REBUTTAL OF THE LIMITED ATONEMENT VIEWPOINT:
[Rebuttal comments from ansbible enclosed in brackets in BLUE font]
Predestination is the doctrine that God alone is the One who chooses who is saved, that He ordains the means, the time, and the circumstances of salvation and that without His predestination, no one would ever be saved. In part this is because human nature is so completely corrupted by sin that no person is capable of choosing God unless God first regenerates that person. But any Bible student will soon discover there are verses which say God wants all men to be saved. For example, "This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim. 2:3-4, NIV). The question, then, is if God predestines only some to salvation, why are there verses that say God wants all to be saved?
The answer is simple: The "all" are the Christians. Now, before you toss this paper aside, please try to be open-minded. I will prove that the "all" in at least three important verses that deal with salvation means the Christians. To do so, I would like to examine 2 Cor. 5:14, 1 Cor. 15:22, and then Rom. 5:18 where the word "all" is used in a way that can only mean the elect. Then I will examine other apparent universal passages.
Before I begin, and for clarity, I would like to introduce a couple of terms: Arminianism and Calvinism. Essentially, Arminianism states that man is able, by his own free will, to choose or reject God and that Jesus died for everyone who ever lived. Calvinism states that it is God alone who chooses who is saved, not man, and that Jesus died only for the Christians.
Also, I would like to introduce a principle that will become important later in this paper. It will help us in understanding God's word. Let's say we have two sets of scriptures that are related. For example, they deal with salvation and contain the word "all." And let's say that some of the scriptures can be interpreted in two ways, and the rest of the scriptures can only be interpreted one way. It follows then that those that can be interpreted two ways must be interpreted in harmony with those that have only one interpretation. If the first group of salvation verses containing "all" have two interpretations and the second group of salvation verses containing "all" has only one possible interpretation... Then the first group must be interpreted in such a way as to agree with the second group; both must be interpreted as, say, "B." This will prove helpful in looking at scriptures later, especially after we've examined the next three verses.
One last thing: you will find that though I seek to prove a single presupposition, I end up discussing several points. This is because of the intermingling of theological ideas that flow from the verses discussed. I simply ask that you bear with me.
2 Corinthians 5:14-15:
"For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf."
At first glance the phrase "He died for all" would lead you to think that Jesus died for every individual who has ever lived. But upon a closer look we see something different revealed. When Paul speaks of people dying, in relation to the death of Christ, he is speaking of the Christians who have died in Christ:
"Now if we have died with Christ..." (Rom. 6:8);
"If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world..." (Col. 2:20);
"For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God" (Col. 3:3);
"It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him" (2 Tim. 2:11).
The only ones who have died with Christ are the believers, not the unbelievers. Therefore, this verse can only make sense if it is understood that the "all" spoken of is not everyone who has ever lived, but only the Christians: "...that one (Jesus) died for all (the Christians), therefore all (the Christians) died..."
[The fact that this verse establishes that Jesus Christ died for all Christians does not rule out the fact that Jesus Christ died for all men, which is verified in other verses, (1 Jn 2:2, etc.). The group of Christians is part of the group of all men. Furthermore, the fact that this verse establishes that all Christians have in effect died with Christ because Christ died for them does not rule out the fact that Christ also died for unbelievers who have not died with Christ but for whom Christ died anyway. This latter point is also established in other verses, (1 Jn 2:2, etc.)]
But you might ask, "God meant only the Christians, then why did He use the word all'?"
[Because the grammar and context simply warrant it]
I believe it is because from all eternity God knew who He had chosen to be the elect and the eternal plan of redemption was carried out to reclaim "all" He had chosen. Therefore, the "all" to Him is the all for which He intended the death of Christ to atone.
[God knew whom He had chosen because He decreed them to be chosen. The 'all' to Him is indeed the all for which He intended the death of Christ to atone for in the category of the elect: all of the elect will be atoned for which is the context of the above referenced verse. But this fact still does not rule out Christ atoning for the nonelect, which is not being addressed in this verse and not part of the context.]
It is important here that you understand that sometimes God uses words differently than we do.
[If this were true then how could man discern what Scripture is saying? If all men are to be accountable to God to perceive and understand what He has revealed to them in Scripture then if follows that the language in which it is communicated must be a normatively understood language. (Ref: Study entitled:Proper Approach).]
For example, the Bible says that God only knows believers, not unbelievers. "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me" (John 10:27, NIV); "...The Lord knows those who are his," (2 Tim. 2:19, NIV); "Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord,'' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'" (Matt. 7:21-23, NIV). Of course, God knows who everyone is, He is omniscient. But the way He is using the word in relation to the saved is different than we use it: He knows the Christians, and doesn't know the non-Christians. This knowing is an intimate, familiar kind of knowing.
You see, it is important to understand that the Bible best interprets itself. We need to see how it uses words and phrases and then, once we have a clearer understanding, attempt to interpret the Word of God.
[The Bible can only be interpreted correctly within the rules of normative language and in no other way; the reasons for which are carefully explained in the study entitled: PROPER APPROACH.
So any extra-normative construction would not be permitted. This is not to say that Scripture cannot coin new meanings and new words in a way which utilizes normative rules of language. Thus all men are held accountable because God's Word is made available to all men.]
1 Corinthians 15:22-23:
"For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming."
Who are the ones who will be made alive? They are the Christians and only the Christians. First of all, to be "in Christ" is a phrase that describes a saving relationship between the redeemed and the Redeemer: "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:1, NIV) (See also, Rom. 6:11; 12:5; 16:7; 1 Cor. 1:2, etc.); second, those who are made alive at Christ's coming are the believers. We will be made alive with Christ: "By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also" (1 Cor. 6:14, NIV); "in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed" (1 Cor. 15:52, NIV).
The "all" that died in Adam were all that Adam represented: every individual who ever lived. Those "in Christ" are only believers. The "all" therefore can only be the believers, because it says "in Christ all shall be made alive." If all shall be made alive, then the "all" can only mean the believers because only believers are made alive in Christ. There simply isn't any biblically consistent alternative interpretation. But you might object and say that the first "all" refers to everybody, obviously. So why, then, doesn't the second do the same? Because the second "all" can't refer to everyone. Only the Christians are made alive.
[This passage is inconclusive as to which point of view is correct, limited or unlimited atonement. Here is a closer examination of this passage]:
[1 Cor 15:22-23]:
(v. 22) "For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.
(v. 23) But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then when He comes, those who belong to Him."
"For as in Adam all die" = All who are in Adam and remain that way will die and go to the Lake of Fire. The word translated "as" = "hosper" = demands this interpretation: that those who are in Adam die those in Christ live. Since all men start out in Adam and since some will be changed to being in Christ then "as in Adam" refers to remaining that way, never changing and "so in Christ" refers to those few who receive this status of being "in Christ", (Ro 6:3; 8:1; Eph 1:13-14). All men, elect and nonelect are born in Adam, (Ro 5:12), and if they remain that way all their lives they will die under condemnation and go to the Lake of Fire - elect and nonelect. The word "die" meaning eternal separation from God and thereby condemnation in the Lake of Fire, (Jn 8:24 + Rev 20:15). But the elect inevitably trust in Christ as Savior unto eternal life, (Ro 8:28-30), and the nonelect do not, (I Pet 2:8; Ro 9:22-24).
