A different perspective of Limited Atonement

So you all know by now that I am not a Calvinist, I am a Wovenist, but as a Wovenist, there are some attributes of Calvinism that I agree with.  Wovenists affirm election and predestination without destroying man’s choice and responsibility.  In my Bible Reading, I am continuing to develop the theological points of Wovenism as I find how God continues to intersect with us.

One of the things I have always been torn about is Limited Atonement.  I know and believe that Christ died for the whole world, and His blood could cover the sins of every person who ever existed.  The the other hand, the blood of Christ covers the sins of those who are saved, people who are separated from Christ are not covered in the blood.  I have always had reservations with saying things like “the blood of Christ doesn’t have any effect until you accept it” because that seems to me the say the death didn’t complete the atonement.  As I was thinking threw it, I has a perspective on Limited Atonement, and I wanted to share it with you.

Imagine a town with a restaurant and there was an invitation for everyone to come to the restaurant that evening.  The mayor, who was a very rich man, said he was going to pay the bill for everyone who eats there that night.  Some come, enjoy a meal covered by the mayor.  Some come, but only drink water and don’t enjoy dinner.  Some show up but after seeing how full the place is, they leave, and some don’t come at all.  Who did the mayor pay for?

Of course the mayor only paid for those who ate the meal, there was no charge for those who didn’t.  Those who ate, of course they ordered and ate, but did not earn or merit the dinner in doing so.  The invitation was offered and they simply came.

Of course when you start throwing in predestination and election, the metaphor breaks down, but it’s not an all inclusive metaphor, it just works for Limited Atonement, so just look at it in that context.  Those are my thoughts for today, let me know your thoughts and reflections.

Comments

  1. says

    Dan,

    As I’ve read through some of your post on becoming a wolverine I continue to be confused as to where you diverge from historic Andrew Fuler type Calvinism. Can you help me out here?

  2. says

    By the same token, I would be interested to hear where “Traditionalists” have a problem with this descriptive illustration of the scope of the atonement.

    It appears to work, to me.

    We will see what they say, though… “they” being those on “both sides,” that is.

  3. Christiane says

    Hi DAN,

    a lot comes to mind . . .

    starting, but only starting, with Gregory Nanzianzus’
    “That which was not assumed is not healed;
    but that which is united to God is saved”

    then, coming to this:
    “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself”
    (2 Corinthians 5:19), with the peace of that reconciliation accomplished by the death of Our Lord, the Divine Redeemer,
    “making peace through the blood of His cross” (Colossians 1:20)

    and then this:
    “For you are bought with a great price” (1 Corinthians 6:20).
    and
    “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; because Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed to God, in Thy blood” (Revelation 5:9)

    I think that the Atonement is an expression of the strongest force in the Universe: the love that binds the Trinity, the love that generated the Cosmos which was created ex nihilo . . .

    in the Incarnation, Christ brings us into a position where we are invited to live ‘in Him’ for all eternity, if we choose life. And if we choose life,
    that then brings us back to the words of Gregory of Nanzianzus:
    “”That which was not assumed is not healed;
    but that which is united to God is saved”

  4. reformedsteve says

    I would love to comment, but your illustration confuses me. What are you trying to say with it?

    • says

      That some are atoned and some are not. It’s departing from Universal Atonement and accounting for human responsibility, and it sounded interesting.

      • reformedsteve says

        I’m pretty sure that you believe in Limited Atonement the same way most Calvinists do.

        As a reformed baptist I take Limited Atonement the same way as your illustration. I believe that Jesus only died for the elect. Those elect were predestined to salvation by the expressed will of God the Father. However, gospel proclaimation is to be made to all people, because God the Son has commanded us to do so. And since we love God to the point of obedience we willing and joyfully fulfill our end of the Great Commission.

        To illustrate the alternative the mayor would have had to order food for everyone in town. Those who chose not to eat would then let their good food rot and be thrown away. It is this reason why Calvinists hate (and I use this word with all its force) the alternative, because we can not bear the thought of our Savior’s saving work on the Cross left to the trash heap. Rather, we see His atonement as effectual and not just possible.

        May He be praised,
        reformedsteve

  5. says

    Dan,

    The problem is that you are seeing the cross in a pecuniary way, in which it really does not fit. It’s not that sin cannot be seen as a debt, or that Christ did not purchase us with a price. But what does not fit is the idea of money—specifically, the idea of commercialistic divisibility of value, which in all other cases is true of money but is not the intended meaning in the case of Christ. While Christ dying for us can be seen as an exchange of something of value, it is important to keep in mind a few things:
    1) it was Christ’s very life that He gave in exchange, and that life is indivisible and would be required even to save just one.
    2) sin is a criminal debt, not a merely financial one. As such, it cannot be paid by a substitute without the approval of the Judge and without some means by which the substitute and the sinner become one in reality. This is accomplished by union with Christ through the indwelling Holy Spirit.
    3) each individual sinner owes all of Christ’s suffering and death. Atonement operates on the principle of one-for-one substitution, and not on the principle of commercialistic value.

    For more information, read here.

    • says

      Ken, you are over scrutinizng the metaphor to make everything fit. It wasn’t comparing atonement to paying for dinner, it’s just the “limited” aspect we are dealing with.

      • says

        Dan,

        You’re not making any sense. In your article above, you clearly did compare atonement to paying for dinner. Do you want to understand this better, or do you just want to share your thoughts without having to address any substantial challenges to that?

        • says

          Sorry, been away from the computer a while. The comparison of the atonement and dinner was to simply set up the main point. You are taking the background set up and using it as the main argument, and not focusing on the thesis, which is limited atonement, not the doctrine of substitution atonement.

          I do disagree with your logic about Christ’s life, clearly the lamb at The Day of Atonement made atonement for the sins of the entire nation of Israel, so one life can in fact pay for many, if the lamb, or in this case The Lamb, is without blemish.

          • says

            Welcome back, Dan.

            In your illustration, you assumed a presuppositional framework regarding atonement, and then reasoned from within that framework. If I show your framework to be flawed from the start, then all your reasoning based on that framework is invalidated. You cannot rightly insist that your framework be assumed as accurate, and insist that only your reasoning within that framework be the subject of debate—that would be “begging the question.” Your “main argument” stands within (and depends upon) a flawed background.

            I won’t cite all the passages, but if you study Hebrews, you will find that Christ’s death as a sacrifice is typified in many different kinds of Old Testament sacrifice, and not merely the Day of Atonement. The fact is that all the OT sacrifices were a type of Christ. By looking at the whole of that system, we find as a principle running like blood through the body of Scripture, that of personal, one-for-one, substitutionary atonement. The sinner could not escape certain conclusions: God was holy and demanded death for sin; God was gracious and would accept an eligible substitute; the sinner stood under God’s wrath and deserved to suffer and die; and the sacrificial victim suffered what the sinner owed and in the sinner’s place. By the daily reinforcement of these Biblical ideas through the system of levitical sacrifices, this vital principle was ingrained into the minds of the people, and would have provided the foundation for understanding the Day of Atonement—for understanding that the single sacrifice (the two goats being seen as a single sacrifice) was to be viewed as a one-for-one substitution in the case of each one of the people.

  6. says

    Think of it another way. A Tour Guide takes a busload of tourists to a restaurant for lunch. He invites them all into eat, but discovers he has no money. So he offers to swap his expensive watch … valuable enough to cover all (say) 54 meals for everyone on the bus. Innkeeper says OK, so he give him the watch.

    40 people go in an eat. The others weren’t hungry, wanted to sleep, didn’t like the looks of the place, whatever. The question is: how many meals DID the watch pay for?

    Answer: 40.

    How many COULD IT have paid for? 54. More, in fact. But it didn’t. It only paid for what was eaten.

    I believe it was Spurgeon who said it was unthinkable that a man’s sins be atoned for, and that he would also have to die and pay the eternal penalty for them. If your sins are atoned for, they’re atoned for.

    It’s also been likened to the girl who anointed Jesus with the jar of nard. She used much more than was required, enough to flow down around Him and puddle up. Such was the price He paid .. far more than enough. nobody says “Limited Price” or “Limited Value” or “Limited Cost”. It’s Limited Atonement.

