For Whom Did Christ Die?

  • By Chad Wagner
  • on Saturday, April 1, 2006
In today's Christianity, the general consensus is that Jesus died on the cross for the sins of every single person that has ever lived throughout all time. This meditation will provide a logical and biblical examination of whom Christ died for. This meditation is a bit long, but very interesting, so please do not be like Eutychus (Acts 20:9). Possibility number 1: Jesus died for the sin of nobody. This scenario is a logical possibility. The conclusion of this possibility is that every person who has ever lived will spend an eternity in hell because "there is none righteous, no, not one" (Rom 3:10), "for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Rom 3:23), and we know that "the wages of sin is death" (Rom 6:23). Although it is logically possible, the scripture teaches otherwise. Only about a million verses could be used to disprove this possibility, but one will suffice. The Bible teaches that "Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many" (Heb 9:28). This rules out possibility number 1. Possibility number 2: Jesus died for all of the sins of every person who has ever lived or will ever live. This scenario is also a logical possibility. The logical conclusion to this possibility is that, because Jesus died for their sins, all men would be considered righteous before God and would spend eternity in heaven. If all the sin of all men was purged by Jesus on the cross, then the wrath of God would have been appeased and God would have no reason to condemn men for their sin because "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus" (Rom 8:1). God would be unjust to condemn a person to hell for their sin that Jesus paid for, that would be exacting double payment for that sin. Now, is this still a logical possibility in light of the fact that all of mankind would be going to heaven because Jesus died for their sins and there would then be no reason to condemn them? All we need is just one example of one person who the Bible teaches is in hell and we can know for certain that Jesus did not die for all of that person's sins, at least not the sin that God condemned that person to hell for. The Bible teaches that Sodom and Gomorrha are "suffering the vengeance of eternal fire" (Jude 7). This proves that the people of Sodom committed sins that Jesus did not die for and they are still paying for that sin. Therefore, it is a logical impossibility that Jesus died for all of the sins of all men. Some one is thinking right about now that, "Jesus did die for all the sins of all men, but men have to believe in Him for that to take effect". First of all the Bible teaches that it took effect at the moment that Jesus offered himself on the cross to God for the sins of His people, not after they "allowed Jesus to save them" or prayed the sinner's prayer. Jesus "entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us" (Heb 9:12). And, "For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified" (Heb 10:14). Secondly, if Jesus died for all the sin of all men, he paid for their sins of unbelief also, because not believing in Jesus is a sin. "And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9) Of sin, because they believe not on me" (Joh 16:8-9). Someone will then say, "Well, Jesus must have died for all sin except the sin of not believing on Him". That brings up possibility number 3. Possibility number 3: Jesus died for some of the sins of all men (if he died for all but the sin of unbelief, that means that he didn't die for them all, therefore He only died for some sins). This in itself is a logical possibility, but the logical conclusion is that since men would still have one or more sins that Jesus didn't die for, they would still be condemned to hell because "the wages of sin (even one) is death" (Rom 6:23). But one will say, "it is only one little sin", nay but, O man, what saith the scripture? "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all" (Jam 2:10). What if a person starts believing in Jesus at some point in his life, then he is not committing the sin of unbelief anymore, right? That is correct, but what about that time in his life when he was committing the sin of unbelief? Once the man stopped committing the sin of unbelief, he would still be guilty because he would still have that sin laid to his charge because Jesus didn't die for that sin on the cross and he could never die for it again because "Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many" (Heb 9:28). The possibility that Jesus died for some of the sins of all men, AND even one of those men still ending up in heaven, is a logical impossibility because there is still sin that was not paid for that God would condemn them to hell for. This brings us to our last possibility. Possibility number 4: Jesus died for all of the sins of some men. This is also a logical possibility. The conclusion of this possibility is that all of the men that Jesus died for are eternally saved from sin and will without fail spend eternity in heaven with the Lord Jesus Christ, while the men that Jesus did not die for will remain in their sins and pay the penalty in hell for what their sin deserves (to avoid misunderstanding, the men whom Christ did die for are just as deserving of damnation as the men whom Christ did not die for). There is no logical problem with this possibility. Justice is done, God's wrath is appeased in the case of both groups of men. "The wages of sin is death": for the first group, Jesus died for them and suffered their punishment, "being made a curse for us" (Gal 3:13). As for the second group, they will suffer for their own sin. The next question is, how did the men in the group that Jesus died for get there? There are two possibilities: Possibility A: Those men chose themselves to be in the group that Jesus died for. This my friends, this is a logical impossibility. It is impossible for a man to decide what happened in the past. Nothing a man does in the present or in the future can effect what already happened in the past. Anyone with a kindergarten education can confirm this fact. Therefore a man cannot decide to put himself in the group of whom Christ died for nearly 2000 years ago. Either that man was included in the group that Christ died for or he was not; no belief, faith, religion, ordinance, sacrament, ritual, or anything else that a man can do can change what was or was not done by Jesus on the cross. Since possibility A is a logical impossibility and a complete absurdity, we must move to possibility B. Possibility B: God chose a group of men (the elect) to be given to Christ to die for on the cross. This is a logical possibility. The conclusion of this possibility is that God chose, or elected, a group of men (people) to be put into Christ for Him to die for on the cross (1Pe 1:2). These men would have no sin to be condemned for and would spend eternity with God in heaven. The means by which they would obtain eternal salvation is by God's sovereign choice and Jesus' obedience unto death (notice how these men have nothing to do with being put into Christ). The remaining men will be left in their sins to suffer the penalty of their sins. Not only is this a logical scenario, it also agrees with what the Bible teaches. "According as he (God the Father) hath chosen us (see verse 1:1) in him (Jesus) before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love" (Eph 1:4). Also see 2Ti 1:9 and Rom 8:28-30. There only remains one more question to be analyzed: what criteria or means did God use to chose His elect? There are two possibilities: Possibility B-1: God looked down the tunnel of time and saw who would understand and seek him and believe in Him, and then He chose them based on what they would have done. In light of what the Bible teaches, this is a logical impossibility. God did just what is described in this possibility in Psalms 14:2-3. "The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. 3) They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one." (Psa 14:2-3). Paul reiterated this point when he quoted this verse in Rom 3:10-12, "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11) There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12) They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one." If God based His election on who would seek him, he would have elected no one and we would be back to possibility number 1. The Bible teaches that God's election (choosing) of a man has nothing to do with what that man wills, or what he does. "So then it (God's election, verse 11) is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy" (Rom 9:16). That only leaves us with one final possibility: Possibility B-2: God chose a group of people based only on His own sovereign choice. This is not only logical, but is the the gospel truth. The Bible teaches that God chose whom He wanted to, for no other reason than just that: because He wanted to. "(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) 12) It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. 13) As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated." (Rom 9:11-13). But someone will say, "but that is not fair, that would make God unrighteous". The great thing about the Bible is that it predicts your question and answers it before you can even ask it. " What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. 15) For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion." (Rom 9:14-15). God is sovereign and "he doeth according to his will...and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?" (Dan 4:35). Finally, we see that of all the possibilities of whom Christ died for, there is only one that is both logically and Biblically possible. God chose himself a group of people before the foundation of the world to put into Jesus Christ, for Him to take their sins to the cross and die for them, so that they could be holy and be given His righteousness. This may conflict with much of modern day Christianity and most people's opinions, but "who art thou that repliest against God?" (Rom 9:20).

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