Limited Atonement vs. Day of Atonement
Who did Jesus die for? Did Jesus die for the whole world or only for a select few?
Is Jesus Christ a Savior that failed if He died for all but all are not saved?
Whom did Jesus die for? Did Jesus succeed or fail in His mission to die for the sins of the whole world? According to Calvinism and people like Dr. James White Jesus only came to give His life as a sacrifice for a limited group of people, namely those who were chosen specifically by God to be saved. Dr. James White affirms the teachings of Calvinism that if Jesus’ sacrifice is offered for anyone (all in general) to be saved, (not just the chosen ones) and all are not saved, then Jesus as a Savior failed! Is this logical? Is this Biblical? Does this agree with what the Bible teaches?
On a site called Grace Online Library, which is Reformed in theology, and affirms the 5 points of Calvinism, they quote the following a lady asking a question to Dr. James White, and his reply.
Quote from the site: “The doctrine of Christ’s definite, particular or “limited” atonement is one of the most repudiated and misunderstood biblical doctrines. In a recent video teaching, Dr. James White mentions an incident when a Christian lady came up to him after one of his sermons asking him the loaded question, “You don’t believe in limited atonement do you?”” (Grace Online Library, You Don’t Believe in Limited Atonement, Do You?, Dr. James White, link)
Why is this a loaded question? This is an honest question that I believe many people such as myself wonder about in the doctrine of Limited Atonement, also known as particular atonement. The heart of the Gospel is in this question, is the Gospel of Jesus Christ available for anyone to receive? Can the Gospel be shared to anyone with them being able to be saved in Jesus Christ?
Quote from the site: “Dr. White responded by saying, “Yes, Maam, I believe that Jesus Christ saves everyone for whom He dies and He intercedes for them. Maam, who do you think He is interceding for today? …. the High Priest in the Old Testament, when he offered the sacrifice, he had to present the blood of the sacrifice in the holy place – everyone for whom he offered the sacrficie was those for whom he interceded, and He is interceding in heaven today in the presence of the Father specifically for those He is going to save. Do you really think he is interceding for those who are going to spend an eternity in hell and failing in His intercession?”” (Grace Online Library, You Don’t Believe in Limited Atonement, Do You?, Dr. James White, link)
This answer from Dr. James White is a typical answer that really is lacking in so many ways, and truly misses the heart of the Gospel for anyone to be saved. As pointed out before, in the Calvinist perspective Jesus is a failure if the Gospel of Jesus Christ is for anyone to be saved and at the same time people go to hell. Those such as Dr. James White and others whom are Calvinist in their perspective have misunderstood the teachings of the Bible, and sadly think they are defending it.
Take for example the Day of Atonement. According to the Bible the Day of Atonement was for all of Israel, and anyone who would convert to follow the Lord God. Does the Bible teach that the high priest failed because those of Israel did not obey in what the Lord God had commanded? Was the high priest a failure? Was God a failure? How about Moses, was Moses a failure if the people did not obey what the Lord God had commanded in regards t to the Day of Atonement.
The statement that Jesus Christ is a Savior that failed if people He died for are not saved is false and does not line up with the Bible. The doctrine of Limited Atonement does not line up with the Bible, and sadly has lead people in the Calvinist camp to many false assumptions. Let’s read Leviticus 23:26-31 and see what the Bible teaches about atonement, who it was for, and what conditions were given by God.
Day of Atonement
“26 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 27 “On exactly the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; it shall be a holy convocation for you, and you shall humble your souls and present an offering by fire to the LORD. 28 You shall not do any work on this same day, for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement on your behalf before the LORD your God. 29 If there is any person who will not humble himself on this same day, he shall be cut off from his people. 30 As for any person who does any work on this same day, that person I will destroy from among his people. 31 You shall do no work at all. It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places” (Day of Atonement, Leviticus 23:26-31 NASB)
The Bible teaches us that God had given specific instructions to Moses for the people of Israel for their sins to be forgiven. Notice there was conditions on the people, and that Moses was not held responsible if they did not obey what the Lord God had instructed. God was not a failure, nor a high priest, when people in the Old Testament did not obey the instructions given for them to be forgiven.
The same context is clearly taught in the New Testament with Jesus being the Savior for the whole world, of which He is the High Priest whom gave His life as a sacrifice for sins. If a person rejects Jesus, Jesus did not fail! Let me state this again, if people do not receive Him, those whom Jesus gave His life for on the cross, Jesus did not fail! It is the person or persons who failed to receive what God has offered to them to receive freely, not of works but of grace.
Jesus Christ Died for the Whole World
29 The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29 NASB)
14 As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 15 so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.
16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:14-18 NASB)
41 Many more believed because of His word; 42 and they were saying to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.” (John 4:41-42 NASB)
1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2 and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. (1 John 2:1-2 NASB)
Jesus Christ is a Savior for the whole world as the Bible clearly teaches! Jesus Christ is not a Savior that failed, but a Savior that loved the whole world with genuine love, and He gave His life for whoever to believe in Him to be saved and have eternal life! Amen
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