Tuesday, August 3, 2010


While in conversation with a friend who is a Calvinist about Limited Atonement he said he had a verse which would end all teaching of Jesus dying for all of humanity. I asked him to give me the verse which would end that teaching:

Revelation 5:9 And they sang a new song, saying,
“Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
FROM every tribe and language and people and nation,
10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.”

I capitalized the word from to indicate what he emphasized when reading that verse. When a person emphasizes a word in a passage it pays to watch out. What we see here is a scene from heaven after the resurrection of the dead. This is where the church catholic is gathered from all time and all nations. Yes indeed those were ransomed from every tribe, language, people and nations. What is clearly does not say is that those who are in attendance were the only ones died for. Those who refuse to trust in Jesus’ perfect life, death, burial and resurrection do not receive these gifts. That in no way indicates that those gifts are not theirs or that God in did not want them to have eternal life.

This is a sadness. Due to his or her own stubborn refusal to believe in Jesus that instead of eternal life the unbelievers are entering into eternal death. Many believers that I have talked to have loved ones and friends who are great folks but have a steadfast refusal to trust in Jesus. What these dear ones are trusting is in his or her own goodness. That if there is a god in their thoughts it is a false god who will weigh the good against the bad and all will be swell. Still others have children who were raised in the faith but have rejected it for various reasons. This can cause hours of tears in concern and prayer for these children’s eternal salvation.

One thing the L does for some of my reformed is to give them an out. A fiction which they can tell themselves so that the sadness can be kept at bay. Others eventually will commence blaming God for the lost condition of their family or friends. “Why did you let my son and daughter be born? Didn't you have enough kindling for hell?” This is an example how the L of TULIP can steal peace. How can a man or woman with a child who rebels against Christ as many young people do not ask similar questions at least in the heart?

Revelation 21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” ESV

God does not explain in his holy word, apart from unbelief, why that even though Jesus died for all sinners why some are saved and others lost. Father is merciful to his children so we can go ahead and pray and cry for our lost family and friends. Jesus did not die in order to send people to hell perhaps he will grant them true repentance and faith in Jesus. Let us believe this good news and live in the peace that it offers instead of telling ourselves the fiction of Limited Atonement. Sorry my friend no sale. Okay, not sorry. Instead very grateful that we can know, objectively, we are atoned for in the death of Jesus.

In the name of Jesus. Amen. †


Julie said...

Start to blame God for not saving our loved ones.... makes me wanna cry. Old as the garden, blaming God.

Anonymous said...

David, I love your "Getting the "L" out of here" series, especially because my old Adam and sin-tainted reason need daily reminders that God loves ME, regardless of what my feelings and the devil say. I'm looking forward to the next installment; there are definitely plenty of other great Scriptures on this topic left (1 Tim. 4:10, 2 Peter 2:1, etc.) Larry, I enjoyed your response to part 9, too, and I agree wholeheartedly with the Foolishness of God recommendation--that book is fantastic! As Lutherans, we spend a lot of energy refuting the decision theology from the "give your heart to Jesus" folks (and rightly so), but unfortunately it seems (to me, anyway) that the despair-inducing, soul-destroying doctrines of Calvinism (especially limited atonement) often slip under the radar when talking about false doctrine.

X said...

Hey. I made that graphic. lol