Does unlimited atonement = universal salvation?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by IFB Mole, Jul 6, 2006.

  1. IFB Mole

    IFB Mole
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    I was contemplating the atonement.

    Now if Christ died for ALL people inclusively and ALL sin without exception that would logically mean that Christ died for the sin(s) of unbelief, faithlessness and unrepentance. So since Christ died for ALL the sins or ALL the people inclusively and without exception, then wouldn't it mean that all people will be saved if ALL their sins are paid for, even unbelief, faithlessness and unrepentance??

    Was the atonement SUFFICIENT for all sins of all men but only EFFICIENT for the elect??

    Did the atonement POTENTIALLY save everyone but actually save NO ONE unless they believe by faith??

    For whom was the atonement for? ALL men inclusively and without exception or only believers (the elect)?
     
  2. PrimePower7

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    Good

    I like the way you think. Indeed, Jesus did die for all sins of all people. I have said it in another thread: The difference between the person who goes to Heaven and the person who goes to Hell is the person who goes to Heaven has his/her sins paid for and they accepted that by faith. The person who goes to Hell has his/her sins paid for and they have not accepted it by faith. See John 3:18
     
  3. Brandon C. Jones

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    Well the answer depends on whom you ask: People who believe in limited atonement tend to say yes the one who believes in unlimited atonement limits Christ's act so much that it actually saves no one, and a good example of such thinking is Spurgeon's famous comments on who limits the atonement. However, most people who believe in unlimited atonement are by no means universalists neither do they empty the atonement of its efficiency to those who believe. This is true for both sides of the Calvinist/Arminian debate. For instance, there are Calvinists who believe in a "dualist" view of the atonement where it's a both/and...Christ paid the penalty for every man's sin but also died to save and keep saved the elect (for more see Robert Dabney on this). Arminians also believe something like this except the emphasis on the efficient part of the sufficient and efficient aspects of the atonement is on man's faith (with different answers on its origin) not God's election per se. The issue is the purpose of it all: Did Christ die to merely make men savable or actually save men or both? This topic came up a month ago and I'm sure a search of the archives would help you here.

    For more I recommend some good systematic theologies...I like Erickson, Lewis and Demarest, and for free you can read old ones like Dabney's online.

    BJ
     
    #3 Brandon C. Jones, Jul 6, 2006
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  4. Helen

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    IFB Mole, if you understand that every sin is an insult to God, you will see that EVERY sin was atoned for, for NO insults to God are left standing for eternity. We tend to always see sin from out own point of view. Look at it, for a moment, from God's point of view and that helps understand what universal atonement means. ALL sin was paid for on the cross.

    But not all sin is forgiven. That is totally different. In fact, Jesus said there was one sin which could not be forgiven.

    John 3:16-18 and so many other passages tell us that we are saved because of our belief (complete dependance and trust) on Christ, and that we are condemned by the lack of it. This has nothing to do with sin, actually. Yes, our sins deserved/earned death, but Christ took care of that part. It is what you do about Christ that makes the difference in your eternal destiny.

    This does not mean you are free to sin when you become a born again believer. Well, actually, you are free to sin -- but since you have a new heart and are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, you no longer want to sin and when a sin is pointed out to you by the Holy Spirit, it truly grieves you.

    When my oldest son was a young child, he loved the mud. He LOVED the mud! He was often covered head to toe in it. He will be 33 this year and that is long gone. He is a clean, well-groomed man. It is no longer in his nature to want to play in the mud. He is certainly free to do it, as a grown man, but there is no way in the world he has that desire. That is the way with sin and a believer. Certainly we are 'free' to sin, but the indwelling Holy Spirit and the new heart we have been given has absolutely no desire to do any of that and, in fact, we strain to distance ourselves as far as possible from the old way.

    I say this because there is the misconception that because all sin is atoned for that Christians are able to sin as much as they like. In a sense, yes, but what they like is no longer to sin. So when we do sin, we are told by John all we need to do is go to the Father, confess, and we are freely forgiven.

    Full atonement erased all insults to God. It makes salvation possible for the believer.
     
  5. 4His_glory

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    Sufficient for all but efficient for the the elect. One can not believe in substitutionary attonement and general attonement. In fact I think even the non-Calvinists here limit the attonment to some extant or another lest they be universalists.
     
  6. psalms109:31

    psalms109:31
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    elements

    The three elements we must have in our understanding

    1. That God desires all men to come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved.

    2. God is the one who picks who will be saved.

    3. God has put limits on who will be saved, believers in His Son.
     
  7. 2BHizown

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    Helen
    No, not true. Its a matter of what took place on the cross. Did Christ die just to make something 'possible' or did He die to purchase His own?

    He bought His own via His death and ressurection! I am His forever, not just a possibility but for real and for all time!

    Had He died for all to make salvation possible then those who obviously have rejected Him and go to hell would be paying twice for their sin! Not so!

    His death actually purchased those who would come to faith in Him!

    Remember the old hymn, 'He sought me and He bought me with His redeeming blood'?
     
  8. Brother Bob

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    Not only those who believe but all men.

    1 Timothy, chapter 2
    "3": For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;

    "4": Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

    "5": For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

    "6": Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

    Hebrews, chapter 2

    "7": Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:

    "8": Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.

    "9": But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.


    Why do some gloss over certain Scriptures? peace
     
    #8 Brother Bob, Jul 6, 2006
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  9. whatever

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    Apparently God is not insulted by unbelief. :(

    Either Christ actually died only for those who believe or Christ's death was not sufficient to save anyone, else universalism is true. Take your pick. I'll take door number one.
     
  10. Brother Bob

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    Misquote whatever; I fixed it.
     
  11. whatever

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    My post wasn't directed at you, Brother Bob. I still think the passage you quoted is speaking of potential ransom and not actual ransom. None whom Christ actually ransomed will be lost.
     
  12. Brother Bob

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    "6": Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.


    "9": But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

    Not just one Scripture whatever; this one also. You can't keep just making excuses for the Scriptures. peace

    I think the atonement is there for all but they must believe to receive it. Bless,
     
  13. whatever

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    Not trying to make excuses, but trying to rightly divide the Scriptures. Was Jesus' death not enough? He came to save His people from their sins - did He fail?
     
  14. Brother Bob

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    He came because God so loved the whole world and give his life for:

    John:1
    29: The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
     
  15. The Archangel

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    Brothers and Sisters,

    Brothers and Sisters

    The subject of Limited Atonement is a difficult one for many of us to swallow. I had a VERY difficult time coming to grips with this one.

    I was faced with some of the very points mentioned in this thread. Let me try to explain my conclusions:

    1. All have sinned (Romans 3:23)

    2. The wages (or consequences) of sin is death (Romans 6:23)

    3. Not everyone will be saved (Matthew 25:32-41)

    On all of these points Calvinists and Arminians agree. However there are some questions we need to address:

    1. What did Christ do on the cross? Did He substitute for us? Isaiah 53:4-5 says yes:

    4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.

    Also, the Apostle Paul says that God put forward Christ as a Propitiation (Romans 3). A propitiation is something which is a substitution. According to Paul Christ was our substitution.

    God’s righteous wrath was poured onto Christ who had taken up our sins. He was receiving the just punishment for our sins.

    God does not just forgive sin—he requires a payment. This is illustrated by the need for a sacrificial system. God didn’t tell Israel, “That’s OK…I’ll just forgive the sin.” No, He required the payment of an animal. That animal took the placed of the guilty sinner. So we see that God forgives sins based on the payment of a substitute.

    Jesus, as Paul writes and as Isaiah says is our substitute.

    2. Did Jesus take upon Himself all the sins of the world or did He take the sins of the “elect?”

    Here is the crux of the issue. If Jesus took the sins of the entire world upon Himself and took God’s just punishment for those sins, then all sins have been paid for. What sins, then, do non-believers have to pay for in hell?

    If Jesus took only the sins of the elect upon Himself, then the sins of the non-elect/non-believers will have to be paid by them in hell.

    Conclusions:

    Since we know that not everyone will be saved and we know that Christ died a substitutionary death, it is logical to conclude that He died for the sins of the elect only. Had he died for the sins of the world, everyone would be saved.

    If you believe in a Penal-Substitutionary Atonement, it is very difficult to believe in a “Universal” or “General” atonement. In fact, historically speaking, many of the “General” Baptist Churches of England and America have drifted toward universalism and have embraced it fully. That, of course, is the logical outgrowth of believing in a “Universal” atonement.

