News

Puritan Gems

Friday, January 04, 2008

1 John 2:2 and Limited Atonement

“He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2)

The preceding passage is often cited as a case against Limited Atonement, and has caused much confusion for the Calvinist. What does this passage mean?

The heart of John’s Epistles concerns the Judaist heresy. Over and over again, he warns that “No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.” (1 John 2:23). It also appears as if he was writing to Jewish Christians in particular, those who had been “anointed by the Holy One” (1 John 2:20) and knew the truth (1 John 2:21). John was writing to those who had the “old commandment … from the beginning” (1 John 2:7), most likely referring to Jewish converts (the Gentiles did not have the old commandment from the beginning).

So when John tells us that Christ “is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only”, he is using the pronoun “ours” to refer to Jewish Christians. Those who push this passage to favor unlimited atonement must assume that “ours” and “the whole world” consists of a dividing line between Christians and non-Christians, and that is a huge assumption. John Gill comments:

1Jn 2:2 - And he is the propitiation for our sins,.... For the sins of us who now believe, and are Jews:

and not for ours only; but for the sins of Old Testament saints, and of those who shall hereafter believe in Christ, and of the Gentiles also, signified in the next clause:

but also for the sins of the whole world; the Syriac version renders it, "not for us only, but also for the whole world"; that is, not for the Jews only, for John was a Jew, and so were those he wrote unto, but for the Gentiles also. Nothing is more common in Jewish writings than to call the Gentiles עלמא, "the world"; and כל העולם, "the whole world"; and אומות העולם, "the nations of the world"”.

We have, on many occasions, examined the phrase “the world” in it’s limited sense. For example, if “the world” in 2 Corinthians 5:19 were meant to refer to every single individual on planet earth, we are stuck with universal salvation.

John, in his gospel, was a little clearer in his belief concerning the atonement.

“He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.” (John 11:51-52)

It is quite clear that John did not hold that Christ died for every single individual, but for “ours” (the nation – Israel), and not only for “ours” (this nation only), but for the “whole world”, (the children of God who are scattered abroad.) 1 John 2:2, when taken in context, is no threat to the Biblical doctrine of Particular Redemption, but instead is a powerful passage supporting Unconditional Election. Christ's death on the cross has secured eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12), and His work saves all that He intended to save.

36 comments:

Benjamin P. Glaser said...

Excellent Exegesis. I have fought long and hard in support of limited atonement and love to see others expound upon it with diligence and certitude.

Bryan said...

*reads*
*sees there is nothing to add*
*nods approvingly*

:)

Gomarus said...

Thanks. Good analysis. The clear parallel in John 11:51-52 is worthy of emphasis.

Jeff said...

Puritan Lad,

Thanks for explaining that. I was only exposed to Election several years ago, while attending a 3 1/2 years study in Bible Study Fellowship, Int'l. I'm finding the doctrine of Election to be extremely helpful in understanding a number of things, and a great blessing. I'm also seeing how Arminianism is not the true biblical viewpoint, and how Arminianism can lead to other erroneous doctrines.

Jeff said...

I'm going to post a link to this article on my blog site (in about 3 days), since I have been posting articles concerning Election on and off.

Jim said...

Limited vs Unlimited Atonement

Limited Atonement Foundational Teaching:

1. Christ died ONLY for the sins of the elect or Church
2. Christ did NOT die for the sins of the WHOLE world

List of verses that specifically state any of the above teachings: None


Unlimited Atonement Foundational Teaching:

1. Christ died for the sins of the world
2. Christ is the Savior of the world (or All),(or All Men)

List of verses that specifically state any of the above teachings:

I John 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.(Kosmos)

John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the

world. (Kosmos)

1 Tim 4:10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all

men, specially of those that believe.

John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world(Kosmos), that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should

not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world(Kosmos) to condemn the world(kosmos); but that

the world(Kosmos) through him might be saved.

