(Except from “The Wages of Sin is Death!” by J. Preston Eby)
“If you say Christ is Victor they call you heretic…how strange!”
All men are born sinners; and the wages of sin is death. But Jesus became a sin offering for all men, He carried those sins to the cross, and that ends the matter. And there, because He actually atoned for ALL those sins, He actually “abolished death .” To abolish is to do away with entirely. Death is no more. That is God’s estimation of the fruit of Christ’s redemption! “Our Saviour Jesus Christ, who HAS ABOLISHED DEATH, and has brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel” (II Tim. 1:10).
We have been told a lot of funny stories. How we need to get back to the Word, and to it alone! How we need to forsake the imaginings of mere men, and get our feet planted firmly on solid rock! How we need to cease limiting the Holy One of Israel and renouncing the all-inclusive victory of Calvary! For there, whether we believe it or not, our Lord tasted death “for every man ” (Heb. 2:9). Yes, He only tasted it. He was a man for thirty-three and a half years; He died; He descended into Hades, the realm of the dead; He remained in death but three days. He merely sampled death. He sampled it in the place of every son of Adam. He actually tasted death for every man! Then He arose, victor over every foe. And as a result of that victory, all men shall have life. And through that death He actually bought back the world, all of it, unto Himself. No, He did not reconcile only a few believers unto Himself! Let us forever forsake the kind of ignorance that can contradict the words of inspiration: “To wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world (all of it) unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and has committed unto us the Word of reconciliation” (11 Cor. 5:19).
One wonders what most Christians read their Bibles for. They certainly get very little out of them worth mentioning. If they did, then they would have discovered long ago that “by the righteousness of One the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life” (Rom. 5:18). Oh, that all might somehow come to realize the enormity and compass of the work of Calvary! Satan would ever limit that work, set it aside, for it is his undoing. He would discount and belittle it, and eventually set it aside for it is his undoing. He would keep men blinded as to the great debt of gratitude they owe for such a mighty deliverance. He would blind all men to the enormity of the sweeping declaration of Jn. 4:42: “This is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.” He is still the god of this world, and has no desire to believe that he will lose all. And how many Christians agree with him! When the devil says that he will possess the vast majority of the souls of men for ever, the Christians shout, “Amen!” And if you say that Christ is Victor they call you a heretic, and ask to be removed from your mailing list. How strange!
How we need to forsake all the stupidity and blasphemy that can represent our Lord as a failure! He accomplished what He came to earth to do. He did not die in vain. He did not do a half-job. He “finished the work,” accomplished fully His Father’s plan. And “we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the World (I Jn. 4:14). Ah, the victory of Calvary means so much more than any of us ever realized in the past. It was such a pathetically ineffectual work, according to the way it was once taught us. It was weak and so limited in scope, so incomplete! Christ came to save the world (Jn. 12:47); God sent His Son “that THE WORLD through Him might be saved” (Jn 3:17). But it was all in vain. He wasn’t able to do what He came for. He couldn’t finish the work, even though in Jn. 17:4 He stated that He had finished it. He said. “I have finished the work which You gave Me to do.” But He lied. He left it unfinished according to the way we have always been taught, which made God a poor puny victim of circumstances beyond His control and Christ a mere pawn of Satan and unbelieving men, a victim of their whim and fancy.
Thank God, that long night of darkness is passing! Thank God, a fuller, deeper message now goes forth, which does not limit the God of our salvation, which does not belittle and besmear the atonement, the complete redemption of our Lord Jesus Christ! He did not die in vain! He was not a failure! Hallelujah! Calvary was not a defeat, but an exultant victory. And there He, the spotless sinless Lamb of God actually gave His life to “take away the sins of THE WORLD.” Let us never forget that fact. Jesus truly paid it all. And because of this we, like the woman at the well, “KNOW that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.”
“…but now once in the end of the world (age) has He appeared to PUT AWAY SIN by the sacrifice of Himself” (Heb. 9:26). “Once in the end of the world.” Not for each dispensation, but for all dispensations. Not for one age, but for all ages. Not for a few, but for “the many” (vs. 28), comprehending the vastness of the number which no man can compute of the great family of man. As the year’s sin of a nation was borne away into the desert by the scapegoat, and put away, so were the sins of the WHOLE WORLD centered on the head of Jesus Christ. He was “the propitiation for our sins : and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (I Jn. 2:2). And when He died, He dropped sin as a stone into the depths of oblivion. And He PUT AWAY sin. The Greek word is very strong: annihilated, made nothing of, made as though it had never been . Sin, in the mind and purpose of God, is as entirely done away as a debt when it is paid. Hallelujah!
