Does it Honor Christ to Put the Atonement Before the Election?
Ephesians 1:9-11–” making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In Christ we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will…”
“All things were created for Christ”. (Colossians 1:16) Christ “is before all things” (Colossians 1:17).
Lutherans (and others who say that Christ died for every sinner) think that they honor Christ by saying that the decree for Christ to die is before the decree to elect some sinners. They claim in this way to put Christ before election.
Lutherans want to equate election with preaching, and so they teach that the atonement was not restricted to the elect. They think of election as something that causes some to believe, but they will not teach an atonement only for the specific sins of the elect.
But election in Christ is first! The death of Christ is not the cause of God’s election in love. God’s election in love is the cause of the death of Christ.
Jesus, the incarnate, the eternal Son of God in the flesh, is the foundation of election by being Himself the object of election. “All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things.” Jesus is not simply the one who makes election work. Jesus Himself is first.
Jesus Himself is chosen first, before all the other elect. All the other elect were chosen in Jesus Christ, and not apart from Jesus Christ. Those God loves are “chosen in Him”. Ephesians 1:4
God only has one purpose in history, and that is to bring glory to Jesus Christ. God does not have a second cultural purpose (“kingdom” ?) which doesn’t have anything to do with Christ.