|- J. Preston Eby -
In considering the issue of the eternal punishment of the lost, many people can only visualize this punishment as vindictive. In other words, sinners are afflicted by God because of God's intolerable disposition towards them in their sin. And this is the impression one certainly receives from Calvinistic descriptions such as the following: "The damned shall be packed like brick into a kiln, and be so bound that they cannot move a limb, nor even an eyelid; and while thus fixed, the Almighty shall blow the fires of bell through them for ever." G. H. Lang, commenting on Rev. 14:10-11 in The Last Assize, states basically the same thought, though perhaps in less barbaric language: "Mingled unmixed; every ingredient compounded that shall make the punishment fit the crime; but no element of mercy or alleviation shall be mixed with this dread draught of the wine of the wrath of God. If the Lamb can look on their torments, shall His saints be unable to do so. And on this same passage yet another further shockingly comments: "Should this eternal punishment and this fire be extinguished, it would in a great measure obscure the light of heaven, and put an end to a great part of the happiness and glory of the blessed!
Of all the blasphemous absurdities of the harlot Church systems, this is probably the worst, a lie intended to scare poor souls into her clutches in order to rob them of their dollars, a lie which makes our God of love to be a hideous monster, an insane and sadistic monstrosity who takes delight in tormenting and torturing His creatures made in His own image, a lie which makes our Saviour to be nothing but a lunatic, a deceiver, and a rascal of the first magnitude. It makes Calvary to be the most awful burlesque ever enacted on earth.
Here is a fact. The Word says, "The wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23). Wherever one goes he finds someone quoting that plain declaration of fact. But the remarkable thing is, that no one believes it, not even the ones who continually preach it. The hell-fire-and-brimstone enthusiast loudly proclaims that verse of Scripture to be true, and then abruptly and shamefully contradicts himself by maintaining that the wages of sin is ETERNAL TORMENT! But IF ETERNAL TORMENT WERE THE PENALTY FOR SIN, THEN JESUS NEVER ATONED FOR SIN. HE DID NOT SUFFER ETERNAL TORMENT. AND IF THAT IS THE PRICE THAT GOD DEMANDS AS PUNISHMENT FOR SIN, THEN JESUS PAID NOTHING AT ALL. If my punishment were eternal torment, and Jesus took my place, receiving the full judgment for my sin, then it should be clear to any thinking person that He would have had to suffer eternally in hell. That is the only way the debt could be paid!
But He merely became a man, lived as a man, was tempted as a man, suffered as a man, died on a cross, was buried, descended into Hades, and the third day arose, and is now seated on the right hand of the Majesty on high. And if eternal torment is the punishment for sin, then every son of Adam, whether saved or lost, still has to pay the full penalty himself. Then God's righteous wrath can never be appeased until every sinner, who ever committed even one sin, has paid that debt in full. If eternal torment is the punishment for sin, then Calvary was nothing but a farce, a burlesque, a travesty, and a sham. Then Jesus died a failure and in vain, and never redeemed anyone from anything. If eternal torment were the penalty for sin, then Jesus is not the Saviour of men, for He failed to take our place, and pay our debt, by being eternally tormented. And if He is not the Saviour of men, then He is not even a good man, but a liar, and therefore a rogue and a deceiving rascal. And therefore, if eternal torment is the penalty for sin, then salvation is a mere myth, and the Bible the world's most abominable maze of evil imaginings; for it then merely leads men to trust for deliverance to a concept which will lead to everlasting sorrow.
If the wages of sin is eternal torment, then we must re-write the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. We must make the Bible say that, if that is what God meant. We must make the Bible say, "And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely SUFFER ETERNAL TORMENT IN HELL" (Gen. 2:16-17). We must correct the Word of God so that it says, "The soul that sins, it shall be eternally tormented in hell" (Eze. 18:4). Jn. 3:16 must be made to correctly read, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not be eternally tormented, but spend eternity in heaven." If the wages of sin is eternal torment then Rom. 5:12 must be made to say, "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and eternal torment by sin; and so eternal torment passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." You will have to tear the Bible all to pieces and re-write literally hundreds and thousands of passages if you say that the wages of sin is eternal torment!
