Archive for August, 2012



15
Aug
12

Continue in your rebellion against God and go to heaven anyway?

OK, I want to acknowledge up front one of my great failings. I continue to be amazed at how ridiculous those who claim to represent our Lord can be. It is as if God has chosen the terminally stupid to confound the wise. One would think that those who have read the Bible at least once would know better. Silly me! One of my fond but as yet unrealized wishes is that someone who disagrees with positions I have taken would at least accurately represent those views I have taken.

Today, I read a list of characteristics that might be true of a person if he believes in Lordship Salvation. I am not sure who wrote it but it was posted by a man who called himself “Expreacherman.” If I am not mistaken, this gentleman knows better now since he died not long ago and has been disabused of his heresy.

I have no doubt that he was trying to emphasize the freeness of justification through the redemptive work of Christ alone. In this, I would agree with him totally. A person’s right standing before God has absolutely nothing to do with his personal obedience. It is based solely on the obedience and righteousness of Christ.

What I don’t agree with is his denial that believers will act differently from unbelievers.

Whoever wrote the article makes stupid statements like “You might be a Lordship Salvationist –IF

✦“You think that loving Jesus is the same thing as believing in Jesus.” No one who believes in “Lordship salvation” confuses faith and love. We do believe that every true believer loves Jesus.

✦“You believe that repenting of or turning from sin is an essential co mponent of being or staying saved.” Are we to believe God brings us to desire freedom from the penalty of our sins but with no desire to be free from those sins themselves?

✦“You believe there are marks of true believers.” What are we to make of statements like, “If you continue in my word, then are you truly my disciples?” And “Hereby we know that we know him, IF we keep his commandments?” The marks of a true believer are that they continue in Jesus’ words and keep his commandments. I guess Jesus and John both believed in Lordship Salvation.

✦“You think you must desire a relationship with Christ in order to be saved.” No, just give me the goodies and leave me alone. Who wants a relationship with a person who gave himself to be cursed of God for me that I might be blessed for eternity? Is it not difficult to believe a person who could write such stupid stuff could even be a believer?

✦“You believe “faith” and “faithfulness” are the same things.” Who that believes in Lordship Salvation fails to distinguish between faith and faithfulness?”

✦“You believe that assurance of salvation is based on your own faithfulness.” What about John’s statement, “These things have I written to you that you might KNOW that you have everlasting life?” “Hereby do we KNOW that we know him if we keep his commandments?”

I would never suggest that our works have anything to do with meriting God’s favor. Nor would I suggest that believer’s are ever perfect in this life or that our obedience can form any part of the basis of our justification before God. What I do believe is that those whom God has justified, he will also sanctify and glorify. Those for whom Jesus died, also died with him to the reigning power of sin. If a person desires to continue under the dominion of sin, he has never been delivered from the penalty of sin. John Owen wrote, “Any man in whom the death of Christ for sin has not become his death to sin, shall die in his sin.”

One of the patterns I have observed is that these people never seem to answer real questions or address real issues. All they do is make outrageous statements, then run and hide. I would love to discuss the real issues with anyone who has the couarge to forsake their hit and run techinques.

10
Aug
12

The Sinner’s Prayer–Should we use it or not?

Should evangelism involve the use of what has come to be known as “The Sinner’s Prayer?” This question was recently debated and resolved by the Southern Baptist Convention. The delegates voted to affirm its use in evangelism. Of course, that settles the issue once and for all. If the Convention says it is right, it must be right.

I personally have some issues with using a “canned prayer” in “canned evangelism.” Let me just state a few observations and note what I believe are the implications of this practice.

1. I believe we are to find the pattern for evangelism in the Scriptures. How did Jesus, the apostles, and biblical evangelists seek to bring their hearers into a saving relationship with God?

A. One characteristic that becomes clear immediately was they did not practice cookie-cutter evangelism. Jesus doesn’t deal with Nicodemus the same way he does with the sinful woman at the well. When the eunuch of Ethiopia said to Philip “see here is water, what hinders me from being baptized?” Philip didn’t say, “Wait! First, you have to pray the sinner’s prayer.” He simply said, “If you believe, you may.”

B. We do not find a single example in the Scriptures of anyone asking a sinner to repeat a prayer after an evangelistic appeal in an effort to “draw the net.” Evangelists are not called on to “close the deal” (Of course, I know you can’t count them and get credit for it in the associational record unless you get a decision. Their names can’t be recorded in heaven until you get it into the associational record). Closing the deal is God’s work; our work is to “hold forth the word of truth.”

C, The term “The sinner’s prayer” suggests that there is one prayer every sinner must pray if he is to become a follower of Christ. The term is not “A sinner’s prayer” i.e., one of many, but “THE sinner’s prayer,” suggesting that every sinner’s prayer must have the same content. If Nicodemus had prayed aloud, he might have confessed his sin of self-righteous pride and self-reliance. If the woman at the well had prayed aloud, she might have confessed her sins of idolatry and adultery. If the rich young ruler had been converted and prayed aloud, he might have confessed his sins of self-righteousness and covetousness. The point is, there is no “one size fits all” sinner’s prayer.

D. If we have done our job of presenting the gospel thoroughly, it will not be necessary to tell sinners what should be in their hearts and on their lips as they rest in Christ for justification before God. According to Romans 10:9, all sinners must confess with their mouths is that Jesus is Lord. We are never told sinners must pray anything. May a sinner use the words of this suggested prayer (the so-called sinner’s prayer) to express his faith in Christ? Of course! Must anyone do so in order to become a Christian? No! If a sinner should repeat this prayer are we warranted in assuring him that he is now a child of God? NEVER! Conversion is not merely a matter of making a decision or praying a prayer. It is a matter of God causing the light of the new creation established by the redemptive work of Christ to shine into our hearts “to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Cor. 4:6). If you meditate on the profound implications of that statement “the knowledge of God’s glory” just a little, you will begin to realize how superficial, cheap and tawdry are the methods of the modern “evangelist.” The methods of the Southern Baptists are in perfect accord with their message. Their methods are shallow because their message is shallow. Arminianism is Arminianism. If salvation is ultimately in the sinner’s hands, we must use every cheap trick in the book to get him to make the almighty decision. When I was in sales and the time came to sign the contract, we didn’t ask the client to sign; we simply handed him the pen. Great sales technique! But, evangelism isn’t sales. Since salvation is of the Lord, we don’t need to “close the deal.” If the God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness does not shine the light of his glory into our hearts, repeating all the prayers in the world will not save us, and failure to repeat the words of some formula will not condemn us.

2. “Calling on the name of the Lord” is not the same as repeating the words of a prayer after someone. Those who contend for this modern innovation love to point to Romans 10:13 for their justification. Some are even so bold as to tell sinners they must never question the reality of their sonship, however little evidence they may have of saving faith. They have “prayed to receive Jesus” and to question their standing would be to call God a liar. God promised that every one who has called on the name of the Lord (in their view–repeated the words of this prayer after some “soul-winner”) will be saved. They have “prayed the prayer” and now they are eternally secure no matter what they do. I wish I were making this up; I’m not.

What, then, does the apostle Paul mean when he talks about “calling” on the name of the Lord? Calling on the name of the Lord means to call on the Lord himself. This cry springs at the same time from a sense of desperation and confidence. He who calls has despaired of making himself better, freeing himself from the entanglements of his sins, or rising to meet God’s perfect standard of righteousness. If God does not come to his aid and deliver him from himself and his sins, he will be doomed. This call rises from the sinner’s profound sense of helplessness, guilt and despair in himself. At the same time, it is a call of confidence in the promises of a covenant keeping God. He who calls becomes a worshiper of God. He basks in the revelation of the glory of God in the fact of Jesus Christ and trusts that God will, according to his promise, save hm for Jesus’ sake. Out of his profound need, he cries to God for mercy, worships him for who he has revealed himself to be, and trusts him for grace and blessing.

