Pristine Grace

Sufficient or Efficient?
by Jim Byrd
Sufficient or Efficient?

    I had a Greek professor in Bible College who enjoyed quoting an old writer, Andrew Fuller, especially with regard to Mr. Fuller's view of the redemptive work of Christ.  Fuller had said, "The death of Christ was sufficient to save the whole world, but efficient only for those who believe."  Many preachers are saying the same thing today.  Let me break down that statement for you and show you exactly what is meant.

    Mr. Webster states that sufficient means "enough to meet the needs of; adequate."  Efficient means "producing a desired effect; productive without waste."  When men declare "the death of Christ was sufficient to save the whole world, but efficient only for those who believe," they are proclaiming that His death was adequate enough to put away the sins of all men, but it is, in reality, the belief of the sinner that causes His death to produce the desired effect, which is salvation.  They are saying that the faith of the sinner makes the death of Christ to be effectual to the putting away of sin.  On the other hand, if someone does not believe the Son of God, so far as that sinner is concerned, the offering of Christ upon the cross to God was nonproductive, that is, wasted effort.

    Do you not see that those who embrace this theory of redemption are actually making faith the determining factor as to whether the Savior's death is successful?  They exalt faith and belittle the Lord Jesus and His work of redemption.  Mr. Fuller's statement  is heresy veiled in clever words.  The Bible does not declare the possibility of salvation as a result of the sacrifice of Christ, but the accomplishment of redemption by His cross-death.  "Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us" (Hebrews 9:12).

    Let no one imagine that faith is a condition of redemption.  Faith does not activate, make productive, or in any way cause the death of Christ to be saving.  The ransom price for the salvation of the Lord's people was fully paid by the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ.  Yes, every redeemed sinner will be brought to "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ," however, faith is not the cause but the effect of the successfulness of His redemptive work.