Why the Word “Limited Atonement” is Not Cool


Thinking of the cross...

Just some musings as I think through Christ’s perfect sacrifice…

The word “limited” is probably the most abused term in regards to the atonement of Christ than any other.  It really is an oversimplification.

While it is true that certain aspects of the atonement are definitly limited to certain objects, the death of Christ cannot be limited to any one particular group because there are definite universal aspects of the sacrifice of Christ in Scripture (Col. 1:20; Rom 8:23; 1 John 2:1-2; 2 Cor. 5:17-21; John 1:29).

You see, God did not only absolutely decree a definite purpose in Christ’s death for the elect (Eph. 1:4; 1 Peter 1:20-21; Rev. 13:8), but also a definite purpose for the non-elect as well.  The value of Christ’s sacrifice is infinite, but the extent is definite.  The extent is definite both for believers and non-believers.  If the extent is not definite we then in turn must accuse God of ignorance.  There is nothing wasted, or something that is not applied in the way it was intended in the sacrifice of Christ.  God decreed exactly what the results of Christ’s dead and resurrection would be.

So the real issue is not so much about limited verses universal as it is about definite verses indefinite.  Either the perfect sacrifice of Jesus is definite in all aspects (meaning nothing is wasted or frustrated by the unbeliever) or it is indefinite and therefore the same in all aspects at all times to all men.

In fact, even the term “atonement” has problems because the word’s usage in the Old Testament refers to “covering” for sin and is often confused with the un-Biblical concept of “at-one-ment” (Mormons teach this).  It is probably better to use terms such as “perfect sacrifice,” “work,” or “accomplishment.”

Thinking over what Christ did on the cross…it is so amazing to think about what He did.  I want to pursue this knowledge so that I can better know what it meant for Him to come and die, and therefore better worship Him, to be in awe of His amazing grace, and love – to think that such a great sinner as I can come to Him, plead for mercy, and receive grace.  We serve a wonderful risen Savior.

More musings to come…

In fact if you read this article by Dr. William Barrick on “THE EXTENT OF THE PERFECT SACRIFICE OF CHRIST” you would be very blessed – most of what I am writing is just a re-hash of what he wrote, as I try to understand the implications.

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