Sermon Q & A

December 23, 2020

  1. You referenced 1 John 2:2 in the sermon. It strikes me that most people interpret it wrongly--that Christ’s sacrifice pardons all sinners in the world of their sins. It seems to me that John is saying to his specific audience of believers that Christ’s sacrifice is propitiation not only for your committed sins but of all the sins of the world you believers individually have not committed--at least not yet--thereby justifying each and every believer in the entire world, now and forever. What do you think?

Great observations! In short the passages that indicate Christ died for the whole “world” (i.e. John 1:29, John 3:16, 1 Timothy 2:6) should be understood to mean general mankind. The word “world” actually specifies the realm of existence in which those to whom God’s propitiation is applied. The Bible clearly denotes only believers are pardoned from sin--humble repentance (confession & faith) must occur (i.e. Romans 10:9). Therefore, Jesus fully satisfied the wrath of God eternally, specifically for those who believe. In simple terms, 1 John 2:2 indicates that Christ’s death is completely sufficient for all and necessary for all, although it’s only applied to those who respond in faith, by God’s sovereign will.

  1. If we have to spend eternity in Hell for our sins, and Christ takes the whole wrath of God, then why did Jesus not have to spend eternity in hell? Or, because time is only measured by the human universe, then is Jesus still receiving God’s wrath?

In the world today, if a person commits a crime, he or she must pay off the debt with a particular punishment (i.e. fine, prison, service). This is not exactly the same with God and eternity. When Adam was told that he would die if he disobeyed God by eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, we can now understand that this reference to death was to that of “the second death, the lake of fire,” which is noted in Revelation 20:14. When the Bible talks about sin leading to death, this is what is meant. It’s not a period of restitution or paying off debt, as is common in the world today. It’s a destination of death. Furthermore, if someone rejects Christ, there is no solution for their sin, since Christ is the only solution for sin. God’s plan of propitiation is that His wrath is poured out upon a completely worthy sacrifice--Jesus, the perfect Son. Propitiation means that God’s wrath is fully satisfied in the death (act of dying, not eternal death) of Christ alone; and, therefore, God didn’t require that Jesus spend time in Hell to satisfy His wrath. This is because the “second death” is not a payment to satisfy sin. Because Jesus was sinless Himself, He had no reason to live in Hell forever. Therefore, believers avoid eternal death because of faith alone in Christ.