"THOSE WHOM THOU HAST GIVEN ME" (part 2)
Verse 20 of John 17 shows clearly that Christ’s prayer is not merely for the disciples there with Him, but also for those who would believe through their word: "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also WHICH SHALL BELIEVE ON ME through their word." Here we have one of the clearest evidences that Christ is not praying for anyone else in Israel, let alone the world, but for His disciples and those sheep who would believe through their word; that He prays not for every individual ever born but solely for those who have been given to Him by the Father who would, in time, believe on His name. How perfectly all this fits with the biblical teaching that God has chosen a people for Himself, not according to anything they have done, but according to His own purpose and grace. How could Christ have died for anyone else but these elect ones, for it was only for those with Him and those who would believe on Him that He prayed? Both God the Holy Spirit and God the Son intercede in prayer for the elect: "...He (the Holy Spirit) maketh intercession for the SAINTS according to the will of God" (Rom. 8:27). Writing to those saints, the apostle Paul says: "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. 8:34). Hebrews 7:25 confirms that intercession is made exclusively for those who come unto the Father by Jesus the Son: "Wherefore He is able to save THEM to the uttermost THAT COME UNTO GOD BY HIM, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession FOR THEM." The promoters of universal atonement are revealed as believers in, and preachers of, a false gospel by such Scriptures. The false gospel that teaches Christ has died for everyone, meaning that His death alone did not actually save anyone but merely made salvation possible for everyone—dependant upon a person’s choice and subsequent obedient life—is a lie from hell. As well as doing away with who Christ actually died for, thereby producing a lie concerning that which He did on the Cross—which is what Satan attacks more than anything else—it also denies all we have shown the reader that the Scriptures say about who Christ prays for and whom the Father has given unto Him. If the Arminians are right and Christ has died for all, why then did He only pray for those whom the Father entrusted Him with? Why then do some He allegedly died for—became a curse for—remain in unbelief and still go to hell in a cursed state? If Christ became a curse for them, how could they possibly remain in an unbelieving and cursed state? On what basis would they be cursed if Christ took their sins away by becoming a curse for them? If He did not become a curse for them, which is obvious by their unbelief, then He simply did not die for them. Christ’s death was about removing the curse and in no way, or to any degree, was it an act of indifference towards it. Christ’s death was for a specific purpose: HE TOOK AIM AT THE SINS OF HIS PEOPLE AND BLASTED THEM OUT OF EXISTENCE! Surely the reader does not believe that Christ has failed in some way to deliver safely to the Father all those whom the Father gave Him and for whom He died? Arminians would say "Oh no, they remain in a cursed state because they failed to believe in and accept Him". It is true that all those who perish in eternal fire failed to savingly believe in the Son of God but in light of this, how could it be that these ones who fail to believe in Christ could have possibly ever been among those whom the Father gave to the Son, whom Christ says would ALL come to Him, believe and be saved? Moreover, the Arminian shoots himself in the foot by such a statement, because if a person remains in a cursed state it shows that Christ did not die for them. No atonement was made for them. It is not a case of atonement being made but failing because it was not accepted. According to this line of reasoning one would be saying, "He atoned, paid the price for your sin, but at the same time, He did not pay the price for your sin if you do not accept and receive what He has done for you". On one hand Arminians teach that Christ has done something, and on the other that He has not done it if we fail to accept it. What Christ has done becomes something that hangs in limbo—in-between reality and fantasy—which awaits a touch from the magic wand of our belief and acceptance in order to make it ‘really real’. This denies the very meaning of the word atonement and the reader will not find anything of the kind in God’s Word. The word atonement means exchange, reconciliation, "and is the result of the redemption, the Divine act of salvation, the ceasing of God’s Wrath" through the imputation of the sins of His people to Christ and of Christ’s Righteousness to His people. Christ’s work of atonement was about EXCHANGING the sins of His people for His Righteousness. Imputation is a two way street: one cannot separate the act of the taking away of sins from the charging of His Righteousness. The Lamb has taken away the sins of those to whom His Righteousness is imputed. It is all the Work of God, to save those for whom it was done. Their believing was as much a part of God’s Work as was the non-imputation of sin. Just as with the work of the Old Testament high priest, so too, Christ the Great High Priest’s work for those God gave Him was not dependant upon them. It was not their acceptance of the work but the Father’s acceptance which made it effective. Of course one must believe in order to be saved, one must receive Him, but this belief is not a work of man’s, it is a gift bestowed by God to whom He will (see Rom. 4:5; Phil. 1:29). While it is true that "...as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God..." (Jn. 1:12), it is important to realise that those who do receive Him "...were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, BUT OF GOD" (Jn. 1:13). It is clear from these two Scriptures that only those who are born of God, OF HIS WILL, shall receive Christ and those who will receive Him do so, not because of THEIR will, but because of GOD’S WILL. One’s election to salvation is not dependant on one’s ‘decision for Christ,’ but on God’s will. The elect are made receptive by the grace of God (Psa. 110:3). ‘Believing unto salvation’ is not something the work of Christ is dependant on in order to make it effective, but is the fruit, the result, of what He has done on behalf of those whom the Father has given Him. Christ does not have the sins of everyone without exception in His sight awaiting their moment of conversion before blasting them, but those for whom He has made atonement, His elect ones, believe/will believe BECAUSE He has blasted away, atoned for, their sins! It goes without saying that the elect of God for whom Christ died would all believe. Their believing unto salvation is a foregone conclusion based on what Christ has done for them. It is not the other way round, that is, Christ’s atoning work is not the result or end product of our belief, which is what Arminians are taught, but His work of Atonement for His people is the GUARANTEE that they will all believe! The death blow to the false teaching of universalism is this: God would be unjust to receive satisfactory payment for man’s sins from Christ His Son and then demand that the sinner also make