We have been
studying the doctrine of election. Election itself actually saved
no one; it only marked out particular sinners (the elect) for
salvation. Those chosen by the Father were given to the Son who
must redeem them or purchase their salvation by His own blood.
Redemption in the Scriptures carries with it the idea of a captive
being set free on the payment of the proper ransom price. The
ransom price paid by the Son of God for His people was His own life.
(Matt. 20:28). When Christ paid this price on the cross He actually
got what He paid for and He did just exactly what He came to do
teach that Christ did not actually save anyone by His death on the
cross. But rather, they say, He died to provide salvation for each
and every human being in the world. However, they say, each human
must do his part or the work of Christ is in vain. Most of these
people will admit that there will be many people in hell‑‑in fact
most of them teach that there will be more people in hell than in
heaven. So perhaps without realizing it, they have Christ a great
failure who lost a great many of the ones for whom He died. They
have many people in hell for whom Christ died.
terrible and it is simply not true. The Bible teaches that Christ
did not lose even one for whom He died. (John 6:38,39).
died for every individual of the human race then every individual
will be saved.
Scriptures plainly teach that there are those who will not be
saved. (Matt.7:23; 25:41; John 8:44). Therefore, Christ did not
die for everyone, else all would be saved.
Who did the
work of redemption in the salvation of sinners?
For whom did
death actually secure salvation for those for whom He died?
actually died for every member of the human race, what would be
the final destiny of every human being?
Verse: Matthew 1:21
fact is that Christ simply did not die for all men. He did not
intend to save all men or He would have done so. He certainly has
enough power to do what He wants to do. Many have the perverted
idea that there will be persons in everlasting hell whom God loves.
Would you let someone you love suffer such a fate? Some say that
God's love changes to hate when the sinner rejects God's offer of
salvation. But God's love is not of this nature. God's love is
like God Himself--it is simply eternal and unchangeable (Jeremiah
31:3; Malachi 3:6). God simply doesn't love all men (Romans 9:13)
and Christ didn't die for all men (John 10:11).
has pointed out that there are three possibilities of the extent of
the death of Christ:
1. Christ died for all
the sins of all men
2. Christ died for all
the sins of some men
3. Christ died for some
of the sins of all men.
If #1 is
true, then all men will be saved. We know this is not true.
If #3 is
true, then no one will be saved.
If #2 is
true (and it is), then some men will be saved. These are the
"elect" spoken of in Scriptures.
say that Christ died for your sins, but that your unbelief will keep
you from being saved. But is not unbelief a sin? If Christ died
for all the sins of some, He also died for the sin of unbelief.
believe that Christ died to provide salvation for everyone but did
not actually secure salvation for anyone believe in the General
Atonement. Those who believe (rightly so) that Christ did not die
for everyone, but that He actually secured salvation for everyone
for whom He died, believe in the Limited Atonement (the work of
Christ being limited intentionally by God to the elect) or in
Particular Redemption (being purchased for particular
Boettner has aptly described the General Atonement as a wide bridge
that only goes halfway across a stream. Everyone gets on the bridge
but no one gets across the stream. He describes the Limited
Atonement as a narrower bridge which goes all the way across the
stream. Not everyone gets on the bridge, but every one who gets on
goes all the way to the other side.
that God loves go to hell?
love ever change?
unbelief keep one for whom Christ has died out of heaven?
Christ die for everyone?
Verse: We have memorized Matthew 1:21. Let's learn John
from sin was accomplished by the suffering and death of the Lord
Jesus Christ. This happened nearly two thousand years ago.
Therefore, when we talk about redemption, we are talking about an
accomplished historical fact. We are not talking about something
that remains to be accomplished or completed, but something that was
completely finished over nineteen hundred years ago. The
book of John points this out as follows: "When Jesus therefore had
received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his
head, and gave up the ghost." (John 19:30) Whatever was necessary
for the removal of sin from the people of God was accomplished at
Calvary. It has been done perfectly and nothing from man needs to
be added to it! This was the work of Christ for His people.
We will consider later the work of Christ in His people (the
new birth.) But we can say now that everyone that Christ did
something for on Calvary will, sometime in their lives on
earth, experience the work of Christ in them as the benefits
of salvation are brought to them by God, the Holy Spirit.
show, from Scripture, that Christ actually finished the work
of redemption on Calvary, let us examine the following passages:
as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as
silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition
from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a
lamb without blemish and without spot" (I Peter 1:18,19).
the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in
once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for
us." (Heb. 9:12)
that it doesn't say that He tried to obtain eternal
redemption or that "He did His part; now you must do yours to make
it complete." He actually obtained eternal redemption for
those for whom He died. If He died for the entire human race, then
they have all been redeemed and there will be no one in hell. But
from other Scripture we know that this is not true. So for whom did
Christ die? For the elect. Every one of them will be eternally
saved because Christ actually redeemed them from their sins
sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book and to
open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us
to God by thy blood out of every kindred and tongue, and people, and
nation." (Rev. 5:9)
Not one drop
of Christ's blood was shed in vain! But those who teach that Christ
tried and intended to redeem the whole human race teach that much of
Christ's blood was, in fact, shed in vain.
