Propitiation and the need for a "Particular Atonement"

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by The Archangel, Jun 2, 2003.

  1. The Archangel

    The Archangel
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    I am, as I have said before, a reluctant Calvinist. However, as I have learned more and read more on the issue, I beileve that the crux of the Calvinist arguement is not based on freedome of the will or total inability. No, the whole of the arguement is based on the concept of Limited (better Particular) atonement.

    Because the Bible uses a specific picture in the Old Testament to refer to atonement, it must be examined.

    Leviticus 16 shows the sacrificial system at work on the day of atonement.

    1) The sacrificial lamb was killed and the blood sprinkled on the mercy seat.

    2) The scapegoat was imputed with the sins of the people for that year. The goat was then sent out to signify the removal of sin from the people.

    This is the culture that God created to show how His justice worked. God cannot "just" forgive sin...it requires a payment. Romans 3:23-26 tells us that the OT sacrificial system did not actually forgive anything (Other places point to this too).

    God's passing-over of sin (ie. not punishing them) would have made God unjust. Therefore He needed to put Christ forward as a propitiation. In other words, God needed to settle the sin accounts of the Old Testament and at the same time He settled the accounts of all those represented on the cross by Christ.

    Because the Bible speaks of Adam representing us (in a federal way) and it speaks of Christ as the new Adam (representing us [the us is the issue] in a federal way), we must see two things:

    1) Adam's sin is passed on to us, in a judicial way, because He was our representative.

    2) Propitiation for our sins was accomplished by His death on the cross.

    In the same way that Adam represented all of Humanity, Christ represented the elect. Jusification is, after all, a legal term meaning to find not guilty.

    So, because I am now rambling, the crux of the issue is this: Whom did Christ represent?

    If Christ represented all humanity then ipso facto every one will be saved. Why? All their sins will have been propitiated by Christ (as their representative) on the cross.

    If, however, Christ only represented the elect, then only the elect will be saved.

    Since the Bible clearly teaches that NOT ALL WILL BE SAVED, it must, then, be the case that Christ represented a group of people that the Bible referrs to as the "Elect."

    I am a Calvinist because of Particular Redemption. It is the only Idea that does justice to all the other Biblical teaching on propitiation and a non-universal salvation.

    I know that there will be a hail-storm of replies to this....Good. Discussion is the reason we all come here!

    Blessings,

    Archangel
     
  2. Dan Todd

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    Yours is a well thought out argument. I've always wavered on the particular redemption point of Calvinism - stating for years that I am a 4.5 Calvanist - lately - I been saying that I'm somewhere between 4.75 and 5.00

    My problem has alway been that I can find verses to substantiate - Total Depravity - Unconditional Election - Irresistable Grace - and Perserverance of the Saints; but I've never seen the smoking gun verse that nails Limited Atonement (Particular Redemption).

    As I grow older - I've leaned more and more towards Particular Redemption - but it has been a philosophical belief - basically because if the other four points are true - then it follows that the fifth point is true - that if Christ died for all - and only the elect will be saved - then some of Christ's blood has been wasted.

    Thankyou for your post.
    In Christ,
    Dan Todd
     
  3. ScottEmerson

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    I think that one of the problems with that parallel is that not all the people who were Jewish were forgiven after the high priest gave a sacrifice for all Israel. Only those who had pure hands and a clean heart were considered forgiven.

    In the same way, we can honestly say that Christ is the propitiation not just for us, but also for the entire world (which the Bible says quite clearly), yet that sacrifice is not applied to all.
     
  4. The Archangel

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    Scott,

    You write Only those who had pure hands and a clean heart were considered forgiven. This is not so for who has, of themselves, pure hands and a clean heart?

    Not to mention that Hebrews says that the Old Testament Sacrificial system did not actually forgive sins.

    Hebrews 7:11-12 (ESV)
    Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron? [12] For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well.

    Why did there need to be a change in God's forgiveness economy? Because the OT system did not forgive sins. If it did, this system could have gone on forever. Because it couldn't forgive sin, a new system (the New Covenant) was needed.