payment. If Christ has actually put away all the sins of everyone He died for, then there remains no further payment to be made. Christ said upon the cross, "It is finished"! (Jn. 19:30) and so the matter is closed. If all sin has been atoned for, is it not right to conclude that the sin of unbelief has also been taken out of the way? For what good would it have done and what sense would it have made for Christ to atone for every sin EXCEPT that ultimate and unpardonable sin which keeps a man out of heaven, the sin of unbelief? If it is not in accord with Scripture to believe that the sin of unbelief was amongst those sins which were nailed to Christ’s cross, then the sin of unbelief has not been done away with for ANY man, moreover, there is no atonement for it. The penalty it attracts has not been paid and therefore no one can possibly come to God, via God’s will or man’s, for the sin of unbelief reigns supreme, being untouched by the atoning blood of Christ. I am sure the reader can see that the doctrines of universal atonement and free will contradict what the Word of God says. A person who believes, shows that Christ did die for them because only in a blessed state can one believe, and those who are blessed of the Father are made so because they were given by the Father to the Son to die for—to remove the curse from them! They are blessed whom Christ became a curse for, and they remain cursed whom the Father did not give to the Son to bless by means of His death. Everywhere the Arminian turns, he is faced with an impenetrable Scriptural roadblock!
No doubt the most popular Scripture used to support the unbiblical notion that Christ has died for all is John 3:16: "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." "Many modern per-versions of the Bible translate the word ‘so,’ by saying ‘God loved the world so much.’ But, this word ‘so,’ HOUTOS in the original, does not ever mean ‘so much,’ but rather it means ‘thus’ or ‘so,’ as in ‘in this manner'. That is why this is the key verse in the Bible, because it tells in what manner God loved the world. To love the world as such is to be the enemy of God (Jas. 4:4). God does not love the world at all apart from what He purposed in Christ. The Word ‘so’ or ‘thus’ actually refers back to the words just before John 3:16." The bronze snake in verse 14 which Moses lifted up on the pole in the wilderness, and to which the Jews were to look for healing, is a picture of Christ Who would also be lifted up on a Tree to take away the sins of the people the Father had given Him. The first question that needs to be asked concerning John 3:16 is, ‘How is this verse to be reconciled with John 17:23 where Jesus, speaking to the Father concerning those that were given to Him, says: "I in THEM, and Thou in Me, that THEY may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast LOVED THEM, as Thou hast loved Me"? Here Jesus is saying that the unity between the Father and the Son and all those who were of the Father and the Son would be evidence to the world that the Father has loved all those whom He has given to the Son—those who believed, and those who would believe, in Jesus. Again, we see here a distinction made between those that are of the world and those whom the Father has loved. If world did mean every individual in John 3:16, this verse in John 17 would have been a prime opportunity for Jesus to confirm that popular supposition. Yet Christ says NOTHING in John 17:23 of the Father’s love for the world, but FOR THOSE WHOM HE HAS GIVEN TO HIS SON. If God had loved every individual in the world, then why would He not have given every one of them to His Son to die for? Why would He not have entrusted everyone in the world to His Son if He loved them all? Clearly speaking to fellow believers, and dealing only with matters which concern them, the apostle John says: "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" (1 Jn.4:16). This verse also talks about God’s love, but solely in the context of His loving believers, made manifest by laying down His life for those whom He had appointed to believe. The world, and everyone in it, is nowhere here mentioned.
1 John 3:1, also, does not talk of God’s loving everyone without exception. Writing to fellow believers John states, "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." "The term ‘world’ here in 1 John 3:1 is in no way within the range of God’s love as pertaining to salvation." God’s love is said to be bestowed upon His elect—those who would be called the sons of God. The only mention of world here is to show that ‘the world knoweth us not’. Knoweth who not? Those to whom the Father has bestowed His love! Once again, the word world here cannot be referring to everyone without exception but refers to those who know not whom the Father has loved. The elect are those whom God has loved and taken out of the world, a world which He 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. Universalists teach that God loves everyone and sent His Son to die for everyone but despite this, many whom God loved will be separated from that love because they did not accept and believe what was done by Christ for them. But the apostle Paul, writing to believers, says that NOTHING can separate those whom God loves from that Love: "...neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is IN Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 8:38,39; cf. Jn. 10:27-29). God’s love is an everlasting love (Jer. 31:3), therefore it is an unchangeable love. Those who are in hell today are not loved by God, but rather are experiencing His unending fury and wrath. God’s Love does not begin with our choosing Him, His Love begins with His Will. His Love is from eternity past to eternity future for all those He has given to His Son. It is not that He once loved a person but because they did not choose Him He has withdrawn that love, but rather those who are eternally damned never were loved by God, for if they had been they would never have perished, for they would have been among those He gave to His Son: "For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance" (Rom. 11:29; cf. Num. 23:19; Jn. 10:27-29). "The teaching of Holy Scripture is that the objects of God’s love will be effectually ‘called,’ ‘made sons’ and ‘partakers of His holiness’." Notice also that Jesus states, in John 17:23, that the Father has loved those whom He has given to the Son as much as He has loved the Son Himself! Indeed, these are the special people of God to whom He will allow no harm to come, hence His having chosen them out of the world, out from among those who will perish, and given them to His Son. Because of the distinction made here, and in many other places, between the world and those whom the Father has loved, it is evident that ‘the world’ mentioned in John 3:16 could not possibly be referring to every individual ever born, but is a reference to the world of the godly: those who would be saved by the Son. The Bible speaks of the world of the godly and the world of the ungodly: "(God) spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly" (2 Pet. 2:5). 1 John 3:13, also, shows a distinction between those who are of the world and the saints of God: "Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you" (cf. 1 Cor. 6:2).
