While considering the debate between those who posit that the extent of the atonement is for the world and those who posit that the atonement is limited to the elect, I stumbled across this vital scripture passage that made me stop in my tracks: "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loves me and gave Himself for me." Galatians 2:20 This changes the whole debate. Here, in this crystal clear, highly specific Scripture passage we see that Christ died for Paul and loves Paul. There is no mention of Him loving or dying for anyone else, nor of anyone else being crucifed with Christ or having Christ living in him. Therefore, based on this clear passage,we must conclude that Paul is the only one that Christ died for and that any other unclear passages that seems to us to suggest He died for anyone else--ie the world, elect, the sheep, etc--must be interpreted in this light. In fact Paul is 'the elect'--he's the one sheep whom Christ died for. And since he himself he was all things to all people--to the Jews, a Jew, to the Greeks, a Greek--he embodies in himself all nations and 'kinds of people' of the world. Paul is the world of 'all kinds of people' whom Christ died for. If this seems unfair and unjust, remember that as Paul wrote that only one can win the race (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)--all run, but only one gets the prize.