Oh, that men might begin to read, and to heed what is written! "The wages of sin is death, " says the Lord. And it is true, even though the majority of men still think that the wages of sin is eternal torment, one of the most abominable and notorious lies ever told, a product of popish fraud and deception and greed. The wages of sin is actually death. And Jesus died! He met the full demands of law. He paid the debt of sin in full, blessed be His wonderful name!
The "annihilationist" has another scheme. He is going to have a few men of his own persuasion to be saved, and then after such-and-such has happened, all the rest of mankind are to be simply blotted out of existence. They will simply cease to exist! That is his idea of the penalty for sin. To the annihilationist the wages of sin is ETERNAL DEATH. But that is not what the Word says! The Bible nowhere speaks of "eternal death." God did not say to Adam, "In the day that you eat thereof you shall surely eternally die." The record does not state that "the wages of sin is eternal death." It does not say that "the soul that sins, it shall die forever." To the contrary, it points to the END of death for "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is DEATH" (I Cor. 15:26), and the beloved apostle John, banished to the barren Isle of Patmos for the Word of God heard a great voice out of heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He shall dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be NO MORE DEATH ... for the former things are passed away" (Rev. 21:3-4). But again, wages of sin were utter annihilation, or eternal death, then there is if the no hope for anyone. For Jesus was not annihilated! He did not stay dead for ever! If annihilation is the penalty for sin, then every son of Adam, saved or lost, must yet suffer his own penalty and be blotted out of existence for evermore. Then Jesus never saved anyone from anything. And then we all might as well enjoy this world to the full; for it is the only life and existence that any of us will ever know!
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom. 6:23). It is not written that the wages shall be death, but the passage we have before us, penned by divine inspiration, by God's finger, is, "The wages of sin IS death." "She that lives in pleasure," the Scripture again says, "is dead while she lives." Dead in trespasses and in sins. It is a sad and most horrible fact that there are millions and thousands of millions of people going about this earth dead in their spirits! Dead to God! Dead to virtue! Dead to truth! Dead to purity! Dead to righteousness! DEAD!
I speak not, therefore, concerning a death that is to come. I speak of the wages, OPSONIA, which in the original means the reward of a soldier, the Wages of a man who is fighting as a soldier; Wages he has earned, as a patriot fighting for his King and his country; or Wages which he has received as a mere mercenary soldier, fighting for the pay which a tyrant might give him for his work in destroying life and property and liberty to put a usurper in power. The meaning, therefore of the word is Wages for a military man. The free gift of God is the reverse of this. God's soldiers do not receive the LIFE OF THE AGES as Wages, but as a free gift. I would point out that these Wages are given to those who have enlisted under a banner and are fighting for someone. There are but two armies in this world.
One marches to the drum beat roll.
The deep mouthed clarion's bray,
And bears upon a crimson scroll,
"Our mission is to SLAY!"
That is the devil's army. There is another army - it is God's.
Along our ranks no sabres shine,
No blood red pennons wave;
Our banners bear one single line:
"Our mission is to SAVE!"
You are on one side or the other, and you will get your Wages. The devil's Saturday night comes. God's Saturday night comes. Every man gets his Wages. And Adam and all in Adam HAVE ALREADY RECEIVED THEIR WAGES! When God passed sentence upon Adam He passed sentence not only upon ONE MAN, Adam, but upon all men in Adam, the entire race. In that day of death, it became more than the death of a single man, but it became the death of all humanity. Humanity left the realm of life, and entered into another realm called death, or if you please, man entered a life of death. He entered that realm or that life of death through the acceptance of Wages, which Wages was death. The truth is not that man is under the sentence of and in danger of being lost, he is already dead and lost, and Christ comes to seek and to save the lost, and to give life to the dead world. "If One died for all then were ALL DEAD" (II Cor. 5: 14). Mark it well, dead, not in danger of death, or liable to it, but dead already.
