Before Holly and I got married I was a poor college graduate who had just begun seminary and that meant that I had zero income. Holly, on the other hand, had graduated and already gotten a job, which meant her bank account was full.
After an 8 month engagement the day finally came, and Holly and I arrived at a beautiful church in downtown McDonough, GA to be married in the presence of God, family, and friends. My eyes filled with tears as she walked down the aisle, my heart pounded with excitement, and a marvelous thing took place that day. Not only did I gain a godly and gorgeous wife that I didn’t deserve, but a full bank account as well. I said ‘I do’ and my bank account went from empty to full from no work of my own simply because our lives were now united as one everything that belonged to her became mine.
You see the greater lesson in this don’t you? When we become Christians, when we come to Christ, we’re united to Him, and from no work of our own everything that belongs to Him becomes ours. How did this happen? It happened by the atoning work on the cross.
This brings up a question that is as old as the Bible:
‘For whom did Christ die?’
What’s in view in this question is the extent and the intent of the atonement. John Murray in his book Redemption Accomplished and Applied asks the same question like this: ‘On whose behalf did Christ offer Himself a sacrifice? On whose behalf did He propitiate the wrath of God? Whom did He reconcile to God in the body of His flesh through death? Whom did He redeem from the curse of the law, from the guilt and power of sin, from the power and bondage of Satan? In whose stead and on whose behalf was He obedient unto death, even the death of the cross?’
To answer Murray’s questions fast forward to the New Heavens and the New Earth. Picture yourself there, praising the Lamb who stands victorious though slain, picture the Father on His throne pleased with the work of His Son and His Church, and picture the Spirit filling us all with an eternal delight and joy as we surround the throne of God in robes of white. Now picture yourself looking around you at all the other people there the people from every tribe, language, tongue, and nation; who are these people? The answer from the Bible, is they are the elect, the ones for whom Christ died.
You see, in Jesus’ atonement He didn’t merely open the door of redemption for whosoever desires it. No, He redeemed and purchased a particular people. Rather than just making salvation possible and hoping people would be saved, God really did accomplish the conversion of a definite group of people, and through His Son and by His Spirit gave them everything that belonged to Him.