When you go back to the moment our first parents, Adam & Eve, disobeyed God and sinned, Genesis 3:21 records God’s gracious response. “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” Did you notice? The animal had to give up its life in order for its skin to be used as a garment for them. This was the first time an innocent animal gave its life to cover man’s sin. Later, the Mosaic Law allowed innocent animals to be substituted and sacrificed for sin in place of a human being giving their life. These were to illustrate for us that God’s Messiah, the Lord Jesus, would sacrifice His life as the innocent substitute for sinners. 1 Peter 3:18 says, “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous [Jesus] for the unrighteous [you and me], to bring you to God.”
There is complete agreement that His one sacrifice was sufficient to pay for sins. But not everyone agrees on whose sins He died for. Some pastors teach what’s called limited atonement, meaning that Jesus only intended to pay for the sins of a select group, or limited number of people. I don’t agree; neither does the Bible. 1 John 2:1-2 says, “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and NOT ONLY FOR OURS but also FOR THE SINS OF THE WHOLE WORLD.” This clearly tells us that He died for everyone’s sins.
These pastors believe that God only wanted to save a select number of people. And it was for them, and ONLY THEM, that Jesus died. But Isaiah 53:6 refutes that, saying, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him [Jesus] the iniquity of us ALL.”
It’s as though the anti-venom for sin’s poisonous bite was circulating in the bloodstream of the Lord Jesus. When He died, He made that cure available to ANYONE who will put their faith in Him. It’s not that the cure was intended for a limited number of people. He sacrificed Himself to cure ALL who come to Him.
One of the drawbacks to believing what these pastors teach (that Jesus’ sacrifice was for ONLY a select group), is that no one could ever be ABSOLUTELY SURE that their sins were paid for, because they couldn’t be 100% positive that they were among the group for whom Jesus died. They could still be in their sins and just fooling themselves that they are part of the group Jesus died for. But the truth is, Jesus did die for all people, and God wants us to KNOW where we stand with Him. 1 John 5:11-13 makes it clear, “God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may KNOW that you have eternal life.” And we “have the Son” when we invite Jesus to take over the leadership in our life.
God wants everyone who has placed their faith in Jesus and asked Him to take over the leadership of their life to have complete assurance and confidence that they are saved. Anyone can know for sure, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they have eternal life if they surrender to the Lord’s authority over their life.
Jesus’ sacrifice is the ONLY one that was accepted by God the Father as full payment for ALL the sins of ALL people. Just as the anti-venom won’t help us until we receive it, Jesus’ sacrifice isn’t effective for any of us until we choose to put our full trust, or faith, in Him and become His follower. If you haven’t done so already, I hope you’ll surrender to Him soon.