Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Real Turretin on: Marks of a True Church

Charles J. Paul, at Truth Matters, Inc., has kindly provided a lengthy transcription on the real Turretin's thoughts on the Marks of a True Church (link).

Friday Menu: Rotini with Meat Sauce

I recall some years ago visiting a hotel, and encountering a young man wearing a yarmulke. We met in the lobby of the hotel. After we got on the elevator, he asked me for a favor. He asked me if I would unlock the door of his hotel room for him. You see, the hotel has electronic locks, and operating the hotel's lock was, in the view of this Jewish man, a violation of the Sabbath.

Oddly, he had not the least compunction in asking me to violate the Sabbath for him. I disagreed with the man's theonomy, and so I agreed to assist. I pressed the elevator button for him, and I unlocked his door for him. I thought it would be pointless to dispute the matter with him.

Later I investigated whether this was normal or not. After all, normally if something is wrong, it is wrong to ask someone else to do that wrong thing for you. One cannot ask a stranger on a train to murder one's father, nor (thought I) could one ask a stranger in a hotel lobby to violate the Sabbath. It turns out that the standard Jewish response to the latter question is to distinguish.

Apparently, the standard Jewish answer is that the Sabbath is only for the Jews, not for the Gentiles. Thus, it's perfectly ok for me (who the young man assumed to be a Gentile) to break the Sabbath, but not ok for me to kill (since prohibitions on murder are more universal).

Why do I bring this up now? The reason I bring it up is because I had a tasty dinner of Rotini with Meat Sauce on a Friday during Lent. I'm interested in Catholic opinion on the matter. Do Catholics think that Lent applies to Christians that are not Catholics? What about to formal/material heretics? In other words, is Lent to Catholics as the Sabbath is to Jews?

On the other side of the spectrum, I am aware that Ramadan in some Muslim countries is enforced by the police. It is not a defense to a charge of breaking Ramadan in any public place that you are not a Muslim.

Furthermore, such a view is not entirely outside Catholicism. Recall that the Fourth Lateran Council decreed:

68. Jews appearing in public
A difference of dress distinguishes Jews or Saracens from Christians in some provinces, but in others a certain confusion has developed so that they are indistinguishable. Whence it sometimes happens that by mistake Christians join with Jewish or Saracen women, and Jews or Saracens with christian women. In order that the offence of such a damnable mixing may not spread further, under the excuse of a mistake of this kind, we decree that such persons of either sex, in every christian province and at all times, are to be distinguished in public from other people by the character of their dress -- seeing moreover that this was enjoined upon them by Moses himself, as we read. They shall not appear in public at all on the days of lamentation and on passion Sunday; because some of them on such days, as we have heard, do not blush to parade in very ornate dress and are not afraid to mock Christians who are presenting a memorial of the most sacred passion and are displaying signs of grief. What we most strictly forbid however, is that they dare in any way to break out in derision of the Redeemer. We order secular princes to restrain with condign punishment those who do so presume, lest they dare to blaspheme in any way him who was crucified for us, since we ought not to ignore insults against him who blotted out our wrongdoings.

So then, the simple question is: is my consumption of Rotini with meat sauce on Friday during Lent a mortal sin for me, or only for my Catholic neighbors? Is Lent more like Ramadan or the Jewish Sabbath? And if the latter, would you please pass the meatballs?


UPDATE: I realize that Orthodox views on Lenten fasting are somewhat diferent. I'd be interested in Orthodox thoughts on whether it is sin for Reformed Christians to violate the various prohibitions on eating, drinking, and sex during that period.

Further Update: Thanks to Reginald for his well-reasoned response from a Catholic perspective here (link). If I may summarize his answer: in his view it is more like the Jewish Sabbath, in that it is permitted for non-Catholics to ignore the fast, because the moral basis of obligation is dependent on the duty of Catholics to obey their church.

Monergism vs. Synergism Debate

As a followup to the post below, I should point out that my Monergism vs. Synergism debate with Matt Shapman from BeyondFundamentalism has been put on indefinite hold (due to his lack of availability for the debate). If someone would like to take his place, please let me know.

Monergism vs. Synergism Discussion

In the video below, Dr. James White discusses monergist salvation with a synergist.

