Doctrines of Grace – Particular Redemption

By affirming our belief in Particular Redemption, we accept the Bible’s teaching that the Lord Jesus Christ has paid the penalty for the sins of the elect, thereby satisfying the strict demand of divine justice.  Christ has fully exhausted the wrath of God for the elect once forever, so that they do not receive the just punishment for their sins.  We affirm that Christ has not simply made it possible for the elect to be saved but rather he actually redeemed the elect at Calvary and made certain their ultimate salvation. We affirm the Bible’s teaching that the substitutionary sacrificial atonement made by the Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary was on behalf of the elect alone.  He did not die for those who are not elect and who suffer the just punishment for their sins in everlasting hell.

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About Greg Coleman

I am a Particular Baptist who affirms the absolute sovereignty of the triune Godhead in all things. The fullness of the Godhead dwells in the God-man Jesus Christ. He is the Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer, Disposer and Judge of all that ever was, is now or ever shall be. Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and men. He was made to be sin for his people and saved them from their sins by his substitutionary, sacrificial death on the cross thereby satisfying the justice and wrath of God against them. The sufficiency of his death to the satisfaction of God’s justice is proven by his physical resurrection from the dead and enthronement in glory at the right hand of the Father. Jesus Christ is coming again to judge the living and the dead. Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.
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7 Responses to Doctrines of Grace – Particular Redemption

  1. Hey there,

    If you dont mind.

    You say: By affirming our belief in Particular Redemption, we accept the Bible’s teaching that the Lord Jesus Christ has paid the penalty for the sins of the elect, thereby satisfying the strict demand of divine justice.

    David: Someone who holds to unlimited expiation can affirm the same thing: Christ suffered in the place of all men and thereby paid the penal debt to all. The issue then becomes, “How would you falsify my position?”

    You say: Christ has turned away the wrath of God from the elect once for all, so that they do not receive the just punishment for their sins.

    David: How exactly did Christ turn aside the wrath of God? Do you mean this was accomplished on the cross? If the wrath of God was “turned aside” on the cross, how can God hold any living unbelieving living elect under and subject to wrath (Eph 2:3)?

    Also, what verse would you cite to support the idea that as a past tense accomplishment the wrath of God has been turned aside for the elect “at Calvary.”?

    You say: We affirm that Christ has not simply made it possible for the elect to be saved but rather he actually redeemed the elect at Calvary and made certain their ultimate salvation.

    David: As a moderate Calvinist, one who holds to unconditional election and universal expiation, I also affirm that it is not the case that Christ died merely and only to make men savable, but that he died especially and effectually for the elect. However, this does not preclude a universal sacrifice of expiation of the sins of all men.

    You say: We affirm the Bible’s teaching that the substitutionary sacrificial atonement made by the Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary was on behalf of the elect alone. He did not die for those who are not elect and who suffer the just punishment for their sins in everlasting hell.

    David: At the first level of appearance, that is an assertion. What are the assumptions controlling that statement. It seems to me that for that assertion to be true, you would need something like this:

    If Christ paid for the sins of a given man, then it is not possible for that given man to pay for his sins in hell, thereby making a second payment?

    If that is where you are heading, I would say:

    Nor would we attach any force to the argument, that if Christ made penal satisfaction for the sins of all, justice would forbid any to be punished. To urge this argument surrenders virtually the very ground on which the first Socinian objection was refuted, and is incompatible with the facts that God chastises justified believers, and holds elect unbelievers subject to wrath till they believe. Christ’s satisfaction is not a pecuniary equivalent, but only such a one as enables the Father, consistently with His attributes, to pardon, if in His mercy He sees fit. The whole avails of the satisfaction to a given man is suspended on His belief. There would be no injustice to the man, if he remaining an unbeliever, his guilt were punished twice over first in his Savior, and then in Him. See Hodge on Atonement, page 369.

    R.L. Dabney, Lectures, 521.

    Thanks for your time and patience,
    David
    Calvin and Calvinism

  2. Greg Coleman says:

    David,

    Thank you for your comments and questions.

    It seems to me that that the postulation of unconditional election and universal expiation is equivalent to Indefinite Atonement. I do not see how one can hold to univeral expiation and argue that the position is other than Christ having died to put all men in a savable condition. This position strongly suggests that Christ did not acutally accomplish the redemption of His people at Calvary but made all men subject to being saved based on some critera other than His sacraficial substitutionary death.