As one has written, "In one of his books Glenn Clark discusses the problem of why a rotten apple in a barrel of good ones will spoil the whole lot, but a good apple in a barrel of rotten ones is powerless to make the rotten ones sound. He says that the good apple has the stroke of death in it. When the stem was severed from the tree its source Of life and health and growth was removed. Even a good apple is a dying thing. He should have added that death was hovering near the apple while its stem was still fast to the tree. Just let the wind swing the apple against a limb near at hand and break the peel, immediately rot sets in. Let a bird pick a hole in it, or a worm enter its body, at once the forces of decay and death are manifest, and the end is putrefaction. In the midst of life we are in death."
The first warning against disobedience is, "In the day that you eat of you shall surely die." The words "you shall surely die" are often translated " dying you shall die," or "you are dying to die." That is, "dying" is a process, and "to die" is the final act or event in the process. When Adam sinned it was life that he lost; it was death and dissolution that he received.
The word "death" means vastly, more than this old dilapidated body going to the grave; it means the whole condition and state of being of the man outside of Christ. May God make this truth real to your hearts! There is only one life in the universe, and that life is Jesus Christ. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men" (Jn. 1:1.4), "And this is the record, that God has given unto us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that has the Son has life: and he that has not the Son of God has not life" (I Jn. 5:11-12). "I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world" (Jn. 6:51).
"The dead know not anything" (Eccl. 9:5). Furthermore, the dead see not anything, nor do they hear or feel anything. How can a natural man who is dead in trespasses and sins hope to see or understand the things that belong to the wonderful realm of life, since death has closed his eyes to them? It is Christ and Christ alone who raises the dead, making men alive to God and the realm of the Spirit. It matters not to Him nor to His resurrection power whether those dead be corpses buried in the earth or whether they be men walking on top of the ground, dead while they live. "Let the dead bury the dead," said Jesus, because He understood the mystery I seek now to explain. Well did the Son of God know that outside of Him both the man who was being buried and the men who cast the earth into his grave belonged to the realm of death and were alike dead!
Death takes in this whole dreadful realm of sin, weakness, fear, sorrow, pain, heartache, rebellion, strife, war, sickness, torment, sadness and trouble in which men walk without the peace and joy and transforming power of God in their lives. Men need to know that they are dead and that the wrath of God abides upon them. "But," you may ask, "what is the wrath of God?" I must reply that the wrath of God is death! "The soul that sins, it shall die," is the edict of the Lord. God's wrath against sin is manifested in the death of the sinner, a Christless death in which he is dead to God, dead to Christ, dead to virtue, dead to truth, dead to purity, dead to righteousness, dead to peace, dead to joy, dead to reality, dead to promise, dead to hope. He abides in this death throughout all the decades, centuries, or milleniums of his existence until Christ comes into his heart. It was this very truth that Jesus was making clear to us when He said, "He that has the Son has life, but he that has not the Son of God has not life; but the wrath of God abides on him." The wrath of God is death. Though such an one should live in the extreme fullness of earth's pleasures, yet HE IS DEAD while he lives, a stranger to Christ, a stranger to spiritual things, and an enemy of God. I know many people who are quite intelligent, capable in their field, civil, polite, personable, courteous, and caring in an earthly kind of way; and yet, when the subject of SPIRITUAL THINGS and CHRIST is introduced into the conversation, suddenly the true nature emerges and the true antipathy the person has toward the living God will come forth. They are dead to God, and an enemy of God. The condition of a man outside of God is a condition of complete and utter helplessness, and, insofar as his ability to help himself is concerned, his condition is also one of utter hopelessness. That which is dead is both helpless and hopeless. Such a one stupidly stumbles through this mortal existence working, playing, sleeping, without ever knowing or caring why he is here or where he is going.
In the conflict with the enemies who have to be overcome by God, the last enemy which shall be destroyed is death. In the final triumph, death and hell shall be cast into the lake of fire, which is the second death, the death of death and the death of hell. Death is an enemy! Death destroys. Death corrupts. Death, foul, hateful, hell-born, "the wages of sin," belongs to the devil, and eats out the brain, destroys all vitality, corrupts the mind, disturbs the emotions, torments the soul, and reduces the eye to dust and leaves only an empty socket. Do not talk of death as if it were a holy thing. The King of Terrors, Death, is unholy. Death is an enemy. Death is devilish. Death is hellish. Death is corrupt. Death is foul and dark as night. Death is the Wages of sin. Sin is the work of the devil.
