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Limited Atonement or Unlimited Atonement?

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Unlimited Atonement or Limited Atonement?
(Teacher’s Version)
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Basic affirmations
Basic Affirmations:
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Anyone who believes in Jesus will be saved
Anyone who believes in Jesus will be saved
_ Anyone_ who believes in Jesus will be saved
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One must _ actually _ believe to be saved; _ election _ does not mean faith is unnecessary
One must actually believe to be saved; election does not mean faith is unnecessary
One must _ actually _ believe to be saved; _ election _ does not mean faith is unnecessary
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The blood of Jesus is _ sufficient _ (i.e. enough) to pay for the sins of any person
The blood of Jesus is sufficient (i.e. enough) to pay for the sins of any person
Grudem said it like this:
The blood of Jesus is _ sufficient _ (i.e. enough) to pay for the sins of any person
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Grudem quote: “All agree that Christ’s death in itself, because he is the infinite Son of God, has infinite...
“All agree that Christ’s death in itself, because he is the infinite Son of God, has infinite merit and is in itself sufficient to pay the penalty of the sins of as many or as few as the Father and the Son decreed. The question is not about the intrinsic merits of Christ’s sufferings and death, but about the number of people for whom the Father and the Son thought Christ’s death to be sufficient payment at the time Christ died.”
Grudem quote: “All agree that Christ’s death in itself, because he is the infinite Son of God, has infinite...
FOOTNOTE: Grudem, Wayne A. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House, 2004. Print. 597.
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The _free offer_ of the gospel should be made to every person...
The free offer of the gospel should be made to every person, since we cannot know who is “elect” or not
The _free offer_ of the gospel should be made to every person...
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Evangelism, _Missions_, Church _Planting_, and Church Leadership...
Evangelism, Missions, Church Planting, and Church Leadership Development & Training are all priorities in Acts and the Epistles and remain priorities for New Testament Churches today
Evangelism, _Missions_, Church _Planting_, and Church Leadership...
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God’s _grace_ acts upon a sinner (in one of two distinct and opposing ways) _before_ belief
God’s grace acts upon a sinner (in one of two distinct and opposing ways) before belief
God’s _grace_ acts upon a sinner (in one of two distinct and opposing ways) _before_ belief
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There is no limit on the _value_ or _merit_ of the atonement of Jesus
There is no limit on the value or merit of the atonement of Jesus
There is no limit on the _value_ or _merit_ of the atonement of Jesus
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Other affirmations we can all agree on?...
Other affirmations we can all agree on? (We’ll come back to this at the end, also)
Other affirmations we can all agree on?...
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Definitions
Definitions
Definitions
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Unlimited Atonement:
Unlimited Atonement:
Unlimited Atonement:
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Jesus died for _all people_, _regardless_ of whether they would _believe in Him_
Jesus died for all people, regardless of whether they would believe in Him
Jesus died for _all people_, _regardless_ of whether they would _believe in Him_
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Also referred to as _general_ atonement
Also referred to as general atonement
Also referred to as _general_ atonement
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Limited Atonement
Limited Atonement:
Limited Atonement
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Jesus _only died_ for those the _Father chose_ (ie “the _elect_”)
Jesus only died for those the Father chose (ie “the elect”)
Jesus _only died_ for those the _Father chose_ (ie “the _elect_”)
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Also, referred to as: _particular_ redemption, or _definite_ atonement
Also, referred to as: particular redemption, or definite atonement
Also, referred to as: _particular_ redemption, or _definite_ atonement
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Jesus death _actually_ accomplished something - it was successful in the _intention_ with which God _planned_ it: the _salvation_ of the elect
Jesus death actually accomplished something - it was successful in the intention with which God planned it: the salvation of the elect
Jesus death _actually_ accomplished something - it was successful in the _intention_ with which God _planned_ it: the _salvation_ of the elect
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Therefore, the atonement of Jesus was not merely “_potential_” (waiting on each person to accept it or reject it)
Therefore, the atonement of Jesus was not merely potential (waiting on each person to accept it or reject it)
Therefore, the atonement of Jesus was not merely “_potential_” (waiting on each person to accept it or reject it)
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First, we need to establish something we all agree on (I assume): not _everyone_ will live, _eternally_ with God; we deny “_universalism_”
First, we need to establish something we all agree on (I assume): not everyone will live, eternally with God; we deny “universalism
First, we need to establish something we all agree on (I assume): not _everyone_ will live, _eternally_ with God; we deny “_universalism_”
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3 simple examples
3 simple examples:
3 simple examples
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Daniel 12:2
Daniel 12:2 ESV
2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
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Matthew 7:13-14
Matthew 7:13–14 ESV
13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
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Revelation 20:15
Revelation 20:15 ESV
15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
FOOTNOTE this part: See also , ,
_
FOOTNOTE this part: See also , ,
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Second, therefore, we must _recognize_ that whether you affirm “unlimited atonement” or “limited atonement,” _both_ views “_limit_” the atonement in some way
Second, therefore, we must recognize that whether you affirm “unlimited atonement” or “limited atonement”, both views “limit” the atonement in some way.
Second, therefore, we must _recognize_ that whether you affirm “unlimited atonement” or “limited atonement,” _both_ views “_limit_” the atonement in some way
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After all, no orthodox Christian affirms universalism. A professing Christian who is a universalist is the only one who actually believes in a genuinely “unlimited” atonement
After all, no orthodox Christian affirms universalism. A professing Christian who is a universalist is the only one who actually believes in a genuinely “unlimited” atonement.
