Thursday, March 15, 2012

Limited Atonement

The death of the Passover Lamb is typological of the death of Christ (Matthew 17:19, 26:28). The Passover Lamb was sacrificed for God's chosen people, not for the Egyptians who were not chosen (Exodus 12). Consider three things:
(1) Who the Passover Lamb was sacrificed for is inseparably connected to who God chose. God chose to redeem a people in Christ. The intent and efficacy of the atonement is in virtue of the Covenant of Redemption: The Father gave all His elect to the Son who would willingly take their place. 
(2) Unbelieving Egyptians could partake of the Passover Lamb, as there was no deficiency in the sacrifice itself to exclude the Egyptians from partaking of the Passover Lamb. The sufficiency of the atonement is in virtue of the dignity of the Sacrifice. The atonement is infinite in value (sufficient for all) because Christ suffered as the Divine-human person.
(3) Adam did not sin a certain amount for one person, a certain amount for another person, and would have needed to sin more if more sinners were to be condemned in him. Similarly, how many people Christ died for is irrelevant to the sufficiency of the atonement. If Christ died for everyone, for one thousand people, or for only one person, the same Sacrifice of infinite value would be necessary.
The atonement is sufficient for everyone in virtue of who Christ is: for this reason we can say that whosoever trusts in Christ alone will be saved.  The atonement is intended for and efficient for only the elect in virtue of who God chose to redeem in Christ, who willingly took the place of those God chose. Limited Atonement means that the atonement was only intended for and is only applied to the elect. Christ’s atonement rendered certain the salvation of those the Father had given Him. Christ secured the salvation of the elect by His redemptive work, to be applied by the Holy Spirit.
© Jonathan Williams, March 2012.

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