    • Christiane says

      I don’t think an eternity in hell could ever pay for even one sin against God . . .

    • Greg Harvey says

      I would add that atonement isn’t a currency but a reconciliation between God and a person (or in the OT it could apply to a family since only the father participated in the sin offering). Only those finite numbers who actually participate in that reconciliation receive it.

      But the key issue that upsets most who reject the TULIP acrostic is irresistible grace. Their complaints against all five points are most forcefully expressed against the loss of free will or the violation of the notion that “God is a gentleman” and therefore would not coerce or manipulate someone into believing in him. The rest of the complaining revolves around the sense that this violates their freedom of action or freedom of choosing.

      I honestly don’t see the point of trying to convince someone who feels/believes that way that they’re wrong. God’s economy can handle whatever glory leaks if they’re wrong and I don’t know that there is danger in the thought that God reasons with us in transparency and clarity of thought. Prevenient grace at least acknowledges God’s participation in the clearing of depravity so that such clarity can be achieved.

      I think we all have too little horror regarding continuing sin, so the rejection of true original sin is hardly shocking. And, similarly, if God is sovereign, honestly, why is sanctification so slow? Couldn’t he do that faster? I’m 51 and I almost feel like I’m less there now than when I was first saved (and, in all honesty, I might be worse off.)

      I also still feel that the doctrines of grace accomplish what they are supposed to accomplish when we celebrate the fact that Jesus accomplished everything that I needed before I was born because while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. The subtleties and nuances of that are overwhelmed by the centrality of the God-man in our reconciliation with the Father. Hebrews claims that ALL saints–both OT and NT achieved reconciliation because of Christ. The OT saints effectively through their faith as expressed in obedience looked forward to his sacrifice.

      The rest is provocative and evocative speculation as to what Scripture really “means”. It’s the kind of arguing I’ve come to expect in a taven when two men are well into their third or fourth pints (for some reason–though I’ve never been in an English tavern, this particular word picture works better in pints rather than mugs or steins). I think that might be fine if somehow a casual observer might make the mistake of assuming our bickering was an honest effort to be more pleasing to God.

      But we all know it isn’t. It’s really just trying to act like we have it all together. That’s why I think it’s better to treat it as either mystery or speculation: so we can extend unity on celebrating the centrality of Christ Jesus rather than the periphery of precise–and potentially unaccomplishable–understanding.

    • says

      Bob,

      Because of my sin, I owed ALL that Christ could pay. The entire payment is required just to pay for one. How then can it pay for more than one? If the entire payment is required to pay for just one, then such value-based commercialistic illustrations do not work.

      • says

        The entire payment is required just to pay for one. How then can it pay for more than one?

        Because Jesus is God. If He was just a man, then His one death could only pay for one person. The fact that He is God means that His death is infinite, His resurrection is infinite, and His life as payment/ransom/atonement is also infinite.

        Taking into account your limitations on a commercial illustration, you have to take into account (pun intended) that His transaction on the cross was done on a logarithmic scale: it was as though there was one Jesus on the cross for each person who will be in Heaven. We see one Jesus (one ledger), but he was there (as infinite God) for multiple people (multiple sets of ledgers).

        • says

          Greg,

          His payment is infinite? My debt is infinite. The word “infinite” is really just a metaphor. Better is the word, “complete.” I was a completely guilty sinner, deserving the complete wrath of God. Christ suffered the complete wrath of God in my place.

          • says

            Your sin debt is not infinite, because you are not infinite. The price for your sin is either (A) an eternity in hell for one person, you, or (B) Jesus’ payment on the cross. THAT was infinite.

          • says

            Bob,

            My sin debt is infinite because I have offended an infinitely holy God. In other words, I can work on paying that debt for an infinitely long time of suffering in hell, and still never pay all that I owe.

          • says

            Ken, your sin is not infinite, nor is your debt. Infinite is not a metaphor, and it something that you are not capable of, only God is infinite, you are just eternal. God is everlasting to everlasting, as the atonement was made by God in Christ, making it outside of time and therefore “no finite” and without limit. You have limit, your sin has limit and therefore Christ can cover your finite sin with his infinite grace.

          • says

            Dan,

            If a sin debt is not infinite, then sinners have no need to suffer an infinitely long time, and must be released when they have paid enough. But the fact is that they will never pay enough, because only infinite, unending suffering is appropriate to an infinite debt.

            Christ made His atoning sacrifice in time, on a cross outside of Jerusalem around 29 AD. He did not accomplish that “outside of time.”

            Do you deny that you alone owed all of the suffering and death that Christ endured?

    • Don Johnson says

      Bob,

      Did the innkeeper refund the tour guide for the 14 meals that were not purchased? Or did the tour guide just say “keep the change”?

  7. Randall Cofield says

    Hi Dan,

    I think the illustration works…in a limited sense…. :-)

    But, rather than breaking down when election and predestination are added, I think the illustration is substantially enriched when Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Irresistible Grace and Perseverance are added.

    The mayor (being God and owning the cattle of a thousand hills) lives in a town where every citizen is utterly bankrupt and rebellious and cannot afford the meal. The mayor (being God and uninfluenced by anything other than His infinitely perfect and wise will) chooses certain individuals in the town to be glad recipients of his beneficence.

    He then ordains all the means necessary so that everyone he has chosen–though they are destitute rebels–will hear his issued command to come and partake of the bounty of his table. His beneficence is so overwhelmingly gracious that everyone commanded to come finds the commandment not grievous but irresistibly attractive. And every one of them runs gladly and willingly to the restaurant.

    When they arrive, they find that the mayor has graciously paid the price for every one of them individually. When they partake of the meal, they find it so satisfying that they never hunger or thirst again, and they are compelled by his grace and mercy to persevere in obedience and love to him all the days of their life. When they die, they all go to a place prepared for them by the mayor, where they enjoy the splendors of paradise in his wonderful presence forever.

    In the meantime, all who were not chosen (did I mention they were all rebels and criminals who hate the mayor?) by the mayor hear often of the grace and beneficence of the mayor. They are unaware that they were not chosen by the mayor, yet they choose to never come and inquire as to whether or not they are among the chosen. Rather, they choose to mock, castigate, and disobey him until such time the mayor locks them all in the city jail for their crimes where they remain unrepentant and continue to curse the mayor eternally. And the smoke of their torment ascends upward forever and ever.

    OK…maybe I stretched the illustration Juuuust a little….. :-)

    Then again….maybe not….

    Soli Deo Gloria

  8. says

    Don’t go down the road that the Calvinists do…by trying to figure everything out and resolve every mystery. That will take you to where they are…so bent on human reason that they will deliberately ignore what Scripture says on the matter.

    “Christ died for and forgives the whole world.”

    That they don’t believe that sends them into internal gymnastics trying to figure out if they really are one of the elect…or not.

    Some come to faith (and are saved) and some (many) do not.

    Why?

    That’s the mystery we are stuck with.

    • says

      Steve,

      You said, “Christ died for and forgives the whole world.” Where is that found in Scripture, exactly? If Christ “forgives the whole world,” then the whole world is forgiven and nobody will perish in their sin.

    • says

      Steve: Calvinists don’t go down that road you claim we do.

      The first thing I was told when I decided to join a Presbyterian church .. one which actually taught what we believed .. was that we could never actually figure it all out, what with our finite minds, and God’s infinite nature. Not to mention the infinite nature of the Bible itself.

      We cannot reconcile “the Lord has made all things for Himself, even the wicked for the day of evil” with “And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” So we’re stuck with settling on a theology that ignores some scripture or other, or explaining away this or that in the Bible, at least as long as we’re trapped in the fleshly suit we’ve inherited.

  9. says

    Ken,

    1 John 2:2

    Just because Christ “died for the whole world” (the Bible)…does not mean that all will hear and come to faith.

    Chris,

    Where has the Bible answered why some hear the gospel, and some do not?

    Only that it says such is true.

    Fellas, I’m off to work. Won’t be back till the late afternoon,

    Thanks.

    • says

      Steve,

      You did not answer the question. Here’s what you said:

      …That will take you to where they are…so bent on human reason that they will deliberately ignore what Scripture says on the matter.

