getting forgiveness for sins
Question> during one of our discussions, we got into the crucification of christ. did the forgiveness of sins for all ppl occur on the cross, and now man must either accept that forgiveness or not? or does the forgiveness occur at the point of accepting christ? (and if that is the case, what is meaning/significance of the crucification of christ?). one particular person felt strongly about the former, that it seems “conflicting” to say that christ came to die for man’s sins but at the same time, unless you accept it, they’re not really paid for. however, the verse in acts 26:18 (…to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may RECEIVE forgiveness of sins…) seems to imply that forgiveness is something received at the time of acceptance, something that i agree with. what do you think?
djchuang>> This is related to the point in Calvinism titled “limited atonement”, which says in essence that Christ’s death only paid for the sins of the elect, those who are saved. Other Christians espouse a different view of “unlimited atonement”, which asserts that Christ’s death paid for the sins of all humankind, but it is only effectual for those that receive it. Those of modernist logical persuasion prefer the former, limited atonement, and stereotypical are more dogmatic and insistent on their pov — as you alluded to in your words, describing that person as one who “felt strongly.”
Some people are very particular about the semantics of what they mean by the words they use, and to say whether one is “forgiven at the point of accepting Christ” is a bit ambiguous; the word “justified” at the point of trusting in Christ is more accurate.
So let me recap:
1. Christ’s death paid for the sins of either only those who are saved (limited atonement) or all those who are saved (unlimited atonement)
2. people have to believe in Christ to receive that payment (regardless of how we slice the theological pie in #1)
3. reconciliation and justification occurs at the point of trusting in Christ, or to say it another way, the payment for sin becomes effectual at that point
Let me know if that’s helpful, and if we can continue the dialogue.