The portrait of spiritual death is physical death. God gave us physical death merely as a type to convey something of the awfulness of the true death of which all men have been made partakers. Speaking of physical death, Charles Spurgeon once said, "The time will come, ere long, when these shining orbs by which I look out upon you and through which you look into my very soul, will become a carnival for worms; that this body of mine will be inhabited by lothesome things, the brother of corruption, the sister of decay. These cheeks now flushed with life will soon be sunken in death. Beneath the skin there will be going on such activity that, could we look upon it, we too would recoil in horror. The same death of the body is the condition of our soul and spirit as we come into this world."
Jesus raised three people from the dead during His years of ministry, and each of these stands as a picture of the condition of those who are raised out of the death of the carnal mind into the life of the Son of God. First, there was Jairus' daughter. Do you remember the story? Jesus came into the house and she was still upon her bed. She had just died. She still wore the garments of sleep. Her mother was still holding her hand and moistening her brow with kisses. Her father looked upon her lovingly but she was dead. And Jesus raised her with these simple words, "Talitha cumi." Her eyes opened! She sat up and was alive again!
Then there was the funeral procession that took place in the town of Nain where a widow of Nain had lost her only son. He was no longer in the home; he no longer wore the clothes of sleep but was wrapped in the cerements of the cemetery. He was already laid out upon his bier and was being conveyed to his tomb. Jesus did what He always did. He stopped the funeral - because that is why He came - and He said, "Young man, I say unto you, arise!" He sat up and Christ returned him to his mother.
Then there was that notable instance of Lazarus of Bethany. When Jesus arrived, Lazarus was no longer in his home; he was no longer in procession; he was already in his tomb. Neither the bed nor the bier but the tomb now contained him and Jesus said, "Roll away the stone." Martha said, "Lord, he has been dead four days and now he stinks." Jesus said to her, "Said I not unto you, that if you would believe, you should see the glory of God?" And so they rolled away the stone. No doubt there issued forth from that open cavern those noxious smells of the grave. Jesus having lifted up His eyes to God in prayer, said, "Lazarus, come forth!" and life pulsated through his body again. Still wrapped in the grave clothes he shuffled out of the darkness into the light. Jesus said, "Loose him, and let him go."
Each of us, as we come into this world and continue along out path, unless our spirit has been quickened and renewed by HIS SPIRIT, are in some such condition as one of these three. There are some who are young and tender; they are still in their mother's home; their faces are fair and their cheeks are flushed; they are the adorable objects of their parent's love; the world is before them and yet they are dead. They are dead in trespasses and in sins; dead to God; dead to truth; dead to reality; for this is how they have been born into this world. Though physically, intellectually, and emotionally alive, they are dead spiritually. They have not had time for sin to run its course and to effect its devastating changes. Like Jairus' daughter, they still look alive why she looks as though she sleeps! Her eyes are simply closed in sleep. And yet she is dead!
And there are those like the son of the widow of Nain who have left their father's home and are now out in public. Some years have passed and already the flush has left the cheek and the results of sin are beginning to make themselves seen. Our land is filled with these today! Unlike Jairus' daughter, their sins are no more secret, a matter kept at home, but now they are out in public and known to many. Without shame they expose their sins willfully, flaunting them before all the world to see; they call it "coming out of their closets;" they have no sense of guilt or shame because their sin and death has proceeded thus far. And yet they are still accepted by society. thus far. And yet they are still accepted by society. They are not like Lazarus, who has been put away, where death has come to such a state that the corruption has progressed to such a degree that now he stinks and none can bear to be in his presence. And so there comes a time in some men's lives when even their loved ones say, "Put away my beloved from out of my sight. Bury him in some jail or in some hospital or in some gutter of depravity."