The word whosoever in John 3:16 simply means ‘as many as’. As many as what? As many as believe! ‘Whosoever’ should never be seen on its own in this verse, but always with the word that follows it, believeth. In the context of John chapter 3, Jesus is speaking with one of the religious rulers of the Jewish people, Nicodemus, who, along with all Israel, expected the Messiah would be sent for the Jews and no other people. But the word ‘world’ and the ‘whosoever believeth’ out of that world is a reference to both Jews AND Gentiles—non Jews. Jesus uses the word ‘world’ specifically to show that God’s elect whom the Messiah has come to save do not come exclusively from the land of Israel but are taken from ALL nations (cf. Rev. 5:9). This matches perfectly with that which was prophesied in John 11:51,52: "...that Jesus should die for that nation (Israel); and not for that nation only, but that also He should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad." "This can mean none other than the elect of God, those chosen in Christ, scattered abroad amongst both Jews and Gentiles, and Christ was to die for both..." Note here that Jesus dying for that nation, Israel, does not mean that He laid down His life for everyone in or of Israel, but the second half of this verse reveals that He laid down His life for the children of God from Israel and also those who were scattered abroad—the elect from all other nations. "This reference to the world of the Gentiles continues throughout the New Testament (see Acts 10:45; 11:8; 15:3). Is the expression ‘the Gentiles’ in these verses universal? Is it indefinite or absolute? Are all Gentiles granted repentance? Is the Holy Spirit poured out on all Gentiles? And can all Gentiles be declared converted?" The answer to all these questions is a resounding ‘NO’! Those Gentiles mentioned in these verses from Acts are not every Gentile without exception, but those among them who believed. "God...did visit the Gentiles TO TAKE OUT OF THEM a people for His name" (Acts 15:14).
We are told that God loved the world so much that He gave His only begotten Son. Now, to whom has He given Him? Does it not stand to biblical reason that those to whom He has given His Son are those very ones whom He has given to Him? Why would He give His Son to everyone without exception, when the objects of His Love and saving grace—those whom He has elected, and for whom the Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world—are the only ones He has given to His Son to die for? Most people have been taught that John 3:16 is saying that God loved the world, everyone without exception, that He Has manifested His love to that world by sending His Son to die on the Cross. But it must be asked, ‘how can this be when many millions have died without ever hearing about this and were therefore totally unaware of God having manifested His Love in this way?’ How can any of these, who died never even hearing of the name of Christ, let alone His work of Atonement, possibly be among those whom God loved? Where is the evidence that He ever loved those who were, all their lifetime, ignorant of the fact that God sent His Son to die on the cross for them to take away their sins? How can this be a manifestation of God’s Love? Of what use would it be, and what purpose would it serve, for a man to manifest his love for a woman by doing something which he knew the woman would never know anything about! "Is it not inexplicably strange that a Sovereign, Omnipotent God of all power should so love multitudes and yet be unable EVEN TO CONVEY that love to them, so leaving them to die in ignorance?"
John, writing to fellow believers, said: "In this was manifested the love of God toward US, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that WE (those whom He called out of the world) 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 sins. Beloved, if God so loved US, we ought also to love one another" (1 Jn. 4:9-11). Clearly, God’s sending His Son into the world was not a manifestation of His love for everyone in that world, but for His elect! Christ was the Satisfaction for the sins of those whom God had chosen and given to Him. Again, what purpose would there have been in Christ dying for everyone, yet knowing His blood would only serve to atone for the sins of those whom God loved, chose and gave to Him? John 1:29 tells us, "...Behold the Lamb of God, which TAKETH AWAY (bore) the sin of the world." Notice here the definiteness of taketh away, rather than the indefinite ‘could’ or ‘might’ take away which would make the taking away dependant, or conditioned, on something outside the power or scope of he who does the taking. There is nothing potential here about Christ’s taking away or bearing of sin and the punishment due unto it, but is an act that is definite, exact, explicit, having precise limits or boundaries, known for certain. The word "world" here could not possibly mean every individual, for if it did then it would mean that Christ bore, took away, the sin of all men without exception. They would all be saved whether they believe in Him or not! This is confirmed by John writing to fellow believers: "And ye know that He was manifested TO TAKE AWAY OUR SINS; and in Him is no sin" (1 Jn. 3:5; cf. Isa. 53:5,6,8,11). This does not mean that Christ was manifested to take away the sins of only John and those to whom he was writing. What distinguished them from the world, and why he says Christ was manifested to take away "our" (their) sins, is that they were believers. It is clear from this that Christ has not taken away the sins of the world, meaning everyone without exception, but rather the sins of God’s elect who were in the world. It could be no other way, for if this meaning is not correct, we would be left with the Scriptures saying that Christ failed to take away the sin of the world, everyone without exception, because many have not had their sins taken away but have been cast into hell because of them. Whatever Christ came to the earth to do, we can be assured that He did it!