    I know this creates some conundrums in thought. However, a particular atonement is one which takes in to account all the evidence from scripture. I know some of you won’t buy it…that’s OK. Let’s discuss it.

    Blessings,

    The Archangel
     
  16. Brother Bob

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    Bless you Archangel;
    (it is logical to conclude ) When you say that it goes against the Scriptures I have already quoted.

    John:1
    29: The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

    Also it simply is disagreeing with these Scriptures.

    6": Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.


    "9": But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

    Now I don't think a man has received that blood unless he believes. I mean Jesus was not going to come down here ever few days or months and because some more had sinned, die again, so when He died and shed His blood, He did it once for all, but man has to believe to receive it.
    It is like repentance. Jesus is not going to repent for you. A man has to repent for himself but unless Jesus is a part of it, along with His blood, then man can't repent. But being the blood is already shed and Jesus stands at the door of your heart knocking, if you then believe and repent with the help of jesus, then you receive His blood. Not when He shed it on the cross. It is like the river of Life flowing and will continue to flow as long as there are men repenting in this world, but a day is set when that river will be dried up and man can repent all he wants, but it will not do him any good, as they are going to do in the end of time, when every man will confess Jesus, but the blood won't be there no more, so it will not do him any good. peace
     
    #16 Brother Bob, Jul 6, 2006
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  17. The Archangel

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    Brother Bob,

    It is good to hear from you and I hope you had a good 4th of July!

    I read your post and I do have some questions for you. First, let me say I understand what you are saying. I used to believe almost exactly as you do. But, the way I used to believe left me with some Scriptural questions that I could not resolve and that was unsettling.

    From your post, I think we’d agree that Jesus’ death was a once-for-all event. My questions deal more with what happened on the cross. Did Jesus pay for sins? I think we’d agree that He did. Whose sins did He die for?

    The reason this is important is this: We all believe that Jesus took our sins on Himself and paid the price we would have paid. Yes? If that is the case and He paid the price for ALL sins then there is nothing left for the unbeliever to pay for in hell.

    Do you see the argument? Do you understand what I am saying? I hope you do…I hope I have explained my position adequately.

    Why is this important? The verses you quoted, the “All” verses are important. But it raises an important question: If Christ was a ransom for all, without exception, why is it that not all are saved?

    Do you see my point? If you believe in a Penal-Substitutionary Atonement AND if you believe that Jesus died for all, without exception, you must, logically, be a universalist.

    Please understand, Bob, I am not calling you a universalist. I hope you see, however, how you position creates a conundrum. Actually, my position creates a conundrum too.

    But, I would argue, my position takes into account all the Biblical data—but, I’ll agree there are still problems.

    Let’s discuss the issues in small sections. Until then,

    Blessings,

    The Archangel
     
  18. Brandon C. Jones

    Brandon C. Jones
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    I think I've posted this quote before, but it seems appropriate here. I personally believe in a dualist view of the atonement, but I will use someone else's words to explain it in more detail. This is a quote from Dave Ponter, and aussie member of the yahoo group: theology list. He is talking about a particular passage in 1 Corinthians, but gives some good historical background to the "double payment fallacy" of John Owen. Here's his thoughts on the issue:

    Hypothetical universalists (Arminian): Christ died equally for all
    Limited atonement (high Calvinist): Christ died equally for some
    Dualists (low Calvinist): Christ died unequally for all

    10 man stand condemned of X, and the same X for all. Theologically, as
    an aside of the story aspect: 4 happen to be elect, the remaining 6
    reprobate

    The Judge is also King, is also, therefore, Lawgiver and Lawmaker. He is
    the source of the Law. King has a Son. Son and King agree that Son will
    suffer X, the same X that was due to the 10.

    So, in this sense, the X of all 10, respectively, is imputed to the Son.
    Now, if X were 40 lashes, no one would say that the Son suffered 400
    lashes. No, the 40 he suffered would be sufficient for all 10.

    Now, King and Son agree to this but add that for any of the, Contrition
    is the condition set by the King in order for the sufferings of the Son
    to have effect for any of the 10.

