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Mar 03, 2009

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wade burleson

Luke, you write (quote) "Unbelief, the refusal to accept Jesus as God in the flesh(and thus his teachings), results in one being judged guilty and sent to eternal punishment for his own sins."

The infant who dies in infancy never believes. The mentally challenged who die without ever having historical or actual comprehension die without ever believing. What then saves the infant and the mentally challenged from hell?

Obviously, it can't be belief - they have none.

So, it would seem to me that it is not belief that saves somebody from hell, but rather, the death and atonement of Jesus Christ. Since you believe Jesus died for every single sinner and in his death, "An infinite price was paid. An infinite debt was paid. An infinite punishment was endured. A single transaction of infinite effect was made" then it would seem to me you have a very difficult time dodging the charge that you are a universalist.

In His Grace,

Wade

Stephen Garrett

Dear Luke:

You said:

"At the cross then, the payment was "actual" for those who lived in faith and died before the Christ, and is "potential" for those coming after the Christ."

Is this not a kind of limited atonement? No atonement for those who had already died in unbelief? Then what about all those passages that supposedly say Christ died for every single sinner, without exception?

God bless,

Stephen

Benji Ramsaur

Luke,

I appreciate your approach for dialogue.

You said "The potential rests not in the ability of Christ’s sacrifice but in the application of Christ’s sacrifice. The application of the sacrifice awaits the response of the individual."

I think a problem I see for making the atonement "await" something is that it takes away from its productive nature.

In other words, it makes the atonement something that just sits there until someone activates it through belief so to speak.

However, in the light of John 12:23-24 [where Christ speaks of "The hour" and goes right into speaking about a seed's "death"], I think the atonement produces salvation.

My view: If the seed dies for all, then it would produce salvation for all. If the seed dies for some, then the seed produces salvation for some. I don't think the atonement just sits there.

God Bless,

Benji

Luke

Wade,
Pertaining to babies and the mentally challenged, I am quite content to leave that in the hands/grace of our Savior Jesus Christ. But I believe that within the context of the Scripture passage noted, belief was quite the center of the discussion.

As pertaining to being a universalist, I think that the Scripture passage also deals with that as well. Only because you dismissed the notion of belief being instrumental can you see me not being able to side step or duck under the ball of universalism being tossed my way. I am not, I assure you, a universalist.

Luke

Stephen,
I would answer that yes, in application, it is limited, but not in scope. I tried to make that clear and it would appear that I did not succeed in doing so for you.

I do find it interesting though that you are pegging me to a limited position and Wade is pegging me to a universal position. I should say that I find that to be quite the hoot.:) Only in the SBC eh?

Luke

Benji,
I also appreciate dialogue, especially the kind that encourages growth.

Now without any implication of incivility, are you saying then that there are a lot/a few people who are running around that have not figured out that they are saved yet? Facetious I am not trying to be. But I think it may help me in understanding your position. For if it actually produced and depends not upon the belief of the responder, then even before the responder believes he would be saved. Please see that in the form of a question rather than trying to put words in your mouth.

I had another individual who wasn't thrilled about my use of the word "potential" either. I suppose it is just another way of saying sufficient/efficient but I try to use words of my own when I write. Yet I do not see why the bringing forth of the fruit has to occur all at the same moment. I grow a garden, especially green beans. They produce from a seed that continually produce over a season. I do not think that Christ dies continually during a season. But I think His death and resurrection continue to reproduce throughout the growing season.

Thanks for the dialogue Benji. I was hoping you would drop in.

Byroniac

Luke, my personal view on this should come as no surprise to you, I'm sure. I believe Christ's atonement on the cross actually accomplished salvation for all the elect (past, present, and future). I do NOT subscribe to eternal justification, but I do believe that Christ deliberately limited His atonement to His sheep (the elect), to redeem them and only them in time, and that it does not make salvation possible but in fact secures it beyond doubt for the elect, and them alone. Those that died in faith before the cross looked to Him in faith, and those that will die in faith also look to Him in faith, and His redeeming sacrifice purchases their eternal salvation before God. So I would say the Atonement is limited in both scope and application, and has a 100% success rate, unlike certain other theological constructs (sorry, I could not resist). ;)

The important thing is not that you or anyone else agrees with me. The important thing is to emphasize salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. I believe that anyone who dies in unbelief perishes, without partiality. I believe that those who believe in Christ truly, even if incorrectly, are both saved and elect if and only if they persevere in the faith to the end of their lives. By saying that, I am not saying that salvation depends on works, but that true salvation produces true fruit of conversion and good works as evidence of the transformation that Christ has done for the believer.