I mostly agree with Dr. White's answers. However, as to the answer regarding the burning house, I'd have something else to say.

The analogy about the burning house is inaccurate, because the synergist does not assert that total passivity is the way that man is rescued from sin. Instead, the synergist asserts that man cooperates with God in order to be saved.

In other words, the situation is more like people hearing the voice of the fire marshall sounding through the smoky haze and some carefully follow his instructions and escape, and others ignore his instructions and perish.

Still, one might ask, do those who escape have any ground for boasting?

The intuitive answer is "no," but it is important to understand why that is.

Imagine there is no fire marshall at all. Some manage to escape the fire by strenuously exerting themselves to escape the blaze, and others die because they make bad attempts.

No, again, one might, do those who escape have any ground for boasting?

I still think the intuitive answer is "no," even though in this instance their salvation from the fire is entirely their own work. We wouldn't think people who bragged about how they escaped when others perished to be very nice people.

So, perhaps that's not quite what we mean by boasting. In other words, maybe what we mean by boasting is having any part in the credit for our salvation. In the last case, the escapees clearly can take credit. They used their wits or their muscles, or just their bravery to escape the fire.

But when we then reflect that back to the middle analogy where people cooperate with the fire marshall, we see that again those who are saved are those who are more obedient, more attentive, or have the good judgment to listen when others try to find their own way out. While they cannot take all the credit for their escape, it is a difference between them and the others that is the critical reason why they are saved and the others are not.

Even so in synergistic salvation. In synergistic salvation, man gets some of the credit, because man does some of the work. This detracts from the glory of God and contradicts Scripture. The former reason is enough to make the doctrine suspect, but the latter is the reason we reject synergism.

Scripture says:

Romans 3:24-28
24Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. 27Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 28Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

Praise be to the God who Justifies!


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Superstition or Sacramental?

American Papist reports (link), you decide.

My own two cents: this is plainly superstition. The Giants' victory had nothing to do with a scrap of metal in someone's pocket. I doubt the American Papist would be willing to debate the topic of: "Resolved: that blessed medals are effective for winning football games."

Nevertheless, we have amazing anecdotal evidence to support that resolution. The Giants were thought by the masses (hoi polloi) to be the underdogs, and yet they won. One could point out that the other team's star player had been nursing an ankle injury in the week prior to the game, but that would just show lack of faith in the church. So don't. Instead, believe that rubbing the medals and praying to whoever is depicted on them won the biggest sports game of the year.

I wonder if they work for Hockey too?


Charitable Prayers Unwelcome

According to a Reuters article, thoughtfully brought to my attention by the American Papist (link), some Jews are suprised and offended by prayers by Roman Catholics for the "conversion of the Jews."

I'm quite sure that these prayers are meant by many Roman Catholics in a positive way. That is to say, they really sincerely believe that conversion is something that would be benenficial for the Jews. They would not consider themselves "anti-Semites" for making such a prayer, and they shouldn't consider themselves as such.

We too, as Reformed Christians, prayer for the conversion of the Jews, and the conversion of Mormons, Muslims, Ebionites, Gnostics, and Satanists. We pray for them not because of some antipathy or hostility to them, but because we desire their salvation.

We Reformed Christians also pray for the salvation of those within the chuch that are not saved: those who profess Christ's name with their tongue, while their heart is far from him. One group that particularly concerns us is the Roman Catholic Church, because her official teachings point people away from the pure gospel message:

Repent of your sins and trust in Christ alone for salvation.

Of course, expressing those sorts of concerns could cause the same reaction in Roman Catholics that their prayer caused to the Jews in the article. It could cause that reaction if we were not clear that there is a fundamental difference between the gospel we preach and the gospel they preach.

Some Roman Catholics will still call us names like "anti-Catholic" (see this example). Nevertheless, such characterizations show that they missed the point of the dialog as much as the Jews missed the point of the Catholic-Jewish dialog.

May God bring to faith and repentance all those who have not repented and trusted in Christ alone, whether they be hypocrites in our midst, Roman Catholics, Jews, Mormons, Muslims, Ebionites, Gnostics, Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, or Satanists.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Problems Unlikely to Beset the Reformed Churches

How to react when God sends his lightening bolts against your graven images? Rio's answer seems to be repair it: (link).

