FOR GOD SO LOVED...WHO? (part 19)
If Christ’s death did not obtain eternal redemption for all for whom He died then it was, in part, a miserable failure, an empty event. A valueless, vacuous and vain attempt to obtain eternal redemption for all for whom He died. A ‘good try’ but just not good enough! But the reality is that Christ did not merely make eternal redemption available by means of His death, nor something merely potential—conditioned on something which He allegedly chose to have no control over, man’s ‘free will’—but He actually OBTAINED eternal redemption for all for whom He died: “…by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” (Heb. 9:12). Christ did not take out some temporary lease on redemption, and then offered it to all, He actually bought redemption, purchased it with His own blood for His own people. "The word redeem means 'to buy out'. The term was used specifically in reference to the purchase of a slave's freedom. The application of this term to Christ's death on the cross is quite telling. If one is 'redeemed', then their prior condition was one of slavery. God has purchased His people's freedom, and they are no longer in bondage to sin or to the Old Testament Law. This metaphorical use of 'redemption' is the teaching of Galatians 3:13": "Christ hath redemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree" and Galatians 4:5: "To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." "In Whom we have redemption through His blood…" (Eph. 1:7); “In Whom we have redemption through His blood…” (Col. 1:14); “…feed the Church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28); “…the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 Jn. 1:7). Christ did not merely obtain redemption so that the best He could do with it was merely make it available to everyone, but He obtained it, He provided it for all the chosen people of God whom He was given by His Father. Christ obtained eternal redemption by paying a ransom price for those the Father had entrusted to Him. Once this ransom price was paid, the ones for whom it was paid would be legally freed, and given eternal life. The Lord Jesus took His people’s sins, having become a curse for them, and gave them His Righteousness. The taking of their sins was in no way conditioned on them, but solely upon His death, and God’s acceptance of it as a Holy and fully effective sacrifice. Like salvation, redemption is something which cannot be chosen, but only given to those chosen ones for whom it was obtained. “Having obtained—having thereby obtained; literally, ‘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 (Heb. 5:7). None before had trodden the path. In the original text it is, ‘having found eternal redemption’; there seems to be an allusion to Job 33:24: ‘…deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom' or ‘atonement’, which is no other than Christ the Son of God; whom Jehovah, in His infinite wisdom, found out and settled upon to be the Ransomer of His people; to which He agreed, and in the fulness of time came to give His life a ransom for many, and for whom He has given Himself as a ransom price, which has been testified in due time: and this ransom is for all the elect of God, and is of them from sin, Satan, law, Hell, and death; and the finding of it is not of man, nor is the scheme of propitiation, peace and reconciliation by Christ, or of atonement and satisfaction (s) by the sacrifice of Christ, as the word here used signifies, an invention of men; but is the effect of infinite wisdom, and a scheme drawn in the eternal mind, and formed in Christ from everlasting (see 2 Cor. 5:19). This was what was sought for long ago by the Old Testament saints, who were waiting, and longing for this salvation; it is a thing very precious and difficult to find; it is to be had nowhere but in Christ, and when found in Him, is matter of great joy to sensible sinners; God found it in Him, and found Him to be a proper person to effect it; and Christ has found it by being the Author of it: this is called an eternal redemption, because it extends to the saints in all ages; backwards and forwards; it includes eternal life and happiness; and such as are sharers in it shall never perish, but shall be saved with an everlasting salvation; it is so called in opposition to the carnal expiations of the high priests, and in distinction from temporal redemptions, deliverances, and salvations (see Gen. 49:18; Isa. 45:17).”