    You also write In the same way, we can honestly say that Christ is the propitiation not just for us, but also for the entire world (which the Bible says quite clearly), yet that sacrifice is not applied to all.

    Again, not so. Again I turn to Hebrews

    Hebrews 1:3 (ESV)
    He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

    Hebrews 10:12 (ESV)
    But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,

    If, as Hebrews says, sacrifice, by Christ, has been made for sin, then there is no sin-debt for us to pay. In other words, application has nothing to do with it. If Christ offered Himself for all men, then all will be saved. Why? They won't have any sins to be punished for. However, if He died only for the elect, then they (not everyone) will be saved because He died to remove, propitiate, their sin.

    Blessings,

    Archangel
     
  5. Yelsew

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    Adam is first of type, and before a second generation occured, the first of type sinned thus the second and subsequent generations are afflicted with sin.

    Jesus, too, is first of type, but unlike Adam, there is no second generation of Jesus, so Jesus is the only of type. Jesus did not sin! And was made the spotless Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world who would be the propitiation of the sins of the world. Not just the sins of the current and future world from the time of his life on earth, but descended to where the spirits of all who were under the Old Covenent of blood sacrifice are. In truth, all whose natural lives were expended prior to the advent of Immanual, God with us. Jesus took to them the Gospel message, so that they too could be saved by faith in Him and not obedience to law. Thus all mankind received the benefit of God's gift of Grace, Jesus Christ. That does not mean that all who every lived prior to the Christ became believers in Him. But now they have no excuse before the Judgement throne of God, because the Gospel message was delivered to them too!

    Jesus' death has not saved even one person from eternal damnation, because just as the scapegoat did not save any under the law, but was merely the one upon whom the sins of all the people was placed. Jesus was the scapegoat for the whole world, and it was upon him that the sins of the world were placed. He departed this natural life taking with him the sins of the world into the grave. Evenso, the world remains full of sin! That sin is not accounted to the people however because the price has already been paid by Jesus. Jesus' Atonement for the sins of the world does not extend the life of man by even one hair's breadth, so our life is not spared by atonement, and we all must face death.

    It is appointed unto man once to die and then the judgment. So all men die from this natural life in spite of the reality of atonement. And, ALL men face judgment. Judgment for what? Our sins ARE NOT accounted against us, so we cannot be judged for them. That must leave our deeds (works) as the basis of judgment. Throughout scripture, however, we are told that man cannot save himself, or do enough or do great enough works to earn salvation or even extend our lives by one hair's breadth. The richest and the most powerful who ever lived, have died at their appointed time.

    If that be true, then by what standard could mankind be judged? To those to whom much is given, much is expected. To those whom little is given little is expected. That seems fair, but then judgment must be based on the standard of the amount of something given to each. That of course, assumes that each recognizes what is given them and behaves accordingly. That is not a level field upon which to base one's eternal life, but it is a good basis for rewards for accomplishment. The accounting for works is done by the testing of one's works as if by fire. That which comes through the fire in the manner that gold, silver, and precious stones survive fire is rewarded. that which is consumed in the fire leaves ashes in the manner that wood, hay, and stubble leave ashes, and there is no reward for ashes. Even so the one whose works are consumed, survives as though from a fire. This is good, except that it does not prove the merit of the person.

    Jesus' "once-for-ALL" atonement of sins eliminates sin as the basis of judgment.
    Man cannot save himself by his Works, so works cannot be the basis of Judgment.

    So what then is the basis by which God judges man? Well, what is common to man in all of the covenants God made with man? What is it that has pleased God from Adam to now? YES! it is man's faith in God! In the book of Hebrews there is a lengthy exposition on Faith that the men of old had in God and God's response to their faith. God has rewarded ALL men who have had faith in HIM. Since Jesus came to us and dwelt among us, it is much easier for man to have faith in God. We are told that if we dwell on the things of the kingdom of God that everything else will be added unto us. Dwelling on the kingdom of God is faith.

