Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Limited Atonement 2

On the heels of yesterday's discussion, we will move on to address two more questions, the answer to which hang on our answer to the question of the extent of the Atonement.

4. If Jesus does His part and men do their part, do we not have a syncretistic method of salvation? How is this different from Roman Catholicism?
5. If regeneration and faith are gifts of God, and God is trying to save all men, why doesn't He give these gifts to everybody? Couldn't He regenerate all men if He wanted to?

4. If Jesus does His part and men do their part, do we not have a syncretistic method of salvation? How is this different from Roman Catholicism?
The Arminian position is always that God has done all that He can do for our salvation, and now it is up to us to do our part and seal the deal. There is no getting around the obvious implication of such a notion. If this be the case, the salvation is not purely an act of God: man has a large part to play then in his own salvation. Here's the problem with that idea: It isn't true! Scripture nowhere tells us that we have to do our part since God has done His. Scripture everywhere affirms that salvation, from start to finish, is purely an act of God.

For instance:
Jonah:2:9b Salvation belongs to the LORD!
John 15:5b Apart from me you can do nothing.
Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Philippians 2:13 For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Nowhere in any of these passages is it said, or even remotely insinuated that God did His share of the work, now we have to do our share. By saying that He is the first and the last (Isa. 44:6), or Alpha and Omega (Rev. 22:13), God claims control over everything. This does not mean that the "middle" is left open for us, rather it implies that if God controls the beginning and the ending, then, most assuredly He controls everything else that occurs between these two points. So if Christ is the Author and Finisher of our faith (Heb. 12:2), that leaves no part of our salvation for us to contribute to. That's why it is called the gift of God.

There is, in fact, no way to water down man's so-called contribution without making man the key figure in the transaction. Billy Graham used to use the illustration of a man dying in the hospital. He is weak and emaciated. He is so tired and worn that he can't even lift up his head and open his mouth, so the doctor does this for him. He lifts the dying patient's head, pries open his mouth and pours in the wonder medicine which will save this man's life. But, and there's the rub, but the dying man must swallow it. He has to do his part or else all the medical acumen and doctor's skill of the physician will all be in vain. That is not how Scripture portrays lost men and women. They are not weak, tired or sick. They are dead. Corpses cannot drink medicine, nor can they raise their hands, let alone resurrect themselves from death. Yet a resurrection is what salvation is. It is a resurrection from the death of sins and trespasses.

The notion that man has to do his part is pure unadulterated Romanism. Arminians should take that under consideration before they start pontificating (pun intended) on the glories of their almighty free-will!

How does this relate to Limited Atonement? If salvation, from first to last, is entirely a sovereign work of God, without the slightest help, assistance, or contribution from the sinner, then only those whom God has actually intended to save will be saved, because salvation is His to dispense as He pleases.

5. If regeneration and faith are gifts of God, and God is trying to save all men, why doesn't He give these gifts to everybody? Couldn't He regenerate all men if He wanted to?

Yesterday we showed that God can save anyone He desires to save. Man's will presents no obstacle to the Almighty. If someone is not regenerated, and therefore saved, it is because God, for reasons of His own, has not willed to do so. As uncomfortable as some people might be with that assertion, Scripture leaves us no alternative. Arminians seem intent on getting God off the hook for things which He doesn't want off the hook.

Before we proceed, we should first make good on our assertion that regeneration and faith are gifts of God. It seems self-explanatory that if this be the case, then anyone who perishes does so because God has not willed to give them these gifts. There is no way to evade the force of that logic.

What saith the Scriptures:
John1:12-13 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
Acts 11:18 When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, "The to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life." (The force of this verse hangs on the word "also," implying that Jews had already been granted repentance.)
Romans 9:16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.
1 Corinthians 4:7 For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?
Philippians 1:29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake.
James 1:18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

Again, a small sampling of the Biblical evidence demonstrates that regeneration, faith and repentance are gifts of God. Ephesians 2:4-8 tells us, "But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ - by grace you have been saved - and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not of your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast."

All saving graces flow from the Atonement. This means the Atonement is limited, for Scripture teaches that Christ accomplished an objective redemption for the elect. Jesus by His sacrificial death guarantees the application of His redemption work to the elect. As High Priest He now actively intercedes for His people, applying to the elect the redemption He accomplished in His death. Heb. 7:25

Christ purchased all the spiritual graces for His people. Ephesians 1:3, Eph. 2:8
A. Regeneration: John 1:13
B. Faith: Eph 2:8
C. Repentance: Acts 5:31 Acts 11:13
D. Sanctification: Rom 6:1-14 Election guarantees sanctification. Those who were never sanctified were never united to Christ in His death and resurrection. End of story.

Romans 6:1-11; Gal.2:20; 6:14 Eph 2:5-6 tell us that due to our union with Christ, it can be said of us that when Christ died, rose and ascended to Heaven, we did so as well. To say that Christ died for all is to say that all died in Christ. Are we to tell unbelievers that they have been crucified with Christ? Can we tell them that they have been resurrected with Christ and that they have ascended with Christa and are now seated in the heavenly places with Christ? Scripture tells us that those for whom Christ did these things are to be viewed as in such a relegation to Him as their covenant Head that they were in Christ in these acts of His. If He did them for ALL men, without exception, then ALL men without exception are crucified with Christ. This is the madness which the Arminian system creates by trying to redefine the Atonement.

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