Last time when we started a new study on the “L” of the acronym that makes up Calvinism’s “TULIP” we saw that, contrary to the teachings of “Limited Atonement,” the possibility of salvation is not the same thing as enjoying the benefit of salvation; meaning that the incremental conclusion of Calvinistic theology which is demanded due to its teaching concerning “Totally Hereditary Depravity” and “Unconditional Election” is completely erroneous.
Now it is true that there are limits given by God when it comes to the benefit of salvation through Jesus, but contrary to the manmade limits that Calvinism places on the Gospel, the Bible does indeed teach that Jesus died for all, but we must be willing to believe that he died for all and for me as an individual. Let me show you what I mean.
Salvation through grace is God offering a stamp on a debt that says “Paid In Full!” That’s literally what redemption means. It means a Christian has been forgiven of a debt that we couldn’t pay. But the payment for our debt being available and the debt actually being paid off are, again, two different things. God’s redeeming grace has been made available to all to forgive all sins, but we must be willing to admit that we’re all spiritually bankrupt and then have a willingness to accept God’s mercy by faith. For example Titus 2:14 says:
“[Jesus ] gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity.”
While we’re at it, also think about when Peter asked Jesus how many times did he have to forgive his brother who sinned against him, and Jesus responded by telling a story about a servant who had all his debt forgiven simply because the master had compassion on him (Matthew 18:27). That’s redemption! And that’s why I love to sing, “Redeemed how I love to proclaim it, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.”
We can’t earn redemption because we can’t pay the price (Romans 6:23), but if a person refuses to acknowledge his or her debt and ask for God’s credit giving grace they won’t get it; but it’s not because the grace isn’t available.
Take for example John 1:29:
“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!“
As John said, Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the world’s sin. But just because Jesus offered Himself as the world’s atonement, that doesn’t mean all of the world will receive the benefit of it! Why not? Because the benefit of Jesus’ atonement is only received by faith (John 3:16-17).
Just like the children of Israel the night Egypt was judged for its stiffneckedness – it was God who gave the plan paid for by the blood of the lamb!!! But they had to apply the blood, through faith, to their own door frame to receive God’s grace. The point is too clear – accept the grace, receive the benefit – reject the grace, receive no benefit. The plan was made available for all, but each individual had to respond, and a person’s failure to respond had nothing to do with a plan not being made available for them!
Take for another example John 3:14-15 which says: