Atonement Question

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by nwells, Mar 15, 2005.

  1. nwells

    nwells
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    Hello,

    I had a question about the Atonement of Christ. In what ways is Christ's atonement different than that of the old covenant?

    What would a Jew think of or assume when they heard that Christ had died for their sins?

    As I look in the Scriptures I see this pattern:

    Atonement can be made for one person:

    He shall bring to the priest a ram without blemish out of the flock, or its equivalent for a guilt offering, and the priest shall make atonement for him for the mistake that he made unintentionally, and he shall be forgiven.
    (Lev 5:18)

    Atonement can be made for the nation:

    And the priest shall make atonement for all the congregation of the people of Israel, and they shall be forgiven, because it was a mistake, and they have brought their offering, a food offering to the LORD, and their sin offering before the LORD for their mistake.
    (Num 15:25)

    It also is apparent that in many of the cases where atonement was made the sin was unintentional.

    But not in all cases:

    The next day Moses said to the people, "You have sinned a great sin. And now I will go up to the LORD; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin."
    (Exo 32:30)

    But interestingly enough in this case – God would not forgive the people until He had first punished them.

    And also I observe that though atonement was made for the whole of the nation of Israel they were not forgiven because they did not believe (atonement was made but it was not applied to them):

    And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.
    (Heb 3:18-19)

    So my question is this:
    How is Christ’s atonement different? Did He not make atonement for the whole world (as paralleled by the whole nation)? And if He did not, what is the Biblical basis for that thought?

    I have read quite a lot trying to find the reason behind the thought that Christ’s Atonement must be not only available but also applied to the elect – but I have yet to see anyone produce scriptural basis including using the Old Testament (I believe God is sovereign over history and gave the law including priests etc in order to give us understanding of who Christ is and how He is better than what was in the past).

    Salvation is by faith alone.

    I hear many say Atonement is limited only to the elect as though it were in the same category as faith.

    But is it really?

    Does the Bible ever say that the whole world has faith? No, not that I am aware of.

    Does the Bible ever say that Christ died for the whole world? Yes (John 3:16 for starters).

    Therefore – why are they in the same category? If we remove all the “whole’s” and the “all’s” from the Bible (or change their meaning when it suits us) what will we change next? I find it scary that many say the word (especially when the phrase is the “whole world”) is needing to be explained to mean something different than the word says (I do grant there are some places where it is clear by the context that the world "all" does mean only all the elect).

    Could it be that Christ atoned for the whole world (in the same way atonement was understood in the old covenant) and that the substitution is only applied to those that believe and that all those who believe, believe because the Father grants (or drags) them to believe?

    This is not a lacking in the atonement given (Christ was not lacking!) but a lacking in the one who receives the atonement (unbelief and therefore they go to hell for all they ever did, for it was all without faith). Why do I have these thoughts? Partially because of this verse:

    For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.
    (1Ti 4:10)

    And 1 John 2:2 as well.

    The simplest and most obvious answer is that Christ came and died for all men, but especially for those who believe for they receive the substitution by faith, they draw near to God through faith in Christ and are therefore saved.

    Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.
    (Heb 7:25)

    Please help me think Biblically not philosophically.

    Because He lives,
    Nathan
     
  2. nwells

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    I thought I would post this to help give some clarification, quoting John Calvin on 1 John 2:2:

    "2. And not for ours only. He added this for the sake of amplifying, in order that the faithful might be assured that the expiation made by Christ, extends to all who by faith embrace the gospel.

    Here a question may be raised, how have the sins of the whole world been expiated? I pass by the dotages of the fanatics, who under this pretense extend salvation to all the reprobate, and therefore to Satan himself. Such a monstrous thing deserves no refutation. They who seek to avoid this absurdity, have said that Christ 1 suffered sufficiently for the whole world, but efficiently only for the elect. This solution has commonly prevailed in the schools. Though then I allow that what has been said is true, yet I deny that it is suitable to this passage; for the design of John was no other than to make this benefit common to the whole Church. Then under the word all or whole, he does not include the reprobate, but designates those who should believe as well as those who were then scattered through various parts of the world. For then is really made evident, as it is meet, the grace of Christ, when it is declared to be the only true salvation of the world."

    I totally understand Calvin's first comment, "He added this for the sake of amplifying, in order that the faithful might be assured that the expiation made by Christ, extends to all who by faith embrace the gospel."

    But as Calvin goes on, it seems he deviates from the Word and rather goes into philosophical reasons why it must not be the "whole world".

    If the whole world is the believers then who is "us"?

    Shall we make both of them say "us"? If God wanted to be clear that the "whole world" only meant believers - He surly could have been more clear! Why did God chose not to? Could it be that it was because He wanted to say the "whole world"?

    I don't understand why we must dance around words like that.

    I grant there are places where the world "all" refers only to believers, and it is clear in the context. But how can the "whole world" be believers? Certainly we will not say that all are saved - I know that not to be the case, it is one of the reasons the doctrine of limited atonement exists!