John 4:42 And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that

this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world. (kosmos)

John 12:47 And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world(kosmos), but to

save the world. (Kosmos)

1 John 4:14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.(Kosmos)



If God wanted us to know that Christ died ONLY for the elect and not for the Whole World:

- wouldn't there be multiple passages telling us that it was ONLY for the elect or ONLY for the Church

- why would there be any verses saying He died for the whole world or for all men (leaving us to reinterpret)

- wouldn't there be verses stating that clearly and avoid having verses that "seemingly" state something else

- would God put us in the position that the mere quoting of His Word would be heresy
ie. Quoting 1 John 2:2 (sins of the WHOLE world) would be considered false teaching


Also: Is there any other doctrine where:

- God has a teaching He wants us to know; ie. Christ died for only the elect

- but He never tells us that specifically in His Word

- rather He gives us multiple passages that, when read normally, teach something totally different

- then God expects us to take those verses and by adding or changing the normal understanding of those verses we would come

up with what He really wants us to know which is totally different from what He said

- do you know of any other doctrine that God reveals in such a way


Now on the other hand , what if God wanted us to know that Christ died for the whole world and all men:

- what verses would He use to tell us

- wouldn't He use verses that speak of Christ being the Savior of the World

- wouldn't He use verses that speak of Christ being the Savior of All Men

- wouldn't He use verses that speak of Christ taking away the sin of the world


If God wanted us to know that His Son died for the whole world:

- WHAT POSSIBLE VERSES could He have used that He did not use in His Word already


Don't Ignore Two of the Basic Rules for Interpreting Scripture

1. Use the literal, historical, grammatical sense - use the normal meaning of the word
2. Exegesis - draw the meaning out of the text - don't use eisegesis - reading one's own ideas into the text


John 3:18 & 8:24 say that people are condemned for not believing

- what don't they believe for which they are condemned?

- if Christ did not die for them, how can they be condemned for not believing Christ died for them?


2 Cor 4:3-4 states that Satan has blinded unbelievers

- why would Satan hide the Gospel from the nonelect

- why would it make any difference if the Gospel shined on them

- why does Satan bother blinding them if the Gospel doesn't include them anyway

Puritan Lad said...

Jim,

Let's focus on this for a second.

Jim: "1. Christ died for the sins of the world
2. Christ is the Savior of the world (or All),(or All Men)"


If Christ died for the sins of all men, the are all men saved? Why od why not?

For more on the specific scriptures whcih you claim do not exist, see It is Finished! The Atoning Work of Christ. There is where you'll find the Scriptural Arguments. This particular post above only deals with one objection.

Jim said...

I simply said that there are no scriptures that explicitly say that Christ died ONLY for the elect. If you can tell me of one, please tell me. My greater question would be as I asked: John 3:18 & 8:24 say that people are condemned for not believing - what don't they believe that they are then condemned for not believing? I look forward to continued back and forth with you in a non-antagonistic forum. As I look at different blogs, I see way too much animosity and high-mindedness on both sides.

Puritan Lad said...

Jim,

Here are a few Scriptures.

"He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities." (Isaiah 53:11)

“He shall save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21)

“sanctified Himself, that they (those who the Father had given Him) also might be sanctified through the truth." (John 17:17-19)

"purchased the church with his own blood" (Acts 20:28).

"gave himself to us to redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar (chosen) people, zealous of good works" (Titus 2:14)

"And he took a cup, and gave thanks, and gave to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many unto remission of sins." (Matthew 26:27-28)

These verses support the idea that Christ's work provides actual redemption for many, whereas "unlimited atonement" provides "possible redemption" for everyone.

Actaully, John 3:18 & 8:24 don't teach that people are condemned for not believing. What John 3:18 actually teaches is that those who don't believe are "condemned already". It's not the act of unbelieving that condemns them, but their sins. John 8:24 bears that out. Those who don't believe will die in their sins, and their sins will condemm them.

