Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. – Ephesians 5:25-27
If you have ever given blood, sweat, and tears to something you desperately wanted to succeed, only to see it collapse in failure, you will know the sense of dejection and frustration that arises. Many have experienced this. Our Lord Jesus, however, did not. He went to the cross to save His people from their sins and everyone for whom He died will undoubtedly be saved. Imagine bearing God’s wrath and curse for someone who ends up bearing the same in hell. That would be unthinkable!
Jesus’ death really accomplished what Jesus set out to do. The Father had given Him a flock of sinful, wandering sheep who are on the road to eternal punishment. For them, Christ had to intervene. For them, Christ had to bear the judgment of God. And for them, He did exactly that. As the Lord Jesus Himself said, “I lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10:15).
But didn’t the Lord Jesus make propitiation “for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2)? Not if you mean that he died for every man, woman, and child individually. If that were the case, all would be saved because Christ’s work can’t be frustrated. We wouldn’t object to that if the Bible taught that. However, it does speak of outer darkness for some. But if by “world” you mean that He died for all sorts of people (not just one race) and for a great number that no one can count, then yes, we gladly declare that Jesus is “indeed the Savior of the world” (John 4:42) and, by grace, ours too.
Suggestions for prayer
Praise God that the death of Christ really cleanses from all sin and that we need to make no contribution to our salvation. Pray for missionaries, ministers, and evangelists that all those for whom Christ died will hear the voice of their Shepherd and be brought into the fold.
This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. John van Eyk is the Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta.