This has been a long time coming. I have purposed to write this blog many times in the past, but always decided against it, as I do not think “Confront Calvin” (CC) has much influence with his (weak) weekly blog posts. Ironically, this man uses the title “Confront Calvin”, yet, when confronted himself by actual Calvinists, rather than defending his arguments, he remains silent (or blocks them on Twitter, as he did me). I will be frank: this man is tremendously ignorant when it comes to Calvinism. He simply does not understand it, at all. His so-called ‘refutations’ of Calvinism are the worst misrepresentations I have ever seen, and I have seen plenty of terrible ones. With that being said, I must note, I do believe CC is sincere… deceived, but sincere. However, his apparent sincerity does not grant him a “free pass” to slander the Biblical doctrines of grace without being confronted. Thus, I will be responding to one of his more recent posts that (sadly) has been making its way around Twitter. Unfortunately, Twitter provides a platform for people that hate what they think to be Calvinism, which allows them to spread bogus critiques like the one CC recently published. Click here to see it. You can also click here to see my recent post titled “The Undeniable, Biblical Case for T.U.L.I.P.”, which is actually an excerpt from the book, “The Five Points of Calvinism”. So, let’s begin…
If you read CC’s blog, you can see that his argument is essentially centered around the notion of Calvinism (allegedly) claiming that “all” always means the elect. I challenge CC, or anyone, to find just one Calvinist that has truly said “all” always means the elect. Notice how CC fails to cite a single Calvinist in his blog? He does not illustrate his argument from the words of actual Calvinists. Instead, he produces his own version of supposed Calvinistic thought, and then proceeds to attack it, as if it were a true representation of Calvinism. CC’s assertion is bogus, point blank. At times, “all” does refer to “all people”, and sometimes it refers to “all of the elect”. I believe “all” means all. However, I do not believe that “all” always means “every person to ever come into existence”, which is precisely what CC implies in his blog. I will now copy/paste excerpts from CC’s blog and comment underneath each part. I will post CC’s words in bold italics and will comment in normal font. All Scripture references will be from the NASB95, unless noted otherwise (except for the verses included in segments of CC’s blog). Lastly, all sources cited will be listed in numerical order at the very bottom of the page. Thank you for taking the time to read this! 🙂
“However, Calvinism vehemently opposes the idea that God offers salvation to all men.”
I understand how someone that is unlearned, at least when it comes to Calvinism, could end up believing this to be true. It is not true, however. Let us examine a few quotes of John Calvin himself:
“…God invites all indiscriminately to salvation through the Gospel, but the ingratitude of the world is the reason why this grace, which is equally offered to all, is enjoyed by few.” (1)
“There is the general call, by which God invites all equally to himself through the outward preaching of the word…” (2)
“For since by his word he calls all men indiscriminately to salvation, and since the end of preaching is, that all should betake themselves to his guardianship and protection, it may justly be said that he wills to gather all to himself.” (3)
“Therefore, forasmuch as no man is excluded from calling upon God, the gate of salvation is set open unto all men; neither is there any other thing which keepeth us back from entering in, save only our own unbelief.” (4)
CC fails to distinguish between the “general call” (or, “external/outward call”) and the “effectual call” (or, “internal/inward call”) , as taught by Calvinists. In doing so, he greatly misrepresents Calvinism. I honestly do not believe CC has ever actually studied the works of John Calvin, or other influential Calvinists. Instead, I suspect his ‘understanding’ of Calvinism stems from reading secondhand sources, critics of Calvinism, men like Dave Hunt (who failed to grasp it as well). If I have a Muslim from Iraq explain Christianity to me, I will never grasp the true meaning of it. Seeking to learn a subject solely from sources that are biased and opposed to it is a vain endeavor. Regardless of where CC learned this, he is flat out wrong. Calvin went to great lengths to distinguish between the general call to all men and the effectual call to the elect, as taught in the Scriptures. Let’s examine some of his thoughts on this issue:
“…though it [the Gospel] is offered to all for salvation, it does not yield this fruit in any but the elect.” (5)
“It [John 3:16] is a remarkable commendation of faith, that it frees us from everlasting destruction. For he intended expressly to state that, though we appear to have been born to death, undoubted deliverance is offered to us by the faith of Christ; and, therefore, that we ought not to fear death, which otherwise hangs over us. And he has employed the universal term whosoever, both to invite all indiscriminately to partake of life, and to cut off every excuse from unbelievers. Such is also the import of the term World, which he formerly used; for though nothing will be found in the world that is worthy of the favour of God, yet he shows himself to be reconciled to the whole world, when he invites all men without exception to the faith of Christ, which is nothing else than an entrance into life. Let us remember, on the other hand, that while life is promised universally to all who believe in Christ, still faith is not common to all. For Christ is made known and held out to the view of all, but the elect alone are they whose eyes God opens, that they may seek him by faith.” (6)
“We further know, that the Prophets preached in order to invite some to God, and to render others inexcusable. With regard to the end and design of public teaching, it is, that all should in common be called: but God’s purpose is different; for he intends, according to his own secret counsel, to draw to himself the elect, and he designs to take away all excuse from the reprobate, that their obstinacy may be more and more apparent.” (7)
“At the same time, as he works not effectually in all, but only where the Spirit, the inward Teacher, illuminates the heart, he subjoins, To every one who believeth. The gospel is indeed offered to all for their salvation, but the power of it appears not everywhere: and that it is the savour of death to the ungodly, does not proceed from what it is, but from their own wickedness. By setting forth but one salvation he cuts off every other trust. When men withdraw themselves from this one salvation, they find in the gospel a sure proof of their own ruin. Since then the gospel invites all to partake of salvation without any difference, it is rightly called the doctrine of salvation: for Christ is there offered, whose peculiar office is to save that which was lost; and those who refuse to be saved by him, shall find him a Judge.” (8)
“…the message of the gospel, by which God reconciles the world to himself, is common to all men. Yet we see how God stirs up godly teachers in one place rather than in another. Still the external call alone would be insufficient, did not God effectually draw to himself those whom he has called.” (9)
“…Christ, indeed, kindles for all indiscriminately the torch of his gospel; but all have not the eyes of their minds opened to see it, but on the contrary Satan spreads the veil of blindness over many. Then the Apostle means the light which Christ kindles within in the hearts of his people…” (10)
“He adds that this righteousness is through God’s bountiful goodness offered indiscriminately to all nations, but that it is only apprehended by those, whom the Lord through special favour illuminates.” (11)
This ought to suffice in proving, beyond a reasonable doubt, that CC is mistaken on this point. In the next segment, CC posts several Bible verses in an attempt to illustrate his thesis of “all” always meaning every person to ever live (at least in the few verses he cites). I will be responding to each verse posted and to CC’s commentary on each verse.
“There are dozens of scriptures that convey the message that God offers salvation to all and the scriptures uses words like “all”, “whoever” and “everyone” to convey the message. Here are but a few:
For 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
This famous passage mentions “the world” meaning all people and then uses the word “whoever” to convey the idea that anyone can believe in Christ.”
First, there is nothing in the context of this verse that indicates “the world” means “all people”, as CC suggests. In fact, there are many occasions in which “the world” clearly does not mean “all people”. The “world”, as used in the Bible, can have several different meanings, including the physical earth/order of creation, or humanity, either in part or in whole. I will focus on proving that “the world”, when referring to mankind/humanity does not always refer to every single person individually. For example:
Thus I will punish the world for its evil
And the wicked for their iniquity;
I will also put an end to the arrogance of the proud
And abase the haughtiness of the ruthless.
***This verse is clearly not referring to every individual of the world. It is actually, as most commentators agree, referring to the kingdom of Babylon due to its vastness. Likewise, in Luke 2:1 the same term is used in referring to the Roman Empire for the same reasons. This alone proves that the term “world” can and does refer, at times, to a portion of humanity.
For no one does anything in secret when he himself seeks to be known publicly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.
***This quite clearly is not referring to every single human being either. This is referring to the “general public”, as some would say. It is referring once again to a portion of humanity.
The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil.
***Again, this is referring to a portion of humanity; namely, the unregenerate sinners of the world. This is a recurring theme in the New Testament, as we will soon see.
So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are not doing any good; look, the world has gone after Him.
***This too is only referring to a portion of humanity. It is not referring to every individual ever born, obviously.
..that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.
***We ought to thank God that this too only refers to a portion of humanity. If we apply CC’s definition of “all people” to this verse, we would be in big trouble.
After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also.
Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world?”
Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.
I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me…
***Is Satan the “ruler” of every individual human being that has ever existed, or ever will exist? Thank God he is no longer the ruler of the children of the Most High! This is referring to unregenerate sinners, a portion of humanity.
If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.
***This is becoming redundant, so I may skip over a few.
If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.
***Once again, this clearly is not referring to “all people”. It is referring to a portion of humanity (unregenerate sinners).
“I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours…”
***This passage has major theological implications. I suspect CC does not read the Gospel of John too often (except for John 3:16).
Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world; I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together; and I spoke nothing in secret.
When they did not find them, they began dragging Jason and some brethren before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have upset the world have come here also…
***This too is quite clearly referring to a mere portion of humanity.
Not only is there danger that this trade of ours fall into disrepute, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis be regarded as worthless and that she whom all of Asia and the world worship will even be dethroned from her magnificence.
***Praise God, this too does not mean “all people”.
For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?
***In Romans 11:12 the same phrase “the world” is used, and, as the context shows, it is referring to the Gentiles, a portion of humanity.
1 Corinthians 4:9
For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men.
1 Corinthians 6:2
Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts?
1 Corinthians 11:32
But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world.
***This surely will suffice in proving my point: “the world” does not always refer to “all people” (as all Christians should know). I skipped over many references, and probably shouldn’t have even posted all of the ones I did, but, I want to be thorough. Let’s move on…
“This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. -1 Timothy 2:3-4
Could this passage be any clearer? The terms “all people”, “mankind” and “all people” a second time make it clear that our Savior came to die for all.”
This verse is commonly used by Arminians to argue against the sovereign election of God. Theologians throughout the centuries have rightly noted that the Bible often uses terminology such as, and similar to, “all people”, to illustrate that Christ came and died for Jews and for Gentiles. The first century Jews, by and large, believed that they alone had access to salvation, and that salvation was inherent due to their genetic lineage. They sought to shut out the rest of the world from the promises of God. The Lord Jesus Christ destroyed this false notion many, many times in His earthly ministry, and the Holy Spirit continued to do so while inspiring the writers of the New Testament as they penned the written revelation of God. CC does not provide nor even address Calvinistic arguments against the conclusions he has drawn. I will post some commentary on this verse from actual Calvinists, and thus illustrate the agreement of this verse with the doctrines of grace (i.e. – Calvinism).
***I will try to make sure that all excerpts from Scripture included throughput these quotes will be in italics.***
Dr. John Gill
“THESE words are often used to oppose God’s decree of reprobation, and in favour of universal redemption; but with what success will be seen when it is observed,
1. – That the salvation which God here wills that all men should enjoy, is not a mere possibility of salvation for all, nor putting all men into a salvable state, nor an offer of salvation to all, nor a proposal of sufficient means of it to all in his word; but a real, certain, and actual salvation, which he has determined they shall have, has provided and secured in the covenant of his grace, sent his Son into this world to effect, which is fully effected by him.
2. –That the will of God, that all men should be saved, is not a conditional will, or will that depends upon the will of man, or anything to be performed by him; for if this was the case, none might be saved; and if any should, salvation would be of him that willeth, and of him that runneth, and not of God that showeth mercy, contrary to the express words of Scripture; but this will of God, respecting the salvation of men, is absolute and unconditional, and what infallibly secures and produces it: nor is it such a will as is distinguishable into antecedent and consequent: with the former of which it is said, God wills the salvation of all men, as they are his creatures, and the work of his hands; with the latter he wills or not wills it, according to their future conduct and behaviour: but the will of God, concerning man’s salvation, is one entire, invariable, unalterable, and unchangeable will; He is in one mind; and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth even that he doth. Nor is it merely his will of approbation or complacency, being only expressive of what is grateful and well-pleasing to him; but it is his ordaining, purposing, and determining will, which is never frustrated, but is always fulfilled. I know it is observed by some, that it is not said that God will σῶσαι, salvos facere, save all men, as implying what he would do; but that he would have all men σωθῆναι, salvos fieri, to be saved, as signifying their duty to seek after salvation, and use all means for the obtaining of it, which, when effected, is well-pleasing to him. But the other sense is to be abundantly preferred.