Christ says, "...I pray not for the world..." (Jn. 17:9). Does Jesus mean that He refuses to pray for all men without exception? Of course not. Again, we see a distinction made between those who have been given to Him and those who are of the world. "The world of John 3:16 (Greek: ‘kosmos’, from which comes our English word, ‘cosmos’, referring to our ‘orderly, harmonious, systematic universe’) is the creation made by God in the beginning, now disordered by sin, with the elect from all nations, now by nature children of wrath even as the others, as the core of it. As regards its people, the world of John 3:16 is the new humanity in Jesus Christ, the last Adam (1 Cor. 15:45). John calls this new human race ‘the world’ in order to show, and emphasize, that it is not from the Jewish people alone, but from all nations and peoples (see Rev. 7:9). The people who make up the world of John 3:16 are all those, and those only, who will become believers (whosoever believeth); and it is the elect who believe (Acts 13:48)." In all the Scriptures in the entire Bible which include the word’s love, loved, lovedst, loves, lovest, loveth, loving, lovingkindness there is not one reference to God or Christ loving the world, apart from John 3:16. Does not the reader think this strange who believes that John 3:16 is a great testament to God loving every individual ever born? Doubtless this book would be thrown out as rubbish if it continued to refer to only one verse of Scripture as proof of its content. It is of a surety that whoever God loves HE KEEPS, and He keeps them—ensures their eternal safety—by giving them to His Son. The greatest evidence of love, Jesus said, is "...that a man lay down his life for his friends" (Jn. 15:13). Therefore it stands to Biblical reason that the greatest evidence of the Father’s love is that He gives those whom He loves to His Son to die for, whom He calls brethren (see Heb. 2:11-16). Those whom He does not give to the Son He does not love. It cannot be said that God loved, and gave to Christ to die for, anyone who dies in unbelief. Arminians insist that "God loves everybody, but many go on to hell regardless because it is they who do not receive this love. Christ did die for all", they say, "but many still go to hell because they did not receive Him". But how can this be, when Scripture says those who love God WERE LOVED BY HIM FIRST!! (see 1 Jn. 4:19). This verse alone proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that all those whom God loved, and only those whom God loved, would all one day love Him and believe on His Son. The whole purpose in God loving a person is to ensure their salvation by Christ. Obviously, by this verse we see that all those whom God loves will, in time, ALL love Him. Those whom God loves could not possibly have ever been everyone without exception, for many die not loving Him. In contrast, all those whom God does love WILL all love Him. The principle taught in 1 John 4:19, "We love Him, BECAUSE He first loved us", is that none can love Him if He has not loved them first. This is also taught in John 6:44, Jesus said: "No man CAN come unto Me, EXCEPT THE FATHER which hath sent Me DRAW HIM..." And how does God draw that one? BY HIS LOVE! (Jer. 31:3).
God has entrusted His elect to His Son, for He is the Savior. Christ willingly became a curse for all those the Father gave to Him and those that were not given to Him remain in a cursed state and shall perish for all eternity. John 3:16 tells us that whosoever believes in Jesus will not perish but have everlasting life. We have seen that further on in the Gospel of John, chapter 17 verse 2, Jesus says that He will give eternal life to all those—AND ONLY TO THOSE—whom the Father has given Him. Obviously then, these are the only ones who will believe in Him for none shall be saved whom the Father does not give to the Son in order that He give eternal life to them. Christ provides further evidence, as we have already shown, to support this in John 10. Speaking to unbelieving Jews, Jesus said: "...ye believe not because ye are not of My sheep..." (Jn. 10:26). Here we see clearly that those whom Jesus says are not of His sheep are they who do not believe in Him. How then can these be among those whom the Father has loved and given to Him? Those who love Him do so BECAUSE He loved them first and those who do not believe in Him do so BECAUSE He never loved them, He never knew them, they are not of His sheep. Those whom He does not love He never loved, and, those whom He does not know He never knew (see Matt. 7:23). Yes, whosoever shall believe in Him will never perish, but the word whosoever does not give anyone license to believe that what is being taught here is that anyone can come by their own free will and choose Him. The context shows that Jesus was talking to Nicodemus, a Jew, who along with all other Jews, was expecting that the Messiah was to be sent only for the Jewish nation. Christ was informing him that salvation was for whosoever believed, meaning Jew OR Gentile. Who are the ones who will believe? Is it all open to each person’s personal free-will decision for Christ? If so, what then do we make of the verses quoted thus far showing that God is the one who does the choosing and that all those whom He chooses He gives to His Son—that all these, and only these, are the ones who will come to Him, believing, and whom He will never reject? Christ says that He knows His sheep and that they hear His voice (see Jn. 10:27). These are the ones who shall believe! The sheep, the blessed of God, are the ones whom He knows for they have been given to Him by the Father, not from when they believed, but from before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4). The unbelievers, the cursed, those described by Christ as the goats, are not among those who will believe because they are not His sheep, they are not among those whom the Father has given to Christ, and shall be sent away into everlasting fire.