"so in Christ all will be made alive" = "so [all who are] in Christ...will be made alive." = Those who are in Christ - those who trusted alone in Christ alone for eternal life: ALL of those who are in Christ - will be resurrected alive from the dead in perfect, immortal, sinless bodies just like our Lord's, (Phil 3:10-11, 21). In other words these will be the elect who choose to believe in Christ as Savior and who will be made alive. The elect inevitably trust in Christ as Savior, and the nonelect do not. Verse 22 does not say that all men will be saved, especially because verse 23 eliminates the possibility of that interpretation:
The first part of verse 23 states: "But each [of those who will be made alive] in his own turn [will be made alive].
"Christ, the firstfruits" = Our Lord in His humanity was the first one to be made alive - resurrected unto eternal life in a human, immortal body, (I Jn 3:2; Ro 8:9). "then when He comes," = Then when He comes again in His Second Coming.
"those who belong to Him" = [i.e., those who trusted alone in Him alone - the elect - will be made alive unto eternal life in their immortal bodies, (I Cor 15:20ff)]
It could be said that everyone, believer and unbeliever alike, will be raised; only the unbelievers are raised to receive damnation. This is true, but it does not fit here in this passage because it is speaking of those who are Christ's; that is, the believers. The "all" of these verses can only be the elect.
[Which does not determine whether Christ died for the nonelect since that point is simply not addressed]
"So, as through one offense, there resulted condemnation to all men, so also, through one righteous deed, there resulted justification of life to all men."
The literal, word for word, translation of Romans 5:18 is:
so therefore as through one offense into all men into condemnation,
so also through one righteous deed into all men into justification of life"
So, therefore, as through one offense, into all men into condemnation,
so, also, through one righteous deed, into all men into justification of life.
Because there is no verb in this verse (it is not unusual in Greek for there to be no verb in a sentence), a verb must be borrowed or implied. Since there isn't a verb close enough in the previous verses to borrow and that would fit appropriately, one from the context must be derived. A smoothed out version would be:
So, as through one offense,
there resulted condemnation to all men,
so also, through one righteous deed, there resulted justification of life to all men.
We know that inserting the words "there resulted" into the text is correct by simple logic. The offense of Adam resulted in condemnation to all men--no one disputes that. Adam represented all his people (everybody) in the garden. When he sinned, we fell with him. There was a result, an actual result to his sin: condemnation. It follows that "there resulted" should be in the second part of the sentence as well because the second part has the same syntax as the first and says "also." That is, Paul is implying a parallel between the actions of Adam and the actions of Jesus. Adam represented his people; Jesus represented His.
1) The structure of the first and the second parts of the verse are the same: adverb(s), preposition, noun, (verb place), noun, and object.
Paul is trying to make it clear in this verse that the deeds of the respective persons had definite results upon those whom they represented. That is why the verse is really two sentences of identical structure.
Adam's sin resulted in condemnation to all
Jesus' sacrifice resulted in justification to all
Where the first Adam brought condemnation to all, the second Adam (Jesus is called the second Adam in 1 Cor. 15:45) brought justification to all--that is what the text says, despite the apparent problem of "all people being justified."
Justification is being declared legally righteous before God. If someone is declared legally righteous before God, then he is saved. Only the saved are justified: "Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him " (Rom. 5:9). Since the Scriptures clearly teach that not all men are saved (Matt 25:31-33), we know that the "all" in this verse can't refer to every individual.
[Objectors to unlimited atonement conclude incorrectly that the "all" in verse 18b above, ("through one righteous deed, unto all men into justification of life," (translated literally), refers to an "all" which will actually be saved. But just as one can say, 'through one action of shopping to all, [enough] food to eat' (but not all will actually choose to eat); so the language of the N.T. in this passage can legitimately say "through one righteous deed, unto all men, justification of life" (but not all will choose to accept life). In other words, our Lord's righteous deed made justification available to all mankind. Whether or not all men will be justified is not determined solely by verse 18b since there are two conflicting interpretations of 18b possible until the context and other passages are taken into consideration. So either interpretation is grammatically possible, but the context of the passage and the examination of clearer passages on the matter, (especially 1 Jn 2:2; Jn 3:16-20; 1 Tim 4:10; Titus 2:11; 2 Pet 2:1-2; 3:3-9), demand that the all = all men and that 18b be interpreted as potential: that Christ brought justification to all men to accept by faith according to their volition.]
It must refer to something other than everyone who ever lived. I conclude that the "all" can only mean the Christians. God was so sure of His predestination that to Him, the elect are the "all" He wishes to save. The NASB gives the best translation: "So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men."
The NIV does not translate it as literally. It says, "Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men." The NIV is right in adding the word "result." The NIV is an excellent translation but in this verse it sacrifices the literalness needed to draw out this aspect of biblical teaching.
Furthermore, if the verb phrase "that brings" is in the second part, it should then be in the first part of the verse because the verse is two identical thoughts. If that were done, then "that brings" would take on the meaning of result, because condemnation is exactly what resulted to all men when Adam sinned. Since the verse is in two identical parts, what is done to one should be done to the other. The NIV is not consistent in its translation at this point.
The KJV translates it thus: "Therefore as by the offense 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." The words "free gift" are not in the Greek. The translators have drawn conclusions, though accurate ones, but I believe this too does injustice to the text by not letting it say what it says. Also, if the free gift simply came upon all people, then it does not mean that it resulted, and the apparent problem of all people being justified is taken care of. Unfortunately, that isn't what the Greek says.
I believe some translators of the Bible, when coming across this verse, realize the problem of saying the atonement resulted in justification to all men. They assume the "all" means every individual and then translate the scripture in light of their theology to allow harmony with their interpretations of the rest of the scriptures. I think that is a mistake. Translators should translate the text as accurately as possible, even if it conflicts with their theology. In these three verses it is clear that God has used the word "all" differently than what would normally be expected. This is an indication that God has intended for the "all" to be saved, and they are. When God is thinking of the "all" He is thinking of a specific group. These three verses bare that out. But, what about other verses that have a universal flavor to them?
[In order to develop the context of Ro 5:18 and thus test the validity of the foregoing conclusions, we go back to Ro 5:6 and work our way to verse 18:
(v. 6) "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.
["when we [believers, v. 1] were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly"[i.e., all men] =
"ungodly" = all mankind elect and non-elect. Even those who become believers are ungodly before they trust in Christ as Savior.
[Compare I Pet 3:18a]:
"For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust..."
"unjust" = all men, elect and nonelect]
[Ro 5:6-18 cont.]:
(v. 7) "For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die
(v. 8) But God demonstrates His own love toward us, [believers] in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
["while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.' = This phrase is not saying that Christ died only for the elect, (i.e., believers), for verse 6 and passages previously examined say that Christ died for the ungodly - all men. The grammatical construction of verse 8 does not limit the effectiveness of Christ's death on the cross to just those who will become saved. It only states that Christ died for a group of people who will become saved; but there is absent in this phrase any exclusionary construction which rules out the group of people who will not become saved. Since author Paul's focus is on believers, the phrase "Christ died for us" is narrowed to the "us" = those who become believers. But the context and construction of this phrase does not exclude all others for whom Christ died]
(v. 9) Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.
