Continuing our study of the doctrines articulated by John Calvin in response to the faulty premise presented by the followers of Arminius, a seminary professor of several centuries before, the third point in the TULIP acronym, “L” is limited atonement. The Arminian position for this point can be difficult to understand, but like the other points of this doctrine, the final determination belongs to man. In the Arminian view, the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah makes it possible for anyone to be saved, but His sacrifice does not actually secure salvation. What it does is gives God the ability to forgive those sinners who choose to believe in the atoning work of Jesus the Messiah. The belief of the individual thus determines whether the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus applies to them. Again, many of the positions of Arminian doctrine appeal to many westerners who believe in individual liberties and rights. These concepts can be discerned in many sermons and, in fact, many invitations to become believers are presented in such a way that it is the individual who decides whether or not to “accept” Jesus into their hearts.
Calvinism maintains that the work of Jesus is definite in design and accomplishment – meaning that He completely satisfied the requirements for certain specific sinners, the elect, and for no one else. The salvation which He accomplished included everything necessary to bring them into a right relationship with God and this included faith and repentance. He did not die simply so that God could forgive or pardon sinners, but to bring them into a relationship with Him.
The first group of four sets of passages describe what Jesus accomplished by His sacrifice. This includes reconciliation, justification, and sanctification.
Jesus came, not to empower or enable men to save themselves, but to save sinners.
Matthew 1:21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.
Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Galatians 1:3-4 Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ (4) who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age according to the will of our God and Father.
1 Timothy 1:15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.
Titus 2:13-14 ...looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (14) who gave Himself up for us, that he might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sin, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit.
As a result of what Jesus accomplished, He secured reconciliation for His people.
Romans 5:10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much ore, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19 Now all tings are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself though Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, (19) that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
Ephesians 2:15-16 …having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace (16) and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.
Colossians 1:21-22 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked words, yet now He has reconciled (22) in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and blameless and beyond reproach in His sight.
As a result of what Jesus suffered and accomplished, He secured the righteousness and pardon necessary for His people for their justification.
Romans 3:24-25 …being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (25) whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed.
Romans 5:8-9 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (9) Much more, then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
1 Corinthians 1:30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God – and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption…
Galatians 3:13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written ‘Cursed is everyone who hanged on a tree’).
Colossians 1:13-14 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love (14) in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.
Hebrews 9:12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
1 Peter 2:24 …who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness, by whose stripes you were healed.
Jesus secured the gift of the Holy Spirit which included regeneration and sanctification.
Ephesians 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heaving places in Christ, (4) just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.
Philippians 1:29 For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.
Titus 2:14 …who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
Titus 3:5-6 …not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit (6) whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior.
Hebrews 9:14 …how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
Hebrews 13:12 Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate.
1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light ad He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
The second group of four sets of passages shows that the acts of Jesus in His death, burial, and resurrection, fulfilled the contract with which He had entered with His Heavenly Father before the foundations of the world.
Jesus came to the world to save the people that God had given to Him. Jesus, as the good shepherd, laid down His life for His sheep. Notice in the passage that God had given the sheep to Jesus. In his high priestly prayer of John, chapter seventeen, He prays not for the world, but for those given to Him.
John 6:35-40 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me shall never hunger and he who believes in Me shall never third. (36) But I say to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. (37) All that the Father gives Me will come to Me and the one who comes to me I will by no means cast out. (38) For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. (39) This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me, I should nose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. (40)And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life and I will raise him up at the last day.”
John 10:11. 13-18 “I am the good shepherd, the good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” (14) I am the good shepherd and I know My sheep and am known by My own. (15) As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father, and I lay down My life for the sheep. (16) And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring and they hear My voice, and there will be one flock and one shepherd. (17) Therefore My Father loves Me because I lay down My life that I may take it again. (18) No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”
John 10:24-29 Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, “How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.” (25) Jesus answered them, “I told you and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. (26) But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. (27) My sheep hear My voice and I know them and they follow Me. (28) And I give them eternal life and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. (29) My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.”
John 17:1-11, 20 Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify You Son that Your Son also may glorify You (2) as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. (3) And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. (4) I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. (5) And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. (6) I have manifested Your name to the men who You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours. You gave them to Me and they have kept Your Word. (7) Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You (8) for I have given to them the words which You have given to Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me. (9) I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those who You have given Me, for they are Yours. (10) And all Mine are Yours and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I have come to You, Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they be one as We are… (20) I do not pray for these alone, but also those who will believe in Me through their word.”
Paul states that all spiritual blessings are because we are “in Christ” and the ultimate source of these blessings is God.
Ephesians 1:3-12 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heaving places in Christ, (4) just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love (5) having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will (6) to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the beloved. (7) In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace (8) which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence (9) having been made know to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure, which H purposed in Himself (10) that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth – in Him. (11) In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purposes of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will (12) that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.
Paul explained the parallel between the condemning work of Adam and the saving work of Jesus as the “second Adam”. He explains how each, Adam and Jesus, are the federal head of each group.
Romans 5:12, 17-19 Therefore, just as through one mane, sin entered the world and death through sin and thus death spread to all men because all sinned… (17) For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who received abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. (18) Therefore, as though one man’s offense judgment call to all men resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. (19) For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.
This group of verses reveal how His saving work, in definite terms, was intended for a particular people – those given Him by the Father.
Matthew 1:21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.
Matthew 20:28 …just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.
Matthew 26:28 “For this is My blood of the new covenant which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”
John 11:50-53 …nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should dies for the people and not that the whole nation should perish. (51) Now this he did not say on his own authority, but being high priest that year, he prophesized that Jesus would die for the nation (52) and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad. (53) Then, from that day forward, they plotted to put Him to death.
Acts 20:28 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made your overseers, to shepherd to church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
Romans 8:32-34 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up to us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? (33) Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justified. (34) Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.
Ephesians 5:25-27 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her (26) that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of the water by the word (27) that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle of any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
Hebrews 2:17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
Hebrews 9:15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
Hebrews 9:28 …so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.
Revelation 5:9 And they sang a new song saying, ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals. For You were slain and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation ‘