    So now, the Son stands in for the 10, knowingly, willingly. He
    substitutes for the 10, insofar as the X due to each and any of them, he
    suffers.

    Hold all that.

    For the Augustianians, that's a fair description of how they saw the
    expiation of Christ. This was the view of most of the early Reformers,
    and early English and Lutheran Reformers.

    The Augustinians differed from the sem-Ps in that faith, the ability to
    meet the condition of contrition was given unconditionally to the 4.
    This is the sovereignty of King and God, as sourse of all law etc. Thats
    the mysterium of Augustinianism, and original Calvinism.

    Arminius, who was an Augustinian operated from out of that theological
    context. And there were Lutheran Arminians at the time.

    To this construction of expiation, Arminius decided to deny the
    Mysterium aspect. Thats his point of attack. He then proposed prevenient
    grace and free will.

    In response to him and others like him, some Calvinists reconstructed
    the expiation according to this fair enough description.

    10 men stand condemned to suffer X. King and Son decide that the Son
    would stand in for the 4 only, the 4 they had already decided to save.
    He does so. So only the X due to the 4 was imputed to Christ. He
    suffered 40 lashes only for them.

    That construction then gained ascendency in the Reformed community in
    its over-zeal to react to Arminianism. For the early Calvinists, the
    particularism is not located in the expiation itself, but in the decree
    to apply it to the elect, that's the mysterium of Calvinism. For Beza,
    Owen, Bucer, the mysterium is relocated in the expiaton itself. You, me
    in past times, most of the Calvinists here, have been trained to think
    according to the new construction and mysterium.

    So, when you now hear the old construction with its older mysterium, it
    sounds Arminian to you, exactly because of your relative point perspective.

    So for the different between classic Calvinism and Arminian thinking is
    the issie of the application of the expiation.

    Now, here is another aspect to this. The Augustinians said, Christ died
    for all sufficiently, for the elect efficiently. This now makes sense in
    the classic Augustian construction. The Son suffered the same X for all
    10, but in a sufficient sense. But he suffered for the 4 in an efficient
    sense, in that the intention is to apply the benefit of his substitution
    suffering to the 4.

    When many of us say Christ died for all sufficiently, for the elect
    efficiently, hardly anyone knows what that originally meant or how it
    could be possible. The Proteccidental benefits come to them, rain, sun
    etc. The Prots., Schol (PS from now on, or Owenists) were not happy with
    the old formula cos the Arminians were now saying, and quite obviously,
    Christ died for all sufficiently, for the elect according to bare
    foreknowledge, efficiently. And then Amyraut further complicated things
    cos he spotted the shift in how the expiation was understood from Calivn
    to the PS, so he stressed that in some sense, the death of Christ is
    equally related to every man, as he suffered the same death due to every
    man.

    So we now have a tradition overlaid on top of an earlier tradition.

    Now lets add something else. When Owen worked through all this, he was
    responding to two sorts of English dissenters, some Arminians and some
    Amyraldian types. For him, the argument for his version could work only
    if he added some new concepts. The expiation was a payment, a literal
    debt payment. The biblical ransom was not metaphor for deliverance, but
    a literal payment to the Father. Owen constructed sin along debt lines,
    and legal satisfaction along the lines of an unpaid but due debt. The
    Father is the creditor. And here now we see one of the earliest attempts
    to posit the double payment fallacy: a debt payment ipso facto remits
    debt, and a debt paid cannot be paid again. Owen constructed
    justification along these lines: the fine is paid, the man is justified.
    The bail-bond is paid, the man is justified. So for Owen, the shift in
    justification was moving to something paid, on the cross, literally. You
    and I just didn't realise we had been justified for a long time. The
    hypers ran with this, especially Gill, and posited eternal
    justification. Owen also systematised the idea that faith is purchased
    by the expiation. This was a mutation on the earlier medieval idea of
    the expiatoin of Christ meriting righteousness. So for all whom the
    expiation was made, faith was purchased. If faith was not given to a
    person, then it was not purchased for him, and therefore the expiation
    was not made for him. But its all fallacious for nowhere is it said that
    the expiation purchases faith, or that in and of itself it secures faith
    for all whom he was made. Thats a PS (rather bs;-) fabrication.

