“Jesus Christ died for the human race.”
“Jesus Christ died for every single person.”
Easter was celebrated yesterday, on the 23rd of March 2008. We did not celebrate it in any elaborate day since every week is an Easter celebration for us, as we remember the death and resurrection of our Lord.
What most would not understand is that Jesus Christ died for sinners. The people whom the shepherd laid down His life for, were sinners. It spanned sinners from various walks of life, from varying generations and people types (world).
No better words would explain the simplicity of this truth than:
John 10:14-18 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, (15) just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. (16) And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. (17) For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. (18) No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
For good reasons Jesus made it explicit for whom He died for, because if Jesus did (hypothetically) die for all mankind who has every lived and who will live, what happens for those who ‘reject’ the offer of grace then?
The logical answer is: the death which Jesus died was ineffectual. It did not guarantee the salvation of the man who ‘rejected’ the death. It is sheer blasphemy to think that Jesus’ death could be made void, and thus man is made to die TWICE. Is it not? Following this ‘queer’ line of thought, man is to die for their own sins, and then Jesus died for them to take away their sins, only to find that the man whom their sins have been paid for by Jesus rejects it, and therefore the man dies again (back to square one again) a second time.
Scripture is explicit about narrowing the salvation to the elect (and thus the death is effectually limited in scope). Other passages are like:
Isa 53:3-12 He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (4) Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. (5) But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. [who then is this ‘we’ and ‘our’ which is indicated? see following verses] (6) All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned–every one–to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (7) He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. (8) By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? (9) And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. (10) Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. (11) Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. (12) Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors [The sins of “many”. The ‘our’, the ‘us’, the ‘we’, is all pointing to the many whom Christ’s death is for!]
An Old Testament reference is apt here. The most well known passage on the Lord’s death which was prophesied much earlier contains the very essence of truth littered across the pages of scripture. Halleluyah! That makes perfect sense that Jesus died for His people whom only He knows (see reference below). What about the verses here and there that (apparently) makes claim to a general atonement? Well, you have to read them carefully to put it into the context of Scripture as a whole and not to your own choosing. Your choice of limiting the scope of scripture, will make it a reality what Jesus Himself says about those who do not understand the mystery of how “God’s People” are known ONLY to Him. Our inability to find solid certainty on who these people are “based on external actions” should make us plead to God for His wisdom and for us to peer through the deeper lives of merely ‘professing Christians’.
Mat 11:25-30 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; (26) yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. (27) All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. (28) Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (29) Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (30) For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Our ignorance of who the final amount and actual people of God should not discourage us, but like Paul, it is an impetus for us to go all out evangelising in His name alone. And not to just cheapening the salvation by cheapening God. Has what God Willed ever been thwarted? Can His Death then be cheapened?
Scripture and Logic tells you the answer clearly.
May we be invigorated with the truth of His atonement for sinners! Oh Grace! Wonderful grace, that our Lord should ever have planned to save sinners at all! Amen.