death was a substitutionary death. He actually died as a
substitute for certain people (the elect). He satisfied the debt
that these people owed to God. The elect were set free because
their debt had actually been paid. If I go to the bank and pay off
the debt for one hundred particular men, then these men are actually
debt free. But not everyone that owes the bank money is free of
We find this
principle of substitution set forth in the following Scriptures:
"Even as the
Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister and to
give his life a ransom for (lit. instead of, in the place of) many."
"For he hath
made him to be sin for (lit. in behalf of) us, who knew no sin; that
we might be made the righteousness of God in him." (II Cor. 5:21)
Does any of
the work of redemption remain to be done?
What was the
the redemption price to God? When was it offered?
What do we
mean when we say that Christ died as a substitute?
Verse: We have memorized Matthew 1:21 and John 10:11. Let
us memorize Matt. 20:28.
already stated that the doctrine of Particular Redemption teaches
that Christ died for the elect and the elect only. Christ did not
die for any that would perish in hell. Let us examine this teaching
and see how reasonable and consistent it is.
for whom Christ gave His life as a ransom are either ransomed or
they are not. It is very evident, from Scripture and from
observation, that not all the human race is ransomed from the
penalty of God's law. Now, if some for whom Christ gave His life
are not ransomed then it follows that Christ at least partially died
in vain! This, of course, is absurd. Since we know that Christ did
not die in vain, we must conclude that He did not die for every
individual in the human race.
song of the redeemed in glory is a joyful song of election
and particular redemption: "Thou wast slain, and hast
redeemed us unto God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue,
and people, and nation." (Rev. 5:9) The elect are said to have been
redeemed out of or from among (Rev.
14:4) the mass of mankind. There is certainly no universal
redemption taught here.
further the fact that if there are people in hell for whom Christ
died, suffering for their own sins, then God is demanding double
payment. Christ paid for their sins on the cross, and they are
suffering for the same sins in eternal torment. God does not
operate like this. He is a God of justice. When His justice has
been satisfied, those for whom satisfaction has been made go free.
The elect are Christ's by right of purchase. (I Cor. 6:20; Gal.
universal redemption is to teach that Christ died for the damned in
hell as much as for the saved in heaven! This would make the
atonement a very haphazard and loose arrangement. But the atonement
(redemption) was precise and exact. God's justice demanded that
Christ pay the exact penalty of the sins of those who are saved.
many passages of Scripture where Christ is said to die for
certain ones, not for every human being. Let us examine
some of these.
10:11--Here the elect are called His sheep. Notice that
in this chapter there are other humans mentioned who are called
"thieves," "robbers," "hireling," "wolf." But Christ said that
He laid down His life for the sheep. John 10:26 plainly says
that some of the Jews were not His sheep. Therefore, He did not
die for them. This Scripture alone is ample proof that Christ
did not die for every individual in the human race.
1:21--Here the elect are called His people. And the
emphatic statement was that He would save them from their
sins. He would actually save them--not just make
provision for their salvation.
39; John 17:9--In these passages the elect are spoken of as
those whom the Father had given to Christ.
2:13--Here they are called the children.
If some for
whom Christ died are not saved, what does this tell us about the
work of Christ?
died for the sins of some people who will suffer for these same
sins in hell, what does this tell us about the justice of God?
die for those who will be in hell?
some of the names in Scripture by which those for whom Christ
died are called?
We have memorized Matthew
1:21, John 10:11, and Matt. 20:28. Let us memorize Hebrews 9:12.
some Scriptures which seem at first glance to support the idea of
universal redemption. But the Bible doesn't contradict itself and
teach particular redemption in some places and universal redemption
in others. On closer study, each of the Scriptures which might seem
to support the idea of universal redemption in fact teach that
Christ died for the elect and for none other.
One of the
most commonly used Scriptures to support the idea of universal
redemption is John 3:16--"For God so loved the world, that he gave
his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not
perish, but have everlasting life."
Let us note,
first of all, that God does not love all men without exception:
"Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated" (Rom 9:13); "The
foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of
iniquity" (Ps. 5:5); "I never knew you: depart from me, ye that
work iniquity" (Matt. 7:23); "Ye are of your father the devil..."
other Scriptures plainly teach that God doesn't and never has loved
each and every member of the human race.
Scriptures don't contradict each other, so what is meant when it is
said that God loved the world?