What these Scriptures are telling us is that God has chosen from before the foundation of the world—so that none will be mistaken and think that God has chosen them because of anything they have done—those whom He wanted to give to His Son for the purpose of salvation and preservation. These are the ones whose names have been written in the Lamb’s Book of Life from the foundation of the world. While there is no verse which specifically states this, Revelation 17:8 speaks of those who shall wonder when they behold the Beast "...whose names were not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world..." If there are those whose names were not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, it stands to reason that those whose names are written in that Holy Book were written from the foundation of the world (see also Rev. 13:8). The elect were not chosen because God had foreseen before time began that they would be the good ones, the obedient people who would submit to Him and believe in His Son, for Scripture states clearly that this could never be because He has chosen them NOT ACCORDING TO THEIR WORKS, foreseen or otherwise, but according to His grace and mercy: "According as He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be (not because they were) holy and without blame before Him in love" (Eph. 1:4). To be recommendable and acceptable to God, one must be holy and WITHOUT blame before Him. Obviously this could never be something man, in and of himself, could do. Grace and mercy are things that are given DESPITE what a person has done, not because of what they have done. They are not rewards. Grace is not something which can be earned, otherwise it would cease to be grace. It is important to know who it is that God has chosen because this aids us in understanding who Christ laid down His life for and what exactly Christ has done for them. Once this is understood, one can never arrive at the conclusion—or remain convinced—that God loved everyone without exception and that Christ died for them all, for if this were the case, then God’s love and Christ’s death are not that which makes the difference between a person being saved or lost. If this were the case, we must face the ridiculous situation that God, though He loved everyone equally and though Christ has died for all, has given only some to His Son for safekeeping! But if God loved everyone, would He not have given all whom He loved to the Son and would He then not have given them all eternal life? What would God’s love mean, or be worth, if it were so weak and empty as to not be that which makes the difference between saved and lost, seeing that without God man is without hope? The Arminians say, "God loved the world and because of His love for everyone, He gave His Son". If the reason for God sending His Son was because He loved everyone, why then did His Son’s death not benefit everyone? Why are not all saved? How can those whom the Father has given to the Son and for whom He sent the Son to die, be identified as anything less than those whom the Father loved? And how can anyone whom the Father did not give to the Son be anything but those whom the Father did not love? There is nothing left to conclude but that all such teaching which accompanies universal atonement and free-will decisions for Christ are a lie. If any person dies in unbelief, one can be certain that person never believed in the true Christ of the Bible. If they had been among those who believed, it would have been evidence enough that they were of His sheep, and if so, none could have ever plucked them out of His hand. Moreover, the fact that a person has died in unbelief shows that Christ did not die for them; He did not become a curse for them, He did not accomplish redemption for them on the Tree, and thus they never were loved and blessed of the Father.
"Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me: for Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world" (Jn. 17:24). Here Jesus continues to pray exclusively for all those whom the Father has given Him—those present with Him and those who would believe through their word—that they be with Him in heaven (see Jn. 1:18). Again, He prays not for the world, every individual ever born—which is quite strange if in fact the Father loved all—but exclusively for those whom the Father gave to Him. He does not speak of those who would choose Him but those who were given to Him through, and by the Will, or choice, of God. They are the ones He wants to be with Him in Heaven. Further on in verse 25 of John 17, Christ says: "O Righteous Father, the world hath not known Thee: but I have known Thee, and these have known that Thou hast sent Me." What a verse of Scripture for those who insist that every instance the word world is used in the Bible is referring to every individual ever born and that God loved all of them! Like so many others, this verse makes a clear distinction between the world—those who have not known God—and those whom He has given to the Son: those who know that the Father has sent Him! When the Bible speaks of knowing, whether it be of God knowing them that are His or His chosen ones knowing the Lord, it speaks of intimacy. Christ says to those whom He will reject, "...I never knew you..." (Matt. 7:23; cf. 25:12). Contrast this with 2 Timothy 2:19: "...The Lord knoweth them that are His..." (cf. Amos 3:2). God knows, He loves and approves of, those who are His people and He does not know, love, or approve of those whom He has not chosen. Therefore, whosoever God knows, He loves, and if He loved/knew the world—everyone in it—then all would be saved. But Christ states that the world does not know Him. This of course does not include those whom He has chosen, for again, Christ here makes a distinction between the world of the ungodly and those that have known that the Father has sent the Son.
God has given to His Son, Jesus Christ, a people of His own choosing, not according to anything they have done, but solely according to the will and purpose of God.
The purpose in them being given to the Son is salvation. Christ would die for these, and these alone, and give unto them eternal life.
These are the only people Jesus Christ has made atonement for; The only ones He became a curse for upon the Tree; The only ones whose sins were imputed to Christ and Whose Righteousness was/will be imputed to them.
These are the same people who will be presented to the Father in a blessed state.
All others were not given to the Son; they are not among those to whom Christ will give eternal life and therefore could not have been among those for whom He died and become a curse for on the Tree. They are not among those blessed of the Father, for they are declared ‘cursed’ on Judgement Day.
