A Defense of Unlimited Atonement


Should We Commend Unbelievers for their Unbelief?

If Christ did not die for all men, then we should be commending the ungodly for their unbelief. Here’s an example. A Christ-denying infidel makes this statement, "I don’t believe Christ died for me!" If what the extreme Calvinists teach is true, then he is correct not to believe that Christ’s death was for him. "I do not believe that Christ did anything to save me." If Christ did not die for the unbeliever who made this statement, then what he is saying is accurate and we should commend him for his unbelief! Charles Smith said it this way, "One who rejects the eternal life provided for us in Christ has made God a liar. According to God’s Word he has refused to believe the truth. Yet those who teach a limited atonement would have us believe that one who goes to hell goes there because he does believe the truth – namely the "truth" that Jesus did not die for him!" (Did Christ Die Only for the Elect? p. 13). He is correct in not believing that Christ died for his salvation. How can we condemn this man for rejecting the Saviour, if Christ did nothing to save him?

Are the Unsaved Commanded to Believe a Lie?

The Westminster Confession of Faith is a strong statement of the tenets of Reformed Theology. The Moderator of the Assembly that compiled this confession of faith, Dr. Twisse, had admitted that "every one who hears the gospel (without distinction between elect and reprobate) is bound to believe that Jesus Christ died for him." [Cited by Morison, The Extent of the Atonement, p.61.] But if Jesus Christ did not die for him, is he bound to believe a lie? When we preach the gospel message, what is it that we are urging lost sinners to believe?

When every sinner that hears the gospel is commanded to "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ," what is it that he is to believe? He is to believe, say "the Marrow of Modern Divinity" [Chap. II, sect. ii] and "the Act of the Associate Presbytery of 1742," and "be verily persuaded in his heart that Jesus Christ is his, that he shall have life and salvation by him, and that whatsoever he did for the redemption of mankind, he did it for him." What? Is every hearer of the gospel to believe all this, if it be a fact [as limited redemptionists maintain] that for millions who hear the gospel he did absolutely nothing at all upon Calvary – shed no blood, made no atonement, gave no ransom? Is he to believe a thing that is not true? Is he to believe a LIE? He is invited to do so, he is urged to do so, he is entreated to do so, he is commanded to do so, he is threatened with eternal condemnation if he do not do so, provided it be indeed a truth that Christ did nothing on Calvary for him. [Morison, The Extent of the Atonement, p. 60.]

No, we are not urging sinners to believe a lie. We are beseeching them, for Christ’s sake, to believe the truth of the gospel, that "Christ died for our sins" (1 Cor. 15:3).

My friend, Christ died for you.
Believe it because it is surely true!
Reject this message of His all-embracing love shown at the cross
And you will suffer eternal death, everlasting punishment and terrible loss!   -GZ

Sinners do not perish for believing a lie but for rejecting God’s truth. "And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved" (2 Thess. 2:10).

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