Candidates For Grace? An Offer But You’ve Got to Make it Personal For You?
Jesus Christ either already died personally for you, or He did not. All those for whom Christ died will believe the gospel, but their believing is NOT what makes Christ’s death “personal for them”.
The gospel is not an invitation for you to “write your name in the blank” . The gospel tells about Christ’s death being the death of those who will be justified. This is the verything that the false gospel does not and cannot say.
The false gospel has to talk only about “candidates for grace” because the false gospel in rebellion against God wants to tell sinner that grace is conditioned on the “candidate” It says “our guilt CAN be taken away, and we COULD be counted righteous.” The “could be” means “might or might not”, depending on the decision of the sinner: “Jesus suffered the penalty due our sins so that we DON’T HAVE TO.”
That’s the same false gospel I have been hearing all my life. All our lives we have been hearing Arminianism, and most people who profess to be Christians profess that what Jesus did (in death and resurrection) sets up a plan which makes it possible for you to give him your sins and then for Him to save you.
The Arminian idea is that God has a “plan” or a “proposal” that has “potential” if you opt in. Or to say it the way they sometimes say it, if you don’t opt out. Arminians start with the assumption of the universal fatherhood of God, of God’s love for everybody. But then if something goes wrong with the relationship with their god that their god “made possible”, it’s your fault.
There was potential, but what you did (or didn’t do) was the “deal-breaker”. The more traditional Arminians think that their god saw the train coming (your opting out or not opting in), but there was nothing their god could or would do to change anything. The more modern arminian god is simply surprised that things didn’t work out. But in both cases, you are flattered as the one who gets to make the deal, as the one who gets to put your sins on their god or not. You are seen as the final exchanger and imputer.
II Corinthians 5:15 does not teach that Christ died for our sins so that we don’t have to; it says that those for whom Christ died also died with him. That is substitution, and you cannot teach substitution unless you describe which sinners Christ died for. To teach substitution, you actually have to say that all for whom Christ died will definitely and justly go free!
If Christ died for every sinner but some of these sinners will perish, then that may be some sort of “substitution” but it not a saving substitution. II Corinthians 5:15 does not use the word “elect”, but the only ALTERNATIVE way to understand the identity of the “for” and the “with” is to teach an universalism in which every sinner has died to sin and will be justified.
I think most “ tolerant Calvinists would rather live as practical de facto universalists then dare talk about election in connection with II Corinthians 5. They fear any good news which teaches that the elect have already died to judgment when Christ died for them will cause moral problems down the line.
The advantage for most evangelicals in not talking about election in II Cor 5 is that they can take the phrase “live for Him who died for them” and use it to lay duties on every sinner they meet. But there is no point in talking about any such duties until a sinner has obeyed the true gospel and repented from the dead works of the false gospel. Until after that, we are all simply guilty, born in guilt, dead in guilt.
Some teach that “we are saved not only by believing the fact that Christ died for our sins, but by union with the crucified and risen Jesus.” The idea is that the decision of the sinner (after she is regenerated) will make the union happen. But the gospel does not tell sinners who the elect are; the gospel tells sinners about election, and that some already are elect and some are not.
It IS a fact that there was one kind of “union” of the elect in Christ so that already at the cross, long before (or after) they are justified, Christ paid by death for their sins. Faith does not make this aspect of the union happen.