The Deeper End of The Pool…

Nothing finer than a blog and a Shiner!

I feel as though I need to preface this post (as I usually do) with a disclaimer:

I’m not a theologian. I’m not educated in the realm of theology and am tremendously limited in my understanding of systematic/dogmatic/biblical theology. All I know is what I learn from preachers, what wikipedia tells me, and what I can learn on my own. That being said, I do think that my ideas hold at least some merit and can stand up to at least some scrutiny. And even if they don’t, I need to think about them and see if they hold up to scripture and what better place to think out loud than in a blog where no one can tell me to shut up. There, now that that’s all cleared up– ONWARD!

There are two questions that I want to ask myself and the readers (if there are in fact readers) in this blog. Both are weighty, deep, confusing, require explanation, but have eternal implications. In other words, two questions right up my alley.

Question numero uno:

For whom did Jesus taste death?

I think I need to provide another disclaimer. I’m not approaching this from a perspective of Calvinism. Yeah I know, “limited atonement blah blah blah”, but that’s not where I’m coming from. Think of this as a logical approach more than anything, and maybe I’ll reach a point that lines up with TULIP but that’s not my starting point. Right! Onward, once more!

Who did Jesus die for? Who’s sins were nailed to the cross with our Lord? Which person, group of people, or even species did Jesus sacrifice himself for? Now, it is my opinion (opinion because I haven’t gathered any evidence to support my statistic) that if I were to poll 100 College Station residing, Mugwalls visiting, evangelical Christians, 95 of them would answer with one word; everybody.

Jesus died for everyone right? He took the sins of the world, the entire world, and died for every single person. I mean, this is a pretty good answer because its got biblical support to back it up. There’s a couple different verses one could use to validate the statement “Jesus died for everyone” but I’m just going to bring up one.

Hebrews 2:9 – “But we do see Jesus- made lower than the angels for a short time so that by God’s grace He might taste death for everyone- crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death.”

Biblical support. Usually theology starts from a point in scripture (unless you’re Tom Cruise).It paints Jesus as a nicer dude. Seems like it makes sense. The answer must be everyone right? As I said, I think it’s a good answer. Let me explain why: it’s non-sectarian. It’s not elitist. It’s looking at the world and everyone besides me and placing the love of Christ on them. There’s no kind of distance between me, as a Christian, and someone who is not a Christian because we’ve got this type of bond from the blanket love of Christ. I think it’s a good answer.

But I also think it’s a bad answer.

Let me try to explain why. First off, there’s a big big difference in saying what the bible says, and meaning what the bible means. Let me explain why I dwell on this in the first place. If you move a few verses before verse 8, we read “…how will we escape if we neglect such a great salvation.” I dwell on it because my salvation is what defines me. It’s my world, my universe, my life. Shouldn’t I search fervently with the entirety of my being to know everything I can possibly hope to learn about my savior and how he saved me? According to Hebrews I should. If I don’t pursue knowledge, however trivial the object in question may seem, I’m neglecting the greatness of my salvation. It would be like if I bought an iPhone 4G so I could hear the little apple *beep* when I get a text message. Sure it’s cool, but… there’s a little more it’s capable of. I mean, you can freaking Facetime with people and play Tiny Wings. C’mon people. think of Tiny Wings!

I feel like I got a little off track there.

Think about it this way: what do I mean when I say Jesus died for my sins? What exactly am I referring to when I say Jesus died for me? I’m referring to the biggest event of history for me. I’m talking about the most important thing in the universe to me. Christ died for my sins. The wrath of God was assuaged from me, and there is not longer any condemnation directed at me. The curse of the law is removed and I am free, liberated as a new creation in Christ. My faults are pardoned, I’m seen as blameless, and eternity in heaven awaits me, a perfected creation. I was lost now found, blind now able to see, dead now alive, cursed and now saved. It’s my life. It defines me. It’s my world.

What then, does it mean when someone who is finally lost and is burning in hell says, “Christ died for my sins?”. Is he not free from punishment? Aren’t his sins gone if Jesus died for him? Aren’t his  debts paid for by the blood of Christ? Then why is he paying for them? Why is he being constantly punished for eternity in the lake of fire?  If the curse of the law was removed from him, then what is this curse resting on him for all eternity? If Jesus died for him, why is he in hell?

I think most people would say, “people go to hell for not accepting Christ, not for for their sins”. The problem with that is the bible. People go to hell for their sins- one of those sins being the rejection of Christ. We know this because that’s what the bible teaches us:

Therefore, put to death whatever in you is worldy: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, God’s wrath comes on the disobedient, and you once walked in these things when you were living in them. – Colossians 3:5,6

We can’t say that the cross of Christ really did cover ever sin from the beginning of time until the end except rejecting Him. It’s simply not true. This brings us to the question, in what sense did Jesus die for the lost if they still suffer punishment?

What, you want a sunday school metaphor? You do, really??? Okay bucko, you got it!

Salvation is like a ticket. You have to have a ticket in order to get on the train- there’s not other way to get there. The ticket costs a lot but you have to accept it. God, by killing Jesus, bought you the ticket so that you can get on the train. You couldn’t afford the ticket yourself, and God extends the ticket out for you to take.

Good metaphor? You betcha it is.

Or is it?

What exactly does the purchase of the ticket represent? The buying of the ticket must represent the canceling of the sins of the unbeliever. Because if we were to be honest, that’s the only thing keeping you out of heaven- sin. If it wasn’t for sin you wouldn’t need Jesus (the ticket, for you slower people) to get you on the train. The problem is then this: we’ve seen that people are punished and go to hell for their sins, not for simply rejecting Christ. Therefore, their sins weren’t cancelled and the ticket wasn’t purchased, and the analogy fails. No ticket was there to choose because no ticket was purchased. The ticket that gets you to heaven is the wiping out of your sins.

Jesus’ death for the redeemed is therefore different than it is for the perishing. I don’t think Jesus died for everyone’s sins.

The good news about this blog is I plan on starting it with something weighty and confusing, and ending it with something weighty and confusing

What did Jesus accomplish with the resurrection? Is his resurrecting necessary for salvation?

With it being good friday and all, I figured I’d voice this little question I’ve been mulling over the past few weeks. I’m not trying to deny the resurrection, and I realize that Jesus himself claimed he would raise from the dead so it is of course necessary in the sense that if he hadn’t of raised he’d be a liar. Let me just throw that out there before someone get’s all high and mighty with the simple objection.

My wondering stems from this: we were justified at the very moment of Jesus’ death right? Jesus wasn’t perfect until he died. Hebrews says at the moment of death He was declared perfect. Even if He hadn’t sinned all his life, His life wasn’t over and he could therefore potentially sin. It could have been like watching an awesome movie with an absolutely stupid ending (War of the Worlds anyone? Really? Space traveling, genius aliens get thwarted by some bugs? C’mon Spielberg… ) No, Christ’s life was more like Inception. Three quarters of the way through and you are praying the ending is as awesome as it could potentially be, alas, it is!

Even if Christ hadn’t of raised from the dead, He would have been the perfect sacrifice right?

Besides fulfilling Christ’s words of being raised, conquering death, and making a great microcosm of a metaphor for the story of one’s salvation, was Christ raising really that important? Wasn’t his death the focal point of his life/the Christian faith/our entire lives?

These are my two questions that I’ve been pondering of late. I don’t think I have definite answers as to what I believe on them, but hopefully they’ll give you something to think about (if you made it all the way through).

Exeunt Kevin