2003-10-04 - All Sins?
Originally Published 1999-04-29
1 Pet 3:18 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; (NAS)
I have been asked if I can provide support for the statement that all sins were atoned for on the cross by Jesus, or if forgiveness is only applied to the sins of believers. Peter makes it pretty clear here that the sins of all mankind were taken into consideration by Jesus' death. Jesus bore the sins once for all - not the ones who would be called, but all. The next phrase strengthens the point - for the unjust. That describes me for sure. In my own strength, there is no way to justify me before a Holy, even loving, God. We are told that even our very best - our righteousness - are like filthy, stained rags.
Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NAS)
But if our sins are forgiven, does that mean everyone is saved? The problem there is that sin is not the only thing that has to be dealt with in us. The second part of the problem is that we are spiritually dead. When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, they died spiritually as God had warned them. When Cain and Abel were added to the family, they were spiritually dead too. Why? They had not sinned. It was their parents after all. If you plant pineapple seeds, what do you get? Pineapples. If you mate parrots, what do you get? Parrots. The characteristics of the parents are passed on to the offspring. You will not mate parrots and get iguanas. Because Adam and Eve were spiritually dead, their children were spiritually dead.
Rom 6:8-9 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. (NAS)
The power of sin was broken at the cross. The Law was satisfied by the sinless life of the Lord. Jesus cried, "Paid in full!" at 3pm, the time of the afternoon sacrifice, and gave up His Spirit to the Father. Jesus was victorious over sin. And, death was defeated as well by Jesus through His resurrection. Our sins were paid for by the Lord's death, and death was defeated since the law was satisfied. Sin no longer had power to condemn.
1 Cor 15:55-57 "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (NAS)
Jesus told us He came to give us life and that life abundantly. Resurrection is the restoration of life. Once sin had been dealt with, mankind was a group of forgiven dead men. We still needed life. His words are spirit and life to us (John 6:63). They are foolishness to the world. Do you have to accept his forgiveness to have it become fact? Some would argue that a dead man can't help himself or ask for anything at all.
Rom 5:10 For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. (NAS)
We were reconciled while we were still hostile toward God. We had nothing to do with it. Jesus opened the way for us to be reconciled to God. He offers His resurrection life to us to take death away. He even gave us the faith to believe in His death and resurrection (Eph 2:8) so we can't even take credit for answering His call. Jesus did it all for us that no one would be able to take the slightest credit, so all the praise and honor go to Him for our salvation.
Lord Jesus - thank You for Your death and resurrection breaking the power of sin and death over us. We may not understand all the ins and outs of exactly how Your salvation works, but it works. We thank You that by Your love and grace, we are given the life and faith to live for You. Amen.