FOR GOD SO LOVED...WHO? (part 18)
A Scripture reference which is simple to remember, and essential to any discussion concerning John 3:16, is 1 John 3:16. In writing to Jewish believers, the apostle here distinctly clarifies those whom God loves: “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” As in many other places, John shows that Christ’s death was for us, meaning believers, or those who were appointed to believe (see 1 Thess. 5:8,9). In other words, John’s message is: Christ has laid down His life for the brethren, those whom God loved, and so should we. The love of God is seen in Christ’s laying down His life for His brethren. Of great significance to this verse is the fact that the Scriptures testify that Christ “...was made like unto His brethren...” (Heb. 2:17). Christ was the Substitute for the people God had given Him. Again we see the undeniable, special and exclusive affinity between Christ and those whom God has given Him. Christ is the kinsman Redeemer of HIS brethren, HIS people, HIS seed: all those whom God has given Him, which is why “...He is not ashamed to call them (those that are sanctified) brethren” (Heb. 2:11). “The brotherhood of Christ with us was voluntarily assumed, and was for the purpose of redeeming His brethren.” Christ was made like unto His brethren, He is their High Priest, He is their Redeemer, He is their Saviour, He is their Intercessor “…for He shall save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21 cf. Isa. 53:8). Christ’s people, His brethren, are the adopted sons of God (see Eph. 1:5; Heb. 2:17), and not every individual in the entire world. Christ was made like unto “The adopted sons of God, who were brethren before Christ's incarnation, being from all eternity predestinated to the adoption of children: Christ's incarnation was in time, and after that many of the brethren existed; and it was only for their sakes that He assumed human nature; and therefore it was proper He should be like them in that nature…” It would make no Scriptural sense at all to say that Christ was made like unto His brethren so that He could then be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of all without exception, for, clearly, not all are His brethren. For any to be Christ’s brethren, they must first be His Father’s children. Jesus says of those He calls, “My brethren”: “…Behold I and the children which God hath given Me” (Heb. 2:13 cf. Heb. 2:12). Christ’s brethren are the children which God has given Him, to whom Christ shall give eternal life (see Jn. 17:2). Christ was made like unto His brethren so that He would be a merciful and faithful High Priest toward them, thus making reconciliation for the sins of all those whom God chose to be the brethren of His Son. Christ “…took on Him the seed of Abraham” (Heb. 2:16), and so, “…it is the seed of Abraham, His brethren, that He would help; He makes the seed of Abraham the object of His work”. “‘Wherefore in all things’—That essentially pertain to our nature, and in all sufferings and temptations; it behooved Him—In respect of the office, duty, and employment He had taken upon Him; or it was highly fit and proper, yea, necessary, in order to His design of redeeming them (see Gal. 4:4,5); to be made like His brethren—That is, a mortal man; that—By experience of suffering in Himself; He might be a merciful and faithful High-Priest.”
The Lord Jesus says “…I will declare Thy name unto My brethren, in the midst of the Church will I sing praise unto Thee. And again, I will put My trust in Him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given Me” (Heb. 2:12,13 cf. Psa. 22:22). Christ aligns, or affiliates, Himself, He identifies Himself only with His brethren, the children, whom the Father has given Him, those who are of His Household (see Gal. 6:10), of which He is the High Priest “…having an High Priest over the House of God” (Heb. 10:21 cf. Heb. 4:14-16); “…Christ as a Son over His own House; whose House are we…” (Heb. 3:6 cf. Heb. 3:1,2). Jesus died for His people, His sheep, called “…the House of God, which is the Church of the Living God…” (2 Tim. 3:15) filled only with His brethren who are—collectively, and individually—the pillar and ground of His Gospel, and whom He was made like unto. Christ has affinity only with them, His heirs, His kindred, His Household. He calls them all His sheep, His children, His brethren (see Gal. 4:7). Christ did not pray for all without exception, He prayed not for the world, He prayed for none that were not His Father’s children given to Him, but for those whom the Father had chosen out of the world. Christ prayed for them because they were His Father’s children, the brethren of His Son. “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which Thou hast given Me; for they are Thine. And all Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine; and I am glorified in them” (Jn. 17:9,10). These are the people whom Christ laid down His life for: the brethren, the beloved of God. "Wherefore, in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest, in things pertaining to God, to made reconciliation for the sins of the people" (Heb. 2:17; cf. Heb. 2:16). Which people? The whole world? All without exception? No, but for His people, His sheep, His brethren whom He was made like unto. The word reconciliation means propitiation, or satisfaction. This irrefutable doctrine of Christ as the kinsman redeemer of His people is the elephant in the room which cannot be ignored. It is the capstone on the Scriptural evidence which shows Christ to be the great High Priest of His people, and the Redeemer of His brethren. Like the elephant in the room, these Biblical doctrines must not be ignored, for they cannot be denied. One cannot escape the room, and one cannot get the elephant out of the room. It is a fact which cannot but be acknowledged, and once accepted will be shown to be the glue that holds together all the other teachings which have to do with Christ's death for the people God has given Him. All of Scripture points to Christ’s dying for His people.
