committed to historic Baptist & Reformed beliefs

 

"Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time."

 

When it comes to preaching and teaching the doctrines of grace it is hard to convince a man that the whole of humanity is totally depraved... even although one has to only look at the newspapers and see the murders, rape, crime, wars the legalization of almost everything that God says he hates!

Yet an unregenerate man will resist the Word of God which says "There is none that doeth good no not one!" For, he will argue that while there is much wickedness there is on the counterbalance much good in the world... good which comes from man. However the Bible shows that if there is any good it is the result of the common grace of God and not because of any goodness in man , but in spite of all His sinfulness. The awakened sinner needs not even look to the events going on all around... he only needs consider his own heart and he will be convinced that in him no good thing dwells... but that he is altogether by nature an enemy of God and unable to do anything about it!

If it is hard to persuade men that the Biblical teaching of total depravity is correct then perhaps it is a little harder for people to accept that it is God who unconditionally elects people to Salvation.

Although this be clearly taught in the Bible.. yet it is something that man will naturally kick against... he likes to think that he is his own master and that he controls his own destiny... however God’s Word teaches that it is not of him that willeth , nor of him that runneth, but it is God that showeth mercy.. the Scriptures are clear that those who are called Christians are "chosen in him before the foundation of the world." - the attempts to explain this away as merely God knowing who would choose Him and then Him predestining them on the basis of this are pathetic and I believe deceitful... when you need to start explaining texts a of Scripture away... instead of explaining them. You are in trouble - you become prone to using the Word of God for your own ends.

What we come to today however is almost so unpalatable that many who name the name of Christ find it beyond them to believe and accept. That is that Jesus Christ died on Calvary’s cross for His people. I will say it again and do so in different words so that no-one misunderstands - When the Lord Jesus paid the price for sin and suffered and died in the place of sinners... He did so for the sin of those whom God had foreordained to eternal life. God had chosen those who would be the recipients of His love and great undeserved grace but in order for them to be made fit to appear in His presence they needed their sin pardoned... Christ came to do exactly that..

"Ah ha!" I can hear someone saying.. "You are going to preach to us the reformed doctrine of Limited Atonement.... you are going to tell us today that the Bible teaches a Particular Redemption... and you have already announced to us that it is wrong to take a text of Scripture and seek to explain it away just so it fits into ones system of theology- what are you going to do with your text?

Look at it... speaking of Christ the one mediator between God and men it states He is the one "Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time."

Today I want to develop this text of Scripture and then we shall move on to present the wider issues of the subject in hand... which is the extent of the Atoning work of Jesus Christ. The reason we will spend a few moments on the text before us is so that we might by considering a passage used to teach universal atonement see that it does not teach any such thing and in fact it is not out of line with the places were particular redemption is set forth..

It is my desire that my hands and heart will be clean from mis-using the precious Word of God, and all I ask of you is that you will consider with me the things we shall present with hearts and minds that desire nothing but the truth of God. If it is some new concept that you have never heard then do not allow the thought that since you have not thought of this or heard it too often to cause you to block out the Scriptures today. I acknowledge that what is being preached here today is rarely taught in the USA in the 1990’s.... but it is not some new doctrine... it is the expression of historical Christianity as we will later notice.

 

OUR TEXT

We will ask a few questions and use them as ways of establishing the teaching of Scripture

Let us first ask:

A- "WHAT IS A RANSOM?"

The root word is luo {loo'-o} translated in other places as to loose 27, break 5, destroy 2, dissolve 2, put off 1, melt 1, break up 1, break down It speaks of loosing any person (or thing) tied or fastened down ie- a) bandages of the feet, or the shoes,

It certainly refers to loosing one bound, i.e. to unbind, release from bonds, set free

one bound with chains (a prisoner), discharge from prison, to let go.

A ransom is the price paid for the redemption and deliverance of someone who has been taken hostage.

Sometimes in war situations captives are taken... the enemy may say "We have 10 of your men... if you want then back alive release 10 of our men!"

Today we are not unfamiliar with the concept of a child of a tycoon being snatched and then comes the ransom demand note or the muffled phone call.... "Give us $10 million if you want to see your kid again." (Thankfully that is more the stuff of the movie industry than real life... although from time to time it really does happen.)