    I do not think to put myself above such a great man such as Calvin - I only want not to stray from the Word and therefore I ask for your guidance.

    Thanks again for your time and for your help,
    In Christ,
    Nathan
     
  3. nwells

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    This is interesting - and it seems to be that Calvin in this instance, rather than thinking philosophically states simply what the Bible said in John 1:29:

    "Who taketh away the sin of the world. He uses the word sin in the singular number, for any kind of iniquity; as if he had said, that every kind of unrighteousness which alienates men from God is taken away by Christ. And when he says, the sin Of The World, he extends this favor indiscriminately to the whole human race; that the Jews might not think that he had been sent to them alone. But hence we infer that the whole world is involved in the same condemnation; and that as all men without exception are guilty of unrighteousness before God, they need to be reconciled to him. John the Baptist, therefore, by speaking generally of the sin of the world, intended to impress upon us the conviction of our own misery, and to exhort us to seek the remedy. Now our duty is, to embrace the benefit which is offered to all, that each of us may be convinced that there is nothing to hinder him from obtaining reconciliation in Christ, provided that he comes to him by the guidance of faith."

    If Christ takes away all the sins of the world - how then can He only take away the sins of the elect?

    I do not believe that the non-elect are covered - only that Christ provided covering, but they fail to receive His covering and therefore pay the penalty themselves.
     
  4. Wes Outwest

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    The single most significant difference is the one sacrificed.

    The old covenant was animal sacrifice, substitution of an animal for human. Done once each year for the sins of the ones for whom the sacrifice was offered and made.

    For the new covenant the sacrifice is God in human form, sacrificed ONCE for all sins in ALL times. The new covenant atonement is not for specific persons, but for ALL SIN, therefore it is applied to all people in ALL times. That does not mean that ALL mankind is saved! It means that NO one in mankind must die for sin because the penalty for sin has been paid for all.

    Salvation through faith is enabled by this sacrifice, because ALL who believe in the one who was sacrificed are saved through their faith!

    Only those who refuse to Believe God, Believe in God, and repent from Evil, and those who rebel against God, as in the case of the House of Eli do not have their sins atoned. They wear their sins into the lake of fire! All others who believe in God, and have faith in God pass from death into everlasting life, bypassing the judgement unto death, the second death.
     
  5. rc

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    The law of exegetical constancy can not be broken. The animal (lamb of God) is a foreshadowing of Christ. The time ( 14th of Nissan) was a foreshadowing the passover cruxificion, The ressurection (17th of Nissan) was a forshadowing of the prophecies Jonah and Noah. The atonement was for the Jews, (the elect of God) and it remains constant, which it has.
     
  6. Habakkuk

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    Dear nwells,

    Please allow me to make a few notes on your original message. I am sorry it is not a concise answer which adresses you post sentence by sentence.

    You are definitely thinking clearly; however, it seems that you do not see that the only implication of Christ's atonement is complete and final freedom from sin. Consider this passage:

    Hebrews 9
    12he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.

    In what way is the redemption secured? Does this mean it is secured unless some other condition is met?

    Hebrews 9
    15Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.

    This particular verse states that death that occured actually redeems them. The whole Hebres ch 9 is full of such language. When it talks about the atonement of Christ the language is that of a finished work.

    This misunderstanding might be in effect due to misunderstanding of the shadow of the sacrifice of Christ as rc pointed out. You referenced the Old Testament instances of dealing with the sin via the shedding of the blood. Your line of thought regarding the parallel between Yom Kippur (14th of Nissan) and the ultimate sacrifice is a valid one. The Day of Atonement was to cover the sins of Israel. But why only Israel? Does the Bible answer this question? Indeed. The answer is in God's choice. Israel is the chosen nation among many. Now there is a continuity in God's plan. Church is foreshadowed by Israel in the same way as Yom Kippur forshadowed the sacrifice of Christ, yet it is a better covenant. In what way is it better? Well, think of the new covenant language. Everyone will know the Lord, new heart of flesh, cleansed completely once and for all etc and etc. I really like your statement:

    **************
    I believe God is sovereign over history and gave the law including priests etc in order to give us understanding of who Christ is and how He is better than what was in the past
    **************

    This indeed is true. This presupposition, if applied correctly, will keep you out of many exegetical problems.

    You also mentioned about the all inclussive language of the bible (all, world, etc). You probably heard this many times, but only the context of the passage that determines the scope of such words. There are plenty of examples in scriptures where words "world" and "all" obviously do not mean every one without exception but rather every one without distinction. Again, you probably heard this plenty a time yet I must stipulate it. Consider this passage:

    2 Corinthians 5
    14For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

    Who does the word "all" refer to? Well, whoever they are, they all died (v.14b)! What does it mean to die? Obviously this passage is not talking about the physical death, therefore, all died in Christ. Well, what does that mean? Did the whole world died with Christ? It is absurd.

    I hope you give these thoughts some attention and may the Lord bless you!

