Part 1

Section 392 Corinthians 5:14,15.

For the love of Christ constraineth us, because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for all, that they which live, should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

This scripture[1] never fails to have a place in the controversy about the extent of the death of Christ. Universal redemption is concluded from hence, by the following arguments, now to be examined.

I. The first is taken from the word all[2] here used, if, or since one died for all.But it ought to be observed,

1. That the text does not say that Christ died for all men,but for all;and therefore, agreeable to other scriptures (Matthew 1:2l; John 10:15; Eph. 5:25; Heb. 2:9, 10), may be understood of all the people whom Jesus saves from their sins; of all the sheep for whom he laid down his life; of all the members of his church,whom he loved, and for whom he gave himself; or of all the sons for whom he tasted death, and, as the Captain of their salvation, brings to glory.

2. That it is said in the latter part of the text, that those for whom Christ died, for them also he rose again; who therefore ought to live tw uper autwn apoqanonti kai egerqenti,[3] to him that died and rose again for them.Christ died for no more nor for others than those for whom he rose again; such for whom he rose again, he rose for their justification; if Christ rose for the justification of all men, all men would be justified, or the end of Christ's resurrection would not be answered; but all men are not, nor will be justified; some will be condemned: it follows, that Christ did not rise from the dead for all men, and consequently did not die for all men.

3. That the all for whom Christ died, died with him, and through his death are dead both to the law and sin; then were all dead.Besides, the end of his dying for them was, that they might live, not to themselves, but to him that died for them;neither of which is true of all mankind; not to take any notice of the nature and manner of Christ's dying for these all;which was for,in the room and stead of them; and denotes a substitution made, a satisfaction given, which issues in the full discharge, acquittance, and justification of them, and is not the case of every individual of human nature.

4. That the context (2 Cor. 5:17, 18, 21), explains the all of such who are in Christ, are new creatures, reconciled to God, whose trespasses are not imputed to them, for whom Christ was made sin, and who are made the righteousness of God in him; which cannot be, said of all men.

II. It is observed,[4] "the words, all were dead, must certainly be taken in their greatest latitude; wherefore, the words preceding, if or since Christ died for all,from which they are an inference, ought also to be taken in the same extent." To which I reply,

1. The latitude in which the words all were dead,are to be taken, must be according to that in which the preceding words, if one died for all,are to be taken; by these the extent of the other is fixed, and not the extent of these by them. The apostle does not say, nor is it his meaning, that Christ died for all that were dead; but that all were dead for whom he died; if one died for all,then oi panteV apeqaion, those all were dead;for the article oi is anaphorical or relative, as Beza and Piscator rightly observe: supposing, therefore, that the words all were dead,are capable of being taken in such a latitude as to comprehend every individual of mankind, there is no necessity that they should be so taken here, unless it be first proved, that the preceding words, if one died for all,by which the extent of these is fixed, are to be understood in so large a sense; which is the thing in question, and cannot receive any proof from hence; till this is done, it is enough to say, that all for whom Christ died were dead: from whence it does not follow, by any just consequence, that Christ died for all that were dead.

2. It is proper to consider the sense of these words, then were all dead.The Remonstrants[5] understand them of a death in sin, which is common to all mankind; and because all men are dead in sin, they conclude that Christ died for all men. Admitting this sense of the words, they prove no more, than that all for whom Christ died were dead in sin; which is very true; for the elect of God are dead in trespasses and sins, whilst in a state of nature, as well as others; but not that Christ died for all that were dead in sin: and therefore, even according to this interpretation, they conclude nothing in favor of universal, or against particular redemption. Though it does not appear that this is the sense of the words, since to be dead in sin is no consequence of the death of Christ, that is, such an one as is depending on it; for it would have been a truth, that all men descending from Adam, were dead in sin, if Christ had never died; or if he had died for some or for none; much less is a death in sin the fruit of Christ's death, or what puts persons in a capacity of living to Christ, which the death here spoken of is intimated to be and do; but, on the contrary, this death is the fruit of sin, and what renders persons incapable, whilst under the power of it, to live to Christ. And therefore,

3. When those for whom Christ died, are said to be dead through his dying for them, the meaning is, either that they were dead with him, or in him, as the Ethiopic version reads it, their head and representative; when he was crucified they were crucified with him, and so was their old man, that the body of sin might be destroyed; that henceforth they should not serve sin;or that they were dead to the law by the body of Christ,as to the curse of it, and condemnation by it; and dead to sin,as to its damning power, so that they were acquitted, discharged, and justified from it; the consequence of which is, a deliverance from the reigning power and dominion of it. Hence, being thus dead to the law and sin, they are capable, through the assistance of divine grace, of living unto righteousness, and to the glory of Christ; all which is the saints' privilege, and the fruit and effect of Christ's death. Now as the former sense of the words concludes nothing in favor of Christ's dying in for every individual of mankind; this latter sense, which is most genuine, strongly concludes against it; since all men are not, nor will be, dead to the law and to sin.

