Jump to content

The Protestant Community

Christian and Theologically Protestant? Or, sincerely inquiring about the Protestant faith? Welcome to Christforums the Christian Protestant community. You'll first need to register in order to join our community. Create or respond to threads on your favorite topics and subjects. Registration takes less than a minute, it's simple, fast, and free! Enjoy the fellowship! God bless, Christforums' Staff
Register now

Fenced Community

Christforums is a Protestant Christian forum, open to Bible- believing Christians such as Presbyterians, Lutherans, Reformed, Baptists, Church of Christ members, Pentecostals, Anglicans. Methodists, Charismatics, or any other conservative, Nicene- derived Christian Church. We do not solicit cultists of any kind, including Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Eastern Lightning, Falun Gong, Unification Church, Aum Shinrikyo, Christian Scientists or any other non- Nicene, non- Biblical heresy.
Register now

Christforums

.... an orthodox (true and correct when contrasted with Liberal theology) Protestant forum whose members espouse the Apostolic doctrines in the Biblical theologies set forth by Augustine, Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, John Calvin and John Knox etc. We do not "argue" with nor do we solicit the membership of people who espouse secular or cultic ideologies. We believe that our conversations are to be faith building and posts that advance heretical or apostate thinking will be immediately deleted and the poster permanently banned from the forum. This is a Christian Protestant community for people to explore the traditional theologies of Classical Protestantism.

Christian Fellowship

John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.

Recommended Posts

by Robert Reymond

 

Regarding the verses which are alleged, by virtue of the presence of some form of the Greek word (pas, “all” or “every”), to teach either a universal reference for the saving work of Jesus Christ (John 12:32; Rom. 3:22–24; 5:18; 8:32; 1 Cor. 15:22; 2 Cor. 5:14–15; 1 Tim. 2:5–6; Tit. 2:11; Heb. 2:9) or a universal saving will on God’s part (Rom. 11:32; 1 Tim. 2:4; 2 Pet. 3:9), it should be noted at the outset of our response that the phrase “all men” is not a self-defining expression; it must always be interpreted within the universe of the discourse in which it occurs. And while it certainly can refer to every individual without exception in some contexts (see, e.g., Rom. 3:23; 5:18a; but even here there is one exception), quite often it is apparent that it cannot do so. A survey of a few verses not critical to the present discussion in which pas, occurs will illustrate that the word “all” always needs to be interpreted sensitively within its context and in light of the analogia Scripturae principle.

 

Matthew 10:22

 

When Jesus informed his disciples that they “would be hated by all men [hypo panto¯n] because of my name,” he surely did not mean by his “all” that everyone without exception would hate them, but rather that only some non-Christians in all the social strata of life would hate them. Many would not even know them in order to hate them. And, of course, Christians love them.

 

Acts 26:4

 

When Paul declared: “All the Jews [pantes (hoi) Ioudaioi] know the way I have lived ever since I was a child,” he surely did not intend to suggest that every Jew in the world knew his life story. Surely he intended by his “all” to refer only to those religious leaders in Israel who had experienced social and formal associations with him.

 

1 Corinthians 15:27

 

Consider now the “everything” (panta) in this verse. Because of both the specific situation which was governing the presence of the word “everything” in Psalm 8:6 (“You put everything under his feet”) and the point which he himself desired to make, when Paul cited Psalm 8:6 in 1 Corinthians 15:27 he felt it was necessary, in order to correct any who might conclude that “everything” means everything without exception, to add this caveat: “Now when it says that ‘everything’ has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ.” In other words, here is Paul quite properly interpreting the word “everything” within the “universe” of Psalm 8:6 and concluding that “everything” does not necessarily mean “everything”—God himself in this instance must be excluded. Moreover, here we see Paul doing the very thing—restricting the meaning of an “all” to something less than “all without exception”—that Arminians insist that Calvinists must not do.