Let's hope that they get the message more quickly than the Philistines did!

1 Samuel 5
1And the Philistines took the ark of God, and brought it from Ebenezer unto Ashdod. 2When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon. 3And when they of Ashdod arose early on the morrow, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the earth before the ark of the LORD. And they took Dagon, and set him in his place again.
4And when they arose early on the morrow morning, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground before the ark of the LORD; and the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off upon the threshold; only the stump of Dagon was left to him. 5Therefore neither the priests of Dagon, nor any that come into Dagon's house, tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod unto this day. 6But the hand of the LORD was heavy upon them of Ashdod, and he destroyed them, and smote them with emerods, even Ashdod and the coasts thereof. 7And when the men of Ashdod saw that it was so, they said, The ark of the God of Israel shall not abide with us: for his hand is sore upon us, and upon Dagon our god.
8They sent therefore and gathered all the lords of the Philistines unto them, and said, What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel? And they answered, Let the ark of the God of Israel be carried about unto Gath. And they carried the ark of the God of Israel about thither. 9And it was so, that, after they had carried it about, the hand of the LORD was against the city with a very great destruction: and he smote the men of the city, both small and great, and they had emerods in their secret parts.
10Therefore they sent the ark of God to Ekron. And it came to pass, as the ark of God came to Ekron, that the Ekronites cried out, saying, They have brought about the ark of the God of Israel to us, to slay us and our people.
11So they sent and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and said, Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it go again to his own place, that it slay us not, and our people: for there was a deadly destruction throughout all the city; the hand of God was very heavy there. 12And the men that died not were smitten with the emerods: and the cry of the city went up to heaven.

Praise be to the God who is not worshipped with the works of men's hands, as though He needed anything,


Canine Heroism

This news story (link) is both sad and happy. Dogs rescued their owners from death by fire, but lost their own lives in the process. Read the story. It may make you cry, particularly if you are fond of dogs.

The final sentence of the article really struck me:

"Everything I lost is nothing compared to them," she said.

The analogy between the situation and our salvation is amazingly complete. We are saved from death by fire through the death of Christ, and that should endear him to us greatly. Furthermore, in the process, we will lose everything that we have. All our earthly possessions will be destroyed by fire. But our sentiment should be the same as that woman's namely, that we everything we lose we should count as nothing compared to Christ.

And one can imagine the faithful dogs saying the same thing: they did not count their own lives worth saving, but considered that as nothing compared to saving those whom they loved. Now perhaps that is not the case, here. Perhaps here the dogs incidentally sacrificed themselves, or were simply trapped and coincidentally saved their owners. Furthemore, the dogs could have no assurance of success.

Not so with Christ. Christ considered the loss of his life for the salvation of the elect to be "joy." Christ is God, so he knew he could no fail to accomplish what the Father sent him to do. Christ endured not only the loss of his life, but the wrath of God in our stead. He finished the work of salvation.

Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

How much greater our Savior than the canine saviors in the news article! How much more greatly should we love Him who died for us!

Praise be to glorious name!


Monday, February 11, 2008

Augustine vs. Modern Catholicism

Augustine, as demonstrated in the video below had a view of the Real presence that was more similar to the Reformed (or Orthodox) view, than to the Lutheran or Roman Catholic view. Skip to 5 minutes, 30 seconds, for the relevant material. The first five and half minutes are interesting, but mostly relevant to the attacks on Dr. White posted on Youtube by GNRHead (William Albrecht).

You see, Augustine explained that it was foolishness to suppose that Christ was to be carnally consumed.

Thanks be to our Risen and Ascended Lord Jesus!


Doctrinal Innovation on the Horizon

As reported here (link - link to the source), and previously predicted by Dr. James White, five cardinals have begun the process necsesary to persuade Benedict XVI to dogmatize certain Marian dogmas that are (in some cases) clearly contrary to Scripture and (in those and in other cases) without exegetical Scriptural warrant.

The blasphemous proposed wording is as follows:

Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of man, gave to humanity from the Cross his mother Mary to be the spiritual Mother of all peoples, the Co-redemptrix, who under and with her Son cooperated in the Redemption of all people; the Mediatrix of all graces, who as Mother brings us the gifts of eternal life; and the Advocate, who presents our prayers to her Son.

I hope that God will have mercy on the Roman Catholic Church and preserve them from this blasphemous further descent into Mariolatry. I don't have great confidence that He will do so, and if He does not, it will be a judgment against what remains formally and in name a church of Christ, but which has long ceased to preach with purity the gospel of Christ.


News from the Front

Praise be to the Lord for this encouraging word about the continued success of the allied forces against Al-Qaeda in Iraq (link).

A house divided against itself cannot stand.


Backwoods Presbyterian on Instruments in Worship

The Backwoods Presbyterian has some interesting insights on the historical Christian view of the role (or not) of instruments in worship. He begins by making the important distinction between stated and occasional worship services, relying in part on the real Turretin. (source)


The Real Turretin on: The Atonement

Daniel's Place provides a few quotations from the real Turretin on the Atonement (link), as well as some good cautionary comments to modern neo-Amyraldians, quasi-Amyraldians, and those toying with Amyraldianism. Turretin's work on the atonement can be found in volume 4 of his works.

The Real Turretin on: The Will of God in Salvation

Ismael Hilerio has provided a some reading from the real Turretin on the Will of God in Salvation. (link) This title may whet your theological appetite: "God acts seriously in the calling of reprobates, although he does not intend their salvation"


Defining the word Covenant

The Reformed Reader presents some historic definitions of the word "covenant" by various authors, including the real Turretin (link). It's really only a very short snippet of Turretin, but it is worth checking out to see many facets of the Christian jewel, "Covenant."

Judged According to Works?

Dave Armstrong has a new post (at least it seems to be new, perhaps it is just an old post he has redated) of Scriptural pretexting (I'd say prooftexting, but Dave is not an advocate of Sola Scriptura) for the idea that "Final Judgment" will be on the basis of works and not faith.

In some ways it is an interesting post. You see, he analyzes thirty (count 'em) passages to arrive at the conclusion that Scripture "always" associate works and Final Judgment, never faith and final judgment.

It would be a sufficient rebuttal simply to quote:

Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

But we should go further, because Dave has asked a slightly different question than the justification question. In the process, though, he has stumbled about a bit, striking out a doctrines that are not representative of the Christian position that he openly opposes (calling it names, like "anti-Catholicism," on many of his web pages). Here Dave is picking on a professing Christian, Matt Slick, whose views about salvation are succinctly put here (link). He has not addressed Matt's views, nor the views of Christians generally.

You see, it seems that Dave has misunderstood the Christian position. The Christian position is that Christ is our substitute. Thus, we too will be judged on the last day according to works. But it will not be according to our own works, but according to His works. We will be clothed with Christ's righteousness (Romans 3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:). Thus, we will be counted as righteousness because of Christ's righteousness.

Thus, when Dave sets out to prove that we will not be judged according to our faith, he's partly right. That's not the basis of judgment. The basis of judgment is righteousness. Anyone who lacks the substitutionary atonement of Christ will perish for their sins, however small they are, for the wages of sin is death, but eternal life is a gift. It is not earned, but given.

Those who seek justification by works, need to be very afraid, because their works will not be enough. It would be nice to comfort such people, telling them that if they call Jesus, Lord, they are ok. It would be nice, if it were true.

Sadly, it is not. Jesus said:

Matthew 7:21-23
21Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Christ is the escape. If you will be saved, repent of your sins and trust in Him alone for salvation. Your works will only condemn you, but Christ has offered a perfect sacrifice for sins!

Hebrews 10:12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

Yes, the final judgment will be on the basis of works, not on the basis of "Faith alone." Men will be judged according to their works, and it would be a defense to judgment to truthfully say that one is righteous. But you have to be more perfectly righteous than Paul the Apostle to merit salvation:

Matthew 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Furthermore, when it comes to the end of the day, if your testimony before God is, "I have no sin," you are liar.

1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

Therefore, your only hope is to have a righteous man stand in your place. There is only one person who can do that, for there is only one perfect man, the God-man Jesus Christ. If you appropriate his righteousness by faith in Him alone, you will be saved.


