THE MOST OFFENSIVE TRUTH IN THE REFORMED TULIP
Without doubt the doctrine of Limited Atonement or [Particular Redemption] is the most offensive, controversial and difficult of the doctrines of grace. A testing doctrine! Only a Christian who has decided to preach the offence of the Cross will accept it.
All the rest will openly reject it, and in certain cases vehemently attack it. The reason for this is because, if Limited Atonement is accepted, it follows that these must also be accepted –
1. God does not intend to save all, seeing He hath not made provision for all.
2. If God does not intend to save all he obviously does not love all.
3. It accuses God of partiality, and debunks the view they have had if Him since their youth.
4. The carnal mind immediately foresees that embracing this truth is to make oneself unpopular in the religious world.
History shows that the most popular preachers whether Reformed or Puritan, either deliberately ignored or explained this doctrine away by removing its offence. This is not the doctrine to contend for if you are a preacher interested in numbers or a Christian interested in making friends and influencing people.
What will you do with this grand Truth of God’s unfailing Word?!!
Come now, think about it . . .
If the Atonement was offered for all mankind then the debt incurred by EVERY MAN HAS BEEN CANCELLED. If Christ bore in His own body on the tree the sins of all men WITHOUT EXCEPTION, then none will perish. If Christ was “made a curse” for all of Adam’s race then none are now “under condemnation.” “PAYMENT GOD CANNOT TWICE DEMAND, FIRST AT MY BLEEDING SURETY’S HAND AND THEN AGAIN AT MINE.”
But Christ DID NOT discharge the debt of all men without exception, for some there are who will be “cast into prison” (see 1 Peter 3:19 where the same Greek word for “prison” occurs), and they shall “by no means come out thence, till they have paid the uttermost farthing” (Matthew 5:26), which, of course, will never be. Christ DID NOT bear the sins of all mankind, for some there are who “die IN THEIR SINS” (John 8:21), and whose “sin REMAINETH” (John 9:41).
Christ WAS NOT “made a curse” for all of Adam’s race, for some there are to whom He will yet say, “Depart from Me YE CURSED” (Matthew 25:41). To say that Christ died for all alike, to say that He became the Substitute and Surety of the whole human race, to say that He suffered on behalf of and in the stead of all mankind, is to say that He “BORE THE CURSE FOR MANY WHO ARE NOW BEARING THE CURSE FOR THEMSELVES; that He suffered punishment for many who are now lifting up their own eyes in Hell, being in torments; that He paid the redemption price for many who shall yet pay in their own eternal anguish ‘the wages of sin, which is death’.
But, on the other hand, to say as Scripture says, that Christ was stricken for the transgressions OF GOD’S PEOPLE, to say that He gave His life FOR THE SHEEP, to say that He gave His life a ransom FOR MANY, is to say that He made an atonement which FULLY ATONES; it is to say He paid a price which ACTUALLY RANSOMS; it is to say He was set forth a propitiation which really propitiates; it is to say HE IS A SAVIOR WHO TRULY SAVE!
To say that Christ died for every human being without exception is to say that at least in some sense ‘Christ died in vain’. Fact is, there are many who died and perished long before Christ came. And even to this day there are many who died without hearing the Gospel. To say that Christ died even for these is to say that He died in vain!