Friday, January 25, 2008

Universal Atonement - Distinguished

There is a sense in which the benefits of Christ's death spill over to the reprobate. We refer to these benefits as the incidental benefits of Christ's death. One such benefit is the stay of punishment against the wicked, which the wicked use to their own condemnation to pile up more guilt. Nevertheless, it is forbearance, and is the result of God's mercy. The main reason for this forbearance is God's desire to save the elect.

Recall the parable of the wheat and tares.

Matthew 13:24-30
24Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: 25But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. 26But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 27So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? 28He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? 29But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 30Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

Matthew 13:36-43
36Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. 37He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; 38The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; 39The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. 40As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. 41The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; 42And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

It is about these incidental benefits that Spurgeon speaks in his discussion that has been posted by the Pyromaniacs here (link).

This is the Calvinist position, whether or not Spurgeon has it explained it in the most precise way or with appropriate and correct exegesis of each verse in question.

This is not the same as saying, for example, that Christ's blood was shed for the remission of the sins of the reprobate. It was not so shed. Christ did not redeem the reprobate, and in dying he did not intend to save them.

Thus, Spurgeon is no Amyraldian, no matter how much certain fellows (e.g.) may wish to claim him as their own.


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