 

Joel 2:28; Acts 2:17

 

Two other examples where the universal term “all” must be sensitively handled are Joel 2:28 and Acts 2:17, the New Testament citation of Joel’s prophecy. Even Arminian theologians do not teach that the “all flesh” in these passages means that God will someday pour out his Spirit on all men without exception. When Peter cited Joel 2:28 on the Day of Pentecost, he specifically applied the “all flesh” (pasan sarka) upon whom God’s Spirit would be poured most immediately to those in “the whole house where they were sitting” who had just been filled with the Spirit, in distinction from all the others in the Jerusalem environs, many of whom would never receive the Spirit.

 

The context both in Joel and Acts makes it clear that God was promising, by his reference to “all flesh,” that he would pour out his Spirit on all kinds of people, who would make up the community of the redeemed (see “your sons and daughters,” “your old men and young men,” “my servants, both men and women”). In sum, the “all flesh” in the Joel prophecy clearly refers to all the redeemed without distinction, and to make the passage refer to all people without exception would be a travesty of Scripture interpretation.

 

1 Timothy 6:10

 

Again, no responsible interpreter of the phrase, “all the evil” (panto¯n to¯n kako¯n), in 1 Timothy 6:10 would argue that love of money is a root of all the evil that has ever been planned and perpetrated by rational beings. In no sense could love of money have been a cause of Satan’s downfall, nor does love of money have anything whatever to do with a lot of the sins that human beings commit. Paul was obviously writing in general nontechnical terms, as modern versions of 1 Timothy recognize when they translate the phrase by “all kinds of evil” (NASB, NIV), which means “many kinds of evil.” So here again, the “all” cannot be construed as brooking no exceptions.

 

John 12:32

 

Coming now directly to the passages pertinent to the present question, it should be obvious, when the Savior declared in John 12:32 that he by his death would draw “all” (pantas) to himself, that he was not entertaining the notion that all mankind without exception would come to him. Neither actual history nor statements which Jesus himself makes elsewhere (e.g., Matt. 25:31–46; John 5:28–29; 6:70–71; 17:12) will tolerate such an interpretation. Rather, coming as his remark does immediately after certain Greeks had requested to see him (John 12:20–23), and inspired by their request, Jesus, obviously thinking in nationalistic terms, said what he did, intending that not only Jews but Greeks (representing Gentile nations generally) as well would come to know the attraction and benefits of his redeeming love. These features in our Lord’s teaching to his disciples doubtless provided the matrix for their own later thinking and teaching, and demonstrates how wrong Joachim Jeremias (whom Stott cites in his The Cross of Christ) is when, in his The Eucharistic Words of Jesus,18 he contends that Jesus’ “many” in his great ransom saying in Mark 10:45 is “not exclusive (‘many, but not all’) but, in the Semitic manner of speech, inclusive (‘the totality, consisting of many’)” of “the godless among both the Jews and the Gentiles.”

 

Romans 3:22–24

 

In this passage the “all” of Romans 3:23 is admittedly universal (excepting God, Christ, and the holy angels, of course) as to its referent. But because it has the appearance of being the antecedent of the present passive participle ( dikaioumenoi, “being justified”) standing at the head of verse 24, the “all” is also said to teach that God’s soteric provision in Christ is as universal as the sin of verse 23. The argument goes like this: The redemption and propitiation referred to in 3:24, 25 (being aspects of Christ’s cross work) serve as the ground for God’s act of justification referred to in 3:24, 26. But because God’s justifying activity modifies the “all sinned” of 3:23 (which, in light of the occurrence of the same phrase in Romans 5:12, doubtless includes the imputation of Adam’s sin to all mankind descending from him by ordinary generation), it would follow that Christ’s cross work is as extensive in its intended provision as man’s sinful condition.