    Andrew Fuller was the first Baptist to publish a similar position. The Southern Baptist Convention (which my home church is associated with) has long suffered the effects of Fullersim. He is well know for promoting missionary societies. He is not so well known as being the prime catalyst that started the drift of many Baptist churches away from Particular Redemption and started us down the broad road of Arminianism.

    I have read numerous works regarding the subject of Particular Redemption and how it is undermined by the notion of Indefinite Atonement and the teachings of Fuller, but none better than “A Defense of Particular Redemption” by William Rushton written in 1831.

    You can access “A Defense of Particular Redemption” under the Library Tab that appears at the top of my home page or use the following link:

    https://aparticularbaptistblog.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/a-defense-of-particular-redemption2.pdf

    I commend it to you if you have not read it. It is an excellent, thorough work.

    May our sovereign, gracious Lord continue to teach us all by His Holy Spirit.

  3. Hey Greg,

    You say:
    It seems to me that that the postulation of unconditional election and universal expiation is equivalent to Indefinite Atonement. I do not see how one can hold to univeral expiation and argue that the position is other than Christ having died to put all men in a savable condition.

    David. What youve posited here is the idea that if Christ died for all men, then it can only to have been to make all men savable. Its a false-either dilemma. If we go back to the Lombardian formula, Christ died for all men as to the sufficiency of the satisfaction (for all sin) but for the elect as to its efficiency. Lombard rightly placed the stress in the “for”, in the intentionality. Christ died for all men, in one sense, for all the elect, in another sense. In the latter sense, it is to secure the exact means whereby the elect are infallibly saved. The universal-sufficient aspect does not deny or preclude the efficient-particular aspect.

    You say: This position strongly suggests that Christ did not acutally accomplish the redemption of His people at Calvary but made all men subject to being saved based on some critera other than His sacraficial substitutionary death.

    David: not at all. Arminianism might be liable to that charge, but not classic Calvinism following the Lombardian formula. Classic Calvinism says Christ did so die as to effectually and infallibly save those given to Christ by the Father. This does not negate any other aspect or intent in his dying.

    You say: Andrew Fuller was the first Baptist to publish a similar position. The Southern Baptist Convention (which my home church is associated with) has long suffered the effects of Fullersim. He is well know for promoting missionary societies. He is not so well known as being the prime catalyst that started the drift of many Baptist churches away from Particular Redemption and started us down the broad road of Arminianism.

    David: Do you deny the free offer of the Gospel also?

    You say: I have read numerous works regarding the subject of Particular Redemption and how it is undermined by the notion of Indefinite Atonement and the teachings of Fuller, but none better than “A Defense of Particular Redemption” by William Rushton written in 1831.

    David: Ive read Rushton. I didnt find it compelling. His position is only viable if one is preprared to jettison the entire Reformation theology on the satisfaction of Christ. Im not.

    With respect, you didnt answer any of my questions. What does it mean to say the wrath of God was turned aside on the cross? Do you believe we are all born justified? that we are not under the wrath of God, before faith?

    On what basis do you say its not possible that if Christ died for a man’s sins, that man cannot be punished for his own sin, in his own person?

    Thanks for your time,
    David
    Calvin and Calvinism

    • Greg Coleman says:

      David,

      Your comments lead me to think that you are an adherent to much of Peter Lombard’s teaching regarding the atonement. I’m aware that Lombard was one of the leading Scholastics but am not familiar with the particulars of his theology.

      It also appears that you are an adherent to Reformation Theology in the classic Calvinism vein.

      I thank God that he raised up men like Calvin, Luther and Zwingli. They were obviously used by Him in a mighty way for the glory of Christ. They were men with tremendous courage and intellect.

      My beliefs have very much in common with major teachings of Calvin and other Reformers. However, I do not consider myself to be a Protestant, a Calvinist (of any designation), nor do I consider my theology to be Reformed. I am a Baptist who holds to the Doctrines of Grace and believes in particular, definite, specific redemption.