["much more than"[this] = This phrase indicates that even greater than the fact that Christ died for the ungodly, i.e., all men, is the fact that believers are in addition to this justified by the blood of Christ and will be saved from the wrath of God in hell, a truth of even greater import relative to the eternal destiny of believers.
Verse 10 then repeats this comparison]:
[Ro 5:6-11 cont.]:
(v. 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.
(v. 11) And not only this, but we also exalt in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom we have now received the reconciliation."
[Chafer, op. cit., pp.116-117:
"The argument of Romans 5:8-10 is that if Christ died for sinners, [which includes all men - elect and non-elect] how much more would those who have been justified by faith be saved from God's wrath. Romans 5:10 concludes, 'For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life!' Here again it is expressly declared that God's enemies were reconciled by the death of Christ. If this is true for the unsaved, how much more is the hope of those who are saved and have been justified and promised glorification."
Kenneth S. Wuest states, (Wuest's Word Studies, Vol 1, Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co. Grand Rapids, Mi, 1992, p. 82):
"Since God the Son died for us when we were sinners, unlovely and unlovable, rebellious against Him, hating Him, how much more will He save from the future wrath, those who are now in Christ as righteous in their standing as He Himself is in His Person, and as lovely as He is in the sight of God the Father. The article appears before "wrath," pointing out a particular wrath, that of the Lake of Fire which is a manifestation of God's wrath against sin."]
[Ro 5:6-18 cont.]:
(v. 12) Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man [Adam, v.14] , and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned -
[Because of what Adam did in the garden, death came to all men not just to the elect, (cp v. 15; Gen 2:17; 3:19; Eph 2:5). The context is herein confirmed that "all men" elect and non-elect are being referred to in this passage when this term is used]
(v. 15) But the gift [of eternal life, Eph 2:8-9] is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man [Adam], how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!
So "the many" who "died by the trespass of the one man" [Adam] refers to all men, elect and non-elect. And the same "many" had the "gift that came by the grace of the one Man Jesus Christ, overflow" to them. The meaning of the phrase 'overflowing to them' does not dictate that the gift was received by all of them.
"Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men."
[Again "all men" must mean all elect and non-elect of all ages as previously established in verse 12. And justification is not stated here as being guaranteed to all men. It is stated as only being made available to all men through the "one act of righteousness."
Objectors to unlimited atonement conclude incorrectly that the "all" in verse 18b above, ("through one righteous deed, into all men into justification of life," (translated literally), refers to an "all" which will actually be saved. But just as one can say, 'through one action of shopping to all, [enough] food to eat' (but not all will actually choose to eat); so the language of the N.T. in this passage can legitimately say "through one righteous deed, unto all men, justification of life" (but not all will choose to accept life). In other words, our Lord's righteous deed made justification available to all mankind. Whether or not all men will be justified is not determined solely by verse 18b since there are two conflicting interpretations of 18b possible until the context and other passages are taken into consideration. So either interpretation is grammatically correct, but the context of the passage and the examination of clearer passages on the matter, (especially 1 Jn 2:2; Jn 3:16-20; 1 Tim 4:10; Titus 2:11; 2 Pet 2:1-2; 3:3-9), demand that the all = all men and that 18b be interpreted as potential: that Christ brought justification to all men to accept by faith according to their volition.]
The Universal Passages
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life."
If predestination is true, then why does this verse state "whoever believes" will be saved? The Bible says that faith is a gift from God (Rom. 12:3); that it is God who grants belief (Phil. 1:29); it is God who produces belief in a person (John 6:29); and only those appointed to eternal life by God are the ones who believe (Acts 13:48). Also, faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Rom. 10:17). In order for someone to believe, they must hear the gospel of Jesus (1 Cor. 15:1-4) because the gospel is the power of God for salvation (Rom. 1:16). There is no other name under heaven besides Jesus by which anyone may be saved (Act 4:12). And, one must receive Jesus (John 1:12) in order to be saved.
Since these things are true, then how can the "whoever" of John 3:16 apply to those who never heard the Word of God? There are multitudes who never heard the gospel at all, who never had the chance. Consider the Aborigines, the Bushmen, the Eskimos, or the American Indians, who died before the time of Christ, or who even lived before the time of Christ. Yet they NEVER heard ANYTHING about Christianity, the atonement, the resurrection, the holy scriptures, or the gospel. It was never preached to them at all. How, then, can the "whoever" apply to them when they have no chance of hearing the Word of God concerning Jesus and salvation? From what I know of scripture, they cannot.
To answer this question some say that those who never heard the gospel will not be judged the same way as those who have. But that answer contradicts the scriptures that clearly say no one gets to the Father but through Jesus (John 14:6); that it is the gospel that saves (Rom. 1:16); the gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection for sins (1 Cor. 15:1-4); and, there is no other name under heaven besides Jesus by which anyone may be saved (Acts 4:12).
[Believers from Adam and Eve to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Moses, etc., who lived before the cross were saved trusting in far less gospel revelation than what is described above. They simply trusted in God to provide salvation for them through the seed of the woman, a Messiah Who would be a man.
Furthermore, another incorrect conclusion is drawn about all men who do not hear the gospel. God's plan of revealing His truths begins with His creation and the built-in awareness of Him within the mentality of every living creature.
So man is without excuse if he rejects God, even without hearing the gospel. At which time God ceases to work with that individual:
(v. 18) "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
(v. 19) because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.
(v. 20) For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
[Upon rejection of God's revelation to them through His creation and the subsequent worshipping of idols, God gives them up to their own sinful ways, not moving further to reveal more of Himself to them which would lead to the gospel. Somewhere along the line God gives up on all unbelievers]:
(v. 21) "For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
(v. 22) Professing to be wise, they became fools,
(v. 23) and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four footed animals and crawling creatures.
(v. 24) Therefore God gave them over in the lists of their hearts to impurity, that their bodies might be dishonored among them.
(v. 25) For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, Who is blessed forever. Amen.
(v. 26) For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural,
(v. 27) and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural
(v. 27) and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error.
(v. 28) And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper"
And later on in Romans chapter 2, verses 14-15 reveal that God has placed within each individual an awareness of Himself and His righteousness:
(v. 14) "For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves,
(v. 15) in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them."]
"But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself." (NIV)
Does the "all" here refer to every individual on the planet? If yes, then how can they be drawn and come to salvation if they never hear of Jesus and the gospel message? I don't see how they can since they never had the opportunity to hear and, therefore, believe in Jesus. Again, what about the tribesmen in the Amazon? What about the Incas and Aztecs at the time of Christ? What about the countless people who had never even heard of Jesus, the Bible, Jehovah, or the Jews? How are they drawn if Jesus draws all men? They certainly must be drawn if the Arminian position is valid and the "all" here means every individual. But no one can believe unless they hear the Word of God (Rom. 10:17). How can the heathen believe without hearing? How can they all be drawn if they never hear the gospel or even have the slightest chance to ever hear it? They cannot.