Having said all that, I would rather see an evangelical Arminian than a cold, dead Hypercalvinist who refuses to witness (I'm not a hypercalvinist to the best of my knowledge, and if so, I'm not one of THOSE hyper-calvinists).

Benji Ramsaur

Luke,

I appreciate your thoughtful response.

I'm not saying the atonement produces fruit all at the same time. However, what I am saying is that if atonement has been made, then fruit will be produced in time.

Going back to John 12:23-24, I think verse 32 in that same chapter reveals that Jesus will "draw" sinners to Himself "based on" His being lifted up--atonement.

I also link the Son's drawing in verse 32 with the Father's drawing in John 6:37. I think this might reveal part of what it means for the Father and the Son to be "One".

The Son's drawing logically precedes one coming to Himself. The Father's drawing logically precedes one coming to Christ.

So here is how I see it--the Father and the Son are "unified" to draw sinners to Christ [i.e., salvation] "based" on the atonement that produces the salvation of sinners "through" the spoken gospel of Jesus Christ.

I appreciate your welcoming attitude.

God Bless,

Benji

Benji Ramsaur

Luke,

Sorry, John 6:37 should be John 6:44.

Goin' out to eat with the family now:)

Take care,

Benji

Luke

Byron,
You have presented no surprise to me on your belief. I'll even accept your little swipe there about the success rate but that is the point is it not. Why would God be considered a failure if He makes salvation available to all but only some receive it. Jesus told the story of those bidden to come to the feast. Did that make the host a failure because some made excuses not to come? I don't think so. Does the cross of Christ become a failure if not all believe though salvation was made possible for all? I do not understand how that is so.

Another point you hinted on and I like it very much. I believe that a person is saved by nothing other than faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. Upon that we agree.

Here's a new thought in this line of thinking. Would Christ have had to die any more/suffer any more, IF, one person were added to the elect as you understand them? OR, was his death sufficient to cover the sins of all?

Looking forward to lunch with ya bro.

Luke

Benji,
This is for when you come back from supper. So then your answer to my question, people are wandering around who are saved and don't know it would be a NO!??

I'll approach my question from another angle. In the book of Exodus when Moses was preparing the people for the night of the Passover, was it enough to simply kill the lamb or must the blood have to be applied to the door? I see Christ as our passover Lamb whose blood was spilt and I also see enough blood spilt to cover the door posts of all who would enter in, but the blood still has to be applied to the door posts.

I believe that Jesus also said that when He was lifted up, He would draw all men. Upon the definition of "all" I am confident we disagree. I believe Jesus must draw men, but I believe that He draws all men but some men refuse to acknowledge him as Lord and Savior. Even at the cross, He was praying for forgiveness for those who crucified him and while it is a stretch to say that they were either saved or not saved at some time later, surely you would grant me that some of them remained in unbelief?

Finally, you said that the spoken Gospel produces salvation in the sinner. So which is it? Are they already saved at the moment of Christ's sacrifice or is atonement applied at the moment they receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

Hope ya had a great time with your family.

Stephen Garrett

Dear Luke:

Was Christ's death "potential" for those coming BEFORE Christ as you say it was for those coming AFTER Christ?

Was Christ dying to make atonement for Pharoah and Esau? Was he dying to make atonement a potential reality for them?

Blessings,

Stephen

Byroniac

Luke, my swipe was not justified, though I meant it good-naturedly (but there's an element of stubbornness there too, I admit).