      Please find my humble attempts at answering your questions below:

      1. Do you deny the free offer of the gospel?

      The gospel is not an offer. It is a proclamation of the good news that Jesus Christ has accomplished salvation for his people (Matthew 1:21). We are commanded to proclaim the gospel to all people and nations (Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:15). All men everywhere are commanded to repent (Acts 17:30). The new birth comes by the sovereign grace of God after the hearing of the gospel (Romans 10:13-17, 1 Corinthians 1:21). Only the elect (and all of the elect) will be regenerated and given the gifts of faith and repentance. The reprobate will not believe because they cannot believe (John 10:25-28). God receives as much glory in the damnation of the reprobate (justice, wrath, holiness) as he does from the salvation of the elect (love, grace, mercy) (Romans 9:14-24, 2 Corinthians 2:15-16).

      2. What does it mean to say that the wrath of God was turned aside on the cross?

      It means that Christ fully exhausted the wrath of God for the elect once forever at the cross by substituting Himself for His people. (Romans 8:1, 2 Corinthian 5:21, Galatians 3:13, Hebrews 1:3).

      I appreciate this question as contemplation of it caused me to see that my original statement was not as clear as it might be. As a result, I have revised my statement (see above).

      3. Do you believe we are all born justified?

      I do not believe that the elect are born justified. The scriptures clearly teach that we are conceived in sin and are born with a fallen nature (Psalm 51:5, Ephesians 2:1, Colossian 2:13).

      4. Do you believe that we are not under the wrath of God before faith?

      The elect are under the wrath of God until regeneration (Romans 5:8, Ephesians 2:3).

      Regarding items 3 and 4, I think it is important to make a distinction with respect to the perspective of the sovereign God who transcends time and we creatures who are subject to time.

      In the eternal, immutable decree and purpose of the Lord God (Isaiah 46:9-10) the elect were chosen by the God the Father in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 2:4). Christ is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8). In the eternal decree and purpose of God there has never been a time when any of the elect have been less than absolutely secure in Christ.

      In the providence of God (which I define to be the outworking of the purpose of God in time) and from the perspective of the creature the elect are indeed under the wrath of God until regenerated by God the Holy Spirit.

      5. On what basis do you say its not possible that if Christ died for a man’s sins, that man cannot be punished for his own sin, in his own person?

      On the simple basis that if Christ died for a man’s sins and that man is punished for his own sins then Christ has failed to satisfy the wrath of God in that man’s case. It cannot be that Christ failed in redeeming all those for whom he died (Isaiah 53:11). The purpose in the death Christ was to bear the sin of the elect in order that God might be just in making them the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21, Romans 3:26, Proverbs 17:15)

      Additionally, Hebrews 10:29 teaches that the blood of Christ is not to be considered “an unholy thing” or “common” (from koinos) under a penalty worse than stoning to death. In my opinion, to say that Christ shed his blood in common for men who were redeemed and men who are damned is to “tread underfoot the Son of God” and to “do despite unto the Spirit of Grace”.

      May God the Holy Spirit continue to lead us into all truth for the glory of our sovereign Lord Jesus Christ.

      Greg

  4. Hey Greg,

    Re; Lombard and Reformation theology. To the first, yes, I agree with Lombard’s sufficiency-efficiency formula. And yes I align myself with the original Reformers.

    You say: I thank God that he raised up men like Calvin, Luther and Zwingli. They were obviously used by Him in a mighty way for the glory of Christ. They were men with tremendous courage and intellect.

    You say: My beliefs have very much in common with major teachings of Calvin and other Reformers. However, I do not consider myself to be a Protestant, a Calvinist (of any designation), nor do I consider my theology to be Reformed. I am a Baptist who holds to the Doctrines of Grace and believes in particular, definite, specific redemption.

    David: I understand. What beliefs do you consider to hold in common with these men? They all taught that Christ died for all men, that the gospel is offered to all, general love, common grace, etc.

    You answer: 1. Do you deny the free offer of the gospel?

    The gospel is not an offer. It is a proclamation of the good news that Jesus Christ has accomplished salvation for his people (Matthew 1:21). We are commanded to proclaim the gospel to all people and nations (Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:15).

    David. A few things. The gospel also contains an invitation (ie offer). The invitation says whosoever is thirsty, let him come (Jn 7:37 and Rev 22:17). The gospel is also a call to come (Matt 22:4). There gospel cannot be reduced to a command. Secondly, I am not sure that the gospel can be reduced to a ‘proclamation to all what Christ has accomplished for his people.’ I dont see that in Scripture myself.

    For example, in 1 Cor 15, Paul gives an example of the gospel message which he had received and which he now preaches: ‘Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again… according to the Scriptures’ Already we see something about what Paul was preaching.