[All can mean all men. Most men will reject that drawing even before they hear the gospel as was determined above. Drawing all men to Christ and hearing the gospel are two separate things. When one positively responds to Christ's drawing to Him, then one eventually hears and responds to the gospel of salvation by believing in it and then he is saved]
"He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?" The question again here is, who are the "all"? Are they every individual on the planet who ever lived (the Arminian position) or are they the elect, the chosen of God (the Calvinist position)? We need to examine the verses in their context.
"What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?
32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all -- how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.
34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died -- more than that, who was raised to life -- is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
36 As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.'
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,
39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (NIV).
Verse 31 starts the context and it is clearly speaking of the Christians. Only those who are covered by the blood of the Lamb have been reconciled and are no longer enemies of God (Rom. 8:7).
[True, this does establish the context which is limited to believers. So little if anything can be established here about the population of unbelievers]
The "us" of verse 31 can only refer to the Christians. Verse 32 speaks of Jesus' sacrifice for "us all." Is the "us" suddenly everyone, the unbeliever too?
[No, because the context is limited to believers only. So this passage is saying that Christ's sacrifice is for all believers. But this statement does not rule out whether Christ's sacrifice was for other categories of people also since the context only addresses Christians. As a matter of fact, this passage does not address those who have not become Christians yet but will in the future]
Verse 33 speaks of the ones God has chosen; that is, the Christians.
[But remember that God has chosen those also who are not Christians at this time but who will be in the future. For the moment, God's wrath remains upon them until they trust in Christ as Savior; and verses 33 and 34 as yet are not applicable to them. The context is strictly limited to Christians]
Verse 34 speaks of Jesus' intercession for "us"; the "us" can only be the Christian's because Jesus is not mediating for the unbeliever. Verses 35-39 speak of the Christians inseparability with God. It is clear that the whole context is speaking about Christians and no one else. The "us all" of Rom. 8:32 must, then, refer to the Christians.
[But the passage does not exclude others: non-elect and elect unbelievers]
Before beginning the next section, I need to propose what I think is a correct supposition regarding the mind of the Jews and, therefore, bears influence on interpreting the writers of the N.T. It is this: The Jews were so narrowly minded that they considered the Messiah to be for them only, not the whole world.
That is why there are salvation verses that speak of all being saved, of a sacrifice not only for our sins, but those of the whole world (1 John 2:2).
[1 Jn 2:2 can in no way be limited to a narrow mindedness of the Jewish mentality. The epistle of First John is to all believers, Jew and Gentile, as 1:3 & 2:1 indicate. Verse 2:2 distinguishes between all believers who were propitiated by Christ's sacrifice and the whole world who was propitiated by Christ's sacrifice also. There is no distinction being made between Jew and Gentile here. If there was to be a distinction, the words Jew and Gentile should have been used:
[Compare 1 Jn 2:2]:
"He [Jesus Christ] is the atoning sacrifice - the propitiation [= the satisfaction] for our [all believers', (v. 2:1)] sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world."
This verse states that Christ paid the penalty for all the sins of the whole world:
"alla kai peri holou tou kosmou" =
"but also for whole the world"
The Greek word "kosmou" = world is never limited in Scripture to refer to just the elect. The test of this is to add in the phrase 'of the elect' in order to exclude non-elect from the possibility of salvation. This then produces false doctrines which conflict with proven teachings from Scripture. This action frequently results in contradictory statements. For example, I John 2:2 cannot be limited to the elect and still make any sense: 'For He, (Christ), is the propitiation for the sins of the elect and not only for the elect but also for those of the world of the elect.' I Jn 2:2 therefore states that Christ's sacrifice has covered the penalty for everybody's sins who has ever lived or whoever will live. A person is in Hades/Lake of Fire because of only one fracture: unbelief in Jesus Christ resulting in an unchanged unrighteous condition - and not because of any sin.
Chafer, op. cit., p.115:
"In 1 John 2:2 the point is made that Christ is not only the sacrifice for the sins of those who are saved but also for the sins of the world. 'He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.'
It would be impossible to make it any clearer that the death of Christ provided for the entire world. Interpreting the word 'world' as referring only to the elect must ignore many passages in the Bible where the word 'world' is used in a universal sense..."
[Compare John 15:18-19]:
(v. 18) "If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.
(v. 19) If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you."
[Compare John 17:16]:
"They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world."
[Compare 1 John 5:19]:
"We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one."
In one of his taped sermons, (#78 RO-44, side 2, 'The Effects of Justification Summarized'), Dr. John E Danish of Berean Memorial Church, Irving, Texas; quotes what John Calvin stated in his later more mature days relative to 1 John 2:2 and salvation, ('Systematic Theology' Vol. 2, by Dr. Augustus Strong on the subject: 'The Doctrine of Salvation, p.788):
[I Jn 2:2]:
" 'He is the propitiation for our sins and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world."...
[Then Calvin comments of this verse by saying]: "...Christ suffered for the sins of the whole world and in the goodness of God is offered unto all men without distinction; His blood being shed not for a part of the world only but for the whole human race. For although in the world nothing is found worthy of the favor of God yet He holds out the propitiation to the whole world, since without exception He summons all to the faith of Christ which is nothing else than the door unto hope."
Dr. Danish goes on to quote from John Calvin's commentary on the Book of Mark:
"And He [Jesus] said unto them, 'This is My blood of the New Testament which is shed for many."
"The word 'many' [John Calvin says] does not mean a part of the world only but the whole human race. He [Jesus] contrasts many with one as if to say that He would not be the redeemer of one man but would meet death to deliver many of their cursed guilt. No doubt that in speaking to a few, Christ wished to make His teaching available to a larger number. So when we come to the holy table, not only should the general idea come to our mind: that the world is redeemed by the blood of Christ, but also each should reckon to himself that his own sins were covered."]
Please consider the following as proof of Paul's attempt to correct the mistaken idea that the Jews alone were to be saved:
Rom. 1:16: "for I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek."
"There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek, but glory and honor and peace to every man who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek."
"For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call upon Him."
"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."
"and a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew..."
[the rest of this verse should not have been left out, for it refutes the point being made]
[The point is made here in all of these passages that Christ came to save all mankind, first the Jew and then the Gentile. Evidence of the Jewish mentality that only they would be saved, which many Jews did hold to, nevertheless must not be read into these passages; for that is not the purpose of chapters 1, 2, & 10 of Romans when carefully read: the unrighteousness and consequent condemnation of all mankind outside of the basis of faith alone in Christ alone, (1 & 2), and the failure of the promises to Israel explained by their unbelief, (10); nor is it the purpose of Gal 3:28, (the justified believer is a son in the family of God, thus there is no distinction between "Jew, Greek, slave, freeman, male or female"; nor Col 3:11, (the Christian is to put on the new self which is neither "Greek, Jew, barbarian, Scythian, slave or freeman". Notice that in all of these passages there is an absence of emphasis on the Jewish mentality of maintaining that Jews were the only ones who would be in the kingdom of God.]
(Incidentally, the "all" here [in Gal 3:28] means only the believers.)
[The all in Gal 3:28 refers to only believers because that is the context: believers. Unbelievers are not being addressed and therefore any conclusions about unbelievers cannot be drawn from the verse in question]
1 Timothy 2:4-6: "who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all..."
First of all, Jesus is the mediator for the believers, not the unbelievers. To me
[The issue is not what it means 'to me' but what Scripture says],
"men" in this verse can only mean the elect, the Christians.
