Audio Video Library
General Beliefs Site Search Time Line
E-Mail Us Web Links Home

Most of the articles on these WebPages have been written by godly men with a central belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. However as with most of us, they may have different beliefs concerning some particular doctrines. These articles have been made available for the purpose of “gleaning the good” where good can be found. I do not necessarily endorse all that is written by others, anymore than I expect others to endorse all that I write.

The Atonement

Elder S.A. Paine

     Having briefly discussed election and predestination we now come to the atonement, the office-work of the second in the Trinity. This is the work of Jesus as the Redeemer of sinners.

     We begin by asking the question: "What think ye of Christ?" - Mat 22:42. This is the question asked the Pharisees by Christ Himself. They said: "He is the son of David." Jesus then asked: "How then doth David in Spirit call Him Lord, saying, the Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? If David then call Him Lord, how is He his son?" To this "no man was able to answer Him a word." So it is today. A failure to understand and recognize the true character of Jesus is the fruitful source of so much error and misconception of His perfect work as Mediator between God and man. We often hear it stated that the Old Baptists preach with power and precision the God-side of salvation, but absolutely disregard the human side. They mean by this that Christ met all the demands of the divine side, and that it is now left to sinners to comply with the demands of the human side. If that were true it would depose Christ of His humanity. It denies that Jesus came in the flesh. Indeed, we would like to know why Jesus represented us in the flesh if it was not to meet human obligation in the scheme of redemption. They forget that Jesus was both David's son and David's Lord, both human and divine. They forget that Jesus was the son of Mary and the son of God; that "He was put to death in the flesh;" that "He bear our sins in His body on the cross."

     Let us in our investigation endeavor to view Him in His fullness, for the apostle declared: "It pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell." What a wonderful Savior! All the essential elements of salvation are blended in Him. It is said of Him: "He shall save his people from their sins;" "He is full of grace and truth;" "He came to save sinners;" "He shall not fail;" "He is a rock and His work is perfect;" "All power is given unto Him both in heaven and earth;" "He is the only Mediator between God and men."

     All of this before us, we can but look upon His work as a perfect work. Whatever He came to do, of course, must be done or else He is a failure. What then was His mission? Now we all believe He came according to prophecy; that He came for a purpose, and whatever that purpose was, of course will be, or rather was served.

     Our friends claim that He only came to prepare or open up a way whereby sinners, by the performance of certain conditions, might be redeemed. For the want of proof, I have never been able to believe that. That would, to say the most of it, be only an experiment, effort, or offer of salvation. I read nowhere that Christ or God or the Spirit ever tried to do anything.

     The angel tells us: "Thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins." He was worthy of the name "Jesus," for it means Savior, and the "shall" rings out a divine certainty which fills my heart with rapture and unshaken confidence in Him.

     It is said: "He that believeth in Him shall not make haste," i.e. they are willing to confide in Him and never be so presumptuous as to undertake to help Him. How could one, realizing the weakness and depravity of human flesh, tender such weakness as help to such an exalted One? "Vain is the help of man," and "cursed is man that trusteth in man or maketh flesh his arm."

     "What think ye of Christ?" From whence did He come? He says: "I came down from Heaven." This is He "that was in the beginning with God."

     This was the divine and eternal character and existence of Christ in Spirit. The Lord from heaven was a "quickening spirit." Still He is the "root and offspring of David;" "The seed of Abraham;" "The Son of Mary;" "Made like unto His brethren;" "Made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law."

     For what purpose does He come down from heaven, and why is He manifest in the flesh? Let Him testify. Hear Him. "I came down from heaven not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that all of which He hath given me I shall lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day." - John 6:36-37.

     Notice, He came down from heaven. He came for a purpose. That purpose was to do the "will of God." You remember we said that the work of each in the Trinity were commensurate one with the other, that there was, in that way, a oneness. Jesus says: "I and my Father are one." Again, "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work." Again, "I come to do thy will, Oh God."