If God has perfect foreknowledge and salvation in Christ must be accepted to become valid, why does God offer salvation to those He knows will never accept it? Is it to form the basis of judgment of unbelief against them? And if they will never accept it, where is the potential? How is it not failure unless perishing in unbelief could also be considered success? Or, unless you limit the atonement to those who will believe? Sorry, I know these are mainly philosophical questions, but I do not see "potential" in Scripture when I read such passages as John 3 or John 6, but divine certainty.

Well, I could also ask, would Christ have to suffer any LESS, if even ONE fewer elect were in existence? And how would you measure less or more (could you remove a large number, and have Christ not die yet still accomplish salvation)? I believe God only deals with sin one way, with death. Christ's death to redeem was guaranteed by the existence of just one elect who became guilty of sin, let alone the possible millions or even billions that will be saved. I could almost say, His death is sufficient for the world, but made efficient for the elect. But I do not like saying that, because it involves the hypothetical. Christ didn't die for the world, or any hypothetical group; He died for His elect, and them alone (whom He calls "my sheep"). I agree with you that the worth is infinite, because of His divine personhood and the fact that the nature of salvation is divine, but those He has chosen to redeem are not infinite, even collected into what I believe is the Universal Church.

Hope this helps. Perhaps it can show you how confused I am. ;)

Luke

Stephen,
I believe that Christ's death has the potential to cover the sins of Pharoah but only at the time during Pharoah's life. In other words, those before Christ looked "forward" while those after look "backwards". There was as much potential for Pharoah as there was for Moses. Belief is what would separate the two if we find out that Pharoah died outside of faith in the coming Messiah.

AND if none of that is clear as mud, I am not saying that Pharoah gets a "second chance". I am saying that Christ's death was sufficient for the sins of Esau and Pharoah. Potential when they were alive, actual when they believed IF they believed. But no longer potential after they died.

I have tried to answer it from two different angles. I trust that more questions will be forth coming if I have not specifically addressed your question in a way that would satisfy you though that does not imply that I gave an answer that you would agree with.

Benji Ramsaur

Luke,

I'm back. Good salad.

I believe there are "unsaved" people for whom Christ died that will be drawn by Christ to Himself based on the atonement.

After the atonement produces this salvation, those once unsaved persons are, of course, saved.

I do not deny that the atonement must be "applied". However, I also do not deny that the atonement produces. Hence, I do not believe it just sits there "waiting".

If my linkage of the Son's drawing with the Father's drawing is accurate, then those who are drawn will be raised up to eternal life [the context of John 6:44 supports this]. Therefore, not "every, single, person" is in view but those and only those the Father gives the Son [John 6:37].

There is no such thing as a drawn person in John 6:44 who does "not" get raised up on the last day.

God Bless,

Benji

Steve

Well said Luke,
You have indicated the Fuller position that the atonement is sufficient for all but efficient only to the elect (those who have faith in Christ).
Did you parpaphrase Spurgeon or Fuller when you wrote this :)
And you caught out those who thought they were all wise calvinists. Well played.
Steve

Byroniac

Benji, I enjoy hearing from you exactly what my pastor preached not terribly long ago. ;)

Luke

Steve,
I'm glad I checked this before I hit the hay. In fact, I'm putting Benji on hold til morning.

As for as quoting any of those fellows, I don't think I did. I am not a reader of Spurgeon or Fuller to be honest. I do read Geisler a little but I can't say I know him well enough to be influenced by him. Most of my thinking Bro. Grosey(If this is the same steve) is usually my own or the combined product of all my years of schooling and study. Now I've got to go read Fuller to see what he said.

Glad to here from down under

Steve

yes Luke its downunder Grosey.
Blessings brother Luke.
Steve

Byroniac

Steve,

I consider the phrase, "sufficient for all, but efficient only for the elect" to basically say too little or too much, but never exactly enough. If predestination and election are true, then it says too little, because the "all" is simply a hypothetical existing only in theory. Fuller's statement becomes meaningless, because it is like saying, "unconditional election is sufficient for all, but efficient only for the elect" (from an excellent article, "Sufficient for all" by Jim Ellis). It can be saying too much if any kind of general, unlimited atonement is to be implied, even hypothetically. That's just my opinion, though.

