The Extent of Christ’s Atonement
We do not believe that the Son of God laid down His precious life a sacrifice for the sins of the non-elect, but for His sheep.
We believe His sacrifice was of a substutionary character, that the sins which were laid upon Him by God (Isaiah 3) and which He undertook to bear and for which He suffered the unmitigated penalty of the outraged justice of God in a broken law, were the sins of His elect people of whom He said: “Thine they were and Thou gavest them Me…I pray for them” (John 17).
We believe that His one offering of Himself did eternally expiate all those sins which were thus imputed to Him, and that for His sake God fully and freely forgives the sins of all who are interested in the covenant of which Christ the Son incarnate is the blessed Mediator (II Corinthians 5:30; John 10:11; John 10:26; Hebrews 8:8-12, etc).
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ as exalted at His Father’s right hand, having finished the work His Father gave Him to do here on earth, is the propitiation for all who ever do or ever will seek reconciliation with God as feeling their alienation and guilt and repenting of their sins, which we believe none ever can or ever will do but those who are quickened into divine life by God the Holy Spirit, which we believe none are but those who were chosen unto eternal life in Christ Jesus before the world began (John 6:37, John 6:44-45, John 6:64-65; Ephesians 1:4, etc.).
We do not believe that Christ died for Judas but that He did die for Peter, and that the cause of Judas’s reprobation and eternal ruin when he went to His own place was his own sin, and that the cause of Peter’s repentance and pardon and restoration was the grace of God in Christ Jesus.
God’s people are no better than others by nature. Christ died for the ungodly, but not for those who live and die in their sins.
To suggest that Christ exalted is the propitiation for the sins of every single individual of the human race, implies either that God received complete satisfaction for the sins of reprobates, such as Judas, Ahithophel, Saul, Cain, etc., or that His sacrifice was deficient; which to suggest is blasphemy.
Further, we believe that Christ is able to save all those to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them (Hebrews 7). Consequently, subject to the Holy Spirit’s sovereign guidance and disposal, the gospel is to be preached or declared (not offered) to all men (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:15; Acts 16:6-7). But we believe that none but those (known only to the Lord Himself) who were predestinated unto salvation, do in fact ever really come thus to the throne of God’s heavenly grace to plead for mercy on the ground of Christ’s atoning blood; being taught by the Holy Spirit their helplessness and ruin (Romans 8:9, Romans 8:14, Romans 8:29-39, etc.).
We believe that repentance and faith are the gifts of Christ (Acts 5:31), and that these invaluable graces, like all other parts of salvation are bestowed freely on all the election of grace in the Lord’s own time; and that everyone who is eternally saved in the Lord Jesus Christ will most heartily acknowledge that his salvation is absolutely attributable to the free grace of God, without any contribution of the sinner’s own; that it is of God that His people are in Christ Jesus, who is made unto them wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption; that he that glorieth shall glory alone in the Lord (I Corinthians 1:30).
We believe that for substance the language of every regenerated sinner will be that of the psalmist: “Remember me, O LORD, with the favour that Thou bearest unto Thy people: O visit me with Thy salvation ; that I may see the good of Thy chosen, that I may rejoice in the gladness of Thy nation, that I may glory with Thine inheritance.”
“And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and upon the Israel of God “ (Galatians 6:16).
And whatever the means used of God, whether terrible or more gentle, they are emphatically blessed whom the Lord causeth to approach unto Him, that they may dwell in His courts (Psalm 65:4; Jeremiah 31:3).
By J.H. Gosden