Monday, December 18, 2006

PARTICULAR REDEMPTION


A study of I John 2:2

Particular Redemption

By Alfred Chompff

These are the words from God through the pen of the Apostle John, the son of Zebedee. John wrote this Epistle in the same profound style in which he wrote the Gospel according to John. In chapter one he wrote a brief summary of the life we have in Christ, and how that life affects our fellowship with God and with one another.
The title of this article is Particular Redemption. So my first question today is:


What Is Redemption?

Does everyone know what that word means?
What is Redemption?


Depending on the Greek word that is used, Redemption means: the payment that Christ made at the cross, or the deliverance of our soul we experience in our lifetime as a result of Christ's payment, or the deliverance from our body we will experience when Christ returns.

1 John 1:1
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of Life;
1 John 1:2
(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)
1 John 1:3

That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
1 John 1:4

And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
1 John 1:5

This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is Light, and in him is no darkness at all.
1 John 1:6

If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
1 John 1:7

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
1 John 1:8

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
1 John 1:9

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:10

If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

In verse 1 Christ is called the Word of Life because He paid the penalty for the guilt of our sins at the cross. He redeemed us at the cross and so secured for us eternal life. That is why He is called the Word of Life. Then we read in verse 5 that God is Light. It is interesting that this follows the same sequence as in the Gospel according to John where we read in chapter 1, verse 4,

John 1:4
In him was Life; and the Life was the Light of men.

Why does Christ as the Light, come after Christ as the Life?


First Christ secured for us eternal life, which He did in 33 AD, and then He gives us of His Light in this century, to understand and believe the Gospel. This is the message of the Gospel: God is Light refers to God the Holy Spirit. We read in:

2 Corinthians 4:6
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

If God the Holy Spirit indeed has shined in our hearts, then we have fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. Since all the saints are in Christ, we have fellowship not only with God, but also with all the saints. This fellowship with God demonstrates itself in our life: If we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk in darkness, meaning we live in sin habitually and we worship other gods, then we are liars. But if we walk in the Light of God the Holy Spirit, if our life reflects that Christ is indeed our Master and the Bible is our guidebook for life, then the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all unrighteousness. It shows that we have been Redeemed.

What Is Particular Redemption?

Particular Redemption means that the Redemption Christ paid at the cross was not for everyone in the whole world, but was for a particular group of people, called the Elect.


This point of view is also called "Limited Atonement", meaning that Christ's Atonement was limited to a certain group of people, called the Elect. On the other hand, there are people who believe that Christ at the cross paid for the sins of everyone in the whole world. Those people believe in Universal Redemption, or "Unlimited Atonement".

They believe that Christ not actually secured salvation for everyone in the world, but that Christ only provided the possibility of salvation for everyone, and now it is up to us to accept the offer of salvation that Christ provided. But that is contrary to what the Bible teaches and it is nothing less than a works gospel. Beginning with this sermon I want to start a series of sermons that sets this matter straight, once and for all. Let us continue here in:

1 John 2:1
My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
1 John 2:2
And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

Wow! The Universalists are smiling. There you have it! "For the sins of the whole world"! There God says it so plainly that the Lord Jesus Christ suffered and died on the cross for the sins of the whole world.

Is this not as clear as could be?
Is it true that this is what the Word of God says?

We have to check out the Greek text, and if this is indeed what the Greek text is saying in 1 John 2:2, then I rest my case, and we will have to accept that the Lord Jesus suffered and died for the sins of everyone in the whole world.

When I examine the Greek text of 1 John 2:2, immediately I see that there are four things that stand out. I will make these four things the remainder of my sermon. In the sermon outline I have listed them as the following four questions:

#1 Why are the words "The Sins Of" in italics?
#2 What is the meaning of the word "For"?
#3 What is the meaning of "Propitiation"?
#4 What is the meaning of "The Whole World"?


Now, we should not readily assume that we already know the answers to these questions, but we should derive the answers from the Bible. We will not base this sermon on human intellect, but only upon the purpose and counsel of God as revealed in His Word.

So, my first point is:
#1. "The Sins Of"?


Why are the words "The Sins Of" in italics? It is because these words do not exist in the original Greek text of the Apostle John. Literally the text of I John 2:1-2 reads,

1 John 2:1
My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
1 John 2:2
And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the whole world.