3. – That the all men, whom God would have to be saved, are such whom he would also have to come to the knowledge of the truth; that is, not a mere nominal, but experimental knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ, as the way, the truth, and the life, or of the true way of life and salvation by him; and all those whom God saves, they are brought by his Spirit and grace to an acquaintance with these things, which is an act of his sovereign will, and an instance of his distinguishing favour; for whilst he hides these things from the wise and prudent, he reveals them to babes: even so, Father, says Christ, for so it seemed good in thy sight. Hence,
4. – By all men whom God would have to be saved, we are not to understand every individual of mankind, since it is not the will of God that all men, in this large sense, should be saved; for it is his will that some men should be damned, and that very justly, for their sins and transgressions; ungodly men, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation; and to whom it will be said, go, ye cursed, into everlasting fire. Moreover, if it was the will of God that every individual of mankind should be saved, then every one would be saved; for who hath resisted his will? or can do it? Does he not do according to his will in the armies of the heavens, and among the inhabitants of the earth? Nay, does he not work all things after the counsel of his own will? and it is certain that all men, in this large sense, are not saved, for some will go away into everlasting punishment, when the righteous shall go into eternal life. Besides, the same persons God would have saved he would have come to the knowledge of the truth; but this is not his will with respect to every individual of mankind; were it his will, he would, no doubt, give to every man the means of it, which he has not done, nor does he; for many hundred years he suffered all nations to walk in their own ways, and overlooked the times of their ignorance. He showed his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel; he hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. From many to whom the gospel does come, it is hid; some are given up to strong delusions to believe a lie, and few are savingly and experimentally acquainted with the truth as it is in Jesus.
5. – There are indeed many things urged in favour of this large sense of the phrase all men. As,
a) The exhortation of the apostle, in ver. 1, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men. But surely by all men, is not meant every individual man, that has been, is, or shall be, in the world; millions of men are dead and gone, for whom prayer is not to be made; many in hell, to whom it would be of no service; and many in heaven, who stand in no need of it; nor should we pray for such who have sinned the sin unto death. Besides, giving of thanks, as well as prayers, were to be made for all men; but certainly the apostle’s meaning is not that the saints should give thanks for wicked men, and persecutors, and particularly for a persecuting Nero; nor for heretics or false teachers, such as Hymeneus and Alexander, whom he had delivered to Satan; the phrase is therefore to be taken in a limited and restrained sense, for some only, as appears from ver. 2, for kings, and for all in authority; that is, for men of the highest, as well as of the lowest rank and quality.
b) This sense is contended for, from the reason given in ver. 5, for there is one God, “who is the God of all, the common Father and Creator of all men.” Now, “it is said, thus he is the God of all men in particular; and so this argument must show, he would have all men in particular to be saved. To which may be replied, that God is the God of all men, as the God of nature and providence, but not as the God of grace, or in a covenant way, for then it would be no distinguishing favour or happiness to any people, that the Lord is their God; he is indeed the one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all, meaning believers, to whom the apostle writes; the same Lord is rich unto all, but then it is to them that call upon him.
c) This is argued for from the one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus; but it should be observed, that he is not said to be the mediator between God and all men, and much less every individual man; and since he is expressly called, the mediator of the new covenant, he only can be a mediator for those who are in that covenant; and it is plain, that he has not performed the several branches of his mediatorial office, the oblation of himself on the cross, and his intercession in heaven, for every man; and though the nature he assumed is common to all men, was endued with the best of human affections, and subject to the common law of humanity; yet, since it was assumed with a peculiar view to the elect of God, the seed of Abraham, they share all the peculiar blessings and favours arising from the assumption of such a nature.
d) It is observed that Christ is said, in ver. 6, to give himself a ransom for all, which is understood of all men in particular; but it should be observed also, that this ransom is ἀντίλυτρον ὑπερ πάντων, a vicarious ransom, substituted in the room and stead of all, whereby a full price was paid for all, and a plenary satisfaction made for the sins of all, which cannot be true of every individual man, for then no man could be justly condemned and punished. The sense of these words is best understood by what Christ himself has said, The Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and give his life a ransom for many. So the Hebrew word כל, all, to which this answers, signifies sometimes many, a multitude; and sometimes only a part of a multitude, as Kimchi has observed. Wherefore,
e) It is better by all men to understand some of all sorts, as Austin did long ago, and is the sense in which the word all is to be taken in many places; as in Gen. 7:14; Matt. 4:23, 24; Joel 2:28; and is the meaning of it in ver. 1, and well agrees with the matter of fact; since Christ has redeemed some of all nations, some out of every kindred, tongue, and people; and God saves and calls some of every rank and quality, as kings and peasants: of every state and condition, as rich and poor, bond and free; of every sex, male and female; of every age, young and old; and all sorts of sinners, greater and less. It is indeed said, that, according to this limitation and sense of the words, God is willing some of all kindred and people should be saved; it may more truly and properly be said, that God would have all men to be damned, and that Christ died for none; since they for whom he died are none, according to this doctrine, comparatively to the greater number for whom he died not. To which I answer, it does not become us to say what might be more truly and properly said by God, or an inspired writer. However, this is certain, that as there is a whole world that lies in wickedness, so there is a world that shall be damned; which agrees with what the apostle Paul says in so many words, that the world shall be condemned, We are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned or damned with the world. Moreover, though they for whom Christ died are but few comparatively, yet they cannot be said, in a comparative sense, or in any sense at all, to be none; and indeed, when considered by themselves, are a number which no man can number. But,
f) I rather think that by all men are meant the Gentiles, who are sometimes called the world, the whole world, and every creature, Rom. 11:12, 15; 1 John 2:2; Mark 16:15; which is the sense, I apprehend, in which it is used in ver. 1, where the apostle exhorts, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all in authority; which was contrary to a notion that obtained among the Jews, of whom there were many in the primitive churches, that they should not pray for heathens and heathen magistrates. The apostle enforces this exhortation from the advantage which would accrue to themselves; that we may lead a peaceable and quiet life, in all godliness and honesty; besides, says he, This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who will have all men, Gentiles as well as Jews, to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth, and therefore has sent his ministers to preach the gospel among them; and the doctrine of the grace of God has appeared to these, all men, in order to bring them to it; for there is one God of Jews and Gentiles, who, by his gospel, has taken out of the latter a people for his name and glory; and there is one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, who, not like Moses, who was the mediator for the Jews only, but is for the Gentiles also; and is become our peace, that hath made both one, reconciled both in one body on the cross; preached peace to them that were afar off, and to them that were nigh; through whom, as the mediator, both have an access by one Spirit to the Father; who also gave himself a ransom for all, to redeem the Gentiles as well as Jews; which was to be testified in due time to them, as it was by the apostle, who adds, Whereunto I am ordained a preacher and an apostle (I speak the truth in Christ, I lie not), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity; and then concludes, I will therefore that men pray everywhere, and not be confined to the temple for public prayer, another Jewish notion and practice, lifting up holy hands without wrath and doubting. Seeing then there are some Jewish notions pointed at in the context, and the whole is adapted to the state and case of the Gentiles, under the gospel dispensation, there is a good deal of reason to conclude that they are designed here; whereby another principle of the Jews is confuted, which is, that the Gentiles should receive no benefit by the Messiah when he came; and is the true reason of most, if not of all, those universal expressions, relating to the death of Christ, we meet with in Scripture.
From the whole, since these words cannot be understood of every individual man, they cannot be thought to militate against God’s righteous decree of reprobation, nor to maintain and support universal redemption.” (12)
Dr. John MacArthur
The Greek word for “desires” is not that which normally expresses God’s will of decree (His eternal purpose), but God’s will of desire. There is a distinction between God’s desire and His eternal saving purpose, which must transcend His desires. God does not want men to sin. He hates sin with all His being (Pss 5:4; 45:7); thus, He hates its consequences—eternal wickedness in hell. God does not want people to remain wicked forever in eternal remorse and hatred of Himself. Yet, God, for His own glory, and to manifest that glory in wrath, chose to endure “vessels … prepared for destruction” for the supreme fulfillment of His will (Ro 9:22). In His eternal purpose, He chose only the elect out of the world (Jn 17:6) and passed over the rest, leaving them to the consequences of their sin, unbelief, and rejection of Christ (cf. Ro 1:18–32). Ultimately, God’s choices are determined by His sovereign, eternal purpose, not His desires.” (13)
Who wishes that all men may be saved. – Here follows a confirmation of the second argument; and what is more reasonable than that all our prayers should be in conformity with this decree of God?
And may come to the acknowledgment of the truth. Lastly, he demonstrates that God has at heart the salvation of all, because he invites all to the acknowledgment of his truth. This belongs to that kind of argument in which the cause is proved from the effect; for, if “the gospel is the power of God for salvation to every one that believeth,” (Rom. 1:16,) it is certain that all those to whom the gospel is addressed are invited to the hope of eternal life. In short, as the calling is a proof of the secret election, so they whom God makes partakers of his gospel are admitted by him to possess salvation; because the gospel reveals to us the righteousness of God, which is a sure entrance into life.
Hence we see the childish folly of those who represent this passage to be opposed to predestination. “If God,” say they, “wishes all men indiscriminately to be saved, it is false that some are predestinated by his eternal purpose to salvation, and others to perdition.” They might have had some ground for saying this, if Paul were speaking here about individual men; although even then we should not have wanted the means of replying to their argument; for, although the will of God ought not to be judged from his secret decrees, when he reveals them to us by outward signs, yet it does not therefore follow that he has not determined with himself what he intends to do as to every individual man.
But I say nothing on that subject, because it has nothing to do with this passage; for the Apostle simply means, that there is no people and no rank in the world that is excluded from salvation; because God wishes that the gospel should be proclaimed to all without exception. Now the preaching of the gospel gives life; and hence he justly concludes that God invites all equally to partake salvation. But the present discourse relates to classes of men, and not to individual persons; for his sole object is, to include in this number princes and foreign nations. That God wishes the doctrine of salvation to be enjoyed by them as well as others, is evident from the passages already quoted, and from other passages of a similar nature. Not without good reason was it said, “Now, kings, understand,” and again, in the same Psalm, “I will give thee the Gentiles for an inheritance, and the ends of the earth for a possession.” (Ps. 2:8, 10.)
In a word, Paul intended to shew that it is our duty to consider, not what kind of persons the princes at that time were, but what God wished them to be. Now the duty arising out of that love which we owe to our neighbour is, to be solicitous and to do our endeavour for the salvation of all whom God includes in his calling, and to testify this by godly prayers.
With the same view does he call God our Saviour; for whence do we obtain salvation but from the undeserved kindness of God? Now the same God who has already made us partakers of salvation may sometime extend his grace to them also. He who hath already drawn us to him may draw them along with us. The Apostle takes for granted that God will do so, because it had been thus foretold by the predictions of the prophets, concerning all ranks and all nations.” (14)
The New International Greek Testament Commentary: The Pastoral Epistles
“πάντες ἄνθρωποι is picked up from v. 1 to correlate God’s attitude toward “all people” with the request that we pray for all. As in v. 1 Paul means by the phrase all kinds of people, all sorts of people, including civil authorities (cf. for a similar thought Tit. 3:1–7; note also Rom. 11:32, where the second “all” embraces Jew and Gentile, but not every person, cf. 9:6ff.; cf. again Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:11; 1 Cor. 12:12; Acts 22:15). “[God] wishes all people to be saved” expresses the truth for which Paul continually contended, especially against Jews and Judaizers, and that he and the other apostles were agreed on (see Galatians, especially chapter 2; Acts 10:34–36; 11:17, 18, where Peter expresses this same truth against the background of his vision of 10:9–23; 1 Tim. 2:7: “teacher of the Gentiles”; cf. for OT background Ezk. 18:23; 33:11; and especially the Abrahamic covenant, Gen. 12:3, reflected throughout Isaiah; G. Schrenk, TDNT III, 47f.).