Sam Duncan's Comment

It seems Sam Duncan has created no small stir by pointing out the obvious fact that the PCA's SJC has already been considering the facts of the case of Wilkins' promotion of, and the LAP's failure to prosecute Wilkins for, Federal Visionism.

Apparently he made the mistake of using the phrase that no one in the LAP could expect to have a "fair trial" before the SJC. The Federal Vision advocates leaped on this:

Example 1
Example 2

Even Doug Wilson, who seems to have known better, partly jumps on it.

GreenBaggins sets the record straight.


UPDATE: Reformed Musings provides some context (link).

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Followup to the Holy Water Debate

Gene Bridges has provided a rebuttal (link) to the response (which I addressed at item 2 here) to his previous comments hosted on his own blog. I don't know whether PhatCatholic will continue that dialog. Obviously, the official portion of the Holy Water Debate is complete, but that doesn't mean that we have to stop discussing the matter.


Beware of Wikipedia

This first article (link) and this second article (link) about the first article, which were brought to my attention by Jim West, note that Wikipedia - while useful - should not be considered definitive. On certain matters, for example, one can expect to see the editors of Wikipedia conflicted against presenting the truth. In other instances, the force of the mob (hoi polloi) can have similar detrimental effects. One would not turn, for example, to Wikipedia for theological truth.

There is one infallible source of theological truth: the Word of God contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.

Thanks be to God for Providing such truth to us!


Predestination Briefly Explained

There's an interesting explanation of the word Predestination over at Puritanism Today (link). It's the seventh part of a series there. See the intro. The other Bible words discussed in the series include Redemption, Justification, Faith, Repentance, Sanctification, and Salvation.

Reasons to Read Good Christian Books

Reading Christian blogs is good, but reading good Christian books is better. The Unashamed Workman explains why (link).

God Forces His Will?

One of my readers recently commented to the effect that (paraphrased), "Some people reject the gospel preached and others accept the gospel preached. This is how they are elected or not elected. Election is not some random forcing of God's will on people. Only murderers and rapists force their wills upon others."

I answer:

This reader seems to have confused several issues.

1. Election is Unconditional

Election is not based on our good or bad actions, such as accepting/rejecting the gospel. Election is based on God's foreknowledge, his precreative love of certain people, and his desire to provide them with good things in the life to come. The doctrine of election, therefore, works humility, because we recognize that we have been chosen without regard to merit, but solely on the basis of God's love.

2. Regeneration is Logically Consequent to Election

In other words, in a sense, we are regenerated because we were elected. God regenerates the elect, not others. It is those who God intends to save in whom he begins the work of salvation. It is the grace of regeneration that is irresistible. It is saving grace being irresistible that would seem to be the basis for this reader's misplaced objection.

3. Irresistible Grace is not God "Forcing" Anything

In regeneration, God changes a man's heart. There is no direct human analog. It is like the action of God in curing blindness, deafness, lameness, and leprosy, and in raising the dead. God opens our spiritual eyes and ears so that we become aware of our state of sin and misery. He makes us realize the truth of the gospel of Repentance and Faith in Christ alone. Consequently we repent and believe and God justifies us on the basis of Christ's righteousness.

There is no "forcing" in that. There certainly is a coercive aspect to the gospel message. If you do not turn to Christ, you will burn in hell. Nevertheless, the preached word is for the audient's good. If a man repents and believes on Christ alone for salvation, he will be saved. God will show mercy to that man: He has promised to do so, and God cannot lie.

But God does not "force" people to believe. He opens their eyes to the truth. The blasphemous comparison of God to a rapist or murderer is wrong on many levels. If one wishes to make such comparisons it is better to liken God to a man who grabs a child from the train tracks. God does exercise his power, but he does so for our benefit, not our harm.

Praise be to our Mighty King!


Be A Man!

Not just a "human" or a "person" but a "man." Obviously, this post is not for the ladies and girls who may stop by: you should not be men.

1. Rejoice in what you have been given.

If God made you a man, rejoice! It is a great blessing to be a man. Men are blessed with greater physical and emotional strength and greater intellect. Men are better thinkers and protectors and men make better governors. You may be equal in the eyes of the law, but in many real and important ways, you are not equal.