The apostle John makes it perfectly clear, in 1 John 5:13, just who he is writing to: “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God…” The apostle is obviously writing to fellow Christians, and he explicitly shows how God’s love for His people is inextricably linked to Christ’s laying down His life for God’s people—His brethren. Most significantly, we notice in 1 John 3:16 that the reason for Christ’s laying down His life is because of the Father’s love. It is because of the Father’s love in choosing, making the one’s He loves His people, and entrusting them to His Son that Christ laid down His life as a Sacrifice for their sins. It is not the people’s ‘foreseen’ love for God which inspired the Lord to lay down His life, but God’s elective love for His chosen, the very same love which commissioned His Son to lay down His life for God’s adopted children. Christ said: “…Behold I and the children which God hath given Me” (Heb. 2:13 cf. Jn. 17:2,6,9). The love which inspires God to save His people is not their love for Him, but His love for them. Christ did not lay down His life for all in the hope all would come to Him, for He knew that the only ones who would come to Him were those whom the Father loved, and had entrusted to His care: “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me…” (Jn. 6:37). The apostle Paul writing to all those loved of God, called to be saints, at Rome, said that God’s love “…is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:39), and that love is obviously, and exclusively, for His people, His brethren.
As we have already seen, a parallel passage to that of John 3:15-17 is 1 John 4:7-11: “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, so that WE (the beloved) might live through Him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for OUR (the beloved’s) sins. Beloved, if God so loved us (not the world), we ought also to love one another.” With transparent clarity, this passage of Scripture is an exegetical commentary on John 3:16, and shows in no uncertain terms that God loves His people for whom He gave His Son to save them from their sins. It is the beloved of God for whom God sent His Son so that the beloved of God might live through Him. These are the ones who are the brethren Christ was made like unto, and for whom He prayed, and now intercedes. God sent His Son to be the propitiation (satisfaction) for the sins of His beloved. Christ died for those He loved. Christ did for those He loved. God’s sending His only begotten Son was for the principal purpose of saving those for whom He was sent. This is what Christ would do and did do. This interlocks perfectly with Matthew 1:21which says: “…thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save HIS PEOPLE from their sins”. For whom else, then, would Christ be the Propitiation for, other than His people be they Jew, or Gentile? (see 1 Jn. 2:1). “Even the Righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe…Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His Righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time His Righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Rom. 3:24-26). How will He be the Justifier of them which believe in Jesus? By Christ’s being a propitiation for them. The Righteousness of God is given freely by His grace through the redemption obtained by Christ Jesus for those whom Christ was set forth as a propitiation in order to justify all those that have been chosen to believe in Him. Christ’s being sent by God is expressly linked with propitiation, the satisfaction that would be made by His sacrifice for His people, and all His people know it and believe it. Paul the apostle knew and believed this, and wrote of it to the saints at Corinth: “…Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us” (1 Cor. 5:7). Christ is the Passover Lamb of His people, those whom the Father has given Him. Notice that Christ is sacrificed for His people, and not ‘offered’ to all without exception. “This passage provides us with a tremendous commentary, from John himself, on John 3:15-17 from his Gospel. The repetition of key phrases in the same contexts shows us how closely related the two passages are. Both passages speak of God’s love; both speak of God’s sending of His Son and how this is a manifestation of God’s love; both speak of life and the forgiveness of sin, often using the very same words John used to record John 3:16ff. So how did the Apostle John understand those words? Here we are given that insight. The context of 1 John 4:7-11 is love among believers. Love comes from God, and it is natural for the one who has been born of God to love. The redeemed person loves because God is love, and those who know God seek to be like Him. Those who do not walk in love are betraying any claim they may make to know Him.