My friend, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is THE issue. It is a life and death issue! These matters of who it is the Father has given to the Son, Christ’s death, and election, are not things that can be mistaken by a person who is truly saved. They are things which accompany the preaching of God’s Gospel, they are things that form the nucleus of the Gospel message and are at the heart of what every saved person believes, and are heard and believed at the time of one’s conversion. The seriousness of the situation, and why the error of those who do not believe these truths is a fatal one, is that not believing in them shows that a person is either believing something which contradicts God’s truth or shows that if they ‘haven’t yet made up their minds as to what they believe’, they are in ignorance, darkness, which is what a person in a saved state is brought out from in the first place. Either way, they are not believing the Truth. Belief of the truth is what distinguishes a saved person, who has been brought out of darkness into God’s marvellous Light, from a person who is lost and remains in darkness. None can be born again and yet remain in ignorance and darkness as to what the Gospel is, for "...if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost" (2 Cor. 4:3). The Bible teaches that one cannot believe in the true Christ until after one has heard of Him: "In Whom (Christ) ye also trusted, AFTER that ye heard the Word of Truth, THE GOSPEL of your salvation: in Whom also AFTER that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise" (Eph. 1:13). One cannot believe and trust in Christ until after one has heard His Gospel, and none are sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise who have not believed that glorious Gospel wherein Christ and His Righteousness are revealed (see Rom. 1:16,17). One cannot have true, saving God-given Faith if one does not believe the one, true, God-given Gospel.
The true Christian Faith is not a religion, nor is it primarily a lifestyle. True Christianity is all about a message—God’s Message: the Gospel, in which the Righteousness of Christ is revealed. This Gospel reveals the spiritual condition of man and God’s way of salvation. Salvation is deliverance. It means to be rescued or freed from a place of danger and brought to a place of safety. It also means to be preserved, to be kept. Salvation is God saving, or rescuing, a sinner from the eternal punishment rightly due unto his sin and transferring him to a state of eternal safety and security. Now, how does He do this?
Before we answer that we need to find out why salvation is necessary in the first place and to do this, we need to learn what God says about the spiritual condition of man. In the Book of Genesis we see the account of Adam and Eve. God made Adam and Eve perfect, free of sin, and gave them a beautiful garden to live in and enjoy, with wonderful trees providing succulent fruits. Their life was one of tranquil days of love, happiness and contentment and of peace with God. God said they could eat from any tree in the Garden but warned, "...of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Gen. 2:17). Death, previously unknown, would enter their lives—not merely physical death, but of even greater significance, spiritual death. Adam and Eve did eat of the forbidden fruit and death did enter their lives that very day, just as God had promised. Physically, they did not die immediately but the ageing process of decay and corruption, the breakdown of their physical bodies, did begin that day. However, they did immediately die spiritually. They were no longer acceptable to God for they had become sinners and were unclean in His sight. This death, both physical and spiritual, has passed on to every person ever since: "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon ALL men..." (Rom. 5:12). This is because Adam, the first man, was made the representative of all mankind by God. As their representative, Adam’s sin was imputed (charged) to them, his descendants, the entire human race: "...by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners..." (Rom. 5:19). The fact that both you and I sin offers undeniable proof that we are sinners and shows that we come from the sin seed which began with Adam. Just as a grass seed will only produce grass, so too, the sin seed will only produce sinners.
Most people readily admit that they are not perfect, but a source of comfort for many is that they see themselves as only minor sinners. Most people’s assessment of themselves is along the lines of ‘I am basically a good person. I know I’m not perfect but at least I’m not as bad as that person.’ They judge themselves by comparing themselves with others and according to this standard, they judge themselves to be basically good people. Everyone can always find someone who has sinned worse than they have and with whom they are keen to compare themselves. Many do not see themselves as having committed any serious sin, which they consider to be something like murder or other such crimes of extreme violence. While it is true that some have sinned more than others, and to worse degrees, the reality, not to mention the gravity, of the situation is that we have all sinned against God: "For ALL have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). Man has missed the mark, or target, and as for having registered points with God—man isn’t even on the scoreboard! Man in his lost state is under the impression that if he does his best then God will accept him, for what more can a person do than his best? But God says, "...every man AT HIS BEST state is altogether vanity (unsatisfactory)" (Psa. 39:5). The best a man can do to recommend himself to God falls far short of the perfection which God demands: "...we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses (good deeds) are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities (sins), like the wind, have taken us away" (Isa. 64:6). Notice that this verse of Scripture is not talking about our bad deeds being unacceptable, for that is something which is obvious to all, but that our very best deeds are as filthy rags in the sight of the Holy God. Religion teaches that our best deeds will recommend us to God, but God says that even at our best we fall far short of His Standard of acceptance. This is because we are sinners and all we do is imperfect and, therefore, unacceptable to a Perfect God. If our best deeds are as filthy rags, one can only imagine how our worst deeds appear in God’s sight. When speaking to the most religious people of His day, Jesus said, "...ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity" (Matt. 23:28). Man judges according to the outward appearance but God judges according to what is in man: "...for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart" (1 Sam. 16:7), and at the core of every man is the sin seed. "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jer. 17:9).
