Last edited on 23/Jan/2021
The Bible’s Answer
The Bible’s answer to this question is that Jesus died for all sins of every person in the world, not just some sins. This does not mean that Jesus only died for all our past sins and that every other sin we commit after believing in him must be atoned for by our good works, nor does it mean that he only died for our original sin that we inherited from Adam, but it means that he really did die for all our sins, including the ones we commit after becoming Christians.
Jesus Died for All Our Sins
If Jesus only died for our past sins or original sin, then he died for no purpose, because then it would mean that we could be saved by our own efforts, and not Christ’s alone (Galatians 2:21). This also does not mean that all people’s sins will be forgiven, because many people reject Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection for the forgiveness of all sins. Only Christians’ sins will be forgiven, those who trust in Jesus alone for salvation (John 3:16–18; John 14:6). Now let us examine some Bible passages.
And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by cancelling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:13–14)
For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. (Hebrews 9:24–26)
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:7–9)
God forgave us all our trespasses by nailing them to the cross, which Jesus bore in his body, his sacrifice put away sin once for all, and his blood cleanses us from all sin and unrighteousness.
Jesus Bore All Our Sins in His Body
Thus, when we read passages such as 1 Peter 2:24, we can understand that all sins of every person in the world were laid upon Jesus’ own body on the cross:
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. (1 Peter 2:24)
This gives us assurance of our salvation (Hebrews 10:19–22). God the Father laid upon Jesus all our iniquities to make an offering for our guilt, to bring us peace, and heal us:
But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. … 10 Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. (Isaiah 53:5–6, 10)
Jesus Is Our Perfect Sacrifice
The fact that Jesus is our guilt offering is similar to the Old Testament system of animal sacrifices to temporarily cover sins, but unlike these repeated rituals which can “never take away sins”, Jesus’ single offering of his own body sanctifies and perfects Christian believers once and for all:
And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. (Hebrews 10:10–14)
If Jesus did not die for all of our sins, which includes the false belief that Jesus only died for our past sins and not the present or future ones, then the Bible declares that we would still be dead in our sins and children of wrath (Ephesians 2:4–5). No one would be presented holy, blameless, and above reproach before God on the day of judgement, and so we would not be saved (Colossians 1:21–22). Jesus’ sacrifice would have been for nothing (Galatians 2:21), because it is impossible to be made right with God through our obedience or good deeds (Galatians 2:15–16). Finally, of course, it would also contradict God’s Word where it says that Jesus died for all our sins, and that by God’s grace we are forgiven of all our sins (Colossians 2:13–14; Hebrews 9:24–26; Hebrews 10:10–14; 1 John 1:7–9).
If you are worried that you are not good enough for God, or that you have done too many bad things to deserve his forgiveness, then now is the time to get rid of these thoughts, because Jesus died for all your sins. Today Jesus, who is God in flesh (John 1:1, 14; Colossians 2:9), the second Person of the Holy Trinity along with the Father and the Holy Spirit, offers you his righteousness, which was accomplished by him living in perfect obedience to God the Father’s law, in exchange for your unrighteousness.
Jesus paid the full penalty for your unrighteousness by bearing all your sins in his body on the cross, and if you choose to put your faith in his sacrificial death and resurrection from the dead, his righteousness will be imputed to you so that you will be just as holy and blameless as he is before God the Father on the day of judgement (Romans 3:21–26; 2 Corinthians 5:21), and you will be reconciled to him. If we accept Jesus’ payment for our sin debt, then his sacrificial death satisfies the justified and righteous wrath of God against us sinners forever (1 John 2:2; John 3:36; Romans 5:6–10).
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by persmission. All rights reserved.