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
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)
In other words, our Lord's Atonement at Calvary's cross was limited to those He ransomed. It was a Limited Atonement or a Particular Redemption.
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?
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.
This is why the Vatican placed the Bible on its Index of Forbidden Books. 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).
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 hand of the sinner 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.
 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).
 Loraine Boettner, ROMAN CATHOLICISM (Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing Company: Philadelphia, PA, 1962, 1977) pp. 8 and 97.
George Theiss is a combat veteran of Vietnam who now follows the Lamb of God. He and his wife, Christy, have been married 42 years (in 2019). They have 8 grown children. You can contact George at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2002 through 2019 by George Theiss