“Offer Atonement” is not Biblical Atonement, by Tianqi Wu
Many people who confess “limited atonement” also assert the “free offer of salvation”. When they try to describe the compatibility of the two ideas, their explanation ends up changing the meaning of atonement.
Whereas “universal atonement” advocates think of the atonement as a meal delivered to your table and is now up to your choosing to eat it or not, the “offer” advocates add the twist that
– God already knows who will say yes so God made the meals for them in advance, and
– God knows who will say yes because God predestined them to make that choice
This “offer” makes the faith-response of elect the reason of Christ dying for them. Whereas “universal atonement” says whether Christ’s death for you will save you depends on your willing, the “offer”says whether Christ will die for you depends on your willing. The two views are finally quite similar.
In “universal atonement”, salvation conditioned on the sinner is injected between atonement and justification, whereas in “offer atonement”, salvation conditioned on the sinner is injected between election and atonement.
The two views tend to become blended into some concept of “faith-union with Christ” (“appropriation”) as the reason for God’s imputation of sin / righteousness.
“Offer atonement” puts us back to the idea of “governmental atonement” where God’s law is not basic .If Christ’s legal work of death is not the decisive factor, then some sort of “personal relationship” is more basic, and more real.
In such a false gospel the legal death of Christ for the sins of the elect imputed to Christ becomes instead merely a prop, a tribute to the basic self-righteousness of the sinner’s “faith”.
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