Is it expressly declared in the scriptures that Christ is the Savior of all men, in any sense? In our reply to F. in the 8th No. of the current vol. we acknowledged that we had not been able to find the passage (in. the scriptures) where it is expressly stated that Christ is the Savior of all men, in any sense. In our last number Brother Mitchell of Alabama has desired us to write more fully upon this point. On reviewing what we have already written on the subject, we doubt whether we have not already been more full than clear upon the subject; for after having filled two pages with our remarks, our brother has not been able to understand us. The difficulty seems to be that we should in the same connection say that, “Of believers, HE is the Savior in a sense differing from that in which he is the Savior of all men.”
We will now try to be as clear and explicit as possible on the point. Our correspondent F. had said that it was expressly stated that Christ was the Savior of all men, in some sense. We designed to show that the passage (1 Tim. iv. 10,) to which we suppose our correspondent alluded, did not speak of Christ as the Savior of all men, but that the expression was made of the “Living God.” While we firmly believe that Christ is God, we believe that God is frequently spoken of in the scriptures where Christ is not intended; as, for example, where Christ himself cried out, “My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?” “To your Father and to my Father, to your God and to my God.” “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach glad tidings to the meek,” &c. In these and in a multitude of passages, God is named where Christ is not brought to view; and we now venture to affirm that there is not a passage in the scriptures of truth where the common, or providential salvation of the creatures of God, is ascribed to Christ. The name Christ signifies anointed, and Christ is anointed, not to be the Savior of all men, and specially of them that believe, but he is anointed to preach good tidings to the meek; to bind up the broken hearted; to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion; to give unto them beauty for ashes; the oil of joy for mourning; the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness; the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified. See Isa. lxi. 1,2,3. His name, Christ, always signifies his anointing of the Father, and the anointing always signifies his official relationship to his church. As the anointed King he stands related to a kingdom which is not of this world, and that kingdom is his church. Anointed as a priest, he is the High Priest of our profession, standing in the order of Melchisedec, and not in the order of Aaron. Every participant in the salvation which is in Christ Jesus, is saved with an everlasting salvation, and shall never come into condemnation in a world without end.
Of that common or providential salvation ascribed to God as the Living God, the Jehovah, the God of creation and providence, all men and all beings are partakers. It is universal; embracing men, angels and devils; things animate and things inanimate, visible and invisible, past, present, and to come.
Of this common universal salvation, believers are sharers; but what they enjoy of this salvation is not in consequence of their relation to Christ, but rather that of their creatureship; and they enjoy it only as do the other creatures of God.
But that salvation which is in Christ Jesus our Lord is received by the saints with, but not without, eternal glory.
Brother Mitchell may tell us that in the passage, 1 Tim. iv. 10, the general salvation of all men, and the special salvation of some men, are ascribed to one and the same being. Very true; they are ascribed to the Living God, or rather the Jehovah, the Living God, who, as we have attempted to show, is the Savior of all his creatures, in a providential point of view; and he is also the Savior of his people in a special and peculiar sense, insomuch as he, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, “hath saved us” (the people of God, believers,) “and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” - 2 Tim. i. 9. The former he has saved in his general providence, the latter he has saved in Christ Jesus their Lord.
We indulge the hope that our brother will comprehend our meaning, and be enabled to discriminate between that salvation which embraces all men, and that which is in Christ, embracing them that believe. And if he can find a portion of divine revelation, either “expressly” or implied, stating that Christ is “in any sense the Savior of all men,” he will forward it to us with the same readiness that we give him our views upon the subject of salvation.
But as brother Mitchell has referred to some other scriptures presenting difficulties to his mind, we will pass to consider them briefly, for our present limits will not admit of extensive remarks. The first passage is Heb. ii. 9, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor, that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” Much as this text has been perverted by arminians and universalists, there is not a passage perhaps in the bible that more fully sustains the doctrine of the federal union of Christ and his people, or more fully sustains the doctrine which constituted the theme of our reply to F. In this text and its connection the inspired writer quotes from the Psalms, “What is man, that thou art mindful of him,” &c.; the power and dignity with which man in his creation was crowned, and the dominion given him over the works of God’s hands, wrought in creation; and then shows the application of this testimony to Christ, agreeing with our remarks in which we labored to show that Adam was the figure of him that was to come. The dignity and dominion given to Adam was figurative of the spiritual power, dignity and dominion, which was to be developed in the Anointed, even in Christ; and that which we cannot see literally fulfilled in man, we see gloriously illustrated in Christ. First, his humiliation: “Thou madest him a little lower than the angels”; then his exaltation: “Thou crownedst him with glory and honor, and didst set him over the works of thy hands,” &c. And now we see this. That is, we see Jesus in his incarnation made of a woman, made under the law which his children had transgressed, and we see him thus humbled for the suffering of death. We see also the dignity of his coronation, or of his anointing, as the legal head and true representative of “many sons,” whom he was anointed to bring to glory, that he by the grace (free favor) of God should taste death for every man. Can it be possible that brother Mitchell’s mind is dark in relation to the term every man in this place? Let him carefully and prayerfully read the context, and see that every man of Adam’s posterity is not intended; for these things we are assured are not seen fulfilled in Adam, in man, or in the son of man, only as Christ, the anti-typical Adam, becomes the son of man by being made a little lower than the angels. The men are distinctly called sons and children in the immediate connection. As we have in our previous numbers shown, and brother Mitchell has admitted the correctness of our position, that Adam as the seminal head of the human family was a figure of Christ as the seminal head of his spiritual progeny, that which is not fulfilled in the former is manifestly fulfilled in the latter, and hence it immediately follows, “For it became him for whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” Here we see that he was not only crowned or anointed, or constituted Christ, and made lower than the angels that he might taste death for, but also bring to glory many sons, over whom he presided as the Captain of their salvation; “For both he that sanctifieth and they that are sanctified are all of one; for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren.
Does brother Mitchell, or any other intelligent christian, think that all the natural seed of Adam are the sanctified brethren of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that they have proceeded from the same origin in the sense expressed in the above? If so, they may possibly conclude that he as the Captain of their salvation has tasted death for them all, and, of course, will bring them to glory. But those who favor that view will find a damper when they read John viii. 38, 39, 41, 42, and 44. In these scriptures Christ himself declared to a portion of Adam’s posterity .that they were not of God, and that they were of their father the devil. We do not understand our Lord to say that these were not the creatures of God, any more than that they were not the natural offspring of Abraham; but they were not the children of God in that peculiar sense in which his people, those for whom he tasted death, who had derived a spiritual life from the same source whence Christ in his mediatorial character emanated. He declared that he proceeded and came from God; and addressing himself to that same God concerning those for whom, by the grace of God, he tasted death, he said, “Thine they were, and thou gavest them me,” &c. As Christ, he is the Captain of no other company. The High Priest of no other profession; the Head of no other body; the Husband of no other wife; the Shepherd of no other flock; King of no other subjects; and we hesitate not to add emphatically, by the authority of the scriptures of eternal truth, He is the Savior of no other people in any sense whatever.
The other passages proposed by brother Mitchell we must leave for some future opportunity. Meanwhile we will add, there is, in our opinion, no subject embraced in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ of more vital importance than that of the atonement; nor do we know of any so frequently perverted. With a wrong view of the atonement no man can hold right views of the plan of salvation.
New Vernon, N. Y.,
July 1, 1846.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 2
Pages 654 - 659