      “Christ died for and forgives the whole world.”

      I ask you again: where does Scripture say that Christ “forgives the whole world”?

        • says

          “. . . God . . . desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all . . .” (1 Timothy 2:3-6).

          “. . . God . . . desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all . . .” (1 Timothy 2:3-6).

          • says

            “in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them . . .” (2 Corinthians).

            I can keep going. There are more. But just ignore them as the Calvinist does, in his/her desire to turn God into a monster that destines people for hell.

          • says

            Steve, your verse in 1 Timothy is a call for Christians to pray for those in high and powerful positions, because God not desire for one group of people, not just the poor. God desire’s for kings and rulers, for Jews and Gentiles, for all types of people.

      • says

        I repeat…1 John 2:2.

        Is that not in your Bible?

        There are many other Scripture that speak of Christ’s love for all and desire that ALL come to Him.

        Trying to resolve issues that are not ours to resolve will lead one into cul de sacs where one can chase their tail …forever..or worse yet, start to use their reason to override the clear word of Scripture.

        • says

          Steve,

          Trying to resolve issues that are not ours to resolve will lead one into cul de sacs where one can chase their tail …forever..or worse yet, start to use their reason to override the clear word of Scripture.

          On the other hand, such a concern could also be used as an excuse for an incorrect understanding. If your position is based on the clear word of Scripture, then it should be readily shown by exegesis.

    • says

      You also have to remember that the word WORLD in scripture is “kosmos” in Greek. This doesn’t mean just the people or this planet, but the entire created order.

      If we limit His saving power to just humanity (kind of arrogant and self-centered) then there is nothing left for the salvation of creation, which is also stained with sin.

      • says

        Greg,

        There’s a difference between saving from God’s wrath due to one’s own sin and redeeming the physical world from the physical corruption that resulted from the sin of men. Christ will do both, but these are two different things.

    • charles says

      re: 1 John 2:2

      When you read the NT, you will notice that there was something of a significant division of the church in those days between jews and gentiles.

      Gal2:9 James, Peter and JOHN, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and THEY to the JEWS.

      that is the same john that you are quoting, right? the one focused on ministry to the jews? any chance “world” in 1 John 2:2 might be reminding his primarily jewish readers that Jesus died for the gentiles as well? that was something of an issue back then.

      John11:51…as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, 52 and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one.

      Jesus came and died not just for the jews but also for the scattered children of God (the gentiles – or “other sheep” of John 10) – not an unusual point for john to make at all. it seemed to need to be repeated in the 1st century.

      Gal3:13Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us…

      Matt25:41Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire…

      If Jesus became a curse for everyone on the cross, why are some still cursed? Noncalvists from c.s. lewis to adrian rogers have said that atonement was made for all – that God is reconciled to every single person through Christ and invites them into heaven at the last judgment, but will weep as they choose Hell and walk away from Him. Matt25:41 and verses like it make that interpretation hard to support.

      “Where has the Bible answered why some hear the gospel, and some do not?”

      You need to be born of God first, apparently. God has to act.

      John8:42Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me…47He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”

      1Cor1:30It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus…

      2Tim1:9God…has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time…

      Isa55:11 …so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

      • dean says

        Charles, I am sorry brother but any true exegesis of I John 2:2 will have to say that Christ died for the entire world. This is keeping with John’s summary of the Gospel in John 3:16. Holos in I John 2:2 means whole, every whit, all together. It is keeping with Paul’s writing in II Corinthians 5:14 that Christ died for all. Pas in that verse means all, all things, every, every man, whosoever.

        I know that many in the reform community believe John Owen’s view of limited atonement, that Christ died even for the sin of unbelief. I hold that John 3:16 teaches that Christ died for the entire world. I also understand 3:18 teaches one is not condemned except for the sin of unbelief. That may be us trads version of limited atonement. Christ died for every sin but the sin of unbelief. :)))

        To answer the question where does the Bible say Christ died to forgive the whole world. It is understood that His death was for forgiveness. When the Bible says He died for the whole, entire, every man world He was offering forgiveness to the whole world.

        • mike white says

          dean,
          you said:
          ” Pas in that verse means all, all things, every, every man, whosoever.”

          Every man does not equal whosoever.

          • dean says

            According to my teaching and understanding the word pas can be translated at times every, all things, every, every man, everything, and whosoever. If that is not correct I apologize. I will try to find the times when it is translated whosoever. Mike I promise you that there are few people more devoted to true exegesis. I would never try to impose my system of beliefs on a passage. Just like any true trad or Calvinist I do chose to elevate some verses in my belief system, examples being Romans 9 for one group I John 2 for the other. However we can never practice eisegesis for the purpose of defending our system. That was my honest understanding of pas.

          • mike white says

            Dean,
            i am not doubting that pas can be translated that way. But context and overall Biblical context decides if it means all inclusively, all with exclusions, or whosoever, which is all with exclusions.

          • mike white says

            Dean,
            you said this,
            “o answer the question where does the Bible say Christ died to forgive the whole world. It is understood that His death was for forgiveness. When the Bible says He died for the whole, entire, every man world He was offering forgiveness to the whole world.”

            How can you offer something to someone if they never hear of it?

        • charles says

          “It is keeping with Paul’s writing in II Corinthians 5:14 that Christ died for all.”

          in context, 2Cor5:14 is referring to all of those “in Christ.” not every single person.

          in acts2:17 “I will pour out my Spirit on all/pas people, your sons and daughters will prophesy…” joel’s prophecy was answered that day, but not every single person received the Spirit and prophesied. all kinds of people: young/old, men/women but only believers.

          in 1Tim6:10 “the love of money is the root of all/pas evil.” the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. but david didn’t commit adultery with bathsheba because he wanted money. the love of money is not the root of every single kind of evil.

          Jesus’ death was a sacrifice that satisfied the Father’s wrath – and where unbelievers are concerned, God’s wrath remains.

          your interpretation fails fantastically when compared to the rest of the bible – maybe you should look at pas/kosmos again…

          • Don Johnson says

            Charles,

            I beg to differ “that if one died for all” means those “in Christ.” The rest of the verse states “then were all dead.” Are those in Christ dead? Are only those who will be in Christ dead?

            Verse 15 again states Christ died for all, But then states “that they which live” notice it doesn’t say all live. It doesn’t say “all” because not everyone Christ died for “will live.”

          • charles says

            @Don”Are those in Christ dead? Are only those who will be in Christ dead?”

            it says that all “were dead” – and yes all those in Christ “were” at one time, dead (Eph2:1-3). not “only” those, but “all” those.

            “And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.”

            “for them, he died and rose again.” who is “them” – for whose sake? for the ones who live. for believers.

            it’s a funky wording, especially in the KJV, but it’s clear enough. pas/all is often modified by its context.

            “Heb2:9we see Jesus…; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man (pas).”

            similar situation here – look at the context:

            “10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing MANY SONS unto glory, to make the captain of THEIR salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both he that sanctifieth and THEY WHO ARE SANCTIFIED are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them BRETHREN, 12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of THE CHURCH will I sing praise unto thee. 13 And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the CHILDREN which God hath given me.”

            (caps for emphasis, not yelling.) the context clarifies that “every man (pas)” in v9 means “believers” in a constant repetition. but most traditionalists prooftext v9 and stop there.

            Rom5:18Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

            i hope you read Rom5 here and get that justification and life will not be given to “all men.” while all men (in adam) are under condemnation, it is only all men (in Christ) who will be justified and counted righteous.

            as i said elsewhere regarding Rom8:32-33: if Jesus was given up by the Father for unbelievers, how could God fail to also give them all things, including justification?

            Gal3:13 says “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.” so how can God call the goats “cursed” in Matt25:41 and demand that they depart, if Jesus became a curse for them?

            the rest of 2Cor5 talks about being “reconciled to God” as Jesus was made to “be sin for us.” but in Matt25:41, He doesn’t sound reconciled to the goats at all.

            in His High Priestly prayer in John17:9, Jesus refuses to intercede for “the world” (of unbelievers) – which would only make sense if He were not offering Himself as a sacrifice on their behalf. God accepted the sacrifice of His Son, yet unbelievers remain “condemned already.”