Byroniac

Luke, I think just about every Christian limits the atonement. Either the atonement is limited in scope, or in efficacy. And some cults of course limit both. By our words, we both believe in "limited atonement" as it were, but we define "limited" in two different ways.

Luke

Benji,
In your usage of John 6:37, I tie that verse in with verse 39 as well and separate it from verse 40. The reason, the ones given to Jesus in verse 37 are the Disciples(cf John 17:6,9). So while I agree that all who come to Christ will be raised up, I believe the passage you are using does not support an elect few but rather refers simply to the 12 disciples. I make a distinction then in the same line of thinking with verse 44. I hope to post on this in the near future.

Luke

A question open to all:

Did Jesus suffer only enough for the elect, or was his suffering of infinite value? And secondly, how much must be suffered for a sin? I think that too much of a specific value is attached to the Cross rather than seeing that an eternal debt of infinite indebtedness was being paid. Thoughts?

peter lumpkins

My Brother Luke,

I think you've got a niche here! And, thanks again for assisting. I'm still in 'setback' mode, with glucose hanging far too high. Thanks for prayers.

With that, I am...

Peter

Luke

Peter,
I am glad to see you are still hanging in there. It must have been those pork brains you posted about that sent you off the charts. Praying for you a speedy recovery.

I am glad I could assist and it seems the Lord was already working that out for ya.


Luke

Grosey,
I went and research, just a tiny bit, about Fuller. Boy, some people really do not like the fella. Thanks for the heads up there. I will probably read more about him beyond this discussion but as I stated earlier, my information here is mostly from my own thinking but I am quite sure I am a hodgepodge of information gleaned over the years so in keeping with "the Preacher", there is nothing new under the sun.

Benji Ramsaur

Luke,

While both John 17:6&9 may be referring to the immediate disciples, I think the gospel of John as a whole does not limit the "given ones" to being merely the immediate disciples.

John 10:16 refers to "other" sheep that Christ would bring into the flock [and so is not a reference to the immediate disciples] and sheep are described later on in verse 29 as those that the Father has "given" the Son.

In John 17:20 "future" believers are included in Christ's prayer [and thus Christ does not limit the prayer to the immediate disciples] and so verse 24 [where Jesus talks about those the Father has "given" Him] I think would be linked with future believers.

Therefore, I don't think you can justifiably take John 17:6&9 as proof that the "all" in John 6:37&39 is in reference to "only" the immediate disciples.

I also think the flow of thought in John 6:37-40 goes against "separating" verse 40 from verses 37 & 39.

The ideas of "all/everyone" and God's [will] flow right into verse 40 [I will substitute the Greek word "pas" for the English]

37 "ALL" that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

38For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the [will of Him] that sent me.

39And this is [the Father's will] which hath sent me, that of "all" which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.

40And this is [the will of Him] that sent me, that "everyone" which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

God Bless,

Benji


Benji Ramsaur

Luke,

Just scratch this--[I will substitute the Greek word "pas" for the English]--from what I said above because I changed my mind on presenting it that way.

Take Care,

Benji

Luke

Benji,
John 10:15,16 speak of two distinct groups of sheep. They are both sheep but they are distinct and will be brought into one fold. I think the distinction here is between Jew and Gentile in the context.

John 17:25 is where the distinction is most noticed and delineated. In knowing the Father, 3 distinctions are made.
1. Jesus knows the Father.
2. The disciples-these have known thou hast sent me
3. The world-which has not known the Father

The third group is being prayed for in verse 20-21a. 21b picks back up with the disciples as is evidenced by verse 23, that the world may know.

John 6:39,40
Verse 39 finds its complement in 17:12. Disciples.
Verse 40 Is speaking in general terms, thus his listeners made up of more than his disciples.

It does no danger to the flow of the text. I see the distinction has having more influence upon our theological constructs than the flow. 6:60-71 also underscores the fact that there is a distinction made between his disciples and the rest. Verses 64,65 specifically address the distinction.

Thank you for your time Benji.

Benji Ramsaur

Luke,

You said "John 10:15,16 speak of two distinct groups of sheep. They are both sheep but they are distinct and will be brought into one fold. I think the distinction here is between Jew and Gentile in the context."