    You say: All men everywhere are commanded to repent (Acts 17:30). The new birth comes by the sovereign grace of God after the hearing of the gospel (Romans 10:13-17, 1 Corinthians 1:21). Only the elect (and all of the elect) will be regenerated and given the gifts of faith and repentance. The reprobate will not believe because they cannot believe (John 10:25-28). God receives as much glory in the damnation of the reprobate (justice, wrath, holiness) as he does from the salvation of the elect (love, grace, mercy) (Romans 9:14-24, 2 Corinthians 2:15-16).

    David: Everything after the Acts 17 reference is content extraneous to the gospel as a definition.

    You answer: 2. What does it mean to say that the wrath of God was turned aside on the cross?

    It means that Christ fully exhausted the wrath of God for the elect once forever at the cross by substituting Himself for His people. (Romans 8:1, 2 Corinthian 5:21, Galatians 3:13, Hebrews 1:3).

    I appreciate this question as contemplation of it caused me to see that my original statement was not as clear as it might be. As a result, I have revised my statement (see above).

    David: Okay, but still the question remains: If all the wrath of God towards all the elect is exhausted on the cross, why then are the living unbelieving elect subject to divine wrath in life?

    You answer: 3. Do you believe we are all born justified?

    I do not believe that the elect are born justified. The scriptures clearly teach that we are conceived in sin and are born with a fallen nature (Psalm 51:5, Ephesians 2:1, Colossian 2:13).

    David: So then the elect as unbelieving are subjects to divine wrath in life?

    You answer: 4. Do you believe that we are not under the wrath of God before faith?

    The elect are under the wrath of God until regeneration (Romans 5:8, Ephesians 2:3).

    Regarding items 3 and 4, I think it is important to make a distinction with respect to the perspective of the sovereign God who transcends time and we creatures who are subject to time.

    In the eternal, immutable decree and purpose of the Lord God (Isaiah 46:9-10) the elect were chosen by the God the Father in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 2:4). Christ is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8). In the eternal decree and purpose of God there has never been a time when any of the elect have been less than absolutely secure in Christ.

    David: I am not sure that answers the biblical data. Firstly, a side point, that translation of Rev 13:8 is incorrect. It was based on a corrupted reading by Erasmus. Its subsequently corrected in modern translations. After that, your answer seems to be moving in the direction of the virtual-actual // God outside of time, men in time sort of dichotomy. Are you saying, God outside of time was appeased by Christ’s death with regard to our sin, but in time we are still under his wrath as unbelievers?

    You continue:
    In the providence of God (which I define to be the outworking of the purpose of God in time) and from the perspective of the creature the elect are indeed under the wrath of God until regenerated by God the Holy Spirit.

    David: So what does that mean, in the decree we are considered justified? but not in time and actuality?

    There is a difference between saying God eternally decreed to justify us, and God eternally sees us as justitied. Your reading there strikes me as making God a little bi-polar.

    You answer: 5. On what basis do you say its not possible that if Christ died for a man’s sins, that man cannot be punished for his own sin, in his own person?

    On the simple basis that if Christ died for a man’s sins and that man is punished for his own sins then Christ has failed to satisfy the wrath of God in that man’s case. It cannot be that Christ failed in redeeming all those for whom he died (Isaiah 53:11). The purpose in the death Christ was to bear the sin of the elect in order that God might be just in making them the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21, Romans 3:26, Proverbs 17:15)

    David: So thats the point. If in life, a living unbelieving elect is under the wrath of God “which is being poured out against all ungodliness (Rom 1:18) and so being punished, “even as the rest are” (Eph 3:3) how can God express wrath the living unbelieving elect, if Christ has already atoned for all their sins?

    You say: Additionally, Hebrews 10:29 teaches that the blood of Christ is not to be considered “an unholy thing” or “common” (from koinos) under a penalty worse than stoning to death. In my opinion, to say that Christ shed his blood in common for men who were redeemed and men who are damned is to “tread underfoot the Son of God” and to “do despite unto the Spirit of Grace”.

    David: Oh, to say that Christ shed his blood for a man, and that man may not be saved, is to tread upon the blood of Christ. Is that what you really want to say? So the man who actually falls back into apostasy, and who treads anew upon the blood of Christ is committing the same sin as man who simply says that Christ shed his blood for a man, and yet that man may not be finally saved?

    Contrary to that, the same writer says: Hebrews 10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins.

