, get, obtain’, with the suggestion of accomplishing the end which had been in view; so in Hebrews 9:12 ‘having obtained eternal redemption’”. “Having obtained” literally means “‘found for Himself’, as a thing of insuperable difficulty to all save Divine Omnipotence, self-devoting zeal, and love, to find. The access of Christ to the Father was arduous (see Heb 5:7). None before had trodden the path.”
Those who object to our use of Hebrews 9:12 in defense of the doctrine which teaches Christ’s death was exclusively for His people, noticing that the words ’for us’ are in italics, meaning they were not in the original text, need to simply cast their eyes just 12 verses down to Hebrews 9:24 and you will see the following: “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into Heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.” Another such verse is: “…Christ also suffered for us...” (1 Pet. 2:21). The original Greek, in both verses has ‘for the sake of us’. “This is the triumphant note of the New Testament whenever it plays on the redemptive chord. Christ redeemed us to God by His blood (see Rev. 5.9). He obtained eternal redemption (see Heb. 9.12). ‘Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works’ (Titus 2.14 cf. Rev. 1:5).” Just 3 verses following Hebrews 9:12 we find the following verse which clearly describes who eternal redemption has been obtained for, and who Christ appears in the Presence of God for: “And for this cause He is the Mediator of the New Testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance” (Heb. 9:15 cf. Heb. 2:14). The called are referred to in Hebrews 10:14 as “…them that are sanctified” (see also 2 Thess. 2:13).“It is to beggar the concept of redemption as an effective securement of release by price and by power to construe it as anything less than the effectual accomplishment which secures the salvation of those who are its objects. Christ did not come to put men in a redeemable position but to redeem to Himself a people.” Hebrews 10:10 is yet another verse which speaks of Christ’s sacrificial offering being made to God on the behalf for all His people: “…we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” The words we are, are extremely significant in relation to who Christ died for. Cast your eyes just 4 verses down from Hebrews 10:10 and you will see exactly who make up the “we are” for whom Christ laid down His life: “For by one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified” (Heb. 10:14). Christ’s offering accomplished the eternal perfecting of all those He died for. With the utmost clarity this Scripture eternally links just exactly whom Christ laid down His precious life for with those who are sanctified, and no others. They have been perfected forever by the offering of Christ Jesus the Lord. Christ has not perfected everyone without exception forever, or done so only in a potential way for all, but He has clearly perfected forever by means of His death, only those who are “…sanctified by God the Father…” (Jd. 1:1), “or, who are set apart by Him in eternal election, from the rest of the world, for His own use, service, and glory, to a state of grace and holiness here, and happiness hereafter; for this is not to be understood either of their being sanctified in Christ, though the Syriac version reads, ‘that are sanctified’ in Him, or by His Spirit, though both are true of the same persons; these Christ, by His sacrifice, has perfected, and has perfectly fulfilled the law for them; He has perfectly expiated their sins; He has obtained the full pardon of all their sins, and complete redemption; He has perfectly justified them from all things, and that for ever; which shows the continued virtue of Christ's sacrifice, in all generations, to all the elect of God, and the fulness and duration of their salvation”. Further evidence linking Christ’s death with those that are sanctified is seen in the following verse, also from Hebrews chapter 10: “…the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified…” (Heb. 10:29). This verse is speaking hypothetically concerning any who would sin wilfully after having received the knowledge of God’s truth (see Heb. 10:26). The blood of the covenant refers to Christ’s blood poured out for His people by which they are sanctified. The sanctified of God are further described, thereby defined, in the following verse of Scripture: “…we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth” (2 Thess. 2:13). Those who are sanctified by the death of Christ were chosen by God to be His saved ones through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit to believe His truth.
