By Spencer D Gear
If you visit some Christian forums on the Internet, you are likely to encounter some Calvinists who support limited atonement and oppose unlimited atonement (that is promoted by Arminians)? Why? Because the limited atonement folks think that if Jesus died for all, then all would be saved.
Take a read of these Scriptures that support Jesus’ dying for the world and providing the righteousness of God to those who believe:
1 John 2:2: ‘He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world’ (ESV).
2 Corinthians 5:21: ‘For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God’ (ESV).
15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. 16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgement following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. 17 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous (ESV).
Norm Geisler comments about these verses:
The salvation of everyone was not immediately applied; it was simply purchased. All persons were made salvable, but not all persons were automatically saved. The gift was made possible by the Savior, but it must be received by the sinner (Eph. 2:8-9; cf. John 1:12). In short, the salvation of all sinners from God’s eternal wrath is possible, but only those who accept Christ’s payment for their sins will actually be saved from it.
To put it another way, this objection presupposes universalism (that all will be saved), for which there is no sound biblical, theological, or historical basis (Geisler 2003:405).
This is one of the finest, brief statements I’ve read that provides a summary of Jesus’ death providing atonement for all, but salvation only for those who receive the gift of salvation by faith.
Geisler, N 2003. Systematic theology: God, creation, vol 2. Minneapolis, Minnesota: BethanyHouse.
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Copyright © 2014 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 18 November 2015.