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Section 8A .. A Question Of Salvation/Predestination

 

003white  Section A Question of Salvation       >      Index To Predestination       >      DOC Part IV... Limited Atonement 

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Predestination
 

Calvinism Part IV...
Limited Atonement

Carol Brooks.

Index To All Sections

Section 1: An Introduction to John Calvin and his Doctrines of Grace
Section 2: Total Inability... The Cornerstone
Section 3: Unconditional Election
You Are Here 001orange Section 4: Limited Atonement
Section 5: Irresistible Grace
Section 6: Perseverance of The Saints and Death Before Sin
Section 7: When the Gospel Becomes a Lie and Assurance of Salvation...
How Can Any Calvinist KNOW He is Saved?
Section 8: God.. God’s Sovereignty and Omnipotence. Hypocrisy Unlimited
Section 9: Conclusion
Section 10: Calvinism and The First 1500 Years. The Sins of Augustine
 

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On This Page

Limited Atonement
Introduction

The "World"
Overview

 Is Theology The Deciding Factor In Determining What The Word "World" Means?

1 John 2:1-2
Rules Out The Concept Of Jesus Dying For A Select Part Of The Human Race

John 6:33
Life Offered Or Given?

Light And Eternal Life

John 3:16
If The Word World In This Verse Refers Only To The Elect,
What Are We To Do With The Word "Whosoever"

The Typology in John 3:14

John 10:15
A Calvinistic Proof Text.. If You Do Not Read The Next Verse

John 16:8-11
The Holy Spirit Ought Not To Be Here At All. Say What Again!

“All” Men
All Doesn't Always Mean Every Person On The Planet,
But.. Sometimes It Does.

Other Passages
Isaiah 55:1, Revelation 22:17, Ezekiel 33:11, Ezekiel 18:26-27, Isaiah 53:6, Romans 11:32, Titus 2:14

Attempting To Reconcile The Irreconcilable

Romans 10:18
Every One Has Revelation Of God And Is Without Excuse.

Matthew 22:9: As Many As Ye Shall Find
And More Contradictions.

2 Peter 2:1
The Lord Also "Bought" False Teachers.. So Much For Limited Atonement

 


Limited Atonement
is the third letter of the acronym TULIP.

Calvinism denies that Christ died for the whole world, claiming that since God unconditionally elects those whom He will save, the atonement is logically limited only to those whom He has elected. Therefore, when Christ died for sin, he died only for the sins of the elect i.e. His sheep and His church. It would not make sense for Him to redeem those whom God has chosen to damn, or those whom He has not chosen for salvation. However Calvinists are usually careful to say that Christ's blood could have, or was powerful enough to have saved all men if God had wished it.


The "World"
According to Got Questions Ministries, if [Emphasis Added]

    "... God so willed, Christ's death could have saved every member of the human race. Christ would not have had to suffer any more or do anything different to save every human who ever lived than He did in securing the salvation of the elect. But that was not God's purpose in sending Christ to the cross. God's purpose in the atonement was that Jesus would secure forever the salvation of those the Father had given to Him (Hebrews 7:25). Therefore while Christ's atonement was limited in its intent or purpose, it was unlimited in its power. [35]

As you will see in several instances mentioned below, Calvinism does not allow someone to read the word world in the New Testament and come to the conclusion that the world means the world. A simple reading of the text will not do. Calvinists have to make their theology the deciding factor in determining what the word world means. But are they right? Not according to ...


1 John 2:1-2:
"My little children, these things write I unto you that ye may not sin. And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world" (Greek kosmos) [Emphasis Added]

This is a very significant verse if read with attention and not glossed over. The fact that John addresses his comments to his "little children" who, if they sin, have Jesus as "an Advocate with the Father" (V. 1) shows that he is speaking to born again, regenerated Christians... also called God's elect (See Titus 1:1).