Not all are saved, so it is obvious that not all are special to God proving that God does not love all, and did not in any way give all people to His Son, or send His Son to redeem everyone without exception from their sins. Christ did not give Himself to, or for, everyone without exception, just as He does not pray for everyone without exception (see Jn. 17:9). Christ only prays for the people God has given Him, as does His Holy Spirit (see Rom. 8:26,27,34; Heb. 7:25). Clearly, these are the people God has elected and loved, and whom He has entrusted to His Son to make atonement for their sins. Scripture says “…without shedding of blood is no remission” (Heb. 9:22), so it makes perfect Scriptural sense that where there is the shedding of blood in a God-directed sacrifice there is remission of sins, proving absolutely that Christ’s sacrifice of Himself was exclusively for an elect people, and not all, for all are not redeemed. Jesus said: “…this is My blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many FOR the remission of sins” (Matt. 26:28). Christ offered Himself for a people who were chosen by God to be a special people unto Himself for the express purpose of sending their every sin into permanent remission. Further evidence of the indisputable nexus between remission of sins and Christ’s death for God’s people is found in Acts 10:43 “To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins” (see also Acts 10:44,45). Those who receive remission of sins are those for whom Christ’s blood was shed, for where there is the shedding of blood there is remission of sins. This is manifested in their believing in Him. The phrase whosoever believeth in this verse is the same as that found in John 3:16 where the original Greek has it ‘every the one believing into Him’. “The meaning is, that whoever believes in Christ with a right and true faith, with the heart, he shall receive, not as what his faith procures or deserves, but as a gift of God's grace, the free and full forgiveness of his sins, through Christ; through the effusion of His blood, and the virtue of His sacrifice. Christ was set forth in the purposes of God, in the types, figures, and sacrifices of the law, and in the promises and prophecies of the Old Testament, as He that should obtain the remission of sins by His blood, without which there is no remission; He came in the fulness of time, and shed His blood for this purpose, and accordingly it is procured by it; and this is published in the everlasting Gospel, that whoever believes in Christ, not with an historical or temporary faith, or in profession only, but with the faith of God's elect, which is the gift of God, and the operation of His Spirit, which works by love, and makes Christ precious, shall receive it as a free gift; for it is not to be (nor can it ever be) purchased by money, nor obtained by works of righteousness, nor procured by repentance, or by anything done by the creature, but is according to the riches of Divine grace and mercy: through the name of Christ: through the blood of Christ, which was shed for it; through the power of Christ, as God, Who is able to forgive it; and through the hands of Christ, as Mediator, Who is exalted to bestow it; and for the sake of Christ, and His mediation, Whose blood calls aloud for it; and whoever looks by faith to Him for it, shall have it, of whatsoever sex, state, or condition they be, of whatsoever people or nation, and how great sinners soever they have been.” All those who look for it, are those whom God has ordained to it. Christ’s death actually achieved something. Christ’s death actually secured something. Christ’s death was the payment that was required by His Holy Father in order to place the sins of all those He gave unto the Son into permanent remission. Christ’s payment does not need to be rubber-stamped, approved, by anyone in order to make it an acceptable and eternally effectual payment for their sins, for the payment was made to God, and subject to His approval, not that of the individuals for whom it was made. The payment was not made by the Son, and then offered to individuals to take to the Father. Payment was made directly to the Father for His people “…Christ hath…loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God…” (Eph. 5:2 cf. Heb. 9:14). The only way there can be no remission of sins is not by some mythical rejection of what has been allegedly done for all, but rather, as the Scriptures say, if there is no blood shed (see Heb. 9:22). So we see that remission of sins is not at all up to the individual who ‘accepts’ it, or ‘rejects’ it, but is solely reliant on—it only requires—the One Who achieved it, and the acceptance of the One to Whom the sacrifice was made.
