1. The object of Christ's ministry was to redeem universal humanity.
For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. Luke 19: 10. Jesus says unto them, my meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. John 4: 34. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world: but that the world through him might be saved. John 3: 17. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world, 1 John 4: 14.
2. He labors in this and in the future world to effect his purpose.
For Christ also has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls, were saved by water. 1 Pet. 3: 18-20. Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead. For, for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. 1 Pet. 4: 5, 6.
And Jesus came and spoke unto them, saying, all power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Matt. 28: 18. As you have given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as you have given him. John 17: 2. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. Rom. 14: 9. For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. Phil. 3: 20, 21. The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand. John 3: 35.
The pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul and shall be satisfied.. Isa. 53: 10. This is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world. John 4: 42.
Jesus himself said: It is finished. John 19: 30.
He undertakes to save all men, he labors here and thereafter to accomplish his purpose, he has power to achieve it, and is actually and absolutely "the Savior of THE WORLD," which he could not be if one soul were lost.
1. All souls were created for Christ.
2. Having become unreconciled, he died to bring them into harmony with God.
3. He had so succeeded in establishing the requisite means that he was able to see the result accomplished.
4. It is a universal reconciliation, " all things are reconciled."
For the love of Christ constrains us: because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh; yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to himself by
Jesus Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and has committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be you reconciled to God. For he has made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin: that we might he made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Cor. 5: 14-21. Who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: who is the image of the invisible God, the first born of every creature: for by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist, and he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead that in all things he might have the pre-eminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell: and, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were some time alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now has he reconciled. Col. 1: 13-21.
5. He will draw all men unto him, and they will obey the call, and submit to him in willing and righteous obedience.
He tasted death for every man, Heb. 2: 9, that each might become his disciple, and possess eternal life, and this he declares all men will have, as surely as he is lifted up, that is, crucified. Now is the judgment of this world; now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die. John 12: 31, 33. No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, and they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that has heard, and has learned of the Father, comes unto me. John 6: 44, 45. As you have given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as you has given him. John 17: 2. All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knows the Son, but the Father: neither knows any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. Matt. 11: 27. All that the Father gives me shall come to me; and him that comes to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which has sent me, that of all which he has given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which sees the Son, and believes on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. John 6: 37-40. All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before you. For the kingdom is the Lord's: and he is the governor among the nations. Ps. 22: 27, 28. Wherefore God also has highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things in earth and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Phil. 2: 9-11.
The phrase "under the earth," Kataxthonion, means infernal, and the whole description, says Bretschneider, is equivalent to all mankind. Professor Stuart says:
Things in heaven, earth and under the earth is a common periphrasis of the Hebrew and New Testament writers for the universe.
Albert Barnes says:
The whole universe shall confess that he is Lord. This is a willing confession, to God's glory, and must therefore be of sincere worship.
Who so offers praise glorifies me." Ps. 50: 23.
This must be universal worship, as it is all to the glory of God the Father. There are no unwilling worshippers. Hence the apostle teaches that the result of Christ's mission is to render all souls righteous:
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (for until the law sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offense, so also is the free gift: for if through the offense of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, has abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift; for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses unto justification. For if by one man's offense death reigned by one: much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore, as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation: even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin has reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. Rom. 5: 12-21.
All have sinned, and become subject to death, and the same all are to be made spiritually alive. The same "many" who were disobedient sinners are to be made righteous.
Says Dr. Macknight (Scotch Presbyterian):
For as hoi polloi, the many, in the first part of the verse, does not mean some of mankind only, but all mankind, from first to last, who without exception are constituted through the disobedience of Adam sinners; so the many in the latter part of the verse, who are said to be constituted righteous through the obedience of Christ, must mean all mankind, from the beginning to the end of the world, without exception.
Thus these many, i.e. all mankind, are to become actively righteous. Says Professor Stuart.
Dikaioi, moreover, must have an active sense here, in order to make out the antithesis to hamartoloi, which clearly bears only an active sense, if the usus loquendi may decide this point; at least it does so wherever else it is employed.
The "many" who died in sin, died as Adam died and are to be made alive with spiritual life, as Christ was alive - that is, all men are to resemble Christ as they have resembled Adam. This the Apostle illustrates by the figure of a pair of scales:
As in Adam all In Christ shall all die, even so be made alive, 1 Cor. 15: 22.
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