After all, no orthodox Christian affirms universalism. A professing Christian who is a universalist is the only one who actually believes in a genuinely “unlimited” atonement
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Third, then is the question: “_How_ - or in what way, to what degree - is the atonement ‘limited’?”
Third, then, is the question: How - or in what way, to what degree - is the atonement ‘limited’?
Third, then is the question: “_How_ - or in what way, to what degree - is the atonement ‘limited’?”
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Very simply, answers the question for us:
Very simply, answers the question for us:
Very simply, answers the question for us:
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NOTE: both sides of this topic affirm that “_whoever_” is qualified by the phrase immediately following it (“…_believes in him_...”)
NOTE: both sides of this topic affirm that whoever is qualified by the phrase immediately following it (“...believes in him…”).
NOTE: both sides of this topic affirm that “_whoever_” is qualified by the phrase immediately following it (“…_believes in him_...”)
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It’s not “whoever” as in “_everyone_”; it’s only “whoever believes in him”
It’s not “whoever” as in “everyone”; it’s only “whoever believes in him”
It’s not “whoever” as in “_everyone_”; it’s only “whoever believes in him”
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Therefore, the atonement of Jesus is limited to only those who _believe_
Therefore, the atonement of Jesus is limited to only those who believe.
Therefore, the atonement of Jesus is limited to only those who _believe_
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Fourth, is the next question: “_who_, then ‘limits’ the atonement? _God?_ or _Man?_”
Fourth, is the next question: Who, then, ‘limits’ the atonement? God? Or man?
Fourth, is the next question: “_who_, then ‘limits’ the atonement? _God?_ or _Man?_”
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UA view: Mankind ‘limits’ the atonement by either _freely choosing_ to _accept_ God’s offer of salvation or freely choosing to _reject_ it.
UA view: Mankind ‘limits’ the atonement by either freely choosing to accept God’s offer of salvation or freely choosing to reject it.
UA view: Mankind ‘limits’ the atonement by either _freely choosing_ to _accept_ God’s offer of salvation or freely choosing to _reject_ it.
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This view affects other parts of your theology; for example...
This view affects other parts of your theology; for example...
This view affects other parts of your theology; for example...
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Q: What about the sovereignty of God - if man can “limit” the atonement of Jesus through his free will, what does it say about God’s sovereignty?
Q: What about the sovereignty of God - if man can “limit” the atonement of Jesus through his free will, what does it say about God’s sovereignty?
(PAUSE and WAIT for replies)
Q: What about the sovereignty of God - if man can “limit” the atonement of Jesus through his free will, what does it say about God’s sovereignty?
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The UA view - by definition necessarily holds to a God who is _mostly_ sovereign (in the matter of individual salvation by faith alone, God is not sovereign)
The UA view - by definition necessarily holds to a God who is mostly sovereign (in the matter of individual salvation by faith alone, God is not sovereign)
The UA view - by definition necessarily holds to a God who is _mostly_ sovereign (in the matter of individual salvation by faith alone, God is not sovereign)
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LA/PR view: God only placed the sins of a _particular_ group of people upon Jesus on the cross
LA/PR view: God only placed the sins of a particular group of people upon Jesus on the cross
LA/PR view: God only placed the sins of a _particular_ group of people upon Jesus on the cross
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Common verses/passages supporting an UA viewpoint:
Common verses/passages supporting an UA viewpoint:
Common verses/passages supporting an UA viewpoint:
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1 John 2:2
_1 _
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(text of )
1 John 2:2 ESV
2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
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“_sins of the whole world_”
sins of the whole world
sins of the whole world
“_sins of the whole world_”
Grudem:
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“It would be entirely consistent with the language of the verse to think that John is simply saying that Christ is the atoning sacrifice who is available to pay for the sins of anyone in the world.”
“It would be entirely consistent with the language of the verse to think that John is simply saying that Christ is the atoning sacrifice who is available to pay for the sins of anyone in the world.”
“It would be entirely consistent with the language of the verse to think that John is simply saying that Christ is the atoning sacrifice who is available to pay for the sins of anyone in the world.”
BUT, let’s consider also
A striking parallel
John 11:50–52 ESV
50 Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” 51 He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52 and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.
FOOTNOTE: Compare a similar sense for the phrase “for sins” (Gk. περὶ ἁμαρτιῶν) in where the author says that if someone continues on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth “there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.” This does not mean that Christ’s sacrifice no longer exists, but it is no longer available for that person who has willfully spurned it and put himself beyond the realm of willing repentance. Here “sacrifice for sins” means “a sacrifice available to be claimed for the payment of sins.” In the same way can mean “the propitiation available for the sins of the whole world [esp. with reference to Gentiles as well as Jews].” 598n37. Grudem, Wayne A. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House, 2004. Print. 598n37.
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_John 1:29 _
_John 1:29 _
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The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
John 1:29 ESV
29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
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“_takes away the sin of the world!_”
takes away the sin of the world!
“_takes away the sin of the world!_”
Likewise, as in the previous example, it would be consistent to see John saying that since Jesus died for sinners and since there are sinners in the world, that Jesus died for the world, without also saying that he died for every single person in human history.
Likewise, as in the previous example, it would be consistent to see John saying that since Jesus died for sinners and since there are sinners in the world, that Jesus died for the world, without also saying that he died for every single person in human history.
