The doctrine of limited atonement, sometimes more appropriately called particular redemption or definitive br> redemption, declares that Christ died for the purpose of actually and certainly saving the elect and the elect br> only. This doctrine does not teach that Christ's death is insufficient for the salvation of all men, as those who br> oppose it often assert. The Reformed formula regarding this, is that "Christ died sufficiently for all, br> efficaciously for the Elect."
Proofs for the doctrine of particular redemption:
1.God's decree is efficacious. Whatever God decrees shall certainly come to pass (Ps 33:11, Prov br> 19:21, Is 46:10). The doctrine of particular redemption is a logical progression of the doctrine of divine br> election, that God, according to his eternal decree and plan, chose a certain number of persons to be the br> recipients of His special grace, enabling them to repent and believe unto salvation. If God's decree is br> efficacious, then it also applies to his purpose of saving men through the death of Christ. That is, that in br> the death of Christ, God accomplished exactly what he intended to accomplish, the certain salvation of br> his people. It follows then, that Christ did not die equally for all mankind, but that He gave himself for his br> people and their redemption. br> 2.The testimony of Scripture. Scripture repeatedly qualifies those for whom Christ laid down His life. br> In John 10:11 & 15, Christ speaks of laying down his life "for his sheep." In Acts 20:28, Paul speaks of br> "the church of God, which he has bought with his own blood" - the blood of Jesus, (who by the way is br> referred to unequivocally as God) redeems those who are redeemed, that is the church of God. In br> Ephesians 5:25-27 we read, "...Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, to make her holy... br> and to present her to himself as a radiant church without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy br> and blameless." In Matt 1:21, "...and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his br> people from their sins." br> 3.The limitation of his intercession. The sacrificial work of Christ and His intercessory work are br> simply two different aspects of his atoning work. These two aspects of atonement are seen in Rom br> 8:33-34, "... It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died--more than that, br> who was raised to life--is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us." Christ's death, his br> resurrection, his exaltation at the right hand of God, his intercession, all these events together form the br> complete act of redemption. Since Christ's death and his intercession are both part of redemption, it br> stands to reason that the scope of the one can be no wider than that of the other. Now Christ very br> definitely limits his intercessory work, when he says in John 17:9, "... I am not praying for the world, but br> for those you have given me, (and the reason for limiting his prayer to them is given next:) for they are br> yours." Divine election explains Christ's limited intercession, which implies a limited atonement. Why br> should he limit his intercessory prayer, if he had actually paid the price for all? br> 4.The alternative leads to absolute universalism. The only alternative to the view that Christ died for br> the effective and actual salvation of some, is to hold that Christ died for the effective and actual br> salvation of all, a view referred to as absolute universalism. This view is clearly contradicted by many br> Scriptures, but notably by Matt 7:13&14, "... wide is the gate and / broad is the road that leads to br> destruction, and many enter though it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and br> only a few find it."
One of the five Arminian articles states that "Christ died for all men, not just for the elect, but no one except br> the believer has remission of sin." What is meant here is that the atonement was universal, but that the br> application of it was particular; that God made salvation possible for all, but actually saves only a limited br> number. There is no basis for splitting up the divine work of atonement in this way. There is an inseparable br> connection between the purchase of redemption and the bestowal of redemption. The Bible clearly teaches br> that the design and effect of the atoning work of Christ is not merely to make salvation possible, but to actually br> rescue men from their sins and reconcile them to God, i.e. to put men in actual possession of eternal salvation.
Gal 1:3&4 - "... the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age ..."
Rom 5:10 - "... we were reconciled to him (God) through the death of his Son ..."
Eph 1:7 - "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins ..."
WARNING! One should never interpret the doctrine of limited atonement or particular redemption in such a br> way as to exclude oneself, thereby using it as an excuse for unbelief. The language of Scripture is, "whosoever br> believeth shall be saved." This invitation is intentionally general, authorizing anyone one to come to Christ. A br> person's unbelief is what excludes one from the invitation, so that it is impossible that anyone, who wishes to br> come to Christ, should be prevented by the fact that Christ's atonement does not extend to him.
Objections to the doctrine of limited atonement:
1.There are passages which teach that Christ died for the world.
Jn 1:29 - "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"
Jn 3:16 - "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son ..."
2Cor 5:19 - "... God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ ..."
The objection based on these passages comes from the unwarranted and false assumption that the br> world as used in them means, "all the individuals in the human race." But it is perfectly evident from br> Scripture that world (Gr. kosmos) has a variety of meanings, as it does in English. It can refer to the br> universe (Phil 2:15 - "... shine like stars in the universe ..."), the planet (Jn 11:9 - "... A man who walks br> by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world's light."), or mankind (Mt 5:14 - "You are the light of br> the world ..."). Even when referring to mankind it does not always mean all of mankind. Sometimes it is br> a hyperbole, only referring to part of mankind. The Pharisees used the term in a hyperbole when they br> said concerning Christ in Jn 12:19, "Look how the whole world has gone after him." In Rom 11:12, the br> world refers to Gentiles and not the nation of Israel. The expression "all men" in Rom 5:18, "... the result br> of one act of righteousness was justification that / brings life for all men", is obviously not referring to all br> men, but to all in Christ. So, we ought not to interpret Scriptures which speak of Christ dying for the br> world as dying for all men.
It should be noted that there is a universalism being conveyed in expressions such as 'God so loved the br> world', or 'the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world', but it is not absolute universalism. br> What it is declaring is that God's love extends beyond the borders of Israel, to every language, tribe, and br> nation. Dr. Shedd suggests the word kosmos should be translated 'all nations' in such passages as Jn br> 3:16.
2.If Christ only died for the elect, how is it that God can freely invite all men to be saved? The br> offer of salvation is a promise of salvation to all those who accept Christ by faith. This offer is always br> conditioned by faith and conversion. It is contingent on a repentance and faith which can only be br> accomplished by a work of the Holy Spirit. The universal offer of salvation does not consists in the br> declaration that Christ made atonement for every man that hears the gospel, or that God intends to save br> everyone. It consists in: br> a.a declaration of the atoning work of Christ which is in itself sufficient for the redemption of all br> men, br> b.a description of the nature of the repentance and faith that are required in coming to Christ, and br> c.a declaration that all who come to Christ in true faith and repentance will obtain salvation.
Finally, what did Christ's atonement accomplish, for the elect as well as the non-elect?
1.The purchase of the full and assured redemption of all the elect, that is all believers, with all the br> blessings that accompany salvation. br> 2.A reprieve of doom for every sinner of Adam's race. Though every sinner deserves to die every time br> he sins, the judgment of God is deferred. br> 3.A justly enhanced condemnation of those who reject the Gospel. br> 4.A disclosure of the infinite mercy, holiness and justice of God to all rational creatures (men and angels). br> br>