“This brings us to the key verses, 9-10. The fact that 1 John 4:9 is meant to be a restatement of John 3:16 can be seen by placing them in parallel to one another:
John 3:16: 'For God so loved the world'
1 John 4:9: ‘In this was manifested the love of God toward us’
John 3:16: 'that He gave His only begotten Son'
1 John 4:9: ‘because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world’
John 3:16: ‘that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life’
1 John 4:9: ‘that we might live through Him’”
Before we proceed any further in comparing the two passages, we must remind the reader that the us to whom John is referring in chapter 4 and verse 9 of his first Letter, are believers. This is clearly stated in 1 John 5:13: “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God…” (see also 1 Jn. 2:1). One of the most fundamental mistakes committed by most people who read the Bible, the New Testament in particular, is interpreting words such as ‘we’ and ‘us’ to mean humankind in general, and not in their proper contexts which would clearly and instantly reveal that those referred to are believers, the elect, the beloved of God only, and not all people without exception. Let us take some time now, and see just exactly to whom the Letters of the New Testament were written. Were any written to all without exception, or were they all addressed to believers only? The Scriptures shall speak for themselves: Romans: “To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints…” (Rom. 1:7); 1 Corinthians: “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus called to be saints…” (1 Cor. 1:2); 2 Corinthians: “…unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia” (2 Cor. 1:1); Galatians: “…unto the churches of Galatia” (Gal. 1:2); Ephesians: “…to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 1:1); Philippians: “…to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi…” (Phil. 1:1); Colossians: “To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse…” (Col. 1:2 cf. Col. 4:16); 1 Thessalonians: “…unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ…” (1 Thess. 1:1); the apostle also adding “I charge you by the Lord that this Epistle be read unto all the holy brethren” (1 Thess. 5:27); 2 Thessalonians: “…unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 1:1); 1 Timothy: “Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith…” (1 Tim. 1:2); 2 Timothy: “To Timothy my dearly beloved son…” (2 Tim. 1:2); Titus: “To Titus, mine own son after the common faith…” (Titus 1:4); Philemon: “…unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellow labourer, and to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in thy house” (Phile. 1:1,2); Hebrews: the writer calls those to whom he is writing as: “…holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus” (Heb. 3:1 cf. Heb. 1:14-2:1; 3:6; 10:21, 32-34). It is accepted that the Letter was written to Jewish Christians in Palestine, therefore, the us mentioned in Hebrew 1:2 is referring to Jewish believers, and, as with the other Letters of the New Testament, cannot for a moment be said to have been written to any unbelievers. Moreover, Christ is the High Priest of His people, and no others. James wrote his Letter “…to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad…” (Jas. 1:1); 1 Peter: "…to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father…” (1 Pet. 1:1,2); 2 Peter: “…to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the Righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 1:1); Peter also writes, “This is the second Epistle, beloved, I now write unto you…” in 2 Pet. 3:1; 1 John: “My little children, these things write I unto you…” (1 Jn. 2:1), and “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God…” (1 Jn. 5:13); 2 John: “…unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth...” (2 Jn. 1:1); 3 John: “…unto the well beloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth” (3 Jn. 1:1); Jude: “…to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called” (Jd. 1:1); Revelation: “…to the seven churches which are in Asia…” (Rev. 1:4). And so we are made to see with overwhelming clarity that the New Testament Letters were all written not to any unbelievers, not to the people of God and the people of the world, but exclusively to believers. Thus anyone interpreting words such as we, us, our or you in the New Testament, as referring to all humanity are reading into the Scriptures what is simply not there. Consequently they have a very confused ‘understanding’ of what the Scriptures are saying, and of whom, and to whom, they speak. Such confusion has lead multitudes into a false understanding of God’s Word, and to copious amounts of false doctrines which are readily promoted through false gospels that are filled with, and supported only by, the lies of men and doctrines of devils. It would be foolhardy for anyone to pick up a letter not written to them, and walk away thinking that every reference in that letter to ‘you’ is speaking about them. If John wrote a letter to Jim, would it not plumb the depths of irrationality and ignorance for Joe to come along, read the letter, and assume that every ‘you’ in the letter is referring to him, or that every we, our, and us in the letter includes him! However obviously silly and unlikely such a scenario sounds, this is precisely what occurs when so many read their Bibles, and assume that anytime words such as ‘us’ and ‘we’ are mentioned that they are alluding to everyone without exception that has ever lived. Such bald-faced ignorance has led to tides of confusion that continue to keep millions away from the shore of God’s truth.
