|From the Pastors Desk||†|
Manchaca Bible Fellowship
|30 January 2005||Bible Lessons
We are continuing our examination and discovery of what the Word of God teaches concerning our redemption. We saw in the last lesson, that even the prophets who penned the teachings of the Old Testament inquired and searched diligently trying to acquire all the details of Godís redemptive program. However, theirs was an incomplete revelation of Godís redemption. They were content with the information given by God and Godís revelation instructed them that there was more to come.
As with the prophets of old, we too will never exhaust the truths presented in the Word of God. However, we are to "live what we know", and continue to grow in grace and the knowledge of Christ.
It is important what you KNOW about redemption, because what you KNOW about redemption will control what you BELIEVE about redemption, and what you BELIEVE about redemption will dictate how you LIVE within redemption.
By the way, if you have questions about the subject material in one of the lessons, please ask. I prefer the questions in writing. In that way, I can give more careful preparation before answering them. Some of the questions, I will answer personally, others I will weave into the lessons themselves.
There is no way, in a presentation of such a vast subject, that we can clearly present this information without leaving some questions hanging. There are many reasons why this happens. It is with great personal agony that I give you the first two reasons. I hope you wonít take them to heart, and will quickly have a memory lapse, so I can maintain my status of perfection (ha!).
Some of the reasons why questions lingerÖ
Just such a question was brought to my attention this week, and this would be a good time to touch on it. The question was, "Did Christ die for the sins of all people, or just certain ones?"
The question arose because someone wrote that Christ died only for the sins of those who would be saved. The writer referred to these as the elect of God. This concept is often referred to as "Limited Atonement". As strange as it may seem, this writer used John 3:16 as the text to prove such a statement, supporting limited atonement.
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
This particular writer said that the "whoever" did not apply to all people, but only the ones who were chosen to be saved. This writer said that the whoever or whosoever in John 3:16 should read "every one who".
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that
If left as printed, that would not be a real bad translation. But the author, who spurred the question, indicated that it should not be "whoever", because it would indicate that anyone and everyone COULD believe in Christ, if they so desired.
However, this author held that it should be "every one who", because Christ did not die for the sins of the whole world, but just for the sin of those chosen, therefore they were the only ones who would believe.
To fully answer such a presentation and the questions that it generates would take many lessons. Let me first answer the question as to proper translation, then we will move on to a few of passages that will put to rest the thought that Christ died for a select few, instead of all the world.
The Greek word translated here "whoever or whosoever" is a very simple straight forward word in the Greek and looks like "pas". The Greek word for whosoever† ALWAYS† means the same,† UNLESS† the passage clearly specifies that it is referring to a particular group. Then, it would mean all in that particular group. †No such specification is made here or in other references to salvation.
Look at six of 1050 uses of this Greek word in the New Testament. In the first two, there is a particular group specified.
Matthew 1:17 † So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.†
Matthew 2:3 † When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
†In these last four passages, no group is specified.† †
John 2:24 † But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men,†
John 1:3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
I believe that all of us, even this writer would agree that the "all" of John 2:24 has reference to EVERY human that has ever lived or will be born in the future. Likewise, the "all" of John 1:3 means EVERYTHING in creation was made by God.
Iím quite sure that even this author would not say that only a small group of things were created by God, and the rest just happened. No, the Greek word translated "all" or "whoever" is all inclusive.
John 1:7 This man (John the Baptist) came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe.
In such a hurried look at these passages, it is not possible to point out many very important factors. Notice and mark for future reference, the "that", because it introduces the purpose. That "all" through Him (Christ) "MIGHT" believe. Might indicates the possibility or opportunity.
Folks, there are dozens upon dozens of passages that say or indicate this same truth, as we will see in the next passage. Note again, the possibility is all inclusive. All have the opportunity to believe.
John 1:9 That was the true Light (Christ) which gives light to every man who comes into the world.