The Greek word used in our text is ANTILUTRON... AV - ransom it is the only time this form of the word is used in the NT. 1) the price for redeeming, price paid for slaves, captives In this case it refers to the price paid to liberate many from misery and the penalty of their sins.

It is a very emphatic word ... it means "a corresponding price" not just a price being paid, but the appropriate price was paid.

It conveys that a just price was exacted... there was not an unfairly high price paid for things he did not receive... it has happened to you- you have paid a price for something and when you have got home you have discovered that what the box or advertisement promised was more glamorous than the thing actually purchased. Christ’s payment was not of such a nature! It was appropriate.

 

B- "WHY WAS A RANSOM NECESSARY?"

Scripture tells us that men are by birth and nature under the power and dominion of sin... in Adam all men have fallen into iniquity and as such are under the bondage of sin. This is the reason a ransom has to be paid. The law demands satisfaction... God cannot sweep sin under the carpet.. it must be paid for. So in order for men to be released from the power of their sin and for the just and right demands of the law to be quelled and met a price had to be paid.

Someone had to live without Himself transgressing the law, to do so He had to be free from original contamination , therefore not born by ordinary generation... but born through a supernatural intervention of God in the womb of a woman- then that individual had to, as the representative of men die and suffer the penalty due to those he was seeking to redeem.

In a nut-shell- a ransom was necessary because men were and are sinners - gripped by sin and under the sentence of the holy law of God which declares "The soul that sinneth it shall die!"

 

C- "WHO IS THE RANSOMER?"

From what we have said you will no doubt be well aware of this answer... it is the virgin born Son of God who alone can fit the criteria required to become the ransom payer! Indeed this is underlined when you consider verse5 together with verse 6 (our text) it is plainly stated.. "There is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus- WHO gave Himself a ransom .."

The youngest child should be able to understand this- It is the Lord Jesus alone who makes people right with God. There is only one who stands between sinners and a holy God and He does so on the basis of the fact that He has paid the price for their sins! There is one mediator and he is the one who paid the ransom for those whom he is representing before God the Father.

 

D- "WHAT DID THE RANSOMER GIVE?"

"Who gave Himself.." He voluntarily offered Himself... this took place on Calvary’s tree.. outside of Jerusalem almost 2,000 years ago. His life was not robbed from Him... he was not taken against His will by the force of the Romans and murdered... no- He gave Himself. He could say in JOH 10:17-18 "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again."

This principle is repeated in many places... GAL 1:4 referring to Christ we read he is the one "Who gave himself, for our sins.."

GAL 2:20 "The Son of God Who loved me and gave Himself for me.."

Ephesians 5:25 and 27. Philippians 2:7 &8.

It is the "precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ- His own dear life that was offered up to God as a payment for sin. Christ was both the High Priest who offered the sacrifice and the sacrifice itself.

 

E- "WHO ARE THE RANSOMED?"

This is the question that will take up most of our time. Some will turn to the text before us and say "It is plainly taught in the Scriptures that the ransomed are "all!" Is that not what this says?"

Well of course the text and some other places says it but does it mean "each and every man that has ever lived" or does it mean "each and every created being- angels included" or does it mean "Some of every type and class of mankind?"

The first thing we should realize is that "all" (used well over 1,000 times in the NT) does not always... in fact relatively rarely does it mean "each and every man." John Owen having studied this thoroughly asserts that only in 1 out of every 10 cases is the meaning "all of all sorts"

Turn to MAT 3:5 Referring to John the Baptists activities we are told "Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judea, and all the region round about Jordan, And were baptised of him in Jordan, confessing their sins."

Does this mean that each and every person in Judea and Jerusalem and in all the area lined up to get baptised? Well if you continue to read on you find John had many enemies in Jerusalem.... it is clear the Holy Spirit is saying that there were " sorts of people coming from these areas" not every single person.

Turn to ACT 2:17 Peter here quotes the Prophet Joel and he says that this is the day of which the prophet spoke- "And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams."

"all flesh" does that mean each and every man, woman and child on the day of Pentecost had the Holy Spirit poured upon them? No... what then does it mean? Turn to ACT 2:5 this explains who was there that day "There were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven"

It is plain to see that the wide sweeping "all" means not every single person... but some from every place. Oftentimes when this word is used esp. in the OT prophecies it relates to the widening of the net of the New Covenant to include the Gentiles... expressions like "all nations, all flesh, all the ends of the earth.." they must be seen as they are intended, to speak of some of all sorts, types, colors; some rich, poor, some rulers and some servants.

What is it that redeems and saves the soul? It is the Ransom Price... if therefore the ransom price is paid for all men, every individual ... then legally they are cleared- what is owed is paid and all are saved.

Having established that "all" means more than "every single one"- we should now consider our text in it’s context. What does it mean in 1 TIM 2:6 when it says Christ "gave Himself a ransom for all?"

What about verse 4..!!" "Who will have all men to be saved." Well- since we are told in DAN 4:35 that God "doeth his will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say what doest thou?"

If verse 4 means it is God’s will that each and every man will be saved we have to conclude that it is what will happen. This means that should a man continue on in his sin never repenting...eating , drinking and being merry with no thought of God or his soul... that it matters not- he will be saved anyway.

However verse 4 is not speaking about every man... it is set in a context where the "men" referred to are clearly stated.

Verse 1- "I exhort therefore , that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks, be made for all men."

Here we have "all men" again- is Paul saying that Timothy should seek to name every individual in the world at the throne of grace? No. he explains in verse2- "For Kings, and for all that are in authority.."

Timothy was not to be unmindful of praying for those who were in positions of influence... it would have been easy to have excluded the ruling classes from his intercession, for not many were saved and the great many of them were enemies of the gospel and had begun opposing the truth and the Church in many places.

"But.." says Paul "..pray for every kind of man... it is God’s will that there will be some even from the high and lofty ranks of society who will be saved- pray for them that God might so move among them as to make our lot more peaceable and that some of them will come to faith in Christ."

There is no doubt in my mind that "all men" spoken of in this verse will be saved. God will have them come to the knowledge of the truth- to know the truth is to know the Lord Jesus Christ, and to know eternal life.

"all men" in verse 4 and "all" in verse 6 (our text) are all sorts of men- God wills that every kind of man be saved and therefore Christ died for every type of man.

Look around you today- this congregation is a testimony to this- there are white, yellow, black, and brown faces... go out into the car lot and see some gleaming smart cars and some being held together by tape....there are rich and poor here today... listen to the testimonies of the people here... some raised in Christian homes, having heard the gospel since they were knee high to a grasshopper! some never knowing what is was to hear the gospel until God providentially brought them face to face with a Christian work mate or neighbor!

It is the will of God that some of all sorts of men be saved! Praise God! It means that should we because of prejudice stop praying for Bill Clinton- we sin... for who knows God may yet be pleased to save him!! If some of you refuse to pray for the Governor of CA- you sin... for God who knows all about His personal life and political decisions may yet be pleased to save Him.

The hatred of many towards this doctrine was underlined for me a few weeks back... A woman phoned- she was keen to ask a question.. she had heard through the grapevine that I did not believe that the death of Christ was for each and every person, she could not believe that someone who preached the Bible could hold to such a thing and she was doing the right thing and phoning me to give me the opportunity to clear it up... she was horrified and I believe genuinely disgusted as I sought to explain God’s sovereign plan of salvation.

It was to John 3:16 that she appealed repeatedly... when I turned her attention to other passages she kept coming back to John 3:16... I asked her how it taught a universal atonement ... and she repeatedly told me it was so clear she needn’t explain it!

Yet on occasions in the scripture "world" refers to people from different races- not all people in all places.. turn to ROM 1:8.. Paul is greeting the Church at Rome... and as he does so he commends them for their faithful and consistent testimony... he says "First I thank my God through Jesus Christ, for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world."

Do you think that the Native Americans who were roaming the plains of the North American continent were talking about the faith of the Roman Christians? Do you think Paul is meaning that the Pictish race who lived in pagan darkness in the land now known as Scotland were aware of the faith of the Church at Rome?

