Sunday, August 22, 2010

Getting the L Out of Here. Part 12

Charles Spurgeon in the following quote summarizes the challenge one faces when discussing Limited Atonement with an adherent:

I would rather believe a limited atonement that is efficacious for all men for whom it was intended, than a universal atonement that is not efficacious for anybody, except the will of men be added to it. (Charles Spurgeon, Sermons, Vol. 4, p. 70)

On first glance I would have to agree that I would rather believe in Limited Atonement than to have to add the work of an unbeliever to grace in order to obtain salvation. This would clearly be adding works to Jesus in order to bring about salvation. Whenever I find myself in conversation with a Calvinist this argument always raises as if he or she believes Lutherans teach free will due to denying Limited Atonement. This was one of my early delights when coming into Lutheranism! I can have a Jesus dead on the cross for the sins of the world as the scriptures clearly present. In addition I do not have to trust any decision I made in salvation to which my Arminians would point.

1 Corinthians 2:14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. ESV

Yes, my Calvinists, Lutherans also like verse 14. Pasting that back into context it shows once again that God is doing the saving work without the help of man. That we are given the gift of the Holy Spirit to deliver to us the forgiveness of sins and to instruct us in making judgments. However, nowhere in this section 1 Corinthians, the rest of the letter nor anywhere else in scripture does it say that the unbeliever is not atoned for. So it is not about what we would rather have, Mr. Spurgeon and my Calvinists, but what does scripture clearly teach. It teaches we have a Jesus who took the entire weight of God’s wrath for the entirety of mankind. We cannot have a Jesus who, in 2 Corinthians 5:19, reconciles the entire world so that the sins are not held against them and have a Jesus who only does reconciling for some of humanity. We have only one Jesus who is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

The salvation of men is God’s business. It is impossible to understand why some are saved and others lost. What it cannot be is that it is due to that person’s lack of decision which is not taught anywhere in scripture. It also cannot be that God did not desire the salvation of that person for scripture contradicts that idea. It is best to leave off speculating of the why and wherefore of this issue and believe the promises of God and live in the comfort they give.

pax domini. †

1 comment:

Larry said...

Yes brother David THAT is the tripping stone for the Calvinist.

They love that old “efficacious” versus “sufficient” artifice of theirs and its corollary “the external witness of the Word versus the internal witness of the Word via the Holy Spirit. But Luther said “wherever the Spirit is proclaimed without this Word (the objective external Word) and the sacraments, THERE is the devil.” Why do they do this? Because they vaunt the devil’s mistress above Scripture, reason, and think the only other possibility is “arminianism”. Reason only sees two ways, either a variation in men or a variation in God. Both ways lead to heresy and blasphemy of God. The irony here is LA ultimately leads back to the will of man via secondary proofs (utterly necessary) to prove “I have faith” to therefore know “I’m elected in that limited atonement”. Ironic indeed, the Calvinist is a nothing more than a Don Quixote fighting a “dragon of Arminianism free will” that is nothing but a wind mill, while leaving the real free will dragon in tact underneath the protection of their very own doctrine.

There is a third way (Luther shows us), the way of the Word ALONE. By way of fallen human reason the Calvinist, like the Arminian, must SEE so that it knows it is saved. But Luther shows that ALL articles of faith without exception are invisible to reason, “seen”, as it were by faith alone. In fact the invisibility of all articles OF FAITH to reason (sight, sound, heart felt) is utterly necessary so that literally room is made for faith ALONE (Calvinist don’t really have scripture, grace and faith ALONE ala Luther). The articles of faith be it justification, the sacraments, the incarnation, the Trinity, the two natures or even the righteousness we possess are ALL invisible to reason which makes judgments on what it experiences through the senses so that FAITH ALONE has room made and thus they are perceived. What is utterly invisible to reason is clear as day to faith alone. Free will comes from this reason!

Calvinism and Arminianism (and Rome and all fallen religions) say “faith (read reason’s version that is really false faith) is certain of things seen. But Scripture is crystal clear on this, faith (true) is certainty of things not seen!
Luther warned against this kind of false faith, its very tricky!