Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Refuting Arminian Objections to Limited Atonement (Part3)


Finally, we will take up the final major objection

Objection 4. Doesn't Christ have as much efficacy to save as to damn? (see Romans 5:17)

Answer 1. There is a difference between a necessary extension and a voluntary one. Adam's sin was extensive necessarily. But salvation by Christ is of free grace, wholly of God's pleasure, and therefore it is called the "free gift" (Romans 5:15).

2. Nowhere in Scripture is Christ compared to Adam in the extent of His object, but only in the efficacy of His obedience. All, and everyone, are not in Christ radically, as they were in Adam. All are not given to Christ; but "as many (says Christ) as Thou has given Me." As all the offspring of Adam fell by his sin, so all that are Christ's are saved by His death; as all that are in Adam die, so all that are in Christ are made alive (1Corinthians 15:22).

3. So that Paul would not be misunderstood, and the word "all" in Romans 5:18 be taken universally, he switches terms in the following verse, and replaces "all" with "many." "By the obedience of one shall many be made righteous."

Objection 5. In Romans 14:15, it is said, "destroy not him for whom Christ died." And in 2 Peter 2:1, people are described as "denying the Lord that bought them."

Answer 1. Everlasting destruction cannot be intended by the word destroy in Romans 14:15, and the context shows this. Throughout chapter 14, Paul is exhorting the believing Romans not to condemn one another on account of things indifferent; nor to destroy the weak believer's peace of mind by doing anything (which although it might be indifferent, and not evil in itself) that might become a stumbling-block to him. Paul says, " I am persuaded that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him that esteemeth anything unclean, to him it is unclean. If thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not" (by your eating meat your brother considers unclean) the peace of mind of one of the weaklings of that flock "for which Christ died." Don't put a stumbling-block, or an occasion of falling in your weak brother's way (Romans 14:13-15). "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offense" (1 Corinthians 10:31,32). 1 Corinthians 8 basically asserts the same thing.

2. Those spoken of in 2 Peter 2:1, as "denying the Lord that bought them," are described by the apostle as, "false teachers" - hypocritical professors, tares among the wheat (Matthew 13:25,38). These people had not been bought and redeemed by Christ from eternal death; they had merely abstained from the pollutions of the world through a theoretical knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 2:20). They made an outward profession of the gospel, through which outward morality they associated with the people of God and were taken into the church. They then secretly introduced damnable heresies into the church. Many followed them, and therefore the way of truth was evil spoken of. At some point, they were either exposed or simply returned back into the world. All this time they were "goats" and not "sheep;" ravening wolves, not gentle lambs. And as Peter closes the chapter concerning them, he says, "It is happened to them according to the true proverb. The dog is turned to its own vomit again, and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire" (2 Peter 2:1-3, 17-22).

3. Peter (2 Peter 2:1) does not appear to be speaking here of the purchase of the Redeemer's blood. The name or title, Lord (Greek, depotes), is not used anywhere in the New Testament in reference to Jesus, but only to the Father, as in Luke 2:29; Acts 4:24; 2 Timothy 2:22; and especially in Jude 1:4. Here "the only Lord God" is distinguished from "our Lord Jesus Christ." And even if it could be proven to apply to Christ in the above text, it may be explained upon the principle that it is not uncommon with the writers of Scripture to speak of things not as they actually are, but according to the profession of the party referred to. For instance, (Matthew 13:12): "Whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance; but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath" in other words, that "which he seemeth to have," as it is explained in Luke 8:18. So apostates may said to be "twice dead," which would seem to imply that they had been spiritually alive, though in fact that was never the case, but merely what they professed to be.

4. Based upon this we can say that even if we grant the premises, it only follows that such as think themselves redeemed, or are thought so by others, may blaspheme and perish. This does not make all the world redeemed. This certainly cannot establish the doctrine of Universal Redemption.

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