Some people think that I am changing the Bible. I am not changing the Bible.

What is the Bible?

The German people or the Dutch people do not recognize the English KJV as the Bible. They have a Bible in their own language, and it differs in quite a few places from the English KJV. So then,

who is right?
Where is truth?

The answer is that the original Greek NT and the Hebrew OT are the true inspired Word of God. Our church holds on to the Greek Textus Receptus, and the Hebrew Masoretic Text. Since most people in the US do not know Greek or Hebrew, the English KJV is the next best thing to have, because it is almost a word-by-word translation from the Textus Receptus and from the Masoretic Text.

But we must realize that the KJV is only a translation. It is the work of man and therefore it is not infallible. That is why we find these three words in italics. The translators indicated thereby that these words were not in the original text, and they were just a suggestion from the translators. This is the first error of the advocates of Universal Atonement. They read the English text as if it was the inspired Word of God.

How could it be that anyone would even suggest that Christ suffered and died for the sins of everyone in the whole world?

Don't they realize what Christ had to suffer?


The Lord Jesus Christ made a vicarious Atonement, which means a substitutionary Atonement. He satisfied the righteousness of God in our place. He had to pay in our place what we would have to pay for our sins. To satisfy the righteousness of God we would have to spend an eternity in Hell. That is what Christ had to pay: the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. That is a whole lot more suffering than the Universalists want us to believe. They believe that Jesus suffered in only in his body, but not in His Soul, or His Spirit being that occupied that body. But that is not what the Bible says. Please turn to the Epistle to the Hebrews, chapter 5, verse 7. In this chapter of the letter to the Hebrews God shows Jesus as our great High Priest. In this context the Father says of the Son:

"Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec".

The Lord Jesus, as our High Priest, already suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane, where He was confronted with the enormous suffering He had to endure. We read in:

Hebrews 5:7
Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;

Christ offered up prayers and supplications unto Him that was able to save Him from death. And
He was heard. He that was able to save Him from death heard his prayers and supplications.

What death was this that the Lord Jesus prayed to be delivered from?

Look up that Greek word for death. It was not physical death that He feared, because He knew He would die on the cross. It was the spiritual death, or the second death, the penal consequence of sin. It was the separation from God in a state of torment that He had to endure. His sufferings were so great that they were of infinite value to God, and thus His suffering qualified to be a substitute for the suffering that all the saints would have to endure for their sins.
All the Old Testament animal sacrifices were shadows of the Atonement of Christ. All those animals were burned in the fire on the altar. But when we look at the cross we do not see any fire.

Where was the fire?

The fire was inside Him. Christ in His Soul existence endured the fires of Hell.

How can anyone suggest that Christ endured the torments of Hell for people who themselves are going to Hell?

Was Christ an unsuccessful suffering servant?

Did He want to save people but He could not save them?

Is Jesus crying His eyes out because people reject His salvation and therefore they have to go to Hell? No!

None of those possibilities are true. You see, that would make a mockery out of God, and the Lord Jesus Christ is God. Christ is God, and He saves whom He wants to save, and He saves to the uttermost. He came to earth to save His people. That is why the angel said to Joseph in a dream,

Matthew 1:21
And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

He came to save only His people from their sins and from all the consequences of their sins. His people were not the Jews, like so many Premillenial preachers suggest. The Jews do not believe that they are in need of salvation. They have no need for a crucified Messiah. They believe they are going to heaven on the coattails of Abraham. No! the Jews are not in view in Matthew 1:21 as His people, and not all the people in the world are His people, but His people are all those whom God chose from before the foundation of the world to become saved. His people are all the Elect. And when Christ saves someone by paying for that person's sins on the cross, that person indeed shall be saved.

Now let us go to the second item on the list that I see in I John 2:2.

What Means "For"?

What is the meaning of the word "for"?

The second error of the Universalists lies in not having studied the word "for". There are 25 different Greek words used in the New Testament that have been translated "for". In I John 2:2 the word "for" occurs three times, and all three times it is the same Greek word.

1 John 2:2
And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the whole world.

This is perceived by the Universalists in the sense that Jesus suffered substitutionally for the whole world. This cannot be. It is not true and it is not found here. The preposition that is used here means "in regard to sin", or "relative to sin", or "with a view to sin", or "concerning sin" Remember.

