Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Two Thoughts on Definite Atonement

At the onset of this post I would like to admit that the two arguments that I plan to put forward in this post are more philosophical than exegetical. However, I would strongly contend that these arguments for definite atonement are rooted in Scripture. I have much that I would like to say concerning these two arguments, but brevity and introductory material have seemed to be more profitable (at least from the feedback that I am getting).

These two arguments/reasons/observations/thoughts are of a particular interest to me because they are two thoughts that I had to wrestle with as I worked through this topic.

First, the extent of the atonement had to be defined to the elect because the Godhead cannot be divided. The force of this argument is based on the presupposition that it is the Father who elects men unto salvation. This is a presupposition that I heartily accept, and without beginning a new series of posts here are a few reasons why:

Romans 8:29a
For those whom he foreknew he also

Romans 9:16
So then it depends not on
human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.

Ephesians 1:4
…even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world…

These are just to name a few.

The basic force behind this argument is that if the Father works to elect, and it is the Father who sent His son to atone for sins through the death of the son on the cross, then the Father has chosen for whom the death of Christ will atone for (At this point I will be brief with the hope of allowing you to think through this argument.). Within this doctrine we see the wonderful unity within the Godhead. It is the Father who has chosen us, the Son who has atoned for us, and the Spirit who calls us through the second-birth.

Second, the intent of the cross must be synonymous with the extent of the cross. In other words what God accomplished what He intended to accomplish. If we were to say that God intended (it is the intention of God that is at the very heart of this argument) for all to be saved through the death of Christ then, necessarily, we must also say that God was unable to accomplish what He had intended to accomplish. This must be true because it is clear both from Scripture and our experience that not all men are saved. Think about the implications of God not being able to accomplish what he intended to accomplish. If God intended to save all through the crucifixion and was unable to do so what assurance can anyone have that God will accomplish any other of His intentions. This argument is rooted in the character of God. The question that you have to ask, as you think through this argument, is how sovereign is God?

I think that one final post is in order. I would like to talk about the practicality of this doctrine, and the impact that it can have in your walk with the Lord.


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