Lesson 20 – Particular Redemption
There are some passages of Scripture where the use of the words “all,” “every man” etc. are thought by some to teach universal redemption. But as was the case with the word “world,” an examination of such Scriptures in their contexts and in the light of the teaching of the Bible as a whole, will show clearly that these Scriptures actually teach particular redemption.
First, we will show that the word “all” is used in many different senses in Scripture. Usually the meaning of the word is “all who are under consideration.”
Who are the “all” in John 6:37?
“All that the Father giveth me…”
The Holy Spirit restricted the “all” with the modifying phrase, “that the Father giveth me,” He didn’t say “all the human race.” In Matthew 3:5-6, we read, “Then went out to him Jerusalem and all Judea, and all the region round about Jordan, and were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.”
Does this “all” mean that every single human being from Judea and Jerusalem came and were baptized by John?
A few verses following plainly state that John refused to baptize many of the Pharisees and Saducees. In Luke 2:10, the angel said at the birth of Jesus, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.”
Did this mean that every single member of the human race would rejoice when Jesus was born?
Of course not!
King Herod wasn’t happy; he was troubled (Matthew 2:3).
The “all people” in Luke 2:10 were all the people of God.
These few considerations show unmistakably that the word “all” is used in different senses in Scripture. To repeat what was said about the word “world”–one use for these seeming universal words was to correct the false notion that salvation was for the Jews only. The salvation of the Gentiles was a mystery which had not been made known in other ages (Ephesians 3:4-6; Colossians 1:16-27). This then was a truth which was necessary to be brought out in the very strongest language. Paul was for example, to be a witness “unto all men” of what he had seen and heard. (Acts 22:15). As used in this sense the word “all” means to mankind in general-to Jew and Gentile alike.
We will now examine some specific Scriptures where these terms are used:
I. Hebrews 2:9–the phrase “every man.” In the first place the “man” is not in the original Greek.
So every what is under consideration?
The next verse plainly shows that it-is-every son. In fact the context of this entire chapter restricts the “every” In v. 10, it is the “sons;” in v. 11 it is the “sanctified” and the “brethren.” In verses 13 and 14 it is the “children.” Verse 14 makes it plain. He destroyed death for those for whom He died. Therefore He destroyed death for the “every” for whom He tasted death in verse 9. If this is the entire human race then the entire human race is saved.
II. I Timothy 2:6–“who gave himself a ransom for all.” In the first place whoever He gave Himself a ransom for are ransomed and saved. So if the “all” means every human being then this Scripture teaches universal redemption.
In the second place Scripture always interprets Scripture. This expression should be interpreted by Christ’s own words: “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28).
Titus 2:14 says that He “gave himself for us.” The “all” in Timothy and the “us” in Titus and the “many” in Matthew are the same. They are God’s elect. The elect are made up of all sorts of men–Jew, Gentile, rich, poor, black, white, etc.
III. I Timothy 2:4–“Who will have all men to be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”
In the first place, if Christ wills all men to be saved, then all men will be saved. Whoever the “all men” are here will be saved. God works “all things after the counsel of his own will”. (Ephesians 1:11).
He does, “according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?” (Daniel 4:35)
In the second place, each of those who are saved are going to be brought to a knowledge of the truth.
I don’t think this truth here means a complete system of doctrinal truth but rather an experiential knowledge of Jesus Christ as Savior (See John 17:3; Hebrews 8:10-11; I Thessalonians 4:9; John 6:45; I Corinthians 2:10; Matthew 15:17; I John 2:27). Every child of God comes to some inward acquaintance with the Lord Jesus Christ when he is born again. And this is the “truth” under consideration here. After all, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6).
The “all” here is God’s elect among all classes of men. They, and only they, are the ones for whom Christ is mediator between them and God (Verse 5).
1. Who are the “all” in Matthew 3:5-6?
2. Who are the “all” in Luke 2:10?
3. What does the word “all” usually mean in Scripture?
4. Who is the “every man” in Hebrews 2:9?
5. If every human being is included in the “all” of I Timothy 2:6, what does this mean?
6. In what sense will all of God’s people come to the truth?
7. If God wills all men in the world to be saved will all men be saved?
We have memorized Matthew 1:21; John 10:11; Matthew 20:28; Hebrews 9:12; I Peter 1:18-19, and I Peter 2:24.
Let us memorize Hebrews 9:28.