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_ _
_ _
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“I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
John 6:51 ESV
51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
“I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
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“_I will give for the life of the world_”
I will give for the life of the world
“_I will give for the life of the world_”
Grudem’s explanation of how New Testament authors - in general - use the terms “world”, “all”, etc.:
“Several passages that speak about “the world” simply mean that sinners generally will be saved, without implying that every single individual in the world will be saved. So the fact that Christ is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world () does not mean (on anybody’s interpretation) that Christ actually removes the sins of every single person in the world, for both sides agree that not all are saved. Similarly, the fact that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself () does not mean that every single person in the world was reconciled to God, but that sinners generally were reconciled to God. Another way of putting these two passages would be to say that Jesus was the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of sinners, or that God was in Christ reconciling sinners to himself. This does not mean that all sinners will be saved or were reconciled, but simply that these groups in general, but not necessarily every single person in them, were the objects of God’s redeeming work: it essentially means that “God so loved sinners that he gave his only Son …” without implying that every sinner in the whole world will be saved.”
“Several passages that speak about “the world” simply mean that sinners generally will be saved, without implying that every single individual in the world will be saved. So the fact that Christ is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world () does not mean (on anybody’s interpretation) that Christ actually removes the sins of every single person in the world, for both sides agree that not all are saved. Similarly, the fact that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself () does not mean that every single person in the world was reconciled to God, but that sinners generally were reconciled to God. Another way of putting these two passages would be to say that Jesus was the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of sinners, or that God was in Christ reconciling sinners to himself. This does not mean that all sinners will be saved or were reconciled, but simply that these groups in general, but not necessarily every single person in them, were the objects of God’s redeeming work: it essentially means that “God so loved sinners that he gave his only Son …” without implying that every sinner in the whole world will be saved.”
FOOTNOTE: Grudem, Wayne A. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House, 2004. Print. 598.
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_ _
_ _
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“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”
John 12:32 ESV
32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”
“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”
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“_ all people _”
all people
“_ all people _”
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_ _
_ _
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For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.
“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.”
1 Timothy 5:6
1 Timothy 2:5–6 ESV
5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.
“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.”
who gave Himself as a ransom for all
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“_ who gave Himself as a ransom for all _”
who gave Himself as a ransom for all
Grudem:
“_ who gave Himself as a ransom for all _”
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Grudem quote: “...when Paul says that Christ “gave himself as a ransom for all” (), we are to understand this to mean a ransom available for all people, without exception
“when Paul says that Christ “gave himself as a ransom for all” (), we are to understand this to mean a ransom available for all people, without exception
Grudem quote: “...when Paul says that Christ “gave himself as a ransom for all” (), we are to understand this to mean a ransom available for all people, without exception
FOOTNOTE: When Paul says that God “is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe” (), he is referring to God the Father, not to Christ, and probably uses the word “Savior” in the sense of “one who preserves people’s lives and rescues them from danger” rather than the sense of “one who forgives their sins,” for surely Paul does not mean that every single person will be saved. However, another possible meaning is that God “is the Savior of all sorts of people—that is, of people who believe” (for a defense of this view see George W. Knight III, The Pastoral Epistles pp. 203–4). Grudem, Wayne A. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House, 2004. Print. 598n38.
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_ _
_ _
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But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
Hebrews 2:9 ESV
9 But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
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He might taste death for everyone
“ _ He might taste death for everyone _”
He might taste death for everyone
“ _ He might taste death for everyone _”
Grudem:
Turn to Hebrews 2:9
Turn to
“When the author of Hebrews says that Christ was made lower than the angels “so that by the grace of God he might taste death for every one” (), the passage is best understood to refer to every one of Christ’s people, every one who is redeemed.
“When the author of Hebrews says that Christ was made lower than the angels “so that by the grace of God he might taste death for every one” (), the passage is best understood to refer to every one of Christ’s people, every one who is redeemed. It does not say everyone “in the whole world” or any such expression, and in the immediate context the author is certainly speaking of those who are redeemed (see “bringing many sons to glory” [v. 10]; “those who are sanctified” [v. 11]; and “the children God has given me” [v. 13]). The Greek word πᾶς (G4246) here translated “every one,” is also used in a similar sense to mean “all of God’s people” in , “for all shall know me,” and in , “If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.” In both cases the “all” is not explicitly restricted by a specific phrase such as “all of God’s people,” but this is clearly the sense in the overall context. Of course, in other contexts, the same word “all” can mean “all people without exception,” but this must be determined from the individual context in each case.”
It does not say everyone “in the whole world” or any such expression, and in the immediate context the author is certainly speaking of those who are redeemed
(see “bringing many sons to glory” [v. 10];
“those who are sanctified” [v. 11]; and
“the children God has given me” [v. 13]).
The Greek word πᾶς (G4246) here translated “every one,” is also used in a similar sense to mean “all of God’s people” in , “for all shall know me,” and in , “If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.”
In both cases the “all” is not explicitly restricted by a specific phrase such as “all of God’s people,” but this is clearly the sense in the overall context.
Of course, in other contexts, the same word “all” can mean “all people without exception,” but this must be determined from the individual context in each case.”
FOOTNOTE: Grudem, Wayne A. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House, 2004. Print. 598.
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_ _
_ _
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“But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.”
2 Peter 2:1 ESV
1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.
“But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.”