[Not so. Consider a closer look at this passage and related passages:
[1 Tim 2:5-6]:
(v. 5) "For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
(v. 6) Who gave Himself as a ransom for all men - the testimony given in its proper time." ["gave Himself as a ransom for all men" = All men - elect and non-elect, believer and unbeliever, past, present and future have been ransomed from the sins by Jesus Christ]
[1 Tim 4:10]:
"For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, Who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers."
"Who is the Savior of all men" = Context and the word "all" demand here that "all men" not be limited to 'all men who are elect,' but literally all men, women and children of all ages, elect and non-elect. Although Jesus Christ is the Savior of all men, this verse does not signify that all will be saved. Just as the God of the Bible is the one and only God of all mankind, yet most reject Him and worship idols and false gods - this rejection not diminishing His absolute and universal sovereignty in the least: He is still the God of all mankind. In the same way, Jesus Christ is the Savior of all men, yet most reject Him as Savior. This rejection not diminishing His work on the cross for all mankind in the least. He is still the Savior of all men. The phrase "especially of believers" affirms the universality of "all men" otherwise the verse would then deteriorate into non-sensical double talk: 'We have fixed our hope on the living God, Who is the Savior of all elect men who will all become believers especially of believers who are all elect.'
[Compare Titus 2:11]:
"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, "
Chafer, op. cit., p. 115-6:
"In 1 Timothy 2:6 [examined on the previous page] the statement is made that Christ 'gave Himself as a ransom for all men.' First Timothy 4:10 has a similar statement: 'We have put our hope in the living God, Who is the Saviour of all men, and especially of those who believe.' Here the distinction is made between the entire world of people for which Christ died and those who believe and receive salvation. In Titus 2:11 the statement is made..." "For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,"]
Though I understand how an Arminian would interpret this verse, the Calvinist position is more consistent with the rest of the scriptures I've examined [Not so as shown in detail].
Second, considering that "all" in 2 Cor. 5:14-15, 1 Cor. 15:22, and Rom. 5:18 can only mean the Christians, it follows that when we approach verses like 1 Tim. 2:4-6, there is legitimacy in interpreting it in a consistent manner with the other verses; that is, the "all" is the elect. Therefore, 1 Tim. 2:4 can have two possible interpretations:
1) The Arminian: The "all" means every individual. 2) The Calvinist: The "all" means the Christians.
But since the Arminian interpretation would contradict the interpretations found in 2 Cor. 5:14-15, 1 Cor. 15:22, and Rom. 5:18, we are left with the Calvinist interpretation as the only legitimate one; namely, that the "all" means the Christians.
[As has been shown in each of the previous passages analyzed, the unlimited not the limited atonement position has been verified including this one]
Also, there is the problem of answering how the desire of God is thwarted.
The Arminian position has the desires of God frequently thwarted in addition to having the decision of God depend on the decision of man. God can only save someone if that someone makes the right choice.
[There is nothing indicated in this passage or any passage that God's will or His desire cannot ever be thwarted. It was God's will and His desire that Adam and Eve not sin by eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, (Gen 2:16-17), nor that any individual sin. Yet all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, violating God's desire and His will. When an individual thwarts God's will it inevitably indicates that man, left to his own auspices, inevitably chooses to violate God's will. This proves that only God's will can prevail in the universe - justifying His final plan for His universe wherein His good and perfect will must prevail exclusively.]
2 Pet. 3:9:
"The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance."
Peter wrote this epistle to the Christians. "Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 1:1).
Also, "This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you..." (2 Peter 3:1).
In the immediate context, verse 8, says, "But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day."
It is very clear that Peter is talking to the believers. It follows, then, that in verse 9 when it says the Lord is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish, he again is speaking of the believers. God's patience is here told to be toward the believers, not the unbelievers. God does not want any of them (the believers, the elect) to perish....
[A closer examination of this passage reveals that the context is all men. Verse 7 indicates that ungodly men who will go to destruction are part of the context and are included in the population which in verse 9 is of those whom the Lord is 'not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance:
[Compare 2 Pet 3:3-9 in more detail]:
(v. 3) "Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts,
(v. 4) and saying, 'Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.'
(v. 5) for when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water,
(v. 6) through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water.
(v. 7) But the present heavens and earth by His word are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
(v. 8) But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day..
(v. 9) The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance."
"Not wishing for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance." =
"repentance" = "metanoian" = change of mind, in this context: change of mind from not believing to faith alone in Christ alone as Savior. The context of the words "any" and "all" is all men, elect and non-elect. This is established especially in verses 3-7 when all men including ungodly men are referred to some of whom will go to "destruction", (v. 7). So "any" and "all" in verse 9 cannot mean 'any of the elect' and 'all of the elect' because none of the elect will perish. It would also be strange for God to wish for everyone to come to repentance if He decreed some of them to go to their eternal destruction without a chance. God would not violate His own will that He desires that none should perish by disallowing the non-elect from any opportunity to be saved! ]
...God does not want any of them (the believers, the elect) to perish. And they won't, because God's wishes are not thwarted. But again if "any" is every individual then we again have the problem of God's desires being thwarted.
[There is no problem if God's permissive will is thwarted. It was God's will that Adam and Eve not sin, and it is His will that any individual not sin. Yet all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, (Ro 3:20)]
"The next day he saw Jesus coming to him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." This could be interpreted either in the Arminian or the Calvinist camp. However, if the sins of every individual are actually taken away, then why do any go to hell? After all, aren't all the sins taken away? "Ah," but you say, "they are taken away only if that person believes." The only problem with that is that Jesus' blood is sufficient to cleanse of all sin, even the sin of unbelief. Therefore, even that sin is covered. Remember, it says that the sins were taken away by the cross of Christ, not made possible to be taken away.
[Though it is true as Christ stated, "No one can come to Me unless the Father Who sent Me draws him' (John 6:44), the Scriptures constantly refer to salvation as involving man's faith..."
[Compare Jn 3:16]:
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."
[Compare Acts 10:43]:
"All the prophets testify about Him that everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name."
In the Old Testament we have God's promise of atonement for the iniquity of all men:
(v. 4) "Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted.
(v. 5) But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.
(v. 6) All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all [all men, elect and nonelect] To fall on Him."
Chafer states, op. cit., p. 114:
"The use of the word 'all' can in some instances in Scripture be limited, but the fact that it is repeatedly used in connection with the death of Christ makes unlimited redemption plausible.."
And in the New Testament, the same doctrine of unlimited atonement is taught:
[2 Cor 5:14-15]:
(v. 14) "For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.
(v. 15) and He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him Who died and rose again on their behalf."
Verse 14 is a first class "if' statement in the Greek ("if and it is so", i.e., "since"):
"For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that [since] one [Christ] died for all [not just the elect] and therefore all [men, not just the elect] died."
All men died vicariously, i.e., positionally as a result of Christ's death FOR THEM ON THE CROSS - FOR ALL THE SINS OF MANKIND (cp 1 Jn 2:2).
