Friday, 11 January 2013

Morris and Gill on Jn 1:29.

Jesus was sacrificed for the world, that is, for the entire human family in all ages.  This is abundantly clear.  All are bought, but all do not acknowledge the purchase.[1]  This is supportive of Baxter’s soteriology as of that held by DML-J.  For the sinner to receive the benefits of the redemption purchased by Christ, God requires of him faith in Jesus Christ and repentance that leads to life.  Wesley concurs with the above, adding that the sins taken away are the sins of all mankind.[2]  Sin and the world are of equal extent, argues Wesley.  Even the elect prior to conversion are full of sin, so “sin and the world are (truly) of equal extent.” 

Gill’s exegesis (or is it eisegesis?) makes “the world” equal “the elect,” but on what grounds he does this are not given.  It is a purely gratuitous exercise, and dishonest, as Machen would say.  By the “sin of the world,” is not meant the sin, or sins of every individual person in the world, says Gill.[3].  So according to this exegesis “the sin of the world” does not mean “the sin of the world” after all.  Had John said this in 1:29, confusion in understanding basic English would not have occurred.  We would have been clear that the world, as we understand it, was not meant. 

Leon Morris understands the Cross in its comprehensiveness.[4]  John is referring to the totality of the world’s sin, rather than to a number of individual acts.  Individual acts are carried out by individuals, therefore, John is not referring to individuals either.  His reference is to “the sin of the world” in its totality.  Christ’s death on the Cross is “completely adequate for the needs of all men.”[5] 

[1]    The Fourfold Gospel (n.d., n.p.).
[2]    Wesley’s Notes on the NT.
[3]    Gill,
[4]    Morris, 1972:148.
[5]    Ibid.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Matthew Henry on Jn 1:29.

Matthew Henry writes on Jn 1:29: “This is encouraging to our faith; if Christ takes away the sin of the world, then why not my sin?”  Why not indeed?  The People’s New Testament views Jesus as the world’s Saviour.  Here “the world,” means “the world,” humanity, all mankind.  A. T. Robertson makes the point that “He is the Lamb of God for the world, not just for Jews.”[1]  The juxtaposition of “the world” and “the Jews” suggests that in distinction to “the Jews,” which is a particular nation, “the world” is the cosmos in all its rich universality. 

[1]    A T Robertson, Word Pictures of the New Testament.

J C Ryle on Jn 1:29

The words of this verse were spoken by the Baptist. The lamb of God, namely, the daily sacrifice, takes away the sin of the world, as the sacrifice did for all Israel.  In the Old Testament, the remedy was universally applicable to that particular people, Israel.  But here we have the true Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.  Ryle quotes Calvin approvingly when he remarks that the writer, John, “extends this favour indiscriminately to the whole human race, that the Jews might not think he had been sent for them alone.”[1]  The entire race is under divine condemnation, but the divine remedy is offer to all without exception on condition of faith, or as Calvin puts it here “by the guidance of faith.”

For him, John uses the singular number, referring to “the sin” and not “the sins” of the world.  Says Ryle,

“The expression seems to me purposely intended to show that what Christ took away, and bore on the cross, was not the sin of certain people only, but the whole accumulated mass of all the sins of all the children of  Adam.[2]
Neither Ryle nor Calvin places any restriction on the meaning and implication of the text because Scripture does not.  Believing as they do that Scripture is clear on these important matters, the natural meaning of the words is good enough for them, and therefore followed.  To limit the author’s intent is to do injustice to his thought, and both Calvin and Ryle eschewed that vigorously.  Ryle delves into the hidden purpose of God in the Cross when he mentions His intention for Christ in His death.  Clearly, it was to atone for the sins of all men, not a limited few (relatively speaking).  It was all-encompassing in its intent and limited to the “whosoever believes,” in effect. 
Ryle’s limited understanding of things divine is expressed quite honestly when he states that he rests in the inscrutableness of the divine will and purpose when the world’s sin was laid on, borne by and atoned for in Christ.[3]  It is inclusive of “all the men and women in the world.”  Repudiating the idea of “universal salvation” as a “dangerous heresy,” and “utterly contrary to Scripture,” Ryle asserts that “the lost will not prove to be lost because Christ has done nothing for them.  He bore their sins, He carried their transgressions, He provided payment.”[4]  Since He has done all that for the world, no one having been provided out of the love of God for His creatures, can be said to die without an offered and available, willing and able Saviour.[5]  Their own stubborn refusal to trust Christ is the cause of their eternal lostness, not any pre-creation decree passed by God.  As Ryle preaches, “He set the prison door open to all, but the majority would not come out and be free.”[6] 
So, for Ryle, it is the act and attitude of unbelief that damns sinners, not any insufficiency on the atonement.  “Christ’s atonement is a benefit which is offered freely and honestly to all mankind. ... the true meaning [is] that the Lamb of God has made atonement sufficient for all though efficient unquestionably to none but believers.[7]

[1]    Ryle, 1869/1987:63.
[2]    Ryle, 1869/1987:61.
[3]    Ryle, 1869/1987:62.
[4]    Ibid.
[5]    Heb.7:25.
[6]    Ryle, 1869/1987:62.
[7]    Ryle, 1869/1987:62.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Christ Died For The World

This verse is quoted very frequently by DML-J in his evangelistic sermons.  What is the context of this verse and what does it mean?  The context is the Suffering Servant of Isaiah and this individual is identified with Christ in His death by Calvin in his sermons on this passage.[1]  The Geneva Bible notes state that the punishment of the iniquity of us all was laid on Him.  Hyper-Calvinist, Dr. John Gill, in his exposition of this phrase, states quite unashamedly, “he has laid on Christ, his own Son, the sins of all his elect ones.”  Continuing, he adds, “[God the Father] ... laid on Christ, and were bore by him, even all the sins of all God’s elect...”  Further, Gill teaches,

The words may be rendered, "he made to meet upon him the iniquity of us all"; the elect of God, as they live in every part of the world, their sins are represented as coming from all quarters, east, west, north, and south; and as meeting in Christ, as they did, when he suffered as their representative on the cross ...   

Gill is clearly limiting his interpretation of this verse and restricting it to the elect only and universally, but unlike Calvin does not see it as applying to the whole world of men.  Yet, Gill quotes R. Cohana (favourably) when he says,

“ the ass bears burdens, and the garments of travellers, so the King Messiah will bear upon him the sins of the whole world; as it is said, "the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”[2] 

This appears just a tad inconsistent with his own stated position, yet he included it in his comment on this verse.

Remember, Christ died for the world, which means He died for you, too.  His blood was shed for you that by trusting in Him you will be forever saved. 

[1]   Parker, 1976.
[2]   Apud Galatin. de Cathol. Ver. I. 10. c. 6. p. 663, and Siphre in ib. l. 8. c. 20. p. 599.