"world" is used in many different ways in Scripture. Anyone who
will simply examine a concordance and look up the passages where
"world" occurs, will soon discover that this word is used in the New
Testament in a variety of ways. Sometimes the word "world" is used
of unbelievers in distinction from believers (John 14:17;
15:18, 19; 17:9, 14). Sometimes it refers to people
in general (John 12:19). Sometimes it refers to the created
material system (John 1:10). In the great majority of
instances it is a general and indefinite expression which has
reference to the Gentiles in contrast with the Jews.
Sometimes the word means everyone on earth (Rom. 3:19).
John 3:16, the word "world" means God's elect
in all nations--Gentiles as well as Jews. As a typical
Jew, Nicodemus thought that God loved nobody but Jews. The Jews of
Christ's time on earth believed that all but Jews were unclean and
could only be saved by becoming Jewish proselytes. This idea
prevailed even among some of the Jews who had been baptized into the
Christian church (Acts 15:5).
3:16, the Lord told Nicodemus that God so loved the world (elect
Gentile as well as elect Jew), that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whosoever (elect Gentile as well as elect Jew) believeth on Him
should not perish but have everlasting life.
on John 17:9, dear old Elder C.E. Smith said, "And so Jesus prayed
for those He died for, and He died for those He prayed for."
"whosoever believeth" in John 3:16 is a descriptive term, not
a conditional term. No one can be a believer in Christ but a
born-again child of God. All God's elect become believers when they
are born of God. Christ told some who were not God's chosen ones,
"But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep..." (John
10:26). In Acts 13:48, it is said, "And as many as were ordained to
eternal life believed." Notice that they didn't believe
in order to become ordained to eternal life. They
believed because they were ordained to eternal
life. Believing doesn't give one eternal life; one believes because
he has eternal life. The ability to believe (faith) is given
to the child of God in the new birth (Phil. 1:29; Eph. 2:8; John
6:29). Notice it says in John 6:47, "He that believeth on me
hath (already has) everlasting life." So belief (the exercise
of faith) is an evidence of life, not a condition to be met
in order to get life. A baby cries because it is alive--a person
believes in Jesus Christ because he has spiritual life.
is some of the Biblical evidence that God doesn't love all men?
are some of the ways the word "world" is used in the Scriptures?
does the word "world" mean in John 3:16?
can believe on the Lord Jesus Christ?
Memory Verse: We have
memorized Matthew 1:21, John 10:11, Matthew 20:28, and Hebrews
9:12. Let us memorize I Peter 1:18, 19.
following lesson, we will continue to examine some Scriptures which
are used by some to teach the doctrine of universal redemption.
"And he is
the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for
the sins of the whole world" (I John 2:2).
must examine the word "propitiation." The idea of propitiating is
that of appeasing one who has been offended. The offended one has
been pacified--his good will has been won or regained. Thus the
basic idea is that of satisfaction--the offended party has
So we can
see that whoever Christ is the propitiation for--satisfaction has
been made to God for them. For, here God is the offended party.
His righteous law has been broken by mankind and His holiness has
been offended. He would have forever remained offended at all
mankind had not Christ made satisfaction. The question is, who did
Christ make satisfaction for? If He is the propitiation for every
human being, then every human being will be saved. But we know that
not every human being is saved so who constitutes the "whole world"
spoken of in this text?
is essentially the same that we gave on John 3:16 in the previous
lesson. As was pointed out there, the word "world" is used in many
ways in Scripture. Sometimes this term means only a relatively
small part of the world, as when Paul wrote to the church at Rome
that their faith was "spoken of throughout the whole world" (Rom.
1:8). No one but other Christians would praise these Romans for
their Christian testimony. The world in general didn't even know
that such a church existed at Rome. So the reference to "world"
here was only the believing world, which constituted an
insignificant part of the entire world. Shortly before Jesus was
born, "There went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the
world should be taxed" (Luke 2:1). The "world" here was only the
comparatively small part of the total world which was controlled by
conversation we speak of the business world, the sports world, the
world of politics, etc. But we always understand each of these
"worlds" in a limited sense.
If in I John
5:19, "We know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in
wickedness," the author meant every individual of mankind, then he
and those to whom he wrote were also in wickedness, and he
contradicted himself in saying that they were of God.
The "our" in
I John 2:2 refers to Jewish Christians, for John was an
apostle to the "circumcision" (Gal. 2:9) and these were the people
to whom he ministered primarily. The "whole world" in I John 2:2
refers to God's elect scattered among the Gentiles. To understand
the meaning of I John 2:2, we would do well to consider John
11:51,52. That the expression, the "whole world" is
unlimited one, is clear from Rev. 12:9 compared with Matt. 24:24.
for emphasis what was in the previous lesson, there was a good
reason for the New Testament writers to use such expressions as "the
whole world," "world," "all the world," etc. These expressions were
used to correct the false notion that salvation was for the Jews
only. These expressions are intended to show that Christ died for
all men without distinction (that is, He died for Jews and
Gentiles alike) but they are not intended to indicate that Christ
died for all men without exception (that is, He did not die
for the purpose of saving each and every lost sinner).
Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." (John 1:29)
statements apply to this verse as apply to John 3:16 and I John
2:2. If the world here is every human being, then the sins of every
human being have been taken away and there will be no one in hell.
But we know that this isn't the case because of Scriptures like John
It is also
interesting to note that a portion of the human race was already in
hell when Jesus spoke these words. This compels us to admit
that the world here is not the entire human family.
emphasize again that we often use general terms like this when we
want to express a general principle. When we read that a certain
city is smitten with a smallpox epidemic, no one concludes that
every individual in it has contracted the disease.
Scripture where the word "world" is used in a similar sense the
above statements will apply.
Scriptures very plainly teach definite or particular redemption. We
have already seen this from such passages as John 10:11, John 17:9,
etc. Scripture doesn't contradict itself. The only contradictions
are found in the minds of sinful men. Therefore, when the Bible
speaks of the "world" in connection with the atoning death of our
Lord Jesus Christ, it does not teach something contrary to the plain
Scriptural teaching of definite atonement.
is the basic idea in propitiation?
made up the "whole world" spoken of in Romans 1:8?
made up the "world" spoken of in Luke 2:1?
are some of the ways in which we use the word "world" in ordinary
are the "our" spoken of in I John 2:2?
are the "whole world" spoken of in I John 2:2?
did the Bible writers use such expressions as "world," "the whole
world," "all the world," etc., with reference to salvation?
Memory Verse: We have
memorized Matthew 1:21, John 10:11, Matthew 20:28, Hebrews 9:12, and
I Peter 1:18, 19. Let us memorize I Peter 2:24.
some passages of Scripture where the use of the words "all," "every
man" etc. are thought by some to teach universal redemption. But as
was the case with the word "world," an examination of such
Scriptures in their contexts and in the light of the teaching
of the Bible as a whole, will show clearly that these Scriptures
actually teach particular redemption.
will show that the word "all" is used in many different senses in
Scripture. Usually the meaning of the word is "all who are under
consideration." Who are the "all" in John 6:37? "All that the
Father giveth me . . ." The Holy Spirit restricted the "all" with
the modifying phrase, "that the Father giveth me," He didn't say
"all the human race." In Matt- 3:5.6, we read, "Then went out
to him Jerusalem and all Judea, and all the region round about
Jordan, and were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins."
Does this "all" mean that every single human being from Judea
and Jerusalem came and were baptized by John? Certainly not! A few
verses following plainly state that John refused to baptize many of
the Pharisees and Saducees. In Luke 2:10, the angel said at the
birth of Jesus, "Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good
tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people." Did this mean
that every single member of the human race would rejoice when Jesus
was born? Of course not! King Herod wasn't happy; he was troubled
(Matt. 2:3). The "all people" in Luke 2:10 were all the people of
considerations show unmistakably that the word "all" is used in
different senses in Scripture. To repeat what was said about the
word "world"--one use for these seeming universal words was to
correct the false notion that salvation was for the Jews only. The
salvation of the Gentiles was a mystery which had not been made
known in other ages (Eph. 3:4-6; Col 1:16-27). This then was a
truth which was necessary to be brought out in the very strongest
language. Paul was for example, to be a witness "unto all men" of
what he had seen and heard. (Acts 22:15). As used in this sense the
word "all" means to mankind in general-to Jew and Gentile alike.
We will now
examine some specific Scriptures where these terms are used:
Hebrews 2:9--the phrase "every man." In the first place the "man" is
not in the original Greek. So every what is under consideration?
The next verse plainly shows that it is every son. In fact the
context of this entire chapter restricts the "every In v. 10,
it is the "sons;" in v. 11 it is the "sanctified" and the
"brethren." In verses 13 and 14 it is the "children." Verse 14 makes
it plain. He destroyed death for those for whom He died.
Therefore He destroyed death for the "every" for whom He tasted
death in verse 9. If this is the entire human race then the entire
human race is saved.
2:6--"who gave himself a ransom for all." In the first place
whoever He gave Himself a ransom for are ransomed and saved.
So if the "all" means every human being then this Scripture
teaches universal redemption.
In the second place Scripture
always interprets Scripture. This expression should be
interpreted by Christ's own words: "Even as the Son of man came not
to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a
many (Matt. 20:28). Titus 2:14 says that He "gave
himself for us." The "all" in Timothy and the "us" in Titus and the
"many" in Matthew are the same. They are God's elect.
The elect are made up of all sorts of men--Jew, Gentile, rich, poor,
black, white, etc.