    So, since atonement does not save us, and works cannot save us, what exists that ALL mankind, equally, are able to do that can bring to them salvation? Has there ever lived even one human being that was not, or is not able to believe in God, especially in Jesus the human manifestation of God? NO! Every human has the same capability to believe. 'First-Believing' is the seed from which full blown faith in God grows within man. Faith is sustained believing in something or someone. Every human has faith in something and in someone, it is demonstrable in every life that ever lived. When one loses faith in everthing, it is easy to see by their actions. When one gains faith it is also just as easy to see by their actions. We all act upon what we believe. Our individual faith 'marks' us individually. The object of our faith determines our actions, and the direction our life takes. If our faith is in worldly things, we conduct ourselves in accordance with the world. If our faith is in Jesus, we likewise act in accordance with what we learn from Jesus.

    Our individual faith changes our individual spirit from that of being lost to that of being found. When lost we have little to inspire us to do good, and we often wander aimlessly seeking that with which we can associate. When found, we rejoice and exhibit purpose based on association. Gangland mentality thrives on the basis of "being found" thus as part of a gang that "accepts us so long as we do what the gang approves" we have an association that gives our life purpose...wrong as that purpose may be. The same principle applies to Churchland mentality. Before we believe in God, we wander around aimlessly "seeking" that which we inherently know is missing in our lives. Once we believe, our seed sprouts and we are "found" and we align ourselves with others who believe in what we have come to believe, and we are thus "found" and have a new direction and purpose in life. We are community based on our beliefs.

    It is the Faith condition of each individual that "saves us" or causes us to be cast into the lake of fire. And without question, it is by God's grace that we are not only permitted to be saved, but by which we are encouraged to come to faith for our salvation from the second death which happens to those judged to lack faith in the Only Begotten Son of God, and is what causes unbelivers to be cast into the lake of fire.

    Therefore, it is our individual faith by which God judges us individually, and FAITH in God, especially in Jesus the Son of God, the Christ, is equally available to all mankind!

    Jesus' Atonement of the sins of the world applies equally to ALL mankind from ADAM to "the last man standing". There is no such thing as partial or limited atonement! It is ALL or NONE!

    There is also no such thing as Universal Salvation whereby ALL mankind gets saved! Individual salvation is based on individual faith!

    Salvation is 'universally available' to ALL mankind, but it is each individual's faith in God, especially in Jesus the Son of God, the Messiah, by which one is SAVED. Every man can have faith through believing and acting in accordance with that belief in God and especially His son. GOD SAVES THOSE WHO DO! He does not save those who don't, but casts them into the lake of fire!
     
  6. ScottEmerson

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    Psalm 24 speaks of this. The implication is that this is possible.

    You are wrong. The OT says in many places that forgiveness of sins was, indeed, possible. Leviticus 5:10 says clearly that sin was forgiven in the Old Covenant. The problem was that it was not a "perfect" system, but, indeed, sins could be forgiven.

    You take a leap of logic there. There is no sin-debt because that debt has been paid. However, accepting that payment in no way involves paying back some kind of debt. Your Scriptures merely say that Jesus Christ no longer has to make a sacrifice for our sins - it was done upon the cross.

    Another leap in logic. See above. The problem with limited atonement is that it is forced to make logical jumps when the Biblical evidence is not there.
     
  7. The Archangel

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    Scott,

    Let me explain.

    Animals are not proper substitutes. Why? They have no idea of what is going on. They have no will to consent to be a substitute. Since sin involves the will, a substitute must will to be the substitute. Therefore, only a person can substitute for a person. The animal sacrifice system of the OT did not provide this.

    What then is the purpose of the OT sacrificial system? It is two-fold.

    First, it is a picture of what Christ would do for us on the cross. God, using the OT Sacrificial Law, built a culture in which a substitutionary penal atonement would be understood.

    Second, it is to allow God to dwell in the midst of the people. Since God is holy and the people weren't, there needed to be a way for God to exist in a sinful community. To answer the problem, the Sacrificial System was implimented by God to foreshadow the Cross.