σωθῆναι (see data at 1:15), as aorist passive, “to be saved,” communicates, with the verb θέλει, that God wishes people to experience that which he would do for them, i.e., save them. The two focuses of this statement come to expression in two other uses of σῴζω in the PE: First, “And come to the knowledge of the truth” is reflected in 4:10, where from the human side those from “all kinds of people” who are saved are described simply as “believers” (cf. Romans 9–11; Gal. 3:28; Col. 2:11; 1 Cor. 12:13). Second, those who are saved are, from the Godward side, those “called” “according to [God’s] purpose and grace, which was granted to us in Christ Jesus from all eternity” (2 Tim. 1:9; cf. Romans 9–11; Ephesians 1–2). These two focuses coalesce in the perspective of 2 Tim. 1:8–10, especially v. 10, where this eternal purpose is said to be brought about “through the gospel” (cf. Eph. 1:8–10).
καὶ εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν ἀληθείας ἐλθεῖν stresses the necessary noetic aspect of salvation, most simply put, knowledge of the person and work of Christ (cf. Rom. 10:12–14). Although ἐπίγνωσις ἀληθείας is found in Paul only in the PE (here, Tit. 1:1; 2 Tim. 2:25; 3:7 [all the occurrences of ἐπίγνωσις in the PE]; the phrase elsewhere in the NT only in Heb. 10:26), its component parts are found in Paul’s earlier letters in the same sense. The phrase as used here indicates the process of coming to know and acknowledge the truth of the gospel (ἐπίγνωσις with genitive of the thing known). “ ‘Recognition’ (ἐπίγνωσις) designates not only rational comprehension but also acknowledgment, just as ‘truth’ (ἀλήθεια) is not merely a fact to be grasped theoretically, but also a state of affairs to be actualized. The phrase as a whole is a technical term for conversion” (Dibelius-Conzelmann; cf. Heb. 10:26; cf. further Dibelius, “Ἐπίγνωσις ἀλήθειας”).
This meaning for the phrase is borne out in the usage of the two words separately elsewhere in Paul. Bultmann asserts that “ἐπίγνωσις has become almost a technical term for the decisive knowledge of God which is implied in conversion to the Christian faith” (TDNT I, 707). Col. 2:2 (εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν τοῦ μυστηρίου τοῦ θεοῦ) is the most nearly parallel to our passage, although the experiential aspect is also evident in most of the other Pauline references, e.g., Eph. 1:17; 4:13; Phil. 1:9; Col. 1:9, 10; 3:10. ἀλήθεια means “true teaching or faith” and is used of the gospel in the earlier Pauline letters and probably here as well (cf. 2 Cor. 4:2; Gal. 5:7; 2 Cor. 6:7; Col. 1:5; Eph. 1:13; 2 Thes. 2:10–12; 2 Cor. 13:8; cf. 2 Jn. 1; 1 Pet. 1:22; Bultmann, TDNT I, 244; cf. also BAGD s.v. 2b, which gives the nuance here and elsewhere in the NT as “the content of Christianity as the absolute truth”). ἐλθεῖν, “to come,” speaks of the personal and experiential response (see also 2 Tim. 3:7, the only other NT occurrence of εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν ἔρχεσθαι).” (15)
***This should suffice for now. Though theologians of the past have varied in interpretation, it is easily shown that this verse in no way contradicts Calvinistic thought. Many verses like this are difficult, somewhat, to rectify in light of the verses that teach election/predestination. However, this difficulty does not warrant CC’s claims. Let’s move on…***
“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” John 12:32
“All people” is used again. He succeeded in drawing all to him when he was lifted up at the cross.”
I will do the same for this verse as I did on the previous one, since CC again failed to cite any Calvinist.
Dr. John Gill
“THOUGH this text is not produced by the principal writers in the Arminian controversy, nor by the Remonstrants formerly, nor by Curcellæus, nor by Limborch, nor by Whitby of late; yet inasmuch as it is urged by others, in favour of universal redemption, that he who draws all men to him by his death, must needs die for all men; it will be proper to consider the import of it, and the argument upon it. And,
1.- It is certain, that the death of Christ, and the very kind of death he should die, is intimated by his being lifted up from the earth; since the evangelist observes in the next verse, that this he said signifying what death he should die; and it must be owned, that the drawing of all men to Christ, is here represented as a fruit of his death, or as what should attend it, or would follow upon it; and I, εἂν ὑψωθῶ, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to me. And therefore,
2.- The sense of these words pretty much depends on the meaning of the word draw: which either designs a collection of a large number of people to him, and about him, when he should be lifted on the cross, some against, and others for him; some to reproach, and others to bewail him; or rather of the gathering of the people to him, through the ministry of the apostles; and so of their being enabled, through the power of divine grace, to come unto him, and believe on him for eternal life and salvation; for all those whom God has loved with an everlasting love, and Christ has died for, are, sooner or later, with loving kindness drawn unto him; in this sense Christ uses the word in this gospel; no man can come unto me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him. Now,
3.- It is most evident, that all men, that is, every individual of human nature, every son and daughter of Adam, have not faith, are not drawn, or enabled to come to Christ, and believe in him. There were many of the Jews who would not, and did not come to Christ, that they might have life; who, instead of being drawn to him in this sense, when lifted up on the cross, vilified and reproached him; nay, at this time, here was a world spoken of in the preceding verse, whose judgment, or condemnation, was now come; and besides, there was then a multitude of souls in hell, who could not nor never will be drawn to Christ; and a greater number still there will be at the last day, to whom, instead of drawing to him in this gracious way and manner, he will say, Depart from me, ye workers of iniquity. Christ died, indeed, for all men, who are drawn unto him; but this is not true of all men that are, were, or shall be in the world. Add to this that the word men is not in the Greek text; it is only πάντας, all; and some copies read πάντα, all things; so Austin read it formerly, and so it was read in an ancient copy of Beza’s. But not to insist on this;
4.- By all men, is meant some of all sorts, all the elect of God, the children of God, that were scattered abroad; and particularly the Gentiles as well as the Jews, as Chrysostom and Theophylact interpret the words; which interpretation is perfectly agreeable with ancient prophecy; that when Shiloh was come‖, to him should the gathering of the people, or Gentiles, be; and with the context, and occasion of these words, which was this; certain Greeks that were come up to worship at the feast, desired to see Jesus: of which when he was apprised by his disciples, he answered, that the hour was come in which he should be glorified, and that as a corn of wheat falls into the ground and dies, so should he: and though he tacitly intimates, that it was not proper to admit these Greeks into his presence now, yet when he was lifted up from the earth, or after his death, his gospel should be preached to them as well as to the Jews; and that large numbers of them should be drawn unto him, and brought to believe in him; agreeable to which sense of the words is Dr. Hammond’s paraphrase of them: “And I being crucified, will, by that means, bring a great part of the whole world to believe on me, Gentiles as well as Jews.” And to the same purpose is the note of Dr. Whitby on the text.” (16)
“If I be lifted up. Next follows the method by which the judgment shall be conducted; namely, Christ, being lifted up on the cross, shall gather all men to himself, in order that he may raise them from earth to heaven. The Evangelist says, that Christ pointed out the manner of his death; and, therefore, the meaning undoubtedly is, that the cross will be, as it were, a chariot, by which he shall raise all men, along with himself, to his Father. It might have been thought, that at that time he was carried away from the earth, so as no longer to have any interests in common with men; but he declares, that he will go in a very different manner, so as to draw upwards to himself those who were fixed on the earth. Now, though he alludes to the form of his death, yet he means generally, that his death will not be a division to separate him from men, but that it will be an additional means of drawing earth upwards towards heaven.
I will draw all men to myself. The word all, which he employs, must be understood to refer to the children of God, who belong to his flock. Yet I agree with Chrysostom, who says that Christ used the universal term, all, because the Church was to be gathered equally from among Gentiles and Jews, according to that saying, There shall be one shepherd, and one sheepfold, (John 10:16.) The old Latin translation has, I will draw ALL THINGS to me; and Augustine maintains that we ought to read it in that manner; but the agreement of all the Greek manuscripts ought to have greater weight with us.” (17)
***Moving on to the next excerpt of CC’s blog.***
“But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. -Hebrews 2:9
Jesus tasted death for “everyone”. This is not ambiguous in any way.”
Same format as before.
Dr. John Gill
“THE doctrine of universal redemption is said to be contained in express terms in these words, and it is observed upon them, that “here is no restraint at all, nor any seeming limitation of the comprehensive phrase, he tasted death for every man, distributively taken;” and that there is something “which doth seem to strengthen the general intendment of the phrase, for this is said to magnify the grace of God, in sending his Son to die for men; now sure the grace of God will be more magnified by this general extent of our Saviour’s death, than by contracting the intendment of it to a few; for, if the grace of God be great in sending his Son to die for a few chosen persons, it must be greater in sending him to die for many, and greater still in giving him up to die for us all.” To which I reply;
1.- That the word man is not in the original text; which says not that Christ should taste death, ὑπερ παντὸς ἀνθρώπου, for every man, but ὑπερ παντὸς, which may be taken either collectively, and be rendered for the whole, that is, for the whole body, the church, Eph. 4:16, for which Christ died, and of which he is the Saviour; or distributively, and be translated for every one, that is, for every one of the sons, Christ, the Captain of salvation, brings to glory, ver. 10; for every one of the brethren, whom he sanctifies, is not ashamed to own, and to whom he declares the name of God, ver. 11, 12; for every one of the members of the church, even the general assembly and church of the first-born, whose names are written in heaven, in the midst of which he sang praise, ver. 12; for every one of the children God has given to him, and for whose sake he took part of flesh and blood, ver. 13, 14; and for every one of the seed of Abraham, taken in a spiritual sense, which are Christ’s, whose nature he assumed, ver. 16. Moreover, supposing there is a change of number, and that ὑπερ παντὸς is instead of ὑπερ παντῶν, for all, that is, for all men, there is, in the context, a plain restraint and limitation of the phrase, to all the sons, the brethren, the members of the church, the children, the seed of Abraham, for all whom Christ tasted death, that is, he really died, and became the author of eternal salvation to them, which does not in the least help the cause of general redemption.
2.- It deserves consideration, whether the words ὑπερ παντὸς γεύσηται θανάτου, may not be rightly rendered, that he should taste of every death, or of the whole of death. This hint I have received from an author referred to in the margin. If this reading of the words can be established, as I think it may, agreeable to their grammatical construction, the context, and the analogy of faith, the argument, and any colour of or pretence for one from hence, in favour of the universal scheme, are entirely removed: should it be objected, that if this were the sense of the words, they would have been placed thus, γεύσηται ὑπερ παντὸς θανάτου, and not the verb between the adjective and substantive; it may be observed, that there is in the very text itself a like position of words, as ἠλαττωμένον βλέπομεν Ἰησοῦν; therefore, such an objection would have no weight in it: ὑπερ is sometimes put for περὶ, and signifies de, of, instances of which the lexicons themselves will furnish us with; and, though the verb γεύομαι governs a genitive case without a preposition, yet it is well known that the Greek language abounds in pleonasms of this kind. The context also favours this sense of the words; for if they be considered in connexion with the phrase, made a little lower than the angels, or that other, crowned with glory and honour, they contain a reason for either; for if it should be asked, Why was Christ so greatly depressed and humbled in the human nature? the answer is ready, that he might be capable of tasting of every death, or of the whole of death; and should it be inquired, wherefore he is exalted in such a glorious manner, it may be replied, Because he has tasted it; for, as m ver. 10, the Captain of salvation is made perfect through sufferings. And it is certain, that Christ has tasted of every death, or of the whole of death, the law required he should, in the room and stead of his people: hence we read of his deaths in the plural number, Isa. 53:9, He made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich, במתיו, in his deaths; he tasted of the death of afflictions, being all his days a man of sorrows, and acquainted with griefs; of a corporal death, being put to death in the flesh, in the body or human nature; and of eternal death, or what was equivalent to it, when his Father hid his face from him, poured out his wrath upon him, as the surety of his people, whereby his soul became exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death; he tasted of the whole of death, of the agonies, miseries, bitterness, and curse of it, and so has delivered his people from the sting of it, and from all the wrath which follows upon it.
