Did Christ’s Death Accomplish Something For Everybody?

Mark Driscoll and Bruce Ware and John Piper are fond of saying that they believe everything that “Jesus-loving Arminians” believe, and more! So they teach that the death of Jesus accomplished something for everybody, and then even more for the elect.

I have a simple question. What did Christ’s death really accomplish for those who perish? Did it make it so God could condemn them? No, they were already condemned. Did Christ’s death purchase the non-elect for Christ’s possession so Christ could be their Lord? No, Christ was and is already the Judge and Lord.

I have a simple answer to what is called the “both/and approach”. Christ’s death accomplished NOTHING for the non-elect. God never intended for Christ’s death to do anything for the non-elect.

But the Arminans who think they are Calvinists also still have a question. If no payment has been made for the sins of the non-elect, then how can God have genuinely desired the salvation of all the non-elect?

Here too I have a simple answer. God does not and has not ever desired the salvation of the non-elect. God has commanded us not to sin, and yet God has ordained that we shall sin. You can call this “two wills” if you want to, but it does not in any way show that God has desired the salvation of the non-elect.

Some of these same folks (Jonathan Edwards) who affirm what they call substitutionary atonement seem to think that a door has been opened for the elect that then allows God to do some other (more real) stuff for the elect.They seem to believe that any “imputation” by God is based on what God knows He will do (or has done) in the elect.

They say the “new creation” can’t be legal status. They call imputation “judicial role-play”.

I do not.

Hebrews 10:10 “We have been set apart through the offering of the body of Christ once for all.”
Hebrews 10:14 “By a single offering He has perfected for all TIME those who are being sanctified.”

God justifies and sanctifies the elect on the basis of Christ’s bloody death for the elect. This is parallel to the direct imputation of Adam’s sin. Romans 5:18 tell us that “ one trespass led to condemnation”. This does not mean “opened the door for the possibility of condemnation” .

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9 Comments on “Did Christ’s Death Accomplish Something For Everybody?”

  1. Larry Says:

    I think Romans 9 makes it pretty clear that some are selected by God and some are destined for destruction.

    Romans 9:19 Well then, you might say, “Why does God blame people for not responding? Haven’t they simply done what he makes them do?”

    Roman2 9:20 No, don’t say that. Who are you, a mere human being, to argue with God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, “Why have you made me like this?”

    Romans 9:21 When a potter makes jars out of clay, doesn’t he have a right to use the same lump of clay to make one jar for decoration and another to throw garbage into?

    Romans 9:22 In the same way, even though God has the right to show his anger and his power, he is very patient with those on whom his anger falls, who are destined for destruction.

    Romans 9:23 He does this to make the riches of his glory shine even brighter on those to whom he shows mercy, who were prepared in advance for glory.

    Romans 9:24 And we are among those whom he selected, both from the Jews and from the Gentiles.

    • Wendell Says:

      Compare this with Isaiah 45:7-13

      7 ​​I form the light and create darkness,
      ​​I make peace and create calamity;
      ​​I, the LORD, do all these things.’

      8 ​​“Rain down, you heavens, from above,
      ​​And let the skies pour down righteousness;
      ​​Let the earth open, let them bring forth salvation,
      ​​And let righteousness spring up together.
      ​​I, the LORD, have created it.

      9 ​​“Woe to him who strives with his Maker!
      ​​Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth!
      ​​Shall the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’
      ​​Or shall your handiwork say, ‘He has no hands’?
      10 ​​Woe to him who says to his father, ‘What are you begetting?’
      ​​Or to the woman, ‘What have you brought forth?’ ”

      11 ​​Thus says the LORD,
      ​​The Holy One of Israel, and his Maker:
      ​​“Ask Me of things to come concerning My sons;
      ​​And concerning the work of My hands, you command Me.
      12 ​​I have made the earth,
      ​​And created man on it.
      ​​I—My hands—stretched out the heavens,
      ​​And all their host I have commanded.
      13 ​​I have raised him up in righteousness,
      ​​And I will direct all his ways;
      ​​He shall build My city
      ​​And let My exiles go free,
      ​​Not for price nor reward,”
      ​​Says the LORD of hosts.


