For Whom Did Christ Die?
“Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you — unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”
(Paul the apostle in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
What does Paul here say Christ has done?
“Christ died for our sins.”
Sins are transgressions of, and lack of conformity to, the holy law of God. Every sin is a capital offence against God: “For the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23).
Every sinner therefore deserves to die: “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” (Ezekiel 18:4).
But, in the will and grace of God, Jesus Christ has taken upon Himself the sins of sinners, and paid their penalty of death by suffering and dying in their place and stead: “Christ died for our sins.”
For whom does Paul say Christ died?
“Christ died for our sins.”
Paul’s use of “our” refers to a specific part of mankind, not to every one. Paul identifies those for whom Christ died as his “brethren” (1 Corinthians 15:1). He describes his “brethren” as those who have by faith “received” the gospel and continued to “stand” in it (1 Corinthians 15:1). He furthermore says of them “you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you — unless you believed in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:2).
Many preachers today deny the gospel and doctrine here affirmed by Paul the apostle. These are those who espouse the Armenian doctrine of “universal atonement,” those who believe Christ died for the sins of every member of mankind. They are often heard indiscriminately telling their hearers — both those who will believe the gospel and those who will not — “Christ died for your sins.”
Holy Scriptures throughout deny this heresy of “universal atonement”.
No preacher in Scriptures ever told those who will never believe the gospel “Christ died for your sins.” The fact that Christ died for only “many” — but not every one — is affirmed in the Old Testament by God (Isaiah 53:11-12), in the Gospels by Jesus Christ (Matthew 20:28; Matthew 26:28), and in the Epistles (Hebrews 9:28).
The “many” for whom Christ died are identified by God as “My People” (Isaiah 53:8).
They are identified by the angel of God who announced the birth of Jesus Christ as “His people” (Matthew 1:21).
They are identified by Jesus Christ as “My sheep” (John 10:11; John 10:27).
They are identified by Paul the apostle as “the church of God” (Acts 20:28; Ephesians 5:25-27) and as those who have been chosen and predestined to salvation by God (Ephesians 1:3-7).
Holy Scriptures even identify those persons for whom Jesus Christ did not die.
Christ Himself teaches He laid down His life for His “sheep” — all who will hear His voice and follow Him, but not for those who will never believe in Him (John 10:11; John 10:26). And John the apostle teaches that Christ laid down His life for “the children of God,” but not for “the children of the devil” (1 John 3:10, 1 John 3:16).
Who would be so brazen as to contradict these lucid declarations of God’s Word by declaring to goats and children of the devil “Christ died for your sins”!
Paul’s declaration “Christ died for our sins” is indeed good news for all who will believe the gospel of Jesus Christ.
They will be saved!
They will be assured that their sins have been borne by Jesus Christ, that He has paid the penalty for their sins by suffering and dying as their substitute in their place and stead.
But Paul’s declaration “Christ died for our sins” offers no solace to all who will refuse to believe the gospel of Jesus Christ. They will pay for their own sins by suffering the wrath of God for all eternity (Mark 16:15; Revelation 21:8).
Did Christ die for your sins?
By Donald Bell