Banner

"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

Contributors

  • Rev. John Samson
  • Rev. David Thommen (URC)
  • John Hendryx
  • Marco Gonzalez

    We are a community of confessing believers who love the gospel of Jesus Christ, affirm the Biblical and Christ-exalting truths of the Reformation such as the five solas, the doctrines of grace, monergistic regeneration, and the redemptive historical approach to interpreting the Scriptures.

    top250.jpg

    Community Websites

    Monergism Books on Facebook

    Blogroll

    Latest Posts

    Categories

    Archives

    Ministry Links

  • « Images of the Savior (14 – His Cleansing of a Leper) | Main | Deflating the Puffed Up Church »

    God's Intention in the Atonement of Christ by C. H. Spurgeon

    We are often told that we limit the atonement of Christ, because we say that Christ has not made a satisfaction for all men, or all men would be saved. Now, our reply to this is, on the other hand, our opponents limit it; we do not. The Arminians say, Christ died for all men. Ask them what they mean by it. Did Christ die so as to secure the salvation of all men? They say, “No, certainly not.” We ask them the next question–Did Christ die so as to secure the salvation of any man in particular? They answer, “No.” They are obliged to admit this, if they are consistent. They say, “No, Christ has died that any man may be saved if” –and then follow certain conditions of salvation. Now, who is it that limits the death of Christ? Why, you. You say that Christ did not die so as infallibly to secure the salvation of anybody. We beg your pardon, when you say we limit Christ’s death; we say, “No, my dear sir, it is you that do it.” We say that Christ so died that he infallibly secured the salvation of a multitude that no man can number, who through Christ’s death not only may be saved, but are saved and cannot by any possibility run the hazard of being anything but saved. You are welcome to your atonement; you may keep it. We will never renounce ours for the sake of it.

    (Cited by J. I. Packer, “Introductory Essay,” in John Owen, The Death of Death in the Death of Christ [n.p., n.d.; reprint, London: Banner of Truth, 1959], 14.)

    Posted by John Samson on March 30, 2007 04:17 PM

    Comments

    Which is more dangerous: limiting the power of the atonement, or limiting its scope?

    To limit the power of God would serve a more damnable offense than to say that His power works toward a greater end for those whom He chooses.

    "Which is more dangerous: limiting the power of the atonement, or limiting its scope?

    To limit the power of God would serve a more damnable offense than to say that His power works toward a greater end for those whom He chooses." -slave to messiah

    I dont think belief in an atonement for all men limits the power of the atonement. Election and atonement are very closely related but not exactly the same.

    I am still seeking to understand the doctrine of limited atonement, so I hope my post doesn't get deleted like the last one did. I appreciated Pastor Biggs thoughtful response. I am not seeking contention or arguements. I sincerely have an open and honest question and one that I am not sure "definite atonement" can be reconciled with.

    1 John 2:2 states, "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. " This is usually explained in terms of "world" meaning all tribes, tongues, people groups etc. To say it another way "world" means
    believing Gentiles and the "we" means believing Jews. I think this is how Pastor Biggs was endeavouring to explain it.

    The problem with this explanation is that 1 John 5:19 states, "And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. " This verse plainly tells us that for John, "we" means all believers, and "whole world" means unbelievers.

    Here are a couple of others

    "Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you" 1 John 3:13

    "4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. 5 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. 6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error."
    1 John 4:6

    "14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world." 1 John 4:14

    So, John tells that Jesus is the propiation for our sins, and the sins of the whole world, and that he is the saviour of the world. He also tells us not to marvel if the world hates us and that it lies under the power of the evil one. I think the only conclusion is that Jesus died for believers and all who reject him. He died for all.

    As for Spurgeons quote, "Did Christ die so as to secure the salvation of all men? They say, “No, certainly not.” We ask them the next question–Did Christ die so as to secure the salvation of any man in particular? They answer, “No.” They are obliged to admit this, if they are consistent. They say, “No, Christ has died that any man may be saved if-----”

    I don't think the line of reasoning follows. Universal atonement does not mean potential atonement or that there was a risk that Jesus death would be for naught. God the Father gave God the Son the elect as a guarantee the atonement would bring many sons to glory. As Hebrews 2:13 says, "13 And again: "I will put My trust in Him." F13 And again: "Here am I and the children whom God has given Me." Again, election and atonement are inseperably linked but not the same thing.

    One other thing, I was witnessing to someone the other day. In the course of our conversation, I told this person, "Jesus died for you so you could be forgiven of your sin, because the greatest need any one has is to be forgiven of their sin." I also spoke of repentance
    and faith towards Christ. How could I say this to the person and share the Gospel with him if I don't know he is elect.

