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Sermon #2267                                                                     Miscellaneous Sermons


      Title:                                 Limited Atonement


      Text:                                  Isaiah 53:8

      Subject:               Limited Atonement

      Date:                                Sunday Morning Bible Class

                                                            March 27, 2016



My subject is Limited Atonement. We believe and preach the blessed Gospel doctrine of Limited Atonement. This is the doctrine of the Gospel.


Limited Atonement — The Lord Jesus Christ died for and effectually redeemed God’s elect, all the elect, and only the elect.


We believe this doctrine for one reason — it is plainly taught throughout the Word of God. There is not a single text in the Word of God that teaches or even implies that Christ died for all of Adam’s fallen race. Everywhere in the Book of God, where the death of Christ is spoken of (In Type, In Prophecy, or In Explanation) it is spoken of as his sin-atoning sacrifice for his people by which he effectually put way their sins and obtained eternal redemption for them. Let me show you just two texts of Holy Scripture to verify this fact — Isaiah 53:8 and Hebrews 9:12.


(Isaiah 53:8) “He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.”


(Hebrews 9:12) “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.”


Turn over one page to Hebrews 10:28-29. — Here God the Holy Spirit declares that those who despise the Gospel of God’s free and sovereign grace in Christ shall be, in the day of judgment, worthy of much sorer and more severe punishment than those who despised the law of God given by the hand of Moses to the children of Israel. Read with me, beginning at verse twenty-eight.


(Hebrews 10:28-29) “He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: (29) Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?”


Here God himself speaks of men who have “trodden under foot the Son of God,” have counted the blood of the Son of God, “the blood of the covenant,” an unholy (common) thing, and have “done despite unto the Spirit of grace”.


I have come here to tell you, and show you from the Word of God, that those words very accurately describe the religion and the preachers of our day.


I want you to hear every word of this message. I have chosen my words deliberately and purposefully. I have chosen them, either by the Spirit of Christ or by the spirit of antichrist. I will leave that for you to decide. But be sure you understand thisThere is no alternative between the two! Either I speak to you as God’s messenger to your soul by the Holy Spirit of Christ, or I speak to you as a messenger of Satan by the spirit of antichrist.


This is the charge I have come here to make. I make it publicly. I make it boldly. I intend to do what I can to make it and sound it out in the widest possible circles among preachers and those who hear them.


Proposition: All preachers of Arminian, free-will, works religion, all preachers of the damning, blasphemous doctrine of universal atonement (universal redemption), that is to say — All who believe, teach, and preach that the Son of God died to redeem and save all human beings, even those who perish at last in hell under the wrath of God are guilty of this crime. They tread under their feet the blood of the Son of God, count the everlasting blood of the covenant an unholy thing, and do despite unto the Spirit of grace!


There is not today, never has been, and never can be any doctrine in all the world more dishonoring to God, more blasphemous to the Lord Jesus Christ, more contrary to the Spirit of grace and to the Word of God, or more damning to the souls of men than the doctrine of universal atonement.


Be sure you understand me. I will not argue with anyone about terminology. When I use the terms Universal Atonement and Universal Redemption, this is what I mean.


Universal Atonement is the damning delusion of men which teaches that the Lord Jesus Christ died to make atonement for the sins of all human beings without exception. It is the teaching that by his blood Christ merely made atonement possible for all, though he actually procured it for none. — An atonement that does not atone!


Universal Redemption is that doctrine which says Christ shed his blood to redeem and save all people, that he made salvation possible for all and provided a way for all to be saved, though he did not actually secure and guarantee anyone’s actual redemption and salvation by the shedding of his blood. — A redemption that does not redeem!


I do not know a preacher in this town who does not believe exactly what I have just stated to you. I hope that each of you who know preachers who are guilty of preaching this damning doctrine will get a copy of this message and give it to them. Maybe God will be pleased to save them. If you cannot afford to pay for it, I will. Just get the message to them.


It is clearly the teaching of Scripture that the Lord Jesus Christ actually and effectually redeemed and made atonement for every sinner for whom he died at Calvary. The death of Christ was not a crap shoot. Nothing was left to chance. He, by his sin-atoning blood, effectually and infallibly secured the everlasting salvation of God’s elect.