JIM: "I look forward to continued back and forth with you in a non-antagonistic forum. As I look at different blogs, I see way too much animosity and high-mindedness on both sides."

Amen Jim. Unfortunately, too many on both sides are more interested in winning a debate and trashing others in the process than they are in the truth. As a former Arminian myself, I cna appreciate the objections that one may have to Calvinism.

Jim said...

Again - none of those verses say that Christ died ONLY for the elect.

“In Gal 2:20 Paul recognized Christ's love for him and that Christ gave Himself for him." But you would never teach that Christ died ONLY for Paul.

Again I reiterate: John 3:18 & 8:24 say that people are condemned for not believing - what don't they believe that they are then condemned for not believing?

Thank you for your responses.

Puritan Lad said...

Jim,

These verses do not say that Christ died for every single person without exception either. That is what you read into "the world", but that clearly is not what it means, unless you adopt universalism. What we do see that that Christ died to redeem only the elect, which is what the Scriptures I quote teach.

I'll repeat, John 3:18 & 8:24 do not say that people are condemned for not believing. They are condemned according to their works.

The real issue here is what Christ went to the cross to accomplish. If it was to actually redeem and save, then the atonement was limited only to the elect. Otherwise, you are stuck with universalism.

Jim said...

You say that John 3:18 & 8:24 do not say that people are condemned for not believing

Here is John 3:18

John 3:18 He who believes on Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already, BECAUSE HE HAS NOT BELIEVED in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.

I'm not sure it can be much clearer.

Also back to my original post:

2 Cor 4:3-4 states that Satan has blinded unbelievers here it is:

2Co 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
2Co 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which BELIEVE NOT, LEST the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them

- why would Satan hide the Gospel from the nonelect

- why would it make any difference if the Gospel shined on them

- why does Satan bother blinding them if the Gospel doesn't include them anyway

There are other verses I would also like your input but I will wait for your response on the above. Thanks again for your pleasant demeanor.

Puritan Lad said...

I’m not sure what this has to do with Limited Atonement, but…

Jim: “You say that John 3:18 & 8:24 do not say that people are condemned for not believing

Here is John 3:18

John 3:18 He who believes on Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already, BECAUSE HE HAS NOT BELIEVED in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.

I'm not sure it can be much clearer.”


Response: They are not condemned simply for unbelief. They are condemned “already”. Their unbelief is a secondary cause. They are condemned “each man according to His works” (Romans 2:6). Belief in Christ is the only means by which one can escape judgment for his sinful works. By not believing, they are still in the Covenant of Works. But the ability itself to believe is only given to the elect (Isaiah 43:10, Acts 13:48, Matthew 16:17)

Jim: “Also back to my original post:

- why would Satan hide the Gospel from the nonelect”

Response: Assuming that Satan knows who the elect are (He doesn’t) he hides it for the same reason the Christ hides it from them, “lest they should turn and be forgiven." (Mark 4:12), “even so Father, for it seemed good in your sight” (Luke 10:21). In stronger biblical terms, Satan blinds them because they are his, and they belong to him.

Jim: “- why would it make any difference if the Gospel shined on them.
Response: The gospel condemns them, so that they will receive the greater judgment (John 19:11, James 3:1)

Jim: “- why does Satan bother blinding them if the Gospel doesn't include them anyway”
Response: As I stated earlier, Satan does not know who the elect are, but “"The Lord knows those who are his” (2 Timothy 2:9). If the non-elect are enlightened by the gospel, however, it is to their judgment.

Jim: “There are other verses I would also like your input but I will wait for your response on the above. Thanks again for your pleasant demeanor.”
Response: Thank you as well. However, you haven’t clearly stated your position (though I have some ideas, so let me ask you…

1.) What did Christ’s atonement actually accomplish? Was He successful?
2.) In what way did Christ atone for the sins of the non-elect, or what benefit does His death profit them?
3.) If you take the position that “the world” and “all men” refer to every person without exception, then how do you avoid universalism?