Christ went to the cross for those whom He knew, those whom He loved, and there He washed them all from all their sins by His death. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church, and gave Himself for it; That He might sanctify and cleanse it…” (Eph. 5:25,26); "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); “…Jesus Christ, Who is the faithful Witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the Prince of the kings of the earth. Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood” (Rev. 1:5 cf. Rev. 7:14). Atonement was made and completed, and eternal redemption was obtained, on the cross by Christ through death. Just like God does not enable a man to do that which will secure his salvation, but saves him outright, the death of Christ did not make anything potentially possible, for atonement—the washing away of His people’s sins and the obtaining of their eternal redemption—was actually ACCOMPLISHED by HIM!! Christ’s work was completed and His people’s eternal future secured, by Him. When it comes to the matter of salvation, grace does not enable anyone to do anything, for grace is God doing everything to save His people from their sins. Salvation is attributable only to grace (see Eph. 1:6). Salvation was not potentially obtained and secured for all based on some proviso—“a condition or qualification attached” to what Christ Jesus had done—but was actually obtained and secured for all for whom He died. “…Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood” (Rev. 1:5 cf. Eph. 5:25,26; Rev. 5:9,10). The blood of Christ washed away the sins of His people. He suffered the punishment their sins deserved, and they are imputed with the Righteousness they did nothing to merit. Christ Himself said on the cross “…It is finished…” (Jn. 19:30). The word finished means: “to perform THE LAST ACT which completes a process, to accomplish, fulfil”. What needed to be done to save God’s people has been done, it was performed and completed upon His cross by His Son, and no work of man’s needs to be added to it. No obedience needs to be added to Christ’s obedience, for “…by the obedience of One (Christ) shall many be made Righteous” (Rom. 5:19). Salvation is something which is predetermined, something appointed to a predetermined people, God’s people, and so, its dependency is fully upon what God has done for a people who could do nothing for themselves: hence their obvious need to be predestinated and rescued by another. They could do nothing to respond to what was done for them, for all needed to be made spiritually alive which evidenced the fact that all were spiritually dead in sins, dead to God prior to life being given. “…God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8 cf. Rom. 5:6); “…when we were dead in sins (God) hath quickened us together with Christ…” (Eph. 2:5); “And you, being dead in your sins…hath He quickened together with Him…” (Col. 2:13).
To predetermine is to pre-arrange. It is to predestine an outcome or course of events. This is why salvation, every part and process of salvation, is all according to the One Who has pre determined it, proving that no part of salvation is, or could be, in any way dependent, or conditioned on, those who have been predestinated to receive it. The fact that they were predestinated before the foundation of the world is conclusive evidence that they could not, and consequently did not, do anything to place themselves in a saved state. The fact that those chosen needed to be chosen, predestinated before the foundation of the world, shows clearly that apart from this being done for them, they were without any hope of doing anything for themselves which could gain them acceptance with God. Salvation is of the Lord by grace through faith, not works. None could choose God, for none in their lost, hopeless, state could even seek Him, which is why those who are saved were to be predetermined by God through His grace unto salvation, and why they all had to be predestinated by, and according to, the will and good pleasure of God. Nothing else but the elective love and will of God could have brought anyone into a state of salvation. Only the grace of God could have made that happen which works never could. The elect have been predestinated to eternal life based solely upon the grace of God. “…Salvation is of the Lord” (Jon. 2:9). It is Christ's death upon which eternal redemption hinged. Salvation, conditioned upon the act of man's accepting Christ's sacrifice makes no Scriptural sense, for then salvation would be by works, and not of grace. It would no longer be that which is predetermined, but that which is undetermined, unplanned, subject to, and ultimately influenced and determined by, the will of the individual. Salvation would no longer be according to the predestinating will of God, but by the determining will of each individual. People need to WAKE UP! They need to see the glaring contrast between Bible language, and the silly sermonic traditions of men. Never before have people been in more need of a TRUTHQUAKE to jolt them out of their religious comfort zones. Salvation conditioned on, therefore, determined by, the sinner, would mean that Christ's sacrifice was for all, and, therefore, He only saved some by it, but the journey to Hell for many more would not even be impeded regardless of Christ's efforts. The fact that salvation is by the means of Christ's death, (see Heb. 9:15) which guarantees eternal inheritance/redemption, tears to shreds the lie that Christ died for all. The sacrifice of Christ was made for the people of God chosen by God before the foundation of the world (see Ephesians 1). Scripture undeniably shows that salvation is by grace through the finished atoning work of Christ in blotting out the sins of all those for whom He died (see Col. 2:13,14).
