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Was Jesus Christ a failure?

Isaiah 42:4


Does that question shock you? It should. Yet, there is a notion commonly accepted by devoted religious people which asserts that the Son of God was an utter failure. The notion is that Christ died to redeem and save all people. That he died in vain for the many who perish in hell is nothing less than the assertion that the Lord Jesus Christ utterly failed in his work of redemption.


            My first theology professor at Baptist Bible College in Springfield, MO was Noel Smith. He was for many decades the editor of The Baptist Bible Tribune, and a very highly esteemed Fundamentalist. This is what Mr. Smith wrote about the failure of God our Savior.


“What is hell? It is an infinite negation. And it is more than that. I tell you, and I say it with profound reverence, hell is a ghastly monument to the failure of the triune God to save the multitudes who are there. I say it reverently, I say it with every nerve in my body tense; sinners go to hell because God almighty himself couldn’t save them! He did all he could, he failed!”


            Few will-worship Arminians would be honest enough to openly make such assertion; but that assertion by Mr. Smith is exactly what all believe who teach that Christ died to redeem and save those who ultimately perish under the wrath of God.


The Bible speaks of the redemptive work of Christ as an accomplished, effectual work, a sacrifice made for a particular, elect people (Isaiah 53:8; Matthew 1:21; Galatians 3:13; Hebrews 9:12; Revelation 5:9). Nowhere in the Book of God is there even a hint of universal atonement.


To say that Christ died to redeem and save all men is to declare that man is his own savior. If Christ died for everyone, those who perish as well as those who are saved, the difference between the saved and the lost is not the blood of Christ, but the decision of the sinner. If so, salvation cannot be attributed to Christ alone. The sinner himself must be given an equal share of praise.


To say that Christ died to redeem and save all men is to deny that Jesus Christ is God. If he died to save all and some are not saved, then he is a failure; and a failure is not God. It is no more blasphemous and no more a denial of Christ’s Godhood to deny the virgin birth than it is to deny the efficacy of our Savior’s redemptive work.


He shall not fail!” — That is the doctrine of Holy Scripture. The Lord Jesus Christ died to redeem those who actually are redeemed and saved by his blood. Do you know and worship this Christ? He alone is the Christ of Holy Scripture, the Savior of sinners. The commonly accepted doctrine of universal atonement is utter blasphemy, a complete denial that Jesus Christ is God, for it asserts that he is a failure!




Don Fortner








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