January 20, 2014

One for All, or All for Naught? Limited Atonement

by Clint Archer

LThe next installment of our little TULIP series on Calvinism is the big L.

This is the boogieman doctrine of Limited Atonement. What is the debate? The issues is usually phrased this way:  “For whom did Christ die, the whole world, or specifically for those who would believe?”

If option A, the whole world, then why are some people in Hell? if option B, only believers, what about the verses that talk about Jesus loving the world? You can see what even some Calvinists disavow this letter, leaving them as diminutive “four-pointers” whose gardens bloom with tu_ips.

Put another way, “Did Jesus die to potentially save everyone or did he die to actually save some?”

John Calvin articulated that the Bible teaches clearly that Christ’s death effectually accomplishes salvation for those he chose to save. His sparring partner Jacobus Arminius said Christ’s death potentially provides salvation for everyone, but not effectually for anyone. If you were to illustrate this on a napkin for someone you might try this…

CALVINISTS say: Salvation is a NARROW bridge to Heaven that gets only the elect there.

ARMINIANS say: Salvation is a WIDE bridge with everyone on it, but it goes only half way.

The Substitutionary Atonement refers to when the innocent Jesus bore on the cross the punishment for guilty sinners. The question is which guilty sinners and how did he pay for them? If it’s all, then his payment wasn’t sufficient to get them all to Heaven.

If you get caught speeding and get a $100 fine, and your uncle pays it for you, his check atones for your fine. But how was that fine paid? Did $16 trillion (to pick a relevant number right in the news these days) get paid into an account and everyone in the world got a check covering all their speeding fines, but it’s up to them to cash it? Or did the fines get paid fully in court for some, so they are now pardoned, with nothing left to do themselves?

Arminius taught that Jesus did not actually pay for anyone’s sins, and his death didn’t save anyone. The atonement merely provided the potential for people to be saved, if they choose God. I.e. Jesus picked the lock of the door to Heaven, but he left it up to us to squeeze in. Am I oversimplifying their view? You judge…

Dr J. K. Grider, President of the seminary of the Church of the Nazarene:

Many say Christ paid the penalty for our sins. But [we] Arminians teach that what Christ did he did [equally] for every person; therefore what he did could not have been to pay the penalty for sin, since then no one would ever go to [Hell].’

That is to say, Arminians do not believe Jesus’ death paid for your sins. He did not purchase you with his blood. Believer, let that sink in. What Jesus did purchase for you was the permission for you to be saved, but you have got to get cranking on your salvation, as it is in part up to you to get saved and stay saved.

Don’t be put off by the term ‘Limited Atonement.’ Everyone limits the atonement except Universalists who say everyone goes to Heaven no matter what. Calvinists limit the extent of the atonement (it covers only the elect). Arminians limit the power of the atonement, saying it extends to the whole world but is not powerful enough to effectively save anyone.

As usual, the only test is what does the Bible say?

John 10:11  I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  12  He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.  13  He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.  14  I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,  15  just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. … [They react by calling him demon possessed, then...] …25  Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me,  26  but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock.  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.

my sheepJohn 17:2 since you have given him [God’s Son] authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him….6 “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. … 9 I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me,

So, what did Jesus accomplish on the cross?  A potential salvation for all, or a actual salvation for those who believe…

Heb 9:12 he entered once for all into the holy places, … by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. [Not “making it possible”].

Christ’s death secured redemption for someone. “Securing an eternal redemption.” Why did Jesus die?

1 Pet 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,

Let’s see the other side of the coin…   

1 Tim 2:3  This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior,  4  who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.  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.

So, does God want all people to be saved? Yes.  Does God love the whole world and everyone in it? Yes. Does everyone believe and get saved and go to heaven? No.

So, are you telling me God doesn’t always get what he wants? …Yes, I am.

This is a mistake people make when they say, “I don’t believe in God because if there is a God why is there evil in the world, and hurricanes, and deformed babies, and murders?” They are assuming God always gets what he wants in this world.

Well, doesn’t he? He is God!

Let me ask you this: God wants you to love your wife, obey your parents, stop your lust, and greed. He wants you to be content with your wages, never worry, and give sacrificially to the ministry. Does God always, consistently, get exactly what he wants from you? Sadly, no, me neither. it is finished

There is a difference between God’s prescriptive will (what he declares he wants) and God’s decreed will (what he wills), what he desires and what he ordains will happen. [For a clear explanation, here is an article by John Piper, "Are there two wills in God?"]

