Course: The Doctrine of Salvation (Soteriology)
Redemption Part 1
All of the ideas and principles conveyed by the instructor in this course are not necessarily held by the Blue Letter Bible ministry.
We thank You Lord that You are the Redeemer, the One who will set us free. And thank You Lord for Your salvation. May we never forget to praiseYou. “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive glory and honor and blessing.” We thank You, Lord, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
We have a lot to cover today on redemption, but I wanted to say that one of the great blessings that a person can have is to go through old hymn books. I’m a collector of them and I have quite a stack of them. It’s amazing how many songs are on the word ‘redemption.’ Redemption. And it’s interesting that there aren’t many songs written on redemption after 1950 until now. I think it’s an odd thing. I just thought it was interesting. There’s not a whole lot on redemption. Once in a while there is. There is a lot on God, which is important to focus on God in worship and praise and once in a while on redemption. Sometimes it’s simply stated like: “You came from the cross to the grave. Lord I Lift Your Name on High.” It’s just stated, but there’s not a lot in it that describes what redemption is. Some of the choruses reflect it. Like, “White as snow, white as snow though my sins were as scarlet…”
The song written by Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir that we often sing now about “Oh the Blood of Jesus that washes white as snow;” simple truth, that’s good. But it’s interesting that the old hymns seem to—and I don’t know what you mean by old—that’s a problem. You go back to Isaac Watts who’s the father of English hymnody and you’re talking many, many years ago, hundreds and hundreds of years ago. So sometimes when people are talking old hymn they’re talking something they heard in the 1940s or 50s, which really is not an old hymn at all. It’s old in the sense of its relationship to where we are now. But yet, in fact, these hymns that have been written since then are frankly a little immature.
But I love going through these. And you know it’s amazing, the content. There’s an old song, “Free from the Law” that just goes right over the doctrines of redemption, like we’re having our class today. That’s a blessing! “And can it be that I should gain an interest in the Savior’s blood?” And it goes on verse after verse to express what redemption really means. They’re like doctrinal lessons on the Word of God. And in our effort to be easy to hear and remember songs, which certainly has value for communication, sometimes maybe we haven’t expressed totally what the doctrine is.
Most songs written today are simplistic in language. And I think that’s maybe we realize that we’ve got a culture that has pretty well become very simplistic in its own speaking. And so it is important that we communicate. But I wonder if we’ve really done right. This is just me, but I like all kinds of music and I do enjoy the praise songs. But once in a while, I just love going back and especially reading them. You know the tunes may be a little out of date. I appreciate Crystal Lewis doing some of the old hymns with kind of a contemporary style, if you haven’t heard them. So maybe we need to change the style and the tunes. But some of the wording, I don’t think we’ve really improved on. There’s just some tremendous songs dealing with redemption and I’m sorry that we’ve kind of gotten away from that. I personally believe, it just may be my opinion, but I believe that we have a great need of more songs on redemption and the blood of Christ. That’s my opinion.
Romans 3. Let’s talk about the plan of redemption. I love this point of our study on soteriology because it’s like we’re getting in the real exciting part. Not that the others aren’t important. They are important, but this just kind of gets exciting for me. I love to talk about redemption. I hope all of you are really excited that you’ve been set free!
Romans 3, let’s pick it up at verse 21 [Rom 3:21]. Now, for those of you who like to outline the Book of Romans, I believe there is a definite division between chapter 3:20 [Rom 3:20] and 3:21 [Rom 3:21]. Romans 3:20 is a summary of the opening three chapters, probably from chapter 1:18 [Rom 1:18] on, in which it’s talking about condemnation—why all men are condemned and lost before God. And the revelation that God has given on that is certainly in Creation, chapter 1 [Rom 1]; Conscience, chapter 2 [Rom 2]; even the Commandments of the law, chapter 3 [Rom 3] . All three condemn us. And verse 21 [Rom 3:21] is just such a beautiful break both in the original text and here in English when it says, “But now….” I mean, you could preach a sermon on that. “But now…”
Years ago I heard a pastor preach on that little three letter word,
Romans 3:21 “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested.” That’s an interesting statement right there because he just told us that by the law was the knowledge of sin and how we’re all guilty. “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested [or put on display] being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith.”
