This text is a part of the 10 Issues You Ought to Know collection.
The very first thing we should always say on the outset is that restricted atonement is an unlucky phrase as a result of right here is the atonement of Christ, and now it feels like somebody desires to restrict it. Why would we need to restrict atonement for sinners? I believe the phrase particular atonement is a extra optimistic approach to discuss this doctrine. For the needs of this text, I will use the phrase particular atonement in every of those 10 factors.
1. Particular atonement is a approach of talking in regards to the intent and nature of Christ’s demise.
The doctrine of particular atonement states that, within the demise of Jesus Christ, the triune God supposed to attain the redemption of each individual given to the Son by the Father in eternity previous, and to use the accomplishments of his sacrifice to every of them by the Spirit. In a nutshell: the demise of Christ was supposed to win the salvation of God’s folks alone; and never solely was it supposed to try this but it surely successfully achieved it as nicely. Jesus will likely be true to his identify: he’ll save his folks from their sins. On this regard, the adjective ‘particular’ does double responsibility: Christ’s demise was particular in its intent—he died to save lots of a specific folks; and it was particular in its nature—his demise actually does atone for sin.
2. Particular atonement has courted controversy within the Christian church.
For some, particular atonement is a ‘grim doctrine’ (Karl Barth), containing ‘horrible blasphemies’ (John Wesley); for others, it’s a ‘textless doctrine’ (Broughton Knox), arrived at by logic slightly than by a simple studying of the Scriptures (RT Kendall). Pastorally, particular atonement is considered because the Achilles’ heel of the Reformed religion, quenching a zeal for evangelism and alluring despair slightly than assurance for the believer. With such a checkered historical past, one could nicely ask why we should always even talk about the doctrine, by no means thoughts consider it. However simply because a doctrine is controversial doesn’t imply it shouldn’t be mentioned, defended or embraced. Have been that the case, we’d not be Trinitarian Christians who maintain to justification by religion alone!
3. The Bible itself asks the query of the intent and nature of Christ’s demise.
As you learn the Bible, you see that it speaks of Christ’s demise being for a lot of, for all, for the world; and but it additionally speaks of Christ’s demise being for me, for us (believers), for a folks, for his church. So whether or not we prefer it or not, the Bible forces us to consider the intent and nature of Christ’s demise, by presenting us with an obvious pressure. It’s our process to work out tips on how to deal with that pressure as we interpret these completely different texts.
4. Nobody Bible verse solutions the query of the intent and nature of Christ’s demise.
Christian doctrine isn’t arrived at by offering a number of proof texts right here or there. If we handled doctrine like that, then we must affirm justification by works and never justification religion alone, as there’s a textual content clearly stating the previous (James 2:24) however no such textual content stating the latter. The identical could also be mentioned about different essential doctrines just like the Trinity or the 2 natures of Christ in a single individual. These doctrines are arrived at by holding collectively a spread of biblical texts, whereas on the identical time synthesizing internally associated doctrines that relate to the doctrine in view. Within the case of particular atonement, this consists of doctrines equivalent to union with Christ and the Trinity. For instance, after we think about the atonement in gentle of our union with Christ, then finding the particularity of the atonement in the meanwhile when Christ died begins to make sense; or after we think about that the work of every individual of the Trinity is at all times carried out in concord with the opposite individuals of the Trinity, we notice that when Christ died there couldn’t be ‘cross’ functions (pun supposed) within the Godhead.
5. Particular atonement gives us with private assurance.
Martin Luther mentioned that the sweetness of the gospel is discovered within the private pronouns: “the Son of God who liked me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). Particular atonement helps to personalize Christ’s demise and deepens our appreciation of his love for us. Exactly as a result of he died as Somebody for some folks, when he died on the cross, we have been on his thoughts (cf. John 17). However greater than that, as a result of Christ’s demise propitiated God’s wrath for all of our sins, it implies that we can not expertise God’s wrath on the long run day of judgment. The value has been paid, the penalty borne, the regulation glad, and condemnation eliminated.
‘Cost God can not twice demand—
First at my bleeding Surety’s hand
After which once more at mine.’
6. Particular atonement motivates us for evangelism and mission.
The gospel we proclaim is one during which Christ has propitiated God’s wrath in opposition to sinners—not doubtlessly or hypothetically—however really. And since he has undoubtedly accomplished this for every kind of individuals, we should always preach the gospel indiscriminately to all, figuring out that Christ will save these for whom he died. Revelation 5:9 is our motivation: “by your blood you ransomed folks for God from each tribe and language and folks and nation . . . .”
Particular atonement helps to personalize Christ’s demise and deepens our appreciation of his love for us.
7. Particular atonement doesn’t exhaust the which means of the cross.
Particular atonement says one thing important about Christ’s demise, but it surely doesn’t say every thing there’s to say. There are various elements of the atonement which should be affirmed alongside its particular intent and nature: the sufficiency of Christ’s demise for all; the free and indiscriminate proclamation of the gospel to all; God’s love for the non-elect and his salvific stance toward a fallen world; the atonement’s implications for your complete cosmos and never merely the church.
8. The doctrine of particular (or indefinite) atonement won’t save us.
Christians who belong to the Reformed custom love their doctrines, not least the ‘doctrines of grace’, of which particular atonement is one. However there’s at all times the hazard that we slip into considering that doctrine—particularly, pure doctrine—is what saves us. However we generally is a card-carrying biblical inerrantist, and nonetheless find yourself in hell. Simply take a look at the Pharisees. We generally is a member of Christ’s church, covenantally signed and sealed, and nonetheless find yourself in hell. Simply take a look at Judas. And the identical goes for ‘5-point Calvinists’. The hazard is that we find yourself loving the Scripture, or the signal, or the doctrine greater than the Saviour. When our religion is in one thing aside from Christ, then there isn’t any salvation. Particular atonement doesn’t save us, simply as religion doesn’t save us. Jesus Christ, who supplied a particular atonement, saves us by religion. “The saying is reliable and deserving of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus got here into the world to save lots of sinners” (1 Tim. 1:15)—not a particular (or indefinite) atonement.
9. Particular atonement is splendidly displayed within the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
Within the phrase that accompanies the 2 sacraments of the Christian church, two phrases spotlight the reality of particular atonement.
French Reformed Baptismal Liturgy—
For you, little little one,
Jesus Christ has come, he has fought, he has suffered.
For you he entered the shadow of Gethsemane and the horror of Calvary.
For you he uttered the cry, “It’s completed!”
For you he rose from the useless
and ascended into heaven
and there he intercedes—
for you, little little one, regardless that you have no idea it.
However on this approach the phrase of the Gospel turns into true.
“We love him, as a result of he first liked us.”
The Lord’s Supper Liturgy—
“That is my physique, which is given for you. This cup that’s poured out for you is the brand new covenant in my blood” (Luke 22:19–20).
10. Particular atonement is a phenomenal doctrine as a result of it spotlights the unity of Christ’s individual and work.
Particular atonement shows the individual of Christ performing his work in union together with his folks for the glory of his Father by the assistance of his Spirit. Particular atonement tells the story of the Warrior-Son who involves earth to slay his enemy and rescue his Father’s folks. Christ is the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep, a loving Bridegroom who offers himself for his bride, and a victorious King who lavishes the spoils of his conquest on the residents of his realm. He’s the Head who sacrifices himself for the physique, the Grasp who dies for his buddies, the Firstborn who offers himself for his brothers and sisters, the Final Adam who falls right into a deep sleep and from his riven facet, as with the primary Adam, comes his bride.
Why would you not need to consider the doctrine of particular atonement?