I had trouble with this doctrine too at first. My understanding was ‘limited.’ But then I realized how love works in my life. I love every person in my flock. But I love my wife differently. I love her in a special way. I love my neighbor as myself. I love my church, my friends, and hopefully, even my enemies. I love my wife and sons and daughters. But not all in the same way.

And my love for my wife finds expression in ways that my love for my church will not. Romantic expression, for example. In a similar way we can say that Jesus loves the world. He loves his enemies. But he loves his followers, his flock, his believers in a unique way.

1 Tim 4:10  For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.

“Especially” [malista in Greek] denotes a favored subset within the whole. (Honor your elders, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching; provide for your family, especially those in your own household, to borrow two examples from the same epistle).

That is what Calvinists believe: God loves the world, but he has a special relationship with his chosen ones that includes something unique to them, namely salvation.

Most people who reject this doctrine do so because they don’t understand it. They think we are saying Christ’s blood wasn’t enough for the whole world. But that is not what most Calvinists have taught over the centuries. I concur with David Steele, who explains,

Christ’s obedience and suffering were of infinite value, and that if God had so willed, the satisfaction rendered by Christ would have saved every member of the human race. It would have required no more obedience, nor any greater suffering to save [everyone].’

I.e. if one additional person asked to be saved, Christ would not need to have spent an additional second on the cross or sustained one more lash. His suffering and death was infinite, and able to save an infinite number of souls. That is why anyone at any time can repent, believe, and be saved.

That is why We proclaim Him, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ (Col 1:28).

So, it may sound like Calvinists would preach to fewer people because they don’t believe everyone goes to heaven. That just isn’t true. No one knows who will believe. And God ordains the means to save people—preaching, and that he commands us to preach to every person or die trying.

But when someone believes, who gets the credit? Us, for our missionary endeavors? No, Jesus the Savior because it was his work that accomplished the salvation; all we did was deliver the good news.

And that is the doctrine of Limited Atonement. Please be gentle in the comments section- I only wrote this for those who believe in it. (Get it?)

Clint Archer

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Clint is the pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church. He and his expanding troop of Archers live near Durban, South Africa (and pity anyone who doesn't). When he is off duty from CGate, his alter ego blogs at Café Seminoid, clintarcher.com
  • Brian Morgan

    Brother, well done once again! I am writing while in India this time, so the time difference places me at mid day when the post hit. :-) I have found the wisdom in having the “T” before the “L” really aids in this. If man is unable to choose God on his own, which isn’t “fair” then it is very appropriate that His sovereignty extend to the knowledge of who would be bought as well, which they also claim isn’t “fair.” His work is specific and appropriate, for He is God. I know the language can put some off, (“limited”) which is why some refer to this pedal on the flower as “particular redemption” instead. Thanks again!

    • http://www.clintarcher.com/ Clint

      Thanks Brian. I also prefer Particular redemption among those who are familiar with the subject. But I also think that many people are against Limited Atonement because they don’t understand what is actually being said. So I want to recapture the nobility of the “Limited” term, by associating it with the doctrine itself, not the perception of the doctrine. After all, Arminians limit the atonement far more than Calvin ever did. They limit its power to actually save anyone. There is no such thing as Unlimited Atonement (except for Universalists).

  • pearlbaker

    You will find no harsh comments here, Clint. This is as clear and concise an explanation of Limited Atonement as I have read. And yet, to my amazement, even among those who claim to believe in TULIP, there are those who wrestle with “L”. Even my own dear, beloved pastor (a TMS grad of many years ago) claims only to be a “4.8 Calvinist”, and the .2 sticking point is Limited Atonement. For the life of me, I do not know what the problem is with this issue, except that there are those whose concept of God and how He should behave causes them to interpret scripture to fit their view, and not as God intended. Now, that might seem like a harsh comment, but I mean no offense when I say that it is sadly applicable to many. I would conjecture that these same people also have a problem with the “S” word….the Sovereignty of God, though they would likely take umbrage at that observation. I cannot speak as one who has a firm grasp on all of God’s Word, far from it, but by the grace and revelation of God, I do have a firm grasp on this. Thank you so much for an excellent piece on a difficult subject. I pray that it will help readers who struggle will this truth to better comprehend it and that God will remove the obstacles to their understanding.

