Did Christ Redeem the Whole World?
Question: Through the grace of Jesus Christ purchased by His life, death and resurrection, the entire world has been redeemed. Christ has already redeemed us; unlocked the gates of heaven. Redemption is not the same as salvation but is a necessary prelude. He did his part - and now we have to cooperate by doing ours.
Answer: According to Roman teaching, the whole world has been redeemed by the work of Jesus Christ. Many people wrongly assume that this teaching is biblical. The glorious truth of redemption is reduced to "unlocking the gate of heaven" so that we, by our efforts, works and penances may make our way to heaven. This is nothing but a travesty of the Gospel.
The dictionary defines the word "redemption" as the "releasing effected by payment of ransom; deliverance; liberation procured by the payment of a ransom." The concept of deliverance and the payment of a ransom emerge clearly from the use of the word in the Bible. The redeemer is the Lord; redemption comes from Him, and the ransom He paid was His blood, His life. The sinner is delivered from the present evil age, the former way of life, the curse of the law and from sin (cf. Psalm 111:9; 130:7; Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45; Acts 20:28; Romans 3:24; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 6:20; 7:23; Ephesians 1:7; Galatians 1:4; 3:13; 4:4,5; Colossians 1:14; 1 Peter 1:18,19; Hebrews 9:12,15; Revelation 5:9).
We must emphasize that according to the Holy Scriptures, redemption means the forgiveness of sins: "In Him (in Christ) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace" (Ephesians 1:7). And again, "In whom (in Christ) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins" (Colossians 1:14). The apostle Paul equates "redemption" with "forgiveness." In other words, to have "redemption" is the same as having "forgiveness of sins." Whoever is forgiven is redeemed; whoever is redeemed is forgiven.
Now please ask yourself this question: “If the whole world is redeemed (as the Catholic church teaches), and the Bible says that redemption means the forgiveness of sins, is it true that the whole world is forgiven?” You will agree that this is not so. Rather than forgiven, the world is guilty before God (Romans 3:19). Multitudes still carry the burden of sin and guilt and unless that are freed from that burden before death, they are in danger of eternal perdition in hell. Clearly, the whole world is not forgiven. And therefore, since the whole world is not forgiven, the Roman Catholic theory that the whole world is redeemed is false.
Who then has the right to say, “I am redeemed by Christ?” The Bible tells us clearly that a person must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ for forgiveness of sins. As the apostle Peter preached: “To Him (Christ) all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:43).
If you want to be redeemed and forgiven, believe in Him; believe in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ for He is able to save to the uttermost. Believe in Him, not in your penances, your works, or someone else. Believe in Him, completely. Believe in Him, alone.
If you do so, you will have remission of sins, according to the promise, “whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.” If you believe in Christ you will be redeemed, freed from your sins, not on account of anything that you have done, but by the blood that Jesus shed on the cross. With the believers in Ephesus and Colosse, and all believers everywhere and in all ages, you can rejoice and say, “In Christ we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”
Then, being free from sin, you will have all the opportunity in the world to do good works to express your gratitude for the amazing love of God.
On one hand, Rome tells you that you're redeemed like the rest of the world. But that's not very reassuring, is it? For many of these “redeemed” will be eternally lost. Somehow you can be redeemed and yet not forgiven! Redemption in Catholic theology gives no comfort to the soul. On the other hand, the Bible commands you to believe in Christ, and if you believe, the Bible reassures you that you are truly redeemed – that your sins are forgiven.
© Dr Joseph Mizzi