(Unless otherwise stated, all Bible quotations are from the New King James Version).
1 John 2:2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world (NIV).
Jesus Christ has paid the price for the sins of the whole world. He died on Calvary to redeem every son and daughter of Adam. However, not every one will be saved from God’s wrath. Some people will end up in hell and the lake of fire, despite the fact that the ransom for their souls had been paid. Why will some people go to hell despite the fact that the penalty for their sins has been paid by some else? Shouldn’t salvation for everyone be automatic, since the price for all our sins has been paid? Is God justified to allow anyone to go to hell? We shall examine the Scriptures and other relevant legal documents, to find answers to these questions.
We’ve shown elaborately, from previous teachings on the blog, that salvation is a free gift of God to mankind, made possible through the atoning sacrifice of his Son Jesus Christ. Anyone can access that gift of salvation by just believing in Jesus’ sacrifice for sin on Calvary, and accepting him as Lord and Saviour. Anyone who believes and confesses Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour will be saved. There are thus two parts to salvation- the provision of the sacrifice needed to appease God, and the acceptance and presentation of that sacrifice back to God. God, even though he’s the offended party, took it upon himself to make a way for rebellious men to be reconciled back to him, by providing the atoning sacrifice for sinful mankind. Compelled by his great love for mankind, God offered his only begotten Son as the sin offering to make a way of escape for men. God did for all men what no man could do for himself or for the race, for no man was/is capable and worthy of offering himself as a propitiatory sacrifice for his sins and those of others. Now, having provided man the needed sacrifice, the least God expects from man is to accept the sacrifice. It is every man’s responsibility to appropriate that sacrifice for himself and present it to God as the ransom for his soul. Anyone who fails to do that is not only rejecting God’s provided sacrifice, he’s also trampling underfoot the blood of the Son of God and insulting the Spirit of Grace that made that atoning sacrifice possible. Such a person has only himself to blame for not accepting God’s provided way of escape from the curse of sin and death, because he failed to accept God’s free gift of grace!
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
John 3:17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
John 3:18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
John 3:20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
John 3:21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
John 8:21 Then Jesus said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin. Where I go you cannot come.”
John 8:22 So the Jews said, “Will He kill Himself, because He says, ‘Where I go you cannot come’?”
John 8:23 And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.
John 8:24 Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”
Hebrews 10:28 Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.
Hebrews 10:29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?
While testing his obedience, God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac to him. Abraham obeyed God and took Isaac up to offer him as a sacrifice to God. Just as he was about to kill Isaac who was bound on the altar, God spoke from heaven and stopped Abraham from proceeding further, offering Abraham an alternative sacrifice (a ram) to present to him instead. Abraham had the choice to either accept God’s provided alternative, or go ahead with the killing of his son. He made the wise choice of using God’s alternative and sparing his son’s life. That’s exactly the same scenario sinful men have found themselves in. Because we’ve all sinned, we all deserve to die, for the wages of sin is death (Romans 3:23). And while we were staring death in the face, God came down and provided an alternative sacrifice in our stead, the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. God, in his loving bid to save us from death, asked us to use that sacrificial Lamb he has provided and present it to him instead, as the ransom for our souls. Anyone who fails to accept God’s Lamb, will only have himself to blame. His sins will remain unremitted, because he refused the provided ransom. He will justifiably die in his sins and cannot blame anyone but himself for his fate. Such a person rejected God’s mercy, and should be ready to face God’s wrath!
Genesis 22:1 Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!”
And he said, “Here I am.”
Genesis 22:2 Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”
Genesis 22:3 So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.
Genesis 22:4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off.
Genesis 22:5 And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.”
Genesis 22:6 So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together.
Genesis 22:7 But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!”
And he said, “Here I am, my son.”
Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”
Genesis 22:8 And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.
Genesis 22:9 Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood.
Genesis 22:10 And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.
Genesis 22:11 But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!”
So he said, “Here I am.”
Genesis 22:12 And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”
Genesis 22:13 Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son.
Genesis 22:14 And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”
John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
John 1:35 Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples.
John 1:36 And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!”
John 1:37 The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.
In th Old Testament, the sinner would approach the brazen altar with the sacrifice for his sins, lay his hands on the sacrifice and confess his sins over the animal, before the innocent substitute is killed. It’s a symbolic act of transferring guilt to the innocent animal and laying the penalty of one’s sins upon it. The transferred sins would make the animal guilty and worthy of death. This is a type of the process of redemption that was played out by Christ, the Lamb of God. We have to lay our hands on him, receive and accept him as our personal sacrifice, for his death to count for us. We must personally appropriate his death for ourselves, in order to benefit from the redemption therein. God has offered the free gift of salvation to all, but we must all individually receive it for ourselves for us to possess it. A gift may be offered by someone, but until it’s accepted and received, it’s not yet the property of the intended target. You must accept and receive a gift for it to become yours. Just as people can reject a gift and thus never enjoy it, one can reject God’s gift of salvation and end up not enjoying it! God wishes all mankind to be saved. He’s offered everyone that chance. But, not all will accept it, and not all will come under the shadow of his wings for protection, though he offers all the chance.