Yes, He is actually “the Saviour of ALL MEN” (I Tim. 4:10). And He cannot be Saviour of all, and at the same time the destroyer of some. Let us, dear ones, cease listening to Satan who would have Him to fail in His mission, to come off second best in His attempted overthrow of sin. He came to earth to destroy SIN, and to save SINNERS.
“The Son of man was manifested that He might DESTROY THE WORKS OF THE DEVIL” (I Jn. 3:8). And when all is finished, if but one trace of sin remains, He will have died a failure and in vain. The adversary would have us to believe that HE is the victor, that sin is not destroyed, and hence, since Christ can not destroy sin, He must destroy those sinners whom He could not reconcile. But let us remember that Satan is the father of all lies. Let us cease being deceived by those lies! Let us believe God. “God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that THE WORLD through Him might be saved” (Jn. 3:17). “I came not to judge the world, but to SAVE THE WORLD” (Jn. 12:47). “For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives , BUT TO SAVE THEM” (Lk. 9:56). He came to put away sin, to destroy death, to curse the curse, to lift the burdens, to heal the heartaches, to deliver those in bondage.
Why will men continue to preach eternal wrath, and damnation, and torment, and torture, and anguish, and despair, and fear, when God is love? Surely they cannot have experienced that love, else they could never refrain from proclaiming it! Surely they must not have found Jn. 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave…” And surely they must never have found Jn. 12:32: “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth will draw ALL MEN unto Me.” Let us never again forget that “He gave Himself a ransom for ALL, to be testified in due time” (I Tim. 2:6). Let us ever remember Col. 1:20: “And having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile ALL THINGS unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” And now, “the saving grace of God is manifested FOR ALL MEN” (Tit. 2:11, Gk.).
Think of it, the living God IS THE SAVIOUR OF ALL MEN! (I Tim. 4:9-11). The Greek word used here is SOTEER. It occurs twenty-four times in the New Testament and is correctly translated “saviour” every time. Nor does the Scripture say that God is the “provider” of salvation for all. This would not make Him the Saviour of all. If He does not actually save all, then He is merely a “would-be” Saviour, a “potential” Saviour of all. He is not a Saviour “for” all men, merely provided, to be accepted or rejected according to the whims of human nature or the power of the devil; He is the Saviour “of” all men, and there is a world of difference between those two views. I find that all the Churches believe that Jesus is a Saviour “for” all men, but none of them truly believe that He is the Saviour “of” all men. Let me illustrate. If five men were drowning and a life guard was on duty with instructions to save any who voluntarily called on him, he would be a saviour “for” the five men. But if he actually jumped into the water, grabbed them by the hair of the head, snatched them out of the water. and saved their lives, he would then be the saviour “of” the men. Can we not see by this that Jesus can only be the Savior of all men if all men are actually saved by Him? Such a truth should fill the hardest heart with joy, and cause continual thanksgiving to God for His power, wisdom, love, grace, and righteousness.
Knowing how difficult it would be for men to believe that Jesus is the Saviour of all men, in I Tim. 4:9-11 God offers man encouragement by assuring him that it is a FAITHFUL SAYING and WORTHY OF ALL ACCEPTATION. It is faithful to God, faithful to His Son, faithful to Calvary, faithful to the Word, and faithful to the desire of all who have the love of God poured into their hearts by the Holy Spirit. It is hard to understand why so many should condemn as unfaithful and worthy of all rejection, that which God has so plainly declared to be a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation!
Oh blessed deliverance, oh wonderful emancipation! What a shame that so little of it is told! What a tragedy, that those who profess to preach the Gospel preach instead little but a morbid and horrid tale of eternal fear and torment and torture! Thank God it is true, wonderfully and gloriously true, “The wages Of sin is death, but the GIFT OF GOD IS ETERNAL LIFE THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD!”
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