Contrary to Calvinism’s doctrine on “Limited Atonement” God’s offer of grace is not just for some – but for everyone who desires to receive it, trust it and obey it. I can’t tell you how many times the Bible says this, but I can tell you it says it more than once! And for something to be true the Bible only has to say it one time (and it must be said in the proper context), but when the Bible says the same thing over and over and over it might just be a clue pointing towards the obvious.
For example, when it comes to the reality of universal atonement the Bible says:
- “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,’” Titus 2:11
- “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” John 12:32
- “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” Hebrews 2:9
- “Then spoke Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12
- “And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.” 1 John 4:14
- “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:2
- “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; who desires all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” 1 Timothy 2:3-6
When a person preaches “Limited Atonement” then by default they have to preach a “limited gospel.” Talk about putting the gospel in a set of man-made doctrinal handcuffs! Imagine doing a Bible study, preaching a sermon, or putting up a billboard that says, “Jesus only died for some of you.” How effective! But that’s exactly what you have to teach when your doctrine and understanding of the cross is based on Calvinism. And let me tell you something – the moment the effectiveness of the cross is limited to a certain group, it stops being a sign of hope and it becomes a sign of hopelessness, which is the exact opposite of what it was designed to be!!!
So why, why preach something that so clearly goes against the true meaning of the gospel (Romans 1:16)? Because Calvinists have to! Because the first petals of the TULIP makes them! It’s the result of the Calvinism’s unavoidable downward spiral. Let me clearly explain what I’m saying in case you haven’t gotten it by now.
If a person is born “Totally Hereditarily Depraved” and unable to doing anything good spiritually or respond to God’s offer of salvation on their own then the decision to be saved must be made for them by God. If the decision has been made by God that only individuals that He “Unconditionally Elected/Chose” to be saved without any input from men or women in the matter, then that means the rest are unconditionally chosen to be damned because God never intended for any of them to be saved. And if God never intended for them to be saved, that means God didn’t send Jesus to die for any of them and thus you have “Limited Atonement” Calvinistic style. Because if Jesus really died for everyone then, according to Calvinism’s view on God’s sovereignty, if anyone doesn’t make it to Heaven then Jesus failed!
And that’s what happens when you try to tell God what He should be doing with His sovereignty. You tell Jesus who He died for instead of telling others that He died for them! The fact is, God’s sovereignty in Jesus didn’t fail – there’s real victory in Jesus because He shed His blood for many (Matthew 26:28) and His blood has the power to forgive sins to everyone who believes just as God’s true sovereign plan decreed it to be through His prophets:
“To Him give all the prophets witness, that through [Jesus’] name whosoever believes in him shall receive remission of sins.” (Acts 10:43)
At the end of the day if a drowning person is thrown a life-jacket, but they refuse to put it on, that in no way means that the life-jacket wasn’t able to save them!!!
So perhaps out of all the petals on the TULIP better known as Calvinism, none do as much damage to the meaning of the cross of Christ as “Limited Atonement.” It fundamentally changes the meaning of the cross because it fundamentally changes the grace of God that’s revealed through it.
The saving grace of God through Jesus isn’t limited by God in that Jesus was sent/came to die for only a certain group of people – the possibility of salvation has been given to everyone. But the grace of God has been limited in that if you want to receive the benefit of it you must believe. Hence the words of Jesus’ apostle when he said: “By grace you are saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).
Jesus has paid the price of redemption for all – but are we willing to admit that He paid a price that we couldn’t afford??? Because just as there’s a difference between “universal atonement” and “universal salvation”, there’s a difference between being offered a gift and accepting it. EA
“And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.” (1 Peter 1:17-21 – NKJV)
The Absurdity of the Calvinistic Invitation to come to Christ – The Fellowship Room