Slow down! Don’t leave any ugly comments yet! First look at what I did not say. I did not say that the Atonement is for everyone in the same way, but simply stated a fact that the Atonement is for everyone in some way.
Many times the doctrine of Limited Atonement is put down by Arminians or non-Calvinists as meaning that the Atonement is limited in power. I’m not going to argue against that, since it is so blatantly false. I will, however, say that the typical Calvinist argument against this ‘limited in power’ charge is not very good. When the charge is leveled by the Arminian or non- Calvinist to the Calvinist, the Calvinist generally responds, “Limited in scope, not power.”
I’m sorry that ‘scope’ has even been brought into the discussion at this point. The Atonement is not limited in its scope, (yet). No, the Atonement is still universal at this point in the argument.
Let me explain.
1) Christ’s death purchased many benefits that everyone in the world enjoys to this day. Creation was on a collision course with the God of eternity. These collisions had occurred at different times in the Old Testament. (Expulsion from Eden, The Tower of Babel, the Flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, Nineveh, etc.) But this collision was the to be the war to end all wars. In Luke’s gospel we see this the Kingdom of God breaking into the kingdoms of men. This could not be good. Two worlds that are diametrically opposed to one another on a road to Armageddon, and the kingdoms of men didn’t stand a chance. The flood waters of God’s wrath were about to be released upon every living creature. Then Christ died. The wrath that was about to be poured out on humanity was poured out on Him. He took the penalty for our sins. Everybody’s sins, in this context. By His death we all escaped judgment, not because judgment did not come, but because judgment was absorbed in Christ. Everyone benefits form this part of Christ’s death.
2) Christ’s death served the intended purpose. In this case we are looking at two aspects of Christ death. The intended purpose in the first case was the preservation of humanity alive until the second coming of Christ. The second intended purpose was, in saving all humanity alive until the second coming of Christ, to purchase salvation for the elect, past, present, and future. And this is where the scope is now limited. This part of the death of Christ is only for the elect. It is intended only for those who believe. Who are those who believe? The elect.
O.K. Now you can start with the ugly comments.