To Give His Life a Ransom for Many?

Monday, August 1, 2011

“Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28 KJV).

Calvinists use today’s Scripture to argue “limited atonement,” the belief that Christ only died to savemany,” not all.” Does God want all to be saved, or just manyto be saved?

In Luke 1:68,69,77, the Holy Ghost speaks through Zacharias (father of John the Baptist): “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, and hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;…to give knowledge unto salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,”

Surely, the Holy Ghost is speaking of Israel here. According to the Old Testament, Israel had to be saved first, and then God would use that saved nation to bring salvation to the rest of the world (Exodus 19:5,6; Isaiah 60:1-3; Zechariah 8:20-23; et al.).

“He came unto his own, and his own received him not” (John 1:11). Jesus Christ came to Israel first because the Old Testament covenants were given to Israel’s patriarchs, not to the Gentiles. Christ came to fulfill Israel’s covenants (Romans 15:8), which explains why He restricted His earthly ministry to Jews. “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel(Matthew 15:24; cf. Matthew 10:5-7; John 4:22). Salvation needed to be preached to Israel first (Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8; Acts 2:36-38; Acts 3:24-26).

When we come to Paul’s ministry, we learn: “but rather through [Israel’s] fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke [Israel] to jealousy” (Romans 11:11). Israel blasphemed against the Holy Ghost, and rejected the establishment of her kingdom. Consequently, God went to the nations, apart from Israel. Today, the Apostle Paul writes that Christ “gave himself a ransom for all to be testified in due time” (1 Timothy 2:6). Thus, limited atonement is foolishness.

Today, salvation is sent to the entire world (“all”)—not just to Israel (“many”)—through Paul’s Gospel.