So when John says Jesus is the "propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world, he is very clearly stating that Jesus did not die for the sins of the elect only, but also for those of the whole world (which embraces all people). This effectively rules out the concept of Jesus dying for a select part of the human race, since if Christ had died only for the elect, He could not also be the "propitiation for the sins of the whole world".  John very unambiguously demonstrates that the atonement was not "limited in its intent", but was for all people. It can not be explained any other way.

Furthermore, if the world (Greek kosmos) in 1 John 2:2 includes all people, then the world (Greek kosmos) in these other verses have to as well.

    On the morrow he seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold, the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world (Greek kosmos) [John 1:29]

    For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever (Greek pas) believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God sent not the Son into the world (Greek kosmos) to judge the world (Greek kosmos); but that the world (Greek kosmos) should be saved through him. He that believeth on him is not judged: he that believeth not hath been judged already, because he hath not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God. [John 3:16-18]

     And if any man hear my sayings, and keep them not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world (Greek kosmos). [John 12:47]

     the Holy Spirit has come to “reprove the world (Greek kosmos) of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John. 16:8).

     And we have beheld and bear witness that the Father hath sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world (Greek kosmos). Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God abideth in him, and he in God. [1 John 4:14-15]


John 6:33: For the bread of God is that which cometh down out of heaven, and giveth (Greek didomi) life unto the world.

While we have already dealt with several verses in John 6 that are used to support the idea of Unconditional Election, Arthur Pink, known as one of the most influential evangelical authors in the second half of the twentieth century, made the following comment on verse 33.

    Now mark it well, Christ did not say, "offereth life unto the world," but "giveth." What is the difference between the two terms? This: a thing which is "offered" may be refused, but a thing "given," necessarily implies its acceptance. If it is not accepted it is not "given," it is simply proffered. Here, then, is a Scripture that positively states Christ giveth life (spiritual, eternal life) "unto the world." Now He does not give eternal life to the "world of the ungodly" for they will not have it, they do not want it. Hence, we are obliged to understand the reference in John 6:33 as being to "the world of the godly," i.e., God's own people. [36]

This is a clever attempt to bolster the Calvinist position, but there are three points that have to be taken into consideration.

1) God's gifts to man are free inasmuch as they cannot be earned, but they are often conditional. Two examples, one from the Old Testament and one from the New are.

a) In Joshua 6:2 the Lord told Joshua that He had given him the city of Jericho...

    And Jehovah said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thy hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valor. [Joshua 6:2]

But, as we know there were certain conditions (circling the city for seven days etc.) that had to be complied with before the Israelites could occupy the city. The author of Hebrews said this

    By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they had been compassed about for seven days. [Hebrews 11:30]  

b) In Acts 27:24 the Lord told Paul that the lives of all two hundred and seventy-six sailors in the ship with him would be spared. But Paul recognized that there were conditions to be met which he communicated to the sailors a few verses later, when they wanted to abandon ship.

    saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must stand before Caesar: and lo, God hath granted thee all them that sail with thee. [Acts 27:24]

    Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved. [Acts 27:31] 

Note: Similarly not all the passages in the Scriptures that speak of God's promises expressly mention the conditions that have to be met in order for Him to keep those promises. This does not mean that the conditions do not exist and have not been made very clear... they just aren't in the same verse. [See Isolated Verses Or An Integrated Whole in section Perseverance of The Saints]

2) "offer" is a legitimate use of the Greek word didomi used in John 6:33 (although it is largely used in the NT in the sense of give, according to Strong's Lexicon.. it has very wide application, greatly modified by the connection). In the following example, one can hardly argue that Satan's offer to Jesus was not conditional

    and he said unto him, All these things will I give (Greek didomi) thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. [Matthew 4:9]

3) But, since Pink assumes the verse says life is given, not just offered to the world, the word world has to refer to only the Godly, or the elected ones. However Pink imposed his own agenda on a cherry picked passage, neglecting to include the very next verse, which tells us that anyone who comes to Jesus can be filled with this bread and not hunger. Read verses 33-35 as a unit, noting that the parallel structure of the two parts of verse 35 which tells us that “coming to” Jesus and “believing in” Him are exactly the same thing]. [All Emphasis Added]

    For the bread of God is that which cometh down out of heaven, and giveth life unto the world. They said therefore unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall not hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. [John 6:33-35]

Besides which, only a few verses further down Jesus Himself clarifies who it is that comes to Him and therefore never hungers.