What he’s saying is that when Christ died, He has provided righteousness and that is now being manifested. You don’t need the law to do that. But it was witnessed to by the law and prophets as they, through the sacrificial system and all the prophets predicting that a redeemer would come. They were certainly witnessing to the fact that it was coming. “But now,” he says, writing after the death of Christ, it’s fully manifested and didn’t need the law to do that.
22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe, for there is no difference:
23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
24 Being justified freely by his grace through the [What?] redemption [The means by which we have been declared righteous, we’ve not studied justification yet. But that is the means whereby we have become righteous before God.] the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
[Now you’ve got to read verses 25 and 26 carefully. Let’s go slow.]
25 Whom [meaning Christ] God hath set forth to be a propitiation…
The Greek word propitiation is the one that is used in translations of the Old Testament Hebrew for mercy seat in the Holy of Holies. That slab of gold on the top of the ark and with the cherubim looking down on it. That’s where the high priest put the blood of the sacrificial animal once a year on the Day of Atonement, the only time he ever went in there. And he was the one only one to go in there. So, “God set forth Jesus in this redemption, to be a propitiation [a mercy seat] through faith in his blood [not the blood of the animal that was there], to declare [to announce] his righteousness for the remission [or forgiveness] of sins that are past…
Meaning up unto this point because the Jews would always have sort of an insecurity about that, knowing that the blood of bulls and goats would not take away sin. So he wanted to declare that when He died, His blood was shed, His blood took care of sins that are past. And that all came, “through the forbearance of God;” meaning that God put up with people this whole time. Now, for the past and all those Old Testament believers, forgiveness was accomplished when He died.
26 To declare, I say, at this time [for all of us] his righteousness: that he might be just, [which means He’s not going to overlook the sin, He’s going to pay for it.] and the justifier [meaning, He’ll declare you to be righteous] of him which believeth in Jesus.
27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. [Obviously He did it all.] By what law? of works? No: but by the law of faith.
28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified [or declared righteous] by faith without the deeds of the law.
It’s a fascinating argument when you think for three chapters he’s been telling them how they are condemned. By the law is the knowledge of sin. Everybody’s guilty. And now he says, you can be declared righteous by faith without following the law at all. Quite a remarkable statement!
29 Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:
30 Seeing it is one God, which shall justify [or declare righteous] the circumcision [Jews] by faith, and uncircumcision [Gentiles] through faith.
31 Do we then make void the law through faith? [I mean, does that mean it’s no good? We just wiped it out by believing the gospel?] God forbid: no, we establish the law.
When we show the whole principle behind the law, because the law was a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, the law showed us we were sinners, so we needed a Savior. We don’t wipe out the law. We establish the law’s purpose very clearly, to bring us to a Savior. And in that law they constantly showed that by substitutionary sacrifices that were required for breaking the law’s moral demands.
Let’s just talk a little bit about the words that we use for redemption: We have the word redeemed, appearing 56 times—interesting, only two times in the New Testament; redemption, twenty times—eleven in the New Testament; redeemed, an action verb, 62 times, but only 7 references in the New Testament; purchased, in English, appears 9 times with 4 New Testament references. Purchase, is found 8 times, with one New Testament usage.
Three key words in Greek…look at them carefully. In English spelling
Now there’s another word, exagorazo. Now look in the middle of that word in English. You may want to spell this out to the side.
So these three words are very interesting. Lutroo, to buy, to redeem; interesting was used in 1 Peter 1:18 tells us “we were not redeemed with corruptible things, but with the precious blood of Christ.” So when you buy something, you have to have a purchase price. The purchase price is the blood of Christ. A lot of interesting usages! I put down the examples for you to study for yourself. But notice the word we just read in verse 24, redemption,” being justified freely by His grace through the redemption.” That is apolytrosis, to buy or to loose from. We’ve been loosed from our sins to the point they’ll never be a problem again.
