Friday, March 11, 2022

Securing Our Salvation (John 17)

“… as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him” (John 17:2).

One hotly debated issue among Christians is capsulized in the question, “For whom did Christ die?” Arminian theology teaches that God designed the atonement for the salvation of all men but only those who exercise faith will actually be saved. This view makes the efficacy of the work of Christ dependent on man. Contrary to this view is Calvinism, which asserts that while the atonement of Jesus Christ is sufficient for all men, it is designed and effective only for the elect. This doctrine of the atonement is called limited atonement or particular redemption.

Christ came into the world to secure the redemption of those God had given Him. God ordained from the beginning of time who would be saved, and Christ’s work was designed to bring to pass God’s purpose of election. In Jesus’ priestly prayer in John 17, He does not pray for everyone in the world but only for the elect. Every person for whom Christ died will be saved because this is what He intended (Heb. 9:15).

If you believe that Christ died for every person who has ever lived, and if you believe that Christ accomplished what He intended on the Cross, then you must believe that every person who has ever lived will be saved. Such universalism, however, is contrary to Scripture. Every person will not be saved. But Christ’s work is indeed accomplished. Therefore, Christ must not have intended His death to be effective for all people. Limited atonement holds to the truth that God the Father and Christ the Son will accomplish what They intended.

From all eternity, God determined to redeem His people through the work of Christ. This is a work of God that is not dependent on man. Yet, many maintain that the efficacy of Christ’s death is dependent on man because the Bible says He died for the whole world. Such terminology means that He is the Savior of people from all nations, from all over the world, who are numbered among the elect. Christ died for His people that they would most certainly believe in Him and obtain eternal life. Our salvation is sure and certain because it is grounded in the sovereignty of God and not dependent on our own faith.

How does the Arminian view also limit the atonement? In what way is this limitation different from that of Calvinism? How secure is your redemption if it requires your exercise of faith or your faithfulness? Thank God today that we have a Savior who has accomplished His work.