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“_ even denying the Master who bought them _”
even denying the Master who bought them
“_ even denying the Master who bought them _”
“When Peter speaks of false teachers who bring in destructive heresies, “even denying the Master who bought them” (), it is unclear whether the word “Master” (Gk. δεσπότης, G1305) refers to Christ (as in ) or to God the Father (as in ; ; ). In either case, the Old Testament allusion is probably to , where Moses says to the rebellious people who have turned away from God, “Is not he your Father who has bought you?” (author’s translation). (Fn.15) Peter is drawing an analogy between the past false prophets who arose among the Jews and those who will be false teachers within the churches to which he writes: “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them” (). In line with this clear reference to false prophets in the Old Testament, Peter also alludes to the fact that the rebellious Jews turned away from God who “bought” them out of Egypt in the exodus. From the time of the exodus onward, any Jewish person would have considered himself or herself one who was “bought” by God in the exodus and therefore a person of God’s own possession. In this sense, the false teachers arising among the people were denying God their Father, to whom they rightfully belonged. Fn.16 So the text means not that Christ had redeemed these false prophets, but simply that they were rebellious Jewish people (or church attenders in the same position as the rebellious Jews) who were rightly owned by God because they had been brought out of the land of Egypt (or their forefathers had), but they were ungrateful to him. Christ’s specific redemptive work on the cross is not in view in this verse.” Fn17.
Fn15. “Though the Septuagint does not use Peter’s term ἀγοράζω (G60) but rather κτάομαι (G3227) the words are synonymous in many cases, and both can mean “buy, purchase”; the Hebrew term in is קָנָה, H7865, which frequently means “purchase, buy” in the Old Testament.” Grudem, Wayne A. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House, 2004. Print. 600n40.
“When Peter speaks of false teachers who bring in destructive heresies, “even denying the Master who bought them” (), it is unclear whether the word “Master” (Gk. δεσπότης, G1305) refers to Christ (as in ) or to God the Father (as in ; ; ). In either case, the Old Testament allusion is probably to , where Moses says to the rebellious people who have turned away from God, “Is not he your Father who has bought you?” (author’s translation). Peter is drawing an analogy between the past false prophets who arose among the Jews and those who will be false teachers within the churches to which he writes: “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them” (). In line with this clear reference to false prophets in the Old Testament, Peter also alludes to the fact that the rebellious Jews turned away from God who “bought” them out of Egypt in the exodus. From the time of the exodus onward, any Jewish person would have considered himself or herself one who was “bought” by God in the exodus and therefore a person of God’s own possession. In this sense, the false teachers arising among the people were denying God their Father, to whom they rightfully belonged. So the text means not that Christ had redeemed these false prophets, but simply that they were rebellious Jewish people (or church attenders in the same position as the rebellious Jews) who were rightly owned by God because they had been brought out of the land of Egypt (or their forefathers had), but they were ungrateful to him. Christ’s specific redemptive work on the cross is not in view in this verse.”
Fn16. “This is the view taken by John Gill, The Cause of God and Truth (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1980; repr. of 1855 ed.; first published 1735), p. 61. Gill discusses other possible interpretations of the passage, but this seems most persuasive. We should realize that in both of his epistles, Peter very frequently portrays the churches to which he is writing in terms of the rich imagery of the people of God in the Old Testament: see W. Grudem, The First Epistle of Peter p. 113.” Grudem, Wayne A. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House, 2004. Print. 600n41.
Fn17. “The Greek word δεσπότης (G1305) “Master,” is elsewhere used of God in contexts that emphasize his role as Creator and Ruler of the world (; ).” Grudem, Wayne A. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House, 2004. Print. 600n42.
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“Several passages that speak about “the world” simply mean that sinners generally will be saved, without implying that every single individual in the world will be saved. So the fact that Christ is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world () does not mean (on anybody’s interpretation) that Christ actually removes the sins of every single person in the world, for both sides agree that not all are saved. Similarly, the fact that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself () does not mean that every single person in the world was reconciled to God, but that sinners generally were reconciled to God. Another way of putting these two passages would be to say that Jesus was the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of sinners, or that God was in Christ reconciling sinners to himself. This does not mean that all sinners will be saved or were reconciled, but simply that these groups in general, but not necessarily every single person in them, were the objects of God’s redeeming work: it essentially means that “God so loved sinners that he gave his only Son …” without implying that every sinner in the whole world will be saved.”
Logical arguments/questions against LA/PR:
Logical arguments/questions against LA/PR:
Logical arguments against LA/PR:
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If God is all-loving, how could He ‘limit’ the atonement of Jesus?
If God is all-loving, how could He ‘limit’ the atonement of Jesus?
If God is all-loving, how could He ‘limit’ the atonement of Jesus?
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If God has ‘limited’ the atonement, how can anyone freely offer the gospel to all?
If God has ‘limited’ the atonement, how can anyone freely offer the gospel to all?
If God has ‘limited’ the atonement, how can anyone freely offer the gospel to all?
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Others?
Response: “all” - biblically - does not always mean every single person in the whole world; in some cases it’s used to indicate a great number of people - it’s an expression
Others?
For example, in places like , it can easily be interpreted to mean all kinds of people, not just Jews.
Are there some other logical arguments or questions against LA/PR?
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Common assumptions made in support of UA:
Common assumption made in support of UA:
Common assumptions made in support of UA:
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God’s common grace is given to all people - it brings each person back to a “neutral” state from which they can freely choose to accept or reject the gospel.
God’s common grace is given to all people - it brings each person back to a “neutral” state from which they can freely choose to accept or reject the gospel.
God’s common grace is given to all people - it brings each person back to a “neutral” state from which they can freely choose to accept or reject the gospel.
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OR.... Some believe God gives “prevenient grace” - which enables man to freely choose to accept or reject the gospel.
