The #1 Reason For Embracing Particular Redemption
Pastor John, I understand that you did not always hold to Reformed theology and to the doctrine of Particular Redemption (or 'Limited Atonement' as it is called in the acrostic TULIP). May I ask you, what was the number 1 reason you came to embrace it?
Thanks for your question. You are right in the fact that I have not always embraced the doctrines of grace. Concerning the specific matter of the atonement of Christ, in coming to see the clarity of the Scriptures on this issue, by far the most compelling argument in determining my change of view was this fact: The Arminian understanding of the atonement (which was my former view) undermines the mission, purpose and unity of the Godhead. That is strong language to be sure, so please allow me to explain:
In Arminian theology three different groups of people are in view:
1. The Father elects those whom He foresaw as believing in Christ (that's one group).
2. The Son dies for everyone in what we would call a universal atonement (that's a second group).
3. The Holy Spirit then seeks to woo/draw those who hear the Gospel (yet a third group). We should note that there are many who will never hear the Gospel of Christ.
Quite clearly, these are three entirely different groups of people.
Jesus made it very clear that His mission was to do the will of the Father. In John 6 we have His words recorded:
37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.
Jesus and the Father were never at odds for even a moment. Christ came to do the Father's will which involved losing none of the ones given to Him by the Father and raising that entire group up to eternal life. Jesus confirmed this unity of purpose in John 10:30 when He said, "I and the Father are one." Here we see the Father and the Son in perfect accord, united in will, purpose and mission. What is true of the Father and the Son is also true of the Holy Spirit. The entire Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit are united in purpose and have been from eternity.
In contrast with the fragmented view of Trinitarian redemption found in Arminian theology, I found the consistency of the Scripture revealed in the Reformed view of the cross. As C. H. Spurgeon once said, "Reformed theology is simply a nickname for biblical Christianity."
Here was the clincher for me. Only in the Reformed view is the unity of the Godhead maintained.
The Father planned redemption for those He chose to save; the Son accomplished redemption for them, and the Holy Spirit applies redemption to them in what we call irresistible grace. All three persons of the Trinity work in harmony to bring about the salvation of the elect.
So to answer your question, the number 1 argument that convinced me that "Particular Redemption" is the biblical doctrine of the atonement was this; the unity of the Godhead in the work of redemption.