Chapter 5LIMITED ATONEMENT
Man's wordsCanons of Dordt - Second Head of Doctrine
For this was the sovereign counsel and most gracious will and purpose of God the Father that the quickening and saving efficacy of the most precious death of His Son should extend to all the elect, for bestowing upon them alone the gift of justifying faith, thereby to bring them infallibly to salvation; that is, it was the will of God that Christ by the blood of the cross, whereby He confirmed the new covenant, should effectually redeem out of every people, tribe, nation, and language, all those, and those only, who were from eternity chosen to salvation and given to Him by the Father; that He should confer upon them faith, which together with all the other saving gifts of the Holy Spirit, He purchased for them by His death; should purge them from all sin, both original and actual, whether committed before or after believing; and having faithfully preserved them even to the end, should at last bring them, free from every spot and blemish, to the enjoyment of glory in His own presence forever.* * *
"The Biblical or Calvinistic position is that Christ intended that his death should atone only for the elect and not for others. According to this position, man is totally depraved, and God, loving some with a great love, elected them, or in other words, determined that they should be saved. He sent Christ to die for them and them alone, thereby saving them. Thus the atonement of Christ is limited to some and is not intended for all. Hence, the name 'limited atonement'. That is all there is to the doctrine. It is very simple." The Five Points of Calvinism, Edwin H. Palmer, Th.D., page 35
"Historical or mainline Calvinism has consistently maintained that Christ's redeeming work was definite in design and accomplishment -- that it was intended to render complete satisfaction for certain specified sinners and that it actually secured salvation for these individuals and for no one else. The salvation which Christ earned for His people includes everything involved in bringing them into a right relationship with God, including the gifts of faith and repentance. Christ did not die simply to make it possible for God to pardon sinners. Neither does God leave it up to sinners as to whether or not Christ's work will be effective. On the contrary, all for whom Christ sacrificed Himself will be saved infallibly. Redemption, therefore, was designed to bring to pass God's purpose of election.
All Calvinists agree that Christ's obedience and suffering were of infinite value, and that if God had so willed, the satisfaction rendered by Christ would have saved every member of the human race. It would have required no more obedience nor any greater suffering for Christ to have secured salvation for every man, woman, and child who ever lived than it did for Him to secure salvation for the elect only. But He came into the world to represent and save only those given to Him by the Father. Thus Christ's saving work was limited in that it was designed to save some and not others, but it was not limited in value for it was of infinite worth and would have secured salvation for everyone if this had been God's intention." The Five Points of Calvinism, Steele and Thomas, page 39
Q. Is Calvinism's "Limited Atonement" true, OR does GOD'S WORD teach that God loves all men?
"For Jehovah your God, he is God of gods, and Lord of lords, the great God, the mighty, and the terrible, who regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward. He doth execute justice for the fatherless and widow, and loveth the sojourner, in giving him food and raiment. Love ye therefore the sojourner; for ye were sojourners in the land of Egypt." Deut. 10:17-19
"Jehovah is gracious, and merciful;
Slow to anger, and of great lovingkindness.
Jehovah is good to all;
And his tender mercies are over all his works." Ps. 145:8-9
"Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else." Isa. 45:22
"Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord Jehovah, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?" Ezek. 33:11
"But I say unto you, love your enemies, and pray for them that persecute you; that ye may be sons of your Father who is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust. For if ye love them that love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?... Ye therefore shall be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." Matt. 5:44-46, 48
"But love your enemies, and do them good, and lend, never despairing; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be sons of the Most High: for he is kind toward the unthankful and evil. Be ye merciful, even as your Father is merciful." Luke 6:35-36
Q. Is Calvinism's "Limited Atonement" true, OR does GOD'S WORD teach that God loves all men and that He desires the salvation of all men?
"Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked? saith the Lord Jehovah; and not rather that he should return from his way, and live?...For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord Jehovah: wherefore turn yourselves, and live." Ezek. 18:23, 32
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life." John 3:16
"And we have beheld and bear witness that the Father hath sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world." I John 4:14
"For the grace of God hath appeared, bringing salvation to all men" Titus 2:11
"This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who would have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth." I Tim. 2:3-4
"All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and Jehovah hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." Isa. 53:6
"And the angel said unto them, Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people." Luke 2:10
"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness; but is longsuffering to you-ward, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." II Pet. 3:9
Q. Is Calvinism's "Limited Atonement" true, OR does GOD'S WORD teach that Jesus died for all men?
"Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all." I Tim. 2:5-6
"And he (Jesus) is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world." I John 2:2
"But we behold him who hath been made a little lower than the angels, even Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God he should taste of death for every man." Heb. 2:9
"And he (Jesus) died for all, that they that live should no longer live unto themselves, but unto him who for their sakes died and rose again." II Cor. 5:15
"Who needeth not daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people: for this he (Jesus) did once for all, when he offered up himself." Heb. 7:27
"By which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." Heb. 10:10* * *
Q. Is Calvinism's "Limited Atonement" true, OR does GOD'S WORD teach that God earnestly calls all men to hear and obey the gospel of His Son that they may be saved?