 

The entire force of this argument rests on the assumption that the participle “being justified” in verse 24 is to be related directly back to the “all sinned” of verse 23 (“all sinned and are falling short … [the same “all”] being justified”). However, the syntax of this passage is not that “cut and dried.” I doubt that any Greek scholar will disagree with John Murray’s observation that the participle in verse 24 “does not appear to stand in relation to what precedes in a way that is easily intelligible.”19 Not only does the sense of the passage support Murray’s statement but the actual soteric universalism that ensues by implication from such a syntactical connection also makes this connection tenuous at best. Accordingly, many commentators, Murray among them, urge that the “being justified” of 3:24 should be connected syntactically to 3:22a (“even a righteousness of God which comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe …, being justified …”), with 3:22b–23 to be construed as standing parenthetically to the main idea of the sentence. This is possible but in my opinion not likely, inasmuch as the participle “being justified” in 3:24 is in the nominative case while the “all who believe” is in the accusative case.

 

I would urge, therefore, another syntactical possibility, namely, that a period should be placed at the end of verse 23 and that the participle of 3:24, having been rendered by Paul in the nominative plural due to the attraction of the several plurals in the immediately preceding context and intended by him causally, should commence the protasis of a new sentence. That is to say, it should be translated, “Because we are being justified.…” The apodosis of the sentence would then commence at 3:27: “…, where then is boasting?” The sentence would then read as follows:

 

3:24: Because we are being justified freely by his grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus [from verse 25—”through faith in his blood”],

[3:25–26: A short excursus elaborating upon God’s purpose for Christ’s redemptive work now ensues—“whom God ‘set forth’ as a propitiating sacrifice … in order to ‘evidence’ his justice” when he forgave Old Testament saints and “to ‘evidence’ his justice in the present age, with a view to him being both just and justifier of him who believes in Jesus”],

 

 

3:27: where then is boasting [answering to the world’s boasting implied in 3:19]? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but through the law of faith.

 

This arrangement makes perfect sense, removes the syntactical difficulty mentioned earlier, and eliminates both the implied universalism and the universal atonement that the Arminian sees here.

 

Romans 5:18b

 

From the context it is apparent that just as Paul intended the first occurrence of the “all men” phrase in 18a to refer within its theological universe (the “one trespass” of Adam) to all those “in Adam” who were represented by him (in fact at one time all men, except Christ), so also in 18b he intended by the clause, “by one righteous act [the free gift] unto justification of life [shall come] unto all men [pantas anthro¯pous],” that the second “all men” phrase should refer within its theological universe (the “one righteous act” of Christ and the justification of life to which it leads) not to all men without exception but only to all those “in Christ” (en Christo¯) who are represented by him. The same must be said for Paul’s second use of “the many” (hoi polloi) in 5:19 and his statement, “in Christ shall all be made alive,” in 1 Corinthians 15:22. In the last case, he clearly means “all men [who are] in Christ” shall be made alive; the only alternative is to conclude that Paul teaches here universal resurrection unto salvation.20

 

Romans 8:32

 

Those to whom Paul refers by his “us all” (he¯mo¯n panto¯n) in Romans 8:32 are clearly to be restricted by the contextual universe of the passage to those whom God predestines, calls, justifies, and glorifies (8:30), to those whom God has chosen (8:33), to those for whom Christ is interceding (8:34), and to those who shall never be separated by anything from the love of God in Christ Jesus (8:35–39). Clearly, the “all” to whom Paul refers in Romans 8:32 are the elect.21

 

Romans 11:32

 

In this verse Paul writes: “God has bound all over to disobedience in order that [hina] he might show mercy to all [tous pantas].” The Arminian alleges that the second half of the verse should be understood to teach that God’s reach of mercy is as expansive and all-encompassing as the disobedience of men is said to be in the first half of the verse, which is just to say that God wills his salvific mercy for all men without exception. Two things should be said in response: First, it is incredible that the Arminian would use this verse at all to teach his universalism, for at the same time, in the interest of making room for human freedom as the decisive factor in men’s salvation, he must completely ignore its primary lesson, that it is God who is the sovereign subject of both verbs. He is the one who is first credited with sovereignly shutting “all” up to disobedience in order that he may show mercy to all. Where is there any room for the human will as the decisive factor in salvation in this Pauline declaration (see Rom. 9:11–16)? Second, as everywhere else, the double “all” here must be interpreted by the context, and so here I will simply cite Warfield’s exposition of the verse:

