Sunday, February 15, 2009

Final answer to the question...

I wish to thank the dear friends who interacted with me when I asked the question: Did Jesus die for the sin of unbelief?

So to this question, I should answer "YES" and he died for all people including their unbelief.

Now, some have said - Jesus indeed died for the sin of unbelief of the elect, but not the unbelief of the non-elect.

So to my answer "YES", some will reply against it, "well, if he did die for the sin of unbelief of all people, then all should be saved, but why are there people in hell"?.

So the follow up question goes like this, "If Jesus died for unbelief then why are all not saved"?

This line of questioning has similarities to the question - "Why doesn't the month of February have the 30th when in fact April does"?

The question, "If Jesus died for unbelief then why are all not saved", presupposes that simply because Jesus died for all people, then all ought to be saved, but they are not, so Jesus must have died only for those that are.

I have revised my answer to "YES" because of the principle of imputation. Indeed our sins have been imputed to Christ, our unrighteousness has been imputed to him, all of it, but his righteousness only gets imputed to us through the Means of Grace, at the point of faith.

So to the question -"If Jesus died for unbelief then why are all not saved", we say that this misses the nature of imputation.

My answer is based on the imputation of Christ's righteousness, people who are not saved have rejected the gift, and so the imputation of righteousness never happened to them.

16 comments:

Raggedy Lamb said...

"This line of questioning has similarities to the question - "Why doesn't the month of February have the 30th when in fact April does"?"

Except that February is not rejecting its 30th day.... I get the gist of what you want to compare the question to, but they are quite different.

Other than that, I see it the way you do. Now I'll be mulling over what kind of question might work better! ;-) Or maybe you can flesh out how your February question is fine.

steve martin said...

Your 'YES' answer is certainly correct...Jesus died for ALL sin.

This grace must be accessed by faith.

Faith is a gift of God. Does not everyone receive the gift of faith?

Apparently not. And then some who do receive it...reject it.

This may not make sense to our generous reason.

But then again, some things (of God) ust cannot be known.

Why He chooses some and not others is one mystery that I'm afraid we will never be able to resolve short of Heaven itself.

DRB said...
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DRB said...

"Indeed our sins have been imputed to Christ, our unrighteousness has been imputed to him, all of it, but his righteousness only gets imputed to us through the Means of Grace, at the point of faith."

LPC, on the basis of 2 Cor. 5:18-19, wouldn't you also say that the sins of all those for whom Christ died are not imputed to them?

L P said...

RL/SM.

February is not capable of rejecting the 30th if it was offered to it. I get your point.

But the line of questioning is spurious but I have not put my finger into it yet.

For example, look at the question...
"Did you beat your wife yesterday"?

Of course, Steve would not answer yes.

So Steve and I should answer "no".

If you answer "no", you have not dislodged the idea that you are a wife beater, you just did not beat her yesterday.

LP

L P said...

DRB,

That is the good news, indeed to be believed. God has taken the initiative of the peace offer. But although that is the truth, the sinner can still say...a.) I am not a sinner, no sins need to be forgiven in me b.) I do need forgiveness, and I will pay it myself, thanks but no thanks.

Correct?

I quote Calov..

Although Christ has acquired for us the remission of sins, justification, and sonship, God just the same does not justify us prior to our faith. Nor do we become God's children in Christ in such a way that justification in the mind of God takes place before we believe.

LP

DRB said...

Yes, LP, you are correct. As Luther taught in The Keys, although all have been forgiven whether or not they believe that good news, those who disbelieve it thereby forfeit its benefits.

DRB said...

The citation of Luther's The Keys is given in the new Agape Enthroned blog post entitled
Luther on objective justification.

L P said...

DRB,

Thanks for this. I had a good read.

Would you consider reconciliation and justification to be equivalent categories?

LP

DRB said...
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DRB said...

Paul certainly used the two terms synonymously: both include the non-imputation or forgiveness of sins, as you can see by comparing Romans 4 and 2 Cor. 5.

At the same time, he used different words at different times to emphasize different aspects of the gospel. For example, justification is used to emphasize the legal standing of the forgiven, whereas the ministry of reconciliation was used to emphasize the proclamation of the good news of forgiveness to others.

How do you see it?

L P said...

DRB,

Honestly, I much prefer the word Objective Reconciliation. The reason I say that is because a.) reconciliation pertains to ransoming, or remitting of a debt. b.) justification is the declaration of righteousness. b.) is always connected to faith, a.) is not connected because that is gift - while we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly.

Definitely there is something objective, this I believe.

I am a little concerned by the terminology of OJ, because this could be interpreted that all have been declared righteous at the Cross even though sinners have not yet come to faith.

When I came to faith, what was presented for me was the fact that my sins have been paid for, I was not presented that I have been declared righteous.

In fact it was the reverse, the Law pointed to my debt, the Gospel pointed to my release - being let go.
http://extranos.blogspot.com/2008/01/are-they-same.html

In the article you provided, I am reading it in the sense that the keys being the means of forgiveness, that is the channel of blessing and Luther was directing his reader (assumed to be Christians). The Keys and forgiveness are linked because that is where faith as an event happens, thus faith receives what is offered, Christ where forgiveness is found and no other.

Some say I am being nuanced or picky in being like this, but it is important to be precise in this day of much confusion and evangelical turmoil.

LP

DRB said...

LP, you said above that you agree that the sins of all those for whom Christ died are not imputed to them. Correct me if I am wrong, but you also seem to agree with Luther that in absolution the sins of even unbelievers are forgiven. If so, our disagreement may only be over terms, not over the gospel. In my opinion, that declaration of forgiveness has been reasonably called justification, but since Paul usually reserves the term for subjective justification, I can understand why you would want to follow that example.

In short, as long as we both agree that in absolution, the sins of those who reject the gift have been truthfully pronounced forgiven by God, we agree on the content of the good news.

L P said...

DRB,

Correct, I am being particular on terminology.

The Gospel is giving the unbeliever the forgiveness of his sins and this forgiveness is located in Christ. The Gospel is giving Christ to the unbeliever so he may indeed enjoy forgiveness, i.e. so that what Christ has won may be transferred to him. Faith in Christ receives the forgiveness of sins. Rejection of the gift is forfeiting the benefit of Christ's work.

I reserve justification at faith because that is how I see Paul in Romans speaks about Abraham, Rom 4:3.

Absolution then is God's offer of peace/forgiveness for Christ's sake. Rejection of the offer does not mean there was no forgiveness provided, but that he does not receive the forgiveness, he rejects it.


LP

DRB said...
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DRB said...

LP, I'm glad to hear you consider objective justification to be a potentially misleading term rather than a false teaching.