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The Doctrines of Grace: TULIP Revisited
by Carol Berubee

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Limited Atonement, Part II

A Scriptural Basis (Continued)
It may be argued that Yeshua's death did indeed purge sins and reconcile people to God, but the effect of that purging and reconciliation is only actuated when a person chooses Christ; therefore, He died for all but only some will receive the atonement. However, the Bible makes it clear that Christ came to save sinners, not just to make it possible to be saved.

Ephesians 5:25-27
"...Christ...loved the Church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her..., that He might present her to Himself a glorious Church..."

Yeshua specifically gave Himself for His Church; He did not give Himself for all people. In this context of Ephesians 5:22ff, we see that Paul is talking about Christ loving the Church and giving Himself for her in the same way that a husband loves his wife and gives himself for her. A man may love other people, but he only gives himself as a husband to his wife. God may love all of His creation in a general sense, but He only gave Himself to His Church.

John 10:15
"...I [Yeshua] lay down My life for the sheep."

Did Yeshua lay down His life for the goats? No. If He had laid down His life for all people, then He would have said so, but He specifically says He laid down His life for the sheep. When He died, He secured the salvation of all whom Father had chosen before the foundation of the world.

It is a rather low view of God to say that He intended to deliver all people from evil, but only some will actually be delivered; or that He intended to redeem all people but only some will be of His Body. Were His intentions beyond His capability? Were His intentions just wishful thinking? There is a difference between God's desires and God's intentions. The fact that God desires that all be saved does not mean that He intended to save all people but failed in that intention.

Hear the words of Spurgeon:

The Arminians say, Christ died for all men. Ask them what they mean by it. Did Christ die so as to secure the salvation of all men? They say, “No, certainly not.” We ask them the next question — Did Christ die so as to secure the salvation of any man in particular? They answer “No.” They are obliged to admit this, if they are consistent. They say “No. Christ has died that any man may be saved if” — and then follow certain conditions of salvation. Now, who is it that limits the death of Christ? Why, you. You say that Christ did not die so as to infallibly secure the salvation of anybody. We beg your pardon, when you say we limit Christ’s death; we say, “No, my dear sir, it is you that do it.” We say Christ so died that he infallibly secured the salvation of a multitude that no man can number, who through Christ’s death not only may be saved, but are saved, must be saved and cannot by any possibility run the hazard of being anything but saved.

And then we have to realize that if God did not specifically save His elect at the cross, and if the atonement was made for all people, then salvation is in the hands of sinful man. Typically, if one argues for an unlimited atonement, one ends up taking the path of free will and decisional regeneration. If God has put atonement "out there" for the taking, but did not actually save anyone at the cross, then that atonement is now acquired by those who exercise their "free will" to believe and receive. If this is so, then all people are not depraved, all people are not bound by sin, and all people have some goodness in them that is capable of seeking and choosing God. This is why "Cal-minian" theology is illogical. Most Cal-minians will say that they believe in total depravity. Yet, they also believe that the atonement was unlimited and that every person has the ability to make a decision for Christ. Rather, we must see that all men are depraved and condemned already. Therefore, God's grace and mercy as evidenced in His provision of salvation is all the more graceful and merciful.

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