This true Light (Christ) gives light to EVERY person who comes INTO the world.
It is contended by some, that not all can believe, because not every one can see the truth of Christís coming. Therefore, they are not of the "elect" and are not chosen by God. That false contention says that God only gives light to those whom He has chosen to be saved.
This passage and many others passages move against such a wind of doctrine. Christ has given to EVERY person that light. We may not understand "how" Christ gives that light to every person. Neither do we understand "how" Christ raised the dead, healed the sick, walked on water, etc., etc. BUT the fact is still the same, whether we "know" or not. We understand it by faith, and anything not of faith is sin.
There is no way to accurately twist this passage to say that only the "elect" receive this light from Christ. Perhaps anticipating such a theory, God gives an added statement that says the same as the first statement for emphases and clarity.
Not only does the verse say "every", which is all inclusive, the next statement is a superlative, saying the same thing but over emphasizing the original thought Ė every one who "COMES INTO THE WORLD"
That seems to be pretty inclusive, doesnít it? I donít believe there is any honest way of making this word "world" mean the church or the body of the electóit means the "world", period. Just because our finite minds cannot understand HOW God can give every person in the world this light, DONíT limit God to the little "box" of finite human information and rationalization.
Ah!!! That is one of the wonders of Godís redemption for mankind, Christ died for ALL. As a human, if I were planning redemption, there would be a lot of people I would exclude, but NOT God!
Sad to say, not all will respond in obedience to the offer of redemption, just as many of us, who are saved, do not respond to other commands and offers of God. We wonít take the time to look at the other 1,044 uses of this Greek word translated "whoever" in John 3:16, but it would be good to look at a few more. Yes! Christ died for the sins of the whole world, as stated inÖ
1 John 2:1 My little children, these things I write to you, that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.
Notice that verse one speaks of Believers. Then in verse two there is a contrast of two classes of people, as to their relationship with God. Christ is the propitiation for OUR sins (Believers of verse one), as well as for the sins of the WHOLE world (all the rest who are not believers). There is no way this can be confused! However, I can be abused. In this passage, John makes a absolute contrast.
Not ours (believers) only BUT ALSO For the whole world
Just in case you missed it, the Holy Spirit, through John, said that Christ paid for the sins of WHOLE world. "World" and "Believers" CANNOT be confused as one and the sameÖ unless we are willing to lay aside ALL rules of language, just to support a view that has NO Biblical support.
There are passages after passages in the Scriptures that point out this truth. Please allow me time for one more passage to finish the answer to the question: "Did Christ die for the sins of all people, or just certain ones?"
Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God which is through faith in Jesus Christ to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
I have highlighted the English words in this passage that have been translated from the same Greek word translated "whoever" in John 3:16.
The first use of this Greek word is found in verse 20 "NO flesh". I think all would agree that this "NO" includes ALL flesh, not just those who this writer, who sparked the question, would say were not elect. Instead, all those considered, by the author, as elect and non-elect are not justified by the deeds of the Law (pardon all the negatives in one sentence).
The next two times this Greek word, translated "whoever" in John 3:16, is used in this passage is in verse 22.
Remember this is the same Greek word used in verse 20 "NO flesh" and John 3:16 "whoever". Before we look at verse 22, letís look at the last time the Greek word is used in this passage. Verse 23 says "ALL have sinned". SAME Greek word
In verse 20, the use of the Greek word is all inclusive. In verse 23 the use of the Greek word is all inclusive. If proper exegesis means anything, then the use of that same word in verse 22 will also be all inclusive.
This righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ is available TO ALL but is only ON ALL who believe. We could look at many other passages, and they would all conclude the same thing.
Christ died for everyone in the world for all of time, but this salvation is only valuable or of benefit to those who believe. That is one of the wonders of redemption and one of its mysteries.
We need to rejoice in the wonders of redemption and marvel at its mysteries.