2. Be aware of your weaknesses.

If God made you a man, beware! There is great temptation in being a man. Men are more prone to violence, to sexual sin, and to abuse of substances than women. The testosterone that makes men strong can also tempt men to be inappropriately violent and unnecessarily aggressive. The wisdom God gives man can make men vain. Men's nature seems more prone to turning to alcohol and other things God has provided to be used moderately and to abuse such things. Men also can have great weakness when it comes to overactive sexual desire.

3. Take appropriate steps to control your weaknesses.

If you find that you are prone to abuse substances, find a man or men who you know are stronger in this regard, and enlist their aid and support. Friends support one another. If you find that you are violent exercise self-discipline. Remember that sometimes it takes more strength to control yourself than to control those around you. If you burn with sexual desire, marry. If you are vain, keep a catalog of your mistakes to remind yourself.

4. Take appropriate measures to enhance your strengths.

Exercise. Study. Protect the weak. Defend the truth. Find godly examples of men to emulate. Hopefully such men are your elders, but whether or not God has blessed you with such elders, you can look to the men of Scripture.

5. Use your strengths to God's glory

If God has called you to dig ditches, do so with your might and to the glory of God. If God has called you to be a judge, administer justice appropriately, not taking bribes. If God has called you to be a soldier follow your vocation and profession honestly and with attention to God's law. If God has called you to the ministry, minister eagerly to the flock of Christ. If God has called you to be the head of a wife, love your wife as Christ loves the church. If God blesses you with a family by that wife, be a loving father raising your children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

May God give Christian men grace and courage to act like men,


What Zanchius and I believe about the Atonement

In Confession of the Christian Religion, Chapter XI, Zanchius writes:

For we acknowledge one only Redeemer, Jesus Christ, without whom, as there is no true God, so no true salvation. And one only sacrifice, the oblation or offering whereof being once made, not only all the sins of the elect were once washed away in the person of Christ, but also being yet continually washed away even unto the end of the world, are remitted to them that believe.


Likewise, in The Doctrine of Absolute Predestination Stated and Asserted, Chapter "Observations on the Divine Attributes," Position 9:

As God doth not will that each individual of mankind should be saved; so neither did he will that Christ should properly and immediately die for each individual of mankind; whence it follows, that though the blood of Christ, from its own intrinsic dignity, was sufficient for the redemption of all men, yet, in consequence of his Father's appointment, he shed it intentionally, and therefore effectually and immediately, for the elect only.
This is self-evident. God, as we have before proved, wills not the salvation of every man: but he gave his Son to die for them whose salvation he willed; therefore his Son did not die for every man. All those, for whom Christ died, are saved; and the divine justice indispensably requires that to them the benefits of his death should be imparted; but only the elect are saved; they only partake of those benefits; consequently, for them only he died and intercedes. The apostle, Rom. viii. asks, "Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? it is God that justifies," i.e. his elect, exclusively of others: "who is he that condemned? It is Christ that died" for them, exclusively of others. The plain meaning of the passage is, that those whom God justifies, and for whom Christ died, (justification and redemption being of exactly the same extent,) cannot be condemned. These privileges are expressly restricted to the elect: therefore God justifies and Christ died for them alone.
In the same chapter, Paul asks; " He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, (i. e. for all us elect persons) how shall he not, with him, also freely give us all things ?" i.e. salvation, and all things necessary to it. Now, it is certain that these are not given to every individual; and yet, if Paul says true, they are given to all those for whom Christ was delivered to death; consequently, he was not delivered to death for every individual. To the same purpose St. Austin argues, in Johan. tract. 45. col. 335. Hence that saying of Ambrose, "si non credis, non tibi passus est," i.e. if you are an unbeliever, Christ did not die for you. Meaning, that whoever is left under the power of final unbelief, is thereby evidenced to be one of those for whom Christ did not die: but that all for whom he suffered, shall be, in this life, sooner or later, endued with faith. The church of Smyrna, in their letter to the diocese of Pontus, insist every where on the doctrine of special redemption. Bucer, in all parts of his works, observes, that "Christ died restrictively for the elect only; but for them universally."