"And He died for all, that they who live" = And Jesus Christ died, paying the penalty for sins for all mankind so that they who live, i.e., those few out of the vast numbers of mankind who trust in Christ as Savior and who are now alive spiritually "should no longer live for themselves" [as unbelievers do], "but for Him Who died and rose again on their behalf" [as well as on the behalf of all other men, (v. 14)].
Chafer, op. cit., p.115:
"...in 2 Corinthians 5:14, 'For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that One died for all, and therefore all died.' In the verse that follows Paul contrasted the fact that Christ died for all to the more limited scope of those who live, 'And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again' (v. 15)"
[2 Cor 5:18-19]:
(v. 18) All this is from God, Who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:
(v. 19) that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation."
Verses 18 and 19 confirm that God's ministry of reconciliation encompasses the whole world such that as a result of what Jesus Christ did on the cross the sins of men would not be counted against them - all men, elect, non-elect, believer and unbeliever. The words "world" and "men's" can only be interpreted as universal - the whole world and all mankind in the context of this passage, otherwise the passage deteriorates into double talk.
Chafer states, op. cit., p. 115:
"In 2 Corinthians 5:19 Paul stated that 'God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation.' Those who would hold to limited atonement must understand the word 'kosmos' [= "world"] here to include only the elect. But this is not supported by the passage itself. The believer is to declare to everyone that Christ has reconciled the world. To limit this declaration to the elect is to make the passage say what it does not say."
Therefore, paying the penalty for one's own sins is no longer the issue relative to eternal life. But whether or not one has received God's forgiveness and His righteousness is:
"All the prophets testify about Him that everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name."
Although the penalty for an individual's sins has been paid for whether one believes it or not, thus satisfying God relative to that matter, God's forgiveness of that individual is only received when one trusts alone in Christ alone to resolve another part of his sin problem, (cp Eph 2:8-9). The instant one exercises one's faith in Christ marks the beginning of a number of things for the new born believer, not the least of which is the reception of the gift of absolute righteousness credited permanently to his account, so that he can escape the 'clutches' of the Lake of Fire and enter heaven's shores when his life on earth is over, (Ro 3:21-24; Phil 3:9). So the penalty for sins is not the issue, but whether one is righteous enough to go to heaven is. Man has an inherent sin nature which produces individual acts of sin, (cp Ro 7:14-23), which he must have replaced by God's absolute righteousness before he can enter heaven, (Ro 3:20-31; Phil 3:9).
"For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world."
How is "gives life" to be understood? Does it mean that the life is offered or does it mean that it is given? If something is offered, it does not mean that it is received. If it is given, then it carries with that word the implication that it is received. Only the believers receive life. The world in general is the recipient of that life.
[This no such rule of language which states the when something is given it must always be received. One may give all of his money to someone in one's Last Will and Testament but until the death of that individual that inheritance is not received. Furthermore, the one designated to receive that inheritance must still accept it in order for it to be received. And the same is true with eternal life: it is given to all men, but not necessarily received:
"[Jesus said] I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."
Notice that Jesus gave Himself for the life, eternal life, of the world. In order to receive this life, one must partake of Him, i.e., believe in Him, and then he will live forever. So eternal life is given to the world but not received until an act of believing occurs. This is strongly implied in Jn 3:16.
[Compare Jn 3:16]:
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
One could not state that the world is limited to the elect here because the phrase 'whoever' believes would be nonsense since all the elect will believe. So the whoever must be part of the population of the world, making the world have its simple and obvious meaning: the world: all mankind.
"I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread also which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh."
Simply partaking of the Lord's Supper does not guarantee salvation. [This is not at issue here, nor germane to the topic at hand] To eat the bread of Jesus means that it must be done by faith--which only the believer, only those who are appointed to eternal life and believe (Acts 13:48), can do. This could be interpreted either in the Arminian or the Calvinist camp. [It can only be interpreted by what the words actually say and not by imposing an Arminian or Calvinist predisposition on them]
[The point is missed in the examination of this verse that eternal life is given to all men by God BUT NOT RECEIVED UNTIL FAITH IS EXERCISED which Scripture teaches as a truth, thus refuting the point made earlier by Matt: "If it is given, then it carries with that word the implication that it is received." which is not true. Considering the contextual and overwhelmingly popular meanings of the words 'anyone' and 'the world' this verse supports the doctrine that salvation is potential for all men and actual when it is received, i.e., unlimited atonement]
12"Now if their [the Jews' (v. 1)] transgression [the rejection of Christ as Messiah] be riches for the world and their failure be riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be!...
15For if their rejection be the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?"
It is only the Christians who are reconciled. If the Jews' rejection of the Christ be the reconciliation of the world, "the world" there must mean the believers. It cannot mean that every individual is reconciled to God; otherwise, everyone would be saved...
[Incorrect: this passage does not determine that only Christians are reconciled. It literally states that the Jews' rejection of Christ brought about "the reconciliation of the world...[as a result of our Lord's payment for the sins of the whole world] and riches for the Gentiles [i.e., the same reconciliation as the world received since Gentiles are part of the world population". The word Christian or believer does not appear in this passage. "World" and "Gentile" as opposed to "Jews" does. Furthermore, the rest of verse 15 indicates that the Jews when they accept Christ as Savior which is a different matter from being reconciled will receive "life from the dead.", i.e., salvation. So the point is not made that reconciliation is for the believer only but for the Gentile and the Jew as well - the whole world, without reference to whether they were believers, unbelievers, elect, non elect.]
It is only the Christians who are reconciled. ....If the Jews' rejection of the Christ be the reconciliation of the world, "the world" there must mean the believers. It cannot mean that every individual is reconciled to God; otherwise, everyone would be saved...
[Reconciliation is not the same thing as salvation as pointed out earlier. Not having ones sins counted against one, (reconciliation, (2Cor 5:19), does not take care the the individual sinners lack of righteousness problem. A sinner must also be justified, i.e., declared as absolutely righteous as Jesus Christ before one can be saved as well as having his sins paid for. And this is done by a moment of faith, (Ro 3:20-31)]
...It is only the Christians who are reconciled. ....If the Jews' rejection of the Christ be the reconciliation of the world, "the world" there must mean the believers. It cannot mean that every individual is reconciled to God; otherwise, everyone would be saved...
..and this simply isn't true. If you say this means that reconciliation is generally applied to the world and that whoever wants to believe may [be reconciled] ...then you are ignoring what the verse says, that their rejection be the reconciliation of the world ...
[This verse is not saying that whoever wants to believe may be reconciled. It is saying that the whole world already is reconciled. But that does not mean that the whole world is saved. For that forgiveness of sins beyond the reconciliation is necessary which is received by a moment of faith alone in Christ alone, (Acts 10:43)]
...then you are ignoring what the verse says, that their [the Jews'] rejection be the reconciliation of the world
[No. As stated before the verse literally says that the Jews' rejection of Christ brought about "the reconciliation of the world... and riches [of reconciliation] for the Gentiles".
