WALKING AMONG THE TULIPS: REFORMED THEOLOGY IN JOHN SERIES (PART SIX)

By Colton Corter

Limited Atonement (3)

The second problem with such a universal reading of John 1:29 is that it blatantly distorts other biblical doctrines. Throughout the Bible, the atonement is explained as effectual and decisive. Indeed, most of the verbs related to the work of Christ on the cross are past tense. An example is 2 Corinthians 5. Christ has reconciled us to the Father by the double imputation of Christ’s righteousness and our sin. This reconciliation is not the making possible of reconciliation. Instead it is reconciliation purchased in full. This is because the ground of alienation, sin, has been nailed to the cross. Christ became cursed of God, taking our curse for our rebellion. There is no more sin left to atone for. God’s wrath due our sin has also been poured out on Christ. That is why there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ (Ro 8:1). All this to say that penal substitution is lessened when the atonement is thought to be general. There is no possibility for one ransomed by Christ to spend eternity in Hell. That condemnation has been poured out, the cup is empty. A general view of the atonement, even in inadvertently, undermines the truth of the atonement and the glories of Christ’s sacrifice.
There is not space enough to develop this out further. For further defense of this doctrine consult the following works: The Death of Death in the Death of Christ by John Owen, From Heaven He Came and Sought Her edited by David and Jonathan Gibson, Five Points by John Piper, Redemption Accomplished and Applied, by John Murray and a faculty lecture by Stephen Wellum of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary entitled, “What does the Extent of the Atonement have to do with Baptist Ecclesiology: an Experience of Doing Theology.”

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