3.- Whereas it is observed, that the scheme of general redemption more magnifies the grace of God than that of particular redemption does; the contrary is most true; for surely that scheme of redemption which provides for the certain salvation of some, which some are a number that no man can number, more magnifies the grace of God, than that scheme which provides a precarious, uncertain salvation for all, giving only a mere possibility of it, with a probability that all of them may perish; leaving multitudes of them without so much as the means of salvation, and entirely without the Spirit of God to apply it to them; putting them only in a salvable state, so that they may be saved if they will; which, if it is effected, must depreciate the grace of God and sufferings of Christ, and exalt the power and free will of man. The instance of a prince affording an act of grace and indemnity to some rebels, leaving others under condemnation, who would assuredly conceive his grace and favour would be greater were it extended to them also, and not think it the more magnified for being so discriminating, is not to the purpose; for the prince’s grace is not to be judged of by the conceptions of such rebels, who are justly left under condemnation; and whatever they think of it, it is certain, that those who are comprehended in the act of grace, look upon their prince’s favour to be the greater for being so discriminating, seeing they were equally guilty with such who are left out. The grace of God is magnified, not so much by the number of persons on whom it is conferred, as by the sovereignty of it, the circumstances of the persons interested in it, and the manner in which it is bestowed.” (18)
Dr. John Owen
“In the manner of his death: Ὅπως γεύσηται θανάτου, “that he should taste of death,”—so die as to experience the sorrows, bitterness, and penalties of death. To “taste of death” is, first, really to die; not in appearance or pretence, in opinion or show, as some foolishly of old blasphemed about the death of Christ, which could have had no other fruit but a shadow of redemption, a deliverance in opinion. See the phrase used, Mark.9:1 Οὐ μὴ γεύσωνται θανάτου,—“Shall not taste of death;” that is, not die. And that which is called, to “see death,” John 8:51, is called to “taste of death,” verse 52, where the phrase is applied to the second death, or death eternal. And it being death which was threatened unto those for whom he died, and which they should have undergone, he really tasted of that death also. So, secondly, it is intimated that there was bitterness in the death he underwent. Himself compares it unto a “cup,” whose bitterness he declares by his aversation from it, considered absolutely and without reference unto that hand of the will of God wherein it was held out unto him, Matt. 26:39; which ποτήριον, or כּוֹם, “cup,” was his lot or portion, Ps.16:5, that which was prepared for him by his Father. And by the same metaphor he calls the will of God his “meat,” which he tasted of in the doing and suffering of it. To taste of death, as is known, is an Hebraism. So the rabbins speak, Beresh. Rab. sect. 9, ראוי היה אדם הראשון שלא יטעום טעם מיתה;—“The first Adam was worthy that he should not taste of death,” or “die.” And it compriseth somewhat more than merely to die; it expresseth also to find out and experience what is in death. And טָעַם is sometimes rendered by γινώσκειν, “to know,” 2 Sam. 19:36; and sometimes the substantive by σύνεσις, “understanding,” Job 12:20. So that Christ by tasting of death had experience, knew what was in death, as threatened unto sinners. He found out and understood what bitterness was in that cup wherein it was given him. To which purpose the rabbins have a proverb in Jalkut. fol. 265, מאן דאכיל קידרא ידע מה טעמה דתבשילין;—“He that eateth of the pot knoweth the taste of the meat that is in it.” Thus when Agag thought he should escape a violent death by the sword, he expresseth his joy by סָר מַר־הַמָּוֶת, 1 Sam. 15:32, “The bitterness of death is removed,” or taken away. Though die he must, yet he thought he should not taste the bitterness of death, or die by the sword. Thirdly, His conquest over death may be also intimated in this expression: for though the phrase, to “taste of death,” be used concerning other persons also, yet as applied unto Christ, the event showeth that it was only a thorough taste of it that he had; he neither was nor could be detained under the power of it, Acts. 2:24. And so is the word “to taste” used, chap. 6:4 of this epistle. And thus by the grace of God did he taste of death.
The end of this his tasting of death,—it was for others; Ὑπὲρ παντός. Of the extent of this end of his death, expressed in that word παντός, we shall speak afterwards; for the present we consider how he died ὑπέρ, “for” them, for whom he died. Ὑπέρ, is either “pro,” or “super,” or “supra,”—“for,” or “above,” or “over.” The latter signification belongs not unto this place. As it signifies πρό, “for,” it is used sometimes as διά, “propter,” and with respect unto persons is as much as “alicujus causa,” “for his sake,” or “in alicujus gratiam,” or “bonum,” “for his good and advantage;” sometimes as ἀντί, in the stead of another. And this is the constant and inviolable sense of ὑπέρ in Greek, “pro” in Latin, where the suffering of one for another is expressed by it. And that also is the constant sense of the Hebrew תַּחַת, when used in that case. Some instances on each word will illustrate our intention. Thus David expresseth his desire to have died in the stead of Absalom, that he might have been preserved alive: 2 Sam. 19:1, מִי יִתֵּן מוּתִי אֲנִי תַחְתֶּיךָ,—“Who will grant me to die, I for thee, my son Absalom?” that is, “in thy stead,” or “so that thou mightest be alive.” So Isa. 43:4. And by that word is still expressed the succeeding of one to another in government, or reigning in the stead of him that deceased, 1 Kings 3:7, 19:16; 2 Sam. 10:1; and in general, children succeeding in the place and room of their fathers, Num 3:12. So that to die תַּחת, “for another,” is to die in his stead the death he should have died, that he might live, or in general to be substituted in the room and place of another. So when Jehu commanded his officers to slay the priests and worshippers of Baal, he tells them that if any one should let any one of them escape, נַפְשׁוֹ תַּחַת נַפְשׁוֹ, “his life should go for his life,” or he should die in his stead, 2 Kings 10:24. So is ὑπέρ used, Rom. 5:7, expressing the act of an ἀντίψυχος, one that lays down his life instead of another; as Damon for Pythias, and Nisus for Euryalus, “Me, me, adsum qui feci.” See 1 Pet. 1:20, 21. And it is explained by ἀντί, perpetually denoting a substitution, where opposition can have no place. See Matt. 20:28; Mark 10:45; 1 Tim. 2:6, Ἀντίλυτρον ὑπὲρ πάντων. “Pro,” also, as ὑπέρ in this case is to be rendered, hath no other signification.” (19)
Wewlyn Commentary Series
“Accordingly, ‘by the grace of God, [he tasted] death for everyone’ (2:9). We should notice several things here. Firstly, the whole work of salvation is driven and motivated by the grace of God. Christ’s atoning death for sinners was an act of pure grace; that is, it was unforced and utterly unmerited by man. No man deserves what God has done for us in Christ, and it follows that no human ‘work’ or activity can make us eligible for the benefits accruing from his death.
Grace and works are two opposing principles. If salvation is attributed to anything that a person does in the strength of human nature, then grace is negated. It is true that we are ‘saved by grace through faith’. But the faith in Christ that we must exercise is itself the gift of grace—for Paul continues: ‘… and that [salvation is] not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast. For we are his workmanship …’ (Eph. 2:8–10).
The second thing to notice is that Christ ‘tasted’ death. That is, he genuinely experienced all the bitterness that death involves for human beings. His status as the Son of God did not spare him any of death’s terrors. He was our forerunner in every last detail, that he might be a perfect and complete substitute for God’s elect. He identified completely with our condition, that he might ‘save to the uttermost those who come to God through him’ (7:25).
Thirdly, he died ‘for everyone’. Taken out of context, this statement might seem to support a universalistic view of Christ’s atonement. If he died for everyone, then surely everyone may benefit from his saving work if they so desire? But we get a different picture if we consider the context of this statement. A few verses later we read, ‘Here am I and the children whom God has given me’ (2:13). The ‘children’ are those who are sanctified, or set apart, by his death, the ‘many sons’ whom he will bring to glory (2:10–11). Thus it is clear that ‘everyone’ in 2:9 must be understood to mean every one of these ‘children’, given to Christ by the Father before time began (John 17:2, 9; 2 Tim. 1:8–9). Christ died for the elect, to save them from their sins.” (20)
***Moving on to the next part of CC’s blog now.***
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. -2 Peter 3:9
Again, it is clear God wants “everyone” to come to repentance. There are many more but even if there were no more, the perspicacity of the above passages are undeniable.”
I recently did a very thorough study on 1st & 2nd Peter, and was truly blessed by it. I set out to study 2 Peter 3:9, for days and days, in hopes of God showing me if I was believing a wrong interpretation. Instead, He showed me conclusively that I was not. He gave me bountiful peace and assurance of the doctrines of grace, and He did so through this very verse! The same verse that many erroneously apply as being a refutation of Calvinism brought me exceeding assurance of Calvinism! Let’s look at some commentaries…
Dr. John Gill
“THIS scripture appears among those which are said to be very many clear and express ones for the doctrine of universal redemption; and it is observed, “that τίνες, opposed to πάντες, is a distributive of all, and, therefore, signifies, God is not willing that any one of the whole rank of men should perish.” But,
1.- It is not true that God is not willing any one individual of the human race should perish, since he has made and appointed the wicked for the day of evil, even ungodly men, who are fore-ordained to this condemnation, such as are vessels of wrath fitted for destruction; yea, there are some to whom God sends strong delusions, that they may believe a lie, that they all might be damned; and others whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. Nor is it his will that all men, in this large sense, should come to repentance, since he withholds from many both the means and grace of repentance; and, though it is his will of precept, that all to whom the preaching of the gospel is vouchsafed should repent, yet it is not his purposing, determining will, to bring them all to repentance; for then they would all come to repentance, for who hath resisted his will?
2.- It is very true that τίνες, any, being opposed to πάντες, all, is a distributive of it; but then both the any and the all are to be limited and restrained by the us, to whom God is long-suffering; God is not willing that any more should not perish, and is willing that no more should come to repentance than the us to whom his long-suffering is salvation. The key, therefore, to open this text lies in these words, εἰς ἡμᾶς, to us-ward, or for our sake; for these are the persons God would not have any of them perish, but would have them all come to repentance. It will be proper, therefore,
3.- To enquire who these are. It is evident that they are distinguished from the scoffers mocking at the promise of Christ’s coming, ver. 3, 4, are called beloved, ver. 1, 8, 14, 17, which is to be understood either of their being beloved by God, with an everlasting and unchangeable love, or of their being beloved as brethren by the apostle and other saints; neither of which is true of all mankind. Besides, the design of the words is to establish the saints in, and comfort them with the coming of Christ, until which, God was long-suffering towards them, and which they were to account salvation, ver. 15. Add to this, that the apostle manifestly designs a company or society to which he belonged, and of which he was a part, and so can mean no other than such who were chosen of God, redeemed from among men, and called out of darkness into marvellous light; and such were the persons the apostle writes to. Some copies read the words διʼ ὑμᾶς, for your sakes; so the Alexandrian MS. the Syriac version, מטלתכון, for you, or your sakes; the same way the Ethiopic. Now these persons were such who were elect, according to the foreknowledge of God the father, through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience, and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ; and such as these, or who belong to the same election of grace they did, God is unwilling that any of them should perish, but wills that all of them should have repentance unto life; and, therefore, he waits to be gracious to them, and defers the second coming of Christ. The case stands thus: there was a promise of Christ’s second coming, to judge the world, delivered out; it was expected that this would have been very quickly, whereas it has been a long time deferred. Hence scoffers shall arise in the last days, charging the Lord with slackness and dilatoriness concerning his promise, though he is not slack with respect to it, but is long-suffering towards his elect, waiting till their number is completed in effectual vocation, and for their sakes bears with all the idolatry, superstition, and profaneness that are in the world; but when the last man that belongs to that number is called, he will stay no longer, but descend in flames of fire, take his own elect to himself, and burn up the world and the wicked in it.
