POLL: Christ died for ___________ ?

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6 thoughts on “POLL: Christ died for ___________ ?

  1. “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all…” (1 Timothy 2, 5-6).

    “… we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and he is the expiation for our sins, and not only for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:1-2).

    “Here, then, is the second reason why the Word dwelt among us, namely, that having proved His Godhead by His works, He might offer the sacrifice on behalf of all, surrendering His own temple to death in place of all, to settle man’s account with death and free him from the primal transgression.” (St Athanasius the Great, On the Incarnation, 20).

    “ ‘Who gave Himself a ransom for all to be in due time.’ Was Christ then a ransom for the Heathen? Undoubtedly Christ died even for Heathen; and you cannot bear to pray for them. Why then, you ask, did they not believe? Because they would not: but His part was done.” (St John Chrysostom, Homily on 1 Timothy ii. 2–4, here).

    The teaching of Scripture is clear. The teaching of the Fathers is clear – and I don’t have time to track them all down as it was simply taken for granted as inseparable from Christian Orthodoxy. To suggest otherwise is unthinkable and an affront to the universal salvific Will of God.

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  2. Macrina Walker

    There is much which can be made of this issue and there are innumerable arguments which have been made by proponents of both schools; those who hold to the belief that Jesus atonement is unlimited and that He died for all irrespective of their salvific position, and those who believe that Jesus died for those who will be saved.

    Before I enter into a long-winded and, more than likely, fruitless debate on this issue, allow me to state firstly that the teaching of the “fathers” you refer to is irrelevant to the matter, and most pertinently so when such teachings are in opposition to Scripture.

    Furthermore, you state it as fact that the writings of people such as Athanasius and Chrysostom were “simply taken for granted as inseparable from Christian Orthodoxy”. By whom, may I ask? Nothing could be further from the truth, as that was true only of those who erroneously regarded the teachings of these and other men in the early church as being equal to or additionally supportive of Scripture; in other words those who held/hold to the heretical belief that church tradition is of any great importance. If it were, would Jesus not have made it clear to His Church?

    Throughout history, there have been true believers, saved Christians outside of those affected traditional circles, some of whom never had exposure to the teachings of those men by nature of their geography, and others whom have disregarded the teachings of those men by choice of simply following the Truth of God’s Word.

    If you hold to the same heretical belief that these fallible men’s mere opinions are equal to God’s Word, then we are at opposite ends of the theological realm and any further debate between us on this issue will necessarily be pointless. It is absurd to assume that various and numerous fathers, who were regularly at odds with each other and often-times opposed to Scripture, could be credited with infallible explanations concerning salvific truths.

    You are, however, quite correct in stating that the teaching of Scripture is clear, but it must be qualified that it is only clear to those whose understanding is spiritual 1Co 2:13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.

    Additionally, please also consider these words of the Apostle Paul:
    1Co 1:18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” 20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.

    With that in mind let us briefly investigate the Scriptures you have quoted:

    “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all…” (1 Timothy 2, 5-6).

    This ransom was given for “all”; not for every individual of mankind, for then all would be delivered, freed, and saved, whereas they are not; or else the ransom price is paid in vain, or God is unjust to receive a sufficient ransom price from Christ, and yet not free the captive, but punish the person for whom he has received satisfaction; neither of which can be said. But the meaning is, either that he gave himself a ransom for many, as in Mat_20:28 for the Hebrew word כל, to which this answers, signifies sometimes many, a multitude, and sometimes only a part of a multitude.

    Rather, it intends that Christ gave himself a ransom for all sorts of men, for men of every rank and quality, of every state and condition, of every age and sex, and for all sorts of sinners, and for some out of every kindred, tongue, people, and nation, for both Jews and Gentiles; which latter may more especially be designed by all, as they are sometimes by the world, and the whole world; and so contains another argument why all sorts of men are to be prayed for, since the same ransom price is given for them; as that for the children of Israel was the same, for the rich as for the poor.

    What is certainly clear, is that Jesus did not fail in providing sufficiency in effectually atoning for the sins of all men, but to assume as your writing does, that He failed to take into account that not all men would accept a synergistic relationship with Him, is incorrect and downplays the Sovereignty of God. Not only is it contrary to Scripture to assume that Jesus died for all the sins of all men, it is simply belittling of a Sovereign God and indefensible.

    “… we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and he is the expiation for our sins, and not only for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:1-2).

    “…And He is the propitiation for our sins,…” (1 John 2:2) … For the sins of us who now believe

    “…and not for ours only…” (1 John 2:2); but for the sins of Old Testament saints, and of those who shall hereafter believe in Christ , and of the Gentiles also, signified in the next clause:

    “…but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2); that is, not for the Jews only, for John was a Jew, and so were those he wrote to, but for the Gentiles also. It is also clear in 1 John 5:19; where the whole world lying in wickedness is manifestly distinguished from the saints, who are of God, and belong not to the world; and therefore cannot be understood of all the individuals in the world ; and the like distinction is in this text itself, for “the sins of the whole world” are opposed to “our sins”, the sins of the apostle and others to whom he joins himself; who therefore belonged not to, nor were a part of the whole world, for whose sins Christ is a propitiation as for theirs: so that this passage cannot furnish out any argument for universal redemption ; for besides these things, it may be further observed, that for whose sins Christ is a propitiation, their sins are atoned for and pardoned, and their persons justified from all sin, and so shall certainly be glorified, which is not true of the whole world, and every man and woman in it; moreover, Christ is a propitiation through faith in his blood, the benefit of his propitiatory sacrifice is only received and enjoyed through faith; so that in the event it appears that Christ is a propitiation only for believers, a character which does not agree with all mankind.