Now I want to kind of summarize this. We’ve got a rather lengthy section. But we’re looking at three things, if you can look at your general outline. We want to look at the ‘Divine Causes’ for our redemption, the ‘Unique Character’ of it, in which we’ll see seven different words; and then the ‘Special Consequences’ of redemption—and that in five areas.
So, let’s just try to look at the ‘Divine Causes’ for a moment. What is the purpose of God in redeeming us? Well, for one thing, it’s to accomplish His own eternal purpose. He wants us to give Him glory. He made us in His own image. He knows what we’re going to do. He knows from the first moral test He ever gave us, we will choose to do what we want to do.
Revelation 13:8 is a troublesome passage to some people, but I’d like you to see it and rejoice in it. Revelation 13:8. What God was doing in redemption was accomplishing His eternal purpose. Redemption, saving you and me by the precious blood of Christ, was not an afterthought. God didn’t come up with that later when He saw how sinful we are and that we wouldn’t obey Him. He didn’t say, “Oh wow! Boy, we’ve got to do something about this now.” No, God before anyone was ever created, having all knowledge of all things, knew exactly what we were going to do and what it would take to get us back on the track of glorifying Him.
So this verse says, in Revelation 13:8, “All that dwell upon the earth shall worship Him, [this antichrist, beast] whose names are not written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Now there is a manuscript battle on this verse. Some say that it should read: “whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world.” In other words, the foundation of the world goes with those names that are not written in the Book of Life; which means at the time of the Tribulation, the ones who were worshipping the antichrist have never had their names in the Book of Life.
I don’t have any problem with that. Turn over to chapter 17, Revelation [Rev 17:8]. Remember I told you when we began our course that you would often see how these various doctrines weave together. What was the first doctrine we studied? Predestination and election, right. We’re right back to it again, in case you didn’t know. God saved you before you ever existed. Hello?
I just read a little pamphlet, I picked up at a church where I was, that said the exact opposite. I was amused as the person who was writing it was doing his best to show that God is really dependent upon us choosing Him. And he was going through all sorts of contortions, getting himself further into a hole. It’s a lot better to just give God credit rather than you. Amen? See, the reason you chose Him was because God already chose you a long time ago (cf. Ephesians 1:4). And God didn’t wait for you to show how really brilliant your faith is. How wonderful is your ability to trust Him. No, He saved you before you ever existed and that’s something that’s hard to understand, isn’t it?
But look at this verse; this is kind of interesting and it just troubles people further. Revelation 17:8, “The beast that thou sawest that was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth…” By the way, the earth dwellers in Revelation are never Christians or believers. Never. They are all unbelievers, just for the record. “They that dwell in the earth shall wonder, whose names [watch this] were not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world.”
Now, I want to ask you—this is a fun subject, I love this—do you think that what God just said there is that no unbeliever has ever had his name written in the Book of Life? Does that seem pretty clear to you? What do you think? Well, let’s read it again. You’re a little vacillating here. It (Revelation 17:8) says, “Their names were not written in the Book of Life.” Here it didn’t bring in “the Lamb slain” to make us wonder how the foundation of the world, whether it went with it or not. It says, “Their names were not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world.” Now this is talking about unbelievers in the Tribulation who are yet future. Maybe they’re alive now if the Lord comes today but anyway, they are yet future and their names…. Would you agree? Does that verse say, they have never been written in the Lamb’s Book of Life? Do you believe that? Is that what it says? I think it’s quite obvious.
Well, then ask a simple question. How in the world would a person’s name get written in the Lamb’s Book of Life and then be taken out and go to hell and that statement be true? Is everybody listening? How could somebody receive Christ, the Lord write his name down in the Book of Life, if the view is that He does it when you get saved. So He writes it down and then He’s going to erase it and then he’d go to hell. Wouldn’t that be a contradiction of that verse?