4.- It is indeed said, “that the apostle, by the elect, to whom he writes, does not mean men absolutely designed for eternal happiness, but only men professing Christianity, or such as were visible members of the church of Christ: since he calls upon them to make their calling and election sure, exhorts them to watchfulness, seeing their adversary the devil goes about seeking whom he may devour, and to beware lest they fall from their own steadfastness; yea, he speaks of some of them as having forsaken the right way; and also prophesies that false teachers should make merchandize of them, neither of which, it is observed, can be supposed of men absolutely elected to salvation; and, also, that the church at Babylon was elected, together with these persons, which could not be known and said of all its members.” To all which I reply, that calling upon them to make their election sure, does not suppose it to be a precarious and conditional one, as I have shown in a preceding section; that exhortations to sobriety, and vigilance against Satan, and cautions about falling, are pertinent to such who are absolutely elected to salvation; for, though Satan cannot devour them, he may greatly distress them; and, though they shall not finally and totally fall from the grace of God, yet they may fall from some degree of steadfastness, both as to the doctrine and grace of faith; which may be to their detriment as well as to the dishonour of God: that it is not true, that the apostle speaks of any of these elect he writes to, that they had forsaken the right way, but of some other persons; and, though he prophesies that false teachers should make merchandize of them, the meaning is, that, by their fine words and fair speeches, they should be able to draw money out of their pockets, not that they should destroy the grace of God wrought in their hearts. As to the church at Babylon being said to be elected with them, the apostle might say this of the church in general, as he does, in a judgment of charity, of the church at Thessalonica, and others, though every member of it in particular was not elected to salvation, without any prejudice to the doctrine of absolute election. Besides, the persons he writes to were not visible members of any one particular church or community, professing Christianity, but were strangers scattered abroad in several parts of the world, and were such who had obtained like precious faith with the apostles, and is a strong evidence of their being men absolutely designed for eternal happiness. And whereas it is suggested, that these persons were come to repentance, and therefore cannot be the same to whom God is long-suffering, that they might come to repentance; I answer, that though they are not the same individual persons, yet are such who belong to the same body and number of the elect on whom the Lord waits, and to whom he is long-suffering, until they are all brought to partake of this grace, having determined that not one of them should ever perish.
5.- Hence it follows, that these words do not furnish out any argument in favour of universal redemption, nor do they militate against absolute election and reprobation, or unfrustrable grace in conversion; but, on the contrary, maintain and establish them, since it appears to be the will of God, that not one of those he has chosen in Christ, given to him, and for whom he died, shall ever perish; and, inasmuch as evangelical repentance is necessary for them, and they cannot come at it of themselves, he freely bestows it on them, and, by his unfrustrable grace, works it in them; and, until this is done unto and upon every one of them, he keeps the world in being, which is reserved unto fire, against the day of judgment, and perdition of ungodly men.” (21)
Dr. R.C. Sproul
[commenting on 2 Peter 3:8-9]
“The fact that all these things have not yet come to pass is not because God is slack. It is not because His word has become of no effect. It is not because He is a God of false promises. Rather, God is longsuffering toward us. The kingdom had not been fully realized when these words were written because God is unwilling that any should perish.
When Peter says that God is not willing that any should perish, there are two ambiguities to consider. First is with respect to the meaning of the term “willing.” In the New Testament there are two distinct Greek words that can be translated by the English word willing. It would be helpful to be able to discern the meaning simply by looking at the Greek and seeing which word is used, but it is not that easy, because each of the words has several nuances. The Bible uses the term will with respect to God in several ways. Of the three most frequent ways, the first is what we call His “sovereign will” or “decretive will”; that is, whatever God wills must necessarily come to pass. When God willed the universe into creation, He did not wish it; He sovereignly decreed it, and it had to come into being.
The second way in which the Bible speaks of the will of God is in a perceptive sense, that is, in what God commands His followers to do. It is God’s will that you have no other gods before Him. That is His perceptive will, His law. It is not a sovereign will that must necessarily come to pass, because every human being by nature breaks that will. We can violate the perceptive word of God, and we do violate it every time we sin.
The third use of the term will in the New Testament has to do with the basic disposition of God toward fallen humanity. We can call that the “will of disposition.” The Bible tells us, for example, that God does not delight in the death of the wicked or in the punishment of evildoers. He still decrees their punishment, but His doing so is almost like a just judge sentencing his son to prison. He would not do so with glee or delight.
Of these three major usages of the term will, we have to ask which one is in view in Peter’s text. I think at face value the text is teaching something about God’s sovereign, efficacious, decretive will. We have to read this to mean that God sovereignly, efficaciously is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. The critics of election say that we cannot hold that God sovereignly wills to save some and not others since the text says that He sovereignly wills to save everybody. This does pose some ambiguity as to what the term “willing” refers to here.
The real question concerns the word “any”—“God is not willing that any should perish.” The assumption that people read into the text is that “any” refers to everyone or any person. If that is the case, then Peter would be saying that God sovereignly is not willing that anyone should perish. Sometimes when an objection is raised to a position, the argument brought forth proves more than the objectors want it to prove. The Arminian objection to the Reformed view of this text is that if God is not willing that anyone should perish, then it proves universalism. It would prove that everyone is saved and that no one perishes, but how can that be squared with everything else the Bible teaches to the contrary?
If we are going to understand this text in its context, we have to consider the antecedent of the word “any.” There is no mystery to that; it is abundantly clear in the text itself. God is “longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish”—the antecedent of “any” is “us.” The only question left to answer is the identity of the “us.” That, again, is not difficult. Peter is clearly distinguishing the believer from the unbeliever, the scoffer, and the false prophet. In order to correctly grasp the context of “us” in 1 and 2 Peter, we need only look to whom these epistles are addressed—Peter is writing to the elect.
Therefore, the “any” and the “us” are the elect. No passage in all Scripture more strongly defends unconditional election than this one. God sovereignly decrees that none of His elect will perish and that all whom He has chosen will come to Him. They will repent. They will come in faith to Him, because election is not in the abstract. Election is unto faith, repentance, and salvation.
If the kingdom had been finished a hundred years ago, none of us would have made it in. God is not going to consummate that kingdom unless or until every last one of His elect is brought into it. There is no problem here concerning God’s sovereignty, but there is a testimony to the grace and mercy of it.” (22)
“You would think everyone would rejoice with this amazing message of God’s love and grace because it is for all and excludes no one. It makes God loving, merciful, just and no respecter of persons. The problem however is that Calvinists are not happy about this message. In fact, they deny the clear message of dozens of scriptures in order to deny the conclusion that Jesus died for all.”
First, CC insists on claiming predestination/election makes God a “respecter of persons”. My question is: What about His dealings with Israel prior to Christ’s incarnation? Was God a “respecter of persons” for only dealing with Israel for thousands of years? This claim is flawed, and quite frankly, it is borderline blasphemy. To suggest that God does not have the sovereign right to do “as He pleases”, and to do so “according to the counsel of His own will”, is to reject the clear teachings of Scripture. God is not a respecter of persons. There is nothing you or I can do to make God favor one over the other. God is not moved to favoritism by the actions of man! If CC would read Acts 10:34 in its proper context, he would not make such a claim as this. Commenting on this verse, Dr. John Gill says: “…which is to be understood, not of the substances of men, but of the outward state and condition, circumstances and qualities of men; he respects the proper persons of men themselves, but not because of their outward appearances; he does not prefer or despise men, because of their being of this or the other nation, as Jews or Gentiles; or because they are circumcised, or not circumcised; or because they are high or low, rich or poor, free or bound, or the like: the true sense here is, that God valued no man the more, because he was a Jew and circumcised, nor any one the less, because he was a Gentile and uncircumcised; and this the apostle found to be a most certain truth, of which he was fully persuaded; partly by the vision which he himself saw, and partly by that which Cornelius had, and which the more confirmed him in this matter: these words do not at all militate against the doctrines of personal election and reprobation; and indeed, those acts in God, are not according to the outward state and condition of men, or any circumstances that attend them, or any qualities they have, internal or external; but entirely proceed from the sovereign will of God; see the note on Rom. 2:11.” (23).
CC is correct, however, in stating that Calvinists deny universal atonement. He fails, unsurprisingly, to elaborate on this issue. If you haven’t noticed, CC never cites the Bible verses that contradict his conclusions. I have thoroughly illustrated the fact that the Scriptures that seem to teach a universal atonement oftentimes actually support a particular atonement. Thus, I will now post the Bible verses that do teach a particular/definite/actual atonement.
***Any emphasis through font change is my own.***
As a result of the anguish of His soul,
He will see it and be satisfied;
By His knowledge the Righteous One,
My Servant, will justify the many,
As He will bear their iniquities.
…just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.
…for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.
To give to His people the knowledge of salvation
By the forgiveness of their sins…
I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me,
even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.
Like a shepherd He will tend His flock,
In His arm He will gather the lambs
And carry them in His bosom;
He will gently lead the nursing ewes.
But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep.
…even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life.
I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.
I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours…
All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.
No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.
She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.
2 Corinthians 5:21
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
…who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.
1 Peter 3:18
For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit…
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
1 Peter 2:24
…and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.
He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit…
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her…
Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood
Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession…
For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
…so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.
And they sang a new song, saying,
“Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.”
2 Thessalonians 2:13
But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.
1 Thessalonians 1:4
…knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you…
1 Peter 1:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…
***I’ve already posted way more than I intended on. I realize many of those verses deal with election, rather than just the atonement. However, the two go hand in hand. The atonement, in a sense, was the fulfillment of God’s gracious election. It was an actual atonement. When Christ gave up His holy, precious life, He actually reconciled His people to Himself. He did not merely make men savable, He actually secured His people’s salvation. When He said, “It is finished”, He actually meant it. One source commenting on the atonement states:
“Historical or main line Calvinism has consistently maintained that Christ’s redeeming work was definite in design and accomplishment—that it was intended to render complete satisfaction for certain specified sinners and that it actually secured salvation for these individuals and for no one else. The salvation which Christ earned for His people includes everything involved in bringing them into a right relationship with God, including the gifts of faith and repentance. Christ did not die simply to make it possible for God to pardon sinners. Neither does God leave it up to sinners as to whether or not Christ’s work will be effective. On the contrary, all for whom Christ sacrificed Himself will be saved infallibly. Redemption, therefore, was designed to bring to pass God’s purpose of election.” (24)
Thus, to conclude this segment, Calvinists don’t oppose universal atonement for no good reason, as CC seemingly implies. Rather, in complete devotion to Sola Scriptura, we maintain that Christ died for His people, as a ransom for many, with the many being the church, His sheep, those whom He predestined, called, and justified.
“How do they deny these clear passages? They do so by the exegetical errors I listed above so now it is time to investigate these errors in greater detail:
•Redefinition of words
•Use of philosophy”
I find it quite atrocious how this man who has very poor exegetical ‘skills’ (you’ll agree by the end of this) accuses others of something so severe. He does a very, very poor job of even attempting to illustrate his arguments. It isn’t easy to prove something that is not true, though…
“Chosen Ignorance is what I call what some in Calvinism do. They simply choose to ignore the passage if it does not fit their grid. It is like they use a kind of Bible “white-out” since they act like the passage is not there or that it does not mean exactly what it says.
Most hardcore Calvinists go beyond Chosen Ignorance and use a combination of the other three methods I listed above.”