    The Greek is clear, here ouketi, an adverb of time. It means there is no longer a sacrifice for their sins. This means there was, but because of their sin, there is now no longer any sacrifice for their sin. The opportunity for repentance has been closed. This idea is a continuing theme in Hebrews, see Heb 12:17 for example.

    Ive run out of time, so I cant proof this. Thanks for your patience,
    David

    • Greg Coleman says:

      David,

      I’m not a disciple of the Reformers but I think we have much in common regarding the sovereignty of God, justification by faith alone in Christ alone, the sufficiency of scripture, depravity, election, irresistible grace, perseverance, etc. However, regardless of the position of any of the specific Reformers I do not agree that Christ died for all men.

      When I refer to the gospel as a proclamation I’m speaking to the nature of the gospel and not to its content. Certainly the elements of the gospel are exactly as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15, “according to the scriptures”. The proclamation of the “good news” must include the incarnation of the eternal second member of the Godhead, the virgin conception, the sinless nature and life of Christ who was tempted in all points as we are, His perfect keeping and fulfillment of the Law in every thought, word and deed, His being made sin for us, the substitutionary and sacrificial death of Christ for His people, the resurrection, ascension and His certain physical return to the earth to judge the quick and the dead. It must also be emphasized that Christ is the exclusive way to the Father. Men’s sinful nature, the holiness and wrath of God along with His certain judgment and eternal hell should be included, but are not necessarily elements of the gospel.

      God transcends time and space and is immutable. To recognize that what God has decreed is as absolutely certain before it comes to pass in time as it is certain when it has come to pass in time does not suggest that God has a bi-polar nature to me.

      In my opinion, to say that Christ shed his blood in common for men who were redeemed and men who are damned is to “tread underfoot the Son of God” and to “do despite unto the Spirit of Grace”.

      I’m having difficulty following some of your arguments. It appears to me that you are stating that the finished work of Christ is not sufficient in and of itself to save men, but that it requires some cooperation on their part. Based on your comments regarding the referenced scriptures from Hebrews it also appears to me that you hold the position that one who has been regenerated can apostatize and be damned.

      If I am mistaken, please clarify.

      I had the opportunity to quickly browse Calvin and Calvinism earlier. It is very impressive and contains much information that I’m looking forward reviewing.

      Thanks,

      Greg

  5. Hey there Greg,

    You say:
    In my opinion, to say that Christ shed his blood in common for men who were redeemed and men who are damned is to “tread underfoot the Son of God” and to “do despite unto the Spirit of Grace”.

    David: The problem is that this goes beyond Scripture. The verse speaks only to those who having once confessed Christ, fall away from Christ. The verse has no reference to those who hold that Jesus did die for all men in some sense, at least. I think you are misusing the verse.

    You say:
    I’m having difficulty following some of your arguments. It appears to me that you are stating that the finished work of Christ is not sufficient in and of itself to save men, but that it requires some cooperation on their part. Based on your comments regarding the referenced scriptures from Hebrews it also appears to me that you hold the position that one who has been regenerated can apostatize and be damned.

    David: Sure… okay. I hold that the satisfaction of Christ is actually and really sufficient for all: that is, it is has ability to save all. I would think you would have to deny this, for if only the sins of the elect were imputed to Christ, then only those sins are forgivable, and only the elect, therefore, are savable. Next, the death of Christ, in and of itself, does not save anyone. Faith is required, as the instrumental means: no faith, no forgiveness etc. For the elect, this faith is an unconditional gift of God. Next, no the regenerate cannot fall away. However, Heb. 10:26 says that those who fall continually sin after having known the the truth, there will no longer be a sacrifice for their sin. The intent is that the offer and benefit of the sacrifice will be withdrawn. This implies that it must have been there in the first place. This being a necessary inference, this falsifies limited atonement as popularly defined. Make sense?

    You say: If I am mistaken, please clarify.

    David: I hope that helps.

    Thanks for the kind comment regarding the C&C site. Its been a lot of work. I hope it is informative, even if the reader disagrees with the content.

    If ever you want to correspond further, you can wing me an email (address located on my about page). I think think most folk know about the serious objections to limited atonement from the classic Calvinist perspective, and I dont think it’s all that justifiable from Scripture. By limited atonement, I mean, only the sins of the elect were imputed to Christ, such that Christ sustained a penal relationship and satisfaction for the elect alone.

    Thanks for your kindness,
    David

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