We must not permit to fall out of sight the fact that the whole extremity of assertion of the ninth chapter [of Romans] is repeated in the eleventh (xi.4–10); so that there is no change of conception or lapse of consecution observable as the argument develops, and we do not escape from the doctrine of predestination of the ninth chapter in fleeing to the eleventh. This is true even if we go at once to the great closing declaration of xi.32, to which we are often directed as to the key to the whole section—which, indeed, it very much is: “For God hath shut up all unto disobedience, that he might have mercy upon all.” On the face of it there could not readily be framed a more explicit assertion of the Divine control and the Divine initiative than this; it is only another declaration that he has mercy on whom he will have mercy, and after the manner and in the order that he will. And it certainly is not possible to read it as a declaration of universal salvation, and thus reduce the whole preceding exposition to a mere tracing of the varying pathways along which the common Father leads each individual of the race severally to the common goal. Needless to point out that thus the whole argument would be stultified, and the apostle convicted of gross exaggeration in tone and language where otherwise we find only impressive solemnity, arising at times into natural anguish. It is enough to observe that the verse cannot bear this sense in its context. Nothing is clearer than that its purpose is not to minimize but to magnify the sense of absolute dependence on the Divine mercy, and to quicken apprehension of the mystery of God’s righteously loving ways; and nothing is clearer than that the reference of the double “all” is exhausted by the two classes discussed in the immediate context,—so that they are not to be taken individualistically but, so to speak, racially. The intrusion of the individualistic–universalistic sentiment, so dominant in the modern consciousness, into the interpretation of this section, indeed, is to throw the whole into inextricable confusion. Nothing could be further from the nationalistic-universalistic point of view from which it was written, and from which alone St. Paul can be understood when he represents that in rejecting the mass of contemporary Jews God has not cast off his people, but, acting only as he had frequently done in former ages, is fulfilling his promise to the kernel while shelling off the husk.
22

 

 

Clearly, “nationalistic-universalistic”—referring to all elect Jews and Gentiles—is the sense in which the double “all” must be understood in 11:32 (see the “just as … so also” comparison of 11:30–31).23

 

2 Corinthians 5:14–15

 

I have already demonstrated that the “alls” (panto¯n, hoi pantes) in 2 Corinthians 5:14–15 for whom Christ died cannot refer to all men without exception but refer rather to those who, by virtue of their union with Christ, “no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them (p. 678).” To conclude otherwise and to insist that the Apostle is asserting that Christ died for everyone without exception will require the interpreter also to conclude, as we have already seen, that all men without exception have lived, are now living, and shall live for the honor and glory of Christ.

 

In his sermon on 2 Corinthians 5:14–15 referred to earlier, J. Gresham Machen inquires into what Paul meant by the word “all” in this passage. He concludes:

Well, I suppose our Christian brethren in other churches, our Christian brethren who are opposed to the Reformed Faith might be tempted to make the word “all” mean, in this passage, “all men”; they might be tempted to make it refer to the whole human race. They might be tempted to interpret the words “Christ died for all men everywhere whether Christians or not.” But if they are tempted to make it mean that, they ought to resist the temptation, since this passage is really a very dangerous passage for them to lay stress on in support of their view.

In the first place, the context is dead against it.… All through this passage Paul is speaking not of the relation of Christ to all men, but of the relation of Christ to the Church.