I’m interested in how you would define atonement, and how you feel the Christ died for every single person, since that seems to be your position.

Jim said...

I want to deal with just one issue in this answer and then your other questions later OK?

You said "They are not condemned simply for unbelief. They are condemned “already”. Their unbelief is a secondary cause."

My question is: what specifically are the nonelect not believing for which they are being condemned?

As I asked in my original post,

- what don't they believe for which they are condemned?

They end up in hell for not believing something - what don't they believe?

Puritan Lad said...

One thing at a time. Good enough.

The “non-elect” are condemned for their sins, having not been given to believe in Christ. The end up in Hell for their works, as I have already shown. By not believing, they have not entered into the Covenant of Grace, but are still in the Covenant of Works.

Jim said...

I am going to present something I wrote quite a while ago which explains my overview of Scripture on all this. It is quite lengthy but I hope it helps to show where I am coming from.


My Talk With God

Imagine the following fictional scene:

I was caught up into the third heaven like the man Paul mentions in 2 Cor 12:2-4. Unlike that man, God wanted me to come back and tell this story. Here’s how it went:

God said, “ Jim, I have called you here because I know there is much heated debate and argument about one important subject. I understand that you believe and teach that my Son died ONLY for my beloved Church and not for the whole world. Therefore I have some questions for you:”

“What did I tell you in My Word in 1 John 2:2?”
I answered “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”

God said, “ Why do you not believe what I said?”

“Where, IN MY WORD, did I say something that would cause you to doubt what I said in I John 2:2? Where did I say that Christ died ONLY for a select group and NOT the WHOLE WORLD? On what basis do you doubt my literal words in 1 John 2:2?”

I had no answer.

God continued, “ I was very careful in the words I used – like I always am!” “I said ALL THE WORLD for a reason. Notice I did not say ‘All the Church” or ‘All the Elect’”

He continued, “ But Jim I didn’t stop with 1 John 2:2. What does John write in I John 4:14?”

I answered, “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world.”

God said, “Twice, in the same book, I had John write ‘world’. Both times you claim that I didn’t really mean world. You claim I really meant something else. It seems that John just couldn’t express what I really meant. Everybody should just know, somehow, that John meant something else.”

“Down on earth, you have said that Ephesians 5:25 says that Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her. You have used this verse and others to say that Christ died ONLY for the church. Jim, words are important; did I say Christ died ONLY for the church? Not here. Not anywhere.

“In Gal 2:20 Paul recognized my love for him and that Christ gave Himself for him. You would never teach that Christ died ONLY for Paul. I have said He died for Paul. I have said He died for the church. But I have also said that He died for the world. Why do you believe some of what I have said but question other parts. What criteria have you set up to accept some passages whole-heartedly but others you feel you must ‘reinterpret’?”

“I have laid out My Truth as exactly as I can. You seem to have trouble with the word ‘World’. You seem to think I did not mean all men when I said world, so I ask what did I tell you in 1 Tim 4:10?”

I answered, “that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe”

God continued, “I clearly said ALL and I clearly said MEN. If Christ was NOT the Savior of all men, I would NOT have had Paul write ‘the Savior of all men’. But to make sure that there would be no misunderstanding, I had Paul add ‘and especially those that believe.’ If I had meant Savior of all believers why would I have had Paul add ‘and especially those that believe.’. I said all men because I meant all men. I had Paul add that phrase so that it would be perfectly clear what I meant. Why have you taken what I have clearly said and made it say something that makes no sense? Why would I say that my Son ‘is the Savior of all believers, especially those who believe’?” By the way, I also made sure to use the word Savior that I always use for salvation.”

