Sufficient, for the elect alone

John 5:24, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the one who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death unto life.” The elect will not be judged by works in the future. The elect will not be judged in the future. The future judgment has already come into the present, has already happened for all who have been justified by means of the work of Christ. Because of Christ’s righteousness, the very fact that the elect are raised at the Second Coming of Christ will be the manifestation of their justification.

Even for the elect who have not yet passed from death to life, Christ has already accomplished a final nothing-to-be-added-to redemption. He paid the price for all the elect. All the elect will be freed from sin and death. Christ’s redemption is not sufficient for the non-elect, because sufficiency means that nothing else is necessary. Christ either already died for a sinner or did not. There never was a sacrifice for the sins of the non-elect. It’s not as though at one time it was ‘available” but no longer remains. It never was for the non-elect, and it does not remain for the apostates who are non-elect.

Gospel about election, not only about a present justification

The gospel issue is not simply a present justification by grace rather than a future justification by Spirit-enabled works. Many conditionalists also disagree with the new perspective, and teach that justification is already final. The Lordship vs easy believism debate still leaves most Calvinists and Arminians on the same side. They both deny assurance to those who have been using too many (how many?) idle words. Doubt about a present salvation results from not talking about elect and non-elect.

Assurance involves talking about Christ having already taken away the sin of the elect and not having taken away the sin of the non-elect. Doubt means “overtures of love” to everybody and “Christ died for sinners” but also at the same time a future where all sins (both of elect and non-elect) will still be judged. Failure to talk about election is both a cause and a result of turning the warnings to believe the gospel into “Reformed” threats to professing Christians about non-occasional sin in their lives. The idea is to thank God for doubts, so that doubts become the basis of assurance! And if we dare to ask, “how much discipleship is enough”, then the very question becomes evidence of people who know doctrine but who don’t have a pastor to love them with threats and conditions.

New covenant never for everybody

The new covenant is gracious, not because of grace given to those in the new covenant to now do the law, but because Christ has died for all those in the new covenant and so there is present justification. The grace of the new covenant is not about the elect doing the law. It’s about what the great high priest has done. The new covenant is better for the elect, but the new covenant is not better for the non-elect. And this is why we should not talk only about redemptive history, without talking about elect and non-elect. Because if we are silent about election, and only address ourselves to those who have been admitted to the communion covenant table, then the “us” and the “you” are all in the new covenant, and then the new covenant can be broken just like the old covenant was broken.

If we don’t talk about election, it does not matter how many good and right things we do say. Not all in the old covenant were elect, and all in the new covenant are elect, The new covenant is not sufficient and available for all sinners. Even though the new age has come, non-elect gentiles can no more be saved than the non-elect Jews who spurn that new covenant Hebrews 10: 25, “But if we do on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins…” What Jesus did was never ever sufficient for those who don’t come to Jesus. Even though the new covenant is better and more gracious than the old, the punishment is worse for the non-elect now than ever. Yes, the Son of God has come, but the non-elect were already condemned before He came.

Does God begin with mercy for the non-elect?

What is the gospel? Is the gospel that God has spared not His Son in order to give everybody an opportunity to be spared? No. The gospel is that God spared not His elect Son so that all the elect with Christ be given all things. God has balanced His books and will balance them. For the non-elect, there has never been any mercy. For the non-elect, God has no mercy now and never will. The false gospel insists that mercy is now available, and then uses that supposedly real mercy to justify a hell that has nothing to do with non-election but always “only your own fault.” Conditionalism makes it look like God will change His mind, and that God now wants to save some who one day will consumed in God’s hands. Conditionalism says that God loves nobody unconditionally, and that God only loves a plan, and that who gets saved by that plan is not up to God. The false gospel makes salvation depend on the sinner.

Mercy never ends for the elect, and mercy never was in the first place for the non-elect. The elect (those whose names have already been written in the other book) will not answer for every sin after their death. The non-elect (those whose names have already not been written in the other book) will die the second death for their sins. I know that their destruction will not be exactly like the death of the Son of God, but the wages of sin is death and the soul that sins shall die and there is one who is able to destroy both body and soul and that this is how God will balance His books. Hebrews 10: 26-31 does not teach that God can never ever in the future for all eternity take one day off from tormenting non-elect sinners because never ever will the books be balanced. Nor does the text teach that the non-elect will always continue to be spurning and forfeiting and outraging.

I Corinthians 15: 27-28 The last enemy to be destroyed is death… When all things are subjected to Him who put all things into subjection to Him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.

God has excluded

God has already excluded the non-elect, and has already included the elect. It is false to say that the non-elect have excluded themselves. God has excluded many sinners. The difference between the elect and non-elect is not that the elect have not excluded themselves. The redemption of the elect only happened because of the condemnation of Christ the elect Head of the elect Body. The elect cannot say to the non-elect” you could have”, but we say to all sinners, “you should believe the gospel of salvation for the elect by Christ’s death for the elect . Believing that gospel is assurance in that gospel that you are elect “. But even when we say the should, in full disclosure to others and to ourselves, we remember God’s sovereign choice not only to exclude the non-elect from believing the gospel they should believe but also to exclude the non-elect from the new covenant and from the redemption which is only for the elect in Christ.

