It is popular these days to teach that the whole world was saved at the cross, that Jesus died not as humanity’s representative but as humanity itself. Those who preach this message typically ask, “Jesus came to save the world—did he fail?”
I am certain Jesus accomplished all he came to do, and yet not everyone is saved. If they were, why would the apostles risk life and limb preaching that we must be saved? Why would they write letters telling us that God wants us to be saved and that he commands people everywhere to repent and believe in the name of his Son in order to be saved? For that matter, why would the risen Lord commission us to preach the good news to all creation so that whoever believes might be saved?
The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men (Titus 2:11), but not all receive it. Consequently, not all are saved. Jesus said: “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved … (John 10:9, NKJV). Trusting in the Savior is the requirement for salvation (Acts 16:31). There is nothing wrong with telling believers they are saved and there is nothing wrong with telling unbelievers they can be. Believers need the assurance, and unbelievers need to hear the good news.
The Gospel in Ten Words, KingsPress, 2012, 46-7.