Robert Haldane wrote concerning what it means to call on the name of the Lord,

It denotes a full and entire communion with God. He who calls on the name of the Lord, profoundly humbles himself before God, recognizes His power, adores His majesty, believes His promises, confides in His goodness, hopes in his mercy, honors Him as his God, and loves Him as his Saviour. It supposes that this invocation is inseparable from all other parts of religion. To call on the name of the Lord is to place ourselves under His protection, and to have recourse to Him for His aid (Haldane, Romans, p. 511).

To me that sounds altogether different from repeating a prayer at the end of an evangelistic presentation. Southern Baptists, along with a multitude of others, need to learn what responsibility we have in evangelism and what God must do if our efforts are to be successful. We must proclaim the gospel and pray for God to make our preaching effective; only he can cause sinners to call on him and be saved.

03
Aug
12

Is the Sinner’s will truly free?

It seems to me, the crucial issue that separates those who have written the Southern Baptist statement we have been discussing from the current minority in that Denomination who believe in God’s sovereignty in salvation is the doctrine of total depravity or total inability. If the minority is right, then the theological system of those who have penned this statement is totally unworkable. If, on the other hand, the majority is right, there is no need for most of what the minority believes. If sinners are not totally depraved [that is if sin has not radically affected and perverted every aspect of the sinner’s personality including the will], there is no need for God to choose anyone for salvation, and there is no need for God to enable sinners to believe through calling them effectually. If sinners are in a state of neutrality, the likelihood that sinners would choose eternal life over eternal torment would be very high. Who in his right mind wants to suffer for eternity? It would just make sense that anyone who heard the gospel would immediately embrace it rather than endure an eternity of agony. If sinners are not totally depraved, there would be no need for God to enable them to believe since they would already possess that ability. If God in his sovereignty has chosen to grant the power of “free will” to every sinner, would not that grant insure the ability to choose bliss rather than agony? Again, who in his right mind would refuse the offer to be freely forgiven of his sins and accepted as righteous in God’s sight without having to do a single thing? All sinners would have to do is believe the message. Clearly, the view of those who have penned this statement is vindicated by the fact that we see so many sinners making the right choice and coming to faith in Christ every time the gospel is preached with clarity, right? Certainly, no one with the ability to choose between continuing in sin and trusting Christ to save him from sin would choose to face an eternity of torments, right? If this is true, all we have to do is make the message plain and clear and every intelligent person who hears it will immediately embrace it. I think anyone who has ever been involved in the work of the gospel should know this doesn’t square with reality.

Please be clear in your understanding of what I am saying. I am not suggesting that evangelists cannot with high pressure tactics, and clever psychological and emotional manipulation cajole sinners into making a decision, walking an aisle, signing a card etc. I am talking about genuine life-changing, fruit-producing conversion. Walking an aisle doesn’t change a sinner’s heart.

You may recall the biblical account of a rich young man who approached our Lord with an expressed desire for eternal life. He wanted to know what he needed to do to obtain such a blessing. When Jesus told him to sell what he had, give it to the poor, and come follow him, he went away sorrowful because he had great riches. If sinners have such great ability to “decide for Christ,” one wonders how Jesus let this one slip through the net. The disciples were astonished when Jesus began to speak about how difficult it is to enter the kingdom. Consider the following words carefully,

And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God (Mark 10: 23-27).

It is impossible for a person to choose that for which he has absolutely no desire and to which he is utterly averse.

It is incredible to me that anyone who has ever been involved in evangelism could believe such a doctrine as “free will.” If people had free will, only the imbeciles and morons among them would choose to burn for eternity. The real issue, of course, it that the gospel calls on sinners to love a God against whom they are hostile and for whose fellowship they have no desire.

I could spend a great deal of time demonstrating from the Scriptures that sinners do not have “free will” in the sense that they are equally able to choose righteousness or sin. For example, the apostle Paul describes sinners as being “dead in trespasses and sins,” “alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them,” yet all the while, hostile toward God. How much freedom does a dead person have? How much ability does a dead person have? Sinners are clearly free to rebel against God, but are we free to love and obey him?