Furthermore, one cannot assume part of one's conclusion to be true, (i.e., that only Christians are reconciled to God), in order to prove out the other part, (i.e., therefore 'the world' means only believers). The first part must be proved before the therefore part is verified. As a matter of fact, Scripture teaches the opposite anyway: that the world is indeed reconciled to God, a conclusion which was dismissed without investigation:
The verb to be reconciled in Scripture relative to salvation means to cause to have ones sins not counted against one, and the scope of this reconciliation is the world:
[2 Cor 5:18-19]:
(v. 18) "All this is from God, Who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:
(v. 19) that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
So first comes what our Lord did on the cross before a single sinner was saved which propitiated, i.e., satisfied God relative to no longer having to counting men's sins against them:
[1 Jn 2:2]:
"He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world".
It is self evident that individuals who are eventually saved have reconciliation provided for them during the time of their lives before they are saved - when they are unbelievers. During this time when these individuals are unbelievers they are already reconciled but not saved unto eternal life and are in the same status as all unbelievers:
reconciled but not justified, not saved.
They are not saved because they are not inherently as righteous as Jesus Christ. All men have a contaminated nature that needs to be changed:
[Ro 3:23: IMPARTED SIN - SIN NATURE]:
"For all [men] have sinned and ("usterountai") are constantly falling short of the glory of God,
["usterountai" = are constantly falling short of = present tense which signifies that not only have all men sinned in the past through Adam, (Ro 5:12), - who represented all men as the federal head of the human race, (this is called inherent or imputed sin); but all men are constantly falling short of the glory of God because all men are born, as a result of Adam's original sin, with a sin nature, (this is called imparted sin). All men are constantly sinning - constantly falling short of the glory of God = all men are constantly committing sins, (these are called personal sins), as a result of our imparted sin nature. So man is obviously totally depraved and incapable of lifting one finger to save himself or even contribute to his salvation at all. Man has the inherent sin of Adam, he has an imparted sin nature and he has his own personal sins which create an impenetrable wall between himself and a holy God - man is totally lost. He needs a Savior.
Since there is no distinction in Scripture between elect and non-elect sinners in their unregenerate state - all men are totally depraved and incapable of providing anything toward their own salvation:
[Ro 3:19, 23 cont.]:
(v. 19) "Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, that every mouth may be closed, and all the world may become accountable to God;
(v. 23) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,"
Kenneth S. Wuest states, (Wuest's Word Studies From the Greek New Testament, Vol 1, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, Grand Rapids, Mi, 1992, p.59:
" 'have sinned' is constative aorist, presenting a panoramic view of the human race as doing nothing except committing sin...
[Even the good that all men do is contaminated with whatever motivations come out of every man's sin nature, and is therefore unacceptable to God, (cp Isa 64:6)]
...The [root] word [which is translated as 'sinned'] is "hamartano", 'to miss the mark,' thus, 'to fail in obeying the law.' 'Come short' is present tense, [indicating a constant condition in the present of sinful behavior]: 'right now come short.' The verb is 'hustereo' 'to be left behind in the race and so fail to reach the goal, to fall short of the end, to lack.'...
"For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment, and all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away."(Cp Isa 53:6)
Even faithful believers cannot claim purity:
"But I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind, and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members."
So even the Apostle Paul from the time he became a believer still possessed a most difficult sin nature. As all we believers do.
[1 Jn 1:8]:
"If we [believers] claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us."
This verse can be a startling one: if for even one fleeting moment one claims to be without sin - if one has ever even thought to himself, 'Well, I've gone for at least one second without committing a sin.' Then, think again! 1 John 1:8 refutes that. God says, through the words of the Apostle John, that believers who claim to be even for a moment without sin are NOT telling the truth.]
2 Cor. 5:19:
"Namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation."
Again Paul speaks of God reconciling the world to Himself. This verse is even more clear than Rom. 11:12,15, for it states what the reconciliation of the world entails: not counting their trespasses against them. This clearly means salvation for only the Christians who are forgiven and reconciled.
The word "world" here can only mean the Christians. Its interpretation makes the most sense in the Calvinist camp.
[Incorrect conclusion: "For only the Christians...are forgiven and reconciled."
An individual can be reconciled, i.e., not have his sins counted against him, but still not be saved because he has neither been forgiven nor justified. The following verse established that the sins of the whole world have been paid for thus the world is reconciled to God relative to their acts of sin but not to their natures which are contaminated and inherently unrighteous which produced those acts of sin:
[Compare 1 Jn 2:2]:
"He [Jesus Christ] is the atoning sacrifice - the propitiation [= the satisfaction] for our [all believers', (v. 2:1)] sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world."
Although the penalty for an individual's sins has been paid for whether one believes it or not, thus satisfying God relative to that matter, God's forgiveness of that individual is only received when one trusts alone in Christ alone to resolve his sin problem, (cp Eph 2:8-9). The instant one exercises one's faith in Christ marks the beginning of a number of things for the new born believer, not the least of which is the reception of the gift of absolute righteousness credited permanently to his account, so that he can escape the 'clutches' of the Lake of Fire and enter heaven's shores when his life on earth is over, (Ro 3:21-24; Phil 3:9). So the penalty for sins is not the issue, but whether one is righteous enough to go to heaven is. Man has an inherent sin nature which produces individual acts of sin, (cp Ro 7:14-23), which he must have replaced by God's absolute righteousness before he can enter heaven, (Ro 3:20-31; Phil 3:9).
Picture a human father and his son. The son commits a crime for which the father makes restitution. The charges are dropped and the son does not have to go to jail, i.e., pay the penalty for his crime. The son, however, does not repent, i.e. change his mind about being responsible for his actions or in another case he does not accept the fact that the father's actions are sufficient to make full restitution. The father therefore cannot forgive the son for his actions, but instead, punishes his son, not for the crime he committed, for restitution was already made, but for his attitude of not being willing to accept the father's propitiating, (satisfying), the justice system relative to the son's wrongdoing. The justice system was satisfied but the son's unrepentant attitude blocked any forgiveness that the father could bestow upon his son. The unrepentant son in one case did not believe he had to be responsible for his actions, in the other case, the son was not willing to accept the fact that the father's actions settled the whole matter.
In like manner, an unbeliever has had all of his sinful thoughts, words and deeds paid for by what Jesus Christ did for him on the cross. But the unbeliever dies in his sins, (Jn 8:24), i.e., he does not acknowledge his helpless guilt before God by accepting Christ's payment for it in total. That individual does NOT receive God's forgiveness for his sins due to that individual's unrepentant - unchanging - attitude of never accepting that Jesus Christ paid the penalty for all of his sins - past, present and future. He has not changed his mind that he must accept exclusively what Christ did for him on the cross and nothing else. The unbeliever just does not believe that his actions are accountable before God and must be dealt with exclusively through what God has provided for him because he is a sinner without recourse. That individual will spend an eternity in the Lake of Fire not for paying the penalty for his acts of sin but for his unrepentant attitude which stems from his sin nature. So having one's sins paid for is one thing and receiving forgiveness for those sins is another.]
"But we do see Him who has been made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. "
This verse can be interpreted in both the Arminian and Calvinistic camps. The Arminian and the Calvinist say that Christ tasted death for everyone. To the Calvinist, the death of Christ actually removes the wrath of God upon the ungodly (the elect). To the Arminian the death of Christ was for all and doesn't actually remove the wrath; it makes it possible for the wrath to be removed based upon a human condition: belief. Therefore, the choice of God depends upon the choice of the person man.