    It is written in the prophets, And they shall all be taught of God. Every one that hath heard from the Father, and hath learned, cometh unto me. [John 6:45]

And doesn't the book of Revelation say the same thing?

    And he that is athirst, let him come: he that will, let him take the water of life freely. [Revelation 22:17]

Incidentally John 6:35 is one of the more commonly passages used to support the doctrine of Perseverance of The Saints. [See Section]


Light and Eternal life
are two closely related major themes of John’s Gospel. Note what the apostle says in chapter 1...

    In him was life; and the life was the light of men (Greek anthropos). And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness apprehended it not. [John 1:4-5]

Jesus' life is the light of men, but this light shines everywhere.. even into the darkness. It is just that the darkness does not apprehend it. The word translated apprehend also carries a variety of meanings...  to take eagerly, seize, possess, obtain, comprehend. The end result being that one has to appropriate this for ones own. And how do we come to or obtain this light?  The Bible is pretty clear.

    I am the living bread which came down out of heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: yea and the bread which I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world. [John 6:51] 

    Again therefore Jesus spake unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life. [John 8:12] 

    Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth on me, though he die, yet shall he live; [John 11:25]

    I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me may not abide in the darkness. [John 12:46]

But, while we are on the subject of the Greek word kosmos, translated into the English world, lets go for a moment to what is probably the best known verse in the Bible...


John 3:16

    “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever (Greek pas) believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever (Greek pas) believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world (Greek kosmos) to condemn the world (Greek kosmos); but that the world (Greek kosmos) through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” [John 3:14-18 Emphasis Added].

Arthur Pink claimed that when Jesus uses the word world in this passage, He "does not mean the whole human family". Pink quotes John 7:4, John 12:19 and Romans 1:8 to prove the point that "the world" is used in a general way" and it “must, in the final analysis, refer to the world of God's people” [35] 

Certainly in the New Testament, the word translated all does not always mean every single person (See below), so too the word world does not always mean the entire earth. So let us reconstruct the verse on the assumption that, as Pink says, in this passage the word world does not literally mean the whole world, but refers only to the elect...

    For God so loved the elect, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever (Greek pas) believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Which leaves the big question of what to do with the word whosoever, which is obviously inconsistent with what Calvinism says the verse means. Or should we read the verse as...

    God loves the elect and “whosoever of the elect believes” on Him will not perish.

That would not work for Calvinism either, since it makes a hash of the doctrine of Irresistible Grace, which says all those pre-elected to salvation cannot resist God's grace and have no choice but to be saved. In the final analysis, there is no question that the verse makes perfect sense if the words are allowed to say what the words say.. The word world means the entire world, which is quite a remarkable concept. (Sarcasm intended)

It seems that Arthur Pink came to the conclusion that the word world does not mean the entire planet, partially based on the fact that John 3:16 says that God loved the world. And since it is readily apparent that God does not love every single individual in the world, but in fact actually hates some sinners, the world has to refer only to those individuals that God loves... ie. the elect.

Actually this is not true.

The Greek word translated into the English love in John 3:16 is Agape, which is distinct from erotic love (eros) or simple affection (philia). What is certain is that Agape is not a sickly sweet much sentimentality that never says a cross word or steps someone's toes. In fact Agape is not even based on emotion. If a boat were to overturn midstream, one would not have to have fond feelings for every single individual person in the water in order to set a rescue operation into motion. Indeed one may even actively dislike a person or two, but would throw them a life preserver anyway. And should one of the endangered people in the water refuse the life preserver and drown, I am sure that most of us would feel a measure of sadness.


