John Piper’s article “For Whom did Jesus Taste Death?” focuses on Piper’s premise that disallows Jesus from being a ransom sacrifice for all people. There are many parts of Piper’s article that I would like to address, but I will deal with them one at a time in individual posts. This post addresses Piper’s claim that our faith was purchased on the cross as a gift.
Was Our Faith Purchased on the Cross as a Gift?
In my last post, I addressed the question of whether there was one verified example of a man for whom Jesus did not die. For if there was such a man who did not have a kinsmen Redeemer, then Jesus could not have died for all. Similarly, if there is a biblical example supported by the testimony of Jesus that He died for one particular man who is now in hell, then the premise that it would be unjust for a man to be in hell if Jesus died for him, is untrue. So, what about the claim that faith is a gift purchased at the cross? John Piper says that one will believe this if “you believe as you ought to believe”.
And when you believe as you ought to believe, you will discover that your belief—like all other spiritual blessings—was purchased by the death of Christ.
Where does the Bible say that your faith was purchased on the cross as a gift? Piper claims that Hebrews 10:14 shows that our sins were paid for and ultimately forgiven at the cross so that no judgment will ever fall on our head, no sin can be brought up against us, and the wrath of God was wiped out at the cross – before we were born! …
Did Jesus’ death leave no man left behind that was not covered by His death on the cross? For many Christians who identify as Calvinists, the gospel includes the conclusion that Jesus died only for a select group of people who were predetermined by God before the world was created. Consequently, some men were left behind because the blood of Jesus was not meant to cover their sin, according to their belief system. Instead, Calvinism says that if Jesus paid for the sins of all the world, then He must have also died for unbelief, leaving Him unable to judge sinners in hell for their unbelief. R.C. Sproul’s ministry Ligonier Ministries Inc says it this way:
If God’s justice is totally satisfied by Christ’s work on the cross, then it would follow that God would be unjust in punishing the unrepentant sinner for his unbelief and impenitence because those sins were already paid for by Christ.
This reasoning is faulty because it is man’s reasoning and not the testimony of Scripture. The Scripture NEVER makes this claim and, in fact, the testimony of Jesus refutes it. The understanding of the extent of Jesus’ death (for whom did Jesus die?) must take into consideration the testimony of Jesus. Did Jesus leave any man behind not paying for their sin?
Before we look at the evidence left to us by the words of Jesus, let’s consider the claim that Jesus merely “passed by” the sinner that He does not intend to save. …
If we are to believe Calvinism, we would have to conclude that God is a “dragger.” Calvinists are quick to point out that in John 6:44 the term “draw” actually means “drag” and this is what God does to His elect who, in their unregenerate state, are both unwilling and unable to respond to Him in faith.
Taking the Biblical test
Let’s have a close look at the word “draw” to see what it actually means.
If we look up the Greek term for the biblical usage of the word for “draw” we can see that the primary meaning is to “attract.” There are other meanings for draw when animals, clothing, judgment and mistreatment are the context. For example, the Greek word can mean to “haul” in a net, or to “stretch” a piece of cloth.
It can also mean to drag a person out for the purpose of punishment, mistreatment or judgment:
My last post on Judas brought up a discussion of Jesus’ words about Judas and what it would have been like for him had he not been born.
Matthew 26:24 (NASB) “The Son of Man is to go, just as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.”
What is “good”?
There is no doubt that Jesus’ words are inspired. His words are also preserved in the Scripture so that we can learn things that we could not know without His revelation. Jesus gives a conditional statement about what would be “good” or “better” for Judas on the condition that he had died before he was born. Jesus said that for Judas to die before he was born would have been advantageous to Judas. Look at the range of the meanings for the word that Jesus chose to use:
What is the specific usage of the Greek word “kalon” in Matthew 26:24?
Let’s consider the specific usage determined by the BDAG lexicon (Bauer, Danker & Arndt) for Matthew 26:24 …
Is Judas a problem for your theology? He can be a problem if some of your beliefs come from tradition and not from the Scriptures. In this article, I would like to discuss the full Scriptural view of Judas and ask you to test your own understanding against what the Scripture reveals.
What was the history of Judas as one of the Disciples?
Judas was a follower of Jesus who was chosen with eleven others to be Jesus’ apostles.
Luke 6:13 (NASB) And when day came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also named as apostles:
As a disciple of Jesus, he was sent out to preach the gospel of the kingdom and to do miracles.
Matthew 10:5–8 (NASB)
5 These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: “Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans;
6 but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
7 “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’
8 “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.
Notice it was the twelve that Jesus sent out and Judas was among the twelve according to Matthew 10:4. Judas was given authority over sickness and the enemy just as the other apostles received. Jesus also said that the twelve were sent out as sheep in the midst of wolves.
Matthew 10:16 (NASB) “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.
In the teaching of Calvinism, there is an election to salvation for some men while the rest of mankind are created without a hope of eternal life. In this understanding God has pre-determined from eternity past that all but the elect would remain in their sin and be lost forever. If Calvinism is true, then there is a portion of mankind that has been unconditionally chosen and guaranteed salvation because Jesus died for their sins and His death and resurrection guarantees their salvation without fail. Unconditional election is either true or false when tested by the Scriptures. May I share my view of the most famous of the elect in the Scriptures?
Was John one of the elect?
If I asked this question of a Calvinist, I am sure that he or she would answer “Yes.” After all, John had the Holy Spirit since he was in his mother’s womb. Jesus even said that John was the greatest so if anyone on earth should be one of the elect, it surely would be John. Let’s have a look at John’s election.
The Bible’s witness of John
Malachi 3:1 names John as God’s messenger:
Malachi 3:1 (NASB) “Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me…
John preached in the wilderness where he drew great crowds. His work as a messenger of the Lord is prophesied in Isaiah: …