Monday, July 5, 2010

Brennon's Thoughts: Verses All Arminians Should Know Part 2

Brennon has posted a great list of scriptures that support Arminianism. I'm not certain that they support the Arminian position. Rather than try to responding to them all at once, I will break them down into several posts based on how the list is presented.This topic interests me because I really wanna know what the Bible says. Here is part 2 regarding the idea that Bible teaches that atonement is available for all.

Verses that show the atonement is available for all:

       We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
       each of us has turned to his own way;
       and the LORD has laid on him
       the iniquity of us all.

I think without question, everyone has gone astray. This agrees with other scriptures that tells us about Jesus died for all.
28"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

The passage indeed tells us that all who come to Jesus are welcome but it does not tell us anyone can come when they get ready.
  • Matthew 18:14 - The Father does not wish that any should perish (anti predestined-reprobation).
 10"See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.
 12"What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. 14In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost. - Matthew 18:10-14

I think we need to look at the context of verse 14. Who are the Father's little one? Everyone?  Nope. Jesus is talking about the sheep and we know that not everyone is the sheep. I do agree that predestined re-probation is not supportable because re-probation is default. Before one knows they are elected to salvation, they are going to hell whether they know it or not. God knows they are elect, but they don't.
  • John 1:7 - Jesus intended for all, wants all to believe.
Oops, this passage is not regarding Jesus himself:

 6There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. 8He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. - John 1:6-8
The passage is about John the Baptist and does not talk about Jesus' intention or desire. The point to John the Baptist was to point the way to Christ.
29The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30This is the one I meant when I said, 'A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.' 31I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel." - John 1:29-30

I don't see how John the Baptist was saying that atonement was available for all considering that not everyone is going to get it it. It says to me that it's only through the Lamb of God - Jesus  -  that sin is done away with. I do not see this as a promise that Jesus substitutionally paid for the sins of everyone who has ever lived.
16"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Again God is the actor. He does it. He sets it in motion. Jesus is not suggesting that those who believe believe because of their own volition. Further, Jesus did not need to condemn the world because it's in the crapper whether or not He came.  Jesus came to fix it not make it worse - and He has.
33For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."

51I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."
Jesus does not suggest that the eating of the bread He gives is something that people can eat on their own. Jesus tells us what happens when we take the bread.
47"As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. 48There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day. -  John 12:47-48

Jesus is not saying that those who reject His words will not be judged for it. They will be.
  • Romans 3:23-24 - All have sinned and all have access to justification in Christ Jesus.
 21But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
 27Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. 28For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law. 29Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. 31Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law. - Romans 3:23-30

I don't see how Paul is making the argument that everyone is justified in Christ. He is explaining how the atonement justifies us.
  • Romans 5:6 - Christ died for the ungodly. Since all are ungodly, Christ died for all.
6You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
 9Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! 10For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. - Romans 5:6-11

Paul affirms that  all have sinned but he does say that Christ died for all. :Look at verse 8 and 9 and 10. We are reconciled to God through the death of Jesus. Christ died for us true.. and we are all sinners and ungodly. Yet Paul did not say Jesus died for all. He died for us. Who is us? We - those who believe in Christ.
  • Romans 5:15 - Since sin spread to all, Christ's atonement is meant for all.
 15But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!
Christ's atonement is a gift. A gift can't be earned or obligated only received. And it's not a gift to all but to many.
  • Romans 10:13 - Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
13for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
 Agreed, but it does not say that everyone has the ability or the opportunity to call on the Lord. It's a gift.
14For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

Does Christ's love compels everyone? Nope. Was Paul telling us that all no longer live for themselves or only for those whom Christ died for? I don't think so. I don't see how "all" mean every human being in this context.
  • 1 Timothy 2:3-6 - God desires all men to be saved, and gave Himself for all
1I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— 2for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time. - 1 Timothy 2:3-6

It is impossible to understand verse 3-6 without 1 -3. The "This" that pleases God is that we make prayer and intercession for everyone and living lives characterized by holiness and godliness.While God wants all men to be saved because he gave us one mediator - one sacrifice. I think that this this is the strongest verse against limited atonement. I'm not to comfortable saying that Paul is referring to only :"all kinds of men" not what it says. I'm planning to do more study on this but I don't think we can use it to say that everyone has equal opportunity and ability. Indisputably it is a gift of God.
8For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
 9This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance 10(and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.- 1 Timothy 4:8-10

Jesus is the hope of all men because He is the only hope we have. It seems to me Paul is highlighting that the salvation is actualized in only those who believe. It's not saying that believers believe as an act of their own will aside from God drawing them.

  • Titus 2:11 - God's necessary grace that leads to repentance appears to all.
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.
I think this verse goes back to the fact that no one has an excuse for not accepting God's grace because it is being plainly presented.
 5It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. 6But there is a place where someone has testified:
   "What is man that you are mindful of him,
      the son of man that you care for him?
 7You made him a little lower than the angels;
      you crowned him with glory and honor
    8 and put everything under his feet." 
    In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him. 9But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
 10In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.- Hebrews 2:5-11

The passage does not say that everyone shares in the atonement of  Jesus' death. Look at verse 10. The author says that "many" not "all" sons are brought to glory.  
8First he said, "Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them" (although the law required them to be made). 9Then he said, "Here I am, I have come to do your will." He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.  - Hebrews 10:8-10

Is the writer of Hebrews saying that Jesus' sacrifice was once for all people or once for all time? I'd say once for all time because the letter then goes on and draws a parallel between Jesus' office as high priest and the high priests of the Levitical priesthood who made sacrifices for the whole people of Israel. In those days the sacrifices weren't for the sins of the whole world but only for Israel - God's people. Why would the ultimate and best sacrifice also not be for only the people of God?
9The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

The Greek term from which "wanting" is translated comes from the word "Boulemai" and that term shows desire but not follow through. It's passive. In effect, God does not want anyone to perish but He isn't going to force it or make it happen. Peter is agreeing with Paul who wrote in Romans 8 that the whole of creation is waiting for the sons of God to be revealed.  This is something God does.

14And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.

The verse does not say that the whole world is saved it's saying that no one will be saved apart from the Son.
  • 1 John 2:2 - Jesus is the propitiation, not just for believers, but for the whole world.
1My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for  the sins of the whole world.

Admittedly here is another verse that seems to be against Limited atonement and will require more study on my part. If Jesus is the atoning sacrifice for the whole world then he took away the sin of the whole world also. I don't believe the Bible teaches that Jesus just makes up savable. I believe that his sacrifice literally saves us on an individual level. This verse seems to be saying that this is true for the whole world. Yet there is something going on because we know that some of the world will be going to hell. This isn't a contradiction just proof that I don't understand everything.
  42They said to the woman, "We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world."

The Samaritans in that town understood that Jesus is the savior of the world in that there is no salvation apart from him not that everyone is justified and reconciled apart from faith.

 17The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.

 One of my favorite scriptures. Due to Romans 8:5-8

 5Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. 8Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. 

I have to conclude that no one apart from God can come to Jesus. I mean without God revealing to you that you are sinful, needy, and thirsty that you even know you need a savior. A mind controlled by a sinful nature is unable to process that or even agree. 

Additionally, I think there are two scriptures the shed even more light on atonement.

8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. - Ephesians 2:8-10

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. - Romans 6:23

These passages as wells as other underscores that salvation is a gift - not something to be earned - or obligated. The atonement was enough to save every human being ever but salvation itself is something for which we can only thank God for.

Brennon's Thoughts: Verses All Arminians Should Know
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