A Defense of Unlimited Atonement


An Analysis Of Key Scripture Passages

John Chapter 6


In John chapter 6 the Lord Jesus is speaking to a hostile, unbelieving audience. They did not receive His teaching (verse 60) and they walked away (verses 66-67). We must conclude that these people, for the most part, would never enter heaven: "But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray Him" (John 6:64).

What did the Lord say to these unbelieving Jews? "My Father GIVETH YOU the true bread from heaven" (verse 32). The Lord Jesus told these Jews that the true Bread from heaven was GIVEN to them by the Father. In verse 33 the true Bread from heaven is identified as the Lord Jesus Christ, the One who "giveth life unto the world." God gave His Son, the Bread of Life, even for these who did not believe ("ye also have seen me, and believe not"--verse 36). This would even include Judas who was in the audience.

"I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world" (John 6:51). This Bread has particular reference to the Lord’s sacrificial death on the cross (see also verses 54-56). This Bread was given for the life of the world.

"The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" (John 6:52). Notice that these unbelieving Jews understood Jesus to be saying that this Bread was given to them to eat. The Lord did not correct them on this. Indeed, He affirmed it by saying (my paraphrase) "I have given my flesh for you to eat but if you do not eat it then you will have no life" (see verse 53).

Verses 53-58 show the necessity of a person personally partaking (by faith) in what Christ did for him on the cross when He gave His life and shed His blood.

Conclusion: The true bread from heaven (which is identified as the Lord Jesus Christ with special reference to His sacrificial death on the cross) was given for the world, and was given even to the unbelieving Jews who heard these words (most of whom we could safely say were non-elect; one in the audience we know for sure was non-elect: Judas!). These unbelieving Jews understood that this Bread was given to them. They must have understood correctly. Jesus did not correct them. The Lord Jesus made it clear, however, that the Bread that was given to them would do them no good unless they would personally partake of it by faith. The Lord’s words here in John 6 clearly indicate that Christ’s sacrificial death was for all, but effectual only for those who believe. Unbelievers do not benefit from what was so graciously provided for them and so freely offered to them.

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