In the second place, the view that “Christ died for all” means “Christ died for all men” proves too much. The things that Paul says in this passage about those for whom Christ died do not fit those who merely have the gospel offered to them; they fit only those who accept the gospel for the salvation of their souls. Can it be said of all men, including those who reject the gospel or have never heard it, that they died when Christ died on the cross; can it be said of them that they no longer live unto themselves but unto the Christ who died for them? Surely these things cannot be said of all men, and therefore the word “all” does not mean all men.
24

 

 

1 Timothy 2:5–6

 

Paul’s statement “Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all [panto¯n],” must be interpreted in harmony with his earlier statement, “God our Savior, who wills [thelei] all men [pantas anthro¯pous] to be saved” (2:3–4). Paul’s earlier statement cannot possibly be construed to mean that God decretally wills the salvation of all men without exception, not only because such an interpretation would require the necessary implicate that all men without exception will in fact then be saved, which is denied by such verses as Matthew 7:23 and Matthew 25:46, but also because such an interpretation conflicts with the several Pauline and other New Testament declarations to the effect that before the creation of the world God chose only some men to salvation (see again Rom. 8:28–30; 9:11–23; 11:6–7, 28; Eph. 1:4–5, 11; 2 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 1:9). Nor is it likely that Paul means that God wishes or desires the salvation of all men without exception, for surely what God desires to come to pass, he would have decreed to come to pass.25 Therefore, Paul’s earlier statement is best understood to mean that God wills (that is, decrees) to save (some from) all categories of men but not all men without exception. This interpretation receives support both from the later “all kinds of evil” in 6:10 which we have already considered and from Paul’s earlier usage of “all men” (panto¯n anthro¯po¯n) in 2:1, which is also best taken this way. Not only would “prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings” in behalf of all men without exception be positively evil, for such prayers would then need to be offered for the dead and also for the one who has committed the “sin unto death” which John does not encourage (1 John 5:16), but also Paul’s following phrase in 2:2a, “for kings and all those who are in authority,” indicates that he was thinking in terms of categories of men—that is, all kinds of men—when he urges “prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings to be made in behalf of all men.” In sum, Paul urges that prayers be offered in behalf of all classes of men—even kings and governors—because God has willed all classes of men—even kings and governors—to be saved. When Paul then declares in 2:5–6 that Christ “gave himself as a ransom for all,” he doubtless presumes that he will be understood, against the earlier contextual background, to mean that Christ died for particular men in all those categories of men whom God wills to save. Then later, when he describes the living God as the “Savior of all men, that is, believers” (1 Tim. 4:10),26 he doubtless presumes again that he will be understood, against the earlier contextual background, to mean that God is the Savior of believers, who are found among all categories of men.27

 

Titus 2:11

 

With regard to Titus 2:11, scholars disagree over whether the dative “to all men” (pasin anthro¯pois) should be connected syntactically to the verb “has appeared” or to the adjectival noun “saving,” that is to say, whether Paul meant to say that “the grace … [that is] saving has appeared to all men” or “the grace … has appeared [that is] saving all men.” The latter construction is the more likely possibility because the adjectival noun “saving” immediately precedes the dative “all men.” But for the present purpose it makes little substantive difference which construction one prefers since it is evident from Scripture, history, and Christian experience that the grace that has appeared in Jesus Christ is not, in fact, actually saving all men without exception nor has salvific grace even appeared to all men without exception, much less saved them. It is true, of course, that salvific grace did appear in a very special way when Christ came “for us men and for our salvation,” and holds out the prospect of salvation to all who will believe. In this respect there is surely a universality about the saving grace of God in Christ. But beyond this sense of universality, for the reasons already stated, most likely not even the Arminian would insist upon pressing the literalness of the “all men” expression here so as to encompass all men without exception. As a matter of fact, as we have already seen elsewhere, because Paul refers in the immediately preceding context to “older men” (2:2) and “older women” (2:3), to “young women” (2:4) and “young men” (2:6), and to “slaves” and “masters” (2:9), most likely he again is thinking in terms of all categories of men (including even slaves) and not of everyone without exception (note the connecting gar, in 2:11). And it is not an insignificant feature of the passage that the emphasis in the context moves immediately from the “all men” to the redeemed community (see the immediately following “teaching us” and “we should live”), giving again virtually the sense that the “all men” to whom grace has savingly appeared are to be defined in terms of the redeemed community, the church (note: “all men, teaching us …”). And of that community envisioned by the “us” and “we,” Paul declares that Jesus Christ “gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a special [periousion] people, eager to do what is good” (2:14). So in the very context where some would urge a distributive universality for Christ’s atoning work, the particularity of the intention behind Christ’s cross work and the speciality of the redeemed community resulting from that cross work receive the emphasis.

