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Limited Atonement

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Grace Part 3: Limited Atonement

Introduction

God saves sinners.

How is grace possible?Through the cross God accomplishes the salvation of sinners by making atonement for their sins.

Atonement - at one men

Definition of limited atonement: God intended the death of Jesus to be effective only for his people.

  1. The need of the atonement
  2. The nature of the atonement
  3. The extent of the atonement

1. The need of the atonement

Atonement is needed for the payment of a debt.
All of us are in debt to God because of our sin. In order for us to be forgiven and for our relationship with God to be restored our sins need to be paid for.

Example of a car crash

  • John 3:16
  • Romans 3:23-26

Debts only need to be paid once
All debts need to be paid but they only need to be paid once. There are two places that our debt of sin can be paid for; either by Jesus Christ at the cross or by us in hell. If they are paid in one place they do not need to be paid in the other. God would be unjust to require debts to be paid twice.

  • Romans 5:8-9
  • Colossians 3:5-6

2. The nature of the atonement

Atonement involves the shedding of blood

  • Genesis 2:17
  • Ezekiel 18:4, 20
  • Romans 6:23
  • Hebrews 9:22

Atonement involves the swapping of places
Example of swapping football cards

In order for our debt of sin to be paid for a swap needed to take place. For the swap to be suitable it needed to involve:

  1. the sacrifice of a person not an animal (Hebrews 10:4).
  2. the sacrifice of a person of infinite value to pay for sins against an infinite God (flicking noses in the middle ages).

The Biblical basis for a swap  

  • Exodus 12
  • Leviticus 16
  • Isaiah 53:6
  • Mark 10:45
  • John 1:29
  • John 6:51
  • John 11:52
  • Romans 5:9, 10;
  • Romans 8:3
  • Romans 8:32
  • 2 Corinthians 5:21
  • Galatians 1:4
  • Galatians 3:13
  • Ephesians 1:7
  • Colossians 1:20
  • Colossians 2:13-14
  • Titus 2:14
  • Hebrews 2:14-15
  • Hebrews 9:26
  • Hebrews 10:12
  • 1 Peter 2:24
  • 1 Peter 3:18
  • Revelation 1:5

Atonement involves the propitiating of wrath
Example of giving flowers

  • Romans 3:25-26
  • Hebrews 2:17
  • 1 John 2:2
  • 1 John 4:10

3. The extent of the atonement

The final question to be considered about the atonement is this ‘who did Jesus make atonement for?

There are two potential answers; everyone or a particular group of people. The Bible does not say that the atonement was made by Christ for everyone, neither can the atonement have been made for everyone or everyone would be saved and go to heaven. Instead the Bible says that atonement was made for a particular group of people. Those people in the Bible who Jesus died for are called:

  • Matthew 1:21 - his people
  • John 10:11, 15 - his sheep
  • John 15:13 - his friends
  • Ephesians 5:23-26 - his body
  • Acts 20:28 - the church
  • Romans 8:32-34 - the elect
  • Matthew 20:28; 26:28 - the many

So what?

An assurance of God’s love

A passion for God’s justice