OR.... Some believe God gives “prevenient grace” - which enables man to freely choose to accept or reject the gospel.
OR.... Some believe God gives “prevenient grace” - which enables man to freely choose to accept or reject the gospel.
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Common verses/passages supporting an LA/PR viewpoint:
Common verses/passages supporting an LA/PR viewpoint:
Common verses/passages supporting an LA/PR viewpoint:
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_ _
_ _
Isaiah 53:11–12 ESV
11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.
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“...by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make _ many _ to be accounted righteous, and he _ shall bear their _ iniquities. (12) …he bore the sin of _ many, _ and makes intercession for the transgressors.”
“...by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. (12) …he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.”
“...by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make _ many _ to be accounted righteous, and he _ shall bear their _ iniquities. (12) …he bore the sin of _ many, _ and makes intercession for the transgressors.”
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_ _
John 10:2–4 ESV
2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.
_ _
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“...he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the gatekeeper opens. The _ sheep _ hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out _ all his own _, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.”
“...he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.”
“...he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the gatekeeper opens. The _ sheep _ hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out _ all his own _, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.”
An indication that there are sheep and there are non-sheep
An indication that there are sheep and there are non-sheep
An indication that there are sheep and there are non-sheep
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_ _
John 10:11 ESV
11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
_ _
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“...The good shepherd _ lays down his life for _ the sheep.”
“...The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
“...The good shepherd _ lays down his life for _ the sheep.”
See also
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_ _
_ _
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John 10:27–30 ESV
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give _ them _ eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give _ them _ eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”
This is a striking parallel to
Turn to both and Keep a marker in both places - we will be flipping back and forth.
First, was the Gospel according to John written first? or the Epistles of John?
Most likely, the Epistles.
Second, look at - for a reminder:
1 John 2:2 ESV
2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
“not for ours only” - an important qualifer
“but also for the sins of the whole world”
We discussed, previously, how this obviously sounds like John is referring to Jesus’ death as being the satisfaction of God’s wrath (propitiation) for everyone in human history (a UA perspective)
Third, let’s look at
John 11:50–52 ESV
50 Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” 51 He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52 and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.
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(text of John 11:50-52)
John 11:50–52 ESV
50 Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” 51 He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52 and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.
John 11:50–52 ESV
50 Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” 51 He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52 and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.
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Q: What phrase or phrases are similar in these two passages?
Q: What phrase or phrases are similar in these two passages?
Q: What phrase or phrases are similar in these two passages?
(PAUSE and WAIT for replies)
That’s right: it’s really that first phrase in v. 52: “and not for the nation only,...”
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Q: Does explain why Jesus died in the place of “the nation”?
Q: Does explain why Jesus died in the place of “the nation”?
Q: Does explain why Jesus died in the place of “the nation”?
(PAUSE and WAIT for replies)
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A: _Yes_; according to this verse (written before ), the _purpose_ of Christ’s death was to “_gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad_”
A: Yes; according to this verse (written before ), the purpose of Christ’s death was to “gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad
A: _Yes_; according to this verse (written before ), the _purpose_ of Christ’s death was to “_gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad_”
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_ _
_ _
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Acts 20:28 ESV
28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.
“Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he _ obtained with his own blood. _”
“Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.
“Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he _ obtained with his own blood. _”
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Q: If the atonement was unlimited and merely made possible/potential, then what does Paul mean by “obtained”?
Q: If the atonement was unlimited and merely made possible/potential, then what does Paul mean by “obtained”?
If the atonement was unlimited and merely made possible/potential, then what does Paul mean by “obtained”?
Q: If the atonement was unlimited and merely made possible/potential, then what does Paul mean by “obtained”?
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_ _
_ _
Romans 8:29–30 ESV
29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
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“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he _ foreknew _ he also _ predestined _ to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also _ called _, and those whom he called he also _ justified _, and those whom he justified he also _ glorified _ .”
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he _ foreknew _ he also _ predestined _ to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also _ called _, and those whom he called he also _ justified _, and those whom he justified he also _ glorified _ .”
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All verb forms are aorist and indicative - none imply _ potential_ or _possibility_
All verb forms are aorist and indicative - none imply potential or possibility
All verb forms are aorist and indicative - none imply _ potential_ or _possibility_
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The aorist indicative verb form portrays actions _ simply _ and without reference to _ process_ and is the form most often used for making _ assertions_ ; the actions or state of being they describe are _ real _, not hypothetical or potential
The aorist indicative verb form portrays actions simply and without reference to process and is the form most often used for making assertions; the actions or state of being they describe are real, not hypothetical or potential
The aorist indicative verb form portrays actions _ simply _ and without reference to _ process_ and is the form most often used for making _ assertions_ ; the actions or state of being they describe are _ real _, not hypothetical or potential
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_ _
2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV
21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
_ _
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“_ For our sake _ he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
“_ For our sake _ he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
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NOTE: the _ vicarious _ nature of Jesus’ sacrifice; how could Paul say what he has said here, if the atonement was merely ‘potential’?
NOTE: the vicarious nature of Jesus’ sacrifice; how could Paul say what he has said here, if the atonement was merely ‘potential’?
NOTE: the _ vicarious _ nature of Jesus’ sacrifice; how could Paul say what he has said here, if the atonement was merely ‘potential’?
