Limited Atonement #1: Important Terms and Commanding Passages


Ways of defining the question

Limited atonement, Particular Redemption, Definite Atonement

The extent of the atonement

For whom did Christ die?


Vocabulary to master

The difference between: “all without exception” and “all without distinction”

The difference between: “all people” and “all types of people”

The word “world” in the Bible meaning: “every single person ever,” “Jew and Gentile,” “sinful humanity on whom God has pitying love,” “the known world,” “the mass of people under discussion in a given context”


Commanding Passages

I call these “commanding passages” because they are abundantly clear and logically specific, and they should therefore command the discussion.

The people Jesus died for are described using the following words:

1) Everyone who loves, is born of God, and knows God

1 John 4:7–11 “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. / He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. / In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. / In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. / Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”


2) His elect

Rom. 8:32–35 “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? / Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. / Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. / Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”


3) His sheep

John 10:11, 14–15: “The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep….I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as theFather knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for thesheep.”

John 10:16 His sheep includes both Gentiles and Jews “I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.”

John 10:26 “but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep”

Note that He doesn’t say, “you are not among my sheep because you do not believe”

Here Christ argues from definite atonement to belief, rather than from belief to definite atonement.


4) His church

Acts 20:28 “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.”

Eph. 5:25–27 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, / that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, / that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.”


5) His people

Matt. 1:21 “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.”


6) Many

Matt 20:28 “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Matt 26:28 “for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.”

Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Isaiah 53:1–12 “Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? / For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him. / He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. / Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. / But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. / All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. / He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth. / He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken. / And they made His grave with the wicked, But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth. / Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. / He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities. / Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.”

Heb. 9:28 “…so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.”


7) Those the Father has given to Christ

John 6:35–40 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. / But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. / All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. / For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. / This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. / And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

Heb. 2:13 (Quoting Psalm 40) “Here am I and the children whom God has given me”

John 17:1-12 “Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, / as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. / And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. / I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. / And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. / I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. / Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. / For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me. / I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. / And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. / Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. / While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.”

Note: In verse 12, it sounds as if Judas was one of those given by the Father and kept by the Son, and that He was then lost from that number. But Judas’s fate is in fact described in 1 John 2:19: “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.”

Dan 7:13-14 “I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man,
Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. / Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,
That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.”

2 thoughts on “Limited Atonement #1: Important Terms and Commanding Passages

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