Tim. 2:4--"Who will have all men to be saved and to come unto the
knowledge of the truth."
first place, if Christ wills all men to be saved, then all men will
be saved. Whoever the "all men" are here will be saved. God works
"all things after the counsel of his own will". (Eph. 1:11). He
does, "according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the
inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto
him, What doest thou? (Dan. 4:35)
second place, each of those who are saved are going to be brought to
a knowledge of the truth. I don't think this truth here means a
complete system of doctrinal truth but rather an experiential
knowledge of Jesus Christ as Savior (See John 17:3;
Hebrews 8:10-11; I Thess. 4:9; John
6:45; I Cor. 2:10; Matt. 15:17; I John 2:27). Every child of God
comes to some inward acquaintance with the Lord Jesus Christ when he
is born again. And this is the "truth" under consideration here.
After all, Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life."
here is God's elect among all classes of men. They, and only they,
are the ones for whom Christ is mediator between them and God (Verse
are the "all" in Matt. 3:5,6?
are the "all" in Luke 2:10?
does the word "all" usually mean in Scripture?
is the "every man" in Heb. 2:9?
every human being is included in the "all" of I Tim. 2:6, what does
what sense will all of God's people come to the truth?
God wills all men in the world to be saved will all men be saved?
Memory Verse: We have
memorized Matt. 1:21; John 10:11; Matt. 20:28; Heb. 9:12; I Peter
1:18,19, and I Peter 2:24. Let us memorize Hebrews 9:28.
previous studies, we have examined some Scriptures which, at first
glance and isolated from other Scriptures, seem to some people to
teach universal redemption. In each case, we have seen that these
and all other Scriptures teach that the redemption of Jesus Christ
is limited to the elect people of God.
study sheet we will consider several other Scriptures which some use
erroneously to teach universal redemption.
"For as in
Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." (I Cor.
15:22) In the first place this Scripture proves too much for those
who advocate a universal atonement, for these are not statements of
possibility--they are statements of fact. If the "all" made alive
in Christ include the whole human family then the whole human family
will be saved. No Bible believer holds to this position.
under consideration here is the fact that while Adam was the HEAD
and REPRESENTATIVE of the human race, Jesus Christ, "the second
man," "the last Adam" (I Cor. 15:45-47) was the HEAD and
REPRESENTATIVE of God's elect. Because God placed Adam as the
federal head and representative of the entire human race, they all
fell in him when he sinned (Rom. 5:12). But, unlike the first Adam,
Jesus rendered perfect obedience to the Father and merited a perfect
righteousness which is imputed to all the children of God. (John
17:2; Heb. 2:13).
who die in Adam includes every member of the human race. The "all"
who are made alive in Christ include the elect. Verse 23 of I Cor.
15 makes it plain the elect are under consideration in the second
"all" of verse 22. We die by means of Adam because we were IN Adam;
and we live by means of Christ because we are IN Christ. Union with
Adam is the cause of death; union with Christ is the cause of life.
as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation;
even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men
unto justification of life." (Rom. 5:18).
arguments which applied to I Cor. 15:22 apply here. Paul is dealing
with FACTS here, not with possibilities. It is a FACT that all
mankind died in Adam. The parallel would not hold if condemnation
was a fact in the one case, but justification was only a possibility
in the other. Just as sure as condemnation came upon the all men in
Adam (all mankind), so justification came upon the all men in Christ
(the elect). A limitation of the second "all men" of this verse is
also suggested by the whole reasoning of the epistle, and especially
in Rom. 8:30, where the JUSTIFIED are identified with the FOREKNOWN
Adam is both REPRESENTATIVE and VITAL (actual or living).
Representatively, his sin is the judicial ground of our dying.
Representatively, his sin is the judicial ground of our
condemnation. Vitally, we derive from him a corrupt and enfeebled
nature. Union with Christ is also both representative and
vital--for the elect. Representatively, the righteousness of Christ
is judicial ground of our justification. Vitally, we derive from
Him the Holy Spirit, which is the source of spiritual life (Rom.
8:9-11). So the first "all men" of Romans 5:18 is the family of
mankind; the second "all men" is the family of the elect.
"The Lord is
not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but
is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but
that all should come to repentance." (II Peter 3:9). "All" is
explained by the word "us-ward." It is to "them that have obtained
like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our
Saviour Jesus Christ" (II Peter 1:1). Whatever God wills will come
to pass (Dan. 4:35; Eph. 1:11). Since God wills that none of His
elect will perish but that they will all come to repentance this
will happen. God's people are all given the ability to repent when
they are born again. The long-suffering referred to in this verse
is the long-suffering that God exercises when He refuses to destroy
this sinful world until all His elect are born into the world and
then born again.
are the "all" who die in Adam?
are the "all" who are made alive in Christ?
did judgment come upon to condemnation?
whom belongs the free gift of justification?
what two ways are we in union with Adam?
what two ways are we in union with Christ?
are the "us-ward" in II Peter 3:9?