 

Hebrews 2:9

 

The statement in Hebrews 2:9 to the effect that Jesus was made a little lower than the angels “so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone [pantos]” has been interpreted by proponents of a universal atonement to mean that Christ’s death has significance for all men distributively without exception. But this interpretation cannot be exegetically sustained. Those for whom he “tasted death,” that is, died, are immediately described as those “many sons” whom God intended to bring to glory (2:10), the “sanctified” who with the Sanctifier are of the same family (2:11), Christ’s “brethren” in whose likeness he was made when he became man (2:11, 12, 17), Christ’s “children” whom God had given him (2:13), and “Abraham’s seed” whom he came to help (2:16). Nothing in the context would support a universalistic application of Christ’s death to all men without exception. To the contrary, the entire context suggests that it is Christ’s own who is the referent in the writer’s “everyone.”28

 

2 Peter 3:9

 

Finally, there is the statement of 2 Peter 3:9 which the universalist alleges also teaches a universal saving will in God: “[The Lord] is patient with you, because he does not want [me¯ boulomenos] any [tinas] to perish, but all [pantas] to come to repentance.” Again, the contextual universe will allow no such conclusion. In 3:8 Peter addresses those to whom he is writing as “Beloved” (agape¯toi), a term everywhere acknowledged to be a term for Christians or God’s elect. Then to them he says: “[The Lord] is patient with you [hymas]” (referring to the Christians he is addressing),29 offering as his ground for this reassuring promise to these Christians the axiomatic truth: “because he does not want any [of you elect] to perish, but all [of you] to come to repentance.” Clearly the referent of his “any” is the Christian elect to whom he has been speaking and his “all” refers to the elect of God in their entirety; and his point is God’s concern for the church: the Lord, he says, is delaying his coming in order that he might bring the whole elect of God to repentance. To argue to the contrary, that is,

to argue that because God would have none of those to perish, but all of them to come to repentance, therefore he hath the same will and mind towards all and everyone in the world (even those to whom he never makes known his will, nor ever calls to repentance, if they never once hear of his way of salvation), comes not much short of extreme madness and folly.
30

 

 

The “World” Passages

 

Those who espouse a universal and indefinite atonement also seek to marshal to their side, in addition to the verses above, certain other verses which contain the word “world” (kosmos). For example, they allege that John’s use of “world” in John 3:16, his reference to “the whole world” in 1 John 2:2, and Paul’s use of “world” in 2 Corinthians 5:19 place the correctness of their view beyond all doubt. These advocates must assume, of course, that the word “world” in these verses necessarily refers to men, and indeed, to “all individuals without exception.” But does it? As we noted concerning the phrase “all men,” the word “world” too is not a self-defining term but can have a variety of meanings.31 For instance, while it is certainly true that in some verses (for example, Rom. 3:19) “world” refers to all men (but even here there is one exception, even Christ!), in Romans 1:8 and Colossians 1:6 “world” has reference to the “world” of the Roman Empire; in Romans 11:12 “world” refers to the “Gentile world” in contrast to Israel; in John 17:9 “world” refers to other men over against Christ’s disciples, the latter being excepted from the group designated the “world”; and in 1 John 2:15 “world” carries an ethical connotation and is synonymous for the evil system that stands over against God and is hostile to all that God is and approves.