Leviticus 16:1 Now the Lord spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered profane fire before the Lord, and died;
Leviticus 16:2 and the Lord said to Moses: “Tell Aaron your brother not to come at just any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the mercy seat which is on the ark, lest he die; for I will appear in the cloud above the mercy seat.
Leviticus 16:3 “Thus Aaron shall come into the Holy Place: with the blood of a young bull as a sin offering, and of a ram as a burnt offering.
Leviticus 16:4 He shall put the holy linen tunic and the linen trousers on his body; he shall be girded with a linen sash, and with the linen turban he shall be attired. These are holy garments. Therefore he shall wash his body in water, and put them on.
Leviticus 16:5 And he shall take from the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats as a sin offering, and one ram as a burnt offering.
Leviticus 16:7 He shall take the two goats and present them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of meeting.
Leviticus 16:8 Then Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats: one lot for the Lord and the other lot for the scapegoat.
Leviticus 16:9 And Aaron shall bring the goat on which the Lord’s lot fell, and offer it as a sin offering.
Leviticus 16:10 But the goat on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make atonement upon it, and to let it go as the scapegoat into the wilderness.
Leviticus 16:20 “And when he has made an end of atoning for the Holy Place, the tabernacle of meeting, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat.
Leviticus 16:21 Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man.
Leviticus 16:22 The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness.
Luke 13:34 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!
Luke 13:35 See! Your house is left to you desolate; and assuredly, I say to you, you shall not see Me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ”
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.
2 Peter 3:11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,
2 Peter 3:12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?
2 Peter 3:13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
2 Peter 3:14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless;
2 Peter 3:15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you,
2 Peter 3:16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.
2 Peter 3:17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked;
2 Peter 3:18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.
Before the destruction of the ante-diluvian world, God ordered Noah to build an ark to preserve the lives of as many as would enter it for safety. Noah obeyed God and built the ark to God’s specifications. Thereafter, Noah preached to people to get into the ark to avoid being destroyed by the impending flood. But, all (less his immediate family) scorned him and his message. Eventually, the flood came as prophesied, and the entire world, less those in the ark, was wiped out. People who died in the flood didn’t die because of their sins. They didn’t die because there was no way of escape. Those people died simply because they rejected God’s provided way of escape from the catastrophic flood. They spurned God’s salvation and died for their rebellion. Similarly, people will not go to hell because of their sins. People will not go to hell because there is no way of escape from hell. Rather, people who end up in hell will do so because they rejected God’s salvation!
Hebrews 11:7 By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,
1 Peter 3:19 by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison,
1 Peter 3:20 who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.
1 Peter 3:21 There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
1 Peter 3:22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.
Finally, let me leave us with a landmark legal case, culled from http://www.wikipedia.com, that shows a pardon can be rejected, and thus become ineffectual. United States v. Wilson, 32 U.S. (7 Pet.) 150 (1833), was a case in the United States in which the defendant, George Wilson, was convicted of robbing the US Mail in Pennsylvania and sentenced to death . Due to his friends’ influence, Wilson was pardoned by President Andrew Jackson. Wilson, however, refused the pardon. The Supreme Court was thus asked to rule on the case . The decision was that if the prisoner does not accept the pardon, it is not in effect: “A pardon is a deed, to the validity of which delivery is essential, and delivery is not complete without acceptance. It may then be rejected by the person to whom it is tendered; and if it is rejected, we have discovered no power in this court to force it upon him” . Wilson was hanged .
And so will everyone burn in the lake of fire (the second death) who dies without accepting God’s pardon for sin as purchased by Jesus Christ on Calvary for the whole of humankind. This is why every one will not be saved (though all can be saved), even though there’s pardon for everyone’s sins. Only those who accept God’s pardon and have their sins remitted will be saved and enjoy everlasting life, while the rest who reject God’s mercy will experience his full wrath in the everlasting lake of fire. May we be wise to accept God’s mercy (while it’s not late) rather than face his judgment, for it’s a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God!
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- Bohm, Robert M., Death Quest: An Introduction to the Theory and Practice of Capital Punishment in the United States, p25.
- ^http://press -pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents
3.^ “11 notable presidential pardons-CNN.com