Rev 20:14-15 Then Death and Hades were thrown (by God, not themselves) into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if someone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

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2 Comments on “Sufficient, for the elect alone”

  1. markmcculley Says:

    Luke 12: 17 The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” 18 And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. 20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” 21 In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.[b] 22 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

  2. markmcculley Says:

    harles Hodge “The question therefore, does not, in the first place, concern the nature of Christ’s work.”

    Louis Berkhof affirms that there is a real sense in which the atonement can be objectively considered in itself apart from the redemptive purpose for which God provided it. “The question with which we are concerned at this point is not whether the satisfaction rendered by Christ was in itself sufficient for the salvation of all men, since this is admitted by all.”

    A.A. Hodge, “there was no need for him to obey or to suffer an iota more nor a moment longer in order to secure, if God so willed, the salvation of every man, woman, and child that ever lived.

    So it’s not death but “suffering” which is the satisfaction?

    Canons of Dort –This death of God’s Son is the only and entirely complete sacrifice and satisfaction for sins; it is of infinite value and worth, more than sufficient to atone for the sins of the whole world.4
    Unpacking this statement,

    Charles Hodge points out that it would be a gross misrepresentation of the Reformed doctrine to say that Christ only suffered “so much for so many” so that he would have needed to suffer more than he did, if there were more sinners included in the purpose of salvation.

    Charles Hodge– What was sufficient for one was sufficient for all. All that Christ did and suffered would have been necessary had only one human soul been the object of redemption; and nothing different and nothing more would have been required, had every child of Adam been saved through his blood.

    R.L. Dabney –We must absolutely get rid of the mistake that expiation is an aggregate of gifts to be divided and distributed out, one piece to each receiver, like pieces of money out of a bag to a multitude of paupers. Were the crowd of paupers greater, the bottom of the bag would be reached before every pauper got his alms, and more money would have to be provided. I repeat, this notion is utterly false as applied to Christ’s expiation, because it is a divine act. It is indivisible, inexhaustible, sufficient in itself to cover the guilt of all the sins that will ever be committed on earth.6
    Furthermore, when we speak about the value of Christ’s satisfaction in quantitative terms we make it sound as if redemption is pecuniary (commercial) in nature rather than penal (judicial). But this is wrong for at least three reasons:

    https://reformedseminarian.com/2017/02/08/all-sufficient-christ-4/

    Mason–First, the Bible teaches that the true nature of sin is crime and not debt. This is why the sentence for sin is capital punishment rather than indentured servitude. So when the Bible describes our salvation as having been “bought” or “purchased” it is speaking metaphorically. According to Peter, we were “not redeemed with silver or gold… but with the precious blood of Christ” (1 Pet. 1:18-19).

    Mason–Second, if the satisfaction of Christ was pecuniary, our liberation ceases to be a matter of grace, and redemption loses the element of personal forgiveness. Why? Because in pecuniary violations the claim is always upon the price and not the person, the debt and not the debtor. For this reason every creditor is bound to accept the payment of a debt – regardless of who provides it. On the other hand, criminal cases are inherently personal (Ezk. 18:4) so that the judge is neither required to allow, nor bound to accept, a substitutionary satisfaction (Ezk. 18:20). If He chooses to do so however (Isa. 53:4-6; 1 Pet. 3:18) it is a matter of sovereign grace (Isa. 53:10; Rom. 8:32) and personal forgiveness obtains.

    Charles Hodge —Another important difference between pecuniary and penal satisfaction is that the one “ipso facto” liberates. The moment the debt is paid the debtor is free, and that completely. No delay can be admitted, and no conditions can be attached to his deliverance. But in the case of a criminal, as he has no claim to have a substitute take his place, if one be provided, the terms on which the benefits of that substitution shall accrue [to him], are matters of agreement, or covenant between the substitute and the magistrate who represents justice.

    The point here is that if the death of Christ was a pecuniary transaction, then sinners were saved at the cross and all of God’s elect are born regenerate, and in a justified state. But this is false. Ephesians 2:3 clearly teaches that at birth God’s elect are “by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”

    the merits of Jesus Christ do not avail to the benefit of his people immediately. To the contrary, the rights and benefits acquired by his death all accrue to Jesus Christ himself (Acts 2:33). These benefits only accrue to the designed beneficiaries at such times (Lk. 24:49; 1 Pet. 1:3-5) and on such conditions (Eph. 1:13) as have been determined by the will of the Judge (John 3:16).

    Berkhof —It is not true that, when Christ rendered full satisfaction to the Father for all His people, their guilt naturally terminated. A penal debt is not like a pecuniary debt in this respect. Even after the payment of a ransom, the removal of guilt may depend on certain conditions, and does not follow as a matter of course. The elect are not personally justified in the Scriptural sense until they accept Christ by faith and thus appropriate His merits.


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