Unlimited vs. Limited Atonement: Which is taught in the Bible?

When Jesus died on the cross was the atonement he gave limited or unlimited? What does the Bible teach? What different views are there? I’m hoping to answer these questions in this post, or at least point readers in the right direction.

You could say that I believe in neither Unlimited Atonement nor Limited Atonement, or you could say I believe in both, depending. If you think that Unlimited Atonement means you believe that everyone will go to heaven and that Limited Atonement means Jesus only died for the “elect” (that is -according to Calvinists- those who are predestined to be saved), I would say I believe in neither. If you simply believe that Unlimited Atonement means Jesus died for all and that Limited Atonement means that not everyone will choose to follow Christ, I would say I believe in both.

You see, the bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:15: “and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” It says that he (Christ) died for all. Notice it say “…that those who live might no longer live for themselves..”. It does not say that all “…those who live will no longer live for themselves”. Based on Revelation 20 and many other passages in scripture, I find that Universalism (the belief that all will go to heaven) is not an option. Many argue or ask: “If not everyone goes to heaven, then isn’t it a waste for Jesus to die on the cross?” or “If Jesus didn’t save everyone, then how could he love everyone?”. Calvinists will say that the blood Jesus shed on the cross was not ‘wasted’. They argue that before time began God pre-selected those  whom Jesus would die to save. Unfortunately, that doesn’t solve the “How then could he love everyone?”.

One big problem with both the Unlimited and Limited Atonement mentalities, is that in reality, both rely on a ‘limit’ on God’s part. To me, Limited Atonement pictures that because it was known to God the hearts of every man, and every sin that they did, do, and will do; that when Jesus died, he died for that particular amount of people that were predestined to follow him, and for that specific size and quantity of sins they had and were going to commit. Often Unlimited Atonement can be viewed this way too, though not as often. They could say that since God knew exactly how many people would live on this earth, and exactly how much and many sins would be committed, and died for all of it, exactly the right amount. Why would they think like this? Because they don’t want to think Go ‘wasted’ anything.

But God doesn’t work like that. His love, his grace, and the atonement and salvation he offers is limitless. God did not predestine you to sin a certain amount and save from that certain amount of sin. He saves from every sin you will and ever could commit. His grace is a fountain, never-ending. He cries out to you:

Come, everyone who thirsts,
    come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
    come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without price.

(Isaiah 55:1)

He loves all, and died for all, and would that all would come to him for salvation. He goes on:

“Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
    and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
    and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me;
    hear, that your soul may live;
and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
    my steadfast, sure love for David.”

(Isaiah 55:2-3)

If the Calvinistic doctrine of Limited Atonement were true, why should we ‘come’ to him? Has he not, according to Limited Atonement, predestined us to be saved? Nay, he cries out to our hearts that we would “Incline [our] ear, and come to [him]“ of our own free will. He continues:

“Seek the Lord while he may be found;
    call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake his way,
    and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,
    and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”

If you “seek the Lord” he will “have compassion”  and “he will abundantly pardon”. Does not Christ say in the famous memory verse, John 3:16, that “Whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Christ gave his life on the cross to save us all, yet he loved us so much that he gave us free will to chose him or not. If we refuse to follow him he will ‘give us over’ and let us have our own way.

One of the greatest pictures of how Christ satisfies and atones those who follow him is actually in the ‘Feeding of the Five Thousand’ as it is called.

And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing over them. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. And they all ate and were satisfied. And what was left over was picked up, twelve baskets of broken pieces.”

(Luke 9:16-17)

Some could ask: “Why was Jesus so wasteful? Couldn’t he have made just enough for all the crowd, without having twelve whole baskets of broken pieces left over?” To me, this pictures how Christ’s grace covers our sin ‘running up and overflowing’. It wasn’t enough for David to write in Psalm 23 “you anoint my head with oil; my cup is filled. Instead, he says “you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. This is a such a beautiful picture!

I love this verse:

“So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love,  may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

(Ephesians 3:17-19)

Thank you for reading this blog post! I hope it was helpful. A really good website on this website is Soteriology 101. You can also read ‘Free Grace’ by John Wesley (find it here also).

“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
    from everlasting to everlasting!
Amen and Amen.”

-Psalm 41:13
*All bible quotes are from the ESV translation.

