Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Another short expositional look at the doctrine of limited/definite atonement

In case you were not all that pleased with the way that I handled the “all” and “world” passages in my previous post I would like to take another short expositional look at a passage. I would like to reiterate that my goal is not to extensively exegete this passage, but rather to put the passage before you and let you work through it yourselves.

Romans 8:32 (ESV)
He did not spare His own Son but gave him up for us all…

The reason that I have chosen this passage is because I have recently heard is used to oppose definite atonement. On the surface it may seem to be a good text to debunk all that I have been writing on over the past few days. However, as we take a closer look at this passage it seems to be doing quite the opposite.
The first question that pertains to our discussion is, who are they that God did not spare his son for? This is an easy question to answer because it is right here in the text, “for us all…” The next question is, who is “us all?” In order to find the answer to this question we have to go all the way back to verse 28.

Romans 8:28a (ESV)
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good…

As we look at the first part of verse 28 we might say that this still fits a “universal atonement” (remember all views of the atonement limit it in some way) view. But look at the rest of the verse,

Romans 8:28b (ESV)
…for those who are called according to His purpose.

Paul goes to great lengths to specify who God is working for, and he says very clearly that God is working for those who are called according to His purpose. This means that the referent of verse 32 is the called. That would mean that “He did not spare His own Son but gave him up for” all of us the elect (notice the end of this sentence are my words not Scripture).


I hope to conclude some of my thoughts on this subject tomorrow. With two final thoughts.

1) The GodHead cannot be divided.
2) The intent of the cross is the extent of the cross.

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