Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | March 25, 2015

“Limited Atonement” a/k/a “Particular Redemption” is taught through Boaz’ redemption of Ruth.

Today’s devotion comes from Ruth Chapter 4