Are sinners free to choose any course of action they wish? Absolutely! Are they free to choose between faith in Christ and rebellion against him? Of course, they are! That sinners are able to choose freely does not mean sinners have free will. The issue of the sinner’s “free will” is not whether he acts freely in choosing what he wishes; it is whether he is able, by nature, to make proper choices. If, by the use of the term “free will,” a person means the sinner chooses what he desires voluntarily and apart from external compulsion, then, of course, we believe in free will, though we would prefer the term “free agency.” If he means the sinner possesses, by nature, the same ability to choose Christ in the gospel as to reject him, then, of course, we must disagree. Regarding the ill-advised usage of the term “free will” John Calvin wrote,

In this way, then, man is said to have free will, not because he has a free choice of good and evil, but because he acts voluntarily, and not by compulsion. This is perfectly true: but why should so small a matter have been dignified with so proud a title?

(John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book II, Chapter II, #7)

Instead of producing passages without end that indicate sinners are without spiritual ability to make right choices, I will simply ask, what do sinners always do when presented with truth? In other words, I am asking not what sinners Can do but what do sinners invariably do as long as they continue in a state of sinful nature?

In Romans 1:18, the apostle Paul tells us that God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness. Wherever and whenever sinners encounter truth, they will invariably suppress it and turn from it. Later in the same chapter he wrote concerning sinners in a state of nature, “who knowing God’s decree that those who practice such acts of unrighteousness are worthy of death no only go on practicing such things, but take pleasure in those who do them.” The Psalmist wrote, “The wicked through the pride of his countenance will not seek after God. God is not in all his thoughts” (Psa. 10:4).

John wrote, “This is the condemnation that light has come into the world and men loved darkness rather than the light. And everyone who practices evil hates the light and refuses to come to the light lest his deeds be reproved” (John 3:19-20).

Would a person not think that if someone who had experienced death should return to give a first hand account of the afterlife, his hearers would immediately give him a serious hearing and make a free will decision to repent and believe? Yet, Abraham said, “They [the rich man’s five brothers] have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them. If they will not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should return from the dead (Luke 16: 29-31).

Would not a person think that if sinners possessed the ability to repent and believe they would certainly do so to be delivered from horrible anguish and pain? Yet, the book of the revelation informs us that when sinners are plagued by fire, fierce heat, huge hailstones, and darkness so that they gnawed their tongues in anguish, “They did not repent and give him [God] the glory.” (Rev. 16:9).

The issue in this discussion is not freedom of choice, but the state of sinners by nature. Consider how the apostle Paul described unconverted Gentiles. He wrote,

Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity (Eph. 4: 17-19).

These verses clearly teach that the intellect has been darkened by sin, the emotions have become hardened by sin and because of the depravity of their nature they have given themselves up [an act of the will] to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.

Here is the question: According to the Scriptures, when sinners, acting according to sinful nature, choose what they truly desire, what do they invariably choose?

There are two Psalms that tell us what God actually saw when he looked down from heaven, contrary to those who claim he chose those whom he foresaw would, by their free will decision, seek him and obey the gospel.

Based on his understanding of Psalms 14 and 53, the apostle Paul wrote, “as it is written: “None is righteous, no not, one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one” (Romans 3:11-12).

02
Aug
12

CRUCIAL QUESTIONS FOR TRUTH SEEKERS

According to the following verses, what will happen if God has purposed [willed] that something will occur?

Psalm 115:3 But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.

Isaiah 14:24 The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand:

Isaiah 46:9-11 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.
Dan 4:35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth 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?
According to Ephesians 1:11, is there anything that occurs that is outside God’s purpose?

Eph 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

According to the following verses, can any sinner come to Jesus in saving faith unless the Father draws him? John 6:44, 65

John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 6:65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.

Who begins the work of salvation, God or the sinner? Phil 1:6; 1 John 4:10; 19.

Phil 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

I Jn 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

I Jn 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.

Who opens the sinner’s heart and makes him receptive to the truth of God’s Word? Acts 16:14

Acts 16:14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.