Fourteen Charges


I have drawn up a list of indictments against every preacher and teacher of this blasphemous doctrine. I lay these fourteen charges against all who teach that the Lord Jesus Christ died for those who perish in hell under the wrath of God. These are serious, stern indictments. I do not make them lightly; but make them I must.


Perhaps some of you still imagine that your pastor is a bit hard-nosed about this thing, a little too strict, a little too straight-laced, too dogmatic. If you will give me your attention and listen to what I have to say, I think you will have a different opinion when I am done.


1.    The teaching that Christ died to save all men MAKES MAN HIS OWN SAVIOR.


If the Lord Jesus only made redemption possible, if he only rendered men savable and put them in a savable condition, if he only made it possible for man’s sins to be put away, then any who are saved are saved, not because of what he did, but because of what they do!

Š      To Justify Themselves by Their Works.

Š      To Make Themselves Righteous by Their Obedience.

Š      To Regenerate Themselves by Their Will.

Š      To Sanctify Themselves by Their Personal Holiness.

Š      To Preserve Themselves by Their Diligence.


The Word of God declares that the Lord Jesus Christ actually did put away the sins of his people and actually obtained eternal redemption for us by his blood.


(Hebrews 1:3) “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.”


(Hebrews 9:12) “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.”


(Hebrews 10:14) “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”


2.    The doctrine of universal atonement REDUCES THE LOVE OF GOD TO NOTHING.


At first glance some would say, “That cannot be right. The universal redemptionist says God loves everyone. You say God only loves the elect.” My point exactly!


The Word of God highly commends the love of God displayed in the death of his Son and in our redemption by his blood. We rejoice to sing…


Could we with ink the oceans fill,

And were the skies of parchment made,

Were every stalk on earth a quill,

And every man a scribe by trade -

To write the love of God above

Would drain the oceans dry,

Nor could the scroll contain the whole,

Though stretched from sky to sky.


We delight in the love of God! But what kind of love is that which does not secure the salvation of its objects when it has the power to do so? If God loves all men alike, what does the love of God have to do with anyone’s salvation? Absolutely nothing!


But that is not the teaching of Scripture. The Word of God declares that those who are the objects of God’s everlasting, predestinating love are also the objects of his effectual call and the possessors of his eternal inheritance (Jeremiah 31:3; Ephesians 1:3-11).


3.    The notion of universal atonement is as blasphemous as it is unscriptural because IT REDUCES THE WISDOM OF GOD TO FOOLISHNESS.


We worship and serve the all-wise, omniscient Lord God, wonderful in counsel and infinite in knowledge. But where is the wisdom of forming a plan for the salvation of a people whom he knew would never be saved? Where is the wisdom of God in sacrificing his darling Son for people who were already in hell when he made the sacrifice? That is not the wisdom of God which Paul describes and glories in as he declares the everlasting purpose of God toward his elect in the Book of Romans (Romans 8:28-39; 11:33-36).


(Romans 8:28-34) “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (29) For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (30) Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. (31) What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? (32) He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? (33) Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. (34) Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.”


(Romans 11:33-36) “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! (34) For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? (35) Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? (36) For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.”


4.    Universal redemption is A DENIAL OF THE JUSTICE OF GOD.


According to the Word of God redemption is primarily and act of divine justice.


(Psalms 85:8-13) “I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly. (9) Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land. (10) Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. (11) Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven. (12) Yea, the LORD shall give that which is good; and our land shall yield her increase. (13) Righteousness shall go before him; and shall set us in the way of his steps.”


(Proverbs 16:6) “By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.”


(Isaiah 45:20-21) “Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save. (21) Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.”


(Romans 3:24-26) “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: (25) Whom 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; (26) To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”


If Christ was punished for my sins and I must also bear the punishment for them, the justice of God is gone! But that cannot be. The fact is the justice of God gives us as much hope as the grace of God.


From whence this fear and unbelief?

Has not the Father put to grief

His darling Son for me?

And can the righteous Judge of men

Condemn me for that debt of sin

Charged to my great Surety?


Complete atonement Christ has made

And to God’s utmost justice paid

All that His people owed.

Payment God cannot twice demand,

First at my bleeding Surety’s hand,

And then again at mine!


5.    Those who preach universal redemption blaspheme God in their preaching by REDUCING THE OMNIPOTENCE OF ALMIGHTY GOD TO IMPOTENCE WEAKER THAN THE WILL OF MAN!


