Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Limited Atonement: Thoughts to Contemplate

From the outset, let me say, I do not have an ax to grind with anyone. I do believe like others that iron sharpens iron and so I trust that you will consider what I write though it may be contrary to what you think. I myself am not an espousing five point Calvinist. That being said, I have a lot of respect for D. James Kennedy, John MacArthur, A.W. Pink and my uncle(five pointer). I also understand that there are many different ideas about who or what is really a Calvinist. My admonition is to adhere to I Corinthians 3:3-9.

I do believe in Limited Atonement but not as defined by Calvinists. I do not believe that all men will be saved. I'm NOT a Universalist. So I believe that the number of people that will be saved is limited and to that respect, I believe the Atonement is limited. I believe that the Atonement is Universal in its provision but is limited in its application. However, the limit is due to man's stubbornness and rebellion, not due to election or non-election(reprobation).

The passage to ponder is John 3:14-15. Jesus is speaking to Nicodemus about being born again. Jesus in his instruction to Nicodemus refers to Numbers 21 where God had sent fiery serpents upon a rebellious people and for healing, Moses was to raise a brass serpent upon a pole and all who were bit could look at God's provision and be healed. Here's my point. Jesus used this illustration to refer to His own crucifixion. The healing was to be for "whosoever" in verse 15 and 16 of John 3. Who is the "whosoever"? The "whosoever" is whosoever has been "bitten" and is dying, without which looking to the cross, men will die. Christ's death was for anyone and everyone who has been bitten(sin nature). That is what qualifies someone to look. They must be bitten. And what say the Scriptures, ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God. To whom was the Atonement provided for, ALL who have sinned and come short of the glory of God. While one may be spiritually dead, if he is physically alive, he is not entirely dead. The Numbers 21 illustration shows that while man is going to die without looking, he is not so dead that he(of his own choice), can't look. Indeed, I would say it is of necessity that he look or he shall die. No, I do not believe the Bible teaches "Limited Atonement" from the provisional perspective. I also understand that if one point of the five fails, the others become weak as well. For that reason, I understand the urgency some feel to defend "Limited Atonement". To me, the concept of Limited Atonement cannot stand up under the weight of John 3:14.

Have a grace filled day...

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