Choose to ignore passages? That is precisely what CC (and his two fans, Fred & Molly Polly) doe in his arguments! Also, what is a “hardcore Calvinist”? LOL! CC labeled me as such, simply because I challenged his bogus assertions on Twitter. He proceeded to block me without ever even attempting to defend his assertions. He goes by the title “Confront Calvin”, yet he refuses to…. confront Calvinists…. hilarious.
“Calvinists use Circular Reasoning in spades. They use it to deny the clear meaning of the scriptural passages listed above. Their original premise is that God elected only a few people to be redeemed and saved therefore the scriptures mentioned above must only refer to the elect. In doing so they break the cardinal rule of exegesis which is to read the scripture based on what it really says in its context.
The reason Calvinists do this is because if the above scriptures are true then Calvinism is not a valid collection of doctrines. If God really wants all men to be saved then “unconditional election” is purely fiction. They don’t want to face this so they first choose to ignore what the passage clearly conveys and then they proceed to explain the passage to mean the only thing it can mean given their already arrived on premise. This is clear cut Circular Reasoning.”
Calvinists do not have an “original premise… that God only elected a few people to be redeemed…”. Calvinists, generally, take theology/exegesis/Bible study very seriously, and do not shy away from any verse of the Bible. Furthermore, CC commits an “If-Then Fallacy” by erroneously declaring “..if the above scriptures are true then Calvinism is not a valid collection of doctrines.” No Calvinist is arguing that those verses are not true. On the contrary, we maintain that the verses are true! CC apparently confuses his own interpretations of the verses as actually being the verses. He should have said: “If my interpretations of the above [S]criptures are true then Calvinism is not a valid collection of doctrines.” As I have thoroughly illustrated, Calvinism is not at odds with the verses he posted. I hope CC will actually attempt addressing the verses I posted. Ironically, CC is accusing Calvinists of fallacies while committing fallacies himself.
“Calvinists mix another exegetical erroneous method with Circular Reasoning which helps them to convince themselves what they believe is true. They use what all the fathers of Calvinism used including Augustine and Calvin. They use philosophy to support their exegesis. Philosophy is any argument that is not in scripture. It often reads into scripture an element that is simply not there and it is simply based on opinion. Therefore Calvinists will ask questions like the following:
“If God wanted all men to be saved they would be saved since he is sovereign.”
“If Jesus died for all and some men are in hell than[sic] some of Christ’s blood would have been wasted.”
These kinds of statements do not come from scripture. These statements are strictly philosophical arguments since they have no scriptural basis. Where in scripture is there the idea that God’s sovereignty is diminished by allowing men to choose to believe? There is none. Where in scripture does it convey the idea that Christ’s blood is wasted if man can reject salvation? Nowhere. This is philosophy on steroids.”
First of all, CC’s statement, “Philosophy is any argument that is not in scripture”, is just ridiculous. Philosophy, in and of itself, is not a bad thing. The Bible itself produces a Christian philosophy for believers to abide by. CC’s definition of philosophy is quite strange in my opinion. The “Lexham Bible Dictionary” defines philosophy as:“(φιλοσοφία, philosophia). Literally means “the love of wisdom.” Philosophy takes on a very broad range of meanings and connotations throughout history and in various traditions. In modern parlance, the noun may refer to one’s worldview, while verbal forms (e.g., “philosophize”) refer to discourse about life’s biggest questions. Philosophy is not a main theme of the Bible, but it is relevant as God’s people try to be faithful to Him in their particular context.” (25) The “Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology” defines philosophy of the Old Testament as: “Biblical philosophy is not an abstract monologue but a dialogue with God. The Bible never attempts to prove the existence of God, bur starts from the premise that God exists (i.e., Gen. 1:1); philosophy, in contrast, takes up questions concerning the nature of the universe and existence that do not necessarily presume the verity of God. Therefore, philosophy can be an effective tool if properly used as a means of understanding pretheological questions, but not as a method of supplanting the revelation already made available by faith through God’s Scriptures. The limitations of human reason, especially in light of the moral degeneracy in humans, requires God’s help in resolving philosophical questions.” (26) In addition, the “Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible” defines it as: “Logically disciplined, self-critical inquiry into the basic questions of life. “Philosophy” itself means “love of wisdom.” This “love” treasures pursuing, discovering, and analyzing and justifying wisdom. Although the word “philosophy” appears only once in the Bible, both Judaism and Christianity were considered philosophies in the Hellenistic world. In fact, from their very earliest encounters with Jewish scholars in Alexandria in the 3rd century B.C., Greek philosophers referred to the Jews as a “philosophical race.” Biblical religion is philosophical because, unlike Greek religion, it makes holistic claims about the nature of reality and it sets out concrete values that can guide community life and individual decisions. In the only explicit use of the word “philosophy” in the Bible (Col 2:8–10), a point of contrast is made between pagan and Christian philosophy. Paul wants the Colossians to develop philosophy according to Christ, not according to empty deceit, human tradition, or “the elemental spirits of the universe.” In contrast to empty philosophy based on pagan deceit and human tradition, Christ is himself the fullness of deity dwelling bodily—a sound foundation for wisdom and philosophy. In contrast to the mere “elemental spirits,” Christ himself is the “head of all rule and authority,” the greatest source of truth and justice. The discipline of philosophy is not condemned, for the alternative to deceit and human tradition is “philosophy … according to Christ.”” (27)
Thus, the point I am making here is that philosophy is not at enmity with Christianity. Every human being is a philosopher, of sorts. Paul’s often misunderstood/abused command in Colossians 2:8-10 was not a condemnation of all philosophy, it was a refutation of “vain philosophy”. Philosophy is good if it finds its origins in the Scriptures. I believe CC, like many others, presumptuously labels Calvinism as philosophy, tags it with Colossians 2:8-10, and then dismisses it without ever actually addressing the points being made. My opinion is that he does this because he is incapable of refuting the doctrines of grace, because he is entirely clueless as to what they actually are.
I would like to also point out that, rather than answering them, CC produces hypothetical questions, labels them as unbiblical, and then dismisses them. He consistently fails to construct a meaningful argument. Assertions combined with unfounded, self-ascribed validations is not equivalent to a logically sound argument. CC’s entire method of argumentation consists of: 1) Assert that Calvinism is purely philosophical, 2) Assert that philosophy is unibiblical, and 3) Assert that, since Calvinism is purely philosophical, and since philosophy is unbiblical, therefore Calvinism is unbiblical. This, my friends, is not how argumentation works.
“Finally, the above errors allow Calvinists to simply redefine the words used in the “all” scriptures that I mentioned above. The Calvinist redefinition is that “all” does not mean “all” men; “all” means the elect. They teach that whenever you see “all” it means the elect. They carry this over for every other term that conveys the word “all” and that includes the other terms including “whoever” and “everyone”. How they do it with the word “mankind” is beyond ridiculous!”
He insists on sticking to his own idea of Calvinism teaching that “all” always means “the elect”. As I noted earlier, at times, “all” does mean “all of the elect”. All means all, it just doesn’t always mean “every single person to ever live”. All can refer to all of a subgroup that is part of a larger group. I have already demonstrated the absurdities of CC’s argument, and do not wish to be redundant (though I fear that I have already succeeded in doing so). Thus, I will leave my previous arguments as being sufficient in refuting these claims of his.After posting a quote of the late Dave Hunt, CC states:
“Hunt makes it clear that Calvinism’s premise is simply ridiculous. Calvinism’s desperation is screaming in high decibels here.”
I found this to be quite funny (in a sad kind of way). CC has himself convinced that he is actually succeeding at refuting Calvinism, without ever even citing….. a Calvinist. Sure, he provides examples of what he thinks Calvinism teaches. This, however, is not an effective method of refutation. CC’s tone of confident mockery is not warranted by his arguments.
“However if they choose to insist that “all” always means the elect then I don’t know what they do with this passage:
For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. -1 Corinthians 15:22
In the above scripture, it is clear that in Adam all die. Calvinists believe this as well as those who oppose Calvinism. However the second part of the scripture is equally clear in saying that in Christ all were made alive. This creates a problem for Calvinists because they heartily agree that all died in Adam but they will deny that all in Christ will be made alive. This passage if interpreted like the other scriptures then would mean that “all” here means the elect. It would say “For as in Adam the elect die but in Christ the elect will be made alive.” This kind of reasoning then would mean that only the elect died when Adam sinned and fell in the garden. This would contradict John Calvin’s premise that all men died in the garden, both the elect and the non-elect.”
Geez, where to begin… Before I comment myself, lets consult some Calvinist commentators, and thus prove that this verse is not an issue for Calvinism.
Dr. John Gill
“The apostle here shews who he meant in the former verse, by the one man the cause of death, and by the other the author of the resurrection of the dead, and that he intended Adam and Christ; all men were in Adam seminally, as the common parent of human nature, in such sense as Levi was in the loins of Abraham when Melchizedek met him, and in him paid tithes unto him; and they were all in him representatively, he being the federal head of all his posterity, and so a type and figure of Christ that was to come; and being in him, they all sinned in him, and so died in him, the sentence of death passed oh them in him; they became subject to a corporeal death, which has ever since reigned over mankind, even over infants, such who have not sinned after the similitude of his transgression; this was the doctrine of the Jewish church; see the note on Rom. 5:12. to which may be added one testimony more; says one of their writers, “by the means of the first Adam נקנסה מיתה לכל, death was inflicted by way of punishment on all:” even so in Christ shall all be made alive; not made spiritually alive, for Christ quickens whom he will; not all in this sense, some die in their sins; nor are all entitled to an eternal life; for though Christ has a power to give it, yet only to those whom the father has given to him; ’tis true indeed, that all that are in Christ, chosen in him and united to him, are made alive by him, and have the gift of eternal life through him; but the apostle is not speaking of such a life, but of a corporeal one: to be quickened or made alive, is with the Jews, and other eastern nations, a phrase of the same signification with being raised from the dead, and as the context here shews; and not to be understood of the resurrection of all men, for though there will be a resurrection of the just and unjust, yet the one will be the resurrection of life, and the other the resurrection of damnation; now it is of the former the apostle here speaks, and expresses by being made alive: and the sense is, that as all that were in Adam, all that belonged to him, all his natural seed and posterity, all to whom he was a federal head, died in him, became mortal, and subject to death through him; so all that are in Christ, that belong to him, who are his spiritual seed and offspring, to whom he is a covenant-head, and representative, shall be raised to an immortal life by him; or as all the elect of God died in Adam, so shall they all be quickened, or raised to life in and by Christ.” (28)
The Pillar New Testament Commentary
“As in Romans 5:12–21, Paul stresses the differences between Adam and Christ. The consequences of the resurrection of Christ (life for all) correspond antithetically to the consequences of Adam’s sin (death for all). The former has broken the power of the latter. However, Paul is not teaching universalism (see 1 Cor. 1:18); the unqualified “all” of v. 22 who will be made alive is clarified by v. 23 with the phrase “those who belong to him.”” (29)
“This is the reason why Adam was the cause of death, and why Christ is the cause of life. We die by means of Adam, because we were in Adam; and we live by means of Christ, because we are in Christ. Union with Adam is the cause of death; union with Christ is the cause of life. The nature of this union and its consequences are more fully explained in Rom. 5:12–21. In both cases it is a representative and vital union. We are in Adam because he was our head and representative, and because we partake of his nature. And we are in Christ because he is our head and representative, and because we partake of his nature through the indwelling of his Spirit. Adam, therefore, is the cause of death, because his sin is the judicial ground of our condemnation; and because we derive from him a corrupt and enfeebled nature. Christ is the cause of life, because his righteousness is the judicial ground of our justification; and because we derive from him the Holy Ghost, which is the source of life both to the soul and body. Comp. Rom. 8:9–11.
That the word all in the latter part of this verse is to be restricted to all believers (or rather, to all the people of Christ, as infants are included) is plain, 1. Because the word in both clauses is limited. It is the all who are in Adam that die; and the all who are in Christ who are made alive. As union with Christ is made the ground of the communication of life here spoken of, it can be extended only to those who are in him. But according to the constant representation of the Scriptures, none are in him but his own people. “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature,” 2 Cor. 5:17. 2. Because the verb (ζωοποιέω) here found is never used of the wicked. Whenever employed in reference to the work of Christ it always means to communicate to them that life of which he is the source, John 5:21, 6:63; Rom. 8:11; 1 Cor. 15:45; Gal. 3:21. The real meaning of the verse therefore, is, ‘As in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made partakers of a glorious and everlasting life.’ Unless, therefore, the Bible teaches that all men are in Christ, and that all through him partake of eternal life, the passage must be restricted to his own people. 3. Because, although Paul elsewhere speaks of a general resurrection both of the just and of the unjust, Acts 24:15, yet, throughout this chapter he speaks only of the resurrection of the righteous. 4. Because, in the parallel passage in Rom. 5:12–21, the same limitation must be made. In v. 18 of that chapter it is said, “As by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men to justification of life.” That is, as for the offence of Adam all men were condemned, so for the righteousness of Christ all men are justified. The context and the analogy of Scripture require us to understand this to mean, as all who are in Adam are condemned, so all who are in Christ are justified. No historical Christian church has ever held that all men indiscriminately are justified. For whom God justifies them he also glorifies, Rom. 8:30.” (30)
***END OF COMMENTARIES***
Thus, we can plainly see that this verse in no way contradicts Calvinism. To the contrary, it actually supports it, as shown in the full context of the verse.
I now want to address the most disturbing aspect of CC’s entire blog. In fact, it was this one aspect that compelled me to take the time to respond to him. He states: “This creates a problem for Calvinists because they heartily agree that all died in Adam but they will deny that all in Christ will be made alive.”
Now, at first glance, this seems to be a nonissue. Calvinists do not deny that “all in Christ will be made alive”, rather, that is precisely what we argue for. However, after much thought, I suspect that CC actually means to suggest that “all without exception” will “be made alive”. This is quite obviously universalism heresy. I do not think CC would consciously advocate for actual universalism. He undoubtedly would for universal atonement, but universalism is a separate issue (well, I suppose some of my Reformed brethren would dispute that, and I understand why). Notwithstanding, if CC actually means that “all without exception will be made alive in Christ”, he is teaching the heresy of universalism. This verse does not say “all can be made alive if they believe”, no, it says they will be made alive. Thus, if CC defines the second “all” as being “all without exception”, he is teaching that “all without exception” will be “made alive in Christ“. This means all atheists, Muslims, Hindus, pagans, Satanists, and all unrepentant haters of God will be made alive in Christ. HERESY!!! I surely hope that Darrell is merely confused on this issue. (I am almost finished)
“In the same way this passage is also a big problem for Calvinists:
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…-Galatians 1:15
It is a problem based on Calvinist views because if Christ died to save sinners and yet Christ died for only the elect, does this mean that only the elect are sinners? Does it mean also that the non-elect are not sinners?”
This is the capstone of proof that Darrell is wholly incompetent in exegesis, and is benighted in his ‘understanding’ of Calvinism. I truly do not need to correct this, as I am confident that *you* can easily discern the folly of CC’s fallacious conundrum. But, for the sake of thoroughness, I will briefly respond.
If I say: “I am going to the store to get food”, and then go to the store and only purchase potatoes, is my initial claim invalid? NO! I did go to the store, and I did get food. The fact that I did not get all of the food does not make this any less valid. Likewise, this verse teaches that Christ came into the world to “save sinners”, which He did by saving the elect. All of the elect are sinners, but not all sinners are elect. This is literally a nonissue. CC once again proves that he is completely clueless by even making this statement. Lastly, notice it does not say that He came into the world to make sinners savable; no, it says He came to save them. Hence, it speaks of an actual atonement. Thus, this verse is actually a problem for CC! Next up is CC’s conclusion… (Brace yourselves)
This Calvinism view causes as many problems for Calvinism as it helps them. They cannot have it both ways and these are the kind of conundrums that Calvinists have when they use faulty, even foolish exegesis to support erroneous doctrines. Calvinism has many problems and this is just one of them but it is a big one since it is clear beyond any challenge that Jesus died for everyone and the gospel message is to be preached to all. All means all and that is all!
CC actually says something (somewhat) accurate for once. He says, “This Calvinism view causes as many problems for Calvinism as it helps them.” He is correct, “This Calvinism view..”, meaning the one he totally fabricated in a bewildered state of ignorance, “..causes as many problems for Calvinists as it helps them”, yes, a bogus misrepresentation of Calvinism causes problems. It led me to spend several days studying/typing this blog. Well, partially at least. I will further address my motives in my conclusion. This statement is truly mindboggling. How can a man be so utterly ignorant of Calvinism, and yet speak of it in such harsh terms? How can a man actually believe he is “called to expose Calvinism” and yet not even understand the most basic tenets of it? How can a man conclude that his argument is “beyond any challenge” when he actually runs away and hides from all challengers? This, my friends, is truly disturbing. I just cannot wrap my mind around the train of thought that somehow leads CC to draw such conclusions as these. I must note, Calvinism does not deny the fact that the Gospel message is to be preached to all people. Moreover, John Calvin himself clearly taught this, as shown in the following statement: “And as we cannot distinguish between the elect and the reprobate, it is our duty to pray for all who trouble us; to desire the salvation of all men; and even to be careful for the welfare of every individual.” (31)
In conclusion, “Confront Calvin” (aka Darrell Brantingham) is clearly confused, ignorant, and biased when it comes to the Biblical doctrines of grace. He has consistently shown a hatred for Calvinism, which he does not deny, and this blind hatred has led him to massive doctrinal error. Disagreeing with Calvinism is one thing. Publishing misleading, slanderous, harmful misrepresentations of Calvinism on a weekly basis is totally different. As I noted, I have contemplated writing this blog for a very long time. I first attempted to talk to CC directly about his blatant slander of Calvinism, but, as I have already stated, he blocked me (on Twitter), and failed to ever respond. My main motive in writing this blog is that the God of grace might be glorified by it. He has been greatly misrepresented, and His sovereign decrees have been called into question by CC’s blogs. Thus, it is my hope that blogs/articles containing accurate, Biblical presentations of His character and His purposes, as taught in His written revelation, the Holy Scriptures, will override, overrule, and overrun the slanderous ones written by CC and others (not that He needs to be defended by a worm like myself, He most certainly does not!). In addition, I realize that much of this blog is not written by myself, but is written by other sources. That is by design. Let me make this clear, I am not some seasoned theologian. It would be extremely foolish of me to even attempt expounding on all of the issues raised, to the same extent as my sources. I am admittedly not experienced enough to do such a thing. The sources I have cited from are all master theologians of the past. Men that God used mightily, each in their own time. We all coudl benefit greatly from their insights on the great doctrines of grace. (I got off track here somewhat, but this concludes my first point in expressing my motives for writing this). Secondly, I honestly do believe that CC is sincere, once again, as I previously noted. I believe he thinks he is doing “good” by attacking what he believes to be Calvinism. It is my hope, and my prayer, that he might have his eyes opened to his errors, Lord willing. Lastly, it is my hope and my prayer that this might be edifying for the saints, the Beloved by God, the Body of Christ. I am aware of my own inability to shed the shackles of ignorance off of anyone, yet I also know the Lord can and does do mighty works of grace through His Word. It is my hope that all of you can experience the absolute joys and assurances that are accompanied by a proper understanding of the grand doctrines of grace… May the LORD bless you with just that.
(I will post some quotes on the doctrines of grace at the bottom of the page, above the “References” list)
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this! This is, by far, the longest blog i have ever written, and I realize you have sacrificed your time, a portion of your life, to read this. For that, I am grateful. If you have any questions/comments/concerns, please feel free to comment below. You can also find me on Twitter at @colbybonham or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/colby.bonham.1
SOLI DEO GLORIA!!!!!
“The doctrine of grace, that is, the truth of God’s free favor without us, in His own heart towards us, which is made known to us in the Gospel (Acts 20:24). Concerning this we read, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men” (Titus 2:11) i.e. it has been revealed in His Gospel. The doctrine of grace is also styled, “wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the doctrine which is according to godliness” (1 Tim. 6:3). The doctrine of grace includes all that sacred system of theology, all the fundamentals of the everlasting Gospel of the blessed God, that grand “mystery” of His mind and will which sets forth to us the complete counsel and covenant of the Eternal Three, the record of God concerning His Son, by which He declares that “he that believeth hath everlasting life.” ~ A.W. Pink ~ (32)
“The Gospel affirms that grace is the sinner’s only hope. Unless we are saved by grace we cannot be saved at all. To reject a gratuitous salvation is to spurn the only one that is available for lost sinners. Grace is God’s provision for those who are so corrupt that they cannot change their own natures; so averse to God, they cannot turn to Him; so blind they cannot see Him; so deaf they cannot hear Him; in a word, so dead in sin that He must open their graves and bring them on to resurrection-ground, if ever they are to be saved. Grace, then, implies that the sinner’s case is desperate, but that God is merciful.” ~ A.W. Pink ~ (33)
“It is no novelty for the doctrines of grace to meet with opposition; and, indeed, few doctrines have been so much opposed as they. Swarms of fanatical sectarists were almost coeval with the reformation itself. Such is the imperfect state of things below, that the most important advantages are connected with some inconveniences. The shining of truth, like the shining of the sun, wakens insects into life, which otherwise would have no sensitive existence. Yet, better for a few insects to quicken, than for the sun not to shine.” ~ Augustus Toplady ~ (34)
“God foresaw the sins of his people, and what work the devil would make with their hearts about them, and therefore to prevent their ruin by his temptation, he has thus largely, as you see, expressed his love by his word. Let us therefore, as has been bidden us, make this good use of this doctrine of grace, as to cast ourselves upon this love of God in the times of distress and temptation.” ~ John Bunyan ~ (35)
“It is Satan’s great design either to keep the sinner senseless of his sins, or if God makes him sensible of them, then to hide and keep from his thoughts the sweet doctrine of the grace of God, by which alone the conscience getteth health and cure; “for everlasting consolation, and good hope” is given “through grace” (1 Thessalonians 2:16). How then shall the conscience of the burdened sinner by rightly quieted, if he perceiveth not the grace of God? Study, therefore, this doctrine of the grace of God. Suppose thou hast a disease upon thee which is not to be cured but by such or such medicines, the first step to thy cure is to know the medicines. I am sure this is true as to the case in hand; the first step to the cure of a wounded conscience is for thee to know the grace of God, especially the grace of God as to justification from the curse in his sight.” ~ John Bunyan ~ (36)
“This is the forest, though, alas! the most common evil that was ever yet seen under the sun. An evil, that in any age, especially in these dregs of time wherein we live, cannot sufficiently be inveighed against. For as it is with the people, so it is with the priests; and it is to be feared, even in those places, where once the truth as it is in JESUS was eminently preached, many ministers are so sadly degenerated from their pious ancestors, that the doctrines of grace, especially the personal, all-sufficient righteousness of-JESUS, is but too seldom, too slightly mentioned. Hence the love of many waxeth cold; and I have often thought, was it possible, that this single consideration would be sufficient to raise our venerable forefathers again from their graves; who would thunder in their ears their fatal error.” ~ George Whitefield ~ (37)
“But nothing more effectually persuades to piety than the doctrine of grace revealed in the Gospel…” ~ Herman Witsius ~ (38)
“A clearer knowledge of the Divine scheme of grace, its eternal purposes, its application to man by Christ’s redeeming work,—a firmer grasp of the doctrine of grace, of God’s free love in Christ, of Christ’s full and complete satisfaction for sin, of justification by simple faith,—a more intimate acquaintance with Christ the Giver and Fountain of grace, His offices, His sympathy, His power,—a more thorough experience of the inward work of grace in the heart,—this, this, this is the grand secret of heart-establishment. This is the old path of peace. This is the true panacea for restless consciences. It may seem at first too simple, too easy, too cheap, too commonplace, too plain. But all the wisdom of man will never show the heavy-laden a better road to heart-rest. Secret pride and self-righteousness, I fear, are too often the reason why this good old road is not used.” ~ J.C. Ryle ~ (39)
“To begin, the doctrines of grace that have become known as Calvinism were most certainly not invented by Calvin, nor were they characteristic of his thought alone during the Reformation period. As we shall see, these are the truths taught by Jesus and confirmed for us in Scripture by the apostle Paul. Augustine argued for the same truths over against the denials of Pelagius and those who followed him. Luther was a Calvinist. So was Zwingli. That is, they believed what Calvin believed and what he later systematized in his influential Institutes of the Christian Religion. The Puritans were also Calvinists; it was through them and their teaching that both England and Scotland experienced the greatest and most pervasive national revivals the world has ever seen. In that number were the heirs of John Knox: Thomas Cartwright, Richard Sibbes, Richard Baxter, Matthew Henry, John Owen, and others. In America, thousands were influenced by Jonathan Edwards, Cotton Mather, and George Whitefield, all of whom were Calvinists.” ~ James Montgomery Boice ~ (40)
“He that would be a preacher of the gospel to others, ought so to study the scriptures, and learn the doctrines of grace, as to be assured of them, to be at a point, at a certainty concerning them; that he may be able to speak them boldly, as they ought to be spoken; and when he has so done, he ought to adhere to them, abide by them, and continue in them; even though a majority may be against them, for we are not to follow a multitude to do evil. Truth is not to be judged of by the number of its admirers; if this was a sure and safe rule to go by, the church of Rome would have the best pretensions to the truth of doctrine, discipline, and worship; for all the world wondered after the beast. It should be no discouragement to a gospel-minister to observe, that there are but few that receive the doctrines of grace. Yea, he should abide by them, though they are opposed by men of learning and reputation. Truth does not always lie among men of that character; God is pleased to hide the mysteries of the gospel from the wise and prudent, and reveal them unto babes; and by the foolishness of preaching confound the wise, and save them that believe. It was an objection to out Lord’s ministry, that not any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him; but this people who knoweth not the law are cursed. Ministers of the gospel should abide by, and continue in the doctrines of it, though it is only received by the poor and ignorant, and opposed by the rich and wise: Nay, they ought to do so, though there are some things in them which cannot be comprehended by corrupt and carnal reason; this should be no objection to a reception of them, or continuance in them. There are some things in the gospel which eye hath not seen, nor ear beard, neither have entered into the heart of man, that is, a natural man, to conceive of; wherefore it is no wonder, that the natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” ~ John Gill ~ (41)
“Now just to kind of help you, sometimes you hear about Reformed Theology, you hear that phrase, or the Doctrines of Grace, or Calvinism, and you wonder just exactly what that is. Okay, in a nutshell, it’s what it says here … it’s right here. This is the best summary of the Doctrines of Grace, of the essence of Reformed Soteriology, of the essentials of Calvinism, this is it. This is … this is it in the saving side of it and it’s all bound up in a sequence, in a process. It goes like this. Verse 29, “Whom He foreknew, He also predestined.” Then go to verse 30, “These whom He predestined, He also called. These whom He called, He also justified. And these whom He justified, He also glorified.” Foreknowledge, predestination, calling, justification, and glorification. Those are five cardinal realities that make up the great redemptive purpose of God in salvation … these five things.” ~ John MacArthur ~ (42)
“The sovereignty of God in salvation strengthens the true security of the believer. If you believe that God has chosen you from all eternity, and that he predestined you to share the glory of his Son, and that he then worked miraculously to call you out of death into life and made you to believe in Christ, then your confidence is simply tremendous that he is for you and will complete the work of your salvation which he planned ages ago.
