A Defense of Unlimited Atonement


An Analysis Of Key Scripture Passages

2 Corinthians 5:19-20


As ambassadors of Christ we are to go to all men with the word of reconciliation. How can we tell lost men and women to be reconciled to God if no such reconciliation has been provided? But if God has indeed reconciled the world unto Himself, then we can go to the world with a message of reconciliation. Christ’s act of suffering provides a righteous basis for God to welcome the rebel’s return. For those who are enemies of God and for all those who are enemies of God, we have a message of good news! We have a word of reconciliation! We have a message of hope because "He died for all" (2 Cor. 5:14-15). God is the Reconciler of all men (verse 19, "the world"), especially of them that believe (verse 20 where reconciliation is limited to those who respond in faith). Compare 1 Timothy 4:10.

According to 2 Corinthians 5:19 there is a reconciliation declared to be world-wide and wrought wholly of God; yet, in the verse which follows in the context, it is indicated that the individual sinner has the responsibility, in addition to the universal reconciliation wrought of God, to be reconciled himself to God. What God has accomplished has so changed the world in its relation to Himself that He, agreeable to the demands of infinite righteousness, is satisfied with Christ’s death as a solution of the sin question for each one. The desideratum is not reached, however, until the individual, already included in the world’s reconciliation, is himself satisfied with that same work of Christ which has satisfied God as the solution of his own sin question. Thus there is a reconciliation which of itself saves no one, but which is a basis for the reconciliation of any and all who will believe. When they believe, they are reconciled experimentally and eternally, and become the children of God through the riches of His grace.  [Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, Vol. III, p. 192.]

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