The Typology in John 3:14:
Besides which, in Christian theology, typology is a representation by one thing of another. A type is a factual happening in history, which is a glimpse of one or more actual events yet to come, although this significance is not always apparent at the original occurrence. Typology, which always looks to the future, adds another dimension to the many prophecies about Christ in the Old Testament, explicitly and implicitly linking Jesus (and other aspects of redemption) to specific events and people in the Old Testament. [See Understanding Prophecy and Typology]

John 3:14 gives us a clear example of a type… "And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life." Moses literally lifting up the bronze serpent for the healing of the people [Numbers 21:8-9], is a type of Jesus who was lifted up on a cross for the salvation of the world. However note that the incident, as related in the book of Numbers, says looking upon the brass serpent was sufficient to save all those who had been bitten by the snakes. The afflicted person had simply to look upon the brass serpent in faith.

    And Jehovah said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a standard: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he seeth it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and set it upon the standard: and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he looked unto the serpent of brass, he lived. [Numbers 21:8-9]

This plan remained unchanged throughout the Bible as shown by Isaiah 45:22, a plain prediction of the universal spread of the salvation of God through Christ, and the means to achieve that salvation.

    Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. [Isaiah 45:22]


John 10:15
, even as the Father knoweth me, and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.

Calvinists take this verse to mean that Jesus only died for the “sheep” who are the ones God predestined for salvation. However the very next verse explains how a person becomes one of the Jesus' flock that Jesus died for. [Emphasis Added]

    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice: and they shall become one flock, one shepherd. [John 10:16]

Although at the moment of speaking the Gentiles were not part of the flock, they would hear the word, and those among them that believed would be united with the believing Jews... made one fold under one shepherd.

One other passage that Arthur Pink specifically talks about is ...


John 16:8-11:
And he, when he is come, will convict the world in respect of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on me; of righteousness, because I go to the Father, and ye behold me no more; of judgment, because the prince of this world hath been judged.

In his book Sovereignty of God, Pink makes some rather disconcerting statements. He says that the present mission of the Holy Spirit is not to convict the world of sin [Italics in original. Bold added]

    "The mission of the Spirit is threefold; to glorify Christ, to vivify the elect, to edify the saints. John 16: 8-11 does not describe the "mission" of the Spirit, but sets forth the significance of His presence here in the world.... The Holy Spirit ought not to be here at all. That is a startling statement, but we make it deliberately. Christ is the One who ought to be here. He was sent here by the Father, but the world did not want Him would not have Him, hated Him and cast Him out. And the presence of the Spirit here instead evidences its guilt...

    Thus the Holy Spirit's presence here displays things as they really are. We repeat, John 16: 8-11 makes no reference to the mission of the Spirit of God in the world, for during this dispensation, the Spirit has no mission and ministry worldward. The Holy Spirit is sovereign in His operations and His mission is confined to God's elect: they are the ones He "comforts"," "seals," guides into all truth, shows things to come, etc. [36]

This is a question of defending the reformed position at all cost, even if one has to create an elaborate fiction to do so.

Beginning in chapter 13, Jesus is talking to His disciples on the night before He is crucified. The disciples have just heard that He is going away, and one can only imagine their feelings on receipt of that bit of information. They had given up everything to follow Him and now there seemed to be no point to any of it. The disciples were probably more than a little shocked and confused and according to John... very sad (16:6), which is probably why Jesus assured them that He would not leave them desolate (14:16-18).

While there is no question that the context largely concerns Jesus’ reassurance of the disciples in light of His leaving and the coming persecution (15:18-25 and 16:1-4a), at the end of chapter 15, Jesus says this

    But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall bear witness of me: and ye also bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning. [John 15:26-27]

Bear witness means to give evidence or testify. The Holy Spirit had no reason to bear witness of Jesus to the disciples, who had been with Him from the beginning and had seen all His miracles.  The mission of the Holy Spirit to the disciples was, as Jesus said, to teach them all things and to bring to their remembrance all that He had said to them [John 14:26].

It is precisely because they had been with Jesus from the beginning that they could, empowered by the Holy Spirit, bear witness of Him to the world. These are parallel statements .. The Holy Spirit would bear witness to the world and the disciples also would bear witness to the world

When Jesus explained that it is actually to their (and our) advantage that He leave and send the Holy Spirit...

