Drinking Deeply

Wednesday, March 14, 2007 at 12:55 PM

TULIP (21) - Definite Atonement

Much of the information in this post will be based upon his sermon by John Piper. Piper said it well when he pointed out that the answer "everybody" to the question, "who did Jesus die for?" isn't wrong. People who affirm that Jesus died for all are to be commended for sticking to the language that the Bible uses to talk about Jesus' death.

Hebrews 2:9
9But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
But we can't just stop with using language that Scripture uses, but we must also mean what Scripture means. Catholics use language that Scripture uses when they say that man isn't saved by faith alone (James 2), but the disagreement of the Reformation wasn't over the usage of the terms, but over the meaning of the terms. And that makes a world of a difference. So it is with a desire not only to say what Scripture says, but also to mean what Scripture means that I post this.

So why do I say that Jesus didn't die for everyone?

1) It undermines the unity of the Triune God in salvation - Unconditional election entails the Father foreloving a specific group of people before the foundation of the world. Irresistible grace entails the Holy Spirit creating a new heart in that same group of people while they live. But if we throw out the 'L', Jesus ends up dying for all people, only some of whom will be saved.

2) It undermines the purpose of Christ - Christ is right now interceding for those that God has given Him (Hebrews 7:24-26). Christ prays for those that God has given him and not the world (John 17:9). He does not pray for those predestined to destruction, why would he sacrifice himself for them?

3) It undermines the justice of God - If Jesus dies for the sins of every single person that ever existed and will exist, why are they being punished in hell? If the debt is paid in full, what sins are there that are left to be punished in hell? And the answer of "the sin of unbelief," isn't in Scripture:

Colossians 3:5-6
5Put to death therefore what is earthly in you:[a] sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6On account of these the wrath of God is coming.
4) It ignores the fact that Jesus died for people - Oftentimes the analogy is used of a check that's never cashed, or the ticket that's never redeemed. But Scripture never speaks of Jesus dying for an offer, dying for a possibility, but it speaks of Jesus purchasing people. (Acts 20:28, Revelation 5:9, 1 Peter 1:17-19)

5) It separates faith from the other blessings that flow from the death of Jesus - If all good things for the elect are bought by the blood of Jesus, upon what grounds does God gives us faith? Christians rightfully affirm that all blessings of this life and the life to come for the elect are purchased by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, does this not include faith as well?

Piper closes his sermon on this point with these words. I will finish my post with them.
I am not the least bit interested in withholding the infinite value of the death of Jesus from anyone. Let it be known and heard very clearly: God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son so that whoever believes on him—I say it again: whoever believes in him—should not perish but have eternal life. Christ died so that whoever (in this room this morning) believes might not perish but live.

And when you believe as you ought to believe, you will discover that your belief—like all other spiritual blessings—was purchased by the death of Christ. The sin of unbelief was covered by the blood in your case, and therefore the power of God's mercy was released through the cross to subdue your rebellion and bring you to the Son. You did not make the cross effective in your life by faith. The cross became effective in your life by purchasing your faith.

So glory in this, Christian. Glory that your sins really were covered when Jesus tasted death for you. Glory that your guilt really was removed when Jesus tasted death for you. Glory that the curse of the law really was lifted and that the wrath of God really was removed, and that the precious faith that unites you to all this treasure in Christ was a gift purchased by the blood of Christ.

Christ tasted death for everyone who has faith. Because the faith of everyone who believes was purchased by the death of Christ.

More reading if you're interested -

James White - Was anyone saved at the cross?

Monergism - Particular Redemption

A-Team Blog - Limited or Particular Atonement


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