Go back to chapter three of Revelation, verse 5. Revelation 3:5. There’s safety in a multitude of counselors, but the Bible is very clear. Now it says in verse 5, “He that overcometh.” Now wait a minute. In all seven churches there is a promise given to some guy that overcomes. Is he a believer or an unbeliever? What would you say? He’d have to be a believer or we wouldn’t be giving him the promise of eternal life, would we? Okay.
Now, is an overcomer one who is a believer who really does well? Where there are some believers that don’t overcome. Well, let me put it another way. Do all believers overcome? 1 John 5:4 is your answer if you’re weak on that. “This is the victory that overcomes the world [written by the same man, inspired by the Holy Spirit] this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.” Not your obedience to God—your faith—that’s what overcomes the world. It’s a position that you have in the Lord. Not talking about your practice. All overcomers are Christians. Okay.
Here’s what he says that presents a problem here. “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment and I will not blot out his name out of the Book of Life” (Revelation 3:5). Some people say, “Well, he wouldn’t have said that unless you can blot out the name.” Is that what that says? No, that isn’t what that says at all. All that says is “He’ll never blot your name out.” Now when was your name put there? Before the foundation of the world! And He’s not going to blot your name out. He’s not going to erase it at all. That’s all that says. It is interesting how people make a federal case over that though. But all that says is that God will never blot your name out. And your name’s been there before the foundation of the world.
Go to Luke 10:20. The disciples were really excited that they could cast out demons through the name of Christ. They were just so thrilled. Jesus told them not to be excited about that. They were ready to have a great meeting in a huge stadium and tell everybody about their power. But Jesus said, “Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you.” Don’t rejoice in that at all. First of all, it isn’t you at all; it’s the Lord’s power, so don’t rejoice in that. “But rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” Amen?
What is the human emotion that God has asked us to have because our names are written in heaven? What is it? Rejoice! He didn’t say, “Be depressed or discouraged lest perhaps by your own failing your name might be removed one day.” No, He said, “Rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” He’ll never blot it out. They’ve been written down before the foundation of the world. Well, I’ll tell you something, therefore in the mind of God, He would have had to have the redemption of Jesus Christ all settled before He did that.
Now go back to Revelation 13:8, “All that dwell upon the earth shall worship him whose names are not written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Now, based on chapter 17, verse 8 [Rev 17:8] we could read, “whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world.” But then if you add, “of the Lamb slain,” it doesn’t make sense. The word order’s not right. This is a controversial verse; it doesn’t need to be but people make is so. It’s not necessary. First of all, if I switch it around and say – “whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world,” it’s a true statement based on 17:8 [Rev 17:8]. If I add the words, “of the Lamb slain,” it would be connected in Greek with the world, or the foundation of the world. It’s just a tough problem.
My opinion is that he is telling us the Lamb was slain before the foundation of the world. That’s my opinion. That’s what I believe. And I think a simple reading of that gives you that conclusion. Which means that redemption was already settled before anybody was ever created.
God wants to accomplish His eternal purpose. That’s for sure. In John 12:27, Jesus said, “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour?’ But for this cause came I unto this hour.” You see there was a divine purpose operating. Why would He pray that to the Father? In the Garden of Gethsemane when He said, “If it is possible let this cup pass from Me,” it’s talking about suffering. “The Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). When He said (Luke 22:42) “Not My will but Thine be done,” the book of Hebrews 5:7-9 answers the question. What He was doing there the cup refers to suffering, not His death. Don’t get confused. He came to die. This was the plan of God from eternity past. What He was talking about was His willingness to endure the suffering, which He, being God, inevitably knew would be coming to His physical body through the events of that cross. He had no intention to escape the cross. None whatsoever!
He came to obey the will of the Father. In Hebrews 10:5-7 which quotes Psalm 40:8, “I delight to do Thy will, Oh God.” A body Thou hast prepared for Me and I intend to do what You want Me to do.” That was the divine cause behind the redemption of our Lord. He was obeying the will of the Father.