 

Staying Focused and Baby Goats

The snow from my last post never actually melted. Instead, it refroze and we got more snow adding up to almost a foot of snow. But that is past and I doubt any more snow will come this year.

Exciting news is that our first kids (baby goats) are here! We now have four bucklings. Two of them are out of our doe Henrietta, and two out another one of our does, Strawberry girl. All four are out of Dublin, the buck. They are really cute!

Here is a picture of one of our previous baby goats, since I do not have pictures of the new kids.

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I have a great deal of trouble staying focused. I struggle with staying on top of my schoolwork. Getting on top of my schoolwork is no problem, but staying there is the hardest part. I’d like to share a couple of ways I help myself stay focused.

One big part of helping myself focus is planning. Really it is motivation; and for me, planning is part of motivation. It motivates me to get my schoolwork done if I schedule my school day. For some reason, I cannot get my school done if I don’t have a schedule or plan. Also simply the planning part gets me motivated. While planning I get excited and thus motivated to go on and when school starts I am able to work at it with a will. Another part is that I have to plan it myself or the plan does not motivate me. If it is a case where I need to be following somebody else’s plan I have to make the plan/schedule mine.

Another thing is just working to break through in your focus. Part of focusing is just hard work. For instance when I was younger, I would sit at my desk with a math book in front me and I was said to be doing math. Math was hard for me and the curriculum hard for me to concentrate on. However, instead of working at it until I completed the math page for that day, I would usually just imagine stories in my head or think about what I was doing tomorrow. My math was probably harder for me than for my sister, but once I saw that it was hard I gave up and thus failed to finish my page of math. Once we break through and conquer even with great painstaking efforts, we will improve next time instead of worsening or putting off the battle of concentration.

Sometimes even though I’m working hard and trying to be motivated, my brain feels cluttered and it feels like no matter what I do I cannot pull my thoughts and concentration together. Here are some things that can help in this situation:

  • Music: For some people, it works; for other people, it makes it worse. However, I often find that when all else fails, some calm, relaxing classical music or hymns, clear my brain.
  • Cluttered surroundings, cluttered brain: Often a cluttered brain is the result of cluttered surroundings. If this is the case, the most efficient thing to do is to get up and clean.
  • Switch Subjects/Tasks: Sometimes your brain just needs something else for a little while and needs you to change your subject/task and come back later.
  • Take a Break with God: My favorite thing to do when my brain is cluttered and frustrated and I need a break is to go outside. A room alone works as well, but I love going outside because it is usually a change in environment and you are so close to God’s creation. Then for 5-10 minutes I just pray and worship God alone. After the refreshment of God’s presence and love, I am much more fit to go about my work than before.

When all is said and done, we must remember that we are not perfect on this side of heaven, and we just ask God to use us as we are.

I hope this post was encouraging and/or helpful to any readers. I want to encourage you that God love and uses even the unfocused, clutter-brained, and clumsy, just as much as all his beloved children.

“May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble!
    May the name of the God of Jacob protect you!”

-Psalms 20:1 (ESV)

Snow!

We have snow! Correction: we HAD snow. It’s almost melted now. Anyhow, snow is always exciting to us. The hills on either side of us are slightly higher in elevation than we are, and the evergreen trees on the hills are still coated with a layer of glistening snow. Then the sun began to set and it was even more beautiful. God continually reminds me of his beauty, majesty, and power in all of creation.

I wish I could have gotten pictures today, but the camera battery was out of charge.

Whenever it snows, I am reminded of what God gave us. For “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 ESV). And “…..though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;…” (Isaiah 1:18 ESV). God would that we were purer and cleaner than any earthly snow we have ever seen. And he made a way for just that through his son, Jesus Christ.

I had a wonderful day playing with my siblings in the snow. We began building a snow fort, but ran out of energy and/or snow, and stopped at about a foot tall. We also sledded a little down the slight slope leading down from our house to our barn. Overall, I had a great day!

“For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” Romans 1:20 (ESV)

Welcome To My Blog!

Hello, welcome to my blog. I am a young Christian farm-girl, living by faith. I love photography and many of the photos on this blog were taken by me. I love to play cello.

It is my hope that this blog will encourage and inspire. I plan to post about every-other Saturday on whatever is on my heart. I pray that God will use this blog for his glory. I am growing day by day in Christ and hope you will follow along in my journey.

In every blog post I will end with a bible verse.

 “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” Hebrews 11:3 (ESV)