Saturday, August 1, 2009

Limited Atonement

We believe Jesus Christ died on the cross for the sins of His elect people. It was for them He came and for them He died.

Matthew 1:21 "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins."

John 17:6-9 "I have manifested Thy name unto the men which Thou gavest Me out of the world: Thine they were, and Thou gavest them Me; and they have kept Thy word. Now they have known that all things whatsoever Thou hast given Me are of Thee. For I have given unto them the words which Thou gavest Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from Thee, and they have believed that Thou didst send Me. I pray for them; I pray not for the world, but for them which Thou hast given Me; for they are Thine."

John 16:13-14 "Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come. He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it unto you."

Now, no one is imagining that the value or worth of Christ's atonement is in any way limited. His death is sufficient to atone for all the sinners in 10,000 worlds. It is the intent of the atonement in the mind and purpose of the triune God that limits it. If Christ bore the sins of every man, then all men are free of their guilt. God will not require a second death, i.e. the sinner's death, to atone for a sin that is paid for by the death of the eternal Son of God. It is finished! What gross injustice to lay the sins of all mankind on the head of the Savior and then punish the sinner for sins that were already borne on Calvary!

In Romans 9:22, Scripture argues that "God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:" Apparently, God's justice is an important part of His divine nature and He is willing to display it on "vessels of wrath." God is altogether unlike the contemporary concept which elevates man and diminishes the very nature of God.

Some in our day quote 2 Peter 3:9 which says, ..."not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." Their intent, of course, is to prove that God is not willing that any single person should perish, but that every person should come to repentance. Such an interpretation, however, does violence to both Scripture and to the nature of God. A close look at the context will tell you that Peter is talking to the elect, whom he calls "beloved" in verse 8. Again in verse 9, he says that God is longsuffering to us-ward, meaning to Peter and his fellow believers.

Equally damaging is the idea that God wants to save every one (universalism), but he is unable to for some imagined problem of violating the all-mighty human "free-will".