I love to confuse people sometimes. Just so they will learn perhaps the truth in a different way. Let me ask you, class, very simply: “Do you believe that Jesus Christ was a Lamb slain before the foundation of the world?” It’s all in the mind and plan of God. Do you believe that? Do you believe He came into the world to seek and to save that which was lost, to die for our sins, to do the will of God? Do you believe that? Now, can you and I thwart the purpose and will of God? Are you sure? Well, then why isn’t everybody saved?
Is it possible, is it possible that it is not God’s will that everybody be saved? Well, let’s put it another way. I told you all these doctrines work together, we’re going to have lots of fun and we’re only starting! We’ve got lots more weeks of this. Let me just ask you again. Do you believe that Jesus was the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world? Right? Now do you believe that the names of all believers were written down in the Lamb’s Book of Life before the foundation of the world? Is that what it said? Yeah. So, somebody’s name isn’t there. Whose name, according to Revelation, is not there? Unbelievers. Now, you said it was the will of God that “He came to seek and to save that which was lost;” but in fact, everybody’s not saved. So, you’re saying that maybe God emotionally wants it to happen but technically can’t make it happen because you and I have a strong will. We are talking controversy here a mile long and a mile deep. It is a problem. I don’t know what the answer is sometimes, but I do know what simple Bible statements say.
You say, “Wait a minute! 2 Peter 3:9 says, ‘He’s not willing that any should perish.’” Right? Let’s take a look at it—2 Peter 3:9. Now this is a tough problem folks. You mean that all the names of all the believers were written down before the foundation of the world? That’s what it said. And that means that the unbelievers, which it clearly says in Revelation, do NOT have their names written down there. So is there any hope for the non-believer to have his name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life? Isn’t this a wonderful discussion?
Here we go one more time. Are the names of all believers written in the Lamb’s Book of Life before the foundation of the world? Will they ever be blotted out of there? Are any unbelievers written there? Does God write unbelievers into the book at some time during their life when they choose to believe in Christ? No—because if they choose to believe in Christ their names would already be in the Book of Life, right? Then it must not have been His will that some have their names in the Book of Life.
You say, “Well wait a minute it says ‘He’s not willing that any should perish!’”
Well let’s take a look at it, 2 Peter 3:9, let’s see if we can figure it out.
“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise.” That’s dealing with His Second Coming; He’s not delaying for no reason at all. “As some men count slackness; but He’s longsuffering to…” It did not say He’s longsuffering to all people of the world, to unbelievers, it said He’s longsuffering to us-ward. Verse 8 [2Pe 3:8] says, “But beloved,” a term that refers to believers not unbelievers. “Not willing that any should perish.” Any of who? Read the verse, “Any of us, but that all [all of who? Us.] would come to repentance.”
Let me put it another way. Do you believe that everybody whose name is in the Book of Life before the foundation of the world will in fact believe in the Lord Jesus at some time in their life? Yeah, they will. Otherwise we’ve got a major problem here. Now do you believe anybody could believe in Christ and have his name put there that was not there? No it would be an impossibility. It would deny what God said.
Now in our narcissitic, humanistic, experience-oriented culture it’s very difficult for us to understand this. First of all we believe that God should want, you know, ‘heart’ want everybody to be saved. We’re not comfortable with the fact that God may not have intended, from the beginning, that everybody would be saved.
Does God take pleasure in unbelievers not being saved? No! The Bible is very clear, “He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked” (Ezekiel 33:11). Will God ultimately save everybody, because He’s not willing that any should perish? Watch out class! It’s easy to get mixed up.
See, God ordains the means as well as the ends. The end is the salvation of a certain number of people whose names are already written in the Book of Life. And all that are going to be saved are going to be saved, otherwise God is not God. God can’t want something that He can’t do!
If your name was written in the Lamb’s Book of Life before the foundation of the world, brother, sister, you’re going to be saved. God’s going to see to it. Not one single person that He planned to be saved will ever be lost. But more than that aren’t you glad that God planned that you would be saved?