Verse: We have
memorized Matt. 1:21; John 10:11; Matt. 20:28; Heb. 9:12; I Peter
1:18,19; I Peter 2:24; and Heb. 9:28. Let us memorize II Cor. 5:21.
study, we will examine one passage of Scripture which Arminians,
Universalists, and others use to teach the doctrine of General or
Universal Atonement. We have not studied all such Scriptures, but
we have studied a sufficient number to give us some experience in
the correct interpretation and application of Scripture. With
diligent, prayerful, study the student of the Scriptures who cares
enough to find out what the Bible really teaches, has been given a
few tools and guidelines with which to work.
considering our passages, let us look at a few principles of Bible
study which are essential to "rightly dividing the word of truth."
(II Tim. 2:15).
must first see who is doing the writing and to whom he is writing.
This will often greatly clarify the meaning of a passage. In one of
the Scriptures we will study II Peter 3:9. A knowledge of the
writer and the persons to whom the epistle is addressed, is
absolutely essential to a correct understanding.
context (what goes before and what follows after) of a passage
usually MUST be considered if a Scripture is to be correctly
interpreted. An example of a Scripture where a knowledge of the
context greatly helps is Hebrews 2:9 where the following verses show
who the "every man" (literally "every") is.
Scripture never contradicts itself. Therefore, for example, the
"all" of I Tim. 2:6 must be interpreted in the light of the "many"
of Matt. 20:28.
other principles to consider, but these are basic and it is
impossible to understand the Bible without keeping them in mind.
therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in
the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those
that believe." (I Tim. 4:10)
In my mind,
there are two possible explanations of this passage. I will
give both and then tell you which one I favor:
we know that the passage DOES NOT teach that Christ actually saved
every member of the human race--this would be Universalism and no
Bible believer is a universalist (one who believes that every human
being will be eternally saved).
this Scripture does NOT say that Christ is the POTENTIAL Saviour of
every human being; that is, that He provided salvation for all on
the cross, but the salvation will not really be theirs unless they
accept it. No, this passage does not teach that. It does not say
that God is the "potential Saviour" but, that He "is the Saviour" of
all men. So this Scripture doesn't teach the Arminian view any more
than it does the Universalist view.
possible explanation of the passage goes something like this: God
is the Saviour of all His elect ones (the "all men") but in a
special way He is the Saviour of those elect ones who believe the
truth, or in a special way He is the Savior of those elect ones who
are REALLY believing in Him (by strongly exercising their faith).
Now this is a possible explanation of the Scripture.
Another explanation goes something like this: Eternal salvation
from sin is not even under consideration in this passage. Notice
that "the living God" is here mentioned not the Lord Jesus Christ in
His specific role as Redeemer. The work "Saviour" (SOTER in the
Greek) can also mean "deliverer" or "preserver." God is the
preserver of all mankind in the sense that "He maketh His sun to
rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and
on the unjust" (Matt. 5:45). All mankind is indebted to God for
these temporal gifts without which they would immediately perish.
But God is
"specially" the preserver and sustainer of "those that believe" (the
elect). Even in this temporal life, as David said, "I have been
young, and am now old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken,
nor his seed begging bread." (Ps. 37:25).
specially preserves His people from all manner of danger, both
natural and spiritual. This is seen by the hedge that God had
around Job (Job 1:10).
favor the last-given explanation, primarily because of the way that
the New Testament usually speaks of "believers." There is a definite
sense in which the New Testament speaks of all the elect as
"believers." They did not believe IN ORDER TO become elect, but they
believed when they came into contact with the gospel, BECAUSE they
had been elected. Of course, this was true only of those elect who
had already been born again when they heard the gospel. Paul
rejected the preaching of Stephen (Acts 7:58; 8:1) because he had
not yet been born again. But, because he had been elected (Eph.
1:4) he was eventually born again by the Holy Spirit (on the road to
Damascus) and then he MANIFESTED his new life by believing the
witness of Ananias (Acts 9:17,18). Every elect child of God is
given faith (the ability to believe) when he is born again by the
Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22; II Peter 1:1; Phil. 1:29, etc.). So, the
New Testament usually puts people into two classes: the believers
(children of God) and the unbelievers (those who are not God's
understand the "those that believe" of I Tim. 4:10 to be the
children of God.
list of Scriptures that will show this great contrast between
believers and unbelievers in the New Testament is as follows: John
3:16; Acts 13:48; Mark 16:16;
I John 5:10; Eph. 1:19; Phil. 1:29; Heb. 11:6; I John 5:1,5; John
I will now
give a few quotations from the works of others that may help to shed
light on this matter:
THE INTERLINEAR GREEK-ENGLISH NEW
TESTAMENT by George Ricker Berry, "because we have hope in a God
living, Who is Preserver of all men, specially of believers."
THE CAUSE OF GOD AND TRUTH by John
Gill, p. 52, "The words are to be understood of providential
goodness and temporal salvation; which all men have a share in, more
or less, God the Father and not Christ, is here called "the living
God," who is "the Saviour of all men," that is, the preserver of all
men; who supports them in their being and supplies them with all the
necessaries of life, and "especially them that believe," who are the
particular care of His providence."
