By Marlin Kilpatrick
There are numerous events recorded in the Bible about which we may misunderstand; this is why we need to daily study our Bibles. What the death of Christ makes possible for all people everywhere is often misunderstood by those who are in denominationalism. Very few people who have actually studied the Bible and ancient world history will deny there once lived a man named Jesus. And this Jesus, according to the New Testament, lived among men and was finally crucified by the Roman soldiers on a hillside outside of Jerusalem. So the historicity of the death of Christ is not man’s problem. But, through the perversion of the Scriptures by false teachers and their doctrines, there are many folks who, today, sincerely believe they are saved, when such is not true.
I once was in a private discussion with a denominational preacher. He claimed he believed in baptism as much as I, but not for the same reason. I pointed out to him that if we both do not believe that baptism is for the remission of our sins, we both are lost. I cited Acts 2:38, to which he replied, “I know that my Redeemer liveth and that he died for my sins on Calvary’s cross.” Dear reader, in such a claim lies one of the most misunderstood facts about the death of Christ. This preacher also claimed that Christ did everything for man on the cross and there’s nothing for man to do but accept the merits of Christ’s death and be saved. Such claims are indicative of a gross misunderstanding about the death of Christ.
Did Christ accomplish everything at Calvary? The answer to this question depends upon what is meant. For example, if it is meant that Christ accomplished everything he intended to accomplish in his death, the answer is yes! If, however, it is meant that by simply believing that Christ died for our sins, and without any further act(s) of an obedient faith, we are saved, then the answer is no!
Precious people, it is true Jesus did die for our sins on Calvary’s cross. In fact, the apostle John wrote, concerning Jesus’ death, “And he is the propitiation for our sins, and not for our sins only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). While Jesus died for the sins of mankind, this does not mean that all of mankind will be saved. On the contrary, Jesus said the majority of mankind will be lost (cf. Matt. 7:13,14). If Jesus died for all men, but not all men will be saved, then what is the explanation of Jesus’ death?
Jesus died to make salvation possible for all men. When Jesus died he shed his blood (cf. John 19:34). The shedding of Jesus’ blood provides for all men the opportunity to be saved. The death of Christ only makes possible this opportunity, but to be saved, we must be washed in the blood of Christ (cf. Rev.1:5). Sinners are only saved when they are baptized into the death of Christ, in which they are washed from their sins; this is why baptism is “for the remission of sins” and why “…baptism doth also now save us” (cf. Rom. 6:3,4; Acts 2:38; 1 Pet. 3:21).
Friend, have you obeyed the gospel of Christ? If we fail to obey the gospel, we will be eternally lost (cf. 2 Thes. 1:7-9). The churches of Christ stand ready at any time to assist you in your obedience to the gospel. Think about it.