 

John 3:16

 

Accordingly, when John declares that “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” (John 3:16), quite likely he intended by the word “world” what he intended by it in 1 John 2:15. In Warfield’s brilliant exposition of John 3:16, after demonstrating that the word “world” cannot meaningfully refer to all men without distinction without bringing disrepute upon the love of God which receives the emphasis in the verse, he offers the following observation on the word “world” as it occurs therein:

[The term “world”] is not here a term of extension so much as a term of intensity. Its primary connotation is ethical, and the point of its employment is not to suggest that the world is so big that it takes a great deal of love to embrace it all, but that the world is so bad that it takes a great kind of love to love it at all, and much more to love it as God has loved it when he gave his son for it.… The passage was not intended to teach, and certainly does not teach, that God loves all men alike and visits each and every one alike with the same manifestations of his love: and as little was it intended to teach or does it teach that his love is confined to a few especially chosen individuals selected out of the world. What it is intended to do is to arouse in our hearts a wondering sense of the marvel and mystery of the love of God for the sinful world—conceived here, not quantitatively but qualitatively as, in its very distinguishing characteristic, sinful.
32

 

 

1 John 2:2

 

With respect to 1 John 2:2, where John writes: “he is the propitiation for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the whole world,” Murray writes:

We can find several reasons why John should have said “for the whole world” without in the least implying that his intent was to teach what the proponents of universal atonement allege. There is good reason why John should have said “for the whole world” quite apart from the assumption of universal atonement.

1. It was necessary for John to set forth the scope of Jesus’ propitiation—it was not limited in its virtue and efficacy to the immediate circle of disciples who had actually seen and heard and handled the Lord in the days of his sojourn upon earth (see I John 1:1–3), nor to the circle of believers who came directly under the influence of the apostolic witness (see I John 1:3, 4). The propitiation which Jesus himself is extends in its virtue, efficacy, and intent to all in every nation who through the apostolic witness came to have fellowship with the Father and the Son (see I John 1:5–7). Every nation and kindred and people and tongue is in this sense embraced in the propitiation. It was highly necessary that John … should stress the ethnic universalism of the gospel.…

2. It was necessary for John to emphasize the exclusiveness of Jesus as the propitiation. It is this propitiation that is the one and only specific for the remission of sin. [in other words, if the world has a propitiation at all, Jesus is it. This is the sense, I would submit, in which 1 John 4:14 and John 4:42 also should be taken: when John here and the Samaritans earlier declare that Jesus is “the Savior of the world,” they are saying that he and he alone is “the world’s Savior.” If he is not, then the world has no Savior—author.]

3. It was necessary for John to remind his readers of the perpetuity of Jesus’ propitiation. It is this propitiation that endures as such through all ages.…

Hence the scope, the exclusiveness, and the perpetuity of the propitiation provided sufficient reason for John to say, “not for ours only but also for the whole world.” And we need not suppose that John was here enunciating a doctrine of propitiation that is distributively universal in its extent.
33

 

 

2 Corinthians 5:19

 

Finally, with respect to Paul’s statement in 2 Corinthians 5:19: “God was, in Christ, reconciling a world unto himself, not imputing to them their sins,” it is enough simply to note that the “world” before Paul’s mind here could not possibly have been all men without exception, because about this “world” of men he immediately says that God was not imputing their sins to them. This is manifestly not true of men distributively in a universal sense. Moreover, the “world” of 5:19 is synonymous with the “us” of 5:18, about whom it is said still further in 5:21 that Christ was made sin for them that they might become the righteousness of God in him—again not descriptive of mankind without exception. Manifestly, the “world” here is the world of pardoned believers who are being declared righteous in God’s sight, only for the sake of the righteousness of Christ imputed to them, which they receive through faith alone.34

 

ENDNOTES

18. Joachim Jeremias, The Eucharistic Words of Jesus (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1955), 228–29

19. John Murray, The Epistle to the Romans (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1968), 1:113–14.

20. See Owen, The Death of Death, 240–41.

21. See Murray, Redemption—Accomplished and Applied, 65–69.

22. Benjamin B. Warfield, “Predestination,” in Biblical and Theological Studies (Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1952), 314–15.

23. Calvin interprets the second “all” of this verse to refer to “classes of men” (Institutes, III.xxiv.16)

24. Machen, God Transcendent, 134–35; see also Owen, The Death of Death, 238–40, and Murray, Redemption—Accomplished and Applied, 71–72.

