TULIP: L is for Limited Atonement

Limited atonement is the doctrine that teaches Jesus did not die for all. Instead, with his perfectly obedient life and sacrifice, He completely satisfied the justice of the Father and therefore purchased salvation (ever lasting life & reconciliation) for those the Father gave Him. These people are known in the Bible as the elect.

I believe that Christ came to complete Redemption. He did not come to open the door, or make salvation possible. Jesus did his job and he did all the way. He came to buy with his blood the souls of the elect. And that’s what his life, death and Resurrection accomplished. Anything less than this belief is unBiblical (in my opinion). How can a just, righteous God punish men twice for their sins? If Christ did in fact atone for the sins of all how could a just God then send one person to Hell? We go to Hell because of sin. Believers are going to heaven because Christ atoned for their sins. If Christ atoned for the sins of all, then Hell would not exist. Yet, the Bible is clear it does. So, if you reject limited atonement you are left with universal salvation or works based salvation, both of which are not Biblical in the least.

But what does Scripture say?

21She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” -Mat. 1:21 (emphasis mine)

12he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.-Heb. 9:12 (emphasis mine)

37All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. -John 6:37,38

24So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, 26but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29My Father, who has given them to me,is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. -John 10:24-19 (emphasis mine)

It seems, to me, the Bible is clear about the atonement being limited. For me it comes to a simple question. Did Christ complete what He came to do? If we believe he did, then we cannot  believe unlimited atonement. Isaiah prophesied that Christ would see His soul satisfied. If Christ went to the Cross intending to bring salvation to every man, how could He ever be satisfied? How could his work be complete? It could not and would not be. But, praise be to God it is! Christ had good reason to say “It is finished!” It was! Just as a favorite quote of mine says, “The Gospel is good news, not good advice!”


For further reading I suggest:
The book of Romans (this book so clearly laid out all the doctrines of grace/TULIP for me)
Limited Atonement
The Atonement: Limited Or Unlimited? (Note: This is a 31 pg pdf file)
Tom Ascol: On Why Every Christian Must Believe Limited Atonement

Daisypath Wedding tickers

In my introduction post for limited atonement, I asked for disputes and got none. I did have about four people click the “disagree” button but no questions/comments refuting or even questioning this doctrine. So, as such, I did not touch on disagreements in this post. If some come up in the comments I may do a follow up entry for them.

8 thoughts on “TULIP: L is for Limited Atonement

  1. I recently heard a teaching saying that Jesus did indeed forgive all sins for everyone, but the reason that all weren't saved is that forgiveness of sins is not salvation, but having the Holy Spirit is. It was an interesting way to look at it, though I don't agree (with him, not you:)).

  2. I will have to re-read this over it takes me awhile to understand lol So you are saying Jesus did not die for everyone's sins if they ask him to forgive them of their sins? He died for those who God chooses to forgive? I believe through Jesus you obtain salvation. Once the Spirit convicts you of your sinfulness,then you ask forgiveness of the sinner you are, you then make Jesus Lord of your life. The Holy Spirit resides in you and you grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. Does that make sense?

  3. Heather – I am saying Jesus only died for the people God gave him or God chose. Eph 1:3-7 is a great verse that says those in Christ were chosen from before the foundation of the world. I would assert, that someone that Christ did not die for would never turn to Christ. The Bible says, God has to cause us to seek Him because we are so wicked. I hope that helps some 🙂

  4. It was hard for me to understand at first too, but limited atonement has always made more sense than every other explanation I ever tried to wrap my head around. Love and blessings!

  5. Excellent job — once again! As I have said before, you are my hero for being so brave to address these beautiful, but often times controversial doctrines! I think you said this well: "For me it comes to a simple question. Did Christ complete what He came to do? If we believe he did, then we cannot believe unlimited atonement."If you think about it, both Calvinists and Arminians believe in some form of limited atonement. Calvinists limit the scope of the power of God to the elect, while Arminians limit the very power of God since the implication is that man has some say in inheriting or losing eternal life. As you know, I embrace Reformed/Calvinistic theology and I am relieved to say with John Owen, "To suppose that whatever God requireth of us that we have power of ourselves to do, is to make the cross and grace of Jesus Christ of none effect." Wonderful post my dear! I think you are amazing and I love you!

  6. Ma- Amen! Christina – Thank you. That's an excellent quote from Owen! Limited atonement is hard for some people to understand, I think, because it flies in the face of what most modern day churches teach (me, me, me!).

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