If a successful redemption depends on what a man does, then what on earth did Christ do? What did Christ accomplish, settle, finish, if it was not effective redemption for all those for whom He died? Paul the apostle, addressing fellow believers, wrote: "Christ hath redeemed US from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us..." (Gal. 3:13), thus eternally linking Christ’s death with guaranteed redemption for all those for whom He died. He became a curse for them, thereby, lifting the curse from them. The effectiveness of Christ’s sacrifice depends, not on a man’s choice to receive it, but on the Father’s acceptance of it, and the sacrifice itself being performed to His exact specifications. As Christ’s sacrifice was a substitutionary sacrifice, this meant that "...by means of (Christ’s) death...they which are called (those for whom He died) might (may) receive the promise of eternal inheritance" (Heb. 9:15). The Greek has it ‘may be getting’, or ‘may be obtaining’ “which previously they could not (see Heb. 11:39,40). In Hebrews 3:1, the readers are addressed as 'partakers of the heavenly calling', which corresponds with ‘eternal inheritance’ here. Those who obtain this inheritance are designated as ‘called’. See Eph. 1:18; 1 Thess. 2:12; 5:24; 1 Pet. 3:9. He who denies the penal and vicarious nature of Christ’s death, repudiates the clear testimony of the types; he who sets aside the efficacy of His sacrifice by reducing it to a merely ‘making possible’ the salvation of men does likewise, FOR THE TYPES KNOW NOTHING OF AN INEFFECTUAL SACRIFICE.” Christ’s sacrifice was a once and for all sacrifice, meaning it never needs repeating, “For then must He often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Heb. 9:26). “This putting away of sin is signified by His bearing, carrying, and taking it away; by removing it as far as the east is from the west; by finishing and making an end of it; by crucifying the old man, destroying the body of sin, and by an utter disannulling and abolishing it, as a debt, and as a law; and all this is done by the sacrifice of Himself; by the offering up of His body and soul an offering for sin; as in Hebrews 9:14.” It is by the blood of Christ, the death of Christ, that He has obtained eternal redemption for all those for whom He died (see Heb. 9:12). Christ’s redemptive, and fully effective, work was notarized by His shed blood, and needs not to be co-signed by man. “God binds Himself to contracts—using blood as His seal (see Heb. 9:18-28). Every major covenant that God has initiated with man is sealed with blood. God seals His covenants with the agent that represents life and death.” The redemptive work and accomplishment of Christ is not something which is able to be made voidable. It cannot be annulled, disavowed, rescinded, or made void, so therefore, it is not subject to any other party. No one’s will but the Sovereign will of Almighty God is involved.
One cannot separate redemption, the remission of sins, from the shedding of Christ’s atoning blood as an offering to God on the behalf of His people which are taken out of the nations of the world. The sins of the people for whom Christ died awaited only Christ’s sacrifice for them to be placed in remission. The very act of sacrifice offered by Christ to, and accepted by, God has placed the sins of those it was made for in a state of eternal remission (see Heb. 10:18). Their remission did not await the people’s acceptance, or approval of what was done on their behalf, for the sacrifice of the sins of the people whom God entrusted to His Son, and the acceptance of that sacrifice was a matter between the Father and the Son. It was a transaction, if you will, within the Godhead FOR the ungodly whom God had chosen to show mercy, and given to His Son to die in their stead. It was a contract for salvation sealed and ratified by the death of the Saviour forever for the people God chose to place in Christ. What need then for a third party? How can a holy act be ratified, set in motion, by an unholy man, indeed, a man who is spiritually dead in sins? Christ was the Advocate, the Mediator, of His people, He represented them to His Father, and His Father to them. Redemption could not have taken place without Christ having been made a curse—treated as accursed—for those people He represented, and died for (see Gal. 3:13). Every sin of all His people were imputed, or charged, to Christ (see 2 Cor. 5:21). One cannot have a sacrificial death ordered by God without the particular sins of specific individuals being allocated, transferred, or imputed, to the offering, and the benefits of that offering being given to them. The sins of God’s chosen people were “set apart for a particular purpose”, and that purpose was Christ taking those sins upon Himself, thus through Christ’s death all punishment for the sins of those He represented was ended. “…He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all…for the transgression of My people was He stricken” (Isa. 53:5,6,8). Clearly, it is the people of God, MY people, as God calls them, to whom ‘our’, ‘we’ and ‘us’ are referring. Redemption is accomplished. To use the vernacular, redemption is a done deal, and all who were ordained to eternal life will, in time, believe (see Acts 13:48).
The abolition of the sins of God’s people imputed to their Saviour was accomplished by Christ’s death, as is the Imputation of His Righteousness to them. All those for whom Christ became a curse have/will be imputed with His Righteousness “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. Zech. 3:4; Isa. 61:10; Hos. 4:8; Job. 25:4). “Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by Whose stripes ye were healed” (1 Pet. 2:24 cf. Isa. 53:5,8). The Righteousness of Christ shall be imputed to all those for whom He died: “Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Rom. 4:23-25). This is the essence of a substitutionary sacrifice. The sins of God’s people were imputed to Christ, and His Righteousness was imputed to them. Whoever heard of a one-sided substitution? You cannot have Christ being made a curse without those He became a curse for being made the Righteousness of God in Him: “For He hath made Him to be sin for us…that we might be made the Righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21). The sins of His people were charged to Christ, and so they can no longer be charged to those He died for “…not imputing their trespasses unto them…” (2 Cor. 5:19). Substitution and imputation—both of sin to the Substitute, and His Righteousness to those He substituted Himself for—do not make any sense without the presence of the other. You cannot have Christ taking away sin, without depositing His Righteousness into the account of all whose sins He took away. Just as salvation is a two-sided coin: on the one side God making a man alive, and on the other a man’s believing, atonement is also a two-sided coin: Christ was made a curse for His people, so that they would be made the Righteousness of God in Him. YOU CANNOT HAVE THE IMPUTATION OF SIN, WITHOUT THE RECIPROCAL IMPUTATION OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. Christ became a curse, and those for whom He became a curse became Righteous. “Their Righteousness is of Me, saith the Lord” (Isa. 54:17). “The vindication of their righteousness, of their cause, and of their character; or the reward of their righteous works in a way of grace; even all that righteousness and true holiness that is in them, and that Righteousness which is imputed to them, and by which they are justified, are from the Lord; by which they are secured from all the charges of law and justice, and, from all the accusations of men and devils, and which will answer for them in a time to come, and acquit them at the bar of God before men and angels; (see Rom. 8:33,34).”
Just as God did not seek the approval of any before He gave them to His Son, just as Christ did not seek authority, nor any consent, from any before He laid down His life for them, thereby, ensuring their salvation, so too, redemption is not something which awaits the sanction of, or go-ahead from, any, for redemption became reality upon the death of Christ. All these matters, and for whom they would be performed in the behalf of, were settled before the foundation of the world. The resurrection of Christ was God’s stamp of approval, if you will, on what His Son had done: “Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Rom. 4:25). It is the death of the testator which enacts the testament: “For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth” (Heb. 9:17). The only time a last will and testament lies powerless is prior to the testator’s death. Once death has occurred all barriers to the distribution of what has been bequeathed to whom it has been bequeathed are forever removed. Significantly, you cannot will yourself to be a beneficiary of a will, for this decision, this choice, is made solely by the one making the will. So too, none can will themselves to be the beneficiaries of redemption and salvation, for this has been done by God Himself before the foundation of the world, and secured by Christ His Son through His death. The redemption of all God’s chosen rested on Christ’s death, for it was by His death that redemption was brought into being for all those God had given Him. The final act of salvation is a person’s believing, but this is not something which proceeds from the believer, but is an operation of the Spirit on the heart of all whom the Father chose, and the Son died for. John the Baptist came “To give knowledge of salvation unto His people by the remission of their sins” (Lk. 1:77 cf. Psa. 111:9; Gal. 1:4), and Matthew 1:21 says “…thou shalt call His name Jesus FOR He shall save His people from their sins”. How shall He save His people? By the only sure way they could, and would, be saved from their sins, by laying down His life for them, thereby, remitting their sins forever. How does a man’s sins remain unremitted? By Christ’s not having laid down His life for him. How are sins remitted? By the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is what Christ did, and it was exclusively for the people God gave to Him. Salvation is about God’s will and love seen, or expressed, in what Christ has done for the people entrusted to Him by the Father.