    "But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. [John 16:7]

... it was simply because had He stayed, people could have seen, heard and touched Him, but only the Holy Spirit can work on a person from within. Only the Holy Spirit can indwell a person. The work of spreading the Gospel was to be a cooperative operation. The disciples and those following would preach the Word, but it was the Holy Spirit working from the inside (which of course the unsaved can resist) that would convict the person that what he had heard was true. 

Yet, Pink says "The Holy Spirit ought not to be here at all" and  "Christ is the One who ought to be here".


All Men

All Doesn't Always Mean Every Person On The Planet
The Bible often makes the point that ALL men are drawn, ALL men are given light and the Holy Spirit reproves the WORLD. One example among many is when Jesus said [All Emphasis Added]

    “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all (Greek pas) men unto me” (John 12:32).

Although an unforced reading of the passages in question undermines the claims of Calvinism and points to the universality of the salvation offer, Calvinists have no choice but to find a way to counter this objection. This they do by arguing that all doesn't always mean every single person.

It is certainly true that in some instances when the New Testament uses the words “all” or “world”, it does not automatically mean every single person on the planet, but uses these words in a more limited sense. For example, Luke 2:1, 3 and John 12:19 respectively say

    Now it came to pass in those days, there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all (Greek pas) the world (Greek oikoumene) should be enrolled... And all (Greek pas) went to enroll themselves, every one to his own city.

    The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Behold how ye prevail nothing: lo, the world (Greek kosmos) is gone after him.

Quite obviously Caesar's decree did not apply to the inhabitants of China or Brazil, nor were the Pharisees picturing Australian aborigines following Jesus up the street. Similarly it is hard to believe that John the Baptist baptized every single Judean and citizen of Jerusalem, including the Pharisees.

    Then went out unto him Jerusalem, and all Judea, and all (Greek pas) the region round about the Jordan; and they were baptized of him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Matthew 3:5-6.


But.. Sometimes It Does.

So how does one know that Jesus was talking about every single person when He said he would draw all men to Him [John 12:32]. The answer is in the book of 1 Timothy when Paul uses the same Greek word pas, translated into the English all, five times in three consecutive sentences.

    I exhort therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings, be made for all men; for kings and all that are in high place; that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and gravity. who would have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth. who gave himself a ransom for all; the testimony to be borne in its own times; [1 Timothy 2:1-6]

Let's look at the two possibilities here..

    1) If “all men” means just the elect, then Paul is apparently telling us we are only to pray for certain people in authority.. those that number among the elect (How we are supposed to know who among our wonderful government officials is one of the "elect" is a quandary in itself).

    2) We have to believe that the meaning of the word pas changed in midstream... Paul is referring to every single ruler/king the first two times he uses the word, but on the second and third go around he is talking about only the elect. 

Neither option makes a whit of sense, but what does make sense is a plain reading of the passage in which Paul makes the point that since God gave Himself for all men and therefore all men can be saved, we should pray for all men. Which means that the all in the following verses does mean every single person.

    The times of ignorance therefore God overlooked; but now he commandeth men that they should all (Greek pas) everywhere repent [Acts 17:30]  

    The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness; but is longsuffering to you-ward, not wishing that any should perish, but that all (Greek pas) should come to repentance. [2 Peter 3:9]

    But we behold him who hath been made a little lower than the angels, even Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God he should taste of death for every (Greek pas) man. [Hebrews 2:9]


Other Passages
Besides which, numerous Biblical passages unarguably show that God freely offers salvation to everyone who believes. For example the invitation in Isaiah 55:1 cannot be limited to only the elect since it is extended to “every one that thirsteth.”