III. Universal redemption is pleaded for from the end of Christ's death; which is, that they which live, should not live unto themselves, but unto him that died for them.Upon which it is observed,[6] "This sure must be the duty of all Christians in particular (unless there be any Christians not obliged to live to Christ, but rather at liberty to live unto themselves), and so that death, which is the motive to it, must be intended for them all." To this I add, instead of answering, that this is a way of reasoning which cannot be contradicted, certainly it is the duty of all Christians to live to Christ, nor are any at liberty to live to themselves: and it will not be denied, that the death of Christ was intended for them all, since all Christians, who are really such, are the believers, and these are the elect of God. But then there is a wide difference between these two propositions, Christ died for all Christians, and Christ died for all men; unless it can be thought, that all men, Turks, Jews, and Indians, are Christians. The argument from the end of Christ's death, here mentioned, is formed in a much better manner, and to better purpose, by the Remonstrants,[7] thus "Those who ought to live to Christ, for them Christ died; but not the elect only ought to live to Christ, therefore Christ did not die for the elect only." To which I answer, that however plausible this argument may seem to be, yet it has no foundation in the text, which does not say, that Christ died for all them who ought to live to him; but only, at most, proves, that those for whom he died, ought to live to him: all men ought to live to Christ as God, as their Creator, they are obliged to it by the laws of Creation, and ties of nature, whether he died for them or no, and indeed, supposing he had never died for any; bat besides the obligation from creation, there is a fresh one upon such for whom he died to live to him: hence it follows not that "to say[8] that Christ died for some only of all nations, Jews and Gentiles, is to exempt all others of those nations from living to Christ;" for though they are not bound to live to Christ on the account of redemption by him; yet, because they are his creatures, and are supplied with temporal mercies from him: and as to what is further observed,[9] that "to say he died for all the elect, that they of them who live, might not live to themselves, is to suppose that some of the elect might live, not to Christ, but to themselves; which cannot truly be imagined of the elect of God." I reply, that there is a proneness in all the elect of God, even after they are made spiritually alive, to live to themselves, and not to Christ; and therefore, such an argument, taken from Christ's dying for them in particular, is a very proper one to quicken them to their duty, and engage them with all readiness and cheerfulness to seek the glory and honor of their Redeemer.

IV. That Christ died for all men, is argued for from the love of Christ constraining the apostles to preach the Gospel to all; and it is said,[10] the apostle "declares, that the sense of this love of Christ prevailed upon them to persuade men to believe in him. Now this persuasion they used to every man to whom they preached; and therefore they persuaded all men to believe that Christ died for them (Col. 1:28)." To which I answer; that it was not the love of Christ, but the terror of the Lord, that prevailed upon them to persuade men (v. 11), and that it is not said, that they persuaded all men, but men; for it was not all men they preached unto. Moreover, this persuasion was not to believe in Christ, but a general judgment, to which all will be summoned (v. 10), much less to believe that Christ died for all to whom they preached; of which kind of persuasion we have no instance, neither here nor in Colossians 1:28, nor in any other passage of scripture.


[1] Remonstr. in Coll. Hag. art. 2. p. 132; Curcellaeus, 1. 6, c. 4, sect. 6, p. 360; Limborch, 50:4, c. 3, sect. 3, 4, p. 319.

[2] Whitby, p. l13, ed. 2. 111.

[3] Repete uper autwn, sicut ratio hypozeugmatis requirit;Vorst in loc.

[4] Whitby, p. 119; ed. 2.116.

[5] In Coll. Hag. art. 2. p. 160, 192.

[6] Whitby, p. 119; ed. 2. 116.

[7] In Coll. Hag. art. 2. p. 132.

[8] Whitby, p. 119; ed. 2. 116.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Whitby, p. 119; ed. 2. 116.

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