If you and I can,
We need to see the facts of the Word of God and accept them by faith, AS STATED. Then we can continue to grow in grace and the knowledge of Christ.
Romans 3:21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God which is through faith in Jesus Christ to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth to be a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
I want to use these next few passages to establish a few base facts of redemption. In so doing, we cannot take the time to fully go over each thought present in these passages. I want to highlight, in our minds, some key factors, which we will come back to, or at least reference as we move on in our study.
Notice in Romans 3:21-26 that "righteousness" is referred to over and over again.
Righteousness is a very important component of Godís redemption, both in its provision by God and in our enjoyment of it through faith.
We are "justified" freely by Godís grace. However, the only way we can be justified is THROUGH the redemption. We become a part of redemption through faith. There could not have been any redemption or justification, if it were not that Christ became the propitiation by His blood.
As we can see, to have a fuller understanding of redemption we must also studyÖ
All of those are subjects we must research and are found in this one passage of Scripture, there is more to come (at least 20-30more). Please note how important it is that we carefully see what the Scriptures say about any one and all of these facets.
Each part of Godís redemptive program is interlocked with all other parts, and each part is dependent on all other parts. An accurate understudying of each of these parts and how they interrelate is needed, if we are to clearly understand redemption itself.
Romans 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 And not only they, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.
Uh oh! Here are some other things we must understand, if we are going to develop proper conclusions of Godís plan of redemption. We have already seenÖ
Now from this passage, we must addÖ
We will never, in this lifetime, fully explore all of these and many more wonderful things intertwined within redemption. However, by the Grace of God, we donít have to fully understand all aspects of redemption to experience it! The more we know about our redemption, the greater becomes our enjoyment of it right now and greater are the benefits we will have in eternity.
Letís close this lesson with one more wonderful truth about Godís redemption. Once you, by faith, receive Christ as you Savior, you are a part of the plan of redemption, and you can never lose your "place" in this marvelous redemption.
Ephesians 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
The moment you accepted Christ as Savior, the Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, SEALED you and that seal is there until the day of redemption, or our Adoption.
My mother made jellies and jam, when I was young boy. She would pour the goodies in the jar, but not quite to the lip of the jar. She would then carefully wipe away any residue from the brim of the jar.
Next she would pour melted wax over the top of contents until the wax was almost to the brim. She would then wipe some of the hot wax around the rim itself, and place a rubber liner over that hot wax on the rim.
Then came the screw lid and it was tighten down on the rubber liner and hot wax. The wax, the rubber liner and the lid made an air tight seal as a vacuum was caused by the cooling of the contents of the jar. With that air tight seal, the jar of goodies could have sat on a basement shelf for years and the jelly would have been good when finally opened.
That jelly was sealed, preserved, protected until the time when it would be "unveiled" for use by three hungry boys. In our house, however, the dust didnít have time to settle on those jars, but they could have lasted many years, if necessary.
Paul, under the inspiration of this same Holy Spirit of God, has written to us, that "after listening to the message of truth, the good news of our salvation Ė HAVING ALSO BELIEVED, we were sealed in Him (Christ) by the Holy Spirit of promise".
Unlike seals that humans make, this sealing by the Holy Spirit is for all time, and even into eternity. This is not only a seal of protection, it is the seal of Godís ownership, because He has bought us back from slavery to sin and Satan by the Blood of Christ (redemption). We are "shut up" and "set aside" for His purpose, and for fellowship with Him for all of eternity. We are preserved and protected by this seal of the Holy Spirit until the day of the redemption of our bodies (or our glorification).
Understanding the "ins" and "outs" of redemption will take a lifetime of study. However, the most important question is are you sealed by the Holy Spirit into this redemption, for all of eternity. This sealing takes place the moment you say,
"Yes, God Iím a sinner and have no redeeming qualities within my self, I want to accept your provision through Your Son on the Cross."
The moment you receive Christ as you Savior, you are sealed by the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption.
|© Clyde White, Austin TX, 2005|