Dec 4, 2012

More on I John 2: 2

My Arminian friend at has posted Adam Clarke's notes on I John 2:2.  Here is what SeekingDisciple wrote and cited:

"I love Adam Clarke's notes on 1 John 2:2. While short, they are to the point.

Verse 2. "And he is the propitiation" - The atoning sacrifice for our sins. This is the proper sense of the word as used in the Septuagint, where it often occurs; and is the translation of µa asham, an oblation for sin, Amos viii. 14. tafj chattath, a sacrifice for sin, Ezek. xliv. 27. rwpk kippur, an atonement, Num. v. 8. See the note on Rom. iii. 25, and particularly the note on Luke xviii. 13. The word is used only here and in chap. iv. 10.

"And not for ours only" - It is not for us apostles that he has died, nor exclusively for the Jewish people, but peri olou tou kosmou, for the whole world, Gentiles as well as Jews, all the descendants of Adam. The apostle does not say that he died for any select part of the inhabitants of the earth, or for some out of every nation, tribe, or kindred; but for ALL MANKIND; and the attempt to limit this is a violent outrage against God and his word.

For the meaning of the word paraklhtov, which we here translate advocate, see the note on John xiv. 16."

There is no way that "whole world" in I John 2: 2 can mean "all the descendents of Adam" as Clarke affirms.  If it does, then here are the consequences:

1)  Christ died for those, like Cain, Baalim, and Korah, who were already in Hell when Christ died upon the cross.  Let the Arminians who believe in universal atonement explain why Christ would be dying for such people.

2) Christ died for those who die in infancy, which many Arminians believe are not even sinners.

Clark seems to not be able to say clearly who is meant by "our" in the verse, saying it may mean "for us apostles" or "for the Jewish people."  He does not affirm, however, that "our" refers to the whole group of Christians from both Jews and Gentiles. 

Clarke denies that the "whole world" may mean "some out of every nation, tribe, or kindred," and yet this is exactly what Rev. 5: 9 says! 

Clarke admits that the word propitiation denotes a sacrifice and atonement for sin.  Thus, all who are included in the "our" and the "whole world" have had their sins atoned and therefore they cannot be lost.

In a previous posting my friend wrote:

"In my response recently the same Calvinist author above over his views regarding limited atonement (in which he argued that one must embrace universalism if you hold to an unlimited view), I asked him to show me one verse in the Bible that says Christ died only for the elect. To merely state a verse where it says that Jesus died for someone (or something) does not mean then that He died only for that which it mentioned. Take Galatians 2:20 where Paul says that Christ died for him. Are we to assume that Jesus died only for Paul? In John 10 where Jesus says that He lays down His life for the sheep, are we then to conclude that He lays down His life for the Church or His friends? To merely assume since someone is not mentioned in the text does not mean that He didn't die for them when in fact it is clear that Jesus did die for all in places such as 1 John 2:2."

In my series on "definite atonement," however, I rebutted the argument of my friend.  Why doesn't my friend respond to my rebuttal of this argument?  Let me cite from that rebuttal (see here) titled "Definite Atonement III).

When those who believe in particular redemption and atonement cite this verse as proof of the doctrine, the only response that those who deny it offer is to say that the text does not say that Christ died for the sheep "only." To them, Christ is simply saying that he died for the sheep without implying that it was for them only. They will cite the words of Paul where he said that Christ "loved me, and gave himself for me," (Gal. 2: 20) and ask - "does Paul mean that Christ only died for him?" To which I respond by saying that it is clear, in John 10, that Christ means that he died for the sheep only. If he does not mean sheep only in that context, then we are left to also say that it is not "sheep only" when he says "I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine." (vs. 14) Does he not mean sheep only in these words? Surely he does.

Christ does not know those who are not his sheep. And, those who are not his sheep do not know him. But, if "sheep only" is to be read into the former statement ("I lay down my life for the sheep") then it ought to be read into the other statements that Christ makes about his sheep, as in the latter statement.

Thus, when Christ says "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me" he obviously means "sheep only"! Will those Arminians who say Christ does not mean "sheep only" in verses 11 & 15 also say that it does not mean sheep only in these words? If they were consistent, they would interpret Christ as saying - "Not my sheep only hear my voice and follow me, but everyone in the world hears my voice and follows me." And, when Christ says "I give unto them eternal life," if Arminians are consistent, will have to say that this does not mean "sheep only"! And, when Christ says that "neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand," he does not mean that only the sheep are in the hand of Christ. (see verses 25-28)

If my friend were consistent he would say "yes, but it does not say 'sheep only' when it says the sheep know him and follow him."  Does he not believe that Jesus means sheep only in those words?

My friend also wrote:

"One final note is this issue of double jeopardy.  Calvinists like to argue that if Christ died for all men's sins then they should be atoned for when they die since God cannot be just in punishing them for the sins He laid upon Christ on the cross.  First of all, no one is saved merely by the atonement of Christ.  That Jesus died on the cross or shed His blood saves no one.  Even Calvinists acknowledge this...The atonement, by itself, saves none...You didn't get saved when Jesus died on the cross."

But, if my friend would simply read my rebuttal on this in the postings titled "Definite Atonement VIII" and "Definite Atonement VII" (see here and here) he will have a clear rebuttal of his argumentation.

It is unbelievable that anyone can read the scriptures and say that no one is saved by the atonement itself, or that no one was saved when Christ died upon the cross.  In my first posting, titled "Definite Atonement I" (see here) I show how the scriptures positively affirm that the elect were saved on the cross.

Further, in the postings cited, I showed how the argument is absurd, for if it were valid, then we could prove that none are saved even now by conversion.  The scriptures say that sinners will be saved at the end of time, but if the logic of my friend is valid, then this would prove that they were not saved before the end of time.  He says that the fact that we are said to be saved in conversion proves that we could not have been saved previously at the cross.  But, again, this logic would prove that we are not saved now since we are not said to be saved till the end of time.

Now, if my friend wants to truly change our minds on this subject, let him answer our rebuttal to his arguments.

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