    Further, sacrifices offered without the proper repentant heart-attitude are rejected by the prophets. They do not reject sacrifices, they reject wrong sacrifices. In other words, the sacrificial system is not some magic spell that removes sin.

    What God is looking for in a sacrifice (a broken and repentant heart) is not able to be fulfilled except by the "Suffering Servant" Himself--Christ.

    The OT's declaration of forgiveness is, again, should be understood in a legal-forensic way. God would no longer count these sins against the people who offered the sacrifices in the proper heart-condition. God passed over these sins.

    That leaves us with a problem. Romans explains:

    Romans 3:21-26 (ESV)
    But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— [22] the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: [23] for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, [24] and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, [25] whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. [26] It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

    Since an animal could not properly substitute for a human, those OT sins were not properly taken care of. Therefore, God needed to put Christ forward as the Propitiation. Why? If He (God) did not do this, anyone could charge Him with injustice.

    Since all sin is first and foremost against God and His charachter, it must be punished to its fullest extent. The only way for that to happen is Christ. A man (the God-Man) to stand willingly in our place to take the whole of God's righteous wrath for the sins that offend Him and seperate us from Him.

    If animals could ultimatly forgive sin, the Sacrificial System could have gone on forever. But God made sure that it didn't. Because it couldn't ultimatly forgive sin.

    Blessings,

    Archangel
     
  8. BobRyan

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    Arhangel - your story was going well until you got to this part...

    Your argument to that point was well made and significant. Sooooo significant in fact that Paul makes the SAME argument along the same lines - but when he got to the part you mentioned above he did NOT divert off the path as you did.

    Instead of saying "Adam represented all mankind but Christ represented only the elect" as you propose above -- here is what Paul said.

    And as for the "Atoning sacrifice" - of Lev 16, here is what John says about it "He is the Atoning Sacrifice for OUR sins and NOT for OUR sins only but for those of the WHOLE world".
    1John 2:2

    This was the perfect place to make your case in scripture "As through the ONE man sin entered and death to ALL mankind - so through the righteous actd of the ONE man Jesus Christ - Justification of life resulted for the FEW" of Matt 7 arbitrarily selected out from among "all" mankind.

    In Romans 5 we have the same author, the same context, the same word - ALL and a comparison between Adam's all inclusive scope of influence for ill vs Christ's all inclusive scopoe of influence for righteousness.

    Clearly the opportunity, scope and offer of justification is to "ALL" just as the text shows that "ALL" mankind were condemned.

    So were it not for the fact that Paul goes to the very spot where your argument diverges - it would have been compelling.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  9. The Archangel

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    Bob,

    You wrote: Clearly the opportunity, scope and offer of justification is to "ALL" just as the text shows that "ALL" mankind were condemned.


    Then, the only option is universalism.

    Blessings,

    Archangel
     
  10. Aki

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    the issue being presented here is:

    if Christ died for all men, then all must be saved. since not all are saved, Christ died only for an elected few, who, in effect will be definitely saved.

    it is undeniable, however, that there are verses that come to state that Christ died for all men.

    therefore, between these two one must adjust. it is either:

    1. those verses, though affirms Christ's death for all humanity, must really mean to be for the elect only (this is why some calvinists say that it is particular redemption which is the root issue); or

    2. Christ indeed died for all men, but since man will reject Christ's salvation since God's general call is totally ineffective against man's depravity, God will elect some and do an effectual calling (this is why some calvinists say that it is total deprarvity which is the root issue); or

    3. it is not necessarily the case that when Christ died for everybody, then all must be saved (this is why there are non-calvinists)

    calvinists will go to the first and second option. non-calvinist will go to the third.

    i cling on the third option...
     
  11. Ray Berrian

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    If Particular Atonement was Biblical the Apostle John would have written these words.
    'And He is the propitiation for our sins. And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.' [I John 2:2] This apostle left a 'smoking gun' that leaves 'Particular Atonement' is the realm of an erring theory.