Acts 10:43: “To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins”, is surrounded by verses which speak of Gentiles being saved as well as Jews, not every individual among them, of course, but only the chosen out of the Gentile nations, and the Jewish nation, and is summed up in Acts 11:1 “And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the Word of God.” John 3:16 tells us that God gave His only begotten Son. Christ was given as a gift to the people God had given Him. Christ speaks of Himself as a gift from God “…if thou knewest the Gift of God…” (Jn. 4:10 cf. 2 Cor. 9:15), “meaning, not the Holy Spirit with His gifts and graces, as some think, but Himself; for the following clause is explanatory of it; and Christ is also spoken of in the Old Testament, as the Gift of God, 'For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace' (Isa. 9:6), and He had lately spoken of Himself as such, (see Jn. 3:16) and He is, by way of eminency, ‘the gift of God’; which is comprehensive of all others, is exceeding large, and very suitable to the wants and cases of men; and is irrevocable, unchangeable, and unspeakable: for He is God's gift, as He is His own and only begotten Son; and He is given for a covenant to the people, with all the promises and blessings of it; and as an Head, both of eminence and influence; and to be a Saviour of them, and a sacrifice for their sins; and as the Bread of life, for them to feed and live upon; of which gift, men are naturally ignorant, as the woman at the well was: they know not the dignity of His Person…” Who else would the Father have given to His Son except His chosen people, and subsequently who else would the Son have died for except those people the Father had given unto Him?
God’s love for His chosen has been manifested by God sending His Son, not for everyone without exception, not because of God’s alleged love of the world, but into the world so that His chosen ones, His children that are scattered throughout the world, might live through Him. As the Scriptures denote a distinction between the world of the godly and the world of the ungodly, the world of believers is separate from, and is not of the world of unbelievers—made up of people who do not believe, and those who believe amiss. So either Christ was given to the world of the godly, or the world of the ungodly—those who were ordained to believe, or those who were appointed to Wrath. Christ could not have been given for one and all without exception, but to a specifically appointed people for a particular purpose. As God searches only for His sheep, so too, the Saviour, the good Shepherd’s love, is reserved for His sheep evidenced by His laying down His life exclusively for them (see Jn. 10:15). “…the Lord knoweth them that are His…” (2 Tim. 2:19 cf. Nah. 1:7; Jer. 1:5; 2 Tim. 1:12). God knows those that are His, God loves those who are His, and, like any loving Father, He has provided for those who are His. “WHAT JOHN 3:16 IS, THEN, IS A PROMISE FROM GOD OF THE ETERNAL SECURITY OF THE BELIEVER, RATHER THAN AN OPEN INVITATION TO ‘WHOSOEVER WILL’.” Perhaps the clearest verse in Scripture which sheds the brightest light on what John 3:16 is saying, is John 6:40: “And this is the Will of Him that sent Me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day” (cf. Gal. 3:22). The “whosoever” of John 3:16 are described here as simply: “everyone which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him”. No talk here of anyone choosing, but only of those who have been given eyes to see, and faith to believe. The ‘world’ which God loved is made up of all the ones He gave unto His Son, and whom He lovingly gave His Son for. “An analysis of the original Greek parallelistic structure of John 3:14–17, provides the following English translation showing the grammatical structure of that passage: ‘And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, in this way must the Son of man be lifted up in order that everyone believing might have in Him life eternal, for in this way God loved the world; and so God gave the only Son in order that everyone believing in Him might not perish; rather, might have life eternal, for God did not send the Son into the world in order that He might judge the world; rather, in order that the world might be saved through Him.’” The world here is in contrast to the Jewish nation only. The world being the world of God’s children, His elect, scattered throughout Israel and all nations.