Is this what Paul is meaning... for if so he is well out of order... not every single person was speaking of their faith- but what he does mean is that all over the then known world... esp. the Roman empire there were different groups who knew of God’s dealings at Rome and were encouraged by it! What is my point? "world" does not always mean every single human being. When Christ is called "Savior of the World"- he either is actually the one who saves fully every man or he is the one who saves people from every tribe, kindred and tongue!

When we read "God loved the world>" we understand either that he loved every single person ever to be born... if so his love was weak and empty towards them... for there have been billions who have died "without God and without hope!" Untold millions have perished without ever having the opportunity to hear the message of grace.

OR

We can understand that God has His elect in every land, from every people, and that he loved them, and so that all believers would not perish he sent his son to die that they might have everlasting life.

If this understanding of John 3:16 is blowing your mind.... then I submit to you that all of orthodox evangelical Christendom held to it until some 150 years ago.

Bullinger points out that this refers to "world without distinction as opposed to Israel without exception."

However just as "all men" rarely means "every single person" so "world" rarely means "every single person" -

God desires to take some of all kinds from the varied tapestry of humanity and unite them to His son and to one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.

He never tells us he sent His son to die for every man every where... for since every man is not and will not be saved that would imply Christ paid their ransom price but in vain! John Owen put it so well "Did Christ die for all of the sins of all men- Did He die for all of the sins of some men- Or did he die for some of the sins of all men?"

He then comments "If the last be true then all men have some sins to answer for and no man can be saved. If the first be true then why are all men not saved and freed from the grip and punishment of sin? You answer "because of unbelief!" I ask is this unbelief not a sin? If it be a sin then why must that hinder a man more than any other sin for which Christ died? We are therefore shut up to the second conclusion which is the proposition we lay down as truth.. (Christ died for all of the sins of some men)..."

Look with me at what the Bible does actually say about those for whom Christ died.

 

OTHER TEXTS

ROM 5:6 & 8- "When we were yet without strength, Christ died for the ungodly.." "While we were yet sinners Christ died for us."

MAT 1:21 "Thou shalt call His name Jesus for he shall save His people from their sins."

A similar thing is found in ACT 20:28 where we hear Paul exhorting the elders in Ephesus to "take heed to the flock over which the Holy Ghost has made them overseers.. to feed the Church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood." Who did Christ shed His blood for? For the Church of God.... for those called in Mtt.1:21 "His people."

EPH 5:25 teaches exactly the same thing... Christ shed his blood for his people.."Husbands love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for it." He did not give himself for those who die and go to hell... it was for the Church he died.

JOH 10:14 &15 "I am the good Shepherd, and I know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for (every man- the whole of humanity?) the sheep." Who are the sheep? those who know Christ.. His people! The same ones spoken of in MAT1 and ACT 5.

Listen to what Christ said (vs. 27-28) concerning what he does for His Sheep- "My sheep hear my voice and I know them, and they follow me! And I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." If Christ gives by His death eternal life, freedom from the penalty of sin and the security of being in His Father’s hand- then all who are in the event redeemed and justified are those for whom He died.... those who do not receive this blessing cannot therefore be those for whom he died.

MAT 26:28 As he instituted the Lord’s Table he said of the blood that he would shed.. "This is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." Note it is shed not for the whole of mankind but in a particular way He says "many" and it is definitely shed that sin will be remitted... not that through the shedding of His blood men may should they be pleased to take advantage of it find a source whereby they can be cleansed, but it is shed that sin will be washed away!

To contend that Christ died to procure a potential salvation for all men... that He died to make salvation possible to every man and therefore whoever chooses to be saved can tap into a non-particular atonement is to fly in the face of these words!

Since our text in 1 TIM 2:6 links the meditorial work of Christ with His atonement I think it is also worth asking you to note the High Priestly Prayer of JOH 17.. where the Savior says things like "I pray NOT for the World, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine." (verse 9).

It is evident throughout His prayer that he prays only for a particular people..... should he then having prayed for His people and not the World have gone and died for those he would not pray for?

His work as High Priest is linked to His work of atonement and vice versa- they are indivisible... and part of the same Priestly activity. Indeed when Christ offered up his life without blemish he did so as the High Priest of His people... His Priestly work involves sacrificing and interceding... if he sacrifices for all then he must intercede for all.... if he intercedes for some then surely he sacrificed for some also?

