Sunday, August 2, 2009
Getting The L Out Of Here. Part 5
Even though I spent many years with Calvinist beliefs it is unclear why Limited Atonement is needed in the mind of a Calvinist in order to have the Gospel. A dyed in the wool Calvinist as I was at one time will argue till the last breath that Jesus did not die for every person but rather only those who would believe. One of the verses that those who believe in Limited Atonement have attempted to hang their hats on is Matthew 25:13. The person will say “See Jesus does not even know the unbeliever!” Well lets paste that verse back into the context and see to whom that verse refers.
Matthew 25:1 “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5 As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. 6 But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7 Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. 11 Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ 12 But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.ESV
Notice that all 10 were invited to the wedding. Those who were foolish did not provide for the late arrival of the bridegroom not really believing he would come at any hour. The wise ones came prepared with extra oil for they believed he would come regardless of the hour. So the foolish were representing unbelievers who do not trust the promises of God to do what he says he will do. Placing that verse back into the context we see that it does not teach Limited Atonement at all. Parables are sayings of Jesus which admittedly are not clear at times. So we take clear passages to understand what is meant by the unclear.
We read in Ephesians 2:1 that we are dead in trespasses and sins. Dead not in the way that we are not breathing or moving about. Dead in this sense is being separated from God and his enemies. Those with faith later on in chapter 2:4-7 were made alive in Christ so we are seated in the heavenly places with him. Those who are outside of the faith are not seated with Christ and have no part of him. So the fact that he states he does not know them is explained by the fact of not being in Jesus. Those of us in Jesus are known and loved as sons and daughters of our Father. So yes it refers to those outside of Christ but in no way says they are outside of Jesus because he did not die for them.
So we see once again that Limited Atonement must be cooked up outside of scripture and in this passage once again read down on top of it to make scripture teach it. We should never seek to peer into the eternal decrees of God any further then he has given us scripture. Reason is a wonderful and needful thing to get through this fallen world. But it is a horrible practice to use it to try to figure out how God has ordered things.
By reason of the faith we are given we receive the benefits Jesus earned for us on the cross when he suffered the forsakenness of our Father in heaven for the sin of the world. What a horrible thing that is and so unnecessary for their sins were paid for by Jesus objectively but did not receive it by faith to their subjective justification.
Thank you Holy Spirit for the faith you have given us. Grant true repentance and faith to those we care for and others we do not know who are still outside of Jesus. Amen. †