Friday, January 27, 2012

Limited Atonement - Pruning the TULIP

  Orthodoxy teaches that Christ provided "Limited Atonement". They say that it was limited to the "elect". That only the elect are the beneficiaries of His atonement. Those who teach and believe this are the ones who follow the teaching and doctrines of Calvin. As such, it is a Doctrine of man. Orthodoxy will say the doctrine is in the bible, the bible teaches it. I contend that much of what is taught is man-made and has no business being foisted upon believers who seek the truth.

  This limited atonement is the "L" in Calvin's TULIP doctrine. I want to take a closer look at this doctrine of "Limited Atonement". We will answer the following questions: 1. What does the word atonement mean and should it be in our English translation of the Greek Scriptures (New Testament)? 2. Did Christ Atone for our sins?  3. Was the action limited? As always let us turn to the scriptures for the answers!

  Let us first grasp what atonement means. Webster's 1828 Dictionary:  atonement, ATO'NEMENT, n. 1. Agreement; concord; reconciliation, after enmity or controversy. Rom. 5. 2. Expiation; satisfaction or reparation made by giving an equivalent for an injury, or by doing or suffering that which is received in satisfaction for an offense or injury; with for. And Moses said to Aaron, go to the altar, and offer thy sin-offering, and thy burnt-offering, and make an atonement for thyself and for the people. Lev. 9. 3. In theology, the expiation of sin made by the obedience and personal sufferings of Christ.

  1. Now that we see what it means, should the word atonement be in the New Testament? The word atonement appears only once in the KJV of the New Testament and atone does not appear at all. Here is the one verse: Romans 5:11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. (KJV) If the KJV translators would have been consistent with their translation, the word would have been rendered "reconciliation".

  Strong's Greek dictionary defines the Greek word katallagh katallage kat-al-lag-ay' as: exchange (figuratively, adjustment), i.e. restoration to (the divine) favor:--atonement, reconciliation(-ing). 
  I would suggest restoration and reconciliation capture the essence of what was accomplished by Christ's death on the tree. Christ was more than a substitute or exchange. Strong's definitions seem to always be broad and follow the KJV usage.

  The King James translators render katallagh katallage kat-al-lag-ay'  as reconciling in Romans 11:15, reconciliation in 2 Corinthians 5:18, and reconciliation in 2 Corinthians 5:19. I suggest they should have followed Wycliff, Darby, Young's and countless others who were consistent and render it reconciliation in Romans 5:11. So the answer is no. Atonement should not be in the New Testament. Atonement does not fully capture the description of what Christ accomplished for us. The word is found frequently in the translation of the Hebrew scriptures. It is appropriately used to describe the effects of the blood covering or the animal taking the place of the sinner.

  2. Did Christ atone for our sins? Yes, but He accomplished much more than that. We often hear of types and shadows. Orthodoxy teaches God told Abraham to offer Isaac as a burnt offering and because Isaac was the promised son, the atonement that was provided by the ram caught in the thicket applied only to the "elect". They say that the event with Abraham and Isaac was the type and shadow of Christ's death on the tree and it was limited to the elect only. Fast forward to new covenant times and they trust in Calvin instead of the scriptures. We hear sermon's that tell us Christ provided "Limited Atonement".

  Christ did much more than atone for our sins. In the Hebrew scriptures the burnt offering is associated with atonement and the forgiveness of sins. The blood was a covering to hide the sins. Once the priesthood was established, the priests took care of the burnt offerings. In 70 AD the priesthood went away! For Jews, the law went away once they believed on Christ. Believing Gentiles never had to bear the weight of the law. Thank God we have Christ! Christ did not continue the old burnt offering, atonement, covering and pardoning of sin; NO, thru Christ we are justified! Not guilty. Not, were guilty and pardoned or forgiven; NOT GUILTY. Justification is infinitely more than forgiveness or pardon.

  If your Pastor, Preacher, Elder teaches limited atonement ask him about this verse: Romans 5:18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. (KJV)

  Here is another rendering of the same verse: Romans 5:18 So, then, as through one offence to all men it is to condemnation, so also through one declaration of `Righteous' it is to all men to justification of life; (Young's Literal)

  Justification of life! Can you see that justification is much more than atonement?

  More accurately rendered:  Romans 5:11 and not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. (ASV) To be justified means to be not guilty. The free gift is grace! The result of grace is reconciliation with God.

  Atonement? Yes, He was a substitute, but He provided so much more that what our sin required; Christ was sacrificed for our sins but he was raised for our justification! Romans 4:25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. (KJV)

  3. Was Christ's action limited under Calvin's so called limited atonement? NO...absolutely not. The Calvinists teach that Christ died for the sins of only the "elect". This is definitely not what numerous verses in the scriptures say. I need only to repeat one that I have already used. Romans 5:18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. (KJV)

  I know, orthodoxy will say, but the all men in that verse are different. Not true. Read it. Adam sinned, all condemned. Christ's righteousness, all justified. It is the same ALL brothers and sisters. That verse is also in harmony with this one: 1 Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (KJV)  What more can one say? Christ did the work and you are the beneficiary!

  Thank God continually that you will not serve your just penalty for your sins. That penalty is death. Contrary to the Hell-fire and damnation guys, God said to Adam: Genesis 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (KJV)  The hell part is missing isn't it!

  Romans 11:32-36 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counseller? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
  In case you still doubt and still think that Christ's action is limited somehow, basque in the glory and peace of God's holy Word: Col 1:19,20 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. (KJV)

Reconcile all things in heaven and in earth to Himself! Wow!

For a great explanation of Paul's Evangel (Gospel) go here.

God is truly great!

  Christ is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords! No mere mortal or a doctrine made by man can limit His accomplished work. Time to prune that TULIP friends!

1 Timothy 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. (KJV)

Grace superexceeds!

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