    Habakkuk
     
  7. Habakkuk

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    Dear nwells,

    It escaped my mind to adress the issue you brought up regarding the verse found in 1 John 2:2

    2He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

    It is interesting that those who insist on ascribing the all inclussive meaning to the word "world" are totally silent about the word "propitiation". The fact is, if we indeed have high view of scripture, then words must stand for what they mean. The meaning of the word propitiation, as you know, is satisfying sacrifice. Satisfying to whom? God the Father. Does this mean other criteria must be met? If so, then propitiation doesn't mean what it means. Therefore, this and this context only that truly defines what the word "world" truly mean. The parallel passage is one found in John 11:49

    49But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, "You know nothing at all. 50Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish." 51He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.

    Basically, Caiaphas interprets for us what this means: not only for the Jews, but for the whole world, all nations without distinction.

    May the Lord Bless you!
    Habakkuk
     
  8. rc

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    Messianic Habakkuk?
     
  9. Wes Outwest

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    Pardon us if we disagree with your LAST sentence! We do not find such a limitation envoked on the Christ's atonement for sin!
     
  10. rc

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    All nations without distinction.

    Matthew 1:21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."

    1 Thessalonians 5:9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
     
  11. nwells

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    Hello Habakkuk,

    Thank you for your reply, I thought I would focus on one thing at a time:

    From Heb. 9:15 "so that those who are called may receive"

    Is it fair to say that Christ died so that those who are called may recieve eternal life?

    You said that, "When it talks about the atonement of Christ the language is that of a finished work"

    But what of this - Christ died for all men, God the Father gave some to Christ as Christ's reward - only those who the Father gives to Christ come to Christ (for no one seeks God by themselves) and therefore Christ died for the elect, and for the whole world.

    Does that make any sense?
     
  12. nwells

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    Wes,

    You said, "It means that NO one in mankind must die for sin because the penalty for sin has been paid for all."

    Did you mean to focus on the fact that they do not have to pay because provision was made? Or that no one pays because of their sin?


    You said,
    "Only those who refuse to Believe God, Believe in God, and repent from Evil, and those who rebel against God, as in the case of the House of Eli do not have their sins atoned."

    I'm sorry - what is the difference between rebellion and unbelief?

    Thanks,
    Nathan
     
  13. nwells

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    Wes,

    Again to clarify my question about rebellion and unbelief:

    As it is said, "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion." For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.
    (Heb 3:15-19)

    They did not enter because of unbelief not because they rebelled, but because they did not believe.
     
  14. Wes Outwest

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    Your opening post indicates otherwise.
     
  15. Wes Outwest

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    What do you think I mean? Read what is there, don't make something out of it, and don't read into it! My words speak for themselves.

    After your opening post you need to ask the difference?

    Give me a break nwells!
     
  16. Wes Outwest

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    Since you have not been in this forum by the names nwells, you do not know my position on this topic. So I am mildly curious why you are approaching me with preconception as your basis of operation.
     
  17. nwells

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    It was not my intention that my thoughts would be taken on as a personal attack. I honestly wanted clarity.

    You are right, I do not know your position, that was why I was asking.

    -Nathan
     
  18. Wes Outwest

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    What do you think the words "that no one in mankind must die for sin because the penalty for SIN has been paid for ALL mean?. The penalty for SIN has been paid, therefore no man has to die because of sin!

    Now that does not mean that ALL mankind are saved, because it is not ATONEMENT that saves one now is it?

    What, or WHO, is it that saves mankind?
    Is it GRACE?
    Is it FAITH?
    Is is Righteousness?
    Is it a big smile on one's face?

    Is it one's self?
    is is one's President?
    OR,
    Is it GOD?

    Grace is powerless, no one has ever been saved by Grace!
    Faith is powerless, no one has ever been saved by FAITH!
    Righteousness is likewise powerless, and NO one has ever been saved BY righteousness either.
    A big smile on your face plus $2.75 will buy you a small Late (pronounced 'lawtay') at Starbucks coffee house. Starbucks will not save you either, but salvation will put a large smile on your face.

    Scriptures tell us that we cannot save ourselves,
    Scriptures also tell us that no man has the power to save us.
    So, then It must be God who saves us! Will you agree with that?

    So, then Who does God save?
    Scriptures tell us that our works cannot buy our salvation.
    Scriptures tell us God is no respecter of Man, so "favoritism" does not save us.
    Scriptures tell us that it is FAITH ALONE on our part, that makes us acceptable to God.

    "Rebellion" is action based on belief, while unbelief is the state of one's spirit regarding the object of unbelief.
    [/QUOTE]
     
  19. rc

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    Scriptures tell us that our works cannot buy our salvation.

    Scriptures tell us that it is FAITH ALONE on our part, that makes us acceptable to God.

    "On our part" ... so we have a part in our salvation.... sorry, I'll give ALL the glory to God.

    Sola Gratia
    Sola Deo Gloria
     
  20. ILUVLIGHT

    ILUVLIGHT
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    rc;
    Spoken like a true Catholic
     

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