1 TIM 1:15 ".. Christ Jesus came into the world to save (the world... no) sinners.." Rem. he said that he came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance... only those who are awakened to their need of Christ are those, who, when they call on him have the assurance that they are among those for whom he died.

Should Christ have died for each and every man I am certain that such an important thing would be stressed again and again... however instead, when the extent of his death is referred to it is couched in particular terms... like "many", "his sheep", "His Church", never "every man." This is a very significant fact.

 

SOME ILLUSTRATIONS TO UNDERLINE THE POINT

1. If Christ died for every single man then it stands to reason that every single man should hear of it and that none should live and die without at the very least knowing of it.

If a Prince pays the ransom price for the release of certain slaves and then so orders things that those slaves will never actually hear that news , this would make his ransom pointless... especially when the Prince has the power to raise up messengers and send them out to tell should he so please.

If a doctor has a medicine that will cure all the diseases of every man - yet though he has the means to announce the news to all he only relates it to a few. It could not be intended that he truly meant to provide for every man.

Surely we cannot think that God had the intention to release every man from slavery, or that he has provided the means for saving everyone yet he has only seen to it that some in each age hear of it... while he has the omnipotent power to declare it to all?!

He is the one who has purposed that believing should come by hearing the word of God.... does it become the wisdom of God to send Christ to die for men that they might b saved, and never cause these men to hear of any such thing... and yet to purpose that unless they hear it and believe they will never be saved?

Owen asks "Is it answerable to the love and kindness of Christ to us, to assign unto him at his death such a resolution as this- I will now by the death of myself obtain for all and every one peace and reconciliation with God, redemption and everlasting salvation. But yet, withal, I will so order things that innumerable souls shall never hear one word of all this that I have done for them and never be persuaded to believe."

 

2. If Christ died for every man then he did so conditionally or absolutely.

If absolutely then every man is saved whatever he does and thinks of God. He need never think of God , want God, care of how much he has offended God, he is going to heaven even if he dies in a drunken stupor having choked on his own vomit in a brothel with a blood stained knife in his hand and a warrant out for his arrest for drug dealing to 10 year olds... it matters not... he is going to heaven... for Christ has paid the price... there is nothing justify for him to do.

If conditionally we ask what is that condition?

You may say "faith in Christ"- but it is clear that no man can perform or conjure up "faith" in Christ... sinners are dead in trespasses and sins.. they can no more believe upon Christ than a dead man can believe that there is a way for him to be made alive again. Faith is "a gift of God"- "By grace are you saved through faith and that not of yourselves it is the gift of God."

Anyway is it a sin or is it not a sin to fail to believe in God... surely faithlessness is a sinful condition... if so why did the death of Christ not cover it? Surely Christ’s death if it was for all men’s sins covered the sin of not believing God.

If you say Salvation is provided for every man providing he will take it- you are asking for a greater thing than the one who would offer a blind man $1000 providing he can see it first.... or assuring a dead man that great rewards await him providing he can first raise himself from the dead.

So if he died for all without condition then all are saved! Or If he died for all upon the condition they believe.. none are saved, for the dead soul cannot believe of it’s self.

Therefore, we conclude, he died for some men absolutely and purchased a full and perfect salvation for them so all will be saved for whom he died! His death won for all of His people the graces of conversion of the will, repentance from sin, faith towards God... He purchased full and complete salvation for His people!

 

3. Here is a King... he requires his law is satisfied... along comes his Son and pays the full price required for an offender who is languishing in prison... the King accepts the payment the law is satisfied , justice has been met. Yet the King requires the guilty man to stay in the prison house- he allows him to remain in the place of punishment.

Here is a creditor... there is a debt outstanding.... someone comes along and pays for the poor man who cannot pay for himself... yet the creditor keeps the book as it was ... he does not amend the debt... it has been paid but he still requires the poor man to live in debt to him and to pay what he owes himself.