    • http://www.clintarcher.com/ Clint

      Thanks for your kind words. You’ve articulated well what I feel at times too.

    • 072591

      I’ll tell you my issue with ‘L’. It seems to contradict the idea, usually from the same people, that God loves the world. Remember that Jesus Christ said it would be better for people to never have existed than to die under the Father’s wrath. The end of Revelation is that the unredeemed will suffer in torment for eternity. In other words, He created them for the final purpose of eternal torment.

      How is that loving?

      It would be better argued that God does NOT love all people, but ONLY His sheep, as they are the ones that the Son laid His life down for and spared from His wrath.

      • http://www.clintarcher.com/ Clint

        The issue is that God loves people, but He loves His glory too. So his justice and holiness would be contradicted by allowing unrepentant sinners into Heaven. What is most loving is what is best for God’s glory. What is loving is making the way to be saved by bearing guilt on Himself. That’s how its loving.

        • 072591

          My point is not that He could or should let them into Heaven. My point is that one cannot logically believe Limited Atonement and that God loves all people. If He truly loved all people, He would have ensured that all would come to Him, instead of a small selection. He didn’t; therefore, He only loves His elect.

          I do not believe for a second that allowing the non-elect to exist is an act of kindness or mercy, for their eternal suffering under His wrath will be so great that Jesus Christ Himself (and He would know this) said it would have been better of they were never born.

          • Josh

            Should a husband love all people? Yes. Should a husband love all people *in the same way* that he loves his wife? No. The concept of love is not a binary premise. Jesus has a particular redemptive sacrificial love for His bride, the church (Ephesians 5).

          • 072591

            I’m not saying He doesn’t have a particular love for His bride; I’m saying He does not have ANY kind of love for the non-elect, based on the fact that He, knowing that they will be tormented for eternity by Him, chose to not intervene.

            I’m not saying it’s not just, or that He doesn’t have the right to choose whom He will save. I am saying that to assert that He has ANY love toward those whom He has predestined for the Lake of Fire is foolishness when considering Limited Atonement.

          • Josh

            What then makes His love towards the elect “particular”?

          • 072591

            The fact that it’s there.

          • Josh

            I don’t find that to be a compelling argument since we are commanded to love everyone (Mark 12:31, Matt 5:44), yet also commanded to love our wives in particular way (Eph 5). Paul’s analogy breaks down without Christ also loving in parallel fashion.

          • Xcathaholic

            Jacob I have loved, Esau I have hated.
            Romans 9:13
            NKJV

          • Josh

            Ask yourself this: Is this verse in the context of general love or redemptive love?

          • Philip

            Let me see if I understand.

            An all-powerful (all-loving?) creator creates a sentient entity capable of thinking, feeling, suffering, etc. This sentient entity is created by the creator with the foreknowledge that the entity is to be tortured for all eternity. The creator has decided, from a point before time began, that the entity will suffer a horrific eternal fate at the hands of the creator. Further, the sentient entity can do absolutely nothing to change its fate. The one and only possible fate is eternal pain, suffering and torture. No other option, no other outcome is possible. All of this is by choice of the creator.

            Is this correct? If so, then the argument that this is just another kind of love seems absurd. This is not “loving” in a way that is different from the way we love our wives. The argument that “the concept of love is not a binary premise” is invalid. This isn’t anything remotely resembling the concept of love.

            What would we think about a human couple who deliberately created a child with the foreknowledge that they were going to torture this child for so long as the child might live? Would we describe this as love or a loving act?

          • http://www.clintarcher.com/ Clint

            You have stated your view very cogently. I would submit though, that you are not factoring in God’s love of His own glory, attributes of justice and holiness etc. Parents who love their children and weep over their choices might still turn their own child into the Police if they discovered that he committed a murder, for example. This would be difficult and grievous to them, certainly. But if they are bound by the law to do so, they must act in line with the law. This does not make them less loving. Even if they know how severe the punishment will be. People only go to Hell because the deserve it. The argument that God should then have not created them to begin with is… weird.

          • Philip

            Clint,

            I understand the words that you have typed, but they ring hollow to me. God’s love of his own glory? Sending your kid to jail is somehow equivalent to eternal torture? I’m sorry, but this just doesn’t fix things.