Resuming our comparative study of John 3:15-17 and 1 John 4:7-10: “Once we see the clear connection, and recognize the background of John’s words, we can use 1 John 4:9 to shed light upon some of the key issues regarding the proper interpretation of John 3:16ff. For example, we concluded above that ‘world’ meant the world of humanity, i.e., Jew and Gentile taken in kind and not in universal particularity (each and every person). This is confirmed by John’s rephrasing here, ‘In this was manifested the love of God toward us...’ The ‘us’ in this immediate context is identified in verse 11, ‘Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another’, i.e., the Christian fellowship, which is made up of Jews and Gentiles.” The term beloved here is a reference to fellow believers. As was noted earlier, 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 (see Acts 15:25; Rom. 1:7; 9:25; 11:28; 12:19; 16:8,9; 16:12; 1 Cor. 4:14,17; 10:14; 15:58; Eph. 6:21; Phil. 2:12; Col. 3:12; 4:7,9,14; 1 Thess. 1:4; 2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Tim. 6:2; Phile. 1:2,16; Heb. 6:9; Jas. 1:16,19; 2:5; 1 Pet. 4:12; 2 Pet. 1:17; 3:1,8,14,15,17; 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 term ‘dearly beloved’ is also used in Rom. 12:19; 2 Cor. 7:1, 12:19; Phil. 4:1; 2 Tim. 1:2; Phile. 1; 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; 3:2,21; 4:1,7,11). 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). 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 (Rom. 1:7, 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 all but four of the books and Letters of the New Testament: John, Galatians, Titus, and 2 John.
“…the issue of the intention of God in sending the Son is further illuminated by noting the teaching of 1 John as well. That is, John 3:17 says it was the Father’s intention to save the world through Christ. This we know Christ accomplished (Rev. 5:9-10) by saving men out of every tribe, tongue, people and nation (this comprising the same group seen in John 6:37 who are given by the Father to the Son” who shall all, without a doubt, come to Him. “1 John 4:10 summarizes the entire work of God by saying that God’s love is shown in His sending Christ as the propitiation for our sins. This is paralleled here with verse 9, ‘God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him’. This helps to explain the oft-cited words of 1 John 2:2. The ‘whole world’ of 1 John 2:2 would carry the same meaning we have already seen: the whole world of Jew and Gentile (cf. Rom. 3:9). The thrust of 1 John 2:2 is that there are more who will experience the benefit of Christ’s propitiatory death than just the current Christian communion. The message continues to move out into the world, and as it does so, God draws His elect unto Himself, those that He joined to Jesus Christ so that His death is their death, His resurrection their resurrection. But in none of these passages do we find any reference to a work of Christ that is non-specific and universal with reference to individuals, let alone one that is not perfectly accomplished. God’s manifestation of His love does not fail.”
An especially important point to make at this juncture, particularly for those who consider God’s love to be like man’s love—triggered by sentiment and emotion rather than by will and purpose—is that God’s love cannot be removed from the context of covenant. God’s love is a covenant love. It is seen throughout the Old Testament from Noah to Abraham, Moses to David, and from Israel to the Church of Christ (see Heb. 9:15) in the New. God’s covenant of grace is with His Son, so God’s love is in His Son, and for His Son, and is manifested through His Son for all those who have been created anew in and by His Son, and brought into that eternal covenant. Scripture speaks of “…the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:39 cf. Eph. 2:4-7; 1 Jn. 4:9,10). Salvation, eternal life, is also in the Son of God. “In Him was life; and the life was the light of men” (Jn. 1:4). “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son” (1 Jn. 5:11 cf. Jn. 17:2; 2 Tim. 1:1). Thus, the Son of God is where God’s love is found. No one is able to come to the Father, but by Jesus Christ (see Jn. 14:6 cf. Eph. 1:19-23; Phil. 2:9-11). Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation because God’s love is in Him. God’s plan and purpose for the salvation of His people is worked out through His Son. As eternal life is in Jesus, so too, the Father’s love can only be for those whom He has given to His Son, for the Father “…hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as (the Father) hast given Him” (Jn. 17:2 cf. Jn.17:20,21). Christ gives eternal life to His sheep: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: And I give unto them eternal life…” (Jn. 10:27,28). All who are given eternal life are loved of God, therefore, they all believe in the Gospel of Christ, and no other (see Acts 13:48). God’s love towards a person can never be without His giving those He loves everlasting life, as we see in John 3:16. Those He lovingly gives to the Son will all come to Him, and believe His Gospel. They will all love Him, for they are all given the life that is in His Son. Where there is the love of God for a person, there is everlasting love, for there is everlasting life. That which connects the two is the Lord Jesus Christ, given for those whom God loves, so that they will all believe in Him that are loved by Him. God’s love – Jesus His Son – believing – everlasting life. You cannot have one without the other three. You cannot be loved of God, and not be one for whom God sent His Son. Nor can you be loved of God, but not believe in His Son, which is a sign you do not have everlasting life. You cannot have everlasting life, but not be a believer in God’s Gospel alone as His sole power unto salvation. You cannot have everlasting life if you are not loved of the Father. You cannot have one without evidencing the other three. God does not love those whom He hates. God does not love the unbeliever. God does not love those who are in Hell, for He obviously could not have given His Son for them, nor them to His Son, otherwise, they would have all surely come to Him. God loves His people for whom He gave His Son so that they would believe and have everlasting life. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life…” (Jn. 3:36), for God loved them, and gave His Son for them. Christ gives eternal life only to those the Father loved and gave to Him, and these things are clearly manifested in their believing His Gospel. Nothing can separate the believer from “…the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:39). You cannot locate God’s love anywhere else, you cannot find God’s love in a false gospel, you cannot find God’s love in any of the millions of religion’s false gods. You cannot find God’s love in any unbeliever. You cannot find salvation in, or by anyone else, but in His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. Only the true doctrines of the true Gospel identify the true Christ. “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son” (2 Jn. 9 cf. Jn. 3:36; 1 Jn. 5:12). Just as God’s love is in His Son, eternal life may only be found in His Son. Therefore, it stands to Biblical reason that all for whom the Son died were all those whom the Father loved and gave to Him for the purpose of saving them. The atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ was the manifestation of God’s love for all His people, and so all for whom Christ died will be saved. Their coming to Him depends not on their love, or choice of Him, but on His loving and choosing them. Salvation wholly depends on the Father’s elective love, and the Son’s redemptive work, and not at all on the ones for whom this was done.
Hebrews 9:22 informs us that “…without shedding of blood is no remission”. There can be no salvation without the remission of sins, and there can be no remission of sins without the shedding of blood. Therefore, it stands to Biblical reason that where there is the shedding of blood in Holy sacrifice there is remissions of sins, and where there is remission of sins there cannot but be salvation. “…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. Rev. 5:10 & 1 Pet. 2:9). Christ has redeemed His people by His death (see Gal. 3:13; Eph. 1:7). This Scripture, along with Revelation 7:9 and many others, is not speaking of all without exception that are of every kindred, tongue, people, and nation, but the elect who are taken OUT OF every kindred, tongue, people, and nation. “…it is the blood which maketh atonement for the soul” (Lev. 17:11 cf. Eph. 1:7; 1 Jn. 1:7). WITHOUT BLOOD THERE CAN BE NO ATONEMENT, WITH BLOOD THERE CAN BE NOTHING BUT ATONEMENT. It is a black and white issue, for there can be no in-between doctrine, no gray area when it comes to the blood of Christ and what it would gain the elect of God who were all entrusted to Him. Within a God-ordained sacrificial death there is always redemption for all it was performed on the behalf of. JUST AS SURE AS THE SUBSTITUTE HAS DIED, THOSE FOR WHOM THE SUBSTITUTE HAS DIED HAVE BEEN REDEEMED. Christ has redeemed His people from the curse of sin, having become a curse for them (see Gal. 3:13). Christ died to save His people from their sins, and not merely to make them saveable. Addressing believers, the apostle Peter wrote: “…ye were…redeemed…with the precious blood of Christ…” (1 Pet. 1:18,19 cf. Psa. 111:9). Christ has bought His people. “…ye are not your own For ye are bought with a price…” (1 Cor. 6:19,20; cf. 1 Cor. 7:23). “Not with gold and silver, but with the precious blood of Christ, as the whole Church, all the elect of God are. This proves them to be the Lord's, not only His redeemed ones, being ransomed by a price from the bondage of the law, sin, Satan, and the world; but His espoused ones, and which is chiefly designed here; for one way of obtaining and espousing a wife among the Jews was by a price…That is, be it ever so small a price, yet if given and taken on the account of espousals, it made them valid; and it was an ancient rite in marriage used among other nations for husband and wife to buy each other: Christ, indeed, did not purchase His Church to be His spouse, but because She was so; but then His purchasing of Her with His blood more clearly demonstrated and confirmed His right unto Her, as His spouse; He betrothed Her to Himself in eternity, in the everlasting covenant of grace; but She, with the rest of the individuals of human nature, fell into sin, and so, under the sentence of the law, into the hands of Satan, and the captivity of the world; to redeem Her from whence, and by so doing to own and declare Her His spouse, and His great love to Her, He gave Himself a ransom price for Her; which lays Her under the greatest obligation to preserve an inviolable chastity to Him, and to love and honour Him. The consequence of something or someone having been bought is that the buyer has the right of possession (see 1 Cor. 6:20; 7:23,24; Gal. 3:13). In the redemptive work of Christ the idea is that Christ, by offering Himself for His people as a due satisfaction, freed them from their liability in paying it themselves. He, having paid the price, binds those He died for to Himself.” The Bible knows nothing of a sacrificial death which only made redemption possible, or of its efficaciousness being conditioned on anyone other than God and His high/High priest, for with a sacrificial death ordained of God comes redemption and salvation.
The Lord Jesus was entrusted with the responsibility of obtaining salvation for all those the Father gave to Him. Christ gives eternal life only to the ones the Father gave to Him, He prays only for those whom His Father gave to Him, and so it can be nothing less than loyalty and faithfulness to the Word of God to believe that God loves only those people, and no others. How could anyone even begin to explain, and justify, a God who is said to love all without exception, and yet does not give all to His Son to intercede for, and grant unto them eternal life? The sacrificial death of Christ, the great High Priest, was exclusively for those whom the Father gave Him—His kinsmen: members of His chosen family—for the express purpose of atoning for their sins, so that they would all inherit eternal salvation. Jesus laid down His life for the Church, His people, His Bride, His sheep and surely not for the goats of the world, for He did not even pray for the world, so how can anyone reason within themselves, let alone attempt to convince others, that Christ's sacrifice was for everyone. “Would it be consistent for the Father to plan to save only the elect, but send the Son to save every individual in the world? Would it be consistent for the Father to plan on saving only the elect, but the Son to die for the non-elect to try and save them as well?” “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, Who is even at the right hand of God, Who also maketh intercession for us” (Rom. 8:32-34). Clearly, the apostle Paul is speaking of the elect of God as those for whom the Father delivered up His Son, and for whom the Son makes intercession. “In verse 32, Paul is basically saying this: ‘if God gave His own Son for you, He will give you everything else as well’. But if Christ died for all people, this argument vanishes. For everybody does not get ‘all things’ because many people will go to Hell. Thus, Christ did not die for them because Paul says that ‘if Christ died for you, God will also give you all things’—which certainly includes salvation! If God gave His own Son for unbelievers who in the end are lost, then Paul cannot say that the giving of the Son guarantees ‘all things’ for those for whom He died. In verses 33-34, Paul is saying that the elect cannot be condemned. One of the reasons he gives is that Christ died for us. He is saying: ‘Christ died for us, therefore we will not be condemned’. This argument vanishes if Christ died for the non-elect as well. If people can perish whom Christ died for, Paul could not point to Christ's death for us as the guarantee that we will be saved.”
Christ is the Mediator of the New Testament (covenant) “…that by means of (His) death…THEY WHICH ARE CALLED might receive the promise of eternal inheritance” (Heb. 9:15 cf. Col. 1:20-23). CHRIST DID NOT DIE FOR THOSE WHO ARE NOT CALLED! Obviously, Christ’s death was for the called, alone, and by that death, not by an individual’s ‘decision to accept what was done for him’, eternal redemption was obtained for all the Father’s people whom He had given to the Son for the express purpose of gaining them eternal life. Christ’s death was for all those whom the Father had appointed to obtain salvation, and obtain it they have/will because, or, by means of Christ’s vicarious (substitutionary) death. Hereby we see that Christ’s death was absolutely efficient for all those for whom He died, and so the sufficiency of His death was restricted to those for whom He died. What good would a universal sacrifice have been for those to whom it was not effective? Did Christ actually atone for the sins of all without exception knowing that many would be punished in Hell, regardless, for all eternity? That His death would mean nothing and accomplish nothing for multitudes. It is literally a nonsense and sheer madness to think, let alone believe, that God would require a dual payment for the sins of anyone for whom Christ died seeing that it was God Who provided a Saviour for His elect in order to expressly redeem them from their sins. God’s elect, as with the non-elect, had a sin problem, and the only way to remove it was to send a Savior, His own Son to die on the cross. The elect look to the true Christ, FOR He is their Saviour. And, what did He do to save His people from their sins? HE DIED IN HOLY SACRIFICE FOR THEM!! HE REDEEMED THEM BY HIS DEATH!! Christ having died for everyone without exception, but not all being saved, would mean Christ’s blood did not obtain redemption for all for whom it was shed. Such a concept is totally foreign to the Scriptures, and I defy ANYONE to prove otherwise. For what conceivable purpose would a sufficient sacrifice have been for those for whom it was not efficient? What would such a sacrifice have proven? That God loved all, and sent His Son to die for all, but still this was not enough to save any? A universal, but conditional, sacrifice would have been a case of Christ’s having died for all, but not leaving His Inheritance for all! Many say that Christ’s alleged death for all was to show His alleged love for all, but what good would such a ‘love’ have been, what good would such a ‘love’ have done, if the very purpose of its being was not fully realised? Those who believe such false teachings fail to realise that God’s love and Christ’s death cannot be separated from God’s purpose. You will not find one Scripture which declares that anything done by God was purposed by Him to fail, or achieve nothing. Christ’s death was for a reason. Christ came to the earth to save His people from their sins, and this is precisely what He did. His death failed none of them, for the shedding of His blood secured their eternal salvation. The blood is the life, and Christ’s