Lesson # 62: DEFINITE ATONEMENT

Sometimes the distinctive doctrines of Reformed theology are summarized by the use of the acrostic T-U-L-I-P. the acrostic spells out the follo ing!

T " Total depravity U " Unconditional election L - Limited atonement I - Irresistible grace P - Perseverance of the saints

Though the acrostic is helpful for aiding the memory# it can also cast confusion on the doctrines because of the ay they are orded to fit the acrostic. This is especially true for the third point# limited atonement. $any# ho style themselves %four point& 'alvinists# are illing to affirm all but limited atonement. They (noc( the L out of TULIP. I prefer the term definite atonement to the term limited atonement )though it turns tulip into tudip*. The doctrine of definite atonement focuses on the +uestion of the design of 'hrist,s atonement. It is concerned ith -od,s intent in sending .esus to the cross. /nyone ho is not a universalist is illing to agree that the effect of 'hrist,s or( is limited to those ho believe. That is# 'hrist,s atonement does not avail for unbelievers. 0ot everyone is saved through 1is death. 2veryone also agrees that the merit of 'hrist,s death is sufficient to pay for the sins of all human beings. Some put it this ay! 'hrist,s atonement is sufficient for all# but efficient only for some. This# ho ever# does not really get at the heart of the +uestion of definite atonement. Those ho deny definite atonement insist that 'hrist,s or( of atonement as designed by -od to atone for the sons of everyone in the orld. It made possible the salvation of everyone# but made certain the salvation of no one. Its design therefore is both unlimited and indefinite. The Reformed vie holds that 'hrist,s atonement as designed and intended only for the elect. 'hrist laid do n 1is life for 1is sheep and only for 1is sheep. 3urthermore# the /tonement insured salvation for all the elect. The /tonement as an actual, not merely potential, or( of redemption. In this vie # there is no possibility that -od,s design and intent for the /tonement could be frustrated. -od,s purpose in salvation is sure.

ohn may merely be saying that 'hrist is not only a propitiation for our sins ).e s and that en8oyed by non-.s death as intended for everybody )the hole orld*. 1o ever# if it is ta(en in that sense the te7t proves more than nonReformed people ant it to prove. If 'hrist indeed propitiated or satisfied -od.e s but is e7tended to people all over the orld# to people from every tribe and nation. Since belief and repentance are conditions met only by the elect# then ultimately the /tonement is offered only to them. The 'ross and its benefits are offered to anyone ho believes. In this te7t# .s sins have been conditionally propitiated )contingent upon faith and repentance* then e are bac( to the original +uestion of only the elect satisfying the conditions. Summary! . 5 . It becomes a proof-te7t for universalism.Reformed theologians differ over the +uestion of the offer of the /tonement to the human race.s demands for the punishment of the sins of everybody# then clearly everybody ould be saved.s death as determined at the foundation of the orld.ohn is spea(ing only of fello believers# then the previous interpretation of the te7t ould apply. /t first glance# it seems to argue that 'hrist. If -od punished sins that ere already propitiated then 1e ould be un8ust.all for hom 'hrist died are redeemed by 1is sacrificial act. -od loves the hole orld# but 1e does not save the hole orld< 1e saves people from all parts of the orld. 9ho are the people included in the ord our: If .ohn 6!6*. The design as not guess or( but according to a specific plan and purpose# hich -od is sovereignly bringing to pass. . The atonement of 'hrist as not a divine afterthought.e ish believers* but for the elect found also throughout the hole orld. 4thers insist that this concept of a universal offer is misleading and involves a (ind of play on ords. Some insist that the offer of the gospel is universal.ohn rites that! %1e 1imself is the propitiation for our sins# and not for ours only but also for the hole orld& )I . If the te7t is understood to mean that everyone. The other ay to vie this te7t is to see the contrast in it bet een our sins and those of the whole world. In any case# the plan of -od as decided before anybody as in the orld at all.s atonement is never offered by -od to the impenitent or the unbelieving.ut is that the only possible meaning of our: In the 0e Testament a fre+uent contrast is made bet een the salvation en8oyed by . / crucial point of the gospel is that it is not limited to . Since only the elect ill in fact believe# in reality the offer goes out only to them. This te7t# more than any other# is cited as scriptural proof against definite atonement. The benefit of 'hrist.e s. The purpose of -od in 'hrist.

6. =efinite atonement replaces the term limited atonement in the acrostic TULIP. .s atonement propitiation. . 5!65< . >.ohn. A. /ll ho are not universalists agree that 'hrist.5. as an actual propitiation for sin# not a potential or conditional sense# it is only offered to orld means that the elect are @.s teaching that 'hrist died for the sins of the hole not limited to Israel but are found throughout the orld.ohn >!5A< 5B!6C->B< 5C!D-56< /cts 6B!6E< Rom. ?. =efinite atonement refers to the scope of -od.s atonement is sufficient for all# but effective only for those ho believe. E!>B 6 . The /tonement in a broad sense is offered to all< in a narro the elect.s design for redemption and the intent of the 'ross.iblical passages for reflection! $att. 'hrist.

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