            I’m afraid that your response doesn’t address the fundamental problem. How about a little love for the eternally tortured entity, an entity’s who fate is sealed by God before the entity was even created? There is nothing here that remotely suggests that God loves the created entity or that the act of creation is a loving act. Nothing.

            Imagine that you had absolutely certain knowledge that a child that you were thinking of conceiving would be eternally tortured. You know with 100% certainty that eternal torture would be the fate of that child. Would you go ahead with your plans? If so, how can it be said that you were showing love by conceiving this child? What sane and loving human being would conceive a child under these conditions?

          • Philip

            “People only go to Hell because the deserve it.”

            Just out of curiosity, how many sins must be committed before one deserves to be tortured for all eternity? I assume that the answer is “one”, but I want to be sure about this.

          • http://www.clintarcher.com/ Clint

            Very well put. You must have listened to my sermon online :)

  • Daniel Thibault

    I appreciated your article and thought it was well written. I have learned much about theology during my time at The Master’s Seminary and continue to do so. I have always struggled somewhat with limited atonement. Not theologically speaking, but what men tend to do with it. Exegetical errors continue to abound (mostly in trying to prove unlimited atonement) by many who try to take all the biblical evidence and neatly package it in a “5 point” or “4 point” package. Dr. George Zemek’s book, “A Biblical Theology of the Doctrines of Grace” I think was most helpful in demonstrating that if we are to be “exegetically honest” (his coined phrase) then we must admit a guarded “and both” position. A position that does not discount particular redemption, but rather embraces it as a biblical teaching with the caveat that there are certain texts that speak of a general aspect of the atonement such as 1 Tim. 2:6. Was Christ given as a ransom for all? Yes! (1 Tim. 2:6) Did Christ die for a particular group? Yes (2 Cor. 5:14-15) Was Christ offered as a propitiation for the whole world? Yes (1 Jhn. 2:2) Will this be applied in a redemptive way to the whole world? Obviously not! I think to be honest, we cannot force all biblical texts into a nice neat “limited atonement” package so we can be called a “5 pointer.” To be biblical with all of scripture does not lead one away from limited atonement, but rather acknowledges a certian aspect of “both and” that reflects a universal Savior (1 Tim. 4:10) who has a genuine love for all of humanity in a redemptive way (John 3:16) yet has chosen to Elect and decreed to save a particular group. This post is long enough, so I shall stop here. Praise God for this post and this blog that is excellent and biblically thought provoking. God Bless

    • Michael

      Even though I’ve held to a definite atonement for years, I always accepted the idea that it was more of a logical argument than an exegetical one (even Grudem comes to this conclusion in his ST.) Then I preached on Rev 5:9-10 and realized it is all over the Bible! The new book, From Heaven He Came and Sought Her, shows that definite atonement is indeed exegetical. I no longer accept that this doctrine is only a logical argument and not exegetical. I think that idea comes more from tradition than from the Bible.

      • Daniel Thibault

        I would fully agree with you. Particular Redemption is truly a “biblical doctrine.” I think what many have made out of Calvinism is going beyond the biblical data to logical conclusions that tend to do injustice to one or many biblical texts.

      • Josh

        Amen. Of particular interest to me is Ephesians 5, because if God had the same redemptive love and intentionality towards every single individual, it would make for a very bizarre application of husband/wife relationships that Paul presents in that passage. Not only does it specifically state that Christ laid down His life for the church, but it also demonstrates a practical application of this doctrine (often one of the arguments against even discussing something of this nature is that it has no practical purpose).

    • http://www.clintarcher.com/ Clint

      Thank you for this thoughtful response.

  • Josh

    Good post. The only notes I would make is that 1 Tim 2:3 “all people” denotes “people of all socio-economic statuses” as described in 1 Tim 2:2, not “each and every person who has ever lived.” And 1 Tim 4:10 with the reference to the “living God” (note that it doesn’t say “Jesus”) is for a specific reason: the living God saves all men in a physical, temporal, preserving sense (as He did with national Israel) but He especially saves believers spiritually and eternally (as He did with true Israel). So I don’t think either of these verses need to be understood or nuanced according to the various wills of God.