shed blood is the evidence of eternal life obtained AND GUARANTEED for those whom God loved and gave to Him. There was only one purpose behind Christ’s sacrifice, and that was to redeem His people from their sins. Christ’s sacrifice was not some schizophrenic thing which did one thing for some, and nothing for others. Nor was its efficaciousness dependent upon those He died for. Atonement, full payment for sins, was not ratified by anyone’s acceptance of what was done for them, but upon Christ’s death and the Father’s acceptance of His sacrifice. Redemption was gained by the means of Christ’s death (see Heb. 9:15 cf. Rom. 3:25; Col. 1:21,22). The whole concept of redemption ensures the salvation of all those who have been redeemed by the Saviour’s blood. Christ is called “…the Lamb of God…” (Jn. 1:29), for “God has a special property in Him; He is His own Son; and because He is of His providing and appointing, as a sacrifice for sin, and is acceptable to Him as such; and to distinguish Him from all other lambs”.
The inescapable fact that Christ’s sacrifice was a substitutionary sacrifice means that what Christ did was take away the sins of those for whom He died. He took the punishment, He took the guilt, He bore the shame, He wiped clean the debt, He lifted the curse of sin from, by becoming a curse for, all for whom He died thus making restitution for them all. Nothing remains for those Christ died for, but the evidence that God loved them so much He took away their sins, by sending His Son to die for them, leaving them free from the curse of sin, and filled with His Righteousness. To say that all this is somehow reversed, or cancelled out, because of the nonsensical doctrine which teaches that if a man does not accept what was done for him, he will not benefit at all from it, is to reveal eyes that have never seen, ears that have never heard, and a mind that has never understood the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What could possibly make a sufficient, competent, yet non-efficacious sacrificial death, effective? Seeing that by the shedding of blood there is remission of sins (see Heb. 9:22), what could possibly have caused Christ’s alleged death for all to be only efficient for some? Christ’s death would have had a dual purpose: obtaining, thereby, securing, eternal redemption for some, and obtaining nothing for others! A sacrifice for everyone but redemption only for some? How can the right key not open the door it was cut for? By means of death eternal redemption was obtained, but not for all? But redemption was obtained and the means of obtaining it was Christ’s death, so how could His sacrifice not have obtained eternal redemption for all for whom He died? “In Whom we HAVE redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:14 cf. Heb. 9:12). Christ’s having obtained eternal redemption means those for whom it was obtained have/will have it based on Christ’s having obtained it through His death. Christ’s obtaining eternal redemption is not conditioned on a person’s acceptance of His efforts on their behalf, but upon His sacrifice—His death. Christ’s obtaining eternal redemption does not mean He merely made it possible, that its fulfilment now awaits a man’s decision, but that He actually secured it, made it a reality for all the people He laid down His life for, by His sacrificial act. “And, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself…yet now hath He reconciled…through death…” (Col. 1:20-22 cf. Heb. 2:14). The success of Christ’s sacrifice for all for whom He died, is as sure as His Father’s acceptance of it. This was a matter devised within the Godhead, upon which the eternal future of God’s elect people was not merely made possible—subject to forces outside the Godhead, i.e., man—but was eternally secured. The very act of a substitutionary sacrifice signalled the intention and purpose of God to save all for whom that sacrifice was made. Just as one cannot have substitution without a substitute, so too, one cannot have a substitution without a predetermined number who would be substituted for, and who would receive the full benefits of what the substitute would gain. You cannot have substitution without specificity: “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). Again, we see, just as with the Old Testament high priest, a specific number of transgressors whose sins were transferred to a specific victim. God chose a people to be His people before the foundation of the world, and the sacrifice of His Son was to secure eternal life for them. God’s Good News, His Gospel, is all about: “…salvation unto His people by the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God…” (Lk. 1:77,78). God chose and loved His people, and the outworking of election and His love is seen in His sending His Son to die for the sins of the people whom He chose and loved in order to secure their predetermined future. This is Almighty God at work, and nothing of what He purposed was conditioned on spiritually dead men. Sinful man required a Saviour, someone to do for him what he could never do for himself. Eternal redemption required the right death, and Christ’s death was the only death that could, and did, obtain eternal redemption for all those for whom He laid down His precious life. Christ’s atoning death DEMANDED the eternal salvation of all for whom He died! Christ’s death was a legally binding act which secured the freedom from sin’s penalty for all those for whom He died. “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross” (Col. 2:13,14). Being spiritually dead, and having to be made spiritually alive, proves that man could do nothing for himself, nor play any contributory role in his salvation.