The corruption of sin and death can reach to such a marked degree that it is seen in the person, in his acts, his words, his dress, his face, and he becomes an outcast, the dregs of society. There are more, I am sure, like the widow's son. The revelation of the death in them is only beginning to show. There are still some like Jairus' daughter where it is not seen at all, except by those with spiritual eyes and discernment. They are so lovely. "Isn't she sweet?" "Isn't he handsome?" "Oh, he is such a nice person." "They are such good neighbors." And yet, each and every one of them - the girl on the bed, the young man on the bier, and Lazarus in his tomb - were equally dead! Dead one, dead all!
This is the description of the land of the dead in which the whole world lives by nature. The land of trespasses and sins in which there walk the dead. "Wherein," Paul says to the quickened ones, "in time past you walked" (Eph. 2:2). Is that not amazing? We were dead and yet we walked; we were the walking dead, a land filled with zombies, walking, yet dead! Did you ever stop to think that when Jesus Christ the firstborn Son of God came into this world HE WAS THE ONLY LIVING MAN IN A WORLD OF DEAD PEOPLE? The whole world lies in the hands of the wicked one and death reigns over all the earth realm. No wonder the Scripture says that men are a stench in the nostrils of God because spiritual death sends forth its reek and stench. How the soul of Jesus must have recoiled at the state of death that was rampant over the earth. We, the walking dead, walked according to the course of THIS WORLD, we are told.
When Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, came into this world to reveal the LIFE OF GOD, He came outside the existing religious system. He spoke the words of God and did the works of God and manifested the nature of God. What an appalling shock to the established religious order to have this strange man speaking as one with authority suddenly appear in their midst not as a Pharisee, Sadducee, or a priest of the order of Aaron, but in the power of the Spirit of God. What a bolt out of heaven it must have been to the hypocritical priests of Levi, so accustomed to strutting about in long robes with broad phylacteries, wearing their mitres, loving to be called Rabbi and teacher as they received the homage of the people about them, binding burdens that they would not touch with the tips of their fingers on others, robbing widow's houses and for a pretense making long prayers as they increased condemnation upon their own unforgiven sins. What a stunning dismay it must have been for these lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God to hear this mighty Son of God proclaiming to publicans and sinners, soldiers and priests alike, "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!" These lawyers and priests, who loved the praise of men more than the praise of God, must have been green with envy as they saw towns and cities emptying themselves of their inhabitants when with one accord the vast assemblage swarmed to the fields and the mountain sides to hear this mighty prophet and to behold His mighty signs and wonders and miracles. Well did Jesus know by the Spirit of the Father within Him that these religious leaders were spots in the feasts of charity, feeding themselves with their own deceivings. Clouds they were without water, carried about by the wind; trees whose fruit withers, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots. That was the picture then and that is the picture of the religious systems today of whatever brand or label they may be. Sunday after Sunday thousands of ministers stand in their pulpits to preach dead sermons while untold millions of Church members sing the same songs, repeat the same prayers, go through the same motions, observing lifeless forms, meaningless rituals, and empty ceremonies. I tell you frankly that that is the way to spiritual stagnation and immaturity, but it is not the path to sonship and the fullness of HIS LIFE AND GLORY. Oh! there is no death anywhere more horrible than that to be found in dead religion. It is the land of the living dead, a land filled with zombies, having the outward appearance of being alive and yet dead.
There are but two kinds of people: the dead and the alive. If you have not been made alive by His transforming power, you are still dead no matter how rosy your religious cheeks may appear. If you have been made alive may I tell you that, as assuredly as Lazarus knew that he had been raised from the tomb, so also you know that you have been quickened by God, made alive, recreated, born anew by the Spirit of God, and you walk in newness of life as a Son of God in the land of the living God.
THE SAVIOUR OF THE WORLD
All men are born sinners; and the wages of sin is death. But Jesus became a sin offering for all men, He carried those sins to the cross, and that ends the matter. And there, because He actually atoned for ALL those sins, He actually "ABOLISHED DEATH." To abolish is to do away with entirely. Death is no more. That is God's estimation of the fruit of Christ's redemption! "Our Saviour Jesus Christ, who HAS ABOLISHED DEATH, and has brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel" (II Tim. 1:10).