    Ho, every one (Hebrew kôl) that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. [Isaiah 55:1]

These words are almost duplicated in the last book of the Bible

    And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And he that heareth, let him say, Come. And he that is athirst, let him come: he that will, let him take the water of life freely. [Revelation 22:17]

And what should we do with these two verses from Ezekiel, especially in light of the fact that Calvinism often says the salvation of the elect and the damnation of the non-elect is "the good pleasure of His will." However in the first verse quoted God explicitly states that He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked and prefers that they turn from sin and live.

    Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? [Ezekiel 33:11]

     When the righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth therein; in his iniquity that he hath done shall he die. Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive [Ezekiel 18:26-27]


Isaiah 53:6
says "All (Heb. kôl) we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and Jehovah hath laid on him the iniquity of us all (Heb. kôl)".

    Calvinists will refer to the first half of this verse to support the theory of Total Depravity, However the verse says the iniquity of all the people who have gone astray has been laid on Jesus.  Incidentally the verse doesn't even prove that people are born depraved since it clearly states that we have gone astray, not that we were born that way..


Romans 11:32
says "For God has shut up all (Greek pas) in disobedience that He might show mercy to all (Greek pas)"

    This verse says all who are disobedient are the same all to whom God shows mercy.


Titus 2:14
One has to be careful that one's interpretation of a passage agrees with the rest of Scripture. For example if the word "us" in the following verse means Jesus redeems only individuals whom God has pre-selected for salvation..
 

    who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a people for his own possession, zealous of good works. [Titus 2:14]

then, if we are to be at all consistent, we are forced to conclude that Galatians 4:4-5 says that Jesus redeems only the Jews, since they were the only people under the law.

    but when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, that he might redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.


Attempting To Reconcile The Irreconcilable

Perhaps recognizing that there is a contradiction between what they teach, which is that God intends that only those that He elected to salvation, and many Biblical passages that clearly state that God freely offers salvation to everyone, the site gotquestions.org makes two assertions in an attempt to reconcile the irreconcilable.. They say

    1) The call of the Gospel is universal in the sense that anybody that hears it and believes in it will be saved.

    2) Because they are dead in their trespasses and sin, no one will believe the Gospel and respond in faith unless God first makes those who are dead in their trespasses and sins alive (Ephesians 2:1-5). [35]

The assumption is being made that Ephesians 2:1,5 (also Colossians 2:13) are speaking of spiritual death.

    And you did he make alive, when ye were dead through your trespasses and sins... even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace have ye been saved) [Ephesians 2:1,5]

    And you, being dead through your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, you, I say, did he make alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses; [Colossians 2:13]

However, as mentioned before, the Greek word nekros translated dead, is used some 130 other times in the New Testament. Except for a couple of instances where it is used metaphorically, the word is always used to describe a literal physical death, often that of Jesus Himself. Besides which, the use of present tense to describe a future happening is not only used in modern English, but has Biblical precedent.. [See More About Ephesians 2:1-3 in section Total Inability]

In other words… all Paul was saying is that the unregenerate are 'as good as dead’. However they don't have to be that way since dead people can hear and live. According to Jesus the dead (NOT the elect, NOT the regenerate, but the dead) will hear His voice and live.

    Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour cometh, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live. [John 5:25]

So the whole theory of God having to make someone alive before they can respond to the Gospel falls absolutely flat. Besides which, God only needs to take action if a person is unable, of themselves, to respond to the Gospel (Total Inability), which has earlier been shown to be based on nothing more than assumption and conjecture.


Romans 10:18
But there is another passage of Scripture, which warrants more than a cursory reading.

We have just finished examining Romans 10:9-17 [under Unconditional Election], which ends with the words ... "belief cometh of hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ". In the next verse Paul then goes on to ask a rhetorical question concerning whether they (the Jews and the Gentiles) have heard the word of God. He replies to his own question in the affirmative, saying that the opportunity to hear has been so universally extended that their unbelief could not be blamed on the fact that they had not heard. [Emphasis Added]

    So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? Indeed they have;  "Their voice has gone out into all (Heb. kôl) the earth, and their words to the ends of the world (Heb. tębęl)." [Romans 10:17-18. NASB]

These words are taken in substance from the Septuagint translation of Psalm 19:4, which is divided into two parts. The first half of the Psalm (Vs. 1-6) of speak of God's revelation of Himself to all mankind through nature (Verse 1 reads "The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament showeth his handiwork"). The second half of the Psalm (Vs. 7-14) speak of God's revelation through His law.