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_ , _
,
,
Ephesians 1:4 ESV
4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love
_ , _
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“...even as _he chose us in him_ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him…” ()
“...even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him…” (Eph. 1:4)
Ephesians 1:7 ESV
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,
“...even as _he chose us in him_ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him…” ()
(4) even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him…”
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(4) even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him…”
“In him we have _redemption through his blood_, the forgiveness of our trespasses…” ()
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses…” ()
(7) In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses…”
“In him we have _redemption through his blood_, the forgiveness of our trespasses…” ()
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_ _
Ephesians 5:25 ESV
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,
_ _
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“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and _gave himself up for her_,”
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and _gave himself up for her_,”
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Q: How are husbands to understand this if in giving himself up for the Church, Jesus only made salvation possible for the Church?
Q: How are husbands to understand this if in giving himself up for the Church, Jesus only made salvation possible for the Church?
Q: How are husbands to understand this if in giving himself up for the Church, Jesus only made salvation possible for the Church?
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_ _
Hebrews 7:25 ESV
25 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.
_ _
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“...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_.”
“...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.”
“...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_.”
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Q: Why - according to this verse - is he able to save to the uttermost?
Q: Why - according to this verse - is he able to save to the uttermost?
Q: Why - according to this verse - is he able to save to the uttermost?
(PAUSE and WAIT for replies)
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The answer is given: “...since he always lives to make intercession for them.”
The answer is given: “...since he always lives to make intercession for them.”
The answer is given: “...since he always lives to make intercession for them.”
The answer is given: “...since he always lives to make intercession for them.”
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Q: If the UA view is true, why would Jesus live to make intercession for those he is not able to save?
Q: If the UA view is true, why would Jesus live to make intercession for those he is not able to save?
Therefore, if the UA view is true, why would Jesus live to make intercession for those he is not able to save?
Q: If the UA view is true, why would Jesus live to make intercession for those he is not able to save?
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_Revelation 5:9 _
Revelation 5:9 ESV
9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation,
_Revelation 5:9 _
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And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood _you ransomed_ people for God _from_ every tribe and language and people and nation,”
And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation,”
And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood _you ransomed_ people for God _from_ every tribe and language and people and nation,”
Here - at the end of all things - we see Scripture further clarify who “all” is.
Here - at the end of all things - we see Scripture further clarify who “all” is.
Here - at the end of all things - we see Scripture further clarify who “all” is.
If throughout the Bible there are indications that Christ’s death was unlimited (therefore for “all” people), here at the end, we see that group of people described more fully: all kinds of people, or people from all over the earth
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If throughout the Bible there are indications that Christ’s death was unlimited (therefore for “all” people), here at the end, we see that group of people described more fully: all _kinds_ of people, or _people from all over_ the earth
If throughout the Bible there are indications that Christ’s death was unlimited (therefore for “all” people), here at the end, we see that group of people described more fully: all kinds of people, or people from all over the earth
If throughout the Bible there are indications that Christ’s death was unlimited (therefore for “all” people), here at the end, we see that group of people described more fully: all _kinds_ of people, or _people from all over_ the earth
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Logical arguments & questions against UA:
Logical arguments & questions against UA:
Logical arguments & questions against UA:
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“If Jesus died for everyone, then hell will be full of people for whom Jesus died…”
“If Jesus died for everyone, then hell will be full of people for whom Jesus died…”
“If Jesus died for everyone, then hell will be full of people for whom Jesus died…”
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If Jesus’ death was a “substitutionary atonement” and he died for all people, then this is a contradiction. After all, not everyone ends up in heaven.
If Jesus’ death was a “substitutionary atonement” and he died for all people, then this is a contradiction. After all, not everyone ends up in heaven.
If Jesus’ death was a “substitutionary atonement” and he died for all people, then this is a contradiction. After all, not everyone ends up in heaven.
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If God is love, “which is more loving? A love that actually saves people or a love that make salvation ‘possible’ to those who are dead in trespasses and sins and unable to choose God?”
If God is love, “which is more loving? A love that actually saves people or a love that make salvation ‘possible’ to those who are dead in trespasses and sins and unable to choose God?”
If God is love, “which is more loving? A love that actually saves people or a love that make salvation ‘possible’ to those who are dead in trespasses and sins and unable to choose God?”
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If God foreknows who will exercise faith and thus, chooses those people, how do you explain ?
If God foreknows who will exercise faith and thus, chooses those people, how do you explain ?
If God foreknows who will exercise faith and thus, chooses those people, how do you explain ?
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(text of Eph. 1:4-5)
Ephesians 1:4–5 ESV
4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,
(text of )
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If Jesus died for everyone, then is “total depravity” not true?
If Jesus died for everyone, then is “total depravity” not true?
If Jesus died for everyone, then is “total depravity” not true?
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Total depravity is seen in places like Paul’s Old Testament quoting in .
Total depravity is seen in places like Paul’s Old Testament quoting in .
Total depravity is seen in places like Paul’s Old Testament quoting in .
Total depravity is seen in places like Paul’s Old Testament quoting in .
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If total depravity is not true, then what does Paul mean in , , , , , , , , ?
If total depravity is not true, then what does Paul mean in , , , , , , , , ?
If total depravity is not true, then what does Paul mean in , , , , , , , , ?
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(text of Romans 3:10-18)
Romans 3:10–18 ESV
10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” 13 “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” 14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” 15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 in their paths are ruin and misery, 17 and the way of peace they have not known.” 18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
(text of )
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(text of Romans 8:3)
Romans 8:3 ESV
3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,
(text of )
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Romans 8:7-8
Romans 8:7–8 ESV
7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
Ephesians 2:1 ESV
1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins
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Turn to Ephesians chapter 2
Turn to Ephesians chapter 2
Turn to Ephesians chapter 2
Let’s take look at 6 particular parts of the passage from verses 1-12
, , , , ,
, , , , ,
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What does Peter mean in ? Why would God have to “[cause] us to be born again” if we are not totally depraved (and thus able to work with the Holy Spirit in accomplishing our salvation)?
