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Paul Owen

Dargan's quote is beautifully stated. As a Calvinist, I can only add an amen, as should any balanced Reformed thinker. This passage is not addressing any theoretical doctrine of secret predestination (whether Arminian or Augustinian), but the benevolent character of God. The cross is the visible sign and token of God's love for the whole human race. Attempts to conform this verse to the doctrine of limited atonement (in the TULIP definition) are very weak. The expression "whoever believes" is quite clearly intended to open God's offer of salvation universally, not to limit God's intention to the salvation of the elect. It conditions the saving application of Christ's death on the cross on the response of man, not on the secret decree of God (which is not under consideration here). Christ died as a sufficient sacrifice and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world. Thus verse 18 declares that men are condemned, not because no atonement was made for them, but because they refuse to believe.

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