Given the intrinsic nature of atonement, if God’s purpose was to save everyone without exception, then Christ’s atonement—which is best understood in the context of covenant— would have been for everyone without exception, and, therefore, everyone without exception would be saved, for everyone without exception would have been entrusted to God’s Son. But how can anyone be saved who does not believe the Gospel of Christ, who does not believe in what the true Christ has actually done? Biblical atonement is an effective sacrificial action, or work, performed by the one offering the sacrifice, to the one who has directed the sacrifice. The effectual success of the sacrifice offered does not rely upon the ones on whose behalf the sacrifice is made, for they are the offenders, and it is they that the one offering the sacrifice is representing. The ones for whom sacrificial, substitutionary atonement is made are not involved, they have no role, in the success of the atonement, for they are merely the recipients. Atonement involves the one paying the debt to whom that debt is owed in behalf of the debtor. The angel of the Lord told Joseph that Jesus would “…save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21), therefore, all for whom Christ died will be saved based on what the Saviour has done for them, and not on how they will respond. How those for whom Christ died will ‘respond’ is seen clearly in verses such as John 6:37: “All that the Father giveth Me SHALL come to Me…”—they shall come because they have already been given in order that they will come. “Such who are given to Christ in eternal election, and in the everlasting covenant of grace, shall, and do, in time, come to Christ, and believe in Him to the saving of their souls; which is not to be ascribed to, any power and will in them, but to the power and grace of God. It is not here said, that such who are given to Christ have a ‘power’ to come to him, or ‘may’ come if they will, but they shall come; efficacious grace will bring them to Christ, as poor perishing sinners, to venture on Him for life and salvation.” Hebrews 7:25 states: “Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them” (cf. Jn. 6:44,65). Christ makes intercession for them because He died for them. Just as Christ did not die for some and intercedes for all, He did not die for all, for He only makes intercession for some. Christ died for those He makes intercession for, and He makes intercession only for those for whom He died. “Christ prays on the basis of His work of redemption. Therefore if Christ did not pray for the reprobate world, it is because He did not purchase salvation for them. Christ’s prayers and atonement are not only particular—‘for them which Thou hast given Me’—but also exclusive, ‘not for the world’" (see Jn. 17:9). God’s elect shall come to Him, for they have been predestined to come to Him by the will of God, and according to His good pleasure. A man’s coming to Christ is predetermined by, and conditioned on, the will of God, and subsequent love of God, which is manifested in His giving them to His Son. The Lord Jesus states clearly that His prayers are NOT for the people of the world, but exclusively for the people whom the Father has given Him, FOR THEY are the people of God chosen to be so before the foundation of the world. Christ does not pray for those whom the Father has not given Him, so how can any rightly believe in the baseless, twisted, theology that He nevertheless died for those the Father did not give Him. Anyone who cannot see how this simply blasts the carnal understanding of John 3:16 completely out of the water, is either spiritually blind, or willingly ignorant. Either way they are dead in their sins. The Light of the Gospel has yet to shine upon them.
As soon as one changes salvation from a promise to an offer, salvation is made conditional upon an individual’s will, and, therefore, is taken out of the hands of the Sovereign God of grace, and placed firmly into the hands of each individual. “…the ultimate demonstration of God’s love for His own people was demonstrated in His willingness and decree to sacrifice His own Son on their behalf. Everyone who believes, trusts and rests on the final, sufficient atonement wrought in Christ has no fear of perishing, but already possess the life eternal.” God’s will is revealed in every person who believes, trusts and rests on the final, sufficient atonement wrought in Christ, that He has predestined them to His love and salvation. Jesus said: “He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (Jn. 5:24 cf. 1 Jn. 3:14). Christ said “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me” (Jn. 6:37 cf. Jn. 10:16). This is no indefinite, undetermined, or unlimited number, for the coming of a given people to Jesus is a sure thing—an assured happening—protected from change, or failure, by the will of God; not because of their giving themselves to Christ, but because of the Father’s giving them to Christ. The Father has given people from every nation of the world, not just Israel, to His Son. These are the children of God scattered throughout every nation. These children of God are obviously not made up of every individual ever born, for not all will come, but are the ones God has specifically chosen to give unto His Son for the purpose of salvation. God has given His chosen ones to the One He has appointed to be their Saviour, and Christ being sent into the world is the manifestation of the Father’s love, not for everyone without exception, but for those He has given to the Son to intercede and lay down His life for. The Old Testament high priest who was a mere shadow of the great High priest, the Lord Jesus Christ, is proof of this, for he was given to, and provided for, God’s people, the nation of Israel, to make atonement for their sins, and it was only God’s people who were given to him, and for whom he was directed by God, to make atonement for. Jesus came to save HIS people from THEIR sins (see Matt. 1:21). He did not come to save those who were not His people, those whom the Father did not give to Him, nor did Jesus nail their sins to His cross. If John 3:16 is talking of God’s love for everyone without exception then surely this Scripture from Matthew 1 would have said ‘Jesus came to save everyone without exception from their sins’, or at least, ‘Jesus came to save the world from its sins’, for all would be His people. There would be no goats, but only sheep, and Hell would be a place occupied only by Satan and his demons. There would be no unbelievers, for all would be believers in Him. If God loved all, Christ would have come to save everyone in the world, and not exclusively rescue His people out of the world. It is clearly evident from the Scriptures that the people Christ was to save from their sins was not every individual of the world, but exclusively those whom the Father separated from the world according to His will and good pleasure.