Isaiah declares that the Lord’s arm is not short that it cannot save. But the Arminian tells us plainly that God cannot save multitudes for whom Christ died because, though it is his will to do so, they will not let him save them!


6.    Those who preach universal atonement blaspheme God by ASSERTING THAT THE IMMUTABLE GOD IS, AFTER ALL, FICKLE, MUTABLE, AND CHANGEABLE.


We are told that God loves all men now, while they live on the earth, but that he will cease to love them when they die and he casts them into hell! Does that sound like God to you? Oh no! Our God changes not!


(Malachi 3:6) “For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”


(Job 23:13) “But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? And what his soul desireth, even that he doeth.”


(James 1:17) “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”


7.    I lay the charge of blasphemy against all who teach that Christ died for all, even for those who perish in hell, because IT ROBS GOD OF HIS GLORY IN SALVATION.


The primary aim of the Triune God in saving sinners is his own glory (Ephesians 1:3-14). But these men tell us that man has every reason to boast because it is he, not God, who makes himself to differ from others!


8.    Universal atonement is a blasphemous doctrine because IT DENIES THE SATISFACTION OF CHRIST.


It denies that Christ, by his precious blood shed at Calvary, has satisfied anything.

Š      Not the Prophets

Š      Not the Types

Š      Not the Law

Š      Not the Justice of God


9.    Universal redemption is a blasphemous, damning heresy, for it affirms that THERE ARE MULTITUDES IN HELL FOR WHOM THE LORD JESUS CHRIST DIED IN VAIN!


10. Universal redemption is a doctrine most clearly unscriptural and blasphemous inasmuch as IT SEPARATES THE PRIESTLY OFFICE AND WORK OF CHRIST, declaring that Christ sacrificed himself for and died in the place of a people for whom he refused to pray (John 17:9, 20).




But, blessed be his name forever, it is not true! — The cross of our Lord Jesus Christ shall never be discovered a miscarriage!


12. Universal redemption is as useless as it is blasphemous because IT GIVES SINNERS NO REASON TO LOOK TO, TRUST, AND HOPE IN CHRIST.


The basis of our hope is redemption accomplished.


(Psalm 130:7) “Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption.”


(Isaiah 40:1-2) “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. (2) Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.”


13. Universal atonement is as useless as it is blasphemous because IT OFFERS BELIEVERS NO REASON TO LOVE, OBEY, AND GLORIFY CHRIST.


14. Above all else, I lay this charge against every preacher of universal redemption. He blasphemes God in that he DECLARES THAT JESUS CHRIST IS A FAILURE, a weak, frustrated, defeated failure, rather than the sovereign, effectual Savior of his people!


(Isaiah 42:1-4) “Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. (2) He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. (3) A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. (4) He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.”


Rest, O my soul, rest and rejoice in the fulness of this promise. — “He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth; and the isles shall wait for his law.” Isaiah here records God’s promise concerning his Son. — “He shall not fail nor be discouraged till”…

Š      He has established righteousness and redeemed his people.

Š      Those for whom he has established righteousness shall wait to hear his Word — A generation shall serve him. — His redeemed ones shall be saved.


This is the promise of God concerning his Son. Whatever our Lord Jesus Christ has undertaken shall be performed. Whatever commission he has received as Jehovah’s Servant shall be performed. He will perfectly fulfil his work.


We are sometimes very doubtful. We get concerned about the cause of Christ. But our fears are ill-founded. The Ark of God is safe! Behold him who is the Head of all things, the Director of Heaven and Earth, the One upon whose shoulders God has laid the business of salvation. Behold him and be comforted. We may fail. We will fail! But he cannot fail! We get discouraged; but Christ is not discouraged.

Š      He shall accomplish every promise of grace!

Š      He shall fulfil every purpose of God!

Š      He shall save all for whom he poured out his life’s blood at Calvary!


I believe in the final perseverance of the Lord Jesus Christ. I believe in the final perseverance of every believer. I believe in the final perseverance of the church as a whole. “The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” But this is a far greater thought — I believe in the final perseverance of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Son of God has come to save his own elect; and he will save them everyone! Not one soul for whom he is Surety and Substitute shall ever perish.








Don Fortner








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