Sunday, March 06, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: The Greatest Hurdle of Many Christians

Dear Friend of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The Bible clearly says something that some theologians haven't wanted to believe: "Jesus Christ the righteous ... is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world" (1 John 2:1, 2). Our dear brother John Calvin couldn't see what it says; he maintained that it meant only that it's just "the elect" in "all the world" who are meant; not everybody (Calvin's Commentaries, 16th century).

This still seems to be the greatest hurdle that many Christians have--understanding who Jesus is. He is "the Savior of the world" (John 4:42); He was sent to "give eternal life" to "all flesh" (17:2), to "give life to the world" (6:33, 51), He died the death which is the punishment for sin for "everyone" (Heb. 2:9), He became the second Adam of the human race, reversing all the "condemnation" that the first Adam brought upon the race (Rom. 5:15-18).

Why couldn't John Calvin see the Good News? What blinded his eyes? He was living in the "wilderness" of the Dark Ages, before the full light of the gospel was to be seen clearly after the 1260 years (Rev. 12:6). He was bound by the unbiblical idea that God's grace is "irresistible," that if God "wills" that a person be saved, that person's perverse "will" cannot "frustrate the grace of God." It means logically that a person is going to be saved even if he disbelieves to the bitter end.

But two great truths are being seen clearly in these last days: (1) the extent of the width and length and depth and height of the love (agape) of Christ that "constrains" an honest-hearted person to serve Christ forever (Eph. 3:18; 2 Cor. 5:14); (2) the terrible unbelief of people who want to "crucify Christ afresh, and put Him to an open shame" and reject the "gift" that He has already given them "in Himself" (Heb. 6:6). They are lost not because of any arbitrary decree on the part of God, but because of their own perverse will, their unfitness for the companionship of heaven. Nobody who "loves darkness rather than light" could be happy in heaven even if he was admitted (see John 3:18-20). So, in the end, God simply gives everybody what he or she has wanted, and has persistently chosen.

What are you choosing day by day, moment by moment? Self or Christ? Think deeply; the judgment is on now; today could register your final choice.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: December 18, 1999.
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