Definite Atonement as opposed to Universal Atonement pt 1
- We have looked at controversial doctrines such as sovereign election, total depravity, etc.
o But when it comes to controversial doctrines, for some reason, this one takes the cake.
§ I have spoken with people and read systematic theologies that profess to believe in the utter sinfulness of man and sovereign election but...
o When it comes to definite atonement, AKA limited atonement, then that is where they draw the line.
§ This is interesting considering definite atonement, IMO, has stronger arguments than the other two.
o As an aside, I do not use the phrase limited atonement since it gives the wrong connotation.
§ Limited atonement is meant to convey that the atonement is limited to the elect but…
o It is mistaken to mean that the power of the atonement is limited, which could not be further from the truth.
§ It is unlimited in power, value and efficacy but limited only in its application.
o Definite atonement is better since it simply conveys a definite, absolute, completed atonement.
§ Let’s look at the strong arguments for definite atonement.
- The strongest argument comes from the nature of Christ’s death
o Let us first ask, “Why does God send people to hell?”
· Because of their sins (Romans , John , Revelation 18:3-5).
· God’s wrath abides on them due to their sins (Romans , 2:5).
o Second question, “What did Christ do when he died?” See our study here for a fuller explanation.
§ He was our propitiation, removing God’s just wrath and perfectly satisfying His justice (Romans , 5:9, Isaiah 53:10).
§ He bore our sins, therefore removing them (1 Peter 2:24, Hebrews 9:24-28)
§ He reconciled us to God, removing the hostility and separation between us (Romans -11).
§ He accomplished redemption – guaranteeing our freedom from sins’ curse and bondage (Galatians , Titus ).
o What these things clearly and unequivocally show, is that Christ’s death removed everything that would have sent us to hell.
§ His death infallibly secured the salvation for whom He died.
o Here’s a great quote by Matt Perman:
§ "If Christ died for you, you cannot perish for His death has removed everything that was causing you to perish. For example, our sins have made us enemies of God but Christ's death reconciles us to God, thus removing the enmity. Would God condemn someone that has become His friend by the blood of His Son? Again, hell means being eternally punished by God's wrath but Christ took away God's wrath for everybody He died for. Therefore, if Christ died for you, you cannot go to hell because God has no wrath to pour out on you."
o Something to think about if you disagree with any of this.
§ If Christ died in the place of someone who would reject Christ, taking their sins upon Himself and the wrath of God they deserved, why is God punishing that person twice?
· God punished them once in their substitute, Christ Jesus and a second time in hell for rejecting Christ.
§ If you say, “It is because they did not believe!” Then you are saying Christ did NOT bear God’s full just punishment on behalf of that sinner.
· For that sinner will be justly punished a second time.
§ This is a dangerous slight at the completed work of Christ and if true, none of us can have 100% assurance God’s wrath was completely removed.
o Pardon my candidness, but “universal” atonement is an affront on the completed work of Christ and denigrates what Christ did on the cross.
§ “It is finished!” becomes “It is close to being done.”
o We will get to the other arguments for definite atonement in future blog entries, but for now I leave saints with this blessed passage on the benefits infallibly assured for those whom Christ has died.
§ I emphasized parts within the passage where Paul promises benefits based on Christ’s death.
· Notice these are NOT conditional promises but are sure and strong in the death of Christ.
§ What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died--more than that, who was raised--who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:31-39).
o Hallelujah for His victorious death and His unfathomable love!