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Would Jesus die for just one sinner?

This question has been bugging me lately. I can’t help but wonder, are people wrong when they say of themselves, “Jesus died for me”?

I’ve been reading various forum posts and internet articles from Christians with rather disappointing thoughts, suggesting God only died for “the many”. Let me say plainly: I think they are dead wrong.

Here is an overview of the various arguments against Jesus dying for just one (most of the arguments say the same things) and my thoughts:

1.) “The Bible doesn’t say that Jesus would die for just one sinner.” 

The Bible doesn’t say a lot of things. The Bible doesn’t use the word “Trinity”, yet the concept is clearly there. The Bible doesn’t use the term “Substitutionary Atonement”, yet we know from God’s Word that the doctrine is true. This first argument is just stupid and reflects a heart that can’t listen or discern the things of God.

Here is what the Bible does say on the subject:

Genesis 6:7-8 – “And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.”

Thoughts: the entire human race was wicked, except for Noah, and he found favor in God’s eyes. God made special provision and saved he and the seven other members of his family out of the whole human race.

Luke 15:7 – “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”

Thoughts: there is literally MORE rejoicing over a SINGLE SINNER who repents, than the combined rejoicing over 99 righteous who do not need to repent. Let the truth of Jesus’ words sink in a bit. If there is more rejoicing over one person who needs to repent, than 99 who don’t need to repent, do you really think Jesus would only die for the 99 and not the one?

Luke 15:8-10 – Read this passage. God is diligently seeking for each solitary, individual, single person.

Thoughts: the word here is “diligently”. God is aggressively, whole-heartedly seeking for even a single lost sinner who might repent. V. 10 reemphasizes v. 7. And how about the parable of the Prodigal Son? Did not the father long for the one son who was lost to return? Did not that father RUN to his son when he returned? Did not that father throw a HUGE celebration for just that one son’s return?

2.) “The question is pointless because God doesn’t deal in hypotheticals.”

Does this point even deserve a response? No, it doesn’t, but I’ll give one anyway because doubters (like me) demand one.

Firstly, the point is plainly wrong. God does deal in hypotheticals. Consider Genesis 18 where Abraham asks God SIX HYPOTHETICAL QUESTIONS about how many righteous persons must reside in Sodom for God not to destroy the city. God answers, hypothetically, calmly, and lovingly, all six questions with HYPOTHETICAL answers.

Also, notice what this chapter is about in the first place! God is going to save the righteous EVEN IF THERE ARE ONLY A FEW. God saves!

The dumbest version of this argument I’ve ever heard was from someone who otherwise seemed quite intelligent in theology. Their argument suggested that if there was only one person to save then the person to save would have to be the executioner. How strange is that? First thing, the question, “would Jesus die for only one sinner?”, does not require that only one person exist. It requires that only one person would repent. The hypothetical scenario that works would be a world just like our own, where only one person out of the many would come to believe in Christ and the significance of his sacrifice.

3.) “Preachers say this too much… it’s clichรฉ.” 

How foolish. This isn’t even an argument, yet I’ve heard and read supposed Christians spouting off with this “argument” more than any other. Maybe they should ask, “WHY do so many preachers suggest that God would die for just one sinner?” Perhaps it could have something to do with their SUPERIOR discernment of God’s Word and SUPERIOR trust in His Goodness.

4.) “The payoff would not be big enough.” 

This is the argument I hate the most. It treats human beings like unbelievers do—as commodities with little value. May I remind these doubting Christians of Genesis 1:27? God created man in His VERY IMAGE. Are you the one to place a value on that?

The reason I hate this argument the most is because it utterly ignores the amount, greatness, and type of God’s love. It utterly ignores 1 Corinthians 13. It utterly ignores 1 John 4:8. It utterly ignores the Cross. God’s love is THE GREATEST. God’s love IS PERFECT. God’s love IS SACRIFICIAL. God’s love BEARS ALL THINGS, BELIEVES ALL THINGS, HOPES ALL THINGS, ENDURES ALL THINGS. God’s love has been most clearly seen in Christ and in the Cross He bore. God’s love goes ALL THE WAY—to the very pit of death. John 15:13.

Throughout history many have died to save the life of only one other. Many husbands have died for their wives. Many soldiers have died for their fellow soldier. Many brothers have died for a brother.

If you, in contradiction of Scripture, say that God would not go after the one, then you say that there is a greater love than God’s. You say that there is a goodness greater than God’s. As my pastor always points out: our greatest failure is doubting God’s goodness. Don’t doubt God’s goodness like unbelievers do. They doubt it to their death.

In summary, it appears to be a clear biblical teaching that Jesus would die for just one sinner and there are many Scriptures that bring us to that conclusion, including Genesis 1:27, Luke 15:7-10, John 15:13, Romans 8:32, 1 John 4:8, and Revelation 1:5.  Galatians 2:20 seems to teach this doctrine outright.

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