We have been told a lot of funny stories. How we need to get back to the Word, and to it alone! How we need to forsake the imaginings of mere men, and get our feet planted firmly on solid rock! How we need to cease limiting the Holy One of Israel and renouncing the all-inclusive victory of Calvary! For there, whether we believe it or not, our Lord tasted death "for EVERY MAN" (Heb. 2:9). Yes, He only tasted it. He was a man for thirty-three and a half years; He died; He descended into Hades, the realm of the dead; He remained in death but three days. He merely sampled death. He sampled it in the place of every son of Adam. He actually tasted death for E-V-E-R-Y M-A-N! Then He arose, victor over every foe. And as a result of that victory, ALL MEN SHALL HAVE LIFE. And through that death He actually bought back THE WORLD, A-L-L O-F I-T, unto Himself. No, He did not reconcile only a few believers unto Himself! Let us forever forsake the kind of ignorance that can contradict the words of inspiration: "To wit, that God was in Christ RECONCILING T-H-E W-O-R-L-D (A-L-L OF IT) UNTO HIMSELF, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and has committed unto us the Word of reconciliation" (11 Cor. 5:19).
One wonders what most Christians read their Bibles for. They certainly get very little out of them worth mentioning. If they did, then they would have discovered long ago that "by the righteousness of One the free gift came upon A-L-L MEN unto justification of life" (Rom. 5:18). Oh, that all might somehow come to realize the enormity and compass of the work of Calvary! Satan would ever limit that work, set it aside, for it is his would discount and belittle it, and eventually set it aside for it is his undoing. He would keep men blinded as to the great debt of gratitude they owe for such a mighty deliverance. He would blind all men to the enormity of the sweeping declaration of Jn. 4:42: "This is indeed the Christ, THE SAVIOUR OF T-H-E W-O-R-L-D." He is still the god of this world, and has no desire to believe that he will lose all. And how many Christians agree with him! When the devil says that he will possess the vast majority of the souls of men for ever, the Christians shout, "Amen!" And if you say that Christ is Victor they call you a heretic, and ask to be removed from your mailing list. How strange!
How we need to forsake all the stupidity and blasphemy that can represent our Lord as a failure! He accomplished what He came to earth to do. He did not die in vain. He did not do a half-job. He "finished the work," accomplished fully His Father's plan. And "we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to BE THE SAVIOUR OF T-H-E W-O-R-L-D (I Jn. 4:14). Ah, the victory of Calvary means so much more than any of us ever realized in the past. It was such a pathetically ineffectual work, according to the way it was once taught us. It was weak and so limited in scope, so incomplete! Christ came to save the world (Jn. 12:47); God sent His Son "that THE WORLD through Him might be saved" (Jn 3:17). But it was all in vain. He wasn't able to do what He came for. He couldn't finish the work, even though in Jn. 17:4 He stated that He had finished it. He said. "I have finished the work which You gave Me to do." But He lied. He left it unfinished according to the way we have always been taught, which made God a poor puny victim of circumstances beyond His control and Christ a mere pawn of Satan and unbelieving men, a victim of their whim and fancy.
Thank God, that long night of darkness is passing! Thank God, a fuller, deeper message now goes forth, which does not limit the God of our salvation, which does not belittle and besmear the atonement, the complete redemption of our Lord Jesus Christ! He did not die in vain! He was not a failure! Hallelujah! Calvary was not a defeat, but an exultant victory. And there He, the spotless sinless Lamb of God actually gave His life to "take away the sins of THE WORLD." Let us never forget that fact. Jesus truly paid it all. And because of this we, like the woman at the well, "KNOW that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour OF THE W-O-R-L-D."
"...but now once in the end of the world (age) has He appeared to PUT AWAY SIN by the sacrifice of Himself" (Heb. 9:26). "Once in the end of the world." Not for each dispensation, but for all dispensations. Not for one age, but for all ages. Not for a few, but for "the many" (vs. 28), comprehending the vastness of the number which no man can compute of the great family of man. As the year's sin of a nation was borne away into the desert by the scapegoat, and put away, so were the sins of the WHOLE WORLD centered on the head of Jesus Christ. He was "the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the W-H-O-L-E W-O-R-L-D" (I Jn. 2:2). And when He died, He dropped sin as a stone into the depths of oblivion. And He PUT AWAY sin. The Greek word is very strong: annihilated, made nothing of, made as though it had never been. Sin, in the mind and purpose of God, is as entirely done away as a debt when it is paid. Hallelujah!
