The Most Amazing Thing About God
Elder Jeff Winfrey, Pastor
Dawson Springs Primitive Baptist Church
101 East Walnut Street
Dawson Springs, KY 42408
The God of the Bible—Who is He? A Christian begins his journey of worship believing in a God he cannot understand. And with a lifetime of inquiry he will never explain the real God. Father—Son—Spirit! Three—Yet One! What a perplexity! What a God! A god of imagination can be better understood than the God of revelation. A god of fantasy can be explained by the same mind that conceived it. But the God of inspired scriptures defies explanation and surpasses imagination. Just ponder the paradoxes of the God/man Jesus and you will be amazed. The God that filled the universe—suddenly confined to a womb! The Creator—made of a woman! Immutable God undergoing mitosis! (The spiritual, unchangeable, indivisible God was growing by the process of natural cell division.) When God was a man, Omnipresence walked! (Think about it. God had always been everywhere. Now He walked to get there!) Omniscience learned! Limitless Strength grew weary! Eternal Peace was troubled! His hands held the world—yet He had no place to lay His head! The feeder of the birds hungered! The Living Water thirsted! God—asleep on a pillow! The Almighty said, “If it be possible.” The All Wise asked, “Why?” A man-made nail held the hand that none could stay! Sovereignty sighed! Omnipotence cried! Eternity died?!? Oh, how amazing our God is!
But the most amazing thing about God is not how He could become a man. The most amazing thing about God is why He would become a man. A question was asked, “What shall I do?” And the answer given, “I will send my beloved son.” (Luke 20:13) The Son further stated that He came, “to give my life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28) When a ransom is paid someone makes a decision to give something of value in exchange for the captive. The Father made that decision. In the story of redemption God sent His Beloved Son as an exchange for captive sinners. And the Son willingly became a man, and came as a man, in order to give his life a ransom for many. Christ came as the God/man not to dazzle men with paradoxes. He came to pay a debt. He came to take the sinner’s place. He came to save His people from their sins. And that is the most amazing thing in all of history! God came as a man to die for men! Wow! Just ponder that!
Now let us consider this God/man who gave His life as a ransom. In order for men to be saved from the captivity of sin, God’s demands had to be met. At first you might think that sinners were captive to Satan, and in a sense they were. But in a far greater sense, sinners were captive to the wrath of the righteous judgment of God. You see the truth is that God was the one demanding payment for sins. And sinners could have never paid what was owed. Only the blood of the sinless Lamb of God, even the life of the God/man Jesus Christ, could pay the demanded ransom. So the same God who demanded payment provided His Son as the ransom to be paid. God’s mercy—provided God’s Son—to satisfy God’s judgment! Wow! And God was totally satisfied with the payment He had provided. The sins were paid for and even washed and removed from the ones for whom His blood was shed. And because Christ paid for and removed their sins, sinners are able to stand holy and without blame in the eternal presence of God.
Now Christ did pay for, wash and remove sins by the shedding of His blood at His death on the cross. But there is an important question concerning these things. What sins did Christ pay for, wash and remove while on the cross? Was it all sins or just some sins? I suppose that there are four possible answers. First of all, He might have died for some of the sins of some of the people. Secondly, maybe He died for some of the sins of all of the people. Thirdly, He possibly died for all the sins of all the people. And finally, He perhaps died for all the sins of some of the people.
If either of the first two is true then no mortal man will be in heaven. All men have sinned and come short of the glory of God. So all men need all their sins paid for, washed from them and removed in order to enter heaven. If even one sin still remains, a sinner cannot stand holy and without blame before God. So it is easily seen that any plan that provides payment for and removal of only some of the sins of the individual is an insufficient plan to allow that individual to reach heaven’s perfection.
The option that Christ died for all the sins of all the people may at first sound very agreeable. But let us think a little deeper. If Christ paid for and removed all the sins from all the people, then no people would have any sins that were not paid for and removed. (Unbelief is a sin, but even it would be paid for in this plan.) So if all sins of all people have been paid for and removed from them, then there is no sin left that could condemn them. And one day every individual in history would stand holy and sinless before God in heaven. All go to heaven and that sounds very agreeable. But the problem is that this does not agree with God’s word. God’s word clearly declares that all are not going to heaven. So evidently all did not have all their sins paid for and removed from them. Thus the option that Christ died for all the sins of all the people cannot be true.
So the only option left is that Christ died for all of the sins of some of the people. The scriptures clearly teach this to be the case. Christ did not die for all people. He died for His people: “and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21) Christ gave his life for God’s people: “for the transgression of my people was he stricken.” (Isaiah 53:8) Christ did not say that He gave His life a ransom for all, but “for many.” (Matthew 20:28) Christ gave eternal life to the people that the Father had given to Him before time. “As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.” (John 17:2)
Beyond direct Bible statements, the great Bible principles concerning the cross insist that Jesus paid for all of the sins of some of the people. It is apparent that Jesus through the blood of His cross surely has the power to remove men’s sins. “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalms 103:12) Once these sins are removed they will not be remembered again. “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” (Isaiah 43:25) And God is satisfied with Christ’s work. “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.” (Isaiah 53:4-11) When God is satisfied the verse declares that many are justified. What do all these things mean?
The bottom line is that none of the ones that Jesus died for can ever be seen as guilty before God. How can God look at a guilty sinner and not see sin? The answer lies in God’s principle of justification. To justify is to declare righteous and innocent. God looks at a blood washed sinner and declares him to be righteous and innocent. Does God declare this by ignoring sin? No, God never ignores sin. Jesus marked and paid for every sin of every sinner for whom He died. Not only were the sins paid for, they were blotted out, washed away, removed and forgotten. So now when God looks at a blood washed sinner, He sees no sin. He sees righteousness and innocence. God is satisfied. If God was satisfied and Jesus did justify, then who can condemn any for whom the blood was shed? If Jesus had loved and died for all people, then God would be satisfied with all. But Jesus did not love and die for all people. He loved and died for His people. And everyone He died for had all their sins paid for and removed from them. These will be in heaven. If every sin was paid for, how could anything further be demanded? If every sin was removed, how could the one who now stands without sin ever be condemned?
Jesus’ mission was to redeem. “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law.” (Galatians 4:4-5) Did Jesus redeem some men or in some way make all men redeemable if something more is paid? “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. (Hebrews 9:12) “For thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.” (Revelation 5:9)
Jesus’ mission was to save sinners. “Thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21) Did Jesus save His people or just make them savable? He came to save and He has saved. “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” (2 Timothy 1:9)
Did He wash us from our sins or leave us in our sins? “Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.” (Revelation 1:5) Did Christ make the ones He died for perfect, or is there something left to do? “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. (Hebrews 10:10-14) Does the sinner now accept God, or did God make the sinner accepted in Christ? “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” (Ephesians 1:6) Is there anything left to do as far as redemption and removal of sins? “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.” (John 19:30)
The honor of the Savior necessitates a limited atonement of a particular people. In the words of Charles H. Spurgeon, “The blood of Christ is not a beggar.” Jesus is not trying to save all and managing to save only a few. There is power in the blood to cleanse and to save. The efficiency of Jesus’ blood demands complete payment for particular people. The teaching of God’s word declares specific redemption of a chosen people. The concepts of redemption, substitution, justification, atonement, reconciliation, satisfaction and propitiation require full atonement limited to a particular people
Christ’s ability to save is in no way limited. But the scope of Christ’s atonement is limited by God’s will and choice. God chose a vast host of people from every nation and family under heaven and gave them to His Son. God’s chosen people received full atonement at the cross. At His appointed time God sends the Holy Spirit to find each of these chosen ones and to give them the new birth. Finally, each one chosen by God, redeemed by Christ, and born by the Spirit will one day be with God in heaven. The angel said, “He shall save His people.” His honor as a successful Savior demands that He save all He ever meant to save. And He will, for He said, “I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.” (John 6:38-39) “It is finished.” And from start to finish salvation is of the Lord! Redemption by the Son of God! It is most amazing!