THE ATONEMENT by Arthur W. Pink, p.
264, "The 'living God' of I Tim. 4:10 is the Father (see Matt.
16:16), and 'Saviour' there means Preserver--in a temporal way."
THE NEW TESTAMENT AND WYCLIFFE
BIBLE COMMENTARY, p. 855, "Savior (Gr. SOTER). Used in the sense
of "deliverer"; the word can have a wider and a narrower meaning . .
. Paul's conception of God is such that all the blessings,
deliverances, and kindly providences which men experience are to be
attributed only to Him (Matt. 5:45). In a special and higher sense,
He is the deliverer of those who
believe . . ."
AN ANTIDOTE TO ARMINIANISM by
Christopher Ness, p. 55. "All this implies not eternal
preservation, but only temporal providence and reservation; for the
wages of sin would have been paid at the birth thereof, and the
world (through confusion by sin) would have fallen about Adam's
ears, had not Christ been the glorious undertaker."
Verses: We have
memorized Matt. 1:21; John 10:11; Matt. 20:28; Heb. 9:12; I Peter
1:18,19; I Peter 2:24; Heb. 9:28; and II Cor. 5:21. Let us memorize
study we will examine II Peter 3:9 and endeavor to obtain the
"The Lord is
not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but
is long-suffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but
that all should come to repentance."
scripture is commonly used to teach that God desires the whole human
race to be saved. He does not will that any human being should
perish, but that they should all come to repentance. He is delaying
His Second Coming to give each and every human being an opportunity
This, as I
said, is the commonly-held view of this scripture. The vast
majority of people who hold this view admit that not everyone will
actually come to repentance even though God wants them to. In fact,
most of them teach that the vast majority of the human race will
perish even though it is God's will that they be saved.
scripture doesn't even come close to teaching this commonly-held
To help us
in our study, we will review some of the principles of Biblical
Interpretation that were introduced in our last study sheet.
must see who is doing the writing and to whom he is writing. From
II Peter 1:1, we can see that the writer is Simon Peter and that the
ones to whom he was writing were "them that have obtained like
precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our
Saviour Jesus Christ." Notice the use of the word "us" in verses 3
and 4. Peter also used the words "your" (v. 5), "you" (v. 8),
"brethren" (v. 10).
chapter three, he referred to those to whom he was writing as
"beloved" (3:1). It is obvious that the "scoffers" of 3:3 are
distinct from the beloved.
shows that Peter was writing to children of God. The "beloved" of
verse 8 are the same as the "usward" of 3:9. When God is
long-suffering (delaying His second coming), His long-suffering is
exercised on behalf of His children.
of Scripture interpretation was that the Bible never contradicts
itself. But the commonly held view of II Peter 3:9 involves just
such a contradiction. Dan. 4:35 tells us that God "doeth according
to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the
earth." Eph. 1:11 says that He "worketh all things after the
counsel of His own will." Phil. 2:13 plainly states, "for it is God
which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure."
These Scriptures plainly teach that God will do His will and that
His will is never disappointed or frustrated. Therefore, if as is
said in II Peter 3:9, that He is "not willing that any should
perish, but that all should come to repentance," it is plain that
none of God's children will perish but that all shall come to
is a basic change of mind and is one of the gifts that God gives to
His people in the new birth. See Acts 5:31; 11:18. A man can't
repent unless God gives him this ability (which He does give to all
His children). See Heb. 12:17; Rev. 16:9,11.
The text in
II Peter 3:9 also says God is "not willing that any should PERISH."
This reminds one of Matt. 18:14 where it is said: "Even so it is
not the will of your Father which is in heaven that one of these
little ones should perish." (From the context-Matt. 18:11-13, it is
obvious that the "sheep" are under consideration). Christ also said
concerning His sheep, "and they shall never perish" (John 10:28).
The "sheep" are the ones for whom Christ died (John 10:11).
if any of the ones of II Peter 3:9 perished contrary to the will of
God, Scripture would again contradict itself.
To sum up in
a few words, this is the meaning of II Peter 3:9. The Lord is
delaying His Second Coming even though the world is getting
increasingly ungodly. He is delaying His coming because of His
attribute of long-suffering. He is long-suffering because He is
waiting for every one of His children (the "usward") to be born into
the world and then to be brought to repentance (when they are born
I will close
with this quotation from AN EXPOSITION OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, vol. 6,
p. 872, by John Gill: "And upon account of these (the elect) the
Lord stays His coming till their number is complete in effectual
vocation; and for their sakes he is long-suffering to others, and
bears with a wicked world . . . but when the last man that belongs
to that number (the elect) is called, He will quickly descend in
flames of fire, and burn the world and the wicked in it, and take
His chosen ones to Himself."