    • Daniel Thibault

      Josh. How is “Kings and all who are in authority” interpreted as “people of all socio-economic statuses”? How does “authority” represent the spectrum of a society’s sociological or economic make up? Would it make more grammatical sense that 1 Tim. 2:2 is bringing an emphasis upon the “inclusion” of kings and those in authority into the call to prayer for all men in verse 1? Would not those to whom Timothy is ministering to tend to see the Roman authority as enemies of the gospel and need encouragement to pray for them and be reminded that God desires even those in authority to be saved along with all men? Consequently God is the savior of not just all men outside of authority, but inclusive of such?

      There is no exegetical justification in the passage of 1 Tim. 4:10 to interpret it the way you have without importing the meaning of another text. In 1 Tim. 4:10 He holds the same title and function as “Savior” to all men but then the text brings a narrowing focus upon believers with “and especially.” There is nothing in the passage that speaks of him being a “Savior” in two different senses or ways.

      Once again, I think that 1 Tim. 2:1-6 and 1 Tim. 4:10 are NOT texts denying limited atonement. But they are texts that cause us to be careful of our terminology and our exegesis as it relates to limited atonement. We must say what scripture says, say ALL that it says, and go NO FURTHER than what it says. I have found this to happen far too much in limited atonement discussions (current blog post excluded).

      • Josh

        Daniel, I’m not sure you understand my position (which is that of affirming limited atonement). Because I agree with you as you pointed out, 1 Timothy 2:2 is emphasizing the inclusion of authorities in prayer with the implication that they might otherwise be neglected (intentionally or unintentionally). So to include kings and authorities is to remind them that God desires men of all socio-economic statuses to be saved, not simply those among Timothy’s congregation. The point being that the text is NOT saying “God desires each and every individual who has ever lived to be saved” but rather “God desires people from all statuses, including people among the Roman authorities that you may otherwise despise, to be saved.”

        My perspective of 1 Timothy 4:10 does have exegetical foundation, as I succinctly pointed out that the number one problem people face with this text is subconsciously reading the name “Jesus” into it. Instead, when Paul (a Jew) uses the term “the living God” we need to understand how the Jewish perspective of God’s vast redemptive history with His people would have understood that particular nomenclature. My position of this text is not that God is a Savior differently for believers and unbelievers, but rather He is the Savior of both groups in a physical sense, but because He saves believers in a spiritual sense, He is “especially” their Savior. This physical/spiritual contrast begins with the great hymn starting in 1 Tim 3:16 and carries on throughout to this passage. I can copy-paste a full exegesis of this passage but am trying to keep my response succinct so no one has to read a wall of text. Hope that helps.

    • http://www.clintarcher.com/ Clint

      It’s an interesting point you make. I take the view that it was common grace that was secured for all people. I think your case has merit, but I concede that the “all people” could mean each person, so I focus on synthesizing the “Savior” part with the rest of Scripture. Yours is another solution.

      • Josh

        For sure. And I certainly don’t disrespect your position by any means, that used to be my position as well. I just think the text is actually more straightforward than we give it credit. Thanks for interacting, Clint!

      • Xcathaholic

        Please define “common grace”. If it is unmerited favor, do unsaved people receive unmerited favor?

        • http://www.clintarcher.com/ Clint

          What I mean by common grace is that God gives unmerited gifts to all people. So yes, the unsaved get unmerited favor from God. No one merits or deserves any of God’s gifts because we have all sinned against Him (Rom 1-3).

  • Judy Parker

    Thanks Clint – I know I have said this before….but I really love the way in which you have taught this doctrine….I am very much in agreement and very appreciative!

    • http://www.clintarcher.com/ Clint

      I appreciate your appreciation, Judy!

  • Doug

    Thanks Clint. Again, very good!

  • http://michaelcoughlin.net/ Michael Coughlin

    One of the best last lines of a blog ever.

    • http://www.clintarcher.com/ Clint

      My sheep know my voice. You must be a supporter!

  • Philip

    Clint,

    You wrote that “anyone at any time can repent, believe, and be saved.”

    I have a couple of basic questions that I believe can be answered with one word, either yes or no. I have no interest in a prolonged discussion, I’m simply asking for a yes or no answer to the following:

    If a person was not elected before time began, can that person, during his lifetime, repent, believe, be saved and thus enter heaven? That is, is there any chance that this person can or will use the means of salvation, and thus, change his post-life status from non-elect to elect?