Do sinners believe the gospel through grace or because of sinful nature? Acts 18:27.

Acts 18:27 And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace:

Do sinners in the state of nature in which we were born, naturally seek after God? Psalm 14:1-3; 58:3-5; Rom 3:11.

Ps 14:1-3 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Ps 58:3-5 The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies. Their poison is like the poison of a serpent: they are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear; Which will not hearken to the voice of charmers, charming never so wisely.

Rom 3:11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

Even though sinners have the responsibility to choose to believe in Christ, who made the first choice, God or the sinner? John 15:16; Eph. 1:4; 2 Thess. 2:13-14; 2 Tim 1:8-10 1 John 4:19.

John 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

Eph 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

II Th 2:13-14 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Tim 1:8-10 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:

I Jn 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.

Does the Bible ever say God hates those who work iniquity [sinners]? Psalm 5:5

Ps 5:5 The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.

Does the Bible ever say God hates some and loves others?; Romans 9:13

Romans 9:13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

Is it God’s will or the sinner’s will that makes the final determination as to who will be saved? Romans 9:15-18.

Rom 9:15-18 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

If you have believed the gospel and others haven’t, who makes you different from them, you or God? 1 Cor. 4:7

1 Cor 4:7 For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?

CAN YOU IMAGINE A BUMPER STICKER ON THE BACK OF NOAH’S ARK THAT READ, “SMILE, GOD LOVES YOU?”

01
Aug
12

The Effective Sacrifice of Christ

One problem with the statement we have been discussing is that is so vague and imprecise as to defy belief. For example, its authors affirm that “the penal substitution of Christ is the only available and effective sacrifice for the sins of every person.” I am scratching my head, wondering what they could possibly mean by such a statement. I can understand how they could believe Christ’s sacrificial work is available for every person, but to say that “the penal substitution of Christ is the only effective sacrifice for the sins of every person” can only be interpreted as universalism. I.e., because of Christ’s sacrifice, everyone will ultimately be saved. If every person is not ultimately saved, Christ sacrifice for every person was not effective. The words “penal substitution” clearly indicate that he suffered the penalty for sin in the place of someone, and the words “effective sacrifice for the sins of every person” indicate that Christ’s death actually accomplished satisfaction for their sins. Perhaps I am just delusional, but it appears to me that if Christ’s sacrifice was both substitutionary and effective for every person, then every person would be saved. Do they truly believe Christ satisfied God’s righteous demands and obtained the eternal redemption of every sinner? If God’s demands have truly been satisfied, how is it that his wrath will come again on those who have rejected the gospel? Does God exact payment twice for the same sins? Augustus Toplady wrote,

If Thou hast my discharge procured
And freely in my room endured
The whole of wrath divine,
Payment God cannot twice demand,
First at my bleeding Surety’s hand

And then again at mine.

I wonder what they meant when they denied “that Christ died only for the sins of those who will be saved.” Did they mean that if all sinners were to believe the gospel, all would be justified by the same work of Christ? If so, I would agree since Christ’s death was of infinite value. But if that is what they meant, why didn’t they just write that. Did they mean Jesus was doing his very best to save sinners though he knew full well were going to perish in their unbelief? At the very least they should understand that God knows who will believe and who will perish in a state of impenitence and unbelief.

The question I would ask them is, if Jesus died for these who will perish, what did he accomplish for them? Did his death render sinners any more guilty or responsible than they were before? Do they imagine that God at least owed these people a chance and that Jesus’ death would somehow give them that chance? The real issue in this debate is not “For whom did Jesus Die?” but “What did he accomplish for those for whom he died?” If the work of Christ accomplished no more for believers than it did for those who will ultimately perish in their sins, then we cannot rightly refer to his death as a saving work. If his death didn’t save everyone for whom he died, it didn’t save anyone for whom he died.

When the church used to sing hymns instead of trivial ditties, we sang these words,

“On the cross, he sealed my pardon,
Paid the debt, and set me free”

Could any sinner who refused to trust Christ alone for salvation ever rightly sing those words?
Never! These words belong only to those whom the Father gave to the Son before the foundation of the world.

