Return to:

The Sins of the Whole World

Family Devotions:
M. Sin, The Transgression of God’s Laws....................................................I John 3:1-4
T. The Wickedness of the World...................................................................I John 5:19-26
W. “All Have Sinned”....................................................................................Romans 3:19-26
T. The Other World.......................................................................................John 17:5-10
F. “The World Knew Him Not”.....................................................................John 1:6-14
S. The World God So Loved..........................................................................John 3:11-16
S. The Saviour of the World..........................................................................John 4:39-42

Devotional Reading: John 10:11-16

Memory Selection: “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out". John 6:37.

Lesson Scripture: I John 2:1-2


Sin is a universal problem even if some never admit this fact. Sin is not determined by political agenda, it is determined by the Word of God. When John was inspired to write: “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4), he did not have reference to the laws of the land but to the laws of God. Though it is unpleasant to acknowledge our sins, they are always present in God’s sight. The Bible says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Every person on the face of the earth is guilty of sin before God. The only exception was our Lord Jesus Christ. He had no sin of His own so that He could be the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Paul wrote, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (II Corinthians 5:21). Without the sacrificial death and shed blood of Christ, all would be hopelessly lost. Thank God for His unspeakable Gift (II Corinthians 9:15), His only begotten Son (John 1:14), Who died for our sins. There is tremendous hope through the words of Paul in Romans 6:23. He said, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

It is the objective of this lesson to understand who has been redeemed by our Saviour. We need to understand the scope of His saving grace. May we be led of God’s Holy Spirit to understand these truths and glorify Christ. The Bible says, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (II Timothy 2:15). To obtain this objective, we must open our hearts and minds to the truth of God’s Word and not rely upon the opinions of men. We may rest assured that God knows all those for whom Christ died. Paul said, “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity” (2 Timothy 2:19).

A Different World

1. Read I John 1:15-17. Did Jesus die for the “world” mentioned in this passage? Explain your answer.

Obviously, when the Bible tells us that Jesus died for the “whole world,” the corrupt system of this world was not under consideration. According to John 2:15 God does not want His children to love this corrupt world in which we live. Our affections are to be set upon heavenly things. Paul wrote, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1-2). We are to love God for “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Matthew 22:37). Jesus also told us to love one another. He said, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you” (John 15:12). Even though love is a very important part of the Christian’s life, we are not to love this sinful world in which we live. One day we will leave this world and be carried home to heaven, so why get too attached to our surroundings here? Thus, “the world” of I John 2:15-16 is not included in the “whole world” of which John spoke in I John 2:2. This fact should help us understand that the “whole world” for which Christ died is not all inclusive. The use of the word “world” does not necessarily include all people universally.

2. Please read John 17:6-12. Christ said, “I pray not for the world.” Who is the world under consideration and did Christ die for them? Explain.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught His disciples how to pray and we have “The Model Prayer” recorded in Matthew 6:9-13. The passage before us is really “The Lord’s Prayer” for Jesus was praying to His Father and ours. During that prayer Jesus mentioned the “world” repeatedly and not in a positive and loving way. He revealed that the Father had given to him some out of the world and they were His chief concern. This passage does not indicate that Christ died for the “world” He mentioned, but for those “given” to Him.

All God’s elect are given to Christ in the covenant of grace. Jesus said, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). He will not lose a single one of His elect for He said, “And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day” (John 6:39). Clearly, Christ died for His covenant people and not for every person in the universal world. Obviously, the “whole world” of I John 2:2 is not universal in scope. Since the word “world” is not all inclusive, to whom does it refer? We may rest assured, the Bible has the answer.

The Elect World

3. The Bible does teach that Christ died for the world. Please read John 3:14-18. Is salvation offered or given? Explain.

Notice that John 3:16 is a declaration not an invitation. If I describe a person by some distinguishing mark, it would only be to identify the person of whom I spoke. Even so, God identifies believers as those who are saved by His grace. “Whosoever believeth” identifies those who have been born again of the Holy Spirit. In I John 5:1 the same two words are used to describe those who are born of God. He said, “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him” (1 John 5:1). God has quickened us by His Holy Spirit and enabled us to believe the testimony of Scripture, Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Of course, not all the elect have yet believed through grace, for it is an ongoing work.

When John the Baptist pointed out Jesus to his followers, he spoke of Christ as “the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). He did not say that Christ was offering to do so nor that he would do so if men would cooperate. Christ has not offered Himself to man; instead, He offered Himself to the Father as our sacrifice for sin. Paul said, “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour” (Ephesians 5:1-2). He “offered” Himself to God but He “hath given himself for us.” Clearly, eternal life is not an offer, it is a gift! Jesus said of His “sheep” (His people), “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” (John 10:28).

If salvation was offered to everyone, the Bible would tell us so and it does not. If the “whole world” means every person on earth, then all people will eventually be saved and the Bible does not teach universal salvation. The Word of God speaks of the blessedness of the saved and the sufferings of the wicked. So then, the “whole world” must of necessity describe the “whole” of the “world” under consideration. The word “world” in most places is “kosmos” which means - arrangement, beauty, world. In the arrangement of almighty God, those whom He chose in Christ before the world began (Ephesians 1:4), He gave to Christ Who died for them and all of them shall be saved. They are chosen out of every nation and comprise the “world” under consideration.

4. Please read John 4:39-42. “Many” were said to believe on Him. Obviously, not everyone believed, but many did. What made the difference?

Jesus deliberately went through Samaria and there met a woman at Jacob’s well. It was apparently His purpose in being there, to touch the life of one of His children. She was blessed to understand that He was truly the Messiah and gladly she told others, many of whom also believed. To genuinely believe that Jesus is God’s only begotten Son, reveals the work of God’s grace. Paul wrote, “And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace” (Acts 18:27). As those Samaritans believed, they proclaimed Jesus to be “the Christ, the Saviour of the world” (John 4:43). It did not suggest that He was trying to be, but plainly declared that He is “the Saviour of the world”. If He offers to all earth’s population the possibility of salvation but succeeds in saving only part of them, He would not be the Saviour of the world. He would be only the Saviour of “part” of the world and that is not what the Bible says. On the other hand, if the “world” He saved was the elect world, then He has accomplished that work and is indeed the Saviour they proclaimed.


Does it matter how we define the “whole world”? Yes, it matters a great deal for the accomplishments of Christ are under consideration. If the “whole world” does mean everyone then He is not the Saviour of the “whole world,” for some are lost and will suffer eternal punishment. The Christ of the Bible is not a failure, He did succeed in saving the whole world, as the Bible says. Rest assured, the “whole world” of God’s elect will in heaven rejoice in His praise and glory. Why not begin now to give Him our worship?

John 17:1-3 says, “These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:1-3). His power enabled Christ to save all whom God chose and designated as “the whole world.” Those who believe that the whole of God’s elect world shall finally and forever be saved, will now find wonderful peace in this blessed truth of God’s word. The knowledge of His sovereign power to save is important to our faith and peace.

There are many “worlds” taught in the Bible, why would we assume they all mean everyone on earth? Instead, rejoice that there are people out of all nations of the world, who are saved by Gods’s amazing grace. John wrote, “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Revelation 5:9). Amen!

Return to:

© Copyright 2014 Light From God's Word. All Rights Reserved.
This page last updated on June 17, 2014