    If a person was elected before time began, can that person, before his death, fail to repent, fail to believe, fail to be saved, and thus, be condemned to eternal torment after death? That is, is there any chance that this person can or will fail to use the means of salvation, and thus, change his post-life status from elect to non-elect?

    Obviously, I disagree with you on these matters, but again, I’m not looking for a discussion. I just want to see if I understand your position. If these questions can be answered in one word, then that should take care of things for me.

    • Michael

      I know your questions were directed at Clint, but you don’t have to wait for an answer since someone else has already answered those questions.

      The answer to your first set of questions:
      “But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 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.”

      The answer to your second set of questions:
      “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. …This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day…No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.”

      Hope this helps.

      • Philip

        Michael,

        I appreciate your efforts to answer my question, but I really am looking to keep this simple, so I’m looking for a “yes” or a “no.” Your answer appears to indicate the answer to both questions is “no”, but I not really sure. So, again, just so that I don’t misunderstand, are the answers to both questions “no”?

        • Michael

          According the the quotes I gave above, the answer to your questions is no to both questions.

          • Philip

            Michael,

            Thank you for the clarification.

  • Phil Kennedy

    Clint,

    You wrote that “anyone at any time can repent, believe, and be
    saved.”

    I have a couple of basic questions that I believe can be answered with one
    word, either yes or no. I have no interest in a prolonged discussion, I’m
    simply asking for a yes or no answer to the following:

    If a person was not elected before time began, can that person, during his
    lifetime, repent, believe, be saved and thus enter heaven? That is, is
    there any chance that this person can or will use the means of salvation, and
    thus, change his post-life status from non-elect to elect?

    If a person was elected before time began, can that person, before his death,
    fail to repent, fail to believe, fail to be saved, and thus, be condemned to
    eternal torment after death? That is, is there any chance that this
    person can or will fail to use the means of salvation, and thus, change his
    post-life status from elect to non-elect?

    Obviously, I disagree with you on these matters, but again, I’m not looking for
    a discussion. I just want to see if I understand your position. If
    these questions can be answered in one word, then that should take care of
    things for me.

    You see, I’m 99.9999% certain that I’m unelected, and I was wondering if there was something that I could do to change this.

    • Phil Kennedy

      Apologies for the double post. Didn’t seem to work the first time I tried it.

    • http://www.clintarcher.com/ Clint

      1) No. The non-elect will not repent.

      2) No. The elect will most certainly repent.

      But friend, there is absolutely no way to determine one’s election except for this: do you want to believe in Jesus or not?
      The Bible says anyone who WANTS to be saved, will be (Rom 10:9). The non-elect are those who NEVER WANT to be saved.

      Manasseh was the most wicked king ever to live (burned his own son in sacrifice to Baal) But he repented and was saved on his death bed. Election is about the behind-the-scenes working of God. But salvation is on offer to you right now. No sin you have committed is too great for Christ’s mercy. His blood covers all our transgressions. No amount of doubt is too overwhelming for the love of God. Believers doubt too (John the Baptist did, Jude says to have mercy on those who doubt). All you need to do is trust Jesus to take care of your salvation, hate your sin, love the Savior, and He will do the rest. We’ve all been there. But let me assure you that the Bible is crystal clear that anyone who WANTS to be saved, will be (Rom 10:9). Please e-mail me for more clarity if you want it. seminoid@clintarcher.com

      • Philip

        Clint,

        Thank you for your clear answer. I promised that I wouldn’t turn this into a lengthy discussion, so I’ll leave it at that.

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  • Kent

    This is the clearest discussion I have ever read on the topic of limited atonement. Let me preface this by saying I was saved in and grew up through high school in a Church of the Nazarene. I struggled with my salvation because I knew deep inside I still had the propensity to sinful behavior. I tried my best to follow the “holiness unto the Lord” prescription that was taught to me at a young age, but fell short, time after time. Not until my 50′s did I run into and start investigating the TULIP proposition. The more I studied, the more sense it made of my own experience. I finally realized I DIDN’T deserve heaven and I was foolish trying to earn my way there by my good works. It is impossible. I finally learned to fully trust in Jesus sinless life as a substitution for my own, and gave up the struggle. My “holiness” was a stench in the nostrils of God, because it was mixed with arrogance, pride, immoral motives and more. Christ lived the sinless life I am incapable of living.I thank God for his sacrifice every day.

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