Hi, thank you for sharing some of your valuable time with me.
At the outset of this post I want to make it clear that I don’t have all the answers to every paradox in scripture. I make mistakes; I’m merely a flawed man who loves Jesus Christ, and tries to understand scripture as best I can with the guidance of the Holy Ghost. So if you think that I’m wrong on this issue, you have every right to disagree with me.
Incidentally, I used to believe in “unlimited” atonement, and I believed that the position of “limited” atonement was blasphemous. But my view of this topic has changed, as I now believe that Jesus’ atonement is limited.
I should also mention in advance of what you’re about to read that none of my beliefs come from reformers, creeds, or confessions. (I don’t read or follow any of their stuff, nor do I care what any of them ever said about anything).
So let’s consider this matter together shall we?
First of all, let’s consider some of the verses of scripture where the view of “unlimited” atonement is supported:
“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”
4 “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”
“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
So then if Jesus has taken away literally every person’s sins, then why are people judged and damned to hell in their sins?
The following verse which illustrates what I’m talking about. Notice that Jesus communicated to certain Jews that their “sins” would not be taken away if they didn’t believe on Christ. Notice the plurality of “sins” that is referenced.
“I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.”
• So did Jesus take away all of the sins of His rejectors?
• Or did His rejectors die in their sins? (Was evil Judas Iscariot’s sins taken away?)
Moreover, Jesus spoke in parables to His disciples so that His rejectors couldn’t understand His words and be forgiven of their sins.
Read it for yourself:
11 “And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:
12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.“
• So then if He died for everyone’s sins, then why would He thwart certain people from receiving the forgiveness of sins?
Now consider Revelation 20.12 please:
“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”
• Notice again the plurality of iniquity that these damned souls will be judged by. Their “works” that they will be judged by are of course iniquity, (sin).
But believe it or not, what I’ve already presented to you so far isn’t the main reason why I believe in limited atonement.
Here’s the main reason why I believe in limited atonement, (and it’s a reason that a lot of people probably don’t even think about).
~ It’s the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified for the sins of people who lived before the cross, just as much as He was crucified for the sins of people who lived after the cross. And I’m about to explain why that’s a significant factor when considering the atonement that He made for people’s sins. ~
The Lord Jesus Christ was punished for, achieved forgiveness for, the sins of elect saints of old like Job, Rahab, Samson, Moses, and David and countless other children of God who lived before the cross.
Romans 3.25 refers to this transaction:
“Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;”
Therefore knowing that Jesus was punished for the sins of people who lived and died before the cross, if He died for the forgiveness of literally every single person’s sins, then that would necessarily mean that He died for the forgiveness of sins of everyone whom God had already condemned to hell prior to Jesus’ crucifixion.
• Do you believe that God forgives people’s sins by applying Jesus’ blood-atonement to them after He’s already sent them to hell to be punished for their sins? (I don’t). I don’t find anywhere in scripture where condemned sinners who are under God’s punishment in hell later receive God’s forgiveness by Jesus’ blood atonement, and then get to go to heaven.
“And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
“And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”
“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
• Additionally, if Jesus died as the punishment for literally every single person’s sins, then God would be executing punishment twice, on two different people, for the same sins. (The condemned person who is punished in hell for their sins, while Jesus is punished on the cross for those exact-same sins).
Therefore the only way that I know how to understand those verses which speak about Jesus dying for everyone, and Jesus taking away the sin of the world, is if the references are meaning that Jesus died for all of the sins of God’s people who are among every earthly classification of people.
I see the atonement not as a potential atonement for everyone in general, but a completed atonement specifically for God’s people.
28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”
So that’s my thoughts on the scope of Jesus’ atonement.
And like I said, I don’t have all of the answers to every paradox in the bible, but constantly learning from God is an exciting pursuit in itself. And of course my intention is to be honoring to God in presenting information as accurately as I can.
I also welcome any (KJV) scriptural assistance that anyone wants to share with me.
All glory to the risen Lord Jesus Christ, and no glory to us whatsoever.