7 Feb 2004

The Sin-Payment Question

Submitted by theshovel
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A reader asks:

Did Jesus die for the sins of all people or only the elect?

Ah yes, one of those questions that have caused contention in past centuries. It's a logical question to ask, especially in view of the many assumptions we've made under the influence of past religious history, including our own contributions to the cause. Though it appears to be a simple question, to which there should be a simple answer, I suspect there are usually more issues riding on the same bill hoping to slip by unnoticed. Unless we deal with the underlying issues, we only end up with more formal theology and doctrine that still won't scratch the itch we keep searching for.

What is it we perceive when we say that Jesus died for our sins? Don't we imagine him having to somehow take all those sins to himself in a mental way? I've heard it preached that way, haven't you? Naturally, we can, and do, easily imagine how some sins might not get covered in such a scenario. And so it's only a matter of time that we are asking God to forgive us again, especially in this ala carte mentality of sins. Funny thing, even though we might hold to doctrinally correct teachings regarding the all-ness of the sin coverage we can still end up in the same place where we often question our REAL forgiveness via the sin-payment.

So, in what way did Jesus pay for ALL our sins? I suggest that it was not by dealing with the sins themselves - as if our sins were somehow being weighed out against an appropriate action so that Jesus needed to be somehow thinking about each sin that he was paying for - but that he simply put them to death in his own body on the cross. Wham! Done! He condemned sin in his own body through death ... with no special consideration for any one of them in particular. They were all wrapped up in the existence we thought of as being life, they were all included by virtue of their transmission through the one man, Adam.

Okay then, consider that in his death Jesus simply took sin out of the way. He didn't have to individually remove any particular one to make this happen.

Behold, the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29

In one fell sweep it was done. It was the old creation that is done away in Christ, it is the new that is even now being revealed. He didn't have to die for a specific group of people, but died for humanity itself - not to remove Adam's sin from Adam's seed, but to do away with the first Adam altogether.

Did Jesus die for the sins of all people or only the elect?

I think this question, as it has come to us, has more to do with attempting to find an answer to our own confusion. What confusion? The natural mind's attempt to understand God. We've been so thoroughly instructed in law and laws, and have had it so heavily attached to our concepts of Christianity that we simply get stuck in legalities regarding sin and goodness.

To those who are in Christ, I can confidently say that he has died for all of us. This is not because we are a special group of humans. No way!! This is simply because all who are born of God have been made NEW in Christ ... part of the new creation, having been delivered from the old. To those who believe, it has been overwhelming stated in the words of the Bible that forgiveness and righteousness and freedom and life has been brought. This has nothing to do with some magic found in believing, but merely that those who believe have passed from death and have been delivered into the kingdom of God's son.

There is no longer male nor female, slave nor free, insider nor outsider ... for in Christ there is only the new creation!

Shoveletter: 

Comments

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Posted: Feb-07-04 by rick

Jim,

Great job as usual this week. Your response prompts another question to the original question:

What difference does it make?

If he only died for the elect then you better be one of the elect or you're going to hell.

If he died for everyone, and you're not one of the elect, you're still going to hell.

So why worry about it?

And if you are one of the elect, what difference does it make if he died for the non-elect or not? Of what practical significance is any difference in either doctrinal position?

I agree that those who ask this question have other issues. The next question is - how do you know if you're one of the elect or not? I think the elect are people who don't argue about docrinal minutiae and live in the grace of God. Now let them worry.....

rick


Posted: Feb-07-04 by the shovel

Hello Ricky!

Hey, that sounds like a pretty hell-bent viewpoint! That is a good point about the worry-factor in arguing doctrinal minutiae, and we would do well to simply let such folks wallow in their own crap without having to join them in it ... but it seems as if you have designated any who get caught up in argument as being not elect. Could be a minute distinction here, don't you think?

What if God's salvation is much better than what has been learned through the religious doctrines formulated by those who've argued over the centuries ... including the whole religious viewpoint of heaven and hell, and who is elect or not? What if we've been operating under a heavy religious cloud regarding condemnation so that our judgments pretty much follow that long train of doctrinal minutiae?

Jim


Posted: Feb-07-04 by Sherry

I understand election to be based on God's love and grace on those whom he desires to have mercy upon, not of our own merit, but soley based on His will and without this grace and His love for His elect there would no one saved. Now for the question of did Christ die for the sin's of the whole world? Yes He did! God still offers salvation to all in hopes none would perish, but the verdict is out because man loved the darkness and refuses the light it will only be the elected who go to heaven. Man is given a choice to accept the light or accept the darkness, even in his sin state... so it man's(the non-elected) responsiblity where he will go, due penalty will be paid for the unrighteous without Christ. Election is not what we preach to the world for it would not be understood, we need only to preach Christ and the forgiveness of sin. Election is a doctrine for the saved in Christ to understand, which is I believe a profound truth that all need to know who are of the Kingdom of light. We who are of God and elected should be grateful for His love and mercy upon us.


Posted: Feb-07-04 by the shovel

Hello Sherry! Thanks for responding.

That which God has elected is most certainly based upon his love and grace, for there is absolutely nothing a man can do or can offer up ... even if he possibly could.

Now, when you say that "God still offers salvation to all in hopes none would perish" ... I have to wonder whose "hopes" this refers to as I don't think God has ever had any false expectations about it.

Yes, I too hold that the world cannot understand the truth of God's election, but then again, the natural mind cannot understand anything of God. This puts us all in a pickle ... unless of course God works a miracle! And I believe that is exactly what he did ... and does!!

Jim


Posted: Feb-07-04 by Joanne

Just to say THANKSAMILLION!!! for your clear sounding Gospel Message...

Great

Joanne


Posted: Feb-08-04 by Bruce

"There is no longer male nor female, slave nor free, insider nor outsider ... for in Christ there is only the new creation"

Good stuff Jim!


Posted: Sep-22-06 by Bridge

Hi I just wanted to ask. Is`nt God the originator of our faith and therefor He is the one who ultamately choses our election.

Thanks Bridge

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