“Jim, why did My Son tell His disciples to ‘Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.’ What is the Gospel that you are to tell every creature? If the Gospel message is ONLY true for the elect why did I have Paul write, “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them’. Jim, why would Satan hide the Gospel from the lost? Why would it make any difference if it shined on them? Or to put it another way; why does Satan bother blinding them if the Gospel doesn’t include them anyway?”

Again I had no answer.

God continued,“I could keep showing you more and more verses from my Word that teach Christ died for ALL men – the whole world but, to review, look what I have said so far:

“I have said, Christ is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world”

“You have said that I really didn’t mean the whole world.”

“I have said, Christ is the Savior of the World.”

“You have said that I really didn’t mean the world.”

“I have said , He is the Savior of ALL MEN”

“You have said that I really didn’t mean all men.”

“Jim, DO YOU SEE A PATTERN DEVELOPING HERE?”

“I say something then you say I really didn’t mean that?

“What did I tell you in 2 Pet 2:1?”

I answered, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.”

God continued, “I told you here that these false teachers were condemned because they denied that I had bought them. I used the same word I used for your redemption. The price was paid, but they denied it. They did not believe it! They rejected my salvation.”


“I told you that people are condemned because they don’t believe. Notice how clearly I stated this in John 3:18. ‘He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, BECAUSE HE HATH NOT BELIEVED in the name of the only begotten Son of God.’

“In 1 John 5:10, I have said; ‘He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.’ It all comes down to ‘Does a person believe My Word about My Son?”
“The false teachers deny and reject what My Son has done for them! They reject who He is and what He has done and are justly condemned.”

“My Son told you in John 12:47-48:

‘And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.
He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.’”

“The judgment comes for not believing that my Son came to save the world which includes you, Paul, the Church and even false teachers.”

“I have said that:

1 Christ was the propitiation for the sins of the whole world.
2 Christ is the Savior of the world
3 Christ is the Savior of all men
4 Even false teachers have been bought by the Lord

“Jim, I have said, as clearly as I can, the above truths. You have taught that none of the above statements are true. You say that they actually mean something else. This is a very disturbing pattern. How many other passages must I show you before you acknowledge that I meant what I said. You claim you believe that I inspired my Word right down to the very letter, yet you seem to have no hesitation about changing the clear statements above to fit some preconceived notion that I could not mean what I clearly have said.”

“Jim, do you realize that you are basically saying that John, Paul & Peter all got it wrong. Think of what you are actually saying:

John got it wrong when he wrote ‘the whole world’.
Paul got it wrong when he wrote ‘all men’.
Peter got it wrong when he wrote even ‘false teachers’.

“In other words, you are saying that none of my apostles got it right. Each one really meant something completely different. They were my apostles, yet none of them wrote what you say I really meant. Stop for just a minute, Jim what if they really did write what I meant? What if I really meant that my Son died for the whole world. All of the sudden, John, Paul, & Peter got it EXACTLY right!

“I have stated with the clearest language possible that Christ died for the whole world – for ALL MEN. Jim, WHAT WORDS WOULD YOU USE to say that Christ died for the sins of the whole world/all men, that I have not used? Can you say it any clearer? “
“Again Jim; if I meant to teach you that Christ died for the sins of the whole world, what verses would I have used that are not found in my Word already?”

As I returned to earth, all my previous ‘arguments’ that had seemed so rational melted away in light of the clarity of God’s Word. I thought I had such an ‘airtight theology’.When I had come to these passages individually, I thought I could just readjust the words a little and all would still fit ‘my theology”. But when I was shown just how many verses I was not taking literally as God had stated them, I began to be troubled. I had to ask myself; who decides what part of God’s Word we take literally and what part don’t we? What are the ground rules for not taking God’s Word literally? I came to see that it wasn’t God’s Word that needed to be ‘adjusted’, rather it was ‘my theology’.

