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But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  To him be glory both now and forever.  Amen.  2 Peter 3:18

 

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LIMITED ATONEMENT 

 

"And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be CUT OFF, but NOT FOR HIMSELF...."   (Daniel 9:26)   (Emphasis mine)

 

"I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep."  (John 10:11)

 

"I pray for them: I pray NOT for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine."   (John 17:9) 

Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Anointed One) died for His elect (chosen) people.  He died for the sins of men such as Abel, Jacob, Moses, David, Peter and John.  He did NOT die for men such as Cain, Esau, Pharaoh, Dathan, Balaam, Absalom or Judas Iscariot.

 

Messiah's sheep hear His voice and follow Him in obedience to His Word.  He gives unto us eternal life.  He gave His life a RANSOM for the lives of the sheep, NOT for the goats.  A ransom, when paid and accepted, automatically frees the people for whom it was intended.

"Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a RANSOM for many."  (Matthew 20:28)   (Emphasis mine)

Many preachers today claim that Christ died for ALL men without exception.  They teach that Christ's death made salvation possible, if men will but believe.  But Christ taught that His death on the cross was a RANSOM.  It effectively SECURED the salvation of God's elect.

 

"Payment God's justice cannot TWICE demand; first at the bleeding Saviour's hand, and then again at mine"  --  Charles Haddon Spurgeon  (Emphasis mine)

 

Note that Christ said He would “give his life a ransom for MANY".  If He died for ALL men without exception, as some claim, then the word "many" is meaningless in Matthew 20:28.  But if "many" refers to the elect for whom Christ died, it makes perfect sense.

 

FOR WHOM DID CHRIST DIE?

 

The Bible says that God purchased the Church with His own Blood (Acts 20:28) and Christ loved the Church and gave himself for it (Ephesians 5:25).  Church means "called out ones" -- a body of true believers (not an idolatrous, bloody, Crusader, Inquisitor, pro-Nazi counterfeit). 

 

Some of God's elect are born and raised Roman Catholic.  But when they study the Bible they find that the teachings of Christ CONDEMN many Roman Catholic teachings and traditions.[1]  This is why the Vatican placed the Bible on its Index of Forbidden Books.[2]

 

The sheep hear the voice of the Good Shepherd and follow Him out of her.  "And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues."   (Revelation 18:4) 

 

The Bible tell us that Jesus “shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).  He gave “His life for the sheep (John 10:11).  Jesus laid down His life for “his friends” (John 15:13).  Thus His death is "LIMITED" to the Church, to his people, to his sheep, to his friends.

 

In so many words, the Bible tells us that Christ did NOT die for ALL men without exception.  But, what about universal sounding verses like John 3:16?

 

GOD LOVES THE WORLD

"For God so loved the WORLD, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."   (John 3:16)  (Emphasis mine)

 

In the parable of the tares, Christ explained that "the field is the WORLD" (Matthew 13:38).  The farmer (God) loves his field (the world) with an eye to his "wheat" (the children of the kingdom).  But He does NOT love the tares (weeds -- the children of the wicked one).

 

John was an Apostle to the Circumcision, meaning the Jews (Galatians 2:9).  Therefore, when he wrote John 3:16, he was stating that Christ died, not for the Jews only, but also for the Gentiles.  This matches up with his other statements such as John 11:51-52 and 1 John 2:2. 

 

HIGH PRIESTLY PRAYER

 

Christ, in His High Priestly prayer, reveals for whom His Death was intended: "I pray for them: I pray NOT for the WORLD, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine."  (John 17:9)  (Emphasis mine)  This prayer of Christ corresponds to the Levitical priesthood.

 

Aaron, the High Priest, prayed only for the chosen people of God.  He bore the names of the 12 Tribes of Israel over his heart, by God's command (Exodus 28:29).  He did NOT pray for the Canaanites, Babylonians, Assyrians, Egyptians, Ammonites, Moabites or Edomites.

 

So Christ prayed only for the elect.  He did not pray for ALL men without exception (John 17:9).  When Aaron offered a sacrifice for sin, it was only for Israel.  Christ died on the cross only for the sins of His elect people -- the sheep (John 10:11).

 

ARMINIANS VERSUS CALVINISTS

 

Those who claim that Christ died for ALL men without exception are sometimes called "Arminians."  They resist the idea of a Limited Atonement (Particular Redemption).  But they limit the Atonement as surely as any "Calvinist" (one who believes in Limited Atonement).[1]

 

The Arminian limits the POWER of Christ's Atonement, for he claims that in itself it does NOT save anyone.  Faith, he claims, must be added for it to be effective.  The Calvinist limits the EXTENT of it, for he knows that Christ died for the sheep (elect) and not for the goats.