          • Don Johnson says

            Charles,

            If “then were all dead” in 2 Cor. 5:14 only refers to the saints, how do we know if those who are not and will not become saints, are dead? Those who are dead in Eph. 2 are all quickened.

            I’m sorry but “every man” does not mean “many sons.”

          • Don Johnson says

            Charles,

            In Heb. 2:10 “for whom are all things” and “by whom are all things.” Do the “all” in these statements mean “many”? Or do they really mean “all”? If they really mean “all” then why doesn’t “every man” mean “all” since it’s the same word in the same context?

    • says

      Steve,

      “Where has the Bible answered why some hear the gospel, and some do not?”

      Why do only some hear the gospel? Or why only some believe? For the latter, John 10:26, is one.

      • says

        Who is the gospel meant for, Chris?

        Those who hear it. Actually hear it and come to faith.

        You guys are never going to resolve this mystery (why some believe and some do not)…but you ought not make God into the bad guy as the Calvinists do. We are the bad guys. God is good.

        • says

          Steve,

          You asked for a verse, I gave you a verse, you gave me your reasoning which had nothing to do with the verse.

          As for who hears? Everyone, re Romans 10:18. (which raises the question: does everyone sometimes not mean everyone?)

        • says

          Steve,

          Calvinism does not make God the bad guy. On the contrary, Calvinism sees all sinners as so bad that none would come even if given the opportunity apart from God’s intervention resulting in full persuasion. It is libertarians (“trads,” Arminians, etc.) who make good guys of those sinners who are wise enough, prudent enough, or soft-hearted enough to respond in faith.

          • says

            Sorry, Ken, but calvinism says that God predestines some to hell.

            He does not (as per the Scriptures verses I cited (there are more).

            When we believe, God gets ALL the credit. When we do not, we get ALL the blame.

            This is the God that the Scriptures bear witness to, and I believe it.

            But I do appreciate the chance to run these ideas and Scriptures past you good folks.

            Thanks.

          • says

            Steve,

            You came here and claimed that we were ignoring Scriptures that clearly say that Christ has forgiven the whole world. We have pressed you numerous times to come up with a reference from the Bible that says what you claim, but you have failed to do so.

            As for your other claim, that under your system, God gets all the credit if you believe, that is not really true, either. Of course, you would give God all the credit; however, under your scheme, the believer deserves some of the credit, whether or not it is admitted. Dr. Lemke stated, “I know people who would rather stay in the pig sty.” This is the problem with the libertarian view of “free will” in salvation. It may claim that all men are depraved, and no man would “initiate” a reconciliation with God; but it actually denies that all men are equally depraved, setting up believers as a class that is superior to those “who would rather stay in the pig sty.” The truth is that all of us would rather stay in the pig sty, until God intervenes in such a way as to bring us to want to leave that to come to Him. The truth is that God must do more than initiate what will be inevitably rejected by all sinners. More than mere initiation is needed—full persuasion is needed, and only God can do that.

          • says

            Ken,

            If you look at these comments, I have provided you with many Scripture verses.

            Are you choosing to discount them for some reason?

            Maybe because they don’t line up with your preconceived notions?

          • says

            Steve,

            While I certainly would not want to discard anything from Scripture, I cannot for the life of me find in any of the verses you referenced the least hint that Jesus has forgiven the world. Would you be kind enough to quote where it says that, or explain how it says that?

            And again, I must ask, if God has forgiven the world, then why would anyone be sent to everlasting wrath?

            Thanks in advance, and be blessed!

          • Don Johnson says

            Ken,

            Again, man is the one who persuades. The Holy Spirit convicts, man persuades.

          • says

            Steve Martin,

            I noticed that you again avoided the difficult question of how it is that God can send any man to hell if He has forgiven all men. But in the interest of good discussion let’s look at all the passages you have referenced:

            1 John 2:2 ESV
            2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

            Christ is the propitiation for sins (whether ours or the whole worlds) in the sense that the power to propitiate God’s wrath is available to any and all who come by to put their faith in Him. Propitiation operates only by faith, so that no man is free from God’s wrath unless and until he comes to believe. This is why is says in Rom. 3:25a, “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood…” There is nothing in the text or context of 1 John 2:2 to indicate that the whole world is forgiven.

            2 Cor. 5:18-20 ESV
            18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

            From the day of Christ’s incarnation, God was in Christ, going about the work of reconciling the world to Himself; and God is still in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself. That work is ongoing, and will continue until the last child of God is reborn into the body of Christ. God reconciles the world to Himself one sinner at a time, and He does so only through Christ. In v. 18, Paul tells us of two concurrent events: [God] “through Christ reconciled us to himself,” which was their conversion event; and continuing, “…and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” When God reconciled Paul to Himself, that is when He gave Paul the ministry of reconciliation. That reconciliation is described in v. 19: “in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them…” When does God not count a man’s trespasses against him? Paul tells us:

            Rom. 4:5-8 ESV
            5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:
            7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; 8 blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”

            As God moves along in His work of reconciling the world to Himself one sinner at a time, He brings the sinner to faith in Christ, and it is because of that faith that God does not count the trespasses of sinners against them. As David said, quoted by Paul, “Blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin”—this is being reconciled to God really is. God uses the preaching of this message of reconciliation (not that sinner are already reconciled, but that reconciliation is available through Christ) as a means by which to conduct the work of reconciliation. So God entrusts Paul and the Apostles, as well as every believer, with the ministry of reconciliation. Thus, in v. 20, “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us, ‘We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God!'” We implore men to be reconciled to God because that is the only way they can escape wrath and be forgiven. But again, there is nothing in text or context in either one of these passages that indicates that the world is already forgiven.

            1 Tim. 2:3-6 ESV
            3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.

            When Christ “gave Himself as a ransom for all,” it was not commercialistically valued ransom—in other words, it was not something of which the value could be divided up and applied (or assigned) to all at the time that it was given. Rather, His life works as a ransom for any individual (up to and including all) if they come to Him in faith. The ransom is not a payment to the devil, but to the justice of God, which holds the death sentence of God’s wrath over each sinner. The ransom, like the propitiation, is there and available for all; but only those who come by faith will benefit from it. Until they come by faith, God’s just wrath still hangs over them and they are not forgiven. Again, there is nothing here in the text or the context that indicates that the world is already forgiven.

          • says

            Don,

            You stated:

            Again, man is the one who persuades. The Holy Spirit convicts, man persuades.

            No mere man can overcome another man’s spiritual resistance and aversion to God and the Truth. God must do a work of preparation in the life, mind and heart of a man before he will convert. The Holy Spirit’s convicition is an important part of that. But God knows exactly what events and what influences would be necessary to bring any man to his knees in genuine faith. But yet, God only brings about those influences that He knows will be successful in the case of some and not all. The decision is in His hands.

          • Don Johnson says

            Ken,

            No mere man can overcome another man’s spiritual resistance and aversion to God and the Truth. God must do a work of preparation in the life, mind and heart of a man before he will convert. The Holy Spirit’s convicition is an important part of that. But God knows exactly what events and what influences would be necessary to bring any man to his knees in genuine faith. But yet, God only brings about those influences that He knows will be successful in the case of some and not all. The decision is in His hands.

            The Holy Spirit’s conviction is true. The rests sounds good, it even sounds spiritual. I just can’t find Scripture to support it. Do you have any? It certainly was not Paul’s approach to the ministry.

  10. Don Johnson says

    Charles,

    If 1 John was written in the early days of the Church there could be some truth about the Jew – Gentile division. 1 John was probably written towards the end of the first century, Galatians was written decades earlier. Also 1 John was not addressed to the Jews, it’s written everyone. According to tradition (though I don’t put much stock in it) 1 John was written from Ephesus, a pagan Gentile city. The other sheep in John 10:16 are other Jews not living in Jerusalem, they are not Gentiles.

  11. says

    Personally, I don’t see any reason to try to make 1 John 2:2 not mean “for the sins of the entire world”. To me (and I believe this was also Calvin’s position) all John is saying there is that Christ is positionally the propitiation for the sins of everyone. So that if any man is to be saved it will be through Christ. Christ is the Savior for all mankind and there is no other name by which men will be saved.