     Notice, Jesus came to do the will of God. Paul says: "He came to save sinners." Then we conclude that the will of God was that He should (not try) save sinners. Now it was either God's will that He should save all sinners or a portion of them. If all, then all will be saved or else Jesus does not do the will of God. But Jesus did the will of God, and still all are not saved. Therefore God did not will the salvation of all, and for that reason Jesus did not come to save all, for He came to do the will of God.

     I use the expression "all" in the sense of the Adamic race. He did come to save "all," but it is the "all" the "Father gave Him."

     "He came to do the will of God." That will was, "that of all He had given Him He should lose nothing." Jesus says in verse 37: "All the Father giveth me shall come to me.

     If the Father gave Him all the race of Adam, then they will all come to him. But they do not all come. They, therefore, were not all given to Him. If they were not all given, then we have a special atonement proven, for He came and died for them that were given to Him.

     Remember, dear reader, that the coming depends upon the giving, "All given shall come." Remember also that the gift did not in any way depend upon conditions performed by the one given, for they were given to Christ before He came down from Heaven. - John 6:39.

     Who then were given and upon what principle were they given? ["They" meaning] All that were chosen in Christ and predestinated unto the adoption of children. Then we link the election and atonement as commensurate upon the basis that Christ died for those given Him, and of course, it would be preposterous to think of God giving a people to Christ without a previous choice of them and some purpose in view. Then as they were chosen before given, and given before Christ came down from heaven, we of course conclude they were chosen before He came down from heaven. Paul says: "Chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world." Then when Christ came into the world, He had a people, but remember they were only His by gift or covenant. From that standpoint the angel said: "He shall save His people from their sins."

     In His death, those who were His by gift became His by purchase or by redemption. Redemption implies prior ownership. They were Christ's by covenant or gift before they became involved in sin, and He comes to redeem them and give them "double for all their sins." Can we prove that He died for those given Him? See John 10:15 - "As the Father knoweth me, even so I know the Father, and I lay down my life for the sheep." Did Christ tell for whom He died? Did He die for any except the sheep? If yes, did He undertake and fail to tell for whom He died?

     Remember now that He died for the sheep, and that there is no text in the Bible that contradicts this one. Who then are the sheep? See John 10:29 - "My Father which gave them me is greater than all." Then we see that the sheep are the ones the Father gave. He died for the sheep. Therefore He died for the ones the Father gave Him. The ones the Father gave Him are the ones the Father chose in Him before the foundation of the world. Therefore it is the ones chosen, or the elect, for whom Christ died.

     All were not given Him. Therefore all were not sheep, for the sheep are those given Him (John 10:29). If all were not sheep, then He did not die for all, but for the sheep.

     But the objector often refers us to Is 53:6 - "And the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all." They emphasize the expression "us all" as though it meant all the race. If the iniquity of all the race was laid upon Him, then I ask, upon what principle could any be lost? Paul says, "He gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity." If He redeemed all the race from all iniquity, what is left to damn a single one? Absolutely nothing.

     You will notice in the above that the expression "all" is qualified by the pronoun "us," which restricts its meaning to a specific people. Those people are mentioned in verse 8, where He says: "For the transgression of my people (us all) was He stricken." This shows it was God's people (chosen ones) for whom He was stricken. In verses 11 and 12 we find: "By His knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many." "He shall bear the sin of many." Does the word "many" mean here all the race of Adam? If so, all the race will be justified.

     Is it not a fact that the expressions "us all," "my people," and "many" are all synonymous expressions, embracing the same people? If so, then all mentioned will be justified, and as "my people" and "many" cannot be all the race, it follows that a universal atonement is not taught in that chapter. "My people" as mentioned there, is the same as "all the Father giveth me" in John 6:29. Also in John 10:29 - "My Father which gaveth them me," etc.

     But we are often referred to I Tim. 2:6 - "Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." All of whom? Why, "all the Father gave Him," of course. All of His. If you make the "all" mean all the race, then I insist that all will be saved, for the text says: "To be testified in due time."

     Then all for whom He gave Himself a ransom will receive the testimony in due time. But our friends are scared to death for fear that millions will die and go to hell for the want of it. "He that believeth in Him shall not make haste."