"...Jesus answered and said...Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; ...and ye shall find rest unto your souls." Matt. 11:25, 28-29
"And he (Jesus) said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned." Mark 16:15-16
"And Jesus came to them and spake unto them, saying, All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth. Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit:" Matt. 28:18-19
"And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name unto all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem." Luke 24:47
"And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." Rev. 22:17 AV* * *
Q. If God loves all men and Jesus died for all men, does this mean that all men will be saved?
"Enter ye in by the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many are they that enter in thereby. For narrow is the gate, and straitened the way, that leadeth unto life, and few are they that find it." Matt. 7:13-14
"For many are called, but few chosen." Matt. 22:14
Q. Is Calvinism's "Limited Atonement" true, OR does GOD'S WORD teach that Jesus died for some men who will be lost?
"For through thy knowledge he that is weak perisheth, the brother for whose sake Christ died." I Cor. 8:11
"Destroy not with thy meat him for whom Christ died." Rom. 14:15
"Overthrow not for meat's sake the work of God.... It is good not to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor to do anything whereby thy brother stumbleth." Rom. 14:20-21
"But there arose false prophets also among the people, as among you also there shall be false teachers, who shall privily bring in destructive heresies, denying even the Master that bought them" II Pet. 2:1* * *
Q. If God loves all men and Jesus died for all men and yet only few are saved, who are these few?
"And he (Jesus) is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world. And hereby we know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his (Jesus') commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoso keepeth his (Jesus') word, in him verily hath the love of God been perfected." I John 2:2-5
"...The living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of them that believe." I Tim. 4:10
"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven." Matt. 7:21
"This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him." Matt. 17:5
"He (Jesus) became unto all them that obey him the author of eternal salvation." Heb. 5:9
"He that obeyeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him." John 3:36b* * *
Q. Is Calvinism's "Limited Atonement" true, OR is there a great amount of teaching in GOD'S WORD which shows us that God loves all men and that He desires their salvation, and that Jesus' death made salvation possible for whosoever will obey him?
"On the morrow he seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold, the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world!" John 1:29
"And they (the Samaritans) said to the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy speaking: for we have heard for ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Saviour of the world." John 4:42
"For the bread of God is that which cometh down out of heaven, and giveth life unto the world." John 6:33
"I am the living bread which came down out of heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: yea and the bread which I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world." John 6:51
"Again therefore Jesus spake unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life." John 8:12
"I am the door; by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and go out, and shall find pasture." John 10:9
"And I (Jesus), if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto myself." John 12:32
"And if any man hear my sayings, and keep them not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world." John 12:47
"For it was the good pleasure of the Father that in him should all the fulness dwell; and through him to reconcile all things unto himself, having made peace through the blood of his cross..." Col. 1:19-20
"Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." Rev. 3:20
"...God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and gave unto us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not reckoning unto them their trespasses..." II Cor. 5:18-19
"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not also with him freely give us all things?" Rom. 8:32
"For whosoever shall do the will of my Father who is in heaven, he is my brother, and sister, and mother." Matt. 12:50
"Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Matt. 18:4
"Jesus answered and said unto her, Every one that drinketh of this water shall thirst again: but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up unto eternal life." John 4:13-14
"Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth on me, though he die, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth on me shall never die." John 11:25-26
"I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me may not abide in the darkness." John 12:46
"And it shall be, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved." Acts 2:21
"For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek: for the same Lord is Lord of all, and is rich unto all that call upon him: for, Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Rom. 10:12-13
"...Whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's shall save it." Mark 8:35
"Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine (Jesus), and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:" Matt. 7:24 AV
"Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven." Matt. 10:32 AV
"To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins." Acts 10:43 AV
"Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my (Jesus') sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house..." Luke 6:47-48 AV
"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up; that whosoever believeth may in him have eternal life." John 3:14-15
"For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be put to shame." Rom. 10:10-11
"Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is begotten of God: and whosoever loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him." I John 5:1
"As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed." Rom. 9:33 AV
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life." John 3:16* * *
Q. How are we to harmonize the few scriptures which teach that Christ died for "the sheep" and "the church", with the many, many scriptures which teach that he died for all men?
"And he (Jesus) is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world. And hereby we know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him (Jesus), and keepeth not his (Jesus') commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoso keepeth his (Jesus') word, in him verily hath the love of God been perfected." I John 2:2-5
"...The living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of them that believe." I Tim. 4:10
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