A DEFINATE AND COMPLETE ATONEMENT
Francis Turrettin (1623-1687)
1. We argue that the atonement was definite, from the fact that Christ was destined to die for none but those who were given him by the Father. All men universally were not given to Christ but a limited number only. Since, in the council of the Father which regulated Christ’s
death and defined its object, there was a designation, not only of Christ as Mediator, but also of those for whose redemption and salvation He was to suffer; it is plain that He could die for those only who were in this sense given Him. Here we may remark a twofold donation. One of Christ to men, another of men to Christ. Christ was given to men for the purpose of saving them and men to Christ that through Him they might be saved. The former is referred to in Isa. 9.6 and 49.6, as well as in all those places in which He is said to be given and sent to us; the latter is alluded to in the places where mention is made of those given to Christ as in John 17.2, 6, 12, and 6.37. Seeing this twofold giving is reciprocal each of them must be of the same extent; so that Christ is given for none but those who are given to Him, and all those are given to Christ for whom He is given. Now, it is abundantly plain that some men only, and not all men, were given to Christ. This is asserted in many texts of Scripture, where those who are given to Him are distinguished from other men. ‘Thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he might give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. I have manifested the name unto the men whom thou hast given me out of the world; thine they were, and thou gavest them me’, John 17.2,6. The Scripture designates those whom the Father gave Him by such phrases as these the people whom He foreknew, Rom. 11.2; heirs and children of promise, Rom. 9.8; the seed of Abraham, not carnal, but spiritual, both of the Jews and Gentiles, Rom. 4.13, Gal. 3.18, Heb. 2.16; His people His body, the Church, Matt. 1.21, Eph. 5.23; vessels of mercy prepared to glory, Rom. 9.24; chosen in Christ, predestinated to the adoption of sons and to conformity to His image, Rom. 8.30, Eph. 1.4, 5; and the posterity of the second Adam, all of whom are to be quickened in Christ,
in opposition to the posterity of the first Adam, in whom all die, 1 Cor. 15.22, 23. From all which it appears, that Christ was not given for all of all nations, but for a limited number only.
To no purpose will our opponents reply, that ‘the giving of Christ was conditional, not absolute; that the condition was that all who would by faith receive the offered salvation, should be made partakers of it; and since this was not to be the case with all, it is not surprising that they derive no advantage from it.’ This is a begging of the question; it is without foundation in Scripture, which nowhere mentions such a conditional giving of Christ.
Though faith is proposed as a means and condition necessary to the reception of Christ, and the enjoyment of the blessings offered in the Gospel, yet it does not follow that it was a condition to the giving of Christ, since faith itself is a gift of grace and one of the fruits of Christ’s being delivered up for sinners. Further, if the giving of Christ rested upon any condition, the condition must depend either upon God or upon man. The latter of these can be affirmed by none but a Pelagian; if the former be affirmed, then it comes to this, that Christ is said to be given to us as a Saviour by God on these terms, that He will bestow Him on us on condition of His working faith in us; which faith, however, He will not give, though He alone is able to give it. How glaring an absurdity!
Our view is further confirmed by the connection of that twofold relation to us, which Christ sustains: the relation of a surety, and that of a Head. He is our surety, that He may acquire salvation for us, by rendering to justice that satisfaction which it demands. He is our Head, in order to apply this salvation to us, by working in us faith and repentance, through the effectual operation of his Holy Spirit upon our hearts. Hence, as He is not given as a Head to all men, but to His members only, or, which is the same thing, to the elect, who are actually to partake of salvation, He cannot be the surety or sponsor of any other than these. Of whomsoever He is the surety, He is also the head. The one cannot be extended farther than the other. This also appears from the connection between the death and resurrection of Christ, in which there is the same twofold relation. Since He died as surety, He must rise as Head, as the reasons for His death and resurrection are the same; nor can any reason be given, why the ground of the one should be more extensive than that of the other. Hence it is, that the Apostle Paul speaks of these as being equal in efficacy and extent: ‘Christ died for our sins, and rose again for our justification’, Rom. 4.25. ‘That he died for all, that they which live, should not live unto themselves, but unto him who died for them, and rose again’, 2 Cor. 4.15. Hence it cannot be said that He died for any others than those for whom He rose, because no one will be a partaker of the fruits of Christ’s death, unless by His resurrection. But that He did not rise as a Head to confer salvation upon all, is self-evident.
2. The same doctrine is established by the connection between the atonement and the intercession of Christ. As they are both parts of His priestly office, they must be of the same extent; so that for all for whom He made satisfaction, He should also intercede, and not make atonement for those who will never have a place in His intercession. The object of His propitiation and of His appearance in the presence of God must be one, since the Apostles Paul and John represent their connection as indissoluble, 1 John 2.1,2, Rom. 8.34.
That He does not intercede for all, but only for those who are given Him by the Father, Christ Himself expressly declares: ‘I pray not for the world, but for those whom thou hast given me out of the world’, John 17.9. When it is so much more easy to pray for any one than to lay down life for them, will any one say that Christ would die for those for whom He would not pray? Will they say that at the very moment before His death He would refuse His
prayers on behalf of those for whom He is just about to shed His blood’
The objection which the Remonstrants or Arminians offer is
frivolous: ‘that there is a twofold intercession of Christ: one universal which is made for the whole world, of which intercession Isaiah speaks 53.12, and agreeably to which He is said to have prayed for His murderers, Luke 23.34; another particular, which is made for believer;
only, which is spoken of, John 9 and Rom. 8.’ The objection rests not on any foundation, either in Scripture or reason. As Christ is always heard and answered by the Father, John 11.42, if He prays for all, all will be saved. The doctrine of universal intercession is not taught by the Prophet Isaiah, where he says, ‘he made intercession for the transgressors,’ Isa. 12; for it is not said that He made intercession for all but for many whose character is delineated by the prophet, in a preceding verse, as those who shall be justified by Christ. It is not said Luke 23.4, that He prayed for all those who crucified Him, but for those who knew not what they did; and we are assured that these obtained pardon, no doubt the fruit of the prayer which Christ offered up on the cross to the Father, Acts 2.3. Nor if Christ, through the impulse of humane affections of love, prayed for those who perished, is it to be considered that the intercessory prayers, which He offered as Mediator and in the discharge of His special office, are to be extended to others than the elect given Him by the Father. To the elect Christ Himself restricts His intercessory prayers.
3. The inseparable connection between the gift of Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit bears the most conclusive testimony to the definite atonement. As these two gifts, the most excellent which God has bestowed on us, are always in Scripture joined together as cause and effect, John 16.7, Gal. 4.4, 6, Rom. 8.9, 1 John 3.24, they must be of equal extent and go together; so that the Son is not given to acquire salvation for any others than those to whom the Spirit was given to apply the salvation procured. No reason can be assigned why the gift of
the Son should be more extensive than the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is plain that the Holy Spirit is given to none but the elect. Hence, if there be any harmony between the work of the Son and that of the Holy Spirit, in the economy of salvation, Christ was given to die for the elect, and for them only. Pertinent to this purpose is the argument of the Apostle Paul, in which, from the giving of Christ, he infers the communication of every blessing.
‘He that spared not his own Son, but freely delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?’ Rom. 8.32. The apostle reasons from the greater to the less. Surely He who gave His Son, which incontrovertibly was the greater gift, will not refuse to give us faith and all other saving blessings, which are the less; and this the rather, because Christ, by delivering Himself up, has merited for us, together with salvation, all those gifts. Whence the conclusion is inevitable: either all those blessings shall be given to the reprobate, if Christ died for them; or if they are not given them, which is granted by all, then Christ did not die for them, i.e.. He did not die for all.
This is not answered by alleging that the apostle speaks of Christ’s being given in a special manner to the believers. For, as was said above, the supposition of a universal giving is gratuitous, and nowhere countenanced in Scripture; and since faith is a fruit of Christ’s death, it cannot be a condition antecedent to His death. Further, since, according to the order which is laid down by our learned opponents themselves, the decree concerning Christ’s death was antecedent to the decree relative to bestowing faith; it is inconceivable how at one and the same time, and in the self-same simple act, Christ could be delivered up for all, and for some only.
4. Another argument is, the superlative love of Christ towards those for whom He died. He loved them with the most ardent affection. Greater love has no one, than that one should lay down his life for his friend, John 15.13. In the same exalted strain does the Apostle Paul extol the love of Christ: – he speaks of it as truly wonderful and unheard of among men.
‘Scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would dare even to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us’, Rom. 5.7, 8. But this cannot be said of all men, and every man.
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