I resolved never to contradict the clear verses of God’s Word again. I may have lots of unanswered questions but I still must proclaim what God has said. I never want to change God’s Word just because I don’t understand it, just because I can’t explain questions that arise from what God clearly says. I cannot change what God has said just so I can understand what I think God has said. True exegesis must always trump my still-evolving theology. I must simply proclaim that I don’t understand it all, that I am still learning.

The End

Puritan Lad said...

Jim,

I glad you are committed to the scriptures, but I have given you several that said that Christ died for "many", "His People", "a peculiar People", "His Sheep", and "the Church".

Before we go any further, I need to ask. Are you a universalist?

I will be at my computer sparingly this week, but I do want to continue this discussion. Just letting you know in case I don't respond immediately.

scott Francis said...

So happy to have this reference to so much biblical foundation for particular redemption. My wife and I are selecting a book to lead a group study at our church and want to do 1 John. When I got to ch2:2,
I thought, oh goodness. How do I deal with this? We have a mix of Arminian and Calvinist believers. Once again, context is everything. John was speaking to Jewish believers, and they seemed to need a constant reminder that Gentiles can be part of God's household as well. This is not about universal atonement at all. I'm so blessed that Jesus death really saved me. How good He is!!!
Blessings to all on this site.

Scott

Puritan Lad said...

Thanks Scott,

The first thing that I would point out to an Arminian regarding 1 John 2:2 is that Arminianism is not an option here. There is either Calvinism (propitiation for the world = all men without distinction), or Universalism (propitiation for the world = all men without exception). It doesn't say that Christ is the "possible" propitiation or the "potential" propitiation, but that he is the (actual) propitiation.

I would highly recommend John Owen's "The Death of Death in the Death of Christ". It deals with all of these objections, and pretty much settles the argument.

Anonymous said...

Jim,

A hypothethical story which you get to craft the conversation with God will never settle the matter. I have followed the trail between you and Puritan Lad and you have not yet dealt with the overarching question. Are you positing an universal salvation.

In the N.T the word for Atonement is "hilasterion" which
translated means as “propitiation or mercy seat.”r It refers to a real removal of wrath from sinners. John 3:36 indicates those who do not believe still have their wrath abiding upon them. Yet Paul clearly indicates the sins of the redeemed are nailed to the cross in the Epistle of Colossians.

I would like to see you exegete 1 John 2 in light of John's disclosure in the Gospel of John 11:51-52.

I have to run but would like to hear back from me

Elder said...

It is a sad thing to see my calvinist friends always have to default to some convuluted "context" argument. This scripture is abundantly clear as are a dozen others. Limited atonement is a false teaching. Can you never interprete the bible without the prefilter of calvinism. The bible means exactly what it says. Our Savior died for the sins of the whole world, so that whosoever would come may. Happy resurrection day.

Puritan Lad said...

Sorry Elder, but context matters. As far as interpreting Scripture through "prefiltering", we all do this, and you are no exception.

With regards to the atonement, how does one come to Christ if what you say is true? If you say "by faith", then how does one obtain such faith?

If we consistently interpret the "world" universally the way you insist, how do you avoid universalism in passages like 2 Corinthians 5:19? The term is very rarely used in such a manner, not only in Scripture, but in common every usage.

Further, your statement that "Our Savior died for the sins of the whole world, so that whosoever would come may" is not an option is the above passage, as I have already suggested. If Christ is the actual propitiation for the sins of the whole world (without exception), then the whole world without exception is saved. Otherwise, christ is not the propitiation, but only a "possible" propitiation. While it sounds nice to hear that Christ died to save everybody (which, if true, He is a failure), what your doctrine really teaches is that Christ work on Calvary was effective in the salvation of nobody.

Looking forward to your answers to the above questions.

Blessings,

PL

moodygrad2000 said...

"It is a sad thing to see my calvinist friends always have to default to some convuluted "context" argument."

Yes, I always prefer prooftexting out-of-context. Much easier on the brain. Bumper sticker Christianity is the best!!

