Once For All?

Q. In your commentary on the Parable of the 10 Virgins you said, “This parable teaches that His return signals the deadline after which even the request to be saved and receive the Holy Spirit will be denied. (The foolish virgins, as the parable calls them, were on their way to replenish their oil when the bridegroom arrived.) The door will be closed, and the Lord will deny ever knowing those who’ve come too late.”

I have a question about the above quote. Maybe I’m confused, but I was always taught that Jesus died once for all time. Would that not include everyone from the beginning of time until forever?

A. It’s true that Jesus died “once for all time”. But the Bible is clear in saying we have to believe that His death constitutes payment in full for our sins before it does us any good. John 3:16-18 is one example among many. If this were not so, then everyone would be saved and we know that’s not true. Those who reject His death as payment for their sins disqualify themselves from the only remedy He has provided.

At the 2nd Coming, the opportunity to be saved will be suspended while the Lord conducts a series of judgments concerning all the people who will have survived the Great Tribulation. These are covered in the parables of Matt. 24:45-25:46. In each case the saved will be welcomed into the Kingdom while the unsaved will be sent away to a place of punishment. (Matt. 25:46 is an example of this).

Once the judgments are complete, the Millennium will begin and salvation will again be available to those who seek it until the Great White Throne judgment at its end. At that time anyone whose name is not found written in the book of life will be thrown into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:15).

The Lord’s death would have covered all these people. Had they accepted it, they could have received a full pardon for their sins.

Alas, it’s not just His death that counts, we have to believe He died for us to make it complete. No combination other than His sacrifice and our faith in its sufficiency will work.

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