    No need to say “everyone” doesn’t mean “everyone” (though I believe some places contextually that is necessary).

    Am I still on Team Calvin?

  12. charles says

    even if 1 john was written after the dispersion, it seems more likely that john was writing to people to whom he had ministered to personally. (even if a period of persecution may have limited personal references.)

    but i only think that explanation is a possible one. i’m not committed to it. mike’s explanation is at least plausible and i’m sure there are other alternatives.

    but the suggestion that “propitiation” actually means “potential propitiation” is a much tougher sell – is there any linguistic evidence to support it? does it really encourage non-calvinists to preach that just as Jesus was the atoning sacrifice for the sins of Judas, He similarly atoned for our sins as believers? with reference to Rom8:32-33: if Jesus was given up by the Father for unbelievers, how could God fail to also give them all things, including justification?

    and the argument that Jesus is the actual propitiation for those whose sins are clearly not propitiated – such as c.s. lewis and adrian rogers taught – seems refuted back in John3 “whoever does not believe stands condemned already…God’s wrath remains on him.” Matt7:23 is another problem for those with this notion of reconciliation and Heb10:13 and Psa2 put it in even stronger terms.

    and that goes back to a big sticking point: the traditionalists want to tell unbelievers that “God loves you” while the calvinists point out that the bad news that “God’s wrath remains on unbelievers” needs to serve as a foundation for the good news. to the extent that unity is important, we focus on areas of agreement: everyone is invited to come, everyone is responsible to come and whoever wants to come in the name of Christ will be accepted by the Father.

    • says

      charles,

      While I believe as you that “God’s wrath remains on unbelievers” I still tend to start a gospel presentation at a little different spot though and I can even say (yes as a Calvinist) that the Lord loves them. For me I think the best place to start in presenting the gospel is with creation and that everyone is created in the image of God. The fall makes little sense unless it is set against the backdrop of the wonder of God’s creation. So

      I’d say that even prior to the fall of man what is a good foundation for the good news is the goodness of our Creator God and the beauty of His original creation.

  13. Don Johnson says

    Mike,

    When you say God loves them, does that mean Christ died for them? Or is it some other kind of love?

    • says

      I mean that God loves them. Whether Christ died for them or not pends on what you mean. They are sinners. Christ died for sinners. God commands them to repent and believe in the only source of salvation. Do I believe God loves unrepentant sinners in the same way as believers or his own Son? Nope. But he still loves them.

      • Don Johnson says

        Mike,

        I agree God will have a special love for those after they become believers. My question though is, did God love those who don’t get saved enough to have Christ die for them?

        • says

          Is this a serious question or one you already know the answer to? I have no desire to rehash an argument with someone that simply will cut and paste lines of reasoning from other arguments. I haven’t the time for it. If you seriously want to understand my position I’d be happy to explain. But I don’t care to debate, especially on a post I didn’t write

          • Don Johnson says

            Mike,

            I wasn’t trying to debate. You had stated God loves everyone. You must admit that is not the standard statement for a Calvinist to make. Your carefully worded answer could be taken to mean more than what you actually believe. I wanted to know what you actually mean. I won’t argue your point, I’m just trying to understand it.

          • says

            I feel like Bill Clinton here, LOL, but…what do you mean by “for”. If you mean that “For this is how God loved the world that He gave his son so that whoever believes would not perish” then yeah I believe that God has made Christ the Savior of all mankind. So that whoever will may come to Him and find salvation.

            But if you mean that God loved the world so much that he efficaciously died for them, then no. Otherwise everyone would be saved.

            Sufficient for all efficient only for those who come (or as we Calvinist would say–the elect).

          • says

            Of course those who believe in sovereign grace believe God loves all men, but scripture makes it clear that He has a special love for His children. He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked but He is also perfectly just and will execute judgment on all who do not repent and believe.

          • mike white says

            Does God love all men?

            Lets look at what we know:
            God knows all things.
            God knows, therefore, who will go to Heaven, and to Hell.
            God knew that BEFORE He created the world.
            And YET he created the world, knowing EXACTLY who would go to Hell.
            One might say God loves those hell bound people, but it would seem hard pressed to say He loved them salvifically.

          • Bill Mac says

            A quick question if I might cut in. Do non-Calvinists believe that there are people in hell who might have made it to heaven if:

            More people had prayed for their salvation?
            More people (or anyone) had witnessed to them?
            They had lived longer than they did?

            Honest question.

          • Don Johnson says

            Darryl,

            Yes, we all agree God has a special love for people once they become saved. Once saved they become His. Naturally now that they have become His children, His love becomes greater.

          • says

            So Don, you are saying that the salvation of men is entirely in our hands and their hands.

            In order for this to be true, you must say that God has created a world in which anything can happen. That is, man has absolute libertarian free will and even God can’t do anything about man’s decisions. In fact, you would even have to say that God has no effect on what men do and His foreknowledge is merely awareness of what men will choose on their own. In this system, God’s intervention is seen as rape, coercion, or some kind of abuse. His interruption or interference would be tantamount to cheating in a way- not allowing an absolutely free decision.

          • Bill Mac says

            Don: Fair enough. Leaving soteriology aside:

            Why did God not: stir up the hearts of more people to pray, or, send them another person to witness, or, let them live a little longer?

            If God loves them, and desires their salvation, and knows that if He gives them another year of life they will be saved, why would He not do it?

            What effect or mechanism or whatever you want to call it, would effect the salvation of that individual if 30 people were praying for him that 15 people would not? Where is God in that scenario?

          • Don Johnson says

            Bill Mac,

            More people praying may not do anything. It depends on what is being prayed.

            “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth laborers into His harvest.” Matt 9:37-38

            I assume from your statement you believe there are not “few” laborers, but just the correct amount. I believe Jesus thinks otherwise.

            We are to pray for laborers. The more laborers, the bigger the harvest. When there are more laborers in the harvest, more of the “elect” just happen to get harvested.

          • Bill Mac says

            Don: OK, let’s work backwards. What does God do to send more laborers into the field? What about free will? Also, what about God granting them longer life?

          • Don Johnson says

            Bill Mac,

            God calls His saints to service by His Spirit bearing witness with our spirit for the work He desires of us. I’m not sure what you mean about free will? But I will say because we still have free will, I believe much of the time God’s call to service seems to fall on deaf ears, mine included.

            As far as longer life, I’m not so sure on that one. I’m probably inclined to believe God knows they will not trust Christ no matter how long they live. Though they had ample opportunity to do so. On this one I’ll change my answer from yes to maybe.

        • mike white says

          Don,
          Why would God have Jesus die for those whom He KNOWS will never be saved? What would be the point?

          There is only two options. God knows the future [option a] or He doesn’t.[option b]
          Either way, He can not be a God who loves those he condemns to Hell.

          Either he made this world KNOWING that He either COULD NOT or WOULD NOT save those He KNEW He would CONDEMN in which case there is no salvific love there [option a] or…

          God made the world not knowing who would or could be saved and in that sense is an irresponsible creator by whose actions resulted in the everlasting torment of billions. [option b: open theism]

          I say would not or could not because that takes free will AND sovereignty OFF the table.

          • mike white says

            And that leaves us with one option: determinism.
            God is in control of who gets to Heaven.

          • mike white says

            Ken,
            If they are left to chance, than God is irresponsible creator and the ‘love’ we declare he has for all men but a sham of love.

          • Don Johnson says

            Mike,

            “Why would God have Jesus die for those whom He KNOWS will never be saved?”

            It’s called LOVE.

            There is no such thing as a salvific love that is separate from God’s general love for the world. God’s love is the same for all. It becomes greater once someone is saved.

          • dean says

            Mike, I had to jump down here to answer your question about Christ dying for the entire world and it being offered. His death is for the entire world(this cannot be contextualized away). It is offered by the great commission. God is not failing those who have never heard the church is. God bless you Mike I got to sermonize for Sunday night. I hope you have a great day.

          • mike white says

            Dean,
            You mean you wont see the Scripture through the lens it provides.
            Happy sermonizing.

          • mike white says

            The Great Commission is to preach Jesus as Lord of all, and savior of those who believe and trust in Him and judge of those who don’t. Its not to offer God’s love but His truth.