[Neither point of view is correct. This passages does not conclude, nor does any passage conclude that Christ dying on the cross alone totally removes the wrath of God from anyone. Christ's death on the cross paid the price for the acts of sins of the whole world, 1 Jn 2:2. But that alone does not remove the wrath of God from anyone. Along with the payment for the penalty for ones sins being paid for which has been done for every man, woman and child, (1 Jn 2:2), one must receive as a result of an act of faith alone in Christ alone: forgiveness of sins, (Acts 10:43), and the imputation of God's absolute righteousness, (Ro 3:21-31); both of which are different from having the penalty of ones acts of sins paid for.
This point is thoroughly examined in the file entitled FORGIVENESS]
"For this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins."
Notice that the verse does not say for all, but for many.
[All qualifies as many and cannot be ruled out in this passage solely because one now says that it does not qualify as many without arbitrarily changing the rules of language by which the Bible was inspired by God to be written]
"I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep."
"Even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep."
Both these verses specifically state that Jesus laid His life down for the sheep (Christians) as opposed to the goats (non-Christians).
These verses are best interpreted in the Calvinist camp. Frankly, I don't see how this could be interpreted in the Arminian sense at all.
[There is no 'as opposed to the goats (non-Christians)' statement made or implied here in either passage. These passages do not settle the question as to whether He died for others as well. The issue has to be settled by other references where the Bible explicitly refers to the death of Christ as laying down His life for the whole world. When Paul wrote in Galatians 2:20, 'I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me", he obviously was not claiming that he is the only one who is saved.]
"I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom Thou hast given Me; for they are Thine."
Jesus is making a distinction in His prayers to the Father in regard to who is being asked for. It is the ones whom the Father gives to the Son that are being prayed for. The whole of John 17 bears this out. Jesus is not praying for everyone. His prayers are "limited."
[The same argument applies here. Jesus is specifically praying for the ones whom the Father has given to Him. But this cannot provide conclusive proof that that He never prayed for anyone else on other matters. Certainly the content of our Lord's prayer is specifically for believers so it would necessarily only be addressed to the Father for believers. But that is not to say that He did not pray for non-elect also at other times]
"Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood."
This could be interpreted either in the Arminian or the Calvinist camp but makes more sense in the Calvinist one. It was the church that was purchased with the blood. The unbeliever was not purchased.
[In John 11:51-52 John wrote of Caiaphas, 'He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one.' Obviously Christ did not die only for the Jewish nation as some might suggest. In the same manner, Acts 20:28 cannot be construed to mean that only the elect were purchased by Christ's blood. Other passages which address other types of individuals - the non -elect, the world, all men, must be consulted to determine for whom Christ died]
Also, this shows that there was a result, a direct result to the sacrifice: the church was purchased, not made possible to be purchased. It occurred.
[True. But no one became a member of the Church until they were justified and forgiven of their sins, as was earlier discussed]
It happened because of the atonement. The Arminian might say that the purchase made by the blood becomes effectual only after the person believes in Jesus.
[This is not true either. The atonement provided for the sins of the whole world being paid for by the blood of Christ of which the Church is part. What becomes effectual when faith is expressed is justification and forgiveness of sins, (Acts 10:43 and Ro 3:21-31). Check the studies listed below for a detailed explanation:
ROMANS CHAPTER 3]
But this is a problem because then the sacrifice of Christ must await validation and efficacy depending upon what people do. I see that as a problem because the infinite value of Christ's blood accomplished what it was shed for; it purchased the church
[His blood purchased the Church in the sense of paying for the sins of the whole world of which the Church is part. But justification and forgiveness of sins must come by faith and only the elect choose to exercise that faith alone in Christ alone. Although the non-elect have their sins paid for, they are not justified and must get to heaven on their own merits which they have none, having refused to trust alone in Christ alone as Savior. Note again that the elect and nonelect are in the same boat: they have been purchased by the blood of Christ but they are all unbelievers who are not saved. Until the elect trusts in Christ as Savior and are thereby justified unto eternal life they remain under the wrath and condemnation of God just like the nonelect nonbelievers do.]
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her."
This could be interpreted either in the Arminian or the Calvinist camp but makes more sense in the Calvinist one. Jesus gave Himself up for the church, not the unbelievers.
[The same reasoning as before applies: If Christ gave Himself up for the whole world, then by definition, He gave Himself up for the Church which is part of that world, this to be determined by other passages more specific on the matter.]
"He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with him freely give us all things?"
I addressed this verse above. The "all" here can only mean the believers. Paul is speaking of the saved which is why he says that God will "freely give us all things".
[True. But it does not exclude unbelievers. A similar thought is expressed in Isaiah 53:8 where Christ is said to have been 'stricken' 'for the transgression of My people.' but this does not exclude the rest of the world by virtue of this verse alone. The issue has to be settled by the total revelation of Scripture and not by isolated texts."]
"Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, and He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many and interceded for the transgressors."
Obviously this speaks of a limited sacrifice, that Jesus bore the sin of many, not all. How does the Arminian interpret this passage?
[All cannot be excluded from consideration because all so far as a number is concerned, being the whole world is obviously and by definition, a very large number, i.e., many.
[Compare Ro 5:15]:
"But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many [the whole world] died by the trespass of the one man [Adam], how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!"
Since all men died spiritually as a result of Adam's sin in the Garden and that is referred to by the word 'many' then it is possible that many can refer to the whole world. The second half of this verse also uses the word many, this time to refer to those for whom Christ died, i.e., again the whole world, otherwise the word many would have to have two different definitions in the same context - a violation of rules of language and common sense.
"So Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him."
Again, another verse that says that Jesus bore the sins of many, not all.
[Incorrect. The comments for the proper and acceptable use of the word 'many' to refer to the concept of 'all' which were stated after the previous reference apply here as well.]
It seems clear that God sometimes uses words differently than we do.
[If this were true then how could man discern what Scripture is saying? If all men are to be accountable to God to perceive and understand what He has revealed to them in Scripture then if follows that the language in which it is communicated must be a normatively understood language. (Ref: Study entitled:Proper Approach).]
When we examine the scriptures, we see that "all" when used in the context of salvation can be interpreted in at least two ways:
1) It can only mean the elect,
2) it can mean everyone.
As I mentioned above, when two sets of related scriptures have various interpretations and there are a few that can only be interpreted one way, then it seems best to interpret all the scriptures in such a way so that they agree.
[And when this is followed as pointed out repeatedly, the only conclusion one can draw: unlimited atonement.].
When God wants all men to be saved, they are. God predestines. He died for those He predestined
[And also for those he did not predestinate, (1 Jn 2:2)]
And He has been working from all eternity to atone for, sanctify, and glorify His elect. It will occur because God has ordained it so.
[Amen. So those whom God did not elect, inevitably did not believe. It was only by the grace of God that you or I make it to heaven's shores. There is in no merit whatsoever that I believed and received eternal life. I was given the gift of faith and inevitably exercised it. An awesome thought for me to contemplate and be eternally grateful for. Thus the eternal sovereign will of God will be the only will to prevail in the universe. He provided a full opportunity for every man, woman and child to trust alone in Christ's atonement alone in order to receive eternal life, but only those chosen by Him chose to believe. The others chose not to believe and remain under the wrath and condemnation of God where we once remained]