Purpose of Guarding the Treasure

The purpose of this blog is to encourage readers to invest their time into the Word of God and "Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you." Paul wrote these words to Timothy (2 Timothy 1:14) in his presumed last letter before his execution. May we be those who see the word of God as a treasure, guarding it with our lives, investing in it with our hearts and minds, and reaping the fruit of an abundant life while getting to know the God who loves us and created us for His marvelous pleasure and glory.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

For Whom Did Christ Die?

I have been taught my entire life from various pastors and teachers that Jesus died for the sins of all people for all time. My hope is that this response will help you see as well that this teaching is indeed biblically based upon the Scriptures.

The prophet Isaiah wrote this about the Messiah before the crucifixion, "Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him." (Isaiah 53:4-6, emphasis added) These verse states very clearly that all iniquity fell on the Messiah, meaning Jesus paid the penalty of sin for all people.

Paul wrote this to the church of Colossae after the crucifixion, "And when you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross." (2:13-14, emphasis added) Paul emphasizes that the death of Christ cancelled out the debt of sin, taking it out of the way and offering forgiveness of transgressions for all who are made alive in Christ. Why would he say this to the Colossians if indeed Christ had not paid the penalty for their sins?

Paul wrote this to Timothy regarding Christ after the crucifixion, "For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony borne at the proper time." (1 Timothy 2:5-6, emphasis added) Paul states very clearly that Jesus is the only mediator between God and man and that His sacrifice paid the ransom for all people.

The author of Hebrews also had some very important things to say regarding Jesus and the crucifixion, "But we do see Him who has been made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone…For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins, and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself…And every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God," (2:9, 7:26-27, 10:11-12, emphasis added) Clearly, these Scriptures give credit to Jesus for having tasted death for everyone and being the final satisfactory payment for all sins for all time as evidenced by His sitting down at the right hand of the Father.

Peter also wrote about the sacrifice of Christ after the crucifixion, "and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed…For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;" (1 Peter 2:24, 3:18, emphasis added) Peter states that Jesus bore all of our sins in His body while dying on the cross and that His death once and for all paid for our sins so that He might bring us to God.

John wrote this in 1 John 2:2 well after the crucifixion, "and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world." Jesus is the propitiation (satisfactory payment) for the sins of the entire world, past, present and future. God was pleased with the sacrifice of His Son, as it satisfied the wages of sin and satisfied the wrath of God. The proof of our justification before God was the resurrection of Christ (Romans 4:25).

Finally, we see from Scripture that salvation is available for all people and that God's desire is for all to be saved. However, the Scriptures state that all people are born into this world spiritually dead in our trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1-3). In fact, we are not seeking God at all and none are righteous in the sight of God (Romans 3:9-18, Isaiah 53:6). The problem with sin is that it separates us from God who is holy (Romans 3:23). In addition, the wages of sin is death, meaning we deserve eternal separation from God because of our sin (Romans 6:23). However, because of God's love for all of humanity and His desire for reconciliation with humanity, He chose to intervene and provide a means of salvation for all humanity through faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 3:21-28). "For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:6-8) Jesus died on the cross for the sins of all humanity for all time, taking the penalty of death upon Himself, dying in our place and then rose again from death, proving Himself to be a trustworthy Savior (1 Peter 2:24, 3:18, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4). His sacrifice was the satisfactory payment for our sins and completely satisfied the wages of sin (death) for all humanity (1 John 2:2, 2 Corinthians 5:18-21). The response to this good news is to believe it, that is to trust in Jesus Christ for eternal life. Jesus offers eternal life as a free gift to all who simply believe in Him. Jesus communicated this very clearly to Nicodemus, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life." (John 3:16-18,5:24, emphasis added) Eternal life is a gift from God by the grace of God and received simply by faith in Christ. "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9, see also Romans 4:4-5, Titus 3:4-7, Acts 10:43) This is the gospel message that brings salvation to all who believe it (Romans 1:16-17). If the death of Christ was not satisfactory for all people, then why would the Scriptures testify in countless places that salvation is freely available to all who believe Christ?

My prayer is that you too will experience salvation through faith in Jesus Christ and rest assured that He paid the penalty for your sins on the cross nearly 2,000 years ago. Jesus loves you and went to great lengths to show you His love for you by sacrificing Himself so you could be with Him now and for all eternity!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010