     The Holy Spirit is the witness that testifies to all the race, for it says: "To be testified in due time." If the Spirit testifies to all the race, then the race will be saved. But the Spirit does not testify to all the race. Therefore, Christ did not give Himself a ransom for all the race. Isaiah says: "The ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs, and everlasting joy upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrowing and sighing shall flee away." - Is 35:10. The entire race will not return and come to Zion, etc. Therefore, the entire race was not ransomed by Christ. But all the Father gave Him were ransomed, and they all shall come (John 6:37).

     But we are, without exception, referred to 1 John 2:2 - "And He is the propitiation for our sins; And not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." Our friends claim this as a universal propitiation because it says, "for the sins of the whole world." But when we examine, it proves too much for them.

     To propitiate means to satisfy, or to appease one offended. Hence, propitiation is the act of satisfying or appeasing wrath and conciliating the favor of an offended person - see Webster.

     If Christ is the propitiation for the sins of all the race, then the wrath of God, who is the offended, is appeased and He is satisfied. If satisfaction has been made to God for the entire race, will not the entire race be saved? If not, why not? Propitiation for our sins does not place us where we can satisfy God and appease His wrath, but the propitiation itself is the satisfaction. Then none can be damned for whom Christ propitiated unless God damns them with satisfaction made. We know the Bible teaches that some will be damned; hence, Christ did not propitiate for all the race.

     If I argue that the "whole world" in the passage means all the race because of the expression, then the same logic would say that the same expression always means the whole race. If I can find where it does not mean the entire race, then it devolves upon our opponent to prove that it means all the race in the above mentioned scripture. If I find one place where it does not embrace all mankind, then it may not in this text. We refer you to 1 John 5:19 - "And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness." If the "whole world" here was all of the Adamic race, it follows that John and those to whom he was writing were not of the race of Adam, for he uses it as an expression of distinction between himself and others.

     Again, Jesus says: "If the world hate you, ye know it hated me before it hated you" (John 15:18). If the "whole world" means all the race, it follows that all the race hated Jesus. We know that there were always some who did not hate but loved Jesus; therefore, the whole world did not mean all the race of Adam, unless those who loved Jesus were not a part of the race.

     Again, John the Baptist said: "Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world" - John 1:29. If the whole world here means all the race, then Jesus takes away the sin of all the race, if so, all the race would be saved. We therefore conclude that the "whole world" here mentioned is not all the race, but the people given to Him and saved by Him. The expression "whole world" is a collective term and always means all under consideration; sometimes means all created things, e.g. John 1:10; sometimes put for the wicked, e.g. John 15:18, John 14:17, John 14:22, 1 John 5:19; sometimes for God's people, e.g. 2 Cor 5:19, John 3:16, John 1:29, John 4:42, John 6:63; sometimes for the Gentiles, e.g. Rom 11:12; once for the Roman Empire, Luke 2:1.

     It is more frequently the case that the expression expresses a portion than it does all the race. Then if it does not always mean all the race, it may not in 1 John 2:2. Let our friends prove that it does and I will prove universalism and go to preaching the same. It does prove that Christ was a propitiation for the sins of all embraced, and therefore proves to a certainty that all embraced will be saved.

     But one more and then we will pass this part of the subject. Someone inquires about Heb 2:9 - "We see Jesus who, by the grace of God, should taste death for every man." Now if "every man" always means "all the race," then I grant the argument that Jesus tasted death for all the race. Let them find the text that says Jesus died for all the race. Please run the references here given on the expression "every man," and if you prove that they mean all the race, I will concede an argument. Gen 7:21 - "All flesh and every man died." Were there not eight saved in the ark? If so, were they not a part of the race? Judges 7:16. 2 Sam 13:29. Mark 8:25 - "And he was restored and saw every man clearly." Did this man, when his sight was restored, see all the race of Adam? If not, did "every man" mean all the race? If not, how do you know but that it does not mean all the race as mentioned in Heb 2:9? If it does not mean it here, it may not there. Again, Mark 13:34; Mark 15:24; Luke 16:16; John 1:9; Acts 2:8. Many others could be adduced, but this is sufficient.