    Once again Scripture makes it clear that Jesus’ atonement was sufficient to save all men, but not all will be saved.

    The teaching of the Fathers is clear – and I don’t have time to track them all down…

    I would strongly suggest, but then again it is only my heart-felt suggestion which you can, and more than likely will reject, that you do not waste your time searching for the Truth in the writings of those who claim equal authority with the singularly authoritative Word of God, but rather devote yourself to prayerful study of the Bible.

    Sin is certainly more offensive to God than we are likely to comprehend. We cannot assist in atoning for our sin or force God’s hand in accepting our additional work to that which was perfectly completed on the Cross. God chooses and we are often insufficiently grateful for that. Let us praise Him rather, for saving those whom He will and for having provided to His elect the means to that salvation in His Son.

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  3. Thank you for your reply, Grant. However, I really must remember not to comment on Calvinist blogs. I fear that we are indeed “at opposite ends of the theological realm” although not for the reason you give. I commented because I really am horrified that anyone claiming to be Christian could deny that Christ died for all. And I am even more horrified now when I see the way you twist the plain words of Scripture to suit your ideas, although I suppose that I should have expected it – schola scriptura is never, ever, simply schola scriptura. We all read Scripture through certain interpretive lenses, it’s just that some of us reflect more on this than others.

    Also, although I don’t intend getting into a debate on this, your comments on the Fathers and Scripture reflect the most appalling ignorance on how the Fathers related to Scripture. You refer to them as “those who claim equal authority with the singularly authoritative Word of God” – I would challenge you to back this up with one single quote from any Orthodox Father of East or West. If you cannot see how absurd such a claim would be to them, well, frankly I don’t know what to say.

    I would provide links to explain some of this further, including to some things that I have posted recently, but I don’t think that there is really any point as you will just delete them anyway.

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    • It is with sadness that I am once again confronted with an accusation of being a Calvinist for holding to the authority of Scripture and not of men. If it is your perception that it makes me a Calvinist, then so be it, but it remains simply that… your perception. I am a Bible believing Christian, and I do not claim to be anything more, or less, therefore I hold to my reason for us necessarily being at opposites ends of theological understanding. Your position is one of synergistic persuasion, whereas I prefer to uphold the absolute Sovereignty of God. I humble myself before the fact that He paid for my sins and loved me enough to grant me salvation from eternal separation from His Glory.

      We all read Scripture through certain interpretive lenses…

      That is the reason for Sola Scriptura and why it is an absolute neccessity to counter the false teachings of men. The mere allowance for the fact that there can be 10 billion or more variations on what God wanted us to know through His Word, constitutes the existence of the false church. There is one Word and there can be only one correct interpretation thereof. That is not to say that we may not or should not discuss it, we should simply accept our fallibility and seek forgiveness for our weaknesses. 1Co 13:12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

      Is it not true that the Orthodox Church argues that Scripture was given to men by the Church and therefore the Church has equal or greater authority to it? Does the Orthodox Church not hold to the equal authority of church tradition and Scripture? Is it not true that the Orthodox Church upholds the tradition of apostolic succession and therefore regards some of these “fathers” as Holy? Scripture makes it clear that none other than God is Holy, yet the Orthodox Church regards certain of these men as being Holy. Does that not indicate that they claim equal authority to the Word of God?

      I have read much on the history of the early church and many of their writings, although I certainly cannot lay claim to being an authority on the subject. And neither would I need to be, as I do have many Bibles and innumerable commentaries are freely available for which we praise the Lord. Quite frankly, what matters is not what these men wrote, but what our relationship is with the Saviour. Placing undue importance on the opinion of mere mortals could be deadly.

      What is rather appallingly ignorant in what you wrote, is that you assume that I have no knowledge on how these men (your fathers) related to Scripture, and you fail recognize that I choose to disregard what they wrote, particularly that which is contrary to Scripture. That certainly does not equate to ignorance, my dear, that is an immovable faith in the Word of God and the disregard for the utterances of sinners, such as you and I and the men you quote.

      You are welcome to post links, but do not do so for my sake, I need no further explanation on the matter. I will not delete them without providing good reason for doing so. If the links are of biblically sound content, I will gladly post them here for others. But, I will not by any means, post false or fanciful teachings.

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  4. I am disturbed at the poll to begin with. Jesus died for EVERYONE. Am I missing something in this discussion? All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. John 3:16 says for WHOSOEVER believes in him will not die. Why is there debate that Jesus didn’t die for every single human that has ever lived and will ever live? My apologies if I am missing the point of the discussion above.

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    • Sally

      You say:
      All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Correct.

      You say:
      John 3:16 says for WHOSOEVER believes in Him will not die. Also correct.

      However:
      Not everyone believes in Him, therefore there are many people who are never saved and are in Hell today, and many more who will not believe in Him in the future. If Jesus died for everyone, including those who are in Hell and those who do not believe in Him, that would mean Jesus’ sacrifice and death on the cross was insufficient to save them. It would mean that Jesus failed to save everyone.

      Jesus did not fail. Jesus did not die for everyone, He died for those who believe in Him, those whom He has chosen. Through Him, the promise of life eternal with God becomes effective through faith to those who believe in Jesus.

      “So that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe” (Galatians 3:22). These two words, faith and believing, are critical to our salvation. It is through our believing in the shed blood of Christ for our sins that we receive eternal life.

      “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8–9).

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