I have heard it said many times from the pulpit, “The Bible does not say, ‘Jesus died on the cross for only his people.’”
Then why did Jesus die on the cross?
Did He die for the mere possibility that you might be saved? If for one moment you could suspend your theological conviction that hope is in Christ alone, entertain this thought: If Christ died on the cross in hopes that you would receive Him then that means you alone have the power to switch on the power of His death on the cross. If individuals had that sort of activating power, then by all accounts, Jesus died for nothing.
That cannot be true.
Did He die for the entire world so that the entire world would be saved? It is true that the Apostle John uses the phrase ‘the world’ and ‘the whole world’ quite often when it comes to saving with verses like John 3:16, 1 John 2:2 and 1 John 4:14 come to mind. Yet, when you go back and look at the over context of the verses (chapters of John 3, 1 John 2, and 1 John 4), you can clearly see that John did not dare imply that all would be saved, especially to the fact that Christ said himself, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:13-14)
With the ‘many’ and ‘few’ in mind, look how careful John is with noting Christ’s salvation:
John 3:17-18 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
1 John 4:13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.
1 John 2:1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
Can we say that Christ would save everybody for all time? That cannot be true.
When the logical reasonable truth that is Christ’s particular, definite, perfect atonement for sin starts to set in, there is two ways to react to this.
One reaction would be rejection. Rejection because we have hoped in possibility and chance that one of our loved ones would be saved because they did something good or right in their lives. But when our God saves, there is no chance or possibility that would not save them or once saved, then they fall through his fingers. (Isaiah 59:1; John 10:29) Salvation does not rest on man but on God alone because salvation is of the Lord and He is the mighty one to save. (Jonah 2:9; Zephaniah 3:17) In other words, as Christ faced His disciples, he would also turn to us and say, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:25-26)
The other reaction is that with sheer and audacious boldness, conviction, and faith that Christ did not save you because of your best day. No. When he looked upon your life, He saw you on your worst day, you with committing your most terrible sin, you thinking your most incredible blasphemous thought, and adamantly declares to hosts of heavens, “I need to have that wicked sinner into my family. I know he is far. I know he doesn’t know me. I know he is running away. But right now, because of his birth and choice, he is running quickly into destruction and death. But I got to have him with me because I love him. I am going to take care of this once and for all. I am going to save him from his sins. I am going to save him.”
Upon hearing the news that his virgin fiancé was pregnant, Joseph was heart-broken. He didn’t want to shame her. So he figured he would quietly divorce her. That would be the kind thing to do.
An angel intervened.
“Don’t be afraid of marrying her. Listen, Mary is about to have a son. You will call Him, Salvation is of the Lord. Name him: Jesus. Why? Because He will freely, powerfully, perfectly, definitely, particularly, humbly, lovingly, graciously, mercifully, justly, righteously, and gloriously save His people from their sins.”
There is no ‘might save’ in that verse as to indicate some sort of mere possibility.
There is no ‘try to save’ as though my Lord and God is somehow impotent.
There is only ‘will save’ because of the power of the Holy Spirit through the life, death, burial, and resurrection of the Jesus by the sovereign, gracious choosing, adopting, sanctifying and glorifying love of the God alone.
With our hearts bursting forth, we can proclaim:
That is love.