How can the death of one man atone for the lives of all people?

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“And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” (1 John 2:2).

The word “propitiation” means an atonement or repairing from a wrong doing or sin to regain favor.

Jesus’ death was sufficient to atone for the lives of all people because, being the Creator of all (John 1:1-4, 10-14), His life was more than equivalent to the lives of His creation. Within Christ dwells the sum total of the nature of God. All the powers of Deity are found in Him. “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9).  The “fullness” of God is seen in Christ and the stretch of this term is without limit in time, space, and power.

Although Jesus is God, He chose to become a human in order to atone for us in our nature or likeness. “Who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,  but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:6-8).

Sin formed a wall between man and God. “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2). “But God demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

This is the good news of God’s plan for us humans. It is the message of God’s gift for us, His own Son who became man. Jesus lived a sinless life, died on the cross the death we deserved and rose from the dead proving the fact that He is God’s Son and is able to save all humanity (Hebrews 2:17). “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13). Because of what Jesus did for us on the cross, the Bible says, “For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.” (1 Thessalonians 5: 9-10).

In His service,

The BibleAsk Team

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