    Bruce Ware, Southern Baptist Seminary;—”Those in hell, who never put their faith in Christ and so were never saved, are under the just judgment for their sin, even though Christ has paid for their sin. Just as the elect before they put their faith in Christ (which is before union with Christ) are still children of wrath, even though Christ has paid for their sin.”

    p 649, From Heaven He Came and Sought Her, Crossway, 2013

    Mark Driscoll, Death by Love, Crossway, p 174—”All those in hell will stand reconciled to God but not in a saving way…In hell, unrepentant and unforgiven sinners are no longer rebels, and their sinful disregard for God has been crushed and ended.”

    mark: I thought they would never die but continue to sin. At any rate, if their sinful disregard will have ended, it will not have been the penal substitution of Christ’s death (supposedly for them) but God’s might in judgment.

    Bruce Ware—”This reconciliation (Colossians 1:18-20) must be one which includes a sense in which those outside of Christ, consigned to eternal punishment in hell, arre at peace with God. The peace they have is simply this—-they have now seen God for who He is, they have bowed their knees before God, and have confessed with their mouths that Jesus is Lord. The deception is removed, their rebellion is over, and they now know and accept the truth of what they rejected the whole of their lives. As a result, there is peace–no more rebellion, no more deception, no more lies. The truth is known and accepted by these hell bound sinners, and they go to hell knowing that God is holy and was right….

    Luke 4: 33 And in the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, 34 “Ha! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.”
    mark: Did Jesus for the demons so that they demons would know this? To what purpose a death for those who will die? And how was it substitutionary?



    David Allen, Whosoever Will, 2010, p 83—Redemption understood as literal payment makes the atonement secure its own application.”

    Andrew Fuller–“if the specificity of the atonement be placed in the atonement itself, and not in the sovereign will of God, it must have proceeded on the principle of PECUNIARY satisfactions. In commercial payments, the payment is equal to the amount of the debt, and being so, it is not of sufficient value for more than those who are actually liberated by it.
    letter to Ryland #3, 2:708

    For Andrew Fuller, Christ’s death is specific only because of God’s sovereignty not because of God’s justice, and not because of the nature of the atonement.. Fuller makes a distinction between the nature of the atonement and its design and application.

    But unless we believe in eternal justification, don’t we all make a distinction between the atonement and its legal application? Yes, there is a time gap, but the question remains about the imputation of specific sins to Christ and the nature of the justice of Christ’s death at the cross.

    btw, Dabney is no better than Andrew Fuller on this point. Dabney claims: “Satisfaction was Christ’s indivisible act, and infinite vicarious merit, the whole in its unity, without numerical division, subtraction or exhaustion. ,,The expiation is single and complete, and in itself considered, has no more relation to one man’s sins than another….Only as it is applied in effectual calling, does the expiation become personal and receive a limitation.” Systematic , p 528

  4. markmcculley Says:

