Jesus Died For Everyone Except . . .

by Kimberly B. Southall

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Did that title catch your attention? Was it because you know it to be a false statement or because you wondered just who Jesus didn't die for? Well, Jesus did die for everyone. Period. There are no exceptions. He died so that everyone would have the opportunity to be forgiven for his or her sins (Matthew 26:28; Acts 5:31; Acts 10:43; Acts 13:38-39; Acts 26:17-18; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:13-14; 1 John 2:12). The problem is that, far too often, those professing to be Christians act as if there are exceptions. They do this when they fail or refuse to forgive someone else.

Try some of these statements to see how they sound:

Jesus died for everyone except . . .

  • the little boy next door who rode his bicycle through my flower bed.
  • the woman who sits behind me in church who said something unkind about me three years ago.
  • the man down the street who was arrested for drunk driving.
  • the family member who always said I'd never amount to anything.
  • the girl who used to tease me in school until everyone joined in.
  • the spouse who cheated on me and left me to raise the kids all by myself.
  • the co-worker who takes credit for my ideas and work.
  • the bad driver who plowed into my brand new car that I had worked so hard to get.
How do those statements sound to you? They sound ridiculous to me. Jesus died for everyone, even those who do evil things or things which embarrass, irritate, or cause hardship for you.

Yet, within Christ's church today, grudges are held against others or mental tallies are kept of what someone else said or did to them. While the one who keeps a record of these wrongs may not realize he or she is sinning, it doesn't change the fact that as along as they continue not to forgive, they are not forgiven for their own sins!

Your sins are forgiven only under the condition that you forgive others. Ignoring this fact won't change the truth of God's Word on this subject. When Jesus gave an example of a good way to pray, He included the condition of forgiving others (Matthew 6:12; Luke 11:4). Again, He made it even more clear that if you forgive, you'll be forgiven and if you don't, you won't (Matthew 6:14-15; Matthew 18:23-35; Mark 11:25; Luke 6:37). In addition, he made it clear you cannot impose a limit of how many times you'll forgive the same person (Matthew 18:21-22; Luke 17:3-4), after all, how would you fare if there were a limit to how many times you could be forgiven!?

While it is true that you are to rebuke a Christian brother (or sister) when they sin against you, and he or she is to repent, God's Word still instructs you to forgive (Luke 17:3-4; 2 Corinthians 2:6-7). Indeed, there are commands for Christians to forgive one another just as God and Jesus forgave us (Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13). And how exactly did Jesus forgive? Jesus, who was the sacrifice for sin, even pleaded with God the Father to forgive the very ones who were murdering Him. Even at the point of death, Jesus continued to make it clear that He was dying for everyone.

There just isn't any way around the fact that your receiving forgiveness from God is conditional upon your forgiving others. You either forgive and are forgiven or you don't forgive and are not forgiven. You can't have it both ways. You see, when you forgive, it isn't always to the benefit for the one you are forgiving. Because if that person sinned, then they aren't forgiven by God unless and until they repent. However, it is always to your credit when you forgive others. Regardless of whether or not they repent or appreciate your forgiveness, you are conforming yourself to the likeness of Christ and retaining the privilege of having God's forgiveness when you forgive others.

Remember, when you can't or won't forgive someone, deep down you are actually alleging that person isn't as worthy of forgiveness as you are. In effect, you are making the ridiculous claim that Jesus died for you but not for them. And that just isn't true. Don't fool yourself into an eternity of unforgiveness. Do yourself a favor and forgive. Jesus died for everyone with no exceptions.

Copyright © 2002 Kimberly B. Southall. All rights reserved.