    The first words Jesus began to preach with are recorded in Mark 1:14-15 "14 Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom F5 of God, 15 and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel."

    Paul said, "30 Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent," Acts 17:30

    and "21 I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus."
    Acts 20:21

    Here is the point, many people will perish in the day of judgement and many of them will perish because the gospel was preached to them and they refused to repent and believe. If they are commanded to repent and believe, then the Jesus had to have died for them as well as us. Either this is true, or God does not command them to repent and we know that He does command them to repent and believe.


    "41 The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here." Matthew 12:41

    "For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them."
    2 Peter 2:21

    " For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, " Hebrews 2:2-3

    " Anyone who has rejected Moses' law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?" Hebrews 10:28-29

    "Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance? 5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. " Romans 2

    In praise of Him who died for you and me,

    Alan

    Alan,

    You write: "I was witnessing to someone the other day. In the course of our conversation, I told this person, "Jesus died for you so you could be forgiven of your sin, because the greatest need any one has is to be forgiven of their sin." I also spoke of repentance and faith towards Christ. How could I say this to the person and share the Gospel with him if I don't know he is elect?"

    May I ask you a question Alan? - "why would you want to talk in this way when it is never something that can be found in the New Testament? Can you find this expression "Christ died for you" in the New Testament Alan? I cannot. The apostles preached "Christ died for sinners," or "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." (1 Tim. 1:15) but I cannot find the expression you used there anywhere.

    Alan, why would you wish to hold this question up as a standard of measurement when it is an expression that is not found anywhere in Scripture? Could it be that your strong tradition is taking precedence over Scripture on this matter?

    Alan,

    The scriptures say that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”. Would you classify this person as a “sinner”? If yes…then Jesus came to save him.

    Paul says in Romans 5:6 that “Christ died for the ungodly”. Would you consider this person “ungodly”? If so…then Christ died for him. Unless, of course, you believe that only the elect are ungodly.

    We are told in 1 Peter 3:18 “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God”. Would you consider this person unjust? If so, then Jesus suffered for his sins. Unless, again of course, you believe that only the elect are unjust.

    Mr. Samson,

    As your position as a pastor, I ask you, “Did Christ die for Me?”

    wingedfooted1

    Hi Wingedfooted1,

    I believe I answer your question in an article I wrote found at the following web address: http://fccphx.homestead.com/DivineIntention.html

    Referring to the I John passage, you have to keep in mind that John used the word "world" a lot. Just look through all of his books and see for yourself. He definitely switches his meanings around a lot, and you have to keep an eye on the immediate context.

    Perhaps the best example is of John 3:16-17 in relation to John 9:39. In the first, we see Christ dying for the "world," and not coming to condemn this same world. However, in John 9:39 (only six chapters later), we see Christ saying that he came into the world to condemn the world. How can this be? A change of audience, a change of topic, a change of context, or whatever. It is vital to look at all of these things, including, as you have, the audience to whom a particular book was written.

    I know I have not specifically answered your questions, but hopefully this helps you to see things in a way you haven't before. In relation to your other thoughts:

    1) When it discusses Christ being the savior of the world, holding to a non-limited atonement doesn't do much to help you with this verse. So Jesus is the savior of the world, yet he doesn't save the world? That doesn't make much sense. But what if you thought of it like the Olympics(I know, analogies aren't perfect, but we'll give it a shot). I could say that everyone gets medals from the attendant (judge, or whatever they're called). Or I could say that the medal giver of the Olympics is the attendant. Does that mean that everyone there gets a medal? No. It means that anyone who receives a medal receives it from the attendant, not that everyone receives a medal or meets the qualifications to get said medal.

    2) Just because belief precedes salvation, does not mean that something does not precede faith. When the Bible says to believe in the name of Christ, that does not necessarily assume a heart capable of doing so. Pharaoh was commanded to let the Israelites go, though God had hardened his heart and he was a sinful man. These verses do not negate an idea that God changes the heart.

    3) Verses that say things such as "everyone who believes" are not untrue under this idea. Everyone who does believe will be saved. However, for true repentance and belief, the change must come from God. Look at the end of John 2 where Christ rejects people who have believed in him. This is the passage that leads into John 3 where Christ discusses spiritual rebirth and how it is what is necessary for salvation.

    One day the whole world will be saved from the curse...Creation's redemption like ours depends not on the will...for Creation cannot will but will benefit from Christ's definite atonement... As in the days of Noah...the dimensions were given minus the ungodly...However the "Whole World was saved.

    Post a comment

    Please enter the letter "o" in the field below: