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Revelation 5:9 by Robert Dean
Series:Revelation (2004)
Duration:52 mins 36 secs

Unlimited Means for Everyone; Rev. 5:9


Whenever we are involved with an unbeliever and we give them the gospel, explain to them the plan of salvation, at the very core behind all that we are saying and communicating to them is an understanding that this person who has never put their faith alone in Christ alone is someone for whom Jesus Christ died. Jesus Christ paid the penalty for their sins; He paid the penalty for the sins of the entire world. He had an atonement that was unlimited in its scope, unlimited not only in terms of its extent for all human beings but also in that He paid the penalty for sin in principle and for sins specifically. So there is no sin that is committed in human history that was left unjudged on the cross.


Revelation 5:9 NASB "And they sang a new song, saying, 'Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood {men} [or, redeemed us to God by your blood] from every tribe and tongue and people and nation'." If we do not properly understand this key phrase "redeemed us to God by your blood" then we do not understand what underlies what is going on here in Revelation because the starting point, what lays the basis for the book of Revelation, for the judgments that come in the Tribulation before Jesus Christ returns, is what happened on the cross when He paid the sin penalty.  


Reviewing from last time the idea of substitution, was this substitution real or potential? There are three prepositions used in the Greek in this debate. The first is huper [u(per] plus the genitive which has the idea of "in place of." There is the preposition anti [a)nti] meaning in place of or substitute. Then in a couple of passage there is a third preposition, peri [peri] which also means in place of or on behalf of. These three prepositions reinforce the fact that Christ died as a true, genuine substitute for us. He died in our place. The Old Testament pictures we study is that lamb that was sacrificed in the Passover. When that lamb was sacrificed and that blood applied to the doorposts of the house at the time of the exodus it was that substitutionary death of the lamb that covered the house so that the angel of death passed over. That is the picture we have for redemption.

In establishing the Lord's table Jesus said: "This is the blood of the new covenant which us shed for [huper, in the place of, as a substitute] many." Luke 22:19 NASB "And when He had taken {some} bread {and} given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, 'This is My body which is given [huper] for you; do this in remembrance of Me'." Romans 5:6 NASB "For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for [huper] the ungodly. [7] For one will hardly die for [huper] a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. [8] But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for [huper] us." 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4 NASB "For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for [huper] our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures." 1 Peter 3:18 NASB "For Christ also died for [peri] sins once for all, {the} just for [huper]{the} unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit." Why these are important is because so many people think that Christ's death on the cross was simply a demonstration of how much God loves us. This is the moral use of the atonement. There are some other views of the atonement but what Scripture teaches is a substitutionary atonement, sometimes called a vicarious atonement, i.e. that Christ died for our sins in our place. 

The atonement of Christ was unlimited. John 1:29 NASB "The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, 'Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!'" That word "world" means all of the inhabited planet and all of those who inhabit it. This is seen in John 3:16-17 NASB "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him." It is universal in its scope. Hebrews 2:9 NASB "But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, {namely,} Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone." 2 Corinthians 5:14, 15 NASB "For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf." 1 Timothy 2:3-6 NASB "This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, {and} one mediator also between God and men, {the} man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for [huper] all, the testimony {given} at the proper time."

Four key passages on the unlimited nature of the atonement

1 Timothy 4:10 NASB "For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers." Whenever we read that word "hope," the Greek word elpis [e)lpij], it has a future orientation. It is looking forward to something that we expect, something we anticipate, and it has the idea of a confident expectation. The "living God" here is God the Son. The Greek says exactly what the English says here: "who is the Savior of all men [without exception], especially of believers." Every human being who has drawn breath throughout the centuries has had his sins paid for. Christ is the Savior of all men but in a unique way, a special way, in an applied way only to believers. He has paid the sin penalty for all but only believers reap its benefit because only believers receive the imputation of Christ's righteousness and only believers are regenerate. So 1 Timothy 4:10 is a key passage for demonstrating that there are two levels of orientation through the saving work of Christ: one for all, and another for only those who believe.

2 Peter 2:1 NASB "But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought [agorazo] them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves." The false teachers in this chapter are not saved. The false prophets relate to the Old Testament under Israel; the false teachers are present in the church age. The "destructive heresies" are so because they take the believer's attention off the Lord Jesus Christ, they take attention from off the sufficiency of God's grace, of God's Word, they put the focus on human ability and human works and not on the sufficient and completed work of Jesus Christ on the cross. The reason why Peter uses the word "secret" here is because there heresies are always encased in Scripture. The words "even denying the Mater who bought them" is the key phrase for the extent of the atonement. A lot of people down through history have denied Jesus Christ, they did not have a substitutionary view of the atonement.

1 John 2:2 NASB "and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for {those of} the whole world." Propitiation refers to the fact that He satisfied God's righteousness and justice. In propitiation there are a couple of key words: kapporeth is the Old Testament word that related to the mercy seat, that area on the ark of the covenant between the two cherubs. The cherubs represented the righteousness and justice of God, and once a year on the day of atonement the high priest would bring the blood of the sacrifice, the lamb that was without spot or blemish, and place it upon the mercy seat. Inside the box were emblems of Israel's sin. So it was a visual image of how God's justice and righteousness were satisfied by sin being covered by the blood of Christ. That is the principle that is in the Greek word hilasmos [i(lasmoj] and hilasterion [i(lasthrion] which are the words for propitiation. The idea is that God's righteousness and justice are satisfied, not just for our sins but for the whole world. Christ is the one who satisfies the Father, and so the doctrine of propitiation relates to the whole world; the doctrine of redemption relates to the whole world.

2 Corinthians 5:18 NASB "Now all {these} things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation." What we see here is that it is man who is reconciled to God, not God to man. It is man who is the sinner, it is man who violated the standard in the garden, so man must be reconciled to God. So reconciles. God does the work, man simply accepts it. He performed this work of reconciliation through Jesus Christ. Not only did he perform the work of reconciliation through Jesus Christ but then to us who are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ He has given the ministry of reconciliation—to every one of us. It is every believer's job to announce and proclaim the message of reconciliation.