Sep 30, 2012

Definite Atonement IV

"Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood." (Acts 20: 28)

"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." (Eph. 5: 25-27)

These verses are similar to those in John 10 where Christ says that he will lay down his life "for the sheep."  They speak of Christ's vicarious death being "for" (on behalf of) "the church of God," for the bride of Christ.  Again, all that the opponents of particular atonement can do is to say "yes, for the church, but not for the church only."  But, it does not seem to be the natural way to interpret the words of the texts.  If I say that I love my wife and do something for her, I mean her only. 

Paul compares Christ to a husband and the church to his wife.  Christ loves the church and gives his life for her.  To think that Paul does not mean for her only is to distort the teaching of the apostle. 

Also, if we cannot read for the church "only" in these words, then we ought not to read church only when Paul speaks of the church elsewhere.  Will those Arminians who insist that the words do not mean "church only" also say that about other verses where the church is referred to?  In Ephesians 1:22?  In Ephesians 3: 10 & 21?  If we read church only in those verses, then why not in Ephesians 5?

"But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."  (I Tim. 3: 15)

"To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect..."  (Heb. 12: 23)

Can we read these words and say that they should not apply to the church "only"?  Surely not. 

It is quite obvious that those who deny that Christ gave his life for the church only are giving an interpretation to the words that is not in keeping with his meaning in other verses where he speaks of the church.

1 comment:

Kevin Fralick said...

I appreciate this series you're doing here Bro. Stephen. I agree that the extent of the atonement must be limited due to its nature. A "possible" atonement is no atonement at all.