Faith and Christianity

Definite Atonement

I’ve been most impressed by these verses. And most joyfully, after many years I found a quote I heard Dr. Johnson say that I so wanted to have exactly.

The sovereignty of God is itself an argument for definite atonement, because we cannot have a frustrated deity when the Bible tells us that he accomplishes his will thoroughly in this universe. Many texts say that. What we would have if we had the Arminian doctrine is the Father would be electing some people, the Holy Spirit applying salvation to that same group of people, but Christ dying for all. We’d have the Father and the Spirit working toward one purpose and the Son working toward another. We would have confusion in the Godhead.

Joh 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

Joh 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Joh 6:65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.

From the sermons of Dr. S. Lewis Johnson

Efficacious Grace of the Drawing of the Given

John 6:43-45

Dr. S. Lewis Johnson continues his exposition of the Apostle John’s record of God’s choice in salvation.

Now, Mr. Prier when he was telling you what he was telling you before hand, of course had not heard this message, but he knew what I was going to say. Mr. Prier has studied logic and mathematics. He’s a graduate of Annapolis, and he also has taught mathematics in the University of Oklahoma, and he has studied logic, and he likes anything logical. And he first many years ago pointed this out to me that a necessary condition is a circumstance in whose absence a given event could not occur. Or a given thing could not exist. For example in verse 65 of this chapter we read, “Therefore said I unto you that no man can come to me except it were given unto him by the Father.” That’s the necessary condition for the existence of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. “No man can come unto me except it were given unto him of the Father.” That’s called a necessary condition. No man can really come to Jesus Christ unless it has been given to him to do it by God the Father.

Now all of the elect are the given of God. We will later see that very plainly in the Gospel of John. The Father gave the body of believers to Jesus Christ. We are the given ones by God the Father. And no man can come unless he’s given. Now a sufficient condition is a circumstance such that when ever it exists a given event occurs or a given situation exists.

Now we have a sufficient condition in verse 37. Notice the words. “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me.” Now when we have a necessary condition and a sufficient condition, well we have what we call logically an airtight case. There is no way in which we can escape the fact that the Bible teaches an unconditional election of the people of God, a sovereign sovereignty. Let me illustrate. “No man can come to me unless he’s given. Everyone given shall come. No man can come unless he’s given. Everyone given shall come.”

All right, can you think of some exceptions? Perhaps you would say, “Suppose everybody is given. Suppose sufficient grace means that everybody is given.” Well if everybody is given then verse 37 says, “All that the Father giveth me shall come.” Thus we would have to believe in universalism, but the Bible clearly does not each universalism. Well that won’t work. Suppose none are given. Suppose there is no such thing as being given. Suppose there is no such thing as this doctrine of election. Well then no man can come to me except it were given him of the Father.” No one would be saved if there is no given of the Father.” Well suppose we come by our free will. Well it says in verse 65, “No man can come to me except it were given him of the Father.” We cannot come of our free will, which by definition means that we come of ourselves. We have to be given by the Father. So free will cannot do it.

Well suppose we say, “We must exercise faith.” That’s true. We must exercise faith. Faith is however the coming and that faith is given. So everyone who is given to me shall come. He shall exercise faith. Faith itself is the result of the giving of God. In the ages past in the counsels of the eternal Trinity, the Father elected a people of God. The Son of God agreed to come and execute the work of redemption laying the foundation for their salvation, winning for them eternal life and the gift of faith by which they would receive it, and the Holy Spirit also covenanted to apply that gift to the people of God. That is what is meant when we read, “Everyone given shall come and no one can come unless he’s given.” This, my dear friends, is the doctrine of the prophets. It is the doctrine of the ambassador of the King. It is the doctrine of the apostle to the Gentiles. It is the doctrine of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is the doctrine of heaven, and unless we bow to this doctrine we shall not understand the teaching of God. “No man can come to me,” Jesus said, “unless the Father who sent me draws him.” But when we come by the grace of God he will raise us up at the last day. Hallelujah, Hallelujah, what a doctrine, what comfort, what assurance we have in all the experiences of life. We are given by God the Father to Jesus Christ as the people of God.

Well it’s an airtight case. I don’t know why people don’t rejoice in this. I don’t understand why they don’t shout from the house tops the wonderful program and plan of God, and incidentally we are called upon to preach a universal gospel because we don’t know, we mere humans we don’t know the make up of the final family of God. We proclaim this message. Trust the Holy Spirit to be the instrumentality of the Father’s drawing to Jesus Christ. We preach the glories of the Son of God the greatness of his salvation and invite men to come to him, and promise them on the authority of the word of God eternal life. The Lord Jesus says in the last few verses, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life.” What a magnificent claim. In fact his is simply a reiteration of those claims.

SLJ Institute > Basic Bible Doctrine > The Design of the Atonement

The Design of the Atonement

Revelation 5:1-14

Dr. S. Lewis Johnson gives a concise version of his exposition of the question, For whom did Christ die?

The Calvinistic view is different. The Calvinistic view is that God sent Jesus Christ and he died in order to save the elect and in his death he secured the means as well as the atonement when he died; the means of appropriation. In other words, he died to save the elect. He paid their penalty and he also secured by the death that he died, the gift of faith, which would be given according to the will of the Holy Spirit in God’s own time. So that the death of Jesus Christ saves in that it is the payment, legal payment, of all that that individual owes to the Lord God’s holiness and justice and also there is secured for him faith, the means of the appropriation of the benefits of the death of Christ.

The Arminians actually limit the atonement. They’re the ones who limit the atonement. They limit the efficacy of the atonement. They say, “He died for all men, but all are not saved.” So the atonement they preach is a limited atonement in its efficacy. It is not able to save all because man frustrates the work of God.

The sovereignty of God is itself an argument for definite atonement, because we cannot have a frustrated deity when the Bible tells us that he accomplishes his will thoroughly in this universe. Many texts say that. What we would have if we had the Arminian doctrine is the Father would be electing some people, the Holy Spirit applying salvation to that same group of people, but Christ dying for all. We’d have the Father and the Spirit working toward one purpose and the Son working toward another. We would have confusion in the Godhead.

And finally, I was sitting at my desk about six months ago thinking about this, thinking up good arguments for my Arminian friends, and I thought of this argument. I’ll just leave it with you. If it is God’s will for all men to be saved as the Arminians say, as that young man said when he cited 2 Peter 3:9, incidentally, I’ll explain that text next time, I was going to explain it tonight, but I don’t have time. If it’s God’s will for all men to be saved then when we pray for all men, we would pray in God’s will would we not? Now does not the Bible teach that he answers prayer that is made in accordance with his will? Well, then why are not all men saved? You get it? All men are not saved because it’s not his will that all men be saved. Jesus Christ came to die with the design of atoning for his elect. He secured their salvation and he secured the means by which that salvation would become theirs. We’ll have to stop here. Let’s close in a word of prayer.

[Prayer] Father, we are grateful to Thee for this great topic. We pray that Thou wilt give us love for those who differ with us, but help us, Lord, to stand for that which we feel the Bible teaches…

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