    This view portrays Almighty God as prejudicial, unjust, unloving and lacking in mercy because He would be favoring certain sinners while turning away others. The Lord is not only a God of justice, love, and mercy in some realms but in all areas of His being and dealing with humankind.

    The question is not whether God's redemption was for all sinners, that is a fact, but whether sinners have expended their free will to receive His undeserving gift of everlasting life. In Isaiah 63:9-10 God redeemed the Israelites; the problem was not with the Lord. The difficulty came about because their hearts were resistant. They rebelled and the Holy Spirit was annoyed and because He was resisted the gift of salvation was withdrawn and He became their antagonist. These verses along with [John 5:40, Acts 7:51 and Malachi 1:9 wield a death blow also to the alleged doctrine of "Irresistible Grace." The Lord's love and compassion is pure and unbiased toward all of His lost creation.

    God's love and justice is infinite toward all sinners and not restrained and twisted as some adherents of the faith describe. The question is will sinners believe in Jesus. [Acts 2:21; Acts 16:31]
     
  12. Eric B

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    Also remember Romans 11:31-2 "God concluded all in unbelief so he can have mercy on all", (not to have mercy only on some).
    Of course, that does not mean all will accept His mercy, though.
     
  13. Yelsew

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    Well said Ray. That leaves the question up to us. What will you do with Jesus?

    Jesus is for all mankind, not just the Jew, not just some unidentifiable elect, but for "whosoever believeth in Him".

    Yes, God is undeniably the God of Love, Loving ALL of his creation with a completely unfathomable, wonderful Love. But He is also The solemn Judge who does not shirk from meting out the justice our actions and/or faith deserve. His Justice is tempered only by his Mercy for us in allowing us unmerited favor in light of what He established for our redemption. There is no elect involved in God's mercy, for he gave his only begotten Son to be the sacrificial lamb that paid the penalty that we as being in the world, should pay for the sins of the world (all inclusive). The only condition that he put on mankind is Faith, that is, coming to belief in, and continuously believing in, Him or His Son. Those who have such faith receive eternal life, those who do not have such faith receive the second death.

    Repentance, Confession, striving for holiness, purging one's self, and all the other "things" that human's do are all actions that by necessity come out of faith, and are not predecessors to faith. If predecessors, then faith is of works, and such faith in God's eyes is wood, hay, and stubble. God seeks in us the humble, contrite spirit that acknowledges Him and Him alone as the one who saves us. If we are cluttered by doing things to "make God love us" then we have another god! That is not acceptable to the only living God.

    For one's faith to be real, one will repent from sinning, and confess sins to have them forgiven. One will strive to be holy, and one will do the works of the spirit, but only as an outpouring of one's faith, and not as a means to getting faith.

    Faith is the ONLY thing that each and every human can have equal with all others. Faith requires no effort on man's part, and everyone is equally able to have it. Whether your faith in God, Jesus, is longstanding or brand new, it is faith, and it is your faith alone, and not someone else's faith. What you do with your faith is between you and God, but if you do not work your faith it is like muscle tissue, it will atrophy due to lack of exercise. God guides our steps, not our standing still.
     
  14. BobRyan

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    The Romans 5 text is clear - the same scope applies to both the act of the ONE man Adam and the ONE God-man Jesus Christ. There is no escaping that.

    So "what" is universal about the FALL and the sinful nature? All are children of Adam - ALL are under the penalty of sin.

    But does that mean that "ALL" will go to hell no matter what - Savior or no Savior? That is not what the text says.

    In the same way, Christ DOES make provision for the justification of ALL - the SAME ALL that are condemned to hell due to the fall of Adam. But does that mean that "ALL" will go to heaven? Not anymore than Adam is able to send all to hell EVEN with the work of Christ on our behalf.

    If Christ did not SAVE, ALL would go to hell.

    But the Gift is not like the Curse in that the Gift while FULLY available to the SAME ALL - must be accepted "With the heart man believes and with the mouth he confesses - resulting in salvation". Romans 10.