Yes, He is actually "the Saviour of ALL MEN" (I Tim. 4:10). And He cannot be Saviour of all, and at the same time the destroyer of some. Let us, dear ones, cease listening to Satan who would have Him to fail in His mission, to come off second best in His attempted overthrow of sin. He came to earth to destroy SIN, and to save SINNERS . "The Son of man was manifested that He might DESTROY THE WORKS OF THE DEVIL" (I Jn. 3:8). And when all is finished, if but one trace of sin remains, He will have died a failure and in vain. The adversary would have us to believe that HE is the victor, that sin is not destroyed, and hence, since Christ can not destroy sin, He must destroy those sinners whom He could not reconcile. But let us remember that Satan is the father of all lies. Let us cease being deceived by those lies! Let us believe God. "God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that THE WORLD through Him might be saved" (Jn. 3:17). "I came not to judge the world, but to SAVE THE WORLD" (Jn. 12:47). "For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, BUT TO SAVE THEM" (Lk. 9:56). He came to put away sin, to destroy death, to curse the curse, to lift the burdens, to heal the heartaches, to deliver those in bondage.
Why will men continue to preach eternal wrath, and damnation, and torment, and torture, and anguish, and despair, and fear, when God is love? Surely they cannot have experienced that love, else they could never refrain from proclaiming it! Surely they must not have found Jn. 3:16: "For God SO LOVED T-H-E W-O-R-L-D. that He gave..." And surely they must never have found Jn. 12:32: "And 1, if I be lifted up from the earth will draw ALL MEN unto Me." Let us never again forget that "He gave Himself a ransom for ALL, to be testified in due time" (I Tim. 2:6). Let us ever remember Col. 1:20: "And having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile ALL THINGS unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven." And now, "the saving grace of God is manifested FOR ALL MEN" (Tit. 2:11, Gk.).
Think of it, the living God IS THE SAVIOUR OF ALL MEN! (I Tim. 4:9-11). The Greek word used here is SOTEER. It occurs twenty-four times in the New Testament and is correctly translated "saviour" every time. Nor does the Scripture say that God is the "provider" of salvation for all. This would not make Him the Saviour of all. If He does not actually save all, then He is merely a "would-be" Saviour, a "potential" Saviour of all. He is not a Saviour "for" all men, merely provided, to be accepted or rejected according to the whims of human nature or the power of the devil; He is the Saviour "of" all men, and there is a world of difference between those two views. I find that all the Churches believe that Jesus is a Saviour "for" all men, but none of them truly believe that He is the Saviour "of" all men. Let me illustrate. If five men were drowning and a life guard was on duty with instructions to save any who voluntarily called on him, he would be a saviour "for" the five men. But if he actually jumped into the water, grabbed them by the hair of the head, snatched them out of the water. and saved their lives, he would then be the saviour "of" the men. Can we not see by this that Jesus can only be the SAVIOUR O-F ALL MEN if all men are actually saved by Him? Such a truth should fill the hardest heart with joy, and cause continual thanksgiving to God for His power, wisdom, love, grace, and righteousness.
Knowing how difficult it would be for men to believe that Jesus is the Saviour of all men, in I Tim. 4:9-11 God offers man encouragement by assuring him that it is a FAITHFUL SAYING and WORTHY OF ALL ACCEPTATION. It is faithful to God, faithful to His Son, faithful to Calvary, faithful to the Word, and faithful to the desire of all who have the love of God poured into their hearts by the Holy Spirit. It is hard to understand why so many should condemn as unfaithful and worthy of all rejection, that which God has so plainly declared to be a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation!
Oh blessed deliverance, oh wonderful emancipation! What a shame that so little of it is told! What a tragedy, that those who profess to preach the Gospel preach instead little but a morbid and horrid tale of eternal fear and torment and torture! Thank God it is true, wonderfully and gloriously true, "The wages Of sin is death, but the GIFT OF GOD IS ETERNAL LIFE THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD!"
Writings in This Series: