the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26
Discovering Christ Day by Day
Today’s Reading: Matthew 19-21
“A Ransom for Many”
Here our Lord Jesus Christ tells us, in the plainest terms possible, that He did not die for everyone in general, but for many in particular. He says He gave His life a ransom “for many.” In other words, He tells us that His sin-atoning death was an effectual atonement for a limited, chosen number of people.
How my soul rejoices in the great, glorious, soul-cheering Gospel doctrine of limited atonement. Our all glorious Christ, the Son of God, effectually accomplished the redemption of His people by the sacrifice of Himself at Calvary. No doctrine of Holy Scripture is more vital; and none is more cheering to the needy soul. Yet, multitudes who profess to believe God denounce this sweet Gospel doctrine as heresy.
The fact is all who claim to be Christians believe in and teach limited atonement. The will-worship Arminian, the free-will, works-monger, who assert that Christ died for all men, for those who perish in hell as well as those who are saved, limit the atonement of Christ contrary to Scripture. They limit the merit and efficacy of Christ’s blood and the atonement made by His blood, asserting that the blood of Christ must be supplemented by man’s decision, man’s faith, man’s obedience, man’s baptism, etc. They teach that it is man, by his obedience, who gives merit and efficacy to the blood of Christ. Such doctrine is utter blasphemy!
According to Holy Scripture, there is absolutely no limit to the merit and efficacy of Christ’s precious blood and the atonement obtained and accomplished for God’s elect by it. However, according to the Word of God, the atonement of Christ is limited in intent, scope, design, and purpose to God’s elect. To suggest, imply, or teach, indeed, to believe that there are some in hell for whom the Lord Jesus Christ shed His blood and made atonement is to betray an idolater’s heart and blaspheme the Son of God, denying His very godhead!
Such blasphemy, the blasphemy of universal redemption, makes the Son of God a failure. The doctrine of universal, ineffectual redemption, of universal, ineffectual atonement is just as damning to the souls of men as any other doctrine which necessarily denies our Savior’s divinity.
The Son of God very specifically tells us that He gave His life “a ransom for many.” It is nowhere suggested or implied in the Word of God that Christ made atonement for, redeemed, or ransomed the entire human race, many of which were already in hell when He died. Those for whom Christ died are described as “many,” not all, because these many are a distinct and peculiar people. They are the “many” who are ordained unto eternal life (Acts 13:48), — The “many” the Father has given to the Son (John 6:37-39), — The “many” whose sins He bore on the cross (1 Peter 2:24), — The “many” for whom His blood was shed for the remission of their sins (Matthew 26:28), — The “many” who are made righteous by His obedience (Romans 5:19), — The “many” sons He, the Captain of their salvation, brings to glory (Hebrews 2:10).
The Lord of Glory did not merely make redemption possible. He redeemed us with His blood! With His own blood, the Son of God actually obtained eternal redemption for all His people. For Your great, eternally efficacious sacrifice, O Lamb of God, I give You my heartfelt praise and thanks.