Puritan Lad said...

moodygrad2000,

Which position would you suggest that this passage supports, Calvinism or Universalism? If Christ is the actual propitiation for sins, there is really no other option.

Pete said...

Believing that Christ died for the sins of the whole world ( 1 Jn 2:2) does not link one to universalism. Though Christ died for the sins of the world, that does not mean all that He died for are saved. Those He died for must believe on Him for salvation(John 3:16). If man rejects Christ, then he is doomed to hell due to unbelief. If Christ draws a man to himself by the Holy Spirit through His Word and the man does not reject Christ, but receives His atoning work by faith, then he is saved. When someone receives Christ, it is not a "work" on their part, it is simply receiving Christ's gift to us as He tells us to in His Word.

Puritan Lad said...

Thanks for your comments Pete. I have a few questions for you to consider.

1.) You wrote, "Though Christ died for the sins of the world, that does not mean all that He died for are saved." What does it mean that Christ died for their sins? What exactly did Christ procure on their behalf if it wasn't salvation? Did Christ's death and resurrection actually save anyone, or did it merely procure a possibility of salvation?

2.) Is salvation contingent upon our faith or upon Christ's work at Calvary? If the former, how does a person obtain saving faith?

Trevor Speer said...

I have followed the conversation you guys have been involved with, with Jim. I do believe in limited atonement, however, I would like to see the explanations given for the verses Jim provided. I was lead to this site by coming across 1 John 2:2 and didn't know how to explain it with limited atonement.
Anyway, if you could give the explanations, that would be grand!

HChris said...

If 'world' means 'gentiles,' then John 3:16 reads, "For God so loved the [Gentiles] that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Does John contradict himself? If your analysis is correct, John 3:16 says God only loves the Gentiles, not the Jewish Christians. Is that a contradiction of 1 John 2:2? It means that the incarnation was only for the Gentiles. Odd, seeing that Jesus spent the majority of his ministry with Jews.

This is not exegesis. It is a defense of Limited Atonement and reads into the scripture that bias.

HChris said...

1) Prior to the crucifixion, no one chose to follow God. There was no possibility of salvation. Jesus made a way. We are to follow that way. The gift is from him, the choice to receive it is ours.

2) False dilemma. Without Christ's work on Calvary there is no gift of grace. If I don't receive the gift, it does me no good and I could never have received a gift not given. Therefore, Christ's work on the cross is the way of salvation which we humbly receive.

Puritan Lad said...

HChris: "If 'world' means 'gentiles,' then John 3:16 reads, "For God so loved the [Gentiles] that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Does John contradict himself? If your analysis is correct, John 3:16 says God only loves the Gentiles, not the Jewish Christians. Is that a contradiction of 1 John 2:2? It means that the incarnation was only for the Gentiles. Odd, seeing that Jesus spent the majority of his ministry with Jews.

This is not exegesis. It is a defense of Limited Atonement and reads into the scripture that bias."


Response: HChris, you may want to read a little more carefully before beating up strawmen. No one has suggested what you've written above.

HChris: "1) Prior to the crucifixion, no one chose to follow God. There was no possibility of salvation. Jesus made a way. We are to follow that way. The gift is from him, the choice to receive it is ours."

Response: Really? So everyone who lived prior to Christ is in Hell? Was Jonah mistaken when he wrote that salvation is of the Lord?


HChris: "2) False dilemma. Without Christ's work on Calvary there is no gift of grace. If I don't receive the gift, it does me no good and I could never have received a gift not given. Therefore, Christ's work on the cross is the way of salvation which we humbly receive."

Response: You didn't answer the question. How does a person obtain saving faith? Ephesians 2:8-9 says that it is a gift from God. Faith is the means, not the cause, of our salvation. We are saved by faith, not because of faith.

Anonymous said...

I'm a 5 point Calvinist but I do have issues with the text such as John 1:29. How would you respond to a text like John 1:29? You'll point out that Universalism is not a biblical concept.