Whilst there are several Scriptures which at first glance appear to concur with the mistaken interpretation of John 3:16, the only reason for this apparent corroboration is the fundamentally flawed foundation on which the entire premise of Arminianism stands, the myths that have deceived the world: that God loves everyone, Christ died for everyone without exception, and that man must do before he can be saved. Looking at Scripture from this perspective one will always interpret the Word of God according to these lies. One will always have a skewed interpretation, a distorted and biased view of the Word of God which the Scriptures themselves will always prove to be “inaccurate, unfair, or misleading”. However, when one knows the truth one cannot only see why such lies are so popular, and why they are believed by most who claim to be Christian, but also why they are so very wrong, and run counter to Who God is, and what Christ has done. The most prominent of Scriptures which seem to lend support to the Arminian view, apart from John 3:16, is 1 John 2:1,2: “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous: And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” This passage of Scripture is perhaps the most frequently referred to, and is used as a ‘proof text’ that Christ is the Advocate of all, and that He has made atonement for the sins of all without exception. Such unscriptural thinking is an actual denial of what atonement is, and what it does, and, therefore, completely obstructs one’s view of precisely whom it was made for. One particular verse which can always be relied on as an aid to understanding Scriptures such as these, particularly verse 2, and which acts as a master key in unlocking any seeming contradictions to do with just who Christ died for, involves the prophecy of the high priest Caiaphas: “…being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; And not for that nation only, but that also He should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad” (Jn. 11:51,52). The phrase “He should die for”, matches John’s words in 1 John 2 “He is the propitiation for”. This assists the Bible student by revealing a Scriptural picture of just who Christ was the Propitiation for, in 1 John 2:2 by comparing “…He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world”, with that found in John 11:51,52: “…Jesus should die for that nation; And not for that nation only, but that also He should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad”. Thus by using Scripture to interpret Scripture we see clearly that ‘the whole world’ is in fact made up of the children of God in Israel, and those who were scattered abroad. “For though Christ, as Prophet, was sent to the Jews only, and was the Minister of the circumcision, yet as a Priest He did not die for them only, but for the Gentiles also; even for the whole mystical Israel of God all the world over, whether among Jews or Gentiles…‘But that also He should gather together in one, the children of God that were scattered abroad’; by which is meant, not only the elect of God among the Jews, who were scattered amidst the nations of the world, for whom Christ died, and to whom the Gospel was in the first place sent, and who were gathered together into a Gospel church state (see Jn. 7:35; 1 Pet. 1:1,2; Js. 1:11); but rather the elect of God among the Gentiles, called ‘the children of God’, in opposition to a notion of the Jews, who took this character to themselves, on account of their national adoption, and denied it to the Gentiles, reckoning them no other than as dogs; and because they were the children of God by special adoption, in Divine, predestination, and in the covenant of grace; and were so considered, when given to Christ, who looked upon them as in this relation, when He assumed their nature, and died in their room and stead.”