What does Peter mean in ? Why would God have to “[cause] us to be born again” if we are not totally depraved (and thus able to work with the Holy Spirit in accomplishing our salvation)?
What does Peter mean in ? Why would God have to “[cause] us to be born again” if we are not totally depraved (and thus able to work with the Holy Spirit in accomplishing our salvation)?
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text of
1 Peter 1:3 ESV
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
text of
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Other affirmations we can all agree on - did we miss any that we should all affirm together?
Other affirmations we can all agree on - did we miss any that we should all affirm together? (see top of page 1)
Other affirmations we can all agree on - did we miss any that we should all affirm together?
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Important Scriptural Terms for Further Study
Important Scriptural Terms for Further Study
Important Scriptural Terms for Further Study
Important biblical terms supporting LA/PR:
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_ Ransom _
Ransom
_ Ransom _
How was Christ’s death was actually a ransom, if he died for all people, yet all people are not saved?
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Where does the Bible say man can accept the ransom payment made by Jesus?
_
Where does the Bible say man can accept the ransom payment made by Jesus?
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_ Reconciliation _
Reconciliation
_ Reconciliation _
How did Christ’s death actually reconcile man to God, if he died for all people, yet all people are not saved?
See
See
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(text of Colossians 2:14)
Colossians 2:14 ESV
14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
Colossians 2:14 ESV
14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
(text of )
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_ Propitiation _
_
Propitiation
_ Propitiation _
How did Christ’s death actually satisfy God’s wrath, if he died for all people, yet all people are not saved?
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John 10:30 ESV
30 I and the Father are one.”
text of 1 John 4:10
1 John 4:10 ESV
10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
text of 0
Remember the other verse in 1 John that seemed to indicate that Jesus was the propitiation for the sins of the whole world?
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_ Substitute _
Substitute
_ Substitute _
How did Christ die as a substitute for all people, yet all people are not saved?
How did Christ die as a substitute for all people, yet all people are not saved?
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The UA view has to grapple with this question: If God is just, why did he lay the sins of all people (what UA says) on Jesus, if those people who reject Jesus will pay for their own sins, themselves, in eternal hell?
The UA view has to grapple with this question: If God is just, why did he lay the sins of all people (what UA says) on Jesus, if those people who reject Jesus will pay for their own sins, themselves, in eternal hell?
The UA view has to grapple with this question: If God is just, why did he lay the sins of all people (what UA says) on Jesus, if those people who reject Jesus will pay for their own sins, themselves, in eternal hell?
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Typically, the response is given: Jesus died for their sins, but they are paying the penalty of their sin of rejecting Jesus
Typically, the response is given: Jesus died for their sins, but they are paying the penalty of their sin of rejecting Jesus
Typically, the response is given: Jesus died for their sins, but they are paying the penalty of their sin of rejecting Jesus
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Typically, the response is given: Jesus died for their sins, but they are paying the penalty of their sin of rejecting Jesus
So, therefore, Jesus’ atonement is limited, likewise: it only covers most of the sins of everyone. It does not cover the sin of rejecting Jesus
So, therefore, Jesus’ atonement is limited, likewise: it only covers most of the sins of everyone. It does not cover the sin of rejecting Jesus
So, therefore, Jesus’ atonement is limited, likewise: it only covers most of the sins of everyone. It does not cover the sin of rejecting Jesus
The concern that a “limited” atonement limits the “value” of Jesus’ blood is not eliminated; Jesus’ blood is not valuable enough to cover one type of sin
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Secondly, did God also lay the sins of all those (who had died before Jesus died upon Jesus?
Secondly, did God also lay the sins of all those (who had died before Jesus died) upon Jesus?
Secondly, did God also lay the sins of all those (who had died before Jesus died upon Jesus?
How do you know that?
How do you know that?
Where does it say so in the Bible?If so, why?
Where does it say so in the Bible?
If so, why?
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Why would God punish Jesus for the sins of people who were already dead?
Why would God punish Jesus for the sins of people who were already dead?
Why would God punish Jesus for the sins of people who were already dead?
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Additional questions?
Additional Questions?
_
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Additional Comments, Insights, Pushback, etc.?
Additional Comments, Insights, Pushback, etc.?
Additional Resources:
Gibson, David, and Jonathan Gibson. From Heaven He Came and Sought Her: Definite Atonement in Historical, Biblical, Theological, and Pastoral Perspective. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2013. The contributors of various chapters are helpful in answering common objections to a LA/PR view.
Packer, J. I. Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God. IVP Books, 2012.
Piper, John. “Is God Sovereign over My Free Will?” Desiring God, 18 Jan. 2016, www.desiringgod.org/interviews/is-god-sovereign-over-my-free-will. Very helpful, brief interview laying out a biblical understanding of man's freedom (or, really, the limits to which Man is free) and God's sovereign power to save. (Scriptures cited: , ; ; ; ; ; ; )
See also:
“Does God Predestine People to Hell?”
https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/does-god-predestine-people-to-hell
Ligonier Ministries’ What is Reformed Theology? (https://www.ligonier.org/learn/series/what_is_reformed_theology/?)