     Well, if in Heb. 2:9 "every man" does not mean all the race, who then does it embrace? Very well, turn with me and read. Begin at verse 11 - "For both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me."

     Now we have the "every man" in the text under the appellation of "brethren," "sanctified," "church," and "children which God gave Him." Christ "sanctified by one offering," and that in a forever perfected manner. See Heb. 10:14 - "For by one offering He hath perfected them that are sanctified." He also purchased the "church," which was the "every man" in the text. See Acts 20:28 - "Feed the church of God which He hath purchased with His own blood." He died for those that "God gave Him." See John 10:15 - "Lay down His life for the sheep." The sheep, as before shown, were those God gave Him. See John 10:29.

     So we have shown from the text that "every man" does not mean all the race, as it was the "sanctified," "church" and those "God gave him." As the sanctified, the church, and those given were not all the race, so also, the "every man" was not all the race, for they are used interchangeably.

     Christ's death was for a purpose and that purpose was certainly accomplished when He died. He died to reconcile sinners to God. Did He do that? See Rom. 5:10 - "If when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life." Notice, enemies were reconciled to God by Jesus' death. But all the race was not reconciled; for if they were then the text says: "they shall be saved by His life." He died for all the Father gave Him (John 10:15-29). All He died for were reconciled (Rom 5:10). All He reconciled shall be saved (Rom 5:10). It therefore follows that all the Father gave Him shall be saved. But all the race will not be saved. It therefore follows that all the race was not given to Christ. "Christ put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself" - Heb 9:26. Christ either put away the sins of all the race or a part of the race. None could be lost with their sins put away; but some will be lost, which proves that their sins were not put away.

     His sacrifice did put away sin. Therefore, all for whom the sacrifice was made will be saved, unless they are damned with their sins put away. We therefore conclude that the sacrifice was not made for all the race.

     The sins of all for whom Christ died were borne in His body on the cross. 1 Pet 2:24 - "Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we should live unto righteousness; By whose stripes we are healed." What did Christ accomplish in bearing our sins? "Reconciled us to God" - Rom 5:10. "Redeemed us from all iniquity" - Tit 2:14. "Obtained eternal redemption for us" - Heb 9:12. "Purged our sins" - Heb 1:3. "Put away our sins" - Heb 9:26. "Redeemed us to God" - Rev 5:9. This is what Jesus did for those for whom He died.

     Then if one for whom He died goes to eternal perdition, he must go "redeemed from all iniquity" with his sins "purged" and "put away," "reconciled" and "redeemed to God." Such a thought is preposterous.

     Jesus "loved the church," "gave Himself for it," and "purchased it with His own blood." - Eph 5:25; Acts 20:28,9. When He comes again, having "given Himself for it," He will present it to Himself, a glorious church not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but holy and without blemish (Eph 5:25).

     What a glorious rapture and praise that morning will bring, when Jesus shall descend from heaven and the holy angels with Him, and at His life-giving word see all His redeemed and purchased possession rise triumphant from the graves to meet the Lord in the air.

     By an eye of faith I can see them now, coming from the east, west, north, and south, all centering around the great magnet that will draw all men unto Him. Their bodies are in the heathen lands, in the sea, and in all dark places of the earth, but they will all come forth alike then.

     The bodies, now resting in the marble vaults, decorated with flowers and evergreens, will then have no advantage over those in the sea, or the rude soldier pit, or those whose graves are lost and forgotten.

     We will all then be equal heirs to that eternal inheritance. Our tongues equally tuned to chant His everlasting praise. The grandeur is, that all for whom Jesus suffered will be there.

     Oh, blessed Lamb of God, can it be that thou didst suffer for me? May I claim one sweet promise that I shall share the glory of that happy world? If so, then let my poor servant depart and be at rest. Oh, that I may have strength to proclaim thy riches while I live, and share the same in glory.