However Paul chose not to quote from the second half of the Psalm, thereby stressing the universal scope of the Gospel, which was intended for all mankind, not just the Jews who were the sole possessors of the law. Note the words used by the Psalmist... “Their voice has gone out into all (Heb. kôl) the earth, And their words to the ends of the world (Heb. tębęl)” [Emphasis Added]. In other words... all the earth has received some revelation concerning God, therefore are without excuse for rejecting that revelation

    For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse: [Romans 1:20]

Incidentally the Hebrew word kôl translated into the English all has been used more than 4000 times in the Old Testament which makes it very difficult to check whether all means every single one in every occurrence. However the Hebrew word tębęl translated into the English world (their words have gone out to the ends of the world), has only been used some 36 times and literally means the entire world. For instance...

    He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, He lifteth up the needy from the dunghill, To make them sit with princes, And inherit the throne of glory: For the pillars of the earth are Jehovah's, And he hath set the world (Heb. tębęl) upon them. [1 Samuel 2:8] 

    Let all the earth fear Jehovah: Let all the inhabitants of the world (Heb. tębęl) stand in awe of him. [Psalm 33:8]

    Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world (Heb. tębęl), Even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. [Psalm 90:2] 

    Prepare ye slaughter for his children for the iniquity of their fathers, that they rise not up, and possess the earth, and fill the face of the world (Heb. tębęl) with cities. [Isaiah 14:21] 

    The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt; and the earth is upheaved at his presence, yea, the world (Heb. tębęl), and all that dwell therein. [Nahum 1:5]

In short... Every one has revelation of God and is without excuse. Consider also the following verses...


Mark 16:15:
"And he said unto them, Go ye into all (Greek hapas) the world, and preach the gospel to all (Greek pas) creation".

    According to Strong's Hebrew and Greek lexicon hapas means absolutely all


Luke 9:23:
And he said unto all, If any man would (Greek thelo) come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

    The same word thelo, is used in the parallel statements found in Matthew 16:24 and Mark 8:34, and means to choose or prefer (literally or figuratively); by implication to wish, that is, be inclined to (Strong's)


Luke 4:18: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, Because he anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor: He hath sent me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovering of sight to the blind, To set at liberty them that are bruised.

    Note that there is not even a hint of limitation on which captives are to be released, or set at liberty.


Acts 17:26-27: and he made of one every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed seasons, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek God, if haply they might feel after him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us:


Matthew 22:9: Go ye therefore unto the partings of the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage feast.  

    In regard to this verse I find it extremely interesting that gotquestions.org (also quoted above) says this about the marriage feast [All emphasis, both underlining and bold words in parenthesis, added]

      "Note that it is not because they could not come to the wedding feast, but that they would not come to the wedding feast (What happened to Total Inability), that some of the guest failed to respond to the invitation. This speaks not only the Jews, but to mankind in general who fail to seek out God (What happened to Total Inability). Everyone at one time or another wonders about the big questions of life. Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? Everyone at one time or another wonders about the question of God, but we become so enamored with ourselves that we fail to seek the answers to these questions where they can be found, the Bible."....Just as the king provides the wedding garments for the guest, it is God who provides salvation for mankind. To refuse this salvation is insulting to God (What happened to Unconditional Election) because in this refusal you are treading on the very blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. [40]

    Yet on their page What is Calvinism and is it Biblical? they say [All Emphasis Added]

      Unconditional Election - Because man is dead in sin, he is unable to initiate response to God; therefore, in eternity past God elected certain people to salvation. Election and predestination are unconditional; they are not based on man’s response (Romans 8:29-30; 9:11; Ephesians 1:4-6,11-12) because man is unable to respond, nor does he want to.  [41]

I am afraid that I totally fail to see how in the world can people be chided for failing to "seek out God" if, as Calvinism preaches, man is not only unable to respond to the Gospel, but doesn't even want to, because man has inherited Adam's sin, which God willed in the first place. 

