Thursday, October 14, 2010

Double Jeopardy & God's Justice

"Did Jesus die for the sins of all people?" Almost every evangelical Christian is going to answer that question with a resounding, "Yes!"

But I think the question is worthy of some reflection, because of the idea of double jeopardy: that is, the legal principle that a person cannot be convicted and punished twice for the same crime.

The question about Jesus dying for the sins of all people begs this further question: if Jesus did in fact die for the sins of all people -- even those who reject Christ and endure eternal punishment in hell -- why would a righteous God send those people to hell? If Christ died for their sins, then the punishment has been paid. To send that person to hell would seem to significantly call God's justice into question.

So, did Jesus die for the sins of all people?


  1. Hi, Larry:
    Thanks for the opportunity for me to think this all through again. It's an interesting question. I'm among those who answer your posed question with a resounding "Yes!"

    Here's my text
    I John 2:2
    "He [Jesus] is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world."

    That's pretty hard to get away from, though I am sure this text is differently interpreted by those who hold to limited atonement.

    My greater concern with this intellectual argument is that it is a minor issue in my mind, maybe even a non-issue in my mind. I don't buy the double jeopardy thing. Inserting human legal constructs into the mysteries of God is bound to lead one into trouble.

    This IS a mystery -- Did Jesus die for all? Yes. Did Jesus die just for the elect? Yes.
    Both answers are yes, and I think it depends on your eternal perspective. On this side of eternity, we see through a glass dimly. Jesus' propitiation has been offered to all, no one would argue that. But to limit His atonement just to those who are the elect -- on THIS side of eternity -- well, to LIMIT the atonement in any way becomes pretty dangerous in my mind.

    But from the other side of eternity, of course He died only for the elect! It depends on your perspective in time. God lives outside of time, so for Him both are true.

    But here and now, Jesus died for ALL. And I think that's important...but I wouldn't take the bullet for my view.

    (And that's the big reason why I am a 3 and a half point Calvinist.)


  2. Going to need a breakfast at the Fireside to respond adequately to this comment, brother!

    Thanks for your thoughts!