“1 John 2:1,2 is one passage more than any other which is appealed to by those who believe in universal redemption, and which at first sight appears to teach that Christ died for the whole human race. This is the passage which, apparently, most favors the Arminian view of the Atonement, yet if it be considered attentively it will be seen that it does so only in appearance, and not in reality.” Those who see proper Biblical study, looking at words and their origin, true meaning, etc., as some attempt to force the Scriptures into saying something different to that which is obvious and clear in English, fail to realise that the Scriptures are to be searched, and compared and studied so that the proper meaning can be understood and believed. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15 cf. 2 Tim. 3:16,17); the phrase rightly dividing means cutting. The original Greek has it “correctly partitioning”. “What is intended here is not dividing Scripture from Scripture, but to handle correctly, skilfully, teaching Scripture accurately.” OURS IS TO REASON FROM THE SCRIPTURES, WITH THE SCRIPTURES, ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES, ABOUT THE SCRIPTURES. Everyone knows of the Bereans who “…were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched (examined) the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11). Those who argue against the truth are they who cannot see the truth. The Scriptures do not ever contradict themselves. Any apparent contradiction is interpreted only by those who have not been given eyes to see, ears to hear and faith to understand so that they might be converted. Though they have eyes, the blind cannot see. So, too, in spiritual matters. The deaf, though they have ears, do not hear. So, too, in spiritual matters. This is not to say the lost are not intelligent, that some among them are not even intellectual giants, and scholars, etc., but “…the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God…” (1 Cor. 3:19), and though they might be constantly studying and reading, learning and increasing in knowledge, a spiritually rudderless man can never come to the knowledge of the truth of God unless God opens his eyes to see His glorious truth (see 2 Cor. 4:3,4). 1 John 5:20 teaches “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true…” A man must be given an understanding of the truth. A man must be given an understanding from God in order for him to rightly know the true God: Who He is and what He has done. This understanding is always the exact same understanding which God gives to all His people, and so there is no contradiction, there is no argument between God’s people as to how the Lord saves, and whom the Lord saves, for they have all been given “…the faith of God’s elect…” (Titus 1:1). Those who do not see with their spiritual eyes, nor hear with their spiritual ears, or understand the truth of God with their hearts, are simply not converted, and remain in the carnal realm still trying to discern the truth of God without the understanding God gives to all His people. Though many hear what is spoken, there are few who hear what is meant. “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14 see also Jn. 12:38-40; 1 Cor. 2:9).
People today are accepted as Christian simply because they profess to love God. Yet, the doctrines they believe in reveal them to be false brethren, people who claim to love God, but do not know Him; people who claim to believe in Jesus, but who do not believe in God’s record of what He has done and for whom He has done it; people who claim to believe the truth, and yet reject the only Gospel of God: His very power unto salvation. There is a grotesquely monumental movement out there which goes under the misnomer of Christianity, and its numbers are in the billions. This movement accepts any as its own who claim to be Christian regardless of what they believe, or to which denomination they belong. This movement overflows with the sewage of contradiction, of doctrinal incompatibilities, and is a veritable stench upon the planet. It is a movement which testifies that all who claim to be Christian are Christian, and that any doctrinal errors one may hold to will eventually be corrected, and are easily overcome by one’s sincere ‘love for God’. The Word of God declares that those who do not believe the Gospel of God are not merely in need of correction, but are in fact in a lost state. They are not saved Christians, but lost unbelievers. The lost are not Christians despite anything they may say to the contrary, or what their equally blind leaders may say about them whilst assuring them of their salvation, for the Word of God says: “…if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost” (2 Cor. 4:3 cf. Gal, 1:8,9; 2 Jn. 9). As with the Jews in Romans 10:2 , such people do, indeed, have a zeal for ‘God’, however, their misguided zeal is “…not according to knowledge” of God’s Gospel. Their zeal of ‘God’ is not for the true and only God, but a god of man’s imagination. As with the true Gospel, the true God is hid from them, their faith is not in Him, evidenced by the fact they abide not in the doctrines of the Gospel of Christ, proving absolutely the inescapable reality that all such people are as lost as lost can be. The lost are not Christians who are merely in need of correction, for they do not believe God’s Gospel, and so currently stand condemned (see Jn. 3:18).
When God calls out His chosen ones He always calls them out by His Gospel from darkness to Light (see 1 Pet. 2:9 cf. Acts 26:18; 2 Thess. 2:13,14). The love and grace of God “…is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, Who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10). God’s people do not remain in darkness, but by grace are made free from its blinding effects (see 2 Cor. 4:4). The Word of God clearly teaches that to savingly receive the Seed of God, one must hear it AND understand it, AND believe it. Ignorance of the Gospel is ignorance of Christ, and ignorance of the truth of the true Christ is absolute and conclusive evidence of a state of spiritual depravity. Christ said of them which believed not on Him: “That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not SEE with their eyes, nor UNDERSTAND with their heart, and be CONVERTED, and I should heal them” (Jn. 12:38-40 cf. Isa. 6:9,10; Matt. 13:15; Acts 28:27; 1 Cor. 2:9,10). Here we see incontrovertible and substantive evidence that seeing and understanding are inseparably connected with conversion. Seeing and understanding what? The Gospel of course (see Rom. 10:15-17). The apostle Paul warned “… though we, or an angel from Heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:8,9). A man whose trust is in another gospel, a false gospel which does not tell the truth of the true Christ, is as saved as the man who refused to look at the serpent on the pole was healed. To say one was saved before belief of the Gospel, is to say that a man was healed before he beheld the serpent on the pole (see Jn. 3:14,15; Num. 21:8,9). A false gospel cannot produce a saved man, just as “…no lie is of the truth” (1 Jn. 2:21). “…what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?...” (2 Cor. 6:16). Many have an enormous zeal for God, but zeal for God is pointless, it is utterly profitless, if it is not according to the knowledge of God (see Rom. 10:1-4).
Natural man is predisposed to error in matters spiritual. He has a natural proclivity for that which makes sense to his natural mind, but has no grasp of, and no natural attraction for, the actual truth of God. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the LORD” (Isa. 55:8). “…the thoughts of men are evil, even the imagination of their thoughts, yea, every imagination is, and that always and only so; but the thoughts of God are holy, as appears from His purposes and covenant, and all His acts of grace, in redemption, calling, and preparing His people for glory: the thoughts of men, as to the object of them, are vain, and nothing worth; their thoughts and sentiments of things are very different from the Lord's, as about sin, concerning Christ, the truths of the Gospel, the people of God, holiness, and a future state, and in reference to the business of salvation; they think they can save themselves; that their own works of righteousness are sufficient to justify them; their privileges and profession such, that they shall be saved; their wisdom, riches, and honour, a security to them from damnation: however, that their sincere obedience, with repentance for what is amiss, will entitle them to happiness: but the thoughts of God are the reverse of all this; particularly with respect to pardoning mercy their thoughts are different; carnal men think of mercy, but not of justice, and of having pardoning mercy in an absolute way, and not through Christ, and without conversion and repentance; and so this is a reason why men's thoughts are to be forsaken, because they are so very unlike to the Lord's.” Religious traditionalists riddled with naiveté do not believe the truth, for they have not the faith which comes from God which is given to all His elect. The true Gospel of God is hid, it is kept, from those who are lost, not those that are saved “…if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not…” (2 Cor. 4:3,4). Notice that those who do not know, believe, or obey the Gospel of God, are lost, for their minds are blinded, and so they believe not the Gospel. Those who “…do not obey the truth,…obey unrighteousness…” (Rom. 2:8). The spiritual condition of those to whom the Gospel of God is not known or believed, is evidently described in Scripture as: lost. They are not saved people who merely require some ‘fine tuning’, and exposure to better teachers, but are lost people whose faith is a false faith, for it is not in the true God evidenced by their not believing the doctrines of the true God’s Gospel. They are not Christians at all despite any prevailing zeal, or religious devotion, gentle nature, or good deeds. Those who have a zeal of God, but who do not believe the doctrines of the Gospel of God, are not ‘weaker brethren’ as one man has so foolishly described them, they are not brethren who ‘see the truth differently’, but they are the lost who do not see the truth of God at all! “If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself” (1 Tim. 6:3-5); “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isa. 8:20). The only weaker brethren which the Scriptures speak of are found in Romans 14 where Paul writes of those who are careful not to eat certain foods, or who esteem one day above another (see also 1 Cor. 8:8,9). An individual who believes false doctrines concerning the Gospel is never referred to as a weaker man, but only as a lost and accursed man (see 2 Cor. 4:3; Gal. 1:8,9). We may well ask of those who ‘see the truth differently’, differently from what? Differently to what God says it is! Is the truth of God not what He declares it to be, but something which is merely subject to the whims and opinions of each individual? Undoubtedly not. ONE WHO ‘SEES THE TRUTH DIFFERENTLY’ IS ONE WHO DOES NOT SEE GOD’S TRUTH AT ALL, but only a perversion of it. One who ‘sees the truth differently’ can never be in agreement with the one who has been given eyes to see the truth according to the Scriptures’ portrayal of it. The religious have a zeal for God, but it is not a zeal which is accompanied by right knowledge of God, and, therefore, cannot be in accord with the Word of God. A natural man’s zeal is unconformable to the truth of God. “For to be carnally minded is death…the carnal mind is enmity against God…they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom. 8:6-8). The spiritually dead nullify the Word of God, by their traditions (see Mk. 7:13). The apostle Paul speaks of himself as being “…a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness” (Titus 1:1 cf. 1 Cor. 15:1-4; Titus 2:7; ). The faith God gives to His elect children always acknowledges His truth. One cannot be a servant of God if one’s faith is not that of God’s elect, the common faith (see Titus 1:4; Jd. 1:3) found in each and every one of God’s people, which leads all of them to acknowledge the truth of God (see 2 Tim. 2:25), and reject everything else. It is not enough to simply ‘believe’, but one must believe the truth with the saving faith of God’s elect.
