Christ died for sinners

Posted: June 6, 2007 by Daniel in Christianity, evangelism, religions and beliefs, theology, Way of the Master

After writing my previous post I did two “phrase limited” Google searches and this is what I found:
“Christ died for you” 31,100 results
“Christ died for sinners” 802 results

Obviously the message that “Christ died for you” is more emotional, personal, popular and appealing but its not biblically faithful. I just want to share what I found in the first Google results for “Christ died for sinners”:

CRTA

Limited Atonement (Particular Redemption)

Limited Atonement is a doctrine offered in answer to the question, “for whose sins did Christ atone?” The Bible teaches that Christ died for those whom God gave him to save (John 17:9). Christ died, indeed, for many people, but not all (Matthew 26:28). Specifically, Christ died for the invisible Church — the sum total of all those who would ever rightly bear the name “Christian” (Ephesians 5:25).

This doctrine often finds many objections, mostly from those who think that Limited Atonement does damage to evangelism. We have already seen that Christ will not lose any that the father has given to him (John 6:37). Christ’s death was not a death of potential atonement for all people. Believing that Jesus’ death was a potential, symbolic atonement for anyone who might possibly, in the future, accept him trivializes Christ’s act of atonement. Christ died to atone for specific sins of specific sinners. Christ died to make holy the church. He did not atone for all men, because obviously all men are not saved. Evangelism is actually lifted up in this doctrine, for the evangelist may tell his congregation that Christ died for sinners, and that he will not lose any of those for whom he died!

Extract from, CRTA

A more detailed article can also be found on this subject at Monergism.org

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Comments
  1. Christ died in order to save a fallen creation by taking the sins of an infinitely wicked world against an infinitely holy god upon himself, does that about sum it up?

    One question: If our sins are so abhorrent to god as to allow his “son” to be the propitiation for our sin, then what is Jesus doing sitting at the right hand of god right now? If the sins of mankind are punishable by eternal damnation, shouldn’t the sacrifice bear the burden? Three days in the ground hardly seems “just”.

    Good thing it’s only a fable.

  2. Josh says:

    Former Follier,
    you obviously have your doubts as to whether or not the biblical account of Jesus death and atonement really is a fable or you wouldn’t have bothered checking our site. Jesus suffered the full weight of God’s anger for all the sins of all His people before he died, while he hung on the cross, and when he cried out “it is finished”, he signified that he had fully drunk the last dregs of the punishment that all his people deserved. It is certainly a mystery that Jesus could sustain an infinitely intense dose of God’s anger, enough punishment to keep all His people in Hell for all eternity. Only Jesus could do this because only Jesus was and is both God and man. His human nature was enabled to do what no other human nature could i.e. soak up all the wrath of God and come out the other side. The gospel is foolishness to the natural man – it is a mathematical improbability too great to fathom and yet it is the truth. God has no physical form and yet all power to create and sustain all things. Because something is a mystery doesn’t mean it isn’t true. For a simple analogy imagine God’s wrath like a tap with an infinite variety of pressure and volume settings – God says in his word that some will suffer more in hell and some less – all will suffer according to the nature of their sin. God turns the tap of his wrath to the precise measurement of what that sinner deserves. Jesus takes the place of all his people beneath the deluge of Gods wrath and God turns the tap on full bore to blast the soul of Jesus with the full weight of hell that all his people deserve. The volume and the pressure of that tap are of such severity that they fully satisfy the requirements of God’s justice. So severe was this punishment that the contemplation of it caused Jesus to sweat blood.
    We read it. We believe it.

  3. Josh,

    Your assumptions that I am still wrestling with my beliefs are false. Simply looking at my online nickname (a portmanteau of “Former Follower” and “folly”) is a testament to that fact.

    However, I still fail to comprehend how a god could send himself in human form to die for the sins which he allowed to enter the world in order to appease himself. It not only seems self-serving, it seems to be superfluous. Especially taking into consideration the fact that there was no good reason for him to supposedly create us in the first place. According to Christian theology, we are here to serve and glorify him. He already had a “heavenly host” of created beings (with free will as is evidenced by the fall of Lucifer and his demons) with no other purpose but to glorify and praise god (as the story goes).

    Regardless, for god to send his “son” (himself in human form) for the sole purpose of dying to absolve a contrite mankind from its sin, doesn’t that equate to suicide? Whether or not Jesus killed himself is irrelevent; the fact that he came to earth knowing full-well what would occur meant that he submitted to and pursued his own death. It’s akin to the “suicide by cop” phenomenon on a cosmic scale.

    The problem lies in your the last sentence of your reply: “We read it, we believe it.” I certainly hope mankind will have moved beyond such mental lethargy two thousand years from now at which point the Harry Potter chronicles could be considered diviniely inspired holy text.

  4. To clarify things a bit, I did not actively seek out your site or even your content, necessarily. I did a generic Google search for “Way of the Master” (which my website is devoted to countering) and stumbled across your blog. Divine providence, perhaps?

  5. Adam Smith says:

    It seems now there are 1,270 for “Christ died for sinners.” Hey! It’s moving up…when you wrote this, the “sinners” phrase represented 2.5% of the total between the two phrases, now it represents 3.6%! (still 33,300 of the you phrase).

    Yeah I don’t know why I did that…I am a senior majoring in Accounting, so I guess it’s what I do….plus I am really bored!

    But hey, I know that Christ died for me (a sinner) so I am happy! 🙂

  6. That’s a fantastic encouragement Adam. Perhaps this little blog has had an influence on that? 😉

    Thanks for dropping in. Yes, Christians can have assurance that Christ had died for their sins. It is the normal Christian experience to have joy and peace in Christ Jesus our Lord – in any and all circumstances. Yes even in pain and suffering there is still a chord of joy in the Christian’s heart.

    Dan

  7. rjperalta says:

    Daniel,
    What I see is that “Christ died for sinners” speaks just what it means. Sinners.
    Sin and Sinners, are words that are sad to say seldom used anymore.
    May God continue to send forth those who preach about sin and sinners. It what Christ died for, plan and simple.

    Continued grace to you,
    Richard

  8. Thanks Richard

    – did you catch that quote from Pink:

    “The nature of Christ’s salvation is woefully misrepresented by the present day evangelist. He announces a Saviour from hell rather than a Saviour from sin.”
    Arthur W. Pink

  9. rjperalta says:

    Amen Daniel,
    Saved from sin which leads to hell.
    Be blessed,
    Richard

  10. Yeah, I also think that having a focus on salvation from sin instead of salvation from hell brings about a convert that realises they are called to live a holy life – not because that justifies them, but because if they are saved from sin, how can they walk any longer in it? If they are WALKING in sin then they are proving that they are not saved from their sins. Christians will sin. They are sinners, but they are also called to resist sin through the grace that Christ provides.

    There is much more to explore in the explanation of sin in evangelism. I have been talking with Angela about having a particular focus on sin – perhaps a sin week or something.

    Daniel.

  11. georgiearm says:

    I have sin week every week dan. 😀
    A really good point about salvation from sin having an influence on our view of a life of holiness. I have had to learn the same thing when teaching my kids about doing the wrong thing… Stealing bickies isn’t wrong because of the consequences (spoiling one’s appetite for dinner, less for everyone else, bad for your diet) it’s wrong because you have been told not to take them without asking by your parent, and God says “children obey your parents”!
    A hatred of sin needs to be in relation to God not the consequence. Didn’t David say in psalm 51 :4 “Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight,”
    Rather than “i hate that i commited this sin because now the whole land knows about my lust and murder”

  12. Right Georgie,

    So as well as the sin focus causing a clear understanding about living in grace, it also directs the listener to a renewed focus on God himself.

    A hatred of sin needs to be in relation to God not the consequence. Didn’t David say in psalm 51 :4 “Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight,”

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