The nature of the atonement is not just a theological question. Are you interested in that question? That is a good sign. A sign that grace may already be at work in your life, because you care about your soul. But there must be more you care about? Oh even now there is mercy for you.
It is the question you must ask after the first. “What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? (Mt 27:22). Who is Christ? The second, “For whom did Christ die? There is a clear answer: “Christ died for the ungodly.” (Rom. 5:6). The Bible teaches he died the as “just for the unjust” (1 Peter 3:18). The sinless one for sinners went eagerly to the cross to drink deeply the fathers cup of wrath and the damnation of sinners so he might save them. With all his energy and his mighty he went forth from heaven to earth to seek and save the lost!
He died for the impious: those who threw God and godliness out of their lives! All have sinned, all have fallen short of God’s glory. They have broken his laws and stumble into disobedience thoughtlessly. For them life is a bad movie. These ungodly who have no fear of God but they only have a contempt for God. They are destitute of any fear of God or love for God. DESTITUTE, impoverished, abandoned to sin! They do not seek God but either coldly walk away, or wildly run in the other direction. They are hostile to God and his laws, they are profane, vulgar and harsh! It is clear they despise God. This is such a sad, yet hateful condition.
Some will say they do not despise God of the Bible, but they are so trapped by their idolatrous imagination that they think they love the God of the Bible. No, they love another god they call God. A god, an idol of their own thoughts. How wretched and miserable a condition! When in fact they love a god that is not the God of scripture. Introduce to them the God of the Bible and his Son Jesus and you get arguments and anger. This is because the thrice holy God, and his awesome Son who are supremely and infinitely holy is their enemy. This God who gets in their face contradicts what they believe about God.
“The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the Lord and against his anointed one. “Let us break their chains,” they cry, “and free ourselves from slavery to God.” (Ps. 2:2-3NLT). It is the delusional aspect of the sinful nature that makes sin its most dangerous-the deceitfulness of sin that hardens the heart. They see themselves as slaves to God, and yet do not see that they are slaves to sin.
Yet Christ died for us while we were yet sinners! It boggles the mind. I weep before God that this thought. How I am such an undeserving sinner, only worthy of his anger. I was a child of disobedience and thus a child of wrath!
I am amzed at god’s grace! I can only weep, while I was a sinner, at the point I was furthest from God, it was then that Jesus died for me!
Upon that cross of Jesus mine eye at times can see
The very dying form of One Who suffered there for me;
And from my stricken heart with tears two wonders I confess;
The wonders of redeeming love and my unworthiness.
Jesus died for you dear one! At your worst, beyond hope he saw you and he came to rescue you! Jesus saw you not for what you would become but for what you were. This is a love alien to any love we could ever know.
How can anyone believe the popular notion that Christ died on the cross without anyone in mind even “if anyone did not come to him” and be saved? You and I are saved as a specific target of Sovereign grace! For whom did Christ die? “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.” (1 Tim. 1:15).
How can people assert John 3:16 and say he died with no one in mind? “God so loved the world” insists that he specifically died for someone! To say he only suffered is a violation of scripture. his death was a payment for sin and an appeasement of infinitely offended God. “For this assertion is an insult to the wisdom of God the Father and to the merit of Jesus Christ, and it is contrary to Scripture. For the Savior speaks as follows: I lay down my life for the sheep, and I know them (John 10:15, 27). And Isaiah the prophet says concerning the Savior: When he shall make himself an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, he shall prolong his days, and the will of Jehovah shall prosper in his hand (Isa. 53:10)…” (Canons of Dordt)
For whom did Christ die? “He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement that brought us peace was upon him and with his stripes we are healed.!” (Isa. 53:5). I love what Charles Spurgeon said, “The gospel does not come to us as a premium for virtue, but it presents us with forgiveness for sin. It is not a reward for health, but a medicine for sickness.”