The point that all the misinformed people who sincerely believe Christ died for all the sins of all humanity are missing is the potent fact that it was Christ's DEATH which actually activated all that He did by His sin offering to God! Not only did Christ’s atonement obtain redemption for all those for whom He died, but it ENSURED their salvation! THEY COME TO HIM BECAUSE OF HIS MAKING THEM ALIVE TO HIM. Christ’s death ratifies the new Covenant with the chosen people of God. It is not a person's free will decision, but CHRIST'S DEATH which makes the difference! "...He is the Mediator of the New Testament (covenant), 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. For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead…" (Heb. 9:15-17; cf. Heb. 10:14). Christ’s death was for THEIR sins: the sins of the called. Christ’s death achieved the redemption of the called, and it guaranteed they would all receive the promise of eternal inheritance. It is death upon which a last will and testament is conditioned before it becomes operational, not a person’s willingness to be among its beneficiaries. “Christ became the Mediator of the New Testament, and assumed human nature that He might die, and by dying might obtain redemption for His people; not only for those that were then in the world, or should be in it, but also for all those that had been in it. ‘The first testament’ is the first dispensation of the covenant of grace, reaching from the first promulgation of it to Adam after the fall, to the death of Christ; ‘the transgressions’ that were under it are the sins of the saints who lived under that dispensation, from Adam to Moses, and from Moses to Christ, and takes in all their iniquities of every kind…the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world; Whose death is a redemption from transgressions past, present, and to come; Whose blood is the ransom price for them, and was shed for the remission of them, even of sins that are past through the forbearance of God; Who took the Surety's word for the performance of all this, which in the fullness of time He strictly fulfilled, to the satisfaction of law and justice (see Rom. 3:25); and the ultimate end of Christ's being a Mediator, and dying for such purposes, was, that called ones might receive the promised inheritance: by the ‘eternal inheritance’, is meant Heaven, which is by gift and bequest, belongs to children only, and comes through the death of Christ; and is a very substantial, plentiful, and glorious one; it is incorruptible and undefiled, and that fades not away (see 1 Pet. 1:3-5), and as here, ‘eternal’; it was prepared from the foundation of the world, and will continue for ever; and it may be so called, to distinguish it from the inheritance of the land of Canaan, or any temporal one: ‘the promise’ of this was made before the world began, and was put into the hands of Christ, the Surety of the better Testament (see Heb. 8:6), by Whose death the heirs of it come to enjoy both the promise, and the thing promised; and they are such who are ‘called’, not merely externally, but internally and effectually; by whom were meant, not Abraham and his natural seed, nor the Old Testament saints only, but all that are called with an holy calling, whether Jews or Gentiles, and who will enjoy both the promise of the inheritance, and that itself, in a way of ‘receiving’: every word shows this affair to be all of grace; it is an ‘inheritance’, and therefore the Father's gift” to His children; “it is by ‘promise’, and so of grace (see Rom. 4:16); and it is ‘received’, and so freely given, and not merited; and only such who are ‘called’ by grace possess it; and yet it is through the death of Christ, that so it might be received in a way consistent with the justice of God.” “…they which are called might receive the promise…” The word might here simply means ‘may’, not in the sense of possibly, or potentially, but surely they would receive the promise of eternal inheritance. “Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed…” (Rom. 4:16). It is of faith, not so that it will possibly, or potentially, be by grace, but that it surely is of grace. “…if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:29 cf. Gal. 4:7). “The word seed denotes immediate descendants—children.” The seed are the children. The called are the children of God elected before time to receive His inheritance, and be His for all eternity. The Father bequeathes all to His children, and no others. God chose people to be His children to eternally inherit all spiritual blessings in heavenly places through the death of His Son for them (see Eph. 1:3-9). Those for whom Christ died are HEIRS of eternal life. “Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ” (Gal. 4:7). “The ultimate end of Christ's being a Mediator, and dying for such purposes, was, that the called ones might receive the promised inheritance: “…the God of all grace, Who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus…” (1 Pet. 5:10 cf. Jn. 17:2).