*My view on atonement has changed since this blog was written. Thoughts on Atonement offers a more recent position.
“When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.”
“For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.”
According to Matt Slick, President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry:
“Limited atonement is the teaching within Calvinism which states that Jesus only bore the sins of the elect (those chosen for salvation by God) and that He did not bear the sins of every individual who has ever lived. This teaching is also called “particular redemption” and “definite atonement”. This doctrine is known within Reformed theology and is also considered one of the five points of Calvinism known by the acronym TULIP:
T = Total Depravity.
U = Unconditional Election.
L = Limited Atonement.
I = Irresistible Grace.
P = Perseverance of the Saints.”
Wherever the Christian stands on the doctrine of limited atonement, the Bible is crystal clear regarding this doctrine. It’s unfortunate that this has been debated at nauseam for 400 years. It’s unfortunate because the Bible is absolutely one-sided regarding this subject. It’s surprising that within the church today we still must address the push back against limited atonement, from those who adhere to “unlimited atonement”. That’s the notion that Jesus atoned for not just the sins of the elect, but that He also atoned for the sins of the non-elect as well. In other words, “unlimited atonement” means that every person who has or who ever will live had their sins atoned for by Christ.
But, that’s not what the Bible teaches….
During the March 16, 2015 podcast of the “Bible Thumping Wingnut”, Episode 56, Matt Slick was a Q & A guest on the program. At approximately 1 hour and 33 minutes into the program, Matt taught a caller how to handle a conversation with someone who has just challenged the concept of Calvinism. Whether Matt realized it or not, what he provided the caller was not only a great defense of Calvinism, but in his explanation (as depicted in the brief portion of that discussion written out below in italics) he provided a BRILLIANT Biblical proof of limited atonement:
“Well, thank you for all your talk and all your stuff.”
You know, because they are going to call you a ‘heretic’ for what you believe, and say…
“Can I open up the scriptures and ask you a couple of questions? I would like your input on this.”
And they’re going to say, “Of course you can.”
Now, the King James is slightly different, but it’s the same thing…
“‘Having cancelled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.'”
Ask them (that’s talking about our sin debt)…
“When’s our sin debt taken away? When you believe, or when it was nailed to the cross?”
Now, they’re gonna to have to say, “When it was nailed to the cross.” Right? Now, a lot of them will say, “No, when you believe.”
Then, you get’em for not believing the scriptures…
“Well, it says at the cross. Ok? So, the sin debt was cancelled at the cross, right?”
And once they finally admit that…
“Ok, good. Ok, good good good. Um… Let’s go to Romans 6:6 ‘Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with.'”
You say now…
“So, when were we crucified with Christ? When we believe, or when Jesus was crucified 2,000 years ago?”
They’re going to have to say, “Well,” they’re going to have to say (if they believe the text), “2,000 years ago.”
“Ok, so then my question is, are unbelievers crucified with Christ?”
And they’re going to say, “Well… no.”
“Then, how were we crucified with Christ 2,000 years ago? Can you answer that?”
And you watch. They won’t be able to answer it very well. They’re going to stumble all over the place. And then, you can go back to Colossians 2:14…
“So, our sin debt was cancelled at the cross. Was it cancelled for everybody who ever lived? Or… just those who were crucified with Christ?”
Now, let them steam over that… Let them stew over that. Ok? Make sense?”
Yeah… it makes a lot of sense:
Christ’s atonement is limited because the only ones whose sin debt was paid for on the cross (Colossians 2:14), were the ones who were crucified with Christ (Romans 6:6).
Godspeed, to the brethren!
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