Let’s talk about limited atonement.

When I first became a Christian everything was beautiful and simple: Christ died for me, a sinner. He was the sacrifice that took my place and because of what He did on the cross, and my faith in Him, I am now saved.

I now walk obedient to Him, albeit a bit haphazardly because I’m not perfect. But He loves and guides me regardless.

But if you’re like me, you like to read. And sometimes the art of reading brings everything to a mad halt.

I learned about the Calvinist doctrine of limited atonement.

“What is limited atonement?” is a question I had not too long ago. Here’s an answer according to The Gospel Coalition:

The doctrine of limited atonement—the L in TULIP—teaches that Christ effectively redeems from every people “only those who were chosen from eternity to salvation” (Canons of Dort, II.8). As Ursinus explains in his commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism, Christ’s death was for everyone “as it respects the sufficiency of satisfaction which he made, but not as it respects the application thereof.” In other words, the death of Christ was sufficient to atone for the sins of the whole world, but it was God’s will that it should effectively redeem those and only those who were chosen from eternity and given to Christ by the Father.

The Gospel Coalition

Essentially, God chose before the beginning of time those who would become the Elect, which rivals the Ariminian view that believes, “God is sovereign, but has limited control in relation to man’s freedom and their response to it.”

My purpose in this post is to not tell you whether limited atonement is true or not. Honestly, I have no idea. I’ve combed the Scriptures and I see good evidence for Him choosing us beforehand and also good evidence that man’s faith is the essential key to salvation.

Perhaps it’s a “both/and” sort of situation. It wouldn’t surprise me that God has contrived a system that humans can’t wrap their heads around. In fact, my husband reminded me of something:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:8-9

Oh, right.

Now that I’ve spent several weeks digesting the concept of limited atonement (which essentially consisted of me staring at the wall, moaning at the state of my incompetence, feeling like I was chained to a sinking ship, taking a break to eat some kettlecorn, etc.), I’ve finally realized something: it doesn’t matter.

Meaning: this small human brain of mine doesn’t have to have all the answers.

I think this is what God wanted me to understand from the beginning of this little journey. I am not Him. I am not the potter, I am the clay. However he chooses to work out the sin of the world isn’t my business. I know He loves His creation deeply, and I know that ultimately, His creation doesn’t love Him back as we should.

We are all so flawed, and the beauty of what was done on the cross covers our multitude of sins.

And in reality, everything is still simple: Jesus loves us. He died for His sheep. If there’s that stirring in your breast, that understanding that God calls every one of us, and you, too, choose to walk alongside Him then you, too, understand it as I do:

Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.

And really, that’s all we really need to know about that.

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