“Jesus’ Summary Statement. ‘For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God’ (Jn. 3:17,18). The proper understanding of ‘kosmos’ becomes plainer in verse 17. God did not send His Son into the world—among people of every kindred, tribe, tongue and nation—for the purpose of condemning them. The Old Testament is replete with promises that when the Messiah, David’s greater Son, came into the world, He would re-establish the Kingdom of Israel and judge the nations. So, when Jesus began being recognized as the promised Deliverer, expectations of national prominence ran high. But, Jesus was clear that His mission was not one of judgment and condemnation. Rather, He came into the mix of peoples and races so that, through Him, people of all nationalities would be saved. But, then Jesus broke all of humanity down into two groups: those who believed and those who did not. Those who were in the state of ‘believing on Him’ constitute the ‘all the believing’ group of John 3:16—they are one and the same people. Jesus knows those that are His. They are the recipients of the grace of God that leads to salvation. But, to the contrary, those people who are in the state of unbelief—‘he that believes not’—are ‘condemned already’. The fact that they are living mortal lives is merely a temporary reprieve from the condemnation that awaits them. That’s utterly shocking to our sensibilities. It seems unfair. But, it’s not unfair. It’s Sovereign. It’s the way the King rules His creation.” The only thing not fair in the context of man and God is that man has sinned against the Holy God Who had provided all that was good for man. The Holy God is perfectly justified in not acquitting the guilty, but to condemn them to an eternity of Godly Wrath. God has chosen, out of His great mercy, to cancel the punishment due unto some through the provision of a Substitute, a Savior, His Son the Lord Jesus Christ, Whose Righteousness would be imputed unto them, and Who would have their sins imputed unto Him. A Saviour Who would become a curse for them, and make atonement for their sins. “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the Righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21 cf. Rom. 4:6,8). “‘All the believing’ have everlasting life. The inverse is axiomatically true. All the unbelieving do not have everlasting life. And, that’s why John 3:16 should not be removed from its larger context. John 3:18 spells out the whole paradigm in no uncertain terms:” “He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (see also Jn. 3:36; 5:24; 1 Jn. 3:14; 5:12; 2 Jn. 9). Their unbelief is of itself their sentence.” Unbelief is the curse of sin. Unbelief is both the cause and the consequence of moral and doctrinal rebellion against God. Rebellion against God is exhibited in unbelief. There is rebellious unbelief, and there is unbelief which is born out of ignorance that is inherent in every man by nature, and which naturally rebels against the truth of God. “…the carnal mind is enmity against God…” (Rom. 8:7). The punishment for unbelief is inescapable. “…the wages of sin is death…” (Rom. 6:23), and “…to be carnally minded is death…” (Rom. 8:6). A person’s unbelief reveals their lost, and therefore, accursed state before God, just as a person’s believing reveals their saved, and, therefore, blessed state before God. “‘He that believeth not is condemned already’, the Persic version renders it, ‘from the beginning’; he remains under the sentence of condemnation passed in Adam upon him; the law accuses him, and pronounces him guilty before God; he is under the curse of it, and it is a ministration of condemnation and death to him; nor has he any thing to secure him from its charge, curse, and condemnation: this must be understood of one that is a final unbeliever, or that lives, and dies, in a state of impenitence, and unbelief. Despite its popularity, John 3:16 actually proves the absolute inverse of what ‘free willers’ contend. While they insist that this verse throws open the door of salvation to anyone and everyone who will take advantage of it (how can they take advantage of it when not all even hear the Gospel, moreover, when all are dead in their sins, and dead to the true God?), John declared that those who believe on Christ are eternally secure while those who are in a state of unbelief are already condemned. Salvation, then, must be God’s enterprise, determining from the beginning the saved from the unsaved, the lost from the found, the elect from the world, and those with eternal life from those who are eternally condemned.”