You see God accomplishes what He wants by reminding us of this: I have nothing to boast of, I have only to praise Him for His wonderful grace in choosing me. He did not choose me because He saw my potential or that I would teach you in this class. But you see, all of our righteousness is as filthy rags in His sight (Isaiah 64:6). Just for the record you don’t have any righteousness of your own. The only kind you have is the righteousness of Jesus Christ. And you didn’t do one blooming thing to earn it, pay for it, or deserve it. It was accomplished by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ that was shed on your behalf, which God decided to do before the foundation of the world.
You see, as hard as this is to accept, it is the very reason why we explode with praise to God. I know that it was only His grace that saved me. I know it well. And I’m going to see it better in heaven. Now does that mean humans have no will? Of course not! Does that mean we cannot resist God’s movements within our hearts? Of course not! Can we resist it to the point of being lost forever and He would have to blot our name out of the book? No! God’s Holy Spirit can overpower you any time He wants. It’s hard just to accept what the Bible actually says.
There may be a lot of people saying they are Christians but in fact are not. They’ve never been born again. Their names are not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life and they’ve done a snow job on people. That’s a sad truth, isn’t it? So the Lord gives you a little indication in the word about those kinds of people. He tells you that if they continue in known sin without repentance that in fact they are manifesting that they are unbelievers and they will not inherit the kingdom of God no matter what they say (Matthew 7:21).
You are really faced with a couple of choices here. People like to say it makes you either a Calvinist or and Arminian but I don’t like the choice. I want to be a Bible person. And we are really faced with the choice. Is the unbeliever capable of saving himself apart from the plan and will and purpose of God from eternity past? No he’s not.
Well is God therefore unjust in not providing for his salvation? Until you learn that the truth of the gospel is that Jesus in fact did die in some sense for even unbelievers. This is why it makes the enormity of the issue of salvation the key point in the matter of praise and worship and the glory of God. Did Jesus die for the whole world? Or did He just die for those who will believe in Him? He was the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world for those whose names are written in the Book of Life. Well, was He a Lamb slain for the unbeliever? If He was then why isn’t the unbeliever saved? This is a tough problem!
Another reason why we are redeemed from the divine standpoint is to fulfill prophecy. Everything God said was going to take place is going to come to pass. Prophecy is going to be fulfilled…no matter what! And another reason is that God wanted to share His own eternal life with sinful men.
There are seven words that you need to understand about redemption and I think you are going to find it kind of interesting as to whether it applies to unbelievers or to believers. A lot of people don’t want to study this because they are uncomfortable with our first discussion. Don’t ever be uncomfortable with any difficult theological problem. Don’t ever take sides, don’t ever become a Calvinist, don’t ever become an Arminian, just open our Bible and let the Bible speak to you. The Holy Spirit will guide you and lead you and you do not need to be persuaded against your will. The Bible teaches what it does very clearly. And sometimes you come out (of the class) and you say, “Well, you must be a Calminian…you say one thing one time and another thing another time.”
His ways are past understanding. But there are certain things I know are true by simple biblical statement. I know that all believers have their names written in the Book of Life before the foundation of the world and there isn’t any doubt in my mind about it. It also means that there are some people who do not have their names in that book, those who don’t believe. And the question we have: “Well, could they believe and have their names put in the book at the time that they believe?” That’s an interesting issue.
Now, when we look at redemption we have seven words we want you to know. I want you to know them well enough so that you can recognize different definitions.
A ransom is simply the price that is paid. Turn to Matthew 20:28 and put your finger there, and then turn to 1 Timothy 2:6 and put your finger there. Both those texts I want you to see this, they both use the word “ransom” but in a different manner. Ransom refers again, class, to the price that is paid. What is the price that was paid for our sin? What’s the ransom?—the blood of Christ. In Matthew 20:28 it says, “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life [you might want to write this out in the margin] a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28, “a ransom for many.” Now in the Greek text of that passage the word ‘the’ appears before many. So let’s do it literally, “A ransom for the many.”
Now flip over to 1 Timothy 2:5 and it says, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” Now verse 6 [1Ti 2:6], “Who gave himself a ransom for all. ” I want you to know these two verses. I want you to know the difference between them, which one goes with which. Matthew 20:28, “a ransom for the many.” 1 Timothy 2:6, “a ransom for all.” Now which is it? Is it for the many or is it for all? Well it’s for both!
So here are the possibilities. One, that in 1 Timothy 2:6 the ‘all’ refers to only those who will believe that they would be equal to the many who do believe in Matthew 20:28. I do not believe that. Why?—because this is an exhortation in 1 Timothy 2:6 about prayer. To pray for all men, verse one [1Ti 2:1], for kings and all that are in authority. I don’t think God’s saying that all our political leaders are Christian, but we’re still going to pray for them. And verse four [1Ti 2:4] says, “Who will have all men to be saved.” Here we go again! Does God want all men to be saved? Well, it certainly says so…” and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. And there is one God, and one mediator…and he gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (1 Timothy 2:5-6). And people who believe what I just told you about 2 Peter 3:9 that “God is long suffering toward usward (meaning we would believe) say, “Well, therefore that’s clearly believers.” But here therefore the ‘all’ must mean believers. So all in verse one [1Ti 2:1], ‘all men to pray for’ it’s only believers. And the ‘all’ God wants to be saved, verse four [1Ti 2:4], are only believers. And the ‘all’ Christ died for in verse six [1Ti 2:6] are only believers. That’s one way people do it.
Now class, listen carefully! I told you I don’t want you to be a Calvinist. I don’t want you to be an Arminian. I want you to be a Bible person. When you say, “Christ gave His life a ransom for all,” you are a Bible person. Now when you say the ‘all’ means only believers, you are a Calvinist. Is everybody listening? I’m quite serious, it is not a joke. This is what’s getting people into trouble. It’s an interpretation in 1 Timothy 2 because there’s not one indication as to what all means except all. So, if I say, “Christ gave Himself a ransom for all,” I’m a Bible person. If I say the ‘all’ means only those who believe, I have now interpreted without contextual argument what it means. Whether it means that or not is beside the point. I’m trying to teach you to be loyal to the Bible, to say what the Bible says and no more. Did He die for all as a ransom? Yes! Does that mean only those who believe? It’s a matter of interpretation.
Now over in 2 Peter 3:9, where he says He’s longsuffering to usward, it is not an interpretation to say He’s longsuffering to the believer. Why? Because the ‘us’ word is called ‘the beloved.’ Is everybody listening? Now when I asked you earlier, “Is it God’s will that all men be saved,” and then I gave you 2 Peter 3:9, it was simply to show that we don’t need 2 Peter 3:9 to prove that point. We can use 1 Timothy 2 to prove that point. 2 Peter 3:9 is talking about those who will believe. Now hang in here!
Also in your notes you should understand that the English word ‘for’ is translating two different Greek words and I want you to spell them out in English, even though you don’t know the Greek. In Matthew 20:28, when he said “a ransom for the many,” it is a Greek preposition anti— English letters
In 1 Timothy 2:6, we don’t have anti, we have huper. Spelled in English letters
When Christ died on the cross, the ransom price was His blood. Now if you ask me, “Is the blood of Jesus Christ sufficient to pay for the sins of every last man, woman and child who ever lived?” Yes! If you want to add a verse to this which we will get to in a moment, you can get 2 Corinthians 5:19, which comes under point four on reconciliation.
Listen class, God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself. Now if Jesus is not God I can understand your problem. When Jesus died on the cross, His blood had to be sufficient for all sin regardless of whether they are believers or unbelievers or He’s not God. But is there a sense in which it is only applied to those who believe? Yes!—because if you do not receive Christ, you will be lost. So apparently you have to accept the fact that the blood shed was not only sufficient but would substitute for you if in fact you would believe it.
How are we redeemed?—“by faith” the Bible says. How are we justified?—by faith! How are we saved from wrath?—by faith! So you see this whole issue of becoming a Christian comes into clearer focus. Was His death, His blood, sufficient to pay for all the sins of the world? Yes! Does that mean every last man, woman, and child will be saved? No! It’s only substitutionary for those who believe it.