No matter how ‘good’ a man can become, all his efforts fail to address the root problem: his sin nature. If I may use the following illustration, man trying to get to God by what he does is like a man who has one foot nailed to the floor. No matter how much the man runs, all he can ever do is go around in circles! He never gets anywhere because the root problem, the reason why he runs around in circles and never achieves anything, has not been addressed! He must address the root problem, which in this case is that his foot is anchored to the floor. The fact that we are sinners is that which condemns us and it is a fact which none of us can change. It is the root problem and for it to be dealt with effectively, it must be dealt with God’s Way. Nothing we do, or don’t do, or stop doing, can alter our sinful nature one bit. A rotten apple, no matter how fragrant it’s aroma may be, can never alter the fact that it is ROTTEN! And no one is going to accept a rotten apple to eat, no matter how fragrant it is! So too, God will never accept an imperfect and sinful man, no matter how many ‘good things’ he might do, because his good deeds can never do away with his rotten sinful state. Man’s condition, and the fact that he can do nothing to change his state before God, is highlighted by God Himself in this next verse: "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil" (Jer. 13:23). The Word of God also says, "...verily every man AT HIS BEST state is altogether vanity" (Psa. 39:5). "...there is none that doeth good, no, not one" (Rom. 3:12). Where there is imperfection there is sin and where there is sin there can never be perfection, and therefore no grounds for acceptance with God. Despite all of mans’ enthusiastic religious efforts, God says "...There is NONE righteous, no, not one: there is NONE that understandeth, there is NONE that seeketh after God. They are ALL gone out of the way, they are together become UNPROFITABLE; there is NONE that doeth good, no, NOT ONE" (Rom. 3:10-12). Quite a predicament isn’t it?
The standard by which we are to judge ourselves is the one that God has set: perfection—and if we are honest, we will admit that we are imperfect. We all fail the test no matter how ‘good’ we are or how much better than others we believe ourselves to be. The greatest commandment is to love God with all our being (perfectly). The Lord Jesus says: "...Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law..." (Matt. 22:37-40). No one, not even the most religious person around, could ever say he has loved God perfectly and his fellow man as himself. So we see then that, far from being guilty of only ‘minor sins’, we all stand guilty of the greatest sins. Consequently, the concept of ‘minor’ sins is a false one, for to break even one of God’s laws is to be guilty of violating the Law as a whole. Sinners cannot be saved by the Law of God, for we have rendered it impossible that any of us should be justified and saved by the Law, in that we have broken the law and thus exposed ourselves to the penalty of the Law. "For whosoever shall keep the whole Law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all" (Jas. 2:10), and God has made clear to us the penalty for sin: "For the wages of sin is death..." (Rom. 6:23).
Society often gets into an uproar when a judge lets a criminal off with just a warning or hands down a light sentence. The judge that does this is perverting justice, he is not a just judge. When someone commits a crime, they should pay the full penalty that the law requires. While it is true that God is a God of love and mercy, it is of paramount importance to note that He is also a Just God, a Just Judge. God declares of Himself: "...The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin...WILL BY NO MEANS CLEAR THE GUILTY..." (Ex. 34:6,7) and "...there is no God else beside Me; a Just God and a Savior..." (Isa. 45:21). In order for God to be a Savior and at the same time Just without perverting His justice, His Law must be obeyed perfectly and His justice, which demands full payment for sin, must be satisfied. How could this be accomplished?
God the Father sent God the Son, Jesus Christ, into the world. Jesus was conceived in the womb of a virgin by the agency of God the Holy Spirit. He was not born of the seed of man and therefore did not carry within Him the sin seed (see Lk. 1:31,35). He did not descend from Adam and was therefore without sin. Consequently He and all that He did, was wholly acceptable to God (see Matt. 3:17). Just as Adam is a representative, so too is Christ. But while Adam is the representative of all mankind, Jesus Christ is the Representative of all those God gave Him—those whom God chose to save—through faith in His Gospel. Writing to believers, the apostle Paul said: "...God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth; whereunto He called you by our Gospel..." (2 Thess. 2:13); "As Thou (the Father) hast given Him (the Son) power over all flesh, that He (the Son) should give eternal life to as many as Thou (the Father) hast given Him" (Jn. 17:3). Being chosen by God for salvation was not something that could be earned or merited, it was not a reward, but was solely done according to His Will: "(God) hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, NOT ACCORDING TO OUR WORKS, but according to His own purpose and grace, which WAS GIVEN US in Christ Jesus BEFORE the world began" (2 Tim. 1:9); "...He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world...Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, ACCORDING TO the good pleasure of HIS WILL" (Eph. 1:4,5). Faith, like everything else pertaining to salvation, is a gift given by God, it does not originate within ourselves: "For by grace (unmerited favor) are ye saved through faith; and that (faith) NOT OF YOURSELVES: it is the GIFT of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Eph. 2:8,9). Saving Faith ALWAYS believes THE TRUE Gospel, never a false one for it is the Faith that comes from God (see 1 Thess. 2:13,14).
Jesus Christ is the Substitute of all those God chose to save, of all those whom the Father gave to Him. As their Substitute, He lived a life of perfect obedience to God’s Law that none of them ever could, thus providing the obedience they needed to become right with God: "...by the obedience of ONE (Jesus) shall many (those He represented) be made righteous" (Rom. 5:19). As their Substitute, He died and was resurrected, thus paying the penalty in full for their sins: "(Jesus) was delivered for our (those He represented) offences, and was raised again for our justification (acquittal)" (Rom. 4:25). Jesus blotted out "the handwriting of ordinances that was against us (those He represented)...and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross" (Col. 2:13,14). God’s Word says that all the sins of those for whom Christ died were transferred to Him, and that His righteousness would be charged to them: "For He hath made Him (Christ) to be sin (a sin offering) for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Cor. 5:21). Therefore "...David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works" and "Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin" (Rom. 4:6,8). All those for whom Christ was made sin are those who will never perish, for they have been made the righteousness of God in Him (cf. Gal. 3:13). The imputation of the sins of God’s chosen people to Christ and Christ’s Righteousness imputed to them, is the only way that God can remain Just and at the same time be the Justifier of sinners: "To declare, I say, at this time HIS Righteousness: that HE might be Just AND THE JUSTIFIER of him which believeth in Jesus" (Rom. 3:26). God’s Law has been fully and perfectly obeyed by Christ and the resulting Righteousness charged to all those whom the Father gave Him. There is no reason for them to perish, for their sins have been charged to Another and they now have the Righteousness of Christ. God’s Justice has been fully satisfied by Christ’s death on the cross for the sins of His people. No one for whom He has died shall be cast into Hell, and, He has died for no one who is cast into Hell. To be truly saved, one should EXPECT NOTHING MORE and ACCEPT NOTHING LESS than Christ’s glorious Righteousness as that which is necessary to attain and maintain a state of salvation from beginning to final glory.
The popular, yet false, belief that there are many religious paths one can travel but that all lead to the same God, is a lie from hell which continues to deceive people to this day. How can one group, for instance, which teaches that Jesus is not God and another which teaches that Jesus is God, both be right and leading people to the same God? Once something like this is pointed out it becomes clear that all the different religions do not lead to the same God, for not only do they differ greatly in what they say about God and the way to salvation but they often totally contradict each other. Just as there are many wrong answers that can be given to 2 + 2, there is only one correct answer. So too, there are many false gods and many false christs in religion’s supermarket, though this can never do away with the fact that there is only ONE TRUE God, that there is only ONE TRUE Christ. What you say about God and about Jesus Christ will show whether you believe in the True or in one of the many counterfeits which cannot save. God warns that many "...pray unto a god that CANNOT save" (Isa. 45:20). Only ONE road leads to God: "Jesus saith.., I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me" (Jn. 14:6) and "I am the Door: by ME if any man enter in, he shall be saved..." (Jn. 10:9). Religion, even that which professes to be ‘christian’, claims to know what it is that man can do to ‘make his peace with God’. But their teachings about salvation are false, for they all teach that man must, thereby implying that he can, do something in order to get saved and/or stay saved. This is the identifying mark of religion’s false gospel. The word religion comes from the Latin word religare meaning to tie up, or to bind. Religion binds you to a system of laws and duties which must be obeyed if you are to see Heaven and if disobeyed will condemn you to Hell. God declares in His Holy Word that man cannot do anything to get saved, that salvation is 100% God’s work from start to finish—from beginning to final glory—and that no one is saved who believes contrary to this. What better news could there possibly be for man than to learn that God, Who demands perfection, does not save sinners based on their imperfect efforts—for He cannot—but on the perfect obedience unto death (the righteousness) of Jesus Christ. The Bible does not say that obedience is not necessary, that one can simply believe in Christ and then live as one pleases (see Rom. 6:1,2). Obedience is very important in the life of a saved sinner, but that obedience is not what saved him or keeps him saved! "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus UNTO (not because of) good works" (Eph. 2:10). Anyone who bases their salvation on what they do and don’t do shows that they are not submitted to the Righteousness of Christ, but are seeking to establish a righteousness of their own (see Rom. 10:1-4). A believer’s obedience is important but it is by the obedience of ONE that a man is made righteous (Rom. 5:19).
This is the Gospel that saves. This is God’s Good News. Only those who believe the Gospel, which reveals Christ’s Righteousness alone as that which saves sinners and keeps them saved, will enter into Heaven with nothing to fear. Those who do not believe this Gospel shall be damned—condemned to Hell forever (see Mk. 16:16), for no matter how many ‘good deeds’ they have performed, their sins remain charged to them. Those whom the Lord is not willing should perish, never will perish, for they have been provided with a Savior Whose Righteousness alone saves. God has given them to Christ, He has committed and entrusted to the charge, or care, of Christ the Savior all those whom He is not willing should perish and they shall all be saved. These are God’s sheep who hear His voice and follow Him. Just as the Father has given them to His Son, so too, He has given His Son as Savior to THEM!
A cursory reading of the Scriptures often leaves a person with only a superficial understanding of what God is saying and not the proper one. Those who refuse to study and ‘dig deeper’ into a verse, display an attitude of prejudice. He who does not reason from the Scriptures reveals a bias against that which he fears he may discover will prove what he believes to be wrong. He who will not reason from the Scriptures is a slave to that which he holds to, which he is not willing to be examined and have challenged. He has pre-judged something based on inadequate, insufficient, or false, facts, refusing to allow himself to view ALL the evidence. Such a person displays an unteachable spirit and an unwillingness to stand corrected and see God’s Truth. He is enslaved to the traditions of men willfully ignorant of what God’s Word is saying. Such a person is in a religious comfort zone. All he has is religion, the god of which cannot save him.
The only ‘qualification’ required, in human terms, for one to be saved is: "..believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved..." (Acts 16:31). The very next verse in this chapter reveals that those who gave this answer to the man who asked, "What must I do to be saved?" "...spake unto him the WORD OF THE LORD..." The context of this chapter shows that the Word of the Lord which they taught the man was indeed the GOSPEL (see Acts 16:10). The only way one can believe on the Lord Jesus Christ is to hear God’s only Gospel wherein Christ and His Righteousness is revealed.
"For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth....for THEREIN is the righteousness of God revealed..." (Rom. 1:16,17).