Interesting question, yes? It should be, since that seems to be the prevailing opinion of the vast majority of Christendom. Just Google “For whom did Christ die?” and start reading. But how many of us seriously address the question? Consider this post an old man’s attempt to think it through, Writing things down helps me organize my thoughts.
First of all, some will answer the question by telling me that since Christ died for everyone, everyone WILL eventually be saved. That’s called ‘universalism’. The reasoning behind that opinion is that God is too loving to condemn anyone, that since he wants all men to be saved, they eventually will. After all, God is God and always gets what he wants. Seems logical.
Others will confidently tell me that while Christ died for everyone, It’s up to the one for whom Christ died to exercise his/her ‘free will’ and accept the ‘gift’, similar to accepting a present for your birthday or Christmas. When a person accepts the gift, he/she will be saved, unless down the road somewhere down the road another conscious free will decision is made to return the gift for whatever reason. This also seems logical.
Then there those who will tell me that a person is saved because of a free will decision to accept Christ, and once he/she has made that decision has been made, heaven awaits their sure arrival. If that’s true, somewhere on the highway to heaven human free will disappeared. And that also seems like a logical conclusion.
So here have three seemingly logical, yet differing opinions. It might also be very logical to conclude that either only one of them is correct, or all three are incorrect. Let’s assume that one is correct. If you had to pick one, which would you choose, and why?
Most, if not all Bible reading Christians would immediately exclude ‘universalism’ as an option right off the bat. The Bible is clear that there are those whose eternal destiny is a place of everlasting torment and punishment. That leaves us with two other options, both of which include the concept of completely autonomous ‘free will’. Assuming once again that there is a correct answer among our three options, which one is it?
Well, one option defends ‘free will’ to the death. You can either accept the ‘free gift’ or reject it. Human free will is so powerful that it can thwart God’s desire to save everyone. If that’s the case, we have to seriously ask “Who saves whom?” Did Christ die only to make salvation ‘possible’?
The other surviving option tells us that human free will, once exercised for salvation, can somehow disappear in one’s life, or be partially lost, at least in the matter of salvation.
Questions, questions, and MORE questions! They never seem to end, do they?
One last question for this post – a hypothetical one. IF all three of the above answers to the ‘question in the title of this post (If Christ died for the sins of everyone who ever lived, why isn’t everyone saved?) are incorrect, what’s the alternative – for whom did Christ die?
So call this post a ‘thinking’ challenge. And since it is merely a thinking challenge, share your thoughts. Recommend this post to a friend or two and ask them to share their thoughts.