You are hereIf Scripture says everyone, how can we still be particular?

If Scripture says everyone, how can we still be particular?

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By Ransom - Posted on 25 March 2010

by Joel Watts

It may be said, rightly, that this contains a great deal of proof-texting, but in these passages is a clear understanding that Christ died for the world, tasting death for everyone, redeeming all. Have we drawn a line not in Scripture?

The question which keeps rolling around in my head is about the power of Christ. If by the sin of Adam, misery and death reigns upon Creation, and if the blood of Christ is the one thing that can redeem – who or what is more powerful? Is it the sin of Adam or the blood of Christ? If Adam’s sin can destroy to the uttermost and envelope everyone for all time, then is the blood of Christ only good for a rather small portion?

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StephenGreer's picture

Interesting article, but he leaves out the rest of John 3:

"17For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him.

18He who believes in Him [who clings to, trusts in, relies on Him] is not judged [he who trusts in Him never comes up for judgment; for him there is no rejection, no condemnation--he incurs no damnation]; but he who does not believe (cleave to, rely on, trust in Him) is judged already [he has already been convicted and has already received his sentence] because he has not believed in and trusted in the name of the only begotten Son of God. [He is condemned for refusing to let his trust rest in Christ's name.]

19The [basis of the] judgment (indictment, the test by which men are judged, the ground for the sentence) lies in this: the Light has come into the world, and people have loved the darkness rather than and more than the Light, for their works (deeds) were evil.(C)

20For every wrongdoer hates (loathes, detests) the Light, and will not come out into the Light but shrinks from it, lest his works (his deeds, his activities, his conduct) be exposed and reproved." (Amplified Bible)

And there are those outside the city in Revelation 22. I think it comes down to choice; the condemnation does not come from God. He offers forgiveness, grace, and salvation through Jesus; we are the ones who make the choice whether or not to accept these things and follow Christ. Interesting that Adam also made a choice...

Stephen

davo's picture

It would be my understanding that IF we looked at Jn 3:16-17 through a more consistent prêterist lens it would be speaking primarily of Israel's world [which did have consequences beyond her own] and so it could be read accordingly…

For God so loved Israel that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever of Israel believes in Him should not perish in the AD70 lake of fire, but might live into the age about to come. For God did not send His Son unto Israel to condemn Israel, but that Israel through Him might be delivered from the forthcoming wrath.

Thus those "outside" were afflicted by these perilous and tumultuous times yet believers were "saved" – thus Jesus' prior warnings etc…

Lk 13:3-5 I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”

StephenGreer's picture

Sorry, the post below was meant to be a reply to you. Haha, it helps to observe. :)

Stephen

StephenGreer's picture

I'll be honest, I don't believe that words like "world" are referring to Israel only. I used to believe that, but it no longer seems like it fits. That's not to say that much of the NT is addressing Israel and its restoration under the Messiah, I just don't think that is always what is exclusively in view, particularly in John. Compare Isaiah 49:6 with John 3:19-20 -

"[God] says, It is too light a thing that you should be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the survivors [of the judgments] of Israel; I will also give you for a light to the nations, that My salvation may extend to the end of the earth." (Isaiah 49:6)

"The [basis of the] judgment (indictment, the test by which men are judged, the ground for the sentence) lies in this: the Light has come into the world, and people have loved the darkness rather than and more than the Light, for their works (deeds) were evil.(C)

For every wrongdoer hates (loathes, detests) the Light, and will not come out into the Light but shrinks from it, lest his works (his deeds, his activities, his conduct) be exposed and reproved." (John 3:19-20)

If Jesus, i.e. the servant, is to be a "light to the nations," it can only be if they are in darkness to begin with. And I believe this is the point of John. The Jews believed that the world of the Gentiles was a world of darkness, while their world was one of light since God had revealed His will to them and had chosen them. How amazing it is, then, when their leaders say, "We have no king but Caesar." They have sided with darkness, indeed they HAVE loved it more than light! And so all is now darkness, there is no difference between Jew and Gentile, no one has special privilege before Christ. All must come equally to the Light. The WORLD must come to Christ, for the whole world is dark.

And of course, if God did not love Gentiles as well, why allow Rahab and Ruth to be listed among the ancestors of Jesus? God had plans for the Gentiles as well; Israel as a nation was only a shadow, a typification of life in devotion to God; the reality is found in Christ, who broke down the dividing wall of hostility. But it still comes down to choice. Does one choose to follow the Light, or remain in the darkness?

Stephen

davo's picture

Hi Stephen… yes I hear what you are saying and agree. My point wasn't that of Israel "exclusive" but rather Israel "primarily" – as I understand it, God's dealings with the "world" at large was primarily through Israel, of which ultimately Jesus himself was "true Israel" along with His firstfruit saints, i.e., "the Israel of God".

That said… I do think that Jn 3:16-17 which has been traditionalised and universalised along evangelical lines was in fact more targeted in its immediate context and so pertinent to Israel; but always by extension in eschatological fulfilment so gaining applicability beyond by virtue of "to the Jew first and then the Gentile" etc. In other words, to the degree called and chosen Israel kept the Light of God's glory to themselves to that degree the world beyond to whom they were called to serve remained in darkness.

Thus I do read a lot of NT "world" language in terms of Israel BUT not to the exclusion of all else but rather in terms of their covenant world and thus HOW that was to affect the world beyond, because Israel was NEVER to be an end in or of herself but rather she was God's means to God's ends, that is, the reconciliation of man – again fulfilled in true Israel [Jesus].

Here for instance is an example of "the world" beyond Israel benefiting directly BECAUSE OF the restoration of Israel's world – in other words, Israel's particular redemption was the means for the broader reconciliation of all, the two were not divorced…

Rom 11:12, 15 Now if their [Israel's] fall is riches for the world [humanity], and their [Israel's] failure riches for the Gentiles [firstfruit saints Acts 13:48; 15:14, 17], how much more their [Israel's] fullness! … For if their [Israel's] being cast away [by God] is the reconciling of the world [humanity], what will their [Israel's] acceptance [by God] be but life [redemptive resurrection] from the dead?

Or to paraphrased Paul: Now if Israel's fall is riches for humanity, and Israel's failure riches for the Gentile first-fruit saints, how much more Israel's redemptive fullness! … For if Israel's being cast away by God is the reconciling of humanity, what will Israel's acceptance by God be but redemptive resurrection life from the dead?

IMO there is just no way "the world" in THIS particular context can be whittled away to mean anything less than the whole world of man of which Israel was the God's restorative centrepiece.

So Stephen, I'm not saying the likes of Jn 3:16-17 don't work beyond their context but rather… a more consistent prêterist reading [as I see it] gives a more reliable understanding due to appreciating its actual context, i.e., historic Israel.

StephenGreer's picture

Agreed. I think we're saying the same thing, just in different ways.

Stephen

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