But if you only believe that God designed a general way of salvation with no particular persons in view, and that it is finally up to you whether you are going to be a part of this salvation or not, then your security will rest on a much weaker foundation. I count it a very precious thing to have been told by God that my eternal life is rooted in his personal, eternal decision to give me a share in the glory of his Son and that my very faith is part of his omnipotent effort to accomplish that purpose for me. What greater security can there be!” ~ John Piper ~ (43)
“Salvation is by grace and by grace alone. Bless that holy God, who gives his sovereign mercy, bestowing it upon those whom he will. Those who are devoid of that mercy will perish and justly perish. They will act according to their sinful nature: they will refuse to capitulate to Christ, they will flee from the kingdom of God, they will harden their hearts until the day of wrath. Our only hope is to be found in the God who shows mercy.” ~ R.C. Sproul ~ (44)
“But the gospel, which is the promulgation of grace and mercy to penitent sinners, that confess their sins and forsake them, and come under a new government of grace, the publishing of this hath the Spirit of grace with it to work conversion. Therefore it is called the ministry of the Spirit; because the Spirit goes with the doctrine of grace, to change us and make us gracious, to persuade us that God loves us, and to stir us up to perform all duties in that sweet affection that God requires in the gospel, the affection of love. Therefore if we be or ever were converted, it is this way. Our hearts are wrought on by the consideration of the love and mercy of God in Christ; so that love begets love, and mercy begets a sweetness in us to God again. In the nature of the thing it cannot be otherwise, when the soul stands convinced of the sweet mercy of God in Christ, and of the sweet love of Christ, who being God became man, to take our nature, and suffer the punishment that was due to us, and is now in heaven appearing and making intercession for us, it cannot be but the soul will be stirred up to a desire of conformity to this blessed Saviour. Therefore let us let go all disputings of election, concerning God’s decree, and let us do our duty, and depend upon God in the use of means. Let us labour to see the love of God in Christ, and that will put all questions out of question (though in Some cases we must labour to know how to vindicate the truth, but when it comes to our own particular), lay other things aside, let us do our duty in the use of means, and think of the end of the gospel, of the end of Christ’s incarnation and death, namely, to reveal the bowels of God’s mercy to sinners; and then we shall find the intendment of all working upon us, that God had an eternal purpose to save us.” ~ Richard Sibbes ~ (45)
“They who hold what are called the doctrines of grace, though they differ in many things, and may be often sundered by sharp contentions, yet how thoroughly are they agreed in that Evangelical System which gives vitality to all Christian effort, and lies at the foundation of all human hope! To restore to their very highest activity, the simplest and deepest truths of the religion of God, is to restore in like degree the highest unity to the rent church of Christ, and to extend in like manner the triumphs of that evangelical Christianity which from the days of the reformers to our own, has stimulated the whole progress which mankind has made, and sustained whatever freedom the world possesses.” ~ Robert Breckinridge ~ (46)
“I RECOLLECT great complaint being made against a sermon of mine, “Compel them to come in,” in which I spake with much tenderness for souls. That sermon was said to be Arminian and unsound. Brethren, it is a small matter to me to be judged of men’s judgment, for my master set his seal on that message. I never preached a sermon by which so many souls were won to God, as our church meetings can testify; and all over the world, where the sermon has been scattered, sinners have been saved through its instrumentality, and, therefore, if it be vile to exhort sinners, I purpose to be viler still. I am as firm a believer in the doctrines of grace as any man living, and a true Calvinist after the order of John Calvin himself; but if it be thought an evil thing to bid the sinner lay hold on eternal life, I will be yet more evil in this respect, and herein imitate my Lord and his apostles, who, though they taught that salvation is of grace, and grace alone, feared not to speak to men as rational beings and responsible agents, and bid them “strive to enter in at the strait gate,” and “labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life.” Beloved friends, cling to the great truth of electing love and divine sovereignty, but let not these bind you in fetters when, in the power of the Holy Ghost, you become fishers of men.” ~ Charles Spurgeon ~ (47)
“I preach the doctrines of grace because I believe them to be true; because I see them in the Scriptures; because my experience endears them to me; and because I see the holy result of them in the lives of believers. I confess they are none the less dear to me because the advanced school despises them: their censures are to me a commendation. I confess also that I should never think the better of a doctrine because it was said to be “new.” Those truths which have enlightened so many ages appear to me to be ordained to remain throughout eternity. The doctrine which I preach to you is that of the Puritans: it is the doctrine of Calvin, the doctrine of Augustine, the doctrine of Paul, the doctrine of the Holy Ghost. The Author and Finisher of our faith himself taught most blessed truth which well agreed with our text. The doctrine of grace is the substance of the testimony of Jesus.” ~ Charles Spurgeon ~ (48)
“The Word of God”—that is to say, we are to believe in the doctrines of God’s Word, and these will make us strong. What vigour they infuse! Get the Word well into you, and you will overcome the wicked one. When the devil tempted Luther, the Reformer’s grand grip of justification by faith made him readily victorious. Keep you a fast hold of the doctrines of grace, and Satan will soon give over attacking you, for they are like plate-armour, through which no dart can ever force its way.” ~ Charles Spurgeon ~ (49)
“The goodness of God is published, that our enmity to him may be parted with. Christ’s righteousness is not offered to us to be put on, that we may roll more warmly in our lusts. The doctrine of grace commands us to give up ourselves to Christ, to be accepted through him, and to be ruled by him. Obedience is due to God, as a sovereign Lord in his law, and it is due out of gratitude, as he is a God of grace in the gospel. The discovery of a further perfection in God weakens not the right of another, nor the obligation of the duty the former attribute claims at our hands. The gospel frees us from the curse, but not from the duty and service. We are ‘delivered from the hands of our enemies, that we might serve God in holiness and righteousness,’ Luke 1:74. ‘This is the will of God’ in the gospel, ‘even our sanctification.’ When a prince strikes off a malefactor’s chains, though he deliver him from the punishments of his crime, he frees him not from the duty of a subject. His pardon adds a greater obligation than his protection did before, while he was loyal. Christ’s righteousness gives us a title to heaven, but there must be a holiness to give us a fitness for heaven.” ~ Stephen Charnock ~ (50)
“And to our comfort we see wherein the main of reformation lies: it lies in opening the doctrine of the substantials of salvation, concerning the estate of man by nature, the work of conversion, the privileges we have in Christ; it lies in clearing the doctrine of free grace, and the way of faith which lays hold upon it. ‘By grace ye are saved, through faith,’ as it follows afterwards. We see the truth of this prophecy riseth up more and more to the view in the latter ages of the world, and we enjoy the fruit of it more clearly and fully than our forefathers did; and God will never leave till he hath brought his saints and children to that first pattern, to that doctrine of grace, in the purity and perfection of it, which was then taught.” ~ Thomas Goodwin ~ (51)
“When such a heavenly doctrine breedeth in us a heavenly mind: 1 Cor. 2:12, ‘For we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God, that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.’ When such a spiritual doctrine bringeth in more of the Spirit: 2 Cor. 3:8, ‘How shall not the ministration of the Spirit be rather glorious?’ Such a wise doctrine will fill us with wisdom; such a doctrine of grace and goodness breedeth all goodness in us, and so we have God’s attestation to his truth.” ~ Thomas Manton ~ (52)
“But now that he has learned from the Christ of the Scriptures, he has come to see man’s true inwardness, his true freedom as freedom in the Christ of the Scriptures. As a fish is free in water and a bird is free in air, so a creature is free within the plan of God. When a fish tries to be free on shore or when a bird tries to be free under water then they, as it were, do what man has done by trying to be free from the requirements of the love of God. Seeking for this false freedom the sinner cannot help himself. But God, the triune God in Christ, and by the Spirit in his sovereign grace, reaches down to man to set him free.” ~ Cornelius Van Til ~ (53)
“In merely natural men, sin dwells. Regeneration is the foundation of Christianity. He who expels the doctrine of grace from the Bible utterly expunges the Bible.” ~ William G.T. Shedd ~ (54)
“Christ did not die for any upon condition, if they do believe; but he died for all God’s elect, that they should believe, and believing have eternal life. Faith itself is among the principal effects and fruits of the death of Christ.” ~ John Owen ~ (55
(1) – Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists Matthew, Mark, and Luke (Vol. 1, p. 116). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
(2) – Calvin, J. (2011). Institutes of the Christian Religion & 2. (F. L. Battles, Trans., J. T. McNeill, Ed.) (Vol. 1, p. 974). Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press.
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