Lesson 21 – Particular Redemption
In our previous studies, we have examined some Scriptures which, at first glance and isolated from other Scriptures, seem to some people to teach universal redemption. In each case, we have seen that these and all other Scriptures teach that the redemption of Jesus Christ is limited to the elect people of God.
In this study sheet we will consider several other Scriptures which some use erroneously to teach universal redemption.
“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
(I Corinthians 15:22)
In the first place this Scripture proves too much for those who advocate a universal atonement, for these are not statements of possibility–they are statements of fact. If the “all” made alive in Christ include the whole human family then the whole human family will be saved. No Bible believer holds to this position.
What is under consideration here is the fact that while Adam was the HEAD and REPRESENTATIVE of the human race, Jesus Christ, “the second man,” “the last Adam” (I Corinthians 15:45-47) was the HEAD and REPRESENTATIVE of God’s elect. Because God placed Adam as the federal head and representative of the entire human race, they all fell in him when he sinned (Romans 5:12). But, unlike the first Adam, Jesus rendered perfect obedience to the Father and merited a perfect righteousness which is imputed to all the children of God. (John 17:2; Hebrews 2:13).
The “all” who die in Adam includes every member of the human race. The “all” who are made alive in Christ include the elect. Verse 23 of I Corinthians 15 makes it plain the elect are under consideration in the second “all” of verse 22. We die by means of Adam because we were IN Adam; and we live by means of Christ because we are IN Christ. Union with Adam is the cause of death; union with Christ is the cause of life.
“Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.”
The same arguments which applied to I Corinthians 15:22 apply here. Paul is dealing with FACTS here, not with possibilities. It is a FACT that all mankind died in Adam. The parallel would not hold if condemnation was a fact in the one case, but justification was only a possibility in the other. Just as sure as condemnation came upon the all men in Adam (all mankind), so justification came upon the all men in Christ (the elect). A limitation of the second “all men” of this verse is also suggested by the whole reasoning of the epistle, and especially in Romans 8:30, where the JUSTIFIED are identified with the FOREKNOWN and GLORIFIED.
Union with Adam is both REPRESENTATIVE and VITAL (actual or living). Representatively, his sin is the judicial ground of our dying. Representatively, his sin is the judicial ground of our condemnation. Vitally, we derive from him a corrupt and enfeebled nature. Union with Christ is also both representative and vital–for the elect. Representatively, the righteousness of Christ is judicial ground of our justification. Vitally, we derive from Him the Holy Spirit, which is the source of spiritual life (Romans 8:9-11). So the first “all men” of Romans 5:18 is the family of mankind; the second “all men” is the family of the elect.
“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
(II Peter 3:9)
“All” is explained by the word “us-ward.”
It is to “them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (II Peter 1:1).
Whatever God wills will come to pass (Daniel 4:35; Ephesians 1:11). Since God wills that none of His elect will perish but that they will all come to repentance this will happen. God’s people are all given the ability to repent when they are born again. The long-suffering referred to in this verse is the long-suffering that God exercises when He refuses to destroy this sinful world until all His elect are born into the world and then born again.
1. Who are the “all” who die in Adam?
2. Who are the “all” who are made alive in Christ?
3. Who did judgment come upon to condemnation?
4. To whom belongs the free gift of justification?
5. In what two ways are we in union with Adam?
6. In what two ways are we in union with Christ?
7. Who are the “us-ward” in II Peter 3:9?
We have memorized Matthew 1:21; John 10:11; Matthew 20:28; Hebrews 9:12; I Peter 1:18-19; I Peter 2:24; and Hebrews 9:28.
Let us memorize II Corinthians 5:21.