Consider C. H. Spurgeon’s words on this subject:

We are often told that we limit the atonement of Christ, because we say that Christ has not made a satisfaction for all men, or all men would be saved. Now, our reply to this is that, on the other hand, our opponents limit it: we do not. The Arminians say, Christ died for all men. Ask them what they mean by it. Did Christ die so as to secure the salvation of all men? They say, ‘No, certainly not.’ We ask them the next question—Did Christ die so as to secure the salvation of any man in particular? The answer ‘No.’ They are obliged to admit this if they are consistent. They say, ‘No, Christ died that any man may be saved if’—and then follow certain conditions of salvation. Now who is it that limits the death of Christ? Why, you. You say that Christ did not die so as infallibly to secure the salvation of anybody. We beg your pardon, when you say we limit Christ’s death; we say, ‘No, my dear sir, it is you that do it.’ We say that Christ so died that he secured the salvation of a multitude that no man can number, who through Christ’s death not only may be saved, but are saved and cannot by any possibility run the hazard of being anything but saved. You are welcome to your atonement; you may keep it. We will never renounce ours for the sake of it.

Let me leave you with three questions that need to be answered.

1. The New Testament Scriptures make it clear that all for whom Christ died, died in him and with him to the reigning power of sin. The apostle wrote, “hereby we thus judge that if one died for all, then all died.” If he died for all without exception, why have not all without exception died to the reigning power of sin?

2. Paul also makes it clear in Romans eight that if God gave up his Son unto death for us, he will also, along with him, freely give us all things, including our final glorification. Does that promise of final glorification belong to those who persist in their rebellion against God and die in unbelief?

3. Throughout the passage beginning in Romans 8:28, the Apostle has referred to the God’s work of salvation for believers. He has consistently referred to believers as “us,” “we,” “us all,” etc. In verse 34 he tells us Christ intercedes for us. He writes,“Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” Notice the words “it is” are in italics and have been supplied by the translators. Another and perhaps better way of understanding this verse is to take it as an interrogative statement. In which case we would supply the word, “shall” in place of “it is..” We would then read the verse as follows: “Who is he who condemns? Shall Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us?” The Apostle is not suggesting that none will wish to condemn us as believers. Certainly the avowed enemies of our souls would delight in doing so. His meaning is that no one will be able successfully to condemn believers in God’s presence. Indeed, the only one who has a right to condemn us is the Lord, Christ. Shall He condemn us; He who died for us, is risen for us, who is at God’s right hand for us, and who is making intercession for us? The answer is obvious. It is unthinkable that He who gave His life for us and now, based on the sacrificial offering, pleads our cause from His honored position at the Father’s right hand would seek to demonstrate our guilt.

The two priestly functions of offering sacrifice and intercession are always taken together in the Scriptures. On the Day of Atonement, the function of the high priest was two-fold; he first offered the sacrifice in the outer court, and then he sprinkled the blood of the sacrifice on the mercy seat in God’s holy presence. The sacrificial offering in the outer court corresponds to Jesus’ once offering Himself as a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice and reconcile us to God. The act of blood sprinkling in the most holy place corresponds to His continual intercession for us at the Father’s right hand. It is significant that the high priest presented the blood of the sacrifice in the most holy place for no one other than those for whom he had offered the sacrifice in the outer court. These two acts were co-extensive. If we would learn for whom Jesus offered Himself on the cross, we need only discover for whom He makes intercession at the Father’s right hand. These two acts are also co-extensive. If He offered Himself as a sacrifice for all without exception, then He must intercede for all without exception. But, how do the Scriptures answer the question, “ For whom does Jesus, our Great High Priest, intercede?” In the passage we are examining, the answer is quite clear; all we need to do is discover to whom the word “us” refers in the passage. Only a person with an extreme bias could deny the word consistently refers to those whose glorification God decreed before the world began.

Does Jesus intercede for those who will perish in unbelief?

Unless and until you can answer these questions, please don’t talk about Jesus dying for all sinners whether they believe or not.