          • says

            Dean,

            So then, are you saying that God—knowing the result—left the destinies of many men in the hands of the negligent, the lazy, and the rebellious?

  14. says

    Incidentally, in my Wednesday night Bible Study, we call these “Rocking Chair Discussions”. Like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but doesn’t take you anywhere. You always wind up right where you started.

  15. Rick Patrick says

    This makes a fine “traditionalist” illustration. The Mayor truly desired all to eat and provided for their UNLIMITED participation, while not forcing them to eat anything, but recognizing their genuine free will to choose whether they would eat or abstain. The meal could be resisted if they wished, and many freely chose to do so. This works for me.

    • Don Johnson says

      Rick,

      Good point. Maybe Calvinists believe free will after all. I noticed none of them objected. One even said he liked it.

      • mike white says

        I am a C who believes in free will just not libertarian free will.
        And I think the example stinks.

        The people of this world have rejected God and set up their own little ‘g’ gods. They have too much pride to bow down to a God or god who demands they give up their pride to accept them EVEN if it means they ‘go hungry and starve to death’.

        They don’t see Jesus as the answer to their LAW problem and most of them think they will MERIT eternal life by the good things they have done. The rest give up hope in an afterlife.

        The ‘mayor’ scenario is way TOO SHALLOW. It fails to depict TRUTH.

      • says

        Of course Calvinists believe in free will. But it’s limited as Mike said. We can make no decisions based on anything outside of God’s created order… because there’s nothing outside of God’s created order. Since God is omnicient, he created everything knowing every human decision it would influence and how it would influence those decisions. But we still have volitional import according to the laws of human volition (that God also created) whether we fully understand those laws or not. But God understands them.

  16. says

    The thing that is so detestable about Calvinist doctrine is that we cannot, honestly say to people, “Christ died for your sins”…”Christ died for you”. (which He did)

    If you say that to someone and you are a Calvinist, then you are a liar.

    Calvinists, because of this devilish doctrine, rob people of assurance and turn God from a God who loves and died for all (which the Bible says in many, many places) into a god who has predestined people for hell (not biblical).

    Calvinism. No thanks.

    • mike white says

      Steve,
      to repeat
      Why would God have Jesus die for those whom He KNOWS will never be saved? What would be the point?

      There is only two options. God knows the future [option a] or He doesn’t.[option b]
      Either way, He can not be a God who loves those he condemns to Hell.

      Either he made this world KNOWING that He either COULD NOT or WOULD NOT save those He KNEW He would CONDEMN in which case there is no salvific love there [option a] or…

      God made the world not knowing who would or could be saved and in that sense is an irresponsible creator by whose actions resulted in the everlasting torment of billions. [option b: open theism]

      I say would not or could not because that takes free will AND sovereignty OFF the table.

      • says

        Mike,

        I cannot get into the mind of God. I just know what kind of a God we have and I know that the Bible says about it (Him).

        We can say that ALL really doesn’t mean ALL, and that the WHOLE WORLD really doesn’t mean, the WHOLE WORLD.

        We can go through all sorts of semantic gymnastics to try and bolster a position that is not Biblical, but when we read what Scripture says, and when we realize what kind of a God we have, and when we don’t try and resolve everything according to our limited reason, we see a God that loves everyone and truly does desire that they would come to Himself.

        How Jesus wept over Jerusalem, and how he wished to gather them as a hen gathers her own children…but they would not.

        ___

        I do think I have said all that I can say on the matter. Again, I thank you all for your cordiality and ask your forgiveness if I may have given in to temptation to be short with some of my remarks.

    • mike white says

      Steve,

      Consider this: the devil poses as an angel of light to deceive, to steal, and to rob. He does this to oppose God and the truth.

      Consider also: The devil mixes truth into each lie to camouflage its insidiousness.

      Consider this: What you might consider the truth is just a lie of the devil. What you consider a good interp of God’s Word is just your own desires to promote yourself because of your insecurities in your relationship or un-relationship with God.

      Mind you, I just said consider it, I am not saying it is true. I leave that to your heart.

      • says

        I say that God loves and died for all people, as the Bible actually says…and you think that it might be a lie from the Devil?

        That is a good one.

  17. mike white says

    You see I know i am His not because of some doctrine. Although doctrine is good, it is but man’s attempt to understand God. But my faith doesn’t rest on doctrine. It rests on God.

    And it doesn’t rest on general words about God. but on His person.

    I have a marriage certificate that tells me I am married to my wife.
    But I don’t need it. I know my wife.

    I know God. where it counts. not on the pages of a book. not in words written down. But by His person. By His Living Logos.

    Its nice to have the marriage certificate. And I need the written Word. But I know God in here [taps chest], and up here [points to head], and I just prayed that you too can have that same assurance and same understanding that I have. You don’t have to be a Calvinist to be able to look inside yourself to know that He is your God and that He loves you so.

    • says

      Mike,

      No knowledge of God is possible apart from his self-revelation, and his primary means of self-revelation is through the Bible. Also, “doctrine” refers to the knowledge we have about God. To know God is to have doctrine.

      • says

        Chris,

        The Bible would have no power of revelation if it did not sit upon the foundation of the revelation of the Holy Spirit (to us) that the Bible is the true Word of God. Along with this is the witness of the Holy Spirit to our spirit that we are the children of God. God is more than propositional—God is present and personal.

  18. mike white says

    Don,

    in reply to me…

    “Why would God have Jesus die for those whom He KNOWS will never be saved?”
    you said,
    “It’s called LOVE. There is no such thing as a salvific love that is separate from God’s general love for the world. God’s love is the same for all. It becomes greater once someone is saved.”

    Don, well i guess your definition of love is different than mine. My definition of a Great and Mighty God’s love is one that actually benefits the ones loved. And not where He creates them KNOWING they will go to Hell, and then sending a Son whose death He KNOWS will not benefit them.

    Care to explain how that is love?

    • Don Johnson says

      Mike,

      Saving anyone shows God’s love, but no one is saved by God’s love. God’s love never saved anyone, but His grace does.

      It’s true God loves everyone He saves. But even more amazing, God loves those who never get saved. Dave Miller has another thread going on about loving your enemies. God commands us to love our ememies because He loves His (Rom. 5:8-10).

      • mike white says

        Don,
        You failed to answer the question.
        Grace is the output of love.
        Love is sacrificing self for others.
        Grace is love

        • mike white says

          Romans 5:8-10
          8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

          Now since you were not alive when Jesus died, when did He demonstrate that the cross was His love for you?
          Yep, when He saved you.

          Those perishing don’t see it as the love of God but foolishness and are blind to the Gospel. [1st Cor. 1:18, 2nd Cor. 2:3]
          he hasn’t demonstrated His love to the perishing, or they wouldn’t be perishing.

        • Don Johnson says

          Mike,

          Sorry I didn’t see the question.

          “Can you explain how that is love?”

          Love is a selfless giving of one’s self. God demonstrated that love by dying for sinners, children of wrath, children of disobedience, His enemies. Now if someone is not a sinner, a child of wrath, a child of disobedience, or an enemy of God, then I agree with you Christ did not love or die for them.

  19. mike white says

    Now as to the other blog about loving your enemies, the Scripture is:
    But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Matthew 5:44

    God doesn’t do that for everyone and He doesn’t pray for His enemies. We deserve hell just the same as they do [our enemies that is]. God doesn’t deserve hell, isn’t at the same level we are.

  20. mike white says

    Don,
    The question is:
    Don, well i guess your definition of love is different than mine. My definition of a Great and Mighty God’s love is one that actually benefits the ones loved. And not where He creates them KNOWING they will go to Hell, and then sending a Son whose death He KNOWS will not benefit them.

    Care to explain how that is love?

    • mike white says

      Seems funny you didn’t see the question but yet you quoted it. lol

      If the giving by an all knowing God does not benefit those for whom it is given, how is it giving to those not benefited?

      Answer:
      It is not.

      Thus if the dying for does not and by His foreknowledge NEVER WILL benefit those that perish, then how is it for them?

      • Don Johnson says

        Mike,

        No, I did not quote it.

