“What About This Verse?”
2 Peter 1:20
I cannot and do not desire to stop the cavils of people who will not bow to the Word of God; but I do want to help you who may be confused and disturbed by the verses of Scripture they point to, or partially quote, as proof texts against the blessed doctrines of the gospel you have learned to love.
No verse of Scripture is to be interpreted privately, isolated from its context, and from the context of the whole Word of God. If we are honest with the Scriptures, we always endeavor to interpret them contextually. In other words, we do not pull isolated verses or phrases from the Word of God and use them to prove or disprove anything. Instead, honest people read and study the Scriptures, asking God the Holy Spirit to teach them the truths contained in the passage they are reading, and to show them how that passage meshes with the rest of Scripture. The biggest obstacle to the unbelieving religionist is the greatest joy to the child of God – Particular and Effectual Redemption. Therefore, the unregenerate, in their vain attempts to prove that Christ’s blood was, after all, shed in vain for some, love to point us to texts with the words all and world in them. Do not allow them to disturb you.
There is not a single word in Scripture, interpreted contextually, that even hints at the remote possibility that Christ’s may have died for some who perish under the wrath of God. The plain, clear, universal testimony of Holy Scripture is that Christ died for, effectually accomplished, and infallibly secured the eternal salvation of God’s elect, for whom alone he makes intercession as their great High Priest (John 17:9, 20). Every text where the atonement is taught declares that fact with unmistakable clarity. There are no exceptions. (Read a few of them – Isa. 53:8-11; Matt. 1:21; John 10:9-18; Rom. 5:8-11; 8:33-34; Gal. 3:13-14; Heb. 1:1-3; 9:11-12; 10:10-14; 1 Pet. 2:24-25; 3:18; Rev. 1:5-6; 5:9-10.) Every Old Testament type and picture of redemption, grace, and salvation, show that these things were designed by God for a specifically chosen people. The innocent victims in Eden were slain and made clothing for Adam and Eve. Noah’s ark was built to save eight souls. The ram caught in the thicket was sacrificed for Isaac. The paschal lamb was slain for Israel alone. The high priest wore only the names of God’s chosen upon his breastplate. The tabernacle, the altar, and the mercy-seat were established nowhere, except in Israel. The words “all,” “world,” and “every” do not normally mean all without exception, even as we use them today. They normally mean all of a specific group (Mk. 1:5; Lk. 2:1). If I walked into a diner and said, “I am buying lunch for everyone,” no one in his right mind would presume that I intended to buy lunch for everyone in the world, without exception!
This is the teaching of Scripture – God loved and chose, Christ died for and redeemed, and the Holy Spirit regenerates and preserves the world of his elect.