I agree and thus I think John 10:29 is descriptive of both Jew and Gentile sheep.

Are you saying that Jesus is not--directly or indirectly--praying for future believers in John 17:24?

You said "John 6:39,40
Verse 39 finds its complement in 17:12. Disciples.
Verse 40 Is speaking in general terms, thus his listeners made up of more than his disciples."

I agree that the immediate disciples are "included" in the "all" of John 6:39, but I do not think "the twelve--minus Judas" make up "all".

If that is "all" [this is getting funny] Jesus wanted to say in verse 39, then Jesus could have just said "that of 'those' which He hath given me", but Jesus said "that of 'all' which He hath given me"

I also think the "pas", if you will, flowing down from verse 37, 39, and then into 40 goes against interpreting verses 37 & 39 in such an extreme limited way [i.e., merely the eleven] and then interpreting verse 40 in such a broad way.

Plus, the striking similar or identical phrasing in verses 39-40 should make "separating" these verses unthinkable I believe.

God Bless,

Benji


selahV

Luke, in your open question that was really three questions, I'll toss out my thoughts:

Q..."Did Jesus suffer only enough for the elect, or was his suffering of infinite value?"
A...His suffering was for all sin in all people for all time. No other sacrifice is necessary.

Q...And secondly, how much must be suffered for a sin?
A...an eternity in hell is what must be suffered for a sin...any and all sin. Isn't that why Jesus bore all sin on Calvary to attone for those who do not reject His gift of grace and to attone for those who do reject His gift? We are all condemned already to die in an eternal fire. Everyone. But then, that's just my teeny little mind thinking. I'm no Dr. of anything. selahV


Luke

Benji,

Yes to your question about John 17:24. I do not see him praying for future believers in that verse.

As pertaining to John 6:39,40 I see verse 39 addressing the Disciples, "those given" and verse 40 addressing those who believe on Jesus. Thus, the promise of being raised up is given to two(I made a funny too) different classes if I may call them that. In other words, I don't think he meant the same thing twice and just said it differently. I believe he was making a distinction.

Thanks immensely.


Luke

Mrs. V,
Okay okay. Three questions. But the first two I am driving at a specific point. If it is said that Jesus died only for the elect, that his death only atones for the elect, then aren't we attaching a specific value to his death? Which goes back to my original two questions. I agree, as Byron pointed out, that we all(non-universalists) limit the application of the atonement. But does limiting the application necessarily mean that the provision itself must be limited? And if it limits the provision, how do we assess a finite value to an infinite provision?

Benji Ramsaur

Luke,

I think verse 39 reveals the Divine side of salvation [i.e., the given ones come to Jesus] and verse 40 reveals the human side [i.e., looking and believing in Christ].

Verse 40, I think, does echo what you brought up--Moses lifting up the serpent since it does not merely speak of believing in Christ, but "looking" [like the Israelites of old looking at the serpent] and believing in Christ.

However, I think verse 39 communicates that God's action of giving logically precedes our coming to Jesus [i.e., believing in Jesus].

Also, I believe the presence of "For" or "And" at the beginning of verse 40 [check the different Greek texts] shows that the verses are not to be separated either way.

Kudos to you for a civil conversation on this subject.

God Bless,

Benji

Steve

Becasue the Lord Jesus Christ is the Infinte God/Man His sacrifice is Eternally ineffably infinitely sufficient, and He can make it sufficient for whomever He determines. This makes His atonement super sufficient above anything we might express or think.
(I am wanting to rpeserve the wonder at the thought that God the Creator of all things , the "I am", infinite in nature should die for man the creature's sin).
The extent of the atonement is only determined by He who determined it. (This would go back to His purposes before the foundation of the earth -Ephesians 1:4for He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight.)
We should stand in awe, not disputing the extent of the atonement (limited or unlimited) but rather the Wonder that an atonement should have been made, and the Infinite extent that the Lord went to in the incarnation, crucifixion and death of the cross (Phil 2:6 who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage.7 Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man in His external form, 8 He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death—even to death on a cross.)
Rather thn being a matter for conjecture, this MUST be a matter for worship!
Steve Grose

joe white

Here is an idea I have been kicking around for a couple of weeks. Perhaps the extent and intent of the atonement must be considered relative to perspective and the person with the perspective.