Puritan Lad said...

As has already been pointed out, "the world" is rarely used in the universal since. It would be more appropriate to treat the phrase "the world (without distinction)" as opposed to "the world (without exception)". Otherwise, as you have pointed out, you have universalism.

Chip Williams said...

What are we to do with Hebrews 2:9? That Jesus is to taste death for every man.

Vincent said...

But 1 John isn't about the Jews-Gentiles heresy. But rather John vs the Gnostic movement. How does this eisegesis fit with this already addressed topic of the Jew and Gentile situation? Also, the letter was written to around Asia Minor . To where more Gentiles would be around. So,can you explain how it fits in that context?

Patrick Lao said...

I am neither in favor for Armenianism nor Calvanism. With that said I am unchurched and grew up a pagan all my life and then was called by God and given revelation of his gospel. No bible college or seminary school. I joined a Church that falls into both sides at times but doesn't openly teach either so I just had to read and learn on my own. Though I did take logical argument and notice a lot of that going around and so I will also be using Valid, Invalid, Thesis, Premise, etc. for how else can one argue? Just thought I'd give some background and know that I have no stake in either to defend either.

I believe both Calvinism and Armenianism to some extent and also believe both to be flawed to some extent because they are both trying to put God's word into their 5 point boxes. Furthermore, many points are dependent upon others or else they will fall. I believe both have truths and only together are they an accurate representation of the truth.

Id like to start by arguing the T in the Calvin TULIP, and also discuss how Limited Atonement is held up by it. If the premise and the conclusion of Total Depravity is found to be invalid, then Unlimited Atonement will also fall.

The real issue here is "Predestination" (or their definition of it) which Calvinists use to support all other conclusions like that of Unlimited Atonement.

Basically the premise sounds something like this:

Premise: Long ago God chose who was to be saved (benefit from the blood) and also who was to be lost (not benefit from the blood). If you are one of the lost there is no way you can choose an overrule God's choice.

Conclusion: Therefore God has already chosen who benefits from the blood of Jesus

But I would challenge this premise with Acts 17:26-27 which Teaches us something about the nature of predestination. It teaches that in predestination, men can and do decide all on their own, sinful as they are. This is where I have to stop and question based on this truth (premise) I conclude that the "Total Depravity" is invalid and the "Limited Atonement" being dependent upon that which is inqvlid, is now also invalid. Although faith & repentance are gifts, the gift does not take away the choice. We all know that anyone can reject a gift which doesn't have to affect the giver or degrade the giver.

Acts 17:26-27 reads,
"[26] From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. [27] God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us."

First of all the word "perhaps" cannot be ignored and needs to be reconciled into any premise that takes away free will in predestination.

Second, the writer of Acts does not use words that lead any reasonable person to believe that the saved and lost have already been predetermined and we can do nothing to affect that.

The words are "every nation", "the whole earth" and "men"

Or what of Jonah 2:8 that a saved person can "forfeit" the grace that could be theirs? This definitely stands in opposition to Irresistable grace.

The only reasonable conclusion is that faith & repentance is given as a gift so that no man can boast of any part of being saved and so God may have all the glory.

Additionally Romans 3 states that "all have sinned" and the law says that those same people (all whoever that is. Jews? Gentiles? ) deserved death.

In light of these premises I support the belief that Jesus did die for the total count of humanity that chooses salvation in him.


Hugh West said...

I've always understood 1 John 2:2 to mean that the death of Christ is sufficient to save a whole world. Such is its power. The gospel (Christ death, burial and resurrection) is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth. However, not everyone in the world WILL be saved. The gospel is unto all but is only upon all that believe. We can't really say that Christ died for the sins of the whole world, that is, the individual's sins because then God is obligated to save them. WHen I preached the gospel I never tell unsaved people that Christ for their sins. I tell them Christ on the cross made provision for the forgiveness of their sins if they would only receive Him as their Saviour.