Ryrie, Charles Caldwell. Basic Theology: A Popular Systematic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth. Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1999. Particularly Chapter 55: The Extent of the Atonement, for a UA perspective.
Aaron, Daryl. Understanding Theology in 15 Minutes a Day. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2012. Print. Particularly Chapter 28: Did Jesus Die for Everyone?
Grudem, Wayne A. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House, 2004. Print. 598.
Grudem leans towards a LA/PR view; here’s the main reason that tips him that direction:
“Those who hold the general redemption view sometimes answer that people suffer in hell because of the sin of rejecting Christ, even though their other sins were paid for. But this is hardly a satisfactory position, for (1) some have never rejected Christ because they have never heard of him, and (2) the emphasis of Scripture when it speaks of eternal punishment is not on the fact that the people suffer because they have rejected Christ, but on the fact that they suffer because of their own sins in this life (see , , et al.). This significant point seems to tip the argument decisively in favor of the particular redemption position.”
MacArthur, John F., Jr. Romans. Vol. 2. Chicago: Moody Press, 1991. Print. MacArthur New Testament Commentary. 295, seems to indicate a UA perspective; although this snippet from a 2010 Shepherd’s Conference shows that he believes in a “specific atonement” as opposed to a “general atonement”
Regarding : To destroy … him for whom Christ died, is not to cause his damnation but to seriously devastate his spiritual growth. When Jesus said, “It is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish [apollumi]” (), the context makes clear that “these little ones” are believers. They have been “converted and become like children” (v. 3) and “believe in Me” (v. 6). Jesus was not concerned about their loss of salvation but about their loss of spiritual well-being, which, although not an eternal loss, is a injury the Lord considers to be extremely grave. Even to “despise one of those little ones” (v. 10) for whom Christ died is a great offense to God.
It is also important to note that the phrase for whom Christ died is here used to describe believers. This is commonly called limited atonement, or particular redemption, the idea that Christ sacrificed His life on the cross only on behalf of the elect who come to faith.
Certainly the atonement in its ultimate and full sense is limited to the elect, but the New Testament is replete with declarations that Christ’s sacrifice was sufficient to cover the sin of every human being. In the following quotations, italics have been added for emphasis of that truth. John the Baptist proclaimed Jesus to be “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (). Jesus said of Himself “that whoever believes may in Him [the Son of Man] have eternal life,” and that V 2, p 295 “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that who ever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (). “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven,” Jesus said; and “if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread also which I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh” ().
Paul already has made clear in Romans that “Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved” (10:13). Elsewhere he says with equal unambiguity, that “the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died” (), “God our Savior, … desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony borne at the proper time” (), and that “we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers” ().
Peter warned against “false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves” (). In other words, the Lord paid a price sufficient to save even those unbelievers who corrupt His Word and blaspheme His name.
In his first letter, John wrote that “we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world” (), and that “we have beheld and bear witness that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world” (4:14).
God’s provision of an atonement without limit is prefigured in the Old Testament. When the high priest once a year made a sacrifice on the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, he made it on behalf of “all the people of the assembly,” that is, all Israelites (). The scope of the sacrifice was unlimited in its sufficiency, but limited in its application. That act did not cleanse the sins even of believing Jews, but it prefigured God’s future offering of atonement by the supreme High Priest, Jesus Christ, who would sacrifice Himself for the sins of the entire world and apply it to the elect.”
Description of a Mediating Position:
A “Third View”
In this case, a mediating position that seems to make the most sense comes from recognizing that God was doing more through the death of Jesus than providing the basis of salvation. There is truth in both of the first two positions, so the third view can be stated like this: Jesus did indeed die for all people, but especially for the elect.
This seems to be exactly Paul’s point in saying Jesus “is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe” (). John makes the same point: “[Jesus] is the atoning sacrifice for [believers’] our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” ().
An important question to consider here is “How did the apostle John use the term world, in this text and in others (e.g., ; )?” A word study indicates that not only is he talking about all people in the world, but he is also including the additional idea that all people are bad. In John’s usage, world often has a morally negative connotation, referring to all people who are in rebellion against God (e.g., ; ; ). This is clearly seen in , “The whole world [same phrase as in 2:2] is under the control of the evil one.” This supports the notion that Jesus really did die for all people—all evil people—and emphasizes God’s love for all.
In Paul’s words, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (). It’s even more amazing to consider that, knowing those who would reject and even hate Christ to the very end of their life, he still died specifically for them. One divine purpose in the atonement is to magnify God’s amazing love for all people.
Jesus died for all. All are invited to Christ, and all who come and believe will be saved. We truly can say to anyone, “Jesus died for you.” So another purpose in the atonement was to provide a basis for the universal offer of the gospel and the provisional salvation of all.
But it also seems to be true that knowing who the elect are, Jesus died for them in a special way in order to secure their salvation, thus the texts cited above regarding Jesus dying for the “many,” the “sheep,” and his “church.” Though God loves all people, he has a more intense love for his own. This was true of his Old Testament people, Israel (see ). He loved Egyptians and Canaanites, but he loved Israel in a more focused way. Now that love is also focused on the church (see ). So yet another purpose in the atonement was to secure the salvation of the elect.
Another way to state this mediating position is this: The atonement was sufficient for all and efficient for the elect. It was sufficient for all in that Jesus’ death for all renders all people potentially savable if they will only believe. It was efficient for the elect in that the elect will believe, thus turning their salvation from potential to actual.
Aaron, Daryl. Understanding Theology in 15 Minutes a Day. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2012. Print.
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