For example: Mankind tends to view things from a linear perspective. I am here now in 2009, Christ died almost 2,000 years ago, and lots of people died before Him. However; God exists, not only in the here and now, but in the past and future. As Dr. Richard Land explained it, God exists in an "eternal now".

The Atonement; are we talking about it from God's perspective or ours? Are we viewing it from inside the space time continual or outside of it? For example: Christ is the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world and slain at the center point of human history.

One thing is for sure... Christ died for sinners, of whom I a chief.

selahV

Steve, amen, and praise His holy name! selahV

cb scott

The bottom line on this subject is spoken by Joe White:

"One thing is for sure... Christ died for sinners, of whom I a chief."


Stephen Garrett

Dear Luke:

You asked these questions:

question open to all:

1. Did Jesus suffer only enough for the elect, or was his suffering of infinite value?

2. And secondly, how much must be suffered for a sin?

Why is it important for us to answer these questions? What answers do the scriptures give to them? What difference would it make to answer one way or another?

How do you explain John 17: 2? Did Christ come to give or impart eternal life to everyone or to those who the Father had given to the Son before the world began?

God bless,

Stephen

Byroniac

Amen, Steve!

Byroniac

Luke, why is saying that Christ died for the elect limiting the value of His death? His personhood is still divine. If God spares one person from disaster, is that somehow lesser value than if He spared two or three? Or is the distinction of value only in salvation? For example, Christ could have raised all the dead that ever lived and died, but He raised Lazarus and him only at that time. Is there any less power or value there? I know you do not believe it this way, but if the Calvinist soteriology is right and salvation is by predestination of God's divine power, then why should there be any "value" associated with the exercise of that power at all? God is still an infinite being exercising infinite power in a very finite, focused way on finite beings with very specific results. In fact, I think you could argue that the infinity of God's power is never fully exercised, but always limited in scope and application.

Debbie Kaufman

CB, Steve: I got goosebumps reading your comments. Amen.

Debbie Kaufman

Matthew 1:21, "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins."

John 10:15, "As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep."

John 15:13, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

Acts 20:28, "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood."

Ephesians 5:25, "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;"

Luke

Steve, Joe, CB,
I totally agree that any serious study of God's word, conjecture or not, ought to lead us to Worship. That is the point right. We search the Scriptures not that we might have life but that we may come to know Jesus more fully because they are they which testify of Him. Worthy of Worship!! Indeed!

Luke

Stephen,
As far as your three questions in answer to my 2 questions, please understand you are under no obligation to answer my questions and if you choose not to, that is quite your decision to make. I personally thought that they were viable lines worthy of pursuit, provided it leads us to Jesus.(Thanks Steve,Joe,CB)

Concerning John 17:2, I have no reservation stating that this verse is speaking of the Disciples per mine and Benji's quite enjoyable exchange.

And, I believe that Jesus came to impart life to those who believe on His name.

Luke

Byron,
What I am wrestling with here is trying to understand if Christ's death was limited in scope or application. If it is limited in scope, then how do we understand the value. For instance, did it take this much atonement(x) to save this many people(y). I hope that is clear. If not, skip the illustration.

If we simply limit the atonement in application, which I think is what we agree upon, then why do we have trouble accepting that Christ died for the sins of the World(whole)?

It goes back to my understanding that salvation occurs WHEN a person believes. Not before, not after. And, that salvation does not occur without someone believing in Christ Jesus. Those that reject, no application is made. Those that believe, application is made.

Thus, back to saying it this way, the death of Christ is sufficient for the sins of the entire history of sinners and should we add 10 more people after that, it would/is still sufficient.

Where we diverge is application. Right?

Luke

To All,
I may be in and out at any time today. The constraints of ministry are calling and when one of those is a baby(not mine), I have no dictates over when that can/will occur. I also do not have a palm pilot or any electronic gadgetry that would allow me to interact wherever I may be(and quite frankly, I do not desire to have that either). So, should you notice extended absence, unless the Lord has come back, Lord willing, I will return soon.