        I said love is a selfless giving of one’s self. Whether one benefits or not is not what makes it love. In order for it to benefit someone, it must be received.

        • mike white says

          Don,
          You are ignoring the point.
          God knows they won’t receive it.
          God knows they won’t benefit from it.
          God knows billions won’t even hear about it.
          And thus can’t receive it.

          God knows that many who hear of it are blind to its truth and thus can’t receive it.

          But God knows that if He opens their blind eyes to see it they will receive it and be saved. These He loves.

          The rest He does not love and leaves them to perish for their sins.

          • Don Johnson says

            Mike,

            “God knows that many who hear of it are blind to its truth and thus can’t receive it.” Only some people are blind to the truth? All the others have natural ability to receive it? Interesting thoughts coming from a Calvinist.

          • mike white says

            Don,
            Yeah, only some are blind, because He opens the eyes of the others.
            The point, which you continually fail to address, is that God KNOWS they are blind and NEED Him to open their eyes, and he does not open everyone’s eyes.
            Thus He leaves them in their sin.
            Since they need Him to save them and he does not, why would he also die for them? if he does the greater out of love, than why not the lesser?

            Rather we read:
            Romans 8
            31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

            But for those that perish, He has not opened their eyes. Thus the all here are those He saves. These God is for. Just these.
            The passage continues:

            33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written,

            “ For Your sake we are being put to death all day long;
            We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

            37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

            God justifies the elect how? By not sparing His own Son, but delivering Him over for us all, [who by context is the ELECT].

            Now as to the love of God, what separates it from those He does not spare His Son for?
            Nothing.

            But to those perishing: they go to Everlasting Hell.

          • Don Johnson says

            Mike,

            Thanks for pointing out the love of God comes by being in Christ Jesus our Lord. I’ve been saying that all along. Glad to see we’re on the same page.

          • mike white says

            Don,
            I guess when you have nothing to defend your position with, you can always seek to muck things up.
            you said:
            “Thanks for pointing out the love of God comes by being in Christ Jesus our Lord. I’ve been saying that all along. Glad to see we’re on the same page.”

            Yet we read:
            6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

            Maybe you didn’t catch it:
            But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

            If you are not going to be a serious seeker of truth, than please quit wasting my time. If you have a real response, I will be glad to read it tomorrow. Bye 4 now.

  21. mike white says

    Don, lets say you are going to a mission filed, and I sweat heard and earn $100. But then I never give it to you, and it remains in the envelope un-mailed. Did I give it to you. Nope. Did it benefit you? Nope. Is that an example of love? Nope.
    And neither is it love to die for those He knows will never benefit from it.

    • Don Johnson says

      Mike,

      You’re right, it is not love. You kept the money and made no attempt to offer me the money (Gospel). You’re right that definitely is not love.

      • mike white says

        That is right Don, it is not love. But having preachers tell men words they don’t believe is not offering them truth. If they think the words are foolishness, and He knows they will, then he is not offering them love either.

        • Don Johnson says

          Mike,

          Many people think the Gospel was foolishness, sometimes for years, only to get saved later on in life. It wasn’t benefiting them.

          • mike white says

            Don,
            That is right. many people hear the Gospel and think it foolishness. They cant, from the heart, submit to Jesus.
            But later in life, God opens their eyes and they no longer see it as foolishness and are saved by Him, by His opening up of their eyes, at His timing.
            Now not all get saved.
            Some die and perish eternally.
            God doesn’t open up their eyes. They never [in this life] see the truth of the Gospel. Many never even hear the Gospel. They perish eternally as well.

            God knew all this when He created the World. He knew all that when He sent His Son. He knew that they would perish. He knew He wouldn’t open their eyes.
            But He opened mine. He opened yours. He saved us. He saved us by His own self sacrifice. That is God’s love.

            We deserve hell as they do. But we are saved. Because of God we are saved.

            We couldn’t earn it, neither could they. But we were saved and they [those who died as unbelievers] were not. God saved us and not them.

            Yes He saved us by grace. But He did not save them.

            God saves those He loves and loves those He saves.

          • Don Johnson says

            Mike,

            Let me see if I have this correct. God saves who He loves and doesn’t save those whom He does not love. Is that your understanding?

          • mike white says

            Yes Don.
            Love can defined just that way, by salvation.
            God made the world, knew all of the future and only saved some, leaving the rest for eternal hell.

            God saves man.
            And those God doesn’t save, He doesn’t love salvifically.

            You may have a wife, and thus love her more than the lady across the street. But that doesn’t mean you don’t love the lady across the street. It is just not the same kind of love.

          • Don Johnson says

            Mike,

            So if the unsaved lady across the street was trapped in her burning house, do you try and SAVE her or say she’s getting what she deserves. I know you would try and SAVE your wife if she were in the burning house, because you have a salvific love for her.

  22. mike white says

    You see, love goes to the intent.
    Does God intend on saving everybody? Nope for…
    When He created the world, did He know that He could not or would not save everybody? Yep.
    When He sent the Son, did He know that millions upon billions would die in their sins and He wouldn’t or couldn’t stop it? Yep.
    Then He doesn’t love them by sending the Son for He knew it would not save those who perish.

  23. Dean says

    Mike we may have uncovered something in post 90. You say the great commission to the reform is to share God’s truth. We see it as sharing God’s love. The message of that truth is His love. We emphasize God’s love you His truth. This is interesting. Thank you for the dialogue Brother. I got to study for rea this time.

  24. says

    (Matt. 20:28) in every translation I can find it says “and to give his life a ransom/redemption for… M-A-N-Y”

    These words are from the very mouth of Jesus himself… and he did not say “ALL”.

    New International Version (©1984)
    just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

    New Living Translation (©2007)
    For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

    English Standard Version (©2001)
    even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

    New American Standard Bible (©1995)
    just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

    King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
    Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

    International Standard Version (©2008)
    That’s the way it is with the Son of Man. He did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many people.”

    Aramaic Bible in Plain English (©2010)
    “Just as The Son of Man came, not to be ministered to, but to minister, and to give himself a ransom in the place of the many.”

    GOD’S WORD® Translation (©1995)
    It’s the same way with the Son of Man. He didn’t come so that others could serve him. He came to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many people.”

    King James 2000 Bible (©2003)
    Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

    American King James Version
    Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered to, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

    American Standard Version
    even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

    Douay-Rheims Bible
    Even as the Son of man is not come to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a redemption for many.

    Darby Bible Translation
    as indeed the Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.

    English Revised Version
    even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

    Webster’s Bible Translation
    Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered to, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

    Weymouth New Testament
    just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as the redemption-price for many.”

    World English Bible
    even as the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

    Young’s Literal Translation
    even as the Son of Man did not come to be ministered to, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.’

    Grace for the Journey,

  25. Dean says

    Ken that is exactly what I’m saying. Can you tell me how the Gospel is spread otherwise than through the church. I read recently where the reform defended with their greatest efforts that they believe the preaching is necessary for regeneration. If a person has not heard the Gospel it is our fault unless you are saying preaching of Word is not necessary. I say we failed and long to go and peach more. You say they must not be the elect. Thank Goodness God didn’t love them.

    • says

      Don,

      It may be difficult, but let’s try to keep the views of different participants here separate. I do not agree with Mike (or with the Reformed) on everything.

      The gospel is spread through the Church. But all thing work together, and there are no “loose ends” with God. Rom. 1:18-20 let us know that all men have had sufficient revelation from God to be without excuse. There will be not one man in hell who did not reject God. Also, there is no divine dilemma of having some men in gospel-devoid lands who “cordially embrace all that God has revealed,” but who end up in hell due to logistical problems in not being able to get the gospel to them. Rather, none of those who perish without the gospel had embraced what God did reveal—else God would have dropped a missionary on their head even if it required a miracle to get him there. No man perishes from lack of a missionary or from lack of atonement. In every case, men perish from having willfully sinned and willfully rejected their only hope (God).

      But that brings us to the next question: Could they have been persuaded to believe? Yes, God is able to persuade any man, and without using coercive means. Yes, he uses preachers and the witness of believers, as well as the orchestration of events in life and the convictions of the Holy Spirit. Only those who have been thus persuaded will believe.