John 5:40 (and ye will not come to me, that ye may have life) only re-emphasizes that people are quite capable of coming to God's marriage feast, but will not. The Calvinist Spurgeon said it well.

    When his messengers went out to intimate to those who had received previously an express invitation that the time was come, it is written, "They would not come" not they could not, but they "would not come." Some for one reason, some for another, but without exception they would not come. Here was a very serious hindrance to the grand business. Cannot the king drag his guests to the table? Yes, but then it would not accomplish his purpose. He wants not slaves to grace his throne.

    If men turn their backs on Moses with his stony tables, I do not marvel, but to despise the loaded tables of grace, heaped up with oxen and fatlings—this is strange. To resist the justice of God is a crime, but to repel the generosity of heaven, what is this? ...  O, my God, thou hast provided the gospel, let none in this house reject it, and so slight thy Son and dishonor thee, but may all rejoice in thy generous way of glorifying Jesus Christ, the Bridegroom of his church, and may they come, and willingly grace the festival of thy love. [42]

 Finally there is ...


2 Peter 2:1: But there arose false prophets also among the people, as among you also there shall be false teachers, who shall privily bring in destructive heresies, denying even the Master that bought (Greek agorazo) them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.

Other verses in the New Testament make it very clear that the Greek word (agorazo) Peter used in the verse above, referred to the death of Christ ...  An atoning sacrifice; that he offered to purchase (or save) a people for Himself.

    for ye were bought (Greek agorazo) with a price: glorify God therefore in your body. [1 Corinthians 6:20]

    Ye were bought (Greek agorazo) with a price; become not bondservants of men. [1 Corinthians 7:23]

    And they sing a new song, saying, Worthy art thou to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou was slain, and didst purchase (Greek agorazo) unto God with thy blood men of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation [Revelation 5:9]

I am afraid that the Bible's undeniable statement that the Lord also "bought" false teachers, knocks the wind out of the sails of the Calvinist doctrine of limited atonement, which states that Christ dies only for the elect.

Worse, there are verses that show the elect, that Christ died for, can be destroyed. Paul urges the Romans to not do anything that would result in their brother perishing 

    For if because of meat thy brother is grieved, thou walkest no longer in love. Destroy not with thy meat him for whom Christ died. (Romans 14:15).

The Calvinist view of redemption would make destruction impossible for the elect saved by Christ's atonement and drawn in by God's Irresistible Grace.

Part V... Irresistible and Efficacious Grace

 

End Notes
[35] Got Questions Ministries. Limited Atonement - is it Biblical?
http://www.gotquestions.org/limited-atonement.html

[36] Arthur W. Pink. Sovereignty of God.Lulu.com, 2007. Chapter 11 - Difficulties and Objections. Page 127. Online at http://www.ccel.org/ccel/pink/sovereignty.xiv.html

[37] Arthur W. Pink. Sovereignty of God. Lulu.com, 2007. Chapter 11 - Difficulties and Objections. Page 126-127. Online at http://www.ccel.org/ccel/pink/sovereignty.xiv.html

[38] Arthur W. Pink. Sovereignty of God. Pgs. 92-94. Sovereign Grace Publishers. 2008

[39] Arthur W. Pink. Sovereignty of God.Lulu.com, 2007. Chapter 11 - Difficulties and Objections. Page 127. Online at http://www.ccel.org/ccel/pink/sovereignty.xiv.html

[40] Got Questions Ministries. What is the meaning of the Parable of the Wedding Feast?
http://www.gotquestions.org/parable-wedding-feast.html

[41] Got Questions Ministries. What is Calvinism and is it Biblical? What are the five points of Calvinism? http://www.gotquestions.org/calvinism.html

[42] The Parable of the Wedding Feast. A Sermon delivered at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington on February 12th, 1871 http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0975.htm

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