    Ahhh - the Arminian Bible again. Don't you just love reading it??

    I do too.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  15. BobRyan

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    The "atoning Sacrifice" for "OUR sins and not our sins only but for those of the WHOLE world" 1John 2:2 shows us that the model and lessons of the Day of Atonement "type" are used in the Gospel.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  16. Ray Berrian

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    Some people like to think that if Christ died for all, then He must save all people. This view is merely a humanistic way of thinking about the saving benefits of His death. The Divine mind and Person of the Lord Jesus demands our faith in order to be saved. [John 3:16]
     
  17. Primitive Baptist

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    Scripture is actually quite clear regarding the doctrine of Particular Redemption.

    He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. (Rom. 8:32-34)

    Those for whom Christ died God gives freely all things, none can lay anything to their charge, and none can condemn them because Christ died for them and makes intercession for them.

    "Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." (Titus 2:14)

    Christ died to redeem a peculiar people. The center column of my Bible translates that to mean His own special people. That is exactly what Christ did!
     
  18. The Archangel

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    Ray,

    You Wrote: Some people like to think that if Christ died for all, then He must save all people. This view is merely a humanistic way of thinking about the saving benefits of His death.

    Actually, it isn't. It is dealing with a whole-Bible theology.

    What is Propitiation? It is the turning back of God's anger toward a person or persons based on the sacrifice of another.

    Because Christ is called our propitiation and because He is the only one who can be our substitute, it must be that sins were actually paid for on the cross.

    The question is who's sin was paid for?

    If Christ is the Propitiation, as Scripture clearly says, it must be that He actually paid for Sin on the cross.

    If He paid for every sin, then there is no penalty left for God to place on sin since all the penalty was poured onto Christ while He was on the cross.

    If the above is the case then there will be nobody in hell since there is no penalty for anyone to pay because Christ paid it.

    However, if He died for a particular group of people, then we will have what is seen in the Bible: A group of sheep and a group of goats. The sheep go to heaven and the goats go to hell.

    These are the only two options. Now, I am not saying that faith is not a requirement--it is. However, in dealing with the propitiatory work of Christ, these are the only two options.

    Blessings,

    Archangel
     
  19. Aki

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    if we look at God's standard for accepting a soul, we will conclude absolute righteousness. without this kind of righteousness a soul is condemned.

    having paid for the sins of a soul gets that soul to "escape" from condemnation due to his sins. however, payment for his sins is not equivalent to imputation of righteousness. thus, he remains unrighteous and a sinner, and therefore condemned. with faith, justification is applied to him and thus the worthiness for acceptance from God the Father.

    come judgement, a group of sheeps and a group of goats will be present. the group of sheep are those who recieved Christ's righteousness through faith - their names are written in the book of life. the goats, on the other hand, are not in the book of life. but a book of works will be opened and they will be judged according to the good deeds they can present, being their last chance to attain the absolute righteousness which God demands. of course, they fail.

    thus we read in Ephesians 2: "For by grace are ye saved....not of works".

    those who recieve grace are in the book of life. those who chose to depend on works for their salvation will have the book of works opened for them for their final appeal.

    one must not simply have his sins paid for to be saved. he must be imputed with Christ's righteousness. the payment for his sins was done on the cross. imputation of righteousness will be recieved upon faith.

    this eliminates the problem that even though Christ paid for every sin of every man, there are still those who are condemned.
     
  20. Ray Berrian

    Ray Berrian
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    Primitive Baptist,

    We all enjoy reading and are sustained by all of the verses you jotted down for us. They, however, do not prove "Particular Redemption." If God decrees so many for Heaven and Hell He does not need our response in believing and trusting in Him. This is not the situation. Your Bible reads that He demands repentance, faith and or a trust in Him as personal Savior. [Acts 2:21; Acts 16:31; John 3:16] A Calvinistic decree will not fling open the gates of Heaven to anyone. Believing in Jesus as your only hope will assure this reality. [John 14:6]
     

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