John 10:11—Did Jesus die just for His friends or for His enemies too?

Problem: John quotes Jesus as claiming that He laid down His “life for the sheep” (cf. 15:13). But Paul claims “Christ died for the ungodly” while they were still “enemies” (Rom. 5:6, 10). How can both be true?

Solution: Jesus died for both His friends (disciples) and His enemies. In fact, His “friends” were enemies when He died for them. There is no contradiction here, since the text does not say that Christ died only for His friends. He did die for those who would become His friends, but He also died for those who would remain His enemies. Peter refers to the apostates who were “denying the Lord who bought them” (2 Peter 2:1).

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.