Verses: We have
memorized Matt. 1:21; John 10:11; Matt. 20:28; Heb. 9:12; I Peter
1:18,19; I Peter 2:24; Heb. 9:28; II Cor 5:21; and Gal. 3:13. Let
us memorize I Peter 3:18
This will be
our final study sheet on the subject of Particular Redemption. Most
of the studies have been devoted to a defense of this doctrine
against those who advocate Universal Redemption (the doctrine that
Christ died for all men indiscriminately--for those that will be
damned in hell as well as for those that will be saved in heaven.)
We will end
our study of Particular Redemption on a positive note. This study
sheet will concentrate on what redemption actually is, not on what
it is not.
concerns the suffering and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. That
Christ died is a fact; and all Christians recognize the fact of
Christ's death. But there are great differences as to the MEANING
of the death of Christ. What did Christ actually accomplish by His
suffering and death?
several important things that Christ accomplished by His death on
the cross. First of all, Christ made SATISFACTION to a just God for
the sin debt of His people. Because of sin, God's people were in
DEBT to God. They were liable to punishment. That debt must be
paid. If, among men, such satisfaction is made of a debt of $1000,
then as soon as that satisfaction is made, that debt is gone. If
satisfaction of the debt of sin is made for any man, then that man's
debt of sin and guilt is gone. God Himself, for the sake of His own
justice and righteousness, cannot hold that debt against the man for
whom satisfaction has been made.
Satisfaction, while not itself a Scriptural word, is the key idea in
Scriptural terms like PROPITIATION (Rom. 3:25); RANSOM (Matt.
20:28); and RECONCILIATION (II Cor. 5:19). "Propitiate" means "to
appease one who has been offended." This can only take place when
satisfaction has been made. "Ransom" means "to obtain the release
of a captive by paying the demanded price." This can take place
only when satisfaction (the price) has been made." "Reconciliation"
means "to restore to friendship." Friendship between a holy God and
guilty sinners can only be achieved when satisfaction has been made.
main element of redemption is that of SUBSTITUTION. The necessity
of that substitution lies in the fact that we are unable to make
satisfaction ourselves. We are sinners! Substitution means that
Jesus Christ became the Substitute--He stood in the stead--for those
for whom He died. Before the bar of God's justice He represented
His people. He was their Substitute in a legal sense.
the ideas of satisfaction and substitution and you have a very exact
relationship. If one man satisfied the debt on one thousand other
men at the First National Bank, then the debt of these one thousand
men is paid. Others who owe debts to the bank are not affected.
Whoever are in Christ, whoever are represented by Him on the cross,
their debt is paid. If all men were in Him, then the debt of all
men is forever gone. If the elect were in Him, then the debt of the
elect is gone. This is taught plainly in Matt. 20:28. "Even as the
Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister and to
give His life a ransom for (instead of, in the place of) many."
This is also plainly taught in II Cor. 5:21: "For He hath made Him
to be sin for (in behalf of) us, who knew no sin: that we might be
made the righteousness of God in Him."
element of redemption is that of its INFINITE VALUE. The truth of
the infinite value of the death of Christ answers such questions as
these: How could the death of one cover many sinners? How could
sin, which is against the infinite majesty of God and which deserves
the infinite wrath of God in everlasting punishment,--how could that
sin be paid for in a MOMENT in the suffering and death of our Lord
Jesus Christ? All the terrible wrath of God was concentrated in
that moment when the cry was pressed out of Jesus' soul, "My God, my
God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Matt. 27:46).
The truth of
the infinite value of the death of Christ also answers this
question: How could we be raised out of our totally lost condition,
not just back to the state of Adam in paradise, but with an
everlasting righteousness which we could never lose?
to all these questions is that it was the Son of God, the eternal
and infinite God Himself, in the likeness of sinful flesh, but as a
real and perfectly righteous and holy Man, Who brought that
satisfaction (Heb. 2:9-18; Rom. 1:3,4; John 11:50-52).
element of the redemption of Christ is that it is PERSONAL. Christ
did not die indefinitely. He did not die merely for a number of
men, whoever they might turn out to be. But Christ died for all the
elect and for each of them personally. There are many passages of
Scripture which teach this beautiful truth. Let us look at two: "I
am the good shepherd, and 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 the sheep." (John 10:14,15). "I am crucified with Christ:
nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the
life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of
God, who loved me, and gave Himself for ME." Every other child of
God can make this personal confession. See John 10:3.
God justly hold a man guilty if his sin debt has been paid by the
Lord Jesus Christ?
does "propitiate" mean?
does "ransom" mean?
does "reconciliation" mean?
whom did Christ die as a substitute?
could the one Christ pay the debt of many sinners?
Verses: We have
memorized Matt. 1:21; John 10:11; Matt. 20:28; Heb. 9:12; I Pet
1:18,19; I Peter 2:24; Heb. 9:28; II Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:13, and I
Peter 3:18. Let us memorize Rom. 3:24.