“…the fact that 1 John 2:1 opens with ‘and’ necessarily links it with what has gone before. We, therefore, give a literal word for word translation of I John 2:1: ‘Little children my, these things I write to you, that ye may not sin; and if any one should sin, a Paraclete (advocate, or helper) we have with the Father, Jesus Christ (the) Righteous’. It will thus be seen that the apostle John is here writing to and about the saints of God.” Though John’s first Letter is not formally addressed at its outset, as most other Letters are in the New Testament, apart from a brief statement in 1 John 2:1 “My little children, these things write I unto you…”, 1 John 5:13 reveals precisely who these little children are that John has written his first Letter to: “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God…” The apostle’s Letter was written to believers only, and was no open, general letter written to whosoever might happen to read it. Simply because anyone in the world today can pick up a Bible and read it, does not in any way change the fact that the New Testament Letters were written to believers, the saints of God, and no others. Having established the fact that John’s Letter was written to believers—more precisely, Jewish believers—we must, in order to arrive at an accurate understanding of what it is saying, read the Letter in that context. According to this proper, and only correct approach, we may, whilst guided by this rule, clearly deduce that it is the believers, and no others, who have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous. “John’s immediate purpose was two-fold: first, to communicate a message that would keep God's children from sinning; second, to supply comfort and assurance to those who might sin, and, in consequence, be cast down and fearful that the issue would prove fatal. He, therefore, makes known to them the provision which God has made for just such an emergency. This we find at the end of verse 1 and throughout verse 2. The ground of comfort is twofold: let the downcast and repentant believer (see 1 Jn. 1:9) be assured that, first, he has an ‘Advocate with the Father’; second, that this Advocate is ‘the propitiation (the One Who has satisfied the Wrath of God) for our (the believer’s) sins’. Now believers only may take comfort from this, for they alone have an ‘Advocate’, for them alone is Christ the propitiation (satisfaction), as is proven by linking the Propitiation (‘and’) with ‘the Advocate’!” For them alone, is Christ the Propitiation, for it is for them alone Christ has made atonement.
“…if other passages in the New Testament which speak of ‘propitiation’, be compared with 1 John 2:2, it will be found that it is strictly limited in its scope. For example, in Romans 3:25 we read that God set forth Christ ‘…a propitiation through faith in His blood…’ If Christ is a propitiation only ‘through faith’, then He is not a ‘propitiation’ to those who have no faith. Again, in Hebrews 2:17 we read, ‘…to make reconciliation (propitiation) for the sins of the people’.” To which people is the writer to the Hebrews referring? All people? The answer is found, for all to see, in the very same verse: “Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren…” Christ says: “…Behold I and the children which God hath given Me” (Heb. 2:13 cf. Isa. 8:18; Jn. 10:29). Christ is the great High Priest over His own House “…having an High Priest over the House of God…which is the Church of the Living God…” (Heb. 10:21 & 1 Tim. 3:15 cf. Col. 1:18), not every individual in the world. Clearly, propitiation has been made exclusively for the people of God. “…who are meant when John says, ‘He is the propitiation for our sins’? We answer, Jewish believers. And a part of the proof on which we base this assertion we now submit to the careful attention of the reader. In Galatians 2:9 we are told that John, together with James and Cephas, were apostles ‘unto the circumcision’ (i.e. Israel). In keeping with this, the Epistle of James is addressed to ‘the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad’ (Jas. 1:1). So, the first Epistle of Peter (Cephas) is addressed ‘…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).