Monday, October 26, 2009

Savior of the World

So how many people did Christ “save” when He died on Calvary? The answer, if you think about it, is a “no-brainer.” It’s one that I recently discovered. It was kind of like an “aha” moment. The simple fact that you and I were ever born testifies to the reality that Christ saved the whole world on the cross.

The Bible is pretty clear: the “wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). All of us should be dead. We have all sinned, and thus we should all be dead, suffering the consequences of sin.

But the Gospel tells us that as soon as there was sin there was a Savior. Jesus, as we recently discovered, is the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8). So His death for the entire world saved everyone from reaping the payment for sin. No one, not even the devil, has yet to receive the wages of sin. Only Christ, Himself, has.

This is why David can wonderfully proclaim that God “has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities” (Psalm 103:10). It’s also why Paul can declare that “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them” (2 Corinthians 5:19). This is why Ellen White can say:

To the death of Christ we owe even this earthly life. The bread we eat is the purchase of His broken body. The water we drink is bought by His spilled blood. Never one, saint or sinner, eats his daily food, but he is nourished by the body and the blood of Christ. The cross of Calvary is stamped on every loaf. It is reflected in every water spring (The Desire of Ages, p. 660).

You see, Christ’s death has reached everyone—no matter if people recognize that or not. We have all been given life. We have all been spared the penalty of sin. And so if anyone ever asks you if you are saved, and how you know that you are saved, you can respond, “I’m alive, aren’t I?”

Of course, sadly, most people, in the end, will choose to pay for sin themselves instead of appreciating the gift that Christ has given them. They will choose death instead of life. And Christ will be heart-broken because there is no reason why anyone should have to do that. He died for all and set all on the right path to salvation because of Calvary.

And this reality ought to send us crashing to our knees every morning, thanking the Lord that we have been saved and given life.


Anonymous said...

Go tell it to the world!


Micaiah said...

"the wages of sin is death...but the gift of God is ETERNAL life."

Adam and Eve did not instantly die a physical death after they sinned, so the wages are not paid merely in physical death. The context of the passage you sited was eternal salvation, do you agree? How can temporal life on earth be a barometer of salvation? What you are proposing looks like a form of universalism, although you are not denying the end result for some will be punishment. Can you help me understand how you arrived at this conclusion?

Shawn Brace said...

Thanks for your question, Micaiah. I think part of the challenge is how we determine what it means to be "saved." I would say that there is a "continuum" to salvation. And this is where you and I would differ because of our different paradigms, but, as Psalm 103 and 2 Corinthians 5 have said, NONE OF US HAVE RECEIVED THE WAGES OF SIN YET. Thus, we have ALL been saved from that thus far.

Thus, we have ALL been saved, in the sense that none of us have yet reaped what we have already sown (eternal death), but this does not mean that we will all be saved AT LAST (live forever). Only if we remain in that saved relationship with Christ will be saved at last (ie., enjoy eternal life).

Does this make sense?

Micaiah said...

It makes sense, and I don't totally disagree. My mind goes to all of the passages that talk about salvation and to me (of course) it doesn't seem like "salvation" is the term to be using for your idea in this case. Whenever we see salvation it seems to imply if not explicitly in the context - implicitly that it is the eternal sort spoken of in John 3:16,17.

Shawn Brace said...

You may be right, Micaiah. And perhaps that is the fault of my usage of the English word "save." The English word "save" may encompass more than the Greek word for "save" (sozo).

The bottom line for me, however, is: Christ's death affected every human being who has ever lived. His death was not merely for those who will be "saved at last," but He died as a propitiation for everyone (see 1 John 2:2), thus giving them the opportunity to live in the first place, instead reaping the immediate consequences of their sins.

Thanks for the question. Hopefully this was clarified!

Sherman Haywood Cox II said...

I do think sometimes using "loaded" terms like "saved" within the context of a discussion like this can cause more confusion than light...

But I like when you set them aside and got down to the concepts.

Christ has done "something" for everyone. That "something" that was done kept the penalty for sin from being immediately executed on Adam and Eve and all the rest of the human family. Thus our very breathing is proof of Jesus work on our behalf and on behalf of every other human being who has breathed or will breath a breath of air.

Shawn Brace said...

Thanks for your thoughts, Sherman!