Please turn to the Gospel according to John, chapter 10. Let me explain two of these 25 prepositions that have been translated "for" in the English language. The first one is the Greek word "huper", which means "for" in the meaning of substitution, such as "in place of". Here in John chapter 10 there are two verses that contain the Greek word "huper".
The first one is in verse 11,

John 10:11
I am the good shepherd: The good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

That word "for" is the Greek word "huper" (spell it). Clearly you can see that Jesus is saying: "I am the good shepherd: The good shepherd giveth his life "in the place of" the sheep". Jesus is giving His life in the place of the sheep losing their life. Not only do we see that the word "huper" refers to substitution, but we also see that the Lord Jesus did not give His life for everyone in the world, but only for His sheep, or in the place of His sheep. Now go to verse 15,

John 10:15
As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.

Here again the word "for" is the Greek word "huper". Clearly you can see that Jesus is saying: "As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life "in the place of" the sheep". Jesus is giving His life in the place of the sheep losing their life. The word "for", which is the Greek word "huper", refers to substitution. Here too we see that the Lord Jesus did not give His life for everyone in the world, but only for His sheep, or in the place of His sheep.

Moreover, both in verse 11 and in verse 15 the word "life" should have been translated "soul". That is the Greek word used here. This again reflects clearly that the Lord Jesus Christ did not just suffer in His body, but He also suffered in His Soul, His Spirit, the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. That is why Jesus cried out: "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me"?

The second Greek word I want you to remember is the word "peri", which usually means "around". Our English word "perimeter" has been derived from that word "peri". Now go to verse 13,

John 10:13
The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.

Clearly we can see that the word "for", which is the Greek word "peri" does not refer here to substitution. You could translate it by the word "concerning". Thus Jesus is saying: "The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not "concerning" the sheep". Now turn to verse 33,

John 10:33
The Jews answered him, saying: For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.

Two times do we see in this verse the word "for" and both times it is the Greek word "peri". No one would suggest that the word "for" in this verse refers to substitution. Let us use the word "concerning" again. Verse 33 would read as follows: "The Jews answered him, saying: Concerning a good work we stone thee not; but concerning blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God". This makes perfectly good sense. The word "peri" does not mean "in the place of", but rather it means "concerning to" or "applying to". For example, we would say: "This is a good medicine for the wound", without ever thinking that it means a substitution for the wound. We only mean that the medicine is "appropriate to" the wound, or that it is good "as concerns" the wound. When we say: "Echinacea is good for colds", in no way do we mean to substitute a cold with Echinacea. We only mean that to treat a cold it is "appropriate" to use Echinacea. Now turn again to I John 2:2,

1 John 2:2
And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the whole world.

Three times the word "for" is the word "peri". In other words, no substitution is in view here. Think of the example of the medicine and the wound and apply that here. This verse is saying "Christ is the propitiation exactly as we had need of with regard to our sins, or concerning our sins". But we must positively deny anyone the right to deduce from this passage that the sacrifice of Christ would have been intended "in the place of" the sins of the whole world. You can deceive people with a translated version of the Bible, but it will not work for a moment with the original text.


Now let us turn our eyes to the third item on the list


#3. What Is "Propitiation"?


The third error of the Universalists is that they misunderstand this word "propitiation", without checking the difference between "propitiation" found in Romans 3:25 and that found in 1 John 2:2.

What is the meaning of the word "Propitiation"?

The English word "propitiation" is of Latin derivation, and it is a contraction of "provision for pity", or "provision for mercy". This accurately translates the Greek word that is used in:

Romans 3:25
"Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood".

In Romans 3:25 the word "propitiation" means the "instrument of redemption", and therefore it directly presents Christ as the instrument of redemption, or the sacrifice for sin.

But in I John 2:2, and in I John 4:10, a completely different word is used that does not mean the sacrifice or the instrument through which the redemption was accomplished. Instead, it indicates the contents of the redemption itself.

For example, when Jesus said: "I am the way", He meant by this that apart from Him there is nothing but error and wandering, and that no one comes to the Father but by Him. When Jesus said: "I am the life", He meant that apart from Him there is nothing but death. When Jesus said: "I am the truth", He meant that no one can find truth except those who receive it from Him. When Jesus said: "I am the light", He meant that outside of Him there is nothing but darkness and blackness, so that whoever wants to have light must receive it from Him. Very similarly, in I John 2:2 we read that Jesus is the propitiation, which means that outside of Him there is nothing but an impending wrath of God for all who have sinned, and that no one can find redemption except in and through Him. Briefly stated, the totality of redemption from sin lies only in Him, not only for us but for the whole world.


How does this tie into the context of I John 2:1?


Allow me to paraphrase this context: "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not", but if any of you feels guilty again, do not on that account despair, because we have with the Father an Advocate, One who pleads our cause, namely Jesus Christ the righteous.

The Apostle John indicates in this way that the Advocate must be perfectly suited for His work. It means that the Righteous One must not look for a redemption elsewhere, He must not propose a redemption that is independent of Himself. The Advocate must propose a redemption of which He himself is the substance, the fullness, and the totality in His own person. He must present Himself as the Redeemer who, in His whole existence as Messiah and Mediator, is redemption. The Advocate is Himself the redemption, not only in regard to the sin that we identify as "our sins", but also with a view to all that is sin within the sphere of this whole world.

Let me summarize this matter of "propitiation" in 1 John 2:2 as follows: There are believing and unbelieving people. Both have sins. This sin lies under the wrath of God. This wrath cannot be stilled except by redemption. And now whoever looks for redemption cannot find it anywhere except in Christ, because Christ and the redemption are one. It does not mean that the redemption is applied to both believing and unbelieving people. It only points to where the redemption can be found.


Therefore it does not mean at all what the Universalists have unjustly made of it. Now, let us turn to the fourth point that I see in I John 2:2,


"The Whole World?"

What is the meaning of "The Whole World"?

The Universalists propose that it means each and everyone in the whole world. That is absolutely ridiculous. Let us see how this expression "the whole world" is used in the Gospels. Please turn in your Bibles to the Gospel according to Matthew, chapter 16. Perhaps you remember that toward the end of the chapter the Lord Jesus says to Peter: "Get thee behind me Satan". And then Jesus begins to teach on "discipleship". Then He said in verse 26,

Matthew 16:26
For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Can you see here clearly that the expression "the whole world" does not refer to each and every person in the world. We do not become owners of other people in the world. Jesus is not promoting slavery. He is referring to the material things of this world.

What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

If we would own all the material wealth that is available in this world, 1000 trillion dollars worth, it does not stack up to the value of one soul. This tells us the value of evangelism. If in our lifetime we are instrumental in bringing only one soul to Christ, we have helped to rob Satan's treasure chest of more than 1000 trillion dollars. Boy, is he going to be mad.

Matthew 24:14
And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

Here you might say that "all the world" refers to all the people in the world. But that is not what is meant here. Look at the word "in".

What is the gist of this verse?

It is again talking about evangelism. When we go in all the world we are not going into people, but we are going into the many countries of the world and there preach the Gospel of the Kingdom.

In doing so, do we hasten the coming of the end? No!

We are just obedient to His commandment. God has His own timetable. Now go to Matthew 26:13. Mary, the sister of Lazarus, has anointed the Lord Jesus with precious ointment. We read in:

Matthew 26:13
Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.

Look again at the little proposition "in".

What is in view here? Evangelism.

Again we see that the expression "the whole world" does not refer to people but to the countries of the world. And now turn to the Gospel according to Mark, chapter 16. Here we read about the Great commission.

Mark 16:15
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

This again speaks of Evangelism. When we go "into all the world", we do not go into people, but we go into different regions, countries, cities, or villages of the earth. When we read in:

Romans 1:8
¶ First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.

Here again "the whole world" can only mean different regions of the three continents Europe, Asia and Africa. Let us turn again to the First Epistle of John, chapter 5 . Here in this Epistle of John we find two times the expression "the whole world". The first was in I John 2:2, & the second is here:

1 John 5:19
(And) we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.

In this statement "the whole world" does not refer to each and everyone in the world. First of all the believers are excluded from this bunch. Secondly, when Adam sinned God cursed the ground. Therefore, when God says "The whole world lieth in wickedness", God is not only referring to all the people who still are under the wrath of God, but God says that everything they touch is also infected with sin and is under the curse of God. And God demonstrated this dramatically when the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross:
We read in:


Matthew 27:51
"The earth did quake and the rocks rent", reflecting that the earth also was subject to the wrath of God.
Therefore,
"the whole world" in 1 John 2:2 cannot possibly refer to each and everyone in the whole world. The Universalists do not find the least support in this verse for their claim that the Lord Jesus Christ suffered and died for the sins of everyone in the whole world. How is it then possible that the Universalists still want to view it as a settled matter that "the whole world" in 1 John 2:2 must suddenly mean "all as yet unconverted individuals"?


Never is this the meaning elsewhere in Scripture, and even in John's letter itself the expression "the whole world" is used in a way that directly opposes the doctrine of the Universalists. Now, my last point is:

#3. Therefore

Therefore, if we want to summarize the meaning of 1 John 2:2 we could say: "Christ is a complete redemption for our sins, not only for those sins we personally confess to be our own, but also for this entire world of sin, the guilt of which, in solidarity with Adam, burdens us before God".

It is amazing how many commentaries adhere to the interpretation of the Universalists. Only Matthew Henry has it right. Many so called Bible scholars of the past have stumbled over this verse and have written their errors in commentaries.

Do you realize that all those commentaries have fed the students in seminaries?

They have come out of the seminaries and have propagated this lie that the Lord Jesus Christ died for everyone in the whole world, based on this one verse. One lie leads to another. If Christ died for all the people in the world, then suddenly the burden is upon us to make a decision for Jesus. We must make the final decision, because Christ has done all He could.

Can you see that the Arminian gospel is an outgrowth of this doctrine of Universal Atonement?

It gradually developed over time. But here is where it started: Universal Atonement. Don't blame the KJV translators. They were fallible men like we are. They could not foresee where the church was going.

But where did this doctrine of Universal Atonement originally come from?

It is the doctrine that is confessed by Rome.
They believe in a salvation by our own free will.
A pastor who is preaching this kind of a gospel in a so called Christian church is leading people back to Rome.
Of course, there were attempts in the past to correct this, but those people were not heard, or insufficiently heard. And today the freewill gospels are dominating in most churches; so much so that most people do not even know there is another view of the Gospel of the Bible.

In Deuteronomy 17:14 God gave instructions for a king that the people would set over them. It sounds ludicrous, but did you know that many pastors are ruling as potentates over their congregations, like the Old Testament kings did. Let us read in:


Deuteronomy 17:15
Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother.
Deuteronomy 17:16

But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the LORD hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way.

"He shall not cause the people to return to Egypt".
Why would their king do such a thing?

"To the end that he should multiply horses".

In other words, he would sell people into slavery in order to enrich himself.

Why would God write this in the Bible?

We do not read anywhere that a king of Judah or a king of Israel actually sold people back into Egypt.

But is it happening today?

Most definitely it is happening today. Pastors are preaching a freewill gospel that their congregation likes. They do that for their own gain, so that they can build bigger and nicer church buildings. They are in fact selling their people back into Egypt. And even more dramatically, today there are strong forces at work within the Christian denominations to join hands with the Roman church.

Therefore, what should we do about it?

We must give God all the glory that belongs to Him, we must pray that He may keep us faithful to give Him all the glory, and we must trust that God will keep His promises and that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Amen.

Canons of Dort, chapter 2

Article 8. For this was the sovereign counsel, and most gracious will and purpose of God the Father, that the quickening and saving efficacy of the most precious death of his Son should extend to all the elect, for bestowing upon them alone the gift of justifying faith, thereby to bring them infallibly to salvation: that is, it was the will of God that Christ by the blood of the cross, whereby he confirmed the new covenant, should effectually redeem out of every people, tribe, nation, and language, all those, and those only, who were from eternity chosen to salvation, and given to him by the Father; that he should confer upon them faith, which together with all the other saving gifts of the Holy Spirit, he purchased for them by his death; should purge them from all sin, both original and actual, whether committed before or after believing; and having faithfully preserved them even to the end, should at last bring them free from every spot and blemish to the enjoyment of glory in his own presence forever.


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