Limited (Definite) Atonement Part 2

February 13, 2007

The question may now arise as whether or not Scripture says that only many, or some are atoned for. Does it? The answer is without question, yes! God throughout Scripture says many, rather than all, are elected, called, and atoned for. For example:

Isaiah 53:11-12– “Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors;yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.”

Matthew 20:28– “Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Revelation 5:9– “And they sang a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,’ ”

Here is says “Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” It does not say that everyone in every tribe and tongue and people and nation. It is referring to a specific and smaller group of people that does not include everyone in the world

John 10:11– “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.”

Christ lay down His life for the sheep. He did not give His life for the wolves, and the goats, and the sheep. Only the sheep are the ones who benefit from the death of Christ. Not only does Christ say that He died for the sheep, but He prays only for the sheep, and not the rest of the world. If the sheep refers to every single person as the Arminian argument implies, than why is hell not empty?

David Steele, in his book The Five Points of Calvinism: Defined, Defended, and Documented, explains the difference of the limitations set by the Arminians and Calvinists:

“Since not all men will be saved as the result of Christ’s redeeming works, a limitation must be admitted. Either the atonement was limited in that it was designed to secure salvation for certain sinners, but not for others, or it was limited in that it was not intended to secure salvation for any, but was designed only to make it possible for God to pardon sinners on the condition that they believe. In other words, one must limit its design either in extent (it was not intended for all) or in effectiveness (it did not secure salvation for any).”

I mentioned in Part 1 of Limited (Definite) Atonement of the difference of the Arminians and Calvinists limiting of the atonement, as Mr. Steele has done here. You also may have noticed the title which includes ‘Definite’. This is because Definite defines the Calvinist’s view of the atonement in a slightly easier fashion. Christ’s atonement was definite in that it definitely atoned for all of the sins of the elect, and not for merely some of the sins for all people.

You can even go so far as to call the third point of TULIP Limited Definite Atonement, which clears it up even more. Christ’s atonement was Limited in that in only atoned for the elect and not all men, and that it was Definite in that Christ’s work atoned for all of the sins of the elect, and not only some of them.

Another place where the limited definite atonement is demonstrated is in Ephesians.

Ephesians 4:30– “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (emphasis added)

Christ has died not that only some of his atoning work would be effectual, but that it would be complete and total in that it would seal the souls of the elect when they were saved that they may not fall away and that they may be redeemed by the atoning blood of Christ. This demonstrates the necessity to believe in the fifth point of TULIP, the Perseverance of the Saints. Those who are sealed will continue in their state of atonement and redemption ‘till the end of the word and into the heavenly kingdom of God.

Again, Ephesians shows limited definite atonement.

Ephesians 1:3-12– “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of His will, according to His purpose, which He set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In Him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of His glory.”

How clear can you get? God predestined us before the foundations of the world that we might come to the knowledge of Christ through the saving work of His blood and atonement, and therefore we have done nothing for our own salvation. Christ’s atonement can be for nobody but those who have been predestined and elected according to the free and sovereign will of God.

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2 Responses to “Limited (Definite) Atonement Part 2”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Well supported research and well drawn conclusions from Scripture. Keep up the good work.

  2. Anika Q Says:

    A good question to ask Arminians is:

    “If Jesus died for everyone, why do some people go to hell?”

    Though not all Arminians realize the implications of their doctrine (thankfully!), the denial of limited atonement means the denial of the gospel- that Jesus’ work is enough.


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