    It was Jonathan Edwards who put the original Calvin Humpty back
    together, with a little help from Grotius, Locke and the classics. But
    Edwards was only influencial in America, at Princeton, through C Hodge,
    who then influences Dabney, and Shedd and a few other minor players. But
    in England and Scotland, Owen is still supreme, as mediated now by
    Cunningham, and many others.

    So these are some of the assumptions that need to be worked through.
    From payment expiation, bunches of verses are exegeted accordingly,
    J3:16, 1:29, 1 j 2:2, 2 T2:6, etc etc. Hilasmos, in 2:2 is now seen as
    something effected and accomplished like a debt payment.

    So back to the 10. The Son suffers X, and so fulfills the oiginal
    necessary claims of the law against all 10 {note: not the added
    condition per se). Now there is no reason why any of them need be
    condemned by the law. But the King and Son set a further condition of
    contrition. 4 are contrite, as this is gifted by the King, the 6
    stubbornly refuse. So they end by suffering X completely themselves. So
    in a sense there is a double suffering, one in the surety, then again in
    the impenitent.


    > What about 2 Cor. 5:19? [the lines with the > are someone else's words that Dave is responding to here in the non >-lines --BJ]

    > that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not
    > counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the
    > message of reconciliation.

    > It reads to me as if God has already reconciled the world to Himself.
    > Hodge says, "... this reconciliation is said to be effected by the
    > death of Christ as a sacrifice ... what follows is not a proof of God
    > converting the world but it is a proof of Him being propitious"
    > (Commentary on 2 Cor). Calvin writes, "the anger of the Father has
    > been appeased by the sacrifice of the Son."

    > Do you agree with that?


    I do in the sense that God is now reconciliable and propitious but not
    actually reconciled. That part is the process.

    > How do you understand this verse? Was God rendered propitious toward
    > all men at that time or is God only reconciled to a man when God does
    > not count his trespasses against him through union with Christ?


    I would say both, as I see propitious as inclined to mercy, but in a way
    that is now legally possible to the Sinner, as sinner, as transgressor.

    You see common grace is God as inclined to mercy, to the sinner as
    creature, as image bearer. But now God can be merciful to the sinner as
    transgressor. Beforehand, God could only dispense wrath to the sinner as
    transgressor. But now that necessity has been removed, God can exercise
    the favour of a propitious inclination to the sinner as law-breaker. And
    this is why the Owenic version of common grace is also bankrupt and
    unable to account for many of the things we normally think with regard
    to common grace, like the free offer, legal obstacles being removed,
    delay of punishment, etc; for sure, it may account for rain and food.

    > It can't be the latter, since the choice of words is all wrong to
    > express the thought of application.

    You reading the words according to a certain paradigm. It only begins to
    make sense when one discards the Owenic paradigm. Then like a magic eye
    computer generated 3D image, you see it.

    Take care,
    David"

    BJ--Well I don't know if that's interesting or helpful to anyone here, but it's a paradigm that I happen to like.
     
  19. Brother Bob

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    Think of the blood as the water of Life. The water is there and is reachable but you must athrist and get a drink before it does you any good. I says it flows from the throne which is where Christ come from and it says the Tree of Life is in the midst and on both sides and that is what Jesus did it flowed to the hinder and forward seas. It is there for all who is athrist and it is free. peace.

    I am afraid I really didn't understand all that David posted. I will have to read it again but seems to say what I believe is the first belief but was changed later. I could be wrong in what it is saying. peace.
     
  20. Brother Jeremy Slone

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    "6": Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

    Brother Bob could the all here be the ones testified in due time.

    How about this one.
    I John 1:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
    St. John 17:9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.

    just like in Romans 3:11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

    I John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. and I John 3:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

    Well the last one you would have to understand the inner and outer man. the second one you have to say some men are led in a new way. That there is a change in them that compels them. As for the first one I would say that none will escape his judgement, but they that do will be because of mercy because of the faith of Jesus Christ. Romans 3:22, (who is the author and finisher of our faith Hebrews 12:2.) .......Not of him that willeth or runneth but of God that showeth mercy.

    Isaiah CH. 28:10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:

    Some times I get so heavy with trying to understand that I just want to quit and give up and then I have to call out to God to help the little worm that I am. and I think when we can get like that , the Lord will then comfort us.
     

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