Saturday, November 17, 2012

Limited Atonement, Double Jeopardy, and the Bible’s Answers - By Chris Roberts

From SBC Focus

There are two basic views of the atonement: limited and unlimited.

Unlimited atonement is held largely by people who do not consider themselves Calvinists. They say that Jesus died for all the sins and sinners of the world. He paid the price for all people so that all might have life. His work is not automatically applied to everyone, but is rather made available, possible, for all. We receive his work when we trust in him by faith. A common analogy is that Jesus’ blood can be said to be in a bank. It is there, it is provided, it is available for us. He has paid the price. What is lacking is our receipt of what he paid. When we trust him by faith we are in essence
withdrawing from the bank what he deposited, taking from him the price he paid for our sins. If we never trust him, we never receive the price he paid and we must therefore pay for our own sins. 1

One of my criticisms of this view is that it presents God as accepting double payment for sins. In this view, Jesus really has paid the price for all sins. The debt is paid in full. If Jesus’ death is the same for all people, then he has satisfied the Father’s wrath for each and every person. That satisfaction may be held in escrow, so to speak, but it is nonetheless a real satisfaction. If God then condemns an unrepentant sinner to Hell, he is demanding from that sinner payment already satisfied by the Son. Going back to our banking analogy, it would be akin to me owing a great debt and Bill Gates paying off the debt on my behalf. He writes a check to the creditor, completely satisfying what I owe. Nonetheless, I choose not to acknowledge what Gates has done and as a result I am hauled before the creditor to make restitution. Unable to pay, I am thrown in prison. If a situation of this sort were to happen in real life, we would let out a cry of corruption. We would quickly recognize the creditor has demanded a payment already paid. Whether or not the debtor acknowledges the payment is irrelevant: the one owed a debt has been satisfied, and he knows it.

Turning tables, the view of limited atonement says that Jesus died specifically for the elect. His atoning (saving) work was not carried out for all people but specifically for those the Father had appointed for salvation. The debt is paid only for those who would actually be saved.

Critics respond that this makes God into an unfair and capricious tyrant, that it makes God out to be the cause of sin and disbelief since he chooses to extend saving mercy only to some while withholding it from others. They would say that it seems to undermine God’s love to say that Jesus did not do the same thing for all people or pay the same price for all souls.

Read rest of article HERE

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