Monday, March 21, 2011

Jesus Saves... Everyone?

Careful, Rob Bell knows you're reading this post! Last week I blogged my obligatory Rob Bell Love Wins post bringing up the ongoing debate over whether he espouses universalism and adding a wrinkle to the discussion. Moments later, my email account spammed all of my contacts. Then later someone tried to break into my house. Seriously. Coincidence? I think not! That's some serious marketing strategy right there. Actually, I'm not sure whether to blame Bell or Kevin DeYoung, because my link to his magnum opus review of the book redirected to an ads.doubleclick site. Hmmm maybe it's the Gospel Coalition covering their tracks to make me think it was Bell? Diabolical!

So I removed the post, changed my passwords, and updated my privacy settings. I'm also not hyperlinking anything on this one, in case all the bugs aren't worked out yet. And no, I don't really think the events of last Friday had anything to do with Bell, his book, or my post. The spam I blame on the hotel computer I used before I caught my flight home. The attempted break-in was simply because someone noticed that I hadn't been home in a week. Not too hard to figure that one out.

Anyway, I took the post down but I still want the discussion. I don't count myself in the universalist camp, yet I can see some of the arguments. The discussion I wanted to raise draws our attention to Jesus' completion of the Old Covenant through his crucifixion. To quote from my deleted post:

If we contend that the God of the Old Testament and New Testament are the same (some argue He is not) and Christ is the completion of the Old Covenant, then we need to go back to that Covenant to put Christ's sacrifice into its proper perspective. My argument is this: if Christ is the sacrificial lamb, the ultimate sacrifice, and that he died for one and all, then aren't all of our sins forgiven given the Old Covenant? (see Romans 3:25, Hebrews 2:17, and 2 Corinthians 5:14) Isn't that, after all, the point of Jesus' sacrifice? Under the Old Covenant there were no prerequisites for faith in the lamb in order for that lamb to be offered up for one's sin. So if Jesus died for all of our sins, shouldn't everyone's sins be forgiven?

If our sins are forgiven by Christ's sacrifice, then does not the shedding of his blood save everyone? And if this is the case, then what is the point of the resurrection as it relates to our salvation?

I have my own thoughts on this, but I'm interested in what you think.

Under the conditions of the Old Covenant, Jesus' sacrifice should atone for all of our sins, therefore all of our sins are already forgiven independent of faith in Christ. If so, what then, does the resurrection mean?


S. Etole said...

I'm definitely not a theologian, but doesn't the resurrection establish His lordship and that death no longer has a hold on us?

Fatha Frank said...

Agree. Jesus' resurrection ushers in His Kingdom. It is also through his resurrection that we can have a "new life" and are "new creations" by participating in the death, burial and resurrection via baptism (Romans 6:3-11).

What is interesting then, applying the Old Covenant, is that there appears to be two distinct "salvations": having our sins forgiven by the blood of the lamb, and being raised to a new life.

How this applies to the doctrine of universalism I have no idea. So I'm fishing for ideas with this post. Thanks for commenting!