25. Some Reformed theologians teach that God can and does earnestly desire, ardently long to see come to pass, and actually work to effect things which he has not decreed will come to pass. Basing his conclusions on his expositions of Deteronomy 5:29, Ezekiel 18:23, 32; 33:11; Matthew 23:37; and 2 Peter 3:9, John Murray states in “The Free Offer of the Gospel,” Collected Writings of John Murray (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1982), that God represents himself as “earnestly desiring the fulfilment of something which he had not in the exercise of his sovereign will actually decreed to come to pass,” that he “expresses an ardent desire for the fulfillment of certain things which he has not decreed in his inscrutable counsel to come to pass,” that he “desires … the accomplishment of what he does not decretively will,” that Christ “willed the bestowal of his saving and protecting grace upon those whom neither the Father nor he decreed thus to save and protect,” that “God does not wish that any man should perish. His wish is rather that all should enter upon eternal life by coming to repentance,” and finally, that “there is in God a benevolent lovingkindness towards the repentance and salvation of even those whom he has not decreed to save” (4:119, 130, 131–32). John H. Gerstner similarly asserts, but without the requisite scriptural support, in A Predestination Primer (Winona Lake, Ind.: Alpha Publications, 1979) 36–37, that God sincerely “strives with men whom He knows and has predestined should perish,” that “God, who knows all things, including the fact that certain persons will in spite of all efforts reject and disbelieve, continues to work with them to persuade them to believe,” and that “God, who knows the futility of certain endeavors to convert certain persons, proceeds to make these endeavors which He knows are going to be futile.”

If one followed this trajectory of reasoning to its logical end, one might also conclude that perhaps Christ, though he knew the futility of his endeavor, did after all die savingly for those whom his Father and he had decreed not to save. But all such reasoning imputes irrationality to God, and the passages upon which Murray relies for his conclusions can all be legitimately interpreted in such a way that the Christian is not forced to impute such irrationality to God. For these other interpretations I would refer the reader to John Gill, The Cause of God and Truth (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Sovereign Grace, 1971), 4–6, 22–26, 28, 62.

26. malista, can bear the sense of further definition (“that is”), according to S. K. Skeat, “‘Especially the Parchments’: A Note on 2 Timothy IV.13,” Journal of Theological Studies 30 (1979): 173–77.

27. See Calvin, Institutes, III.xxiv.16; Owen, The Death of Death, 231–35.

28. See Owen, The Death of Death, 237–38.

29. The Greek New Testament (United Bible Societies) gives the “you” an A rating. Bruce M. Metzger, Textual Commentary on the New Testament (New York: United Bible Societies, 1971), 705, writes: “Instead of hymas the Textus Receptus, following secondary textual authorities (including K 049 Byz Lect), reads [he¯mas, “us”].” The doctrine being discussed is unaffected by either reading.

30. Owen, The Death of Death, 236. Calvin argues that what Peter means here is that God wills that those be saved whom he brings to repentance, and then he argues that God, in whose hand resides the authority to grant repentance, does not will to give repentance to all men without exception. (Institutes, III.xxiv.16).

31. See Owen, The Death of Death, 192–93

32. Warfield, “God’s Immeasurable Love,” in Biblical and Theological Studies (Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1952), 516

33. Murray, Redemption—Accomplished and Applied, 73–74. See also Roger R. Nicole, “The Case for Definite Atonement,” Bulletin of the Evangelical Theological Society, 10, no. 4 (Fall 1967): 206.

 

Source: https://www.monergism.com/%E2%80%9Ca...80%9D-passages

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jesus loves the little children -- all the children of the world...

 

I think in that song all can mean all.

 

I never heard anyone singing

 

Jesus loves the little children -- some of all types of the children in the world

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Anto9us said:

Jesus loves the little children -- all the children of the world...

 

I think in that song all can mean all.

 

I never heard anyone singing

 

Jesus loves the little children -- some of all types of the children in the world

Lol, but the song isn't Scripture though.

And to be technical, Jesus does love everyone, but not all are choosen for salvation according to his will.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
Articles - News - Registration Terms