    Tianqi Wu–If we devalue the body, then we will not only devalue the future resurrection, but also devalue Christ’s death
    Christ lost his life in this age. Christ bore the curse of the covenant breaker, cut off from the land of the living
    Those redeemed by him and to him will have to wait until He returns to enjoy the full benefit of the kingdom (bodily resurrection and immortality, face-to-face with the Lord and reunion with all believers, living on the new earth) that comes with the never ending age to come.
    But Christ was raised because of our justification. The next age has come into the present. Christ didn’t wait until the end of this age to be raised. He was raised after three days. During these three days, his body was preserved by God from decay. He was no longer under wrath of God after he died, because he was no longer imputed with sin, having died to sin, because he had paid the sins imputed to him in full because of the loss of his life.
    The elect who have now already been redeemed to become sons (washed and sanctified by blood, reconciled to God, died to sin), have not yet obtained the redemption belonging to sons (glorification, inheritance of earth). They have died to sin, to the law, and to the world, and are guarded by God until their resurrection on the last day.
    As Christ is already raised from the dead and even reigns now, so the justified elect have been declared righteous and because Christ is now (absent in His humanity from earth) seated in heaven, the justified elect are now legally “seated with Him”. There will be a future visible manifestation/consummation of this legal reality by resurrection to glory and heavenly Jerusalem coming to earth).
    So in the one regard, the believer is “dead” (not dead in Adam, but dead in Christ) – to sin as damning guilt, to law as relationship of works, and to this present age as home. But in the other regard, the believer is “alive” in Christ – to God
    Being joined to Christ’s death results in a new relationship – belonging to the risen Christ. By the power of Christ’s Spirit in regenerating and converting the one imputed with his death, the justified sinner continues to hear and believe the gospel, which kills his old false hope and gives him a new living hope. Not only has the believer given up on the world, but also the world will reject the believer, as it rejected the Master.

  5. markmcculley Says:

    John Donne–Christ bled not a drop the less at the last for having bled at his circumcision before. There was nothing more free, more voluntary, more spontaneous than the death of Christ. e died voluntarily; but yet when we consider the contract that had passed between his Father and him, there was , a kind of necessity upon him:—all this Christ ought to suffer. And when shall we date this obligation,? When shall we say that began? Certainly this decree by which Christ was to suffer all this was an eternal decree. What liberty soever we can conceive in Christ to die or not to die; this necessity of dying, this decree is as eternal as that liberty; and yet how small a matter made he of this necessity and this dying?

    His Father calls it but a bruise, and but a bruising of his heel (the serpent shall bruise his heel), He Himself calls it a baptism— I have a baptism to be baptized with,379 and he was in pain till it was accomplished,. The HolySpirit calls it joy (for the joy which was set before him he endured the cross),380 which was not only a joy of his reward after his passion, but a joy that filled him even in the midst of his dying. When Christ calls his death a cup, think of David,, I will take the cup of salvation.

    Moses and Elijah talked with Christ in the transfiguration—of his death, which was to be accomplished at Jerusalem. His death is his Exodus.

    Luke 9: 30 Suddenly, two men were talking with Him—Moses and Elijah. 31 They appeared in glory and were speaking of His death, which He was about to accomplish in Jerusalem.

    John 3: 13 No one has ascended into heaven except the One who descended from heaven—the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up

    John 12: 32 As for Me, if I am LIFTED UP from the earth I will draw all people to Myself.” 33 He said this to signify what kind of death He was about to die

  6. Shane Says:

    But if Christ’s death accomplished nothing for the non elect, What does John 3:16 mean, when is says He so loved the world. Then He didnt love the world, He loved the elect.

  7. Mark Mcculley Says:

    hypothetical universalism. Davenant apparently held some version of this view while he was a delegate to Dort. His colleague, Samuel Ward (1572–43) also held some version of this position. I say “some version” because even in Davenant’s Dissertation it thesis is not always entirely clear. As a teacher, should a student have submitted this as a Master’s Thesis I should have returned it with a demand that he state unequivocally his position and clearly contrast it with other views. Still, he agreed with the Synod of Dort (more on this in a moment) that the inherent dignity and power of the atonement was sufficient for the sins of all men and every man. He repeatedly argued that Christ’s death was “applicable” to all men. He argued more than this, however. There is a sense, he argued, in which Christ may be said to have died for all men but that he did not actually obtain salvation for all. The limit then is not in the atonement but in the will of God to apply salvation to all. God, he argued, has not determined to apply the work of Christ to all. That Christ died for all is the necessary foundation to the universal offer of the gospel (see e.g., pp. 344–45). He used the analogy of a physician offering salvation to a plague ravaged village. The medicine is efficacious but the villagers must be willing to take the medicine. If they refuse the fault is not with the physician nor with the medicine.


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