Byroniac

Luke, yes, we diverge on application surely, but also on scope, but not value.

What I still don't understand about your perspective is, why must limiting the scope also limit its value? Everything God does is limited in scope, including salvation. Even if universalism were true and God chose to save every individual ever born, there are still a finite number of people saved, so the scope remains limited, but not the intrinsic value of the One who does the saving, or the act of salvation itself. This simply means that God accomplishes His purposes, very specifically.

When you speak of the sufficiency of Christ Himself, I have no argument with that. What I was trying to point out is, hypothetical sufficiencies save no one and prove nothing. It makes very little sense to say, God could make 10,000 Earths where everyone speaks fluent Albanian (and only Albanian), natural hair colors only come in fluorescent green, purple, and orange, and the Commodore 64 took over the world each time. Of course, I believe God COULD do that. The point is, He didn't. He won't. To say His power is sufficient to do this and use that as an example basically says very little, just like saying Christ's Atonement is sufficient to save the entire world (but it doesn't and won't), because now we are not dwelling any longer on its intrinsic power and value, but its potential scope and application.

If there is any limitation of value, it could only be on those upon whom God shows mercy and grace in salvation, not on God's power in working that salvation.

Stephen Garrett

Dear Luke:

All I was wanting was your reasoning behind those questions and why they are so important. I have a right to ask a question in reply to one per Jesus. Also, my questions were designed to see if the questions were even pertinent.

Also, it would not have taken much time or effort to simply cite some verses where these questions are discussed and shown to be important.

The gift of sinners to Christ takes place prior to faith and salvation. The passages relating to this demonstrate this clearly. We do not come to Christ in order for us to become God's gift to Christ, but because of it.

"All that the Father gives to me will come to me." Coming to Christ is the clear result of this giving. However, you make it the cause.

God bless,

Stephen

Luke

Stephen,
It is because I am a thinker. Not a quoter. That ought to be obviously clear to most who read my writings. I do not quote Spurgeon, Owens, Fuller(grin at Grosey), I am a thinker. Now I'll readily admit that not many answers that I arrive at are new to the world but they are answers that I arrived at through, prayer, thought and Bible research. Occasionally, I do go back to the books for heavy research. But I ask questions to know. I ask questions when I am thinking. Sometimes, I even ask questions when I want others to think for themselves instead of quoting me someone else, unless that someone else happens to be Jesus. I'll take his quotes any day. But you challenged the pertinence of my question to which I will purposely answer with a quote.

"The infinite intrinsic value and all-sufficiency of Christ's death is a doctrine maintained in the Reformed tradition. The Canons of Dort, which is the historical statement of the so-called "five points of Calvinism" formulated at the Synod of Dort (1618-1619), state:

This death of the Son of God is the only and most perfect sacrifice and satisfaction for sins, of infinite value and worth, abundantly sufficient to expiate the sins of the whole world. This death is of such great value and worth because the person who submitted to it is not only a true and perfectly holy man, but also the only-begotten Son of God, of the same eternal and infinite essence with the Father and the Holy Spirit, for these qualifications were necessary for our Savior. Further, this death is of such great value and worth because it was accompanied by a sense of the wrath and curse of God, which we by our sins had deserved, (Second Head, Articles 3 & 4).

John Owen (1616-1683) echos the same position, "It was then the purpose and intention of God that his Son should offer a sacrifice of infinite worth, value, and dignity, sufficient in itself for the redeeming of all and every man, if it had pleased the Lord to employ it to that purpose. . . Sufficient we say, then, was the sacrifice of Christ for the redemption of the whole world, and for the expiation of all the sins of all and every man in the world," (Works, vol. 10, pp. 295, 296)."

I'm not the only one who has endeavored to address the subject of the value of the death of Christ.

And since we disagree on "whom" is being given in the context of John, I cannot ascribe to your conclusion.

I trust your evening was well. I had a great visit with a potential church family and rejoiced to hear of the birth of a healthy baby girl for a church family and, I was able to accomplish all the little things that stood in my way of an enjoyable half a day off today.

Luke

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