Pink "Christ made full satisfaction unto the law of God, but how could he have made satisfaction for the sins of those on whom the law will take satisfaction forever? How can the justice of God have been appeased in the case of those against whom it’s flaming sword will awake to all eternity? Christ expiated offenses, but how can those offenses for which the guilty perpetrators shall suffer endlessly , have been expiated?"

I cannot accept for one minute that God.. having received satisfaction , justice being met... the debt being paid in full... would allow men to suffer the punishment of hell after already having received payment at calvary. Such a notion would be to accuse God of injustice and unnecessary cruelty. What sort of God would call for a second payment if payment has already been made?

There was a legal oneness between Christ and His people... just as Adam was the federal head of all mankind.. so the book of Romans teaches there is that federal headship of Christ over the Church. The Savior stood as surety. Therefore if a single sinner for whom he died and in so doing paid all of their debt to God goes to hell to suffer for sin already paid for, it would reduce divine justice to a farce.

God cannot punish the substitute and then punish the subject... he either accepts the substitute’s payment and sets the subject free from condemnation- or He disregards the substitute and punishes the subject. If Christ died for every member of the human race then no one will go to hell.. if he died for some of all peoples then only those whose debt is still outstanding will be punished for their sin!

John Owen thought it absurd that such a possibility should be preached in the name of the gospel.

Owen- " Can it possibly be conceived that there has been a redemption of men, and those men not redeemed? that a price should be paid and the purchase not consummated? Yet all this must be true and numerous other absurdities, if universal redemption be asserted."

CHS thought it a "gospel to be despised"- while preaching on Isa.53:10 he declared "Christ died in vain! For they say he died for all, and yet so ineffectual was his dying for them, that many are damned afterwards. Now such an atonement I despise- I reject it. I had rather believe a limited atonement that is efficacious for anybody except the will of man be joined with it. Why my brethren if we were so far atoned for by the death of Christ that any one of us might save himself, Christ’s atonement were not worth a farthing, for there is no man of us can save himself- no not under the Gospel."

 

SOME ARGUMENTS AGAINST THIS DOCTRINE

1- This weakens the death of Christ. It is a terrible doctrine that limits his death.

No it does not... it actually has the opposite effect... it causes us to see that His death was perfectly successful in accomplishing what, in the plan of God, it set out to achieve. It was not a hopeful attempt to rescue dying men... which could have failed totally if no man decided to believe.... it was a definite act of redeeming people whom he set out to have.

I would turn to accusation around on the universal atonement protagonist and say - It is you who undermines and diminishes the death of the Savior... you make it so that He was punished for people who will one day be punished for their own sin and therefore He will not see the travail of his soul and be satisfied... he will rather watch as some for whom he suffered are turned away into everlasting perdition to suffer all over again... for them His payment and agony was superfluous.

I say He will one day gather in all of his redeemed ones and there will not be one missing who he has died for... ISA 53:11 & 12 "He shall see the travail of his soul and be satisfied ; by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.... he bare the sin of many.." Christ who has suffered for the sin of his people will be well satisfied with the fruit of His work.

If Christ died for all men universally then all will be saved... if as TL Osborn loves to say "everyone is bought and paid for!" then all are going to heaven.. There is no other possible option, except to say that God will punish twice, first the Surety and then the persons whom the Surety has stood for.

 

2- This is a death knell to evangelism and outreach.

How come? I have never thought of it that way.. explain! "It will make you careless in spreading the gospel... since people are already destined to be either saved or not."

I don’t know how anyone could come to that conclusion... it makes for me the preaching of the gospel a more precious thing.. I know that it is by that means God has ordained to save sinners.. therefore when I preach the gospel and invite sinners to come to the Lord Jesus I find it very exciting to think that as I obey that command to so teach, God may in His providence use it as a means of bringing one for whom my Savior died to Himself.

And any way- we are not told to preach the gospel because everyone potentially may get saved... the Bible does not say anything like that... we are told to preach because it is the means God uses to save those that believe... and we preach because God says we should.... and we preach it because Christ has made us his ambassadors and representatives here on earth... so if a man ever stops witnessing for Christ or preaching the good news of Jesus Christ, it is not this doctrine that is faulty it is his heart obedience to God that is faulty!

 

THE TRUE IMPLICATIONS OF THIS DOCTRINE

It glorifies God!