 

"For the Calvinist it is like a narrow bridge which goes all the way across the stream; for the Arminian it is like a great wide bridge which goes only half-way across."  -- Loraine Boettner

When the Arminian admits that Christ did NOT die for the Devil and his fallen angels he admits (in principle) a "Limited Atonement".  If it was right for God to leave the Devil and his demons in their sins, then it is right for God to leave some fallen men in their sins.

 

"ALL MEN, EVERY MAN"

 

When the Bible uses the terms "all" and "every" it can be used EITHER to mean all men without exception OR all men without distinction.  Christ died for all men without "distinction" (between Jew or Gentile, rich or poor, white or colored, male or female, old or young, etc.).

 

But Christ did not die for ALL men without exception.  If He did, then God demands payment for sin twice, first at Christ's bleeding hand and then again at the sinner's hand in Hell.

 

THE UNPARDONABLE SIN

 

Some teach that the only reason men go to Hell is for the "unpardonable sin" of rejecting Christ.  This teaching doesn't hold water on two (2) counts:

 

1. Many in Hell have never heard of Christ (such as the heathen who lived and died before the birth of Christ) -- they're in Hell for their evil works (Rev. 20:12-14).

 

2. If Christ died for ALL men without exception, ALL sins (including the sin of rejecting Christ) were paid for and therefore need not be paid for again, by any, in Hell.

 

MESSIAH'S OBEDIENCE

 

Christ lived a life of perfect obedience to God's Law.  He was sinless (Hebrews 4:15).  This is known as His active obedience to God the Father. 

He also obeyed His Father by dying on the cross for sinners.  This is known as His passive obedience (John 10:18).

 

The sin of Adam did not make the condemnation of all men merely possible.  Rather, it was the ground of their actual condemnation.  So too, the obedience of Christ does not make the salvation of the elect merely possible, it is the ground of their actual salvation.

 

The death of Messiah SECURED the salvation of the elect.  He OBTAINED eternal redemption for us (Hebrews 9:12).  But while the extent of the Atonement is limited to God's elect, the value of the Atonement is unlimited.

 

VALUE AND EXTENT

 

The VALUE of Christ's Atonement is INFINITE.  It would have to be, based on two (2) reasons:

 

1. The infinite value of the One making the Atonement -- the Son of God.

 

2. The infinite debt each of the elect owed God for their sins.

 

The Bible does NOT limit the VALUE of the Atonement.  Christ only limits FOR WHOM it was intended (see John 10:11 and 17:9).  It was intended for the elect people of God.  He limits its extent, but not its value.

 

If Christ died for ALL men without exception, then we have a DEFEATED SAVIOUR.  Why?  Because most of mankind, from Adam until the present day, have perished in their sins.

A SUCCESSFUL SAVIOUR

 

But if Christ died for ALL the elect (without distinction as to race, nationality, wealth, position, gender, age, etc.) then we have a SUCCESSFUL, SATISFIED SAVIOUR.  “He SHALL SAVE His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

 

Finally, the Gospel is not "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life".  The Gospel is Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, was buried and rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)  You're a sinner.  Repent and believe the Gospel” (Mark 1:15).

 

If you do, then you can know that God loves you, that Christ died for you, and that God has a wonderful plan for your life.  May God seal this message to many hearts for His Glory and their eternal welfare, is my prayer, in Jesus Name.


[1] Two excellent books that deal (in depth) with the CONTRAST between the teachings of Christ and many Roman Catholic teachings are:

 

  • Dave Hunt, A WOMAN RIDES THE BEAST (Harvest House Publishers:  Eugene, OR, 1994).

 

  • Loraine Boettner, ROMAN CATHOLICISM (Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing Company:  Philadelphia, PA, 1962, 1977).

 

[2] Loraine Boettner, ROMAN CATHOLICISM (Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing Company:  Philadelphia, PA, 1962, 1977) pp. 8 and 97.

 

[3]  David N. Steele and Curtis C. Thomas, THE FIVE POINTS OF CALVINISM: DEFINED, DEFENDED, DOCUMENTED (Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing Company:  Philadelphia, PA, 1963, 1976) pp. 13-23 and 38-47.

 

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Tulip Gems is a Calvinistic Baptist web site that honors Jesus Christ and provides a free Hyperinflation Survival Guide.  We offer free Bible Articles on several subjects, including Bible Nutrition , Creation Science versus Evolution Passover , The Great Commission and Tulip Calvinism

Which Bible can we trust? Which Bible is the most accurate? Why KJV only? Read our Which Bible series of articles for answers from both Scripture and history (including a Rebuttal of James White's book, The King James Only Controversy).

We also offer a well-documented Vietnam Veteran Story that illustrates the mercy of God.  The Vietnam Veteran Story, found on our Combat Vet page, comes from published accounts of Vietnam Veterans experiences, as well as this Vietnam Veterans experiences, told first hand.  

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George Theiss is a combat veteran of Vietnam who now follows Lamb of God.  He and his wife Christy have been married 39 years. They have 8 children.

 

Copyright 2002 through 2016 by George R. Theiss   

 

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