The Atonement…Limited By Who?

If you have followed my blog any at all then you know that I have been studying Reformed Theology for a little more than a year now. I started out (at least I thought) as somewhere between Calvinist and Arminian but I realized several months ago that I had actually always believed in 4 of the 5 points of the TULIP. The one problem I was having was with Limited Atonement. I realized and acknowledged that everyone but a universalist (someone who believes that all people will end up in Heaven) understood that the atonement made by Jesus for us was limited. The only question was who did the limiting. I started out thinking that we limited the atonement by our choice to accept or reject Jesus as Lord and Savior of our lives. I would say that the Atonement was sufficient for everyone but only effective for those who chose to accept the gift of salvation from Jesus. I also realized that this understanding of the atonement did not fit logically with the other four tenants of the TULIP. That did not change the fact that I want to believe this way. That is what makes it so hard…I have many years invested into this belief. So I have been working through this and I have been getting gradually closer to accepting the full Calvinist understanding of the limitation of the atonement.

One of the passages that has really helped move me is found in Matthew 1:21. It says

She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.

In our Sunday School class we are going through Matthew this quarter. I happened to be teaching the lesson that included this verse. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I had read many people’s explanation about God limiting scope the atonement but had not really accepted it and then I read this verse. I had read it before….how many times I am not sure but it never jumped off the page at me like it did this time. I am not claiming a new revelation but I am saying I have a more accurate interpretation / understanding now.

Now to the question. Who limits the Atonement? Does God limit the scope (meaning that it is only for the Elect) or do people limit the effectiveness (meaning it is for everyone but is only applied to those who choose to accept God’s gift of salvation)? Who has the power…God or man? I light of Matthew 1:21 we would have to agree that it is God and only God. Notice what Joseph was told by the angel in the vision. The angel tells Joseph what, who, and for what purpose the baby was being born. I want to focus on the purpose for a minute. We see here that before Jesus was born God had already set His task and that task was to save His people from their sins. His people….. Let me say it again….His people.

Well that brings the obvious question. Who are His people? The Bible answers this question for us in John 6:44. It says

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.

So here we see the Jesus’ people are those that the Father draws. But this does not completely answer the question. It just leads to another question and that is…Who does the Father draw? That is a hotly debated question. Click here and here and here to read some posts that discuss this. One of the most obvious passages that answers this question is Ephesian 1:3-6. It says

(3) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, (4) even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love (5) he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, (6) to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

As we can see in verses 5 & 6, God chose whoever he wanted “according to the purpose of His will.” The Father draws whoever it pleases Him to draw. The Bible tells us in other places that this choice is not based on anything done or any faith foreseen by God. The choice is not earned in any way and it is not a result of God’s knowing that the people would choose Him.

So, to recap. God chooses whom he wants before the foundation of the world and draws them to Himself. He does this for His good pleasure and will. Once drawn, God gives them to the Son. They are His to make atonement for. He makes the atonement on the cross (salvation is actually accomplished) and then serves as the Good Shepherd ensuring that none who are His are not lifted up on Judgment day. From all of this there seems to be some good biblical evidence that God intended to limit the atonement in eternity past. Makes sense…right? Actually it does, but I still am having trouble shaking off the desire to believe the atonement was universal in scope. For me though, Matthew 1:21 was a big step in that direction. How about you? Does Matthew 1:21 help you?

Flag-folding Recitations For Vets Banned Because Of Religious Content

Source: OneNewsNow.com

Complaints about religious content have led to a ban on flag-folding recitations by Veterans Administration employees and volunteers at all 125 national cemeteries. It all started because of one complaint about the ceremony at Riverside National Cemetery in California.

You have got to be kidding me. Can you believe this? One complaint? One complaint? What is this country coming to? At what point did we lose the last bit of commen sense that we as a nation had? So, you might ask, what caused the compliant? During the flag folding part of a military funeral the honor guard recite the significance of every fold to the survivors.

The complaint revolved around the narration in the 11th fold, which celebrates Jewish war veterans and “glorifies the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.”

and

the 12th fold glorifies “God the Father, the Son and Holy Ghost.”

An spokesman said the recital was ordered stopped to create uniformity and because the recital is not part of the US Flag Code and is not government approved.  How long this recital been part of the military funeral?  Remember, this is all coming about because of ONE complaint.

“Charlie Waters, parliamentarian for the American Legion of California, said he’s advising memorial honor details to ignore the edict”.  Thank goodness someone involved with this still has some common sense.  I hope that these honor details all across the country will chose to ignore this edict.  This recital honors both our flag and the vet who defended it.  It is time we as Christians stand up and fight…that we quit just accepting the fact that a small minority is trying to eliminate the public worship, reverence, and honor we give our God.  It is time we take back our country….lets start that process today.

Lord, grant us strength to faithfully defend You and Your people while at the same time honoring Your will for our country.  Please do not withdraw your mercy and grace from our nation.  Grant us wisdom and discernment as we fight the good fight.

Justice Antonin Scalia Quote on the Constitution

“Not everything you may care about is in the Constitution. It is a legal document that had compromises in it. What it says it says; what it doesn’t say it doesn’t say.”

—  Justice Antonin Scalia

Quote by Samuel Adams

“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.”

~  Samuel Adams

2007 Tennessee Women’s Basketball Schedule

Here is a printable .pdf schedule for the defending National Champion Lady Vols.

2007 Tennessee Men’s Basketball Schedule

Here is a printable .pdf schedule.

Go Vols

Alan Keyes Quote On The Income Tax

“Tyrannical taxation, and excessive government spending and borrowing, are not only threats to our economy—they erode the resource base of our freedom and our moral responsibility. The income tax is a 20th-century socialist experiment that has failed. Before the income tax was imposed on us just 85 years ago, government had no claim to our income. Only sales, excise and tariff taxes were allowed. We need to return to the Constitution of economic liberty that our Founders intended to be a permanent bulwark of our political liberty. The income tax in effect makes us vassals of the government—the politicians decide how much income we can keep. No mere ‘reform’ of this slave tax, such as flattening the rate, can correct its fundamental denial of control over our own money.”

— Alan Keyes

Ronald Reagan Quote on Liberalism

“[T]he American people are beginning to fit it all together. They’re beginning to realize that under the leadership of the liberals, that once-proud Democratic Party, a party of hope and affirmation, has become a party of negativism, a party whose leadership has changed it from the party of ‘yes’ to the party of ‘no’ —’no’ to the balanced budget amendment and the line-item veto, ‘no’ to holding down taxes and spending, ‘no’ to the death penalty and the school prayer amendment, ‘no’ to adequate defense spending and a Strategic Defense Initiative. The American people are beginning to understand that in all these ways the liberal leadership has been saying no to them… The public is beginning to realize that this election is a referendum on liberalism.”

Ronald Reagan

Ending Abortion

Source:  “Ending Abortion” posted at Arminian Today

This is a very meaningful post about one of the biggest issues we face today.  How do we end abortion?  The author gives 4 things the church can do to bring an end to this barbaric practice of child sacrifice.  I pray that we will do these things and that God will bless us and abortion can be stopped in our country and anywhere else that it is legal.

Man vs. Woman

manwoman2.gif

Anyone believe that this is not an accurate presentation………

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