Many think that it is genuinely the opposite case. They think that it is far more glorifying to God when they affirm that He truly desires the salvation of every member of the human race, and that what I have been presenting is weak and dishonoring to Him. As if I rob Him of his "love."

However to maintain the glory of God we must speak only that which the Bible allows us to speak... not to invent things which sound to the reasoning of man more God glorifying.

Our minds are not the touchstone of what glorifies God... God’s mind is. Let me illustrate by asking you this- Does it not seem more God glorifying to your mind that God should never have allowed sin to enter the world in the first place? I am sure it does seem the better way- but God deemed the opposite.

OR

Does it not seem more God glorifying to you that God should remove all indwelling sin from His people at the point of conversion and that they should live perfectly holy lives? I am sure that seems to you the best way God could glorify himself. But he does not agree- or else he would have done it!

Likewise it seems to you the most God glorifying thing that He should want to provide for every person salvation.... but He does not agree... who is wrong? Him or you? YOU!

John Owen wrote "Our inventions , though ever so splendid in our own eyes , are unto Him an abomination, a striving to pull Him down from His eternal excellency, to make Him altogether like us!"

Simply put- just because you think and the ungodly think it is nicer to have a God who wants every person saved that does not mean it is more God glorifying than to state that God has provided Salvation for a number and not for everyone.

Which really exalts the Lord more? Which truly demonstrates the value of the atonement most? Is not more God glorifying to have an atonement which actually secures the salvation of everyone for whom it was made... than one which results in the greater majority for whom the Lord Jesus shed his precious blood being eternally punished in hell?

 

It brings assurance to the heart of the Christian-

It is a lie that this view of the redemption of Christ will rob a man of assurance of Salvation. The contrary is the case!

Do you know who Christ died for?

I know!... yes I do!!... I am willing to tell you plainly and simply, I know not because they have an X marked on their backs or because I have some mystical gift of perception... but because the Lord Jesus has revealed it in the Bible.

Do you want me to tell you? He died for "sinners."

Whoever in this congregation today knows himself to be a sinner and longs to be saved from that sin and from the wrath of God against sin... I can say to you today "Christ died for the likes of you!" Whoever seeks Christ shall know that Christ died for him.

The sorry man who will say "Christ died for everyone!" He will have to conclude that since it is down to Him to add belief to the atonement then he at best risks the danger of losing his salvation! Because He has a part to play in finalizing the salvation of his soul he may justly fear that he can slip and be lost at any time.

However the man who takes the Bible at face value and recognizes that in the Scriptures there is the promise of eternal life through the death of Christ for sinners... and who knows he comes only as a sinner... that man has confidence in knowing his salvation is secure.

Such a man believes in a just God whose wrath towards repentant sinners has been satisfied and exhausted at Calvary... he knows God will not require from both Christ and those for whom He died payment... no thunderbolt of divine vengeance can smite him... since he is safe in the arms of the one whose blood was shed for the remission of HIS sins.

"But I am afraid I am not one of the elect for who the Savior died, and if so I cannot ever be saved!!" Are you a sinner? Do you know the depravity of your heart and feel the bankruptcy of your soul?

Do you long to be saved from sin? If you do not want freedom from sin then why fuss about something you don’t want anyway... it is no loss to you..... but if today you long to be a child of God, free from the power and condemnation of sin... then that is a token for the good... for it was for you that Christ died!

CHS said "If you can say "Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to thy cross I cling" then you may be as sure you are one for whom the Savior died as you are sure of your own existence! For this is the infallible proof of election - a sense of need and a thirst after Christ!"

My friend - sinner... look to Christ for it is the unrighteous, the sick he came to call and heal!

Dear Christian- do not fret yourself thinking that because you are so weak and unworthy that somehow your contribution towards salvation will crumble at the end...

Rather rest in the knowledge that your contribution has been all the sinning and Christ’s has been ALL the saving... rest in the knowledge that he died not just for a faceless crowd but actually and really for you!

Rejoice in his particular love for you... be gladdened by His specific searching out of you... may these truths be used of God to the bringing in of sinners and the refreshing and strengthening of the true Christian! Amen.

 
 
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