      As for the failings of the Church, I agree that we will be held accountable to Christ for the moral failure of our insufficient zeal or efforts. However, God’s arm is not cut short nor His plan thwarted by the failings of His people. All those who will actually be saved are those who were chosen before the foundation of the world. Not one person on Judgment Day will be told, “I wanted to save you but I just didn’t have anyone available and willing to go to that area—I’m so sorry.”

      BTW, considering the other discussions going on right now regarding rancor, etc., I just want to assure you that I have no rancor toward you in this discussion. I would gladly join you at a table of fellowship or work by your side in the Kingdom effort. May God bless you in your understanding and in your walk with him. (Maybe I should make this a disclaimer at the bottom of each post. :) )

  26. Dean says

    Ken if my tone soured I apologize. I have tried to honor Christ and His bride today. I would stop just short of agreeing with you on this matter. I have had many scholars I respect say that through God’s foreknowledge He knows who will respond to the Gospel and works through the church to always get the Gospel to them. Therefore not one who would respond has ever died without redemption. These great men have influenced my teaching in so many ways. I just have not reached that place of certainy they have. Without the list of Scriptures you know the Gospel is matter of urgency. There’s an urgency in preaching and an urgency in responding. Finally if all who will respond are preached to without fail then it stands to reason the last generation before the rapture would have to be a 100% reprobate generation or Christ couldn’t come to the clouds for us. I’m waiting for wisdom.

  27. mike white says

    Dean,
    you said,
    “Mike we may have uncovered something in post 90. You say the great commission to the reform is to share God’s truth. We see it as sharing God’s love. The message of that truth is His love. We emphasize God’s love you His truth. This is interesting. Thank you for the dialogue Brother. I got to study for rea this time.”

    Dean, i don’t speak for all ‘reform’.
    But look at it this way… to come to Christ, to come to see Him as Savior, one must first recognize her need as a sinner under condemnation.

    That one is under condemnation is of truth not of love. To not speak of truth first but of love first does two things:
    1] It waters down love. The understanding of love is magnified by the stark reality if what one deserves. If love is played up as before truth which is that a person stands condemned before a holy and just God, it speaks not to the pride of the person. “I am loved by God whether I submit to Him or not!” “We are all God’s children.”
    2] It waters down judgment.
    In other words, you are, in a sense, telling them that God’s going to always love them. So that idea alleviates the fear of judgment. A good and loving parent does not put their child in everlasting torment.

    Rather, the emphasis should be first on truth: Jesus is Lord and Judge, and they are dirty rotten sinners who stand condemned. And then: their only escape from their deserved fate is if they humble themselves and submit to Jesus. He has procured everlasting life for all who trust in Him by His death and through His resurrection.

    The emphasis is not on them ‘accepting’ God or God’s gift, but on them humbling themselves before God in submission.

    Those who believe will humble themselves, those who don’t won’t.

    By putting the emphasis on love and asking them to accept God and His gift, you put them in a place of superiority, whereas they should be in a place of fear and subjectivity.

    Instead of preaching that their will decides their fate, we should be preaching that their will has been against God and they need Him or they will suffer.

  28. Dean says

    Mike we are in complete agreement. A person cannot be born again until they are convicted of sin and judgment. In soul winning training I teach until they know they are lost and doomed they will never repent. (please no debate on whether regeneration comes first) :)

    As we go spreading the Godpel we are sharing God’s love and His truth. No evil intentions intended brother, I just thought it was curios I see my self when I share the Gospel as sharing His love and you His truth. I think that may be telling about our systems of belief.

  29. mike white says

    Dean,
    But let me raise the question, if God knew that certain people He would not or could not save and thus He would allow to suffer for eternity and yet He still created, HOW is it He loves them?

    and to put in a different way: God’s love is evident in a person’s life by their relationship to Him. if a person is against God, hates God, stands under God’s wrath, and knows not the love of God even after hearing the Gospel, what makes you think preaching God’s love as a point of emphasis gives you any credibility?

    As God, far above us puny humans, does he not have some responsibility to communicate, in an authentic realistic way, His love for that individual?

    Just us telling them He loves them doesn’t quite cut it, after all they are DISBELIEVERS. Its God job to demonstrate His love to them. And I believe He does just that to all He saves.

  30. says

    The power is in the blood, not in the faith, not in man, not in any other thing, only in the blood. God put it there, and the blood purges us, cleanses us, ransoms us. In the end, Particular Redemption is going to save a whole lot more people than General Atonement which saves no body, because it depends on man’s power to choose. Even Particular Redemption can be preached to a lost sinner…as in the case of Mt.15:21-28. All the doctrines of grace can be and ought to be preached to every sinner, with out exception, as invitations to trust Christ for salvation. Some folks from the Philadephia Assn. came down to NC in 1755 and persuaded some General Baptists who with their doctrine of General Atonement were not very evangelistic or missionary minded to become Regular Baptists (holding the doctrine of Particular Redemption), and them just changed Baptists went along baptizing 25-30 a year from 1755-1801, when God sent the Second Great Awakening and they baptized some 870 or 872.

  31. mike white says

    James,
    But isn’t the idea of ‘blood’ simply a metaphor for life? That the power is in the life of Jesus, in His living it, in His giving it up for others, and in His rising from the dead. So that when you speak of Particular Atonement, you are speaking of the intention of Jesus to substitute His life for those he has chosen to love? And this not only at the cross but as also carried out in the body of believers so as for us to share in His life both now and for eternity?

  32. Dean says

    Mike I have not questioned anyone’s credibility. I will go real slow for you if you are not preaching sin and judgment you are not preaching the truth. I share coming destruction for the lost. It is just telling to me that you do not see The Gospel as a matter of love. Ive heard my whole ministry just hard to believe some do not see God as loving all. You go tell folk God doesn’t love them. I will tell them that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. He commended His love to us this way.

  33. mike white says

    Dean,
    I know you have not questioned anyone’s credibility. The sentence reads:

    “if a person is against God, hates God, stands under God’s wrath, and knows not the love of God even after hearing the Gospel, what makes you think preaching God’s love as a point of emphasis gives you any credibility? ”

    And if I wasn’t clear, which seems i wasn’t, I was speaking about your lack of credibility with the lost. Sorry about the miscommunication.

    But Dean, you simply reasserted your position without actually engaging what I said.

  34. Dean says

    Sorry Mike I did misunderstand that credibility comment. I got irritated because I misunderstood. We do have an impasse that we can’t gap. You say it’s God’s responsibility to show His love by saving who He will. I reject limited atonement. Christ is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world.

    I believe Christ did show God’s love. I can honestly tell people I witness to that even though you are a sinner Christ died for you Because He loves you.
    I wonder how you preach – if you are one of the one’s God loves you can be saved. Now I have shared the Gospel but God may not love you do good luck with all this. I honestly don’t know how the SBC is going to house both of us. Your concept of God’s love and my concept seem like they have come from a different Bible. Good night Mike my wife is fairly sovereign here and I think she wants me to let it go tonight. Brother I pray God’s blessings in you.

  35. says

    I’m a new subscriber to SBC. I enjoy reading the blogs. However, I would like to share an “outsiders perspective”. Let me define ‘outsider’. I Pastor a 1st Church of God congregation. We are not Pentecostal. Our ‘Reformation Movement’ was founded in the late 1800’s as a sincere desire to rediscover the ‘New Testament’ church, wholly Holy Ghost driven, free from the contamination of human intellect. We are primarily ‘Amillenialists’. I ran across your website as a result of my desire to have dialogue about ‘amillenialism’. As I read your posts, it is clear to me that I’m an outsider. You use phrases like ‘Calvinism’, the ‘tulip’, ‘limited atonement’ very frequently. However, those are terms that carry a great deal of meaing to ‘insiders’, but leave the rest of us feeling excluded. As a minister of the gospel, I’ve always made it a point to avoid ‘religious rheteric’ (ie terminology that makes individuals in the pews excluded by God). Be careful that you don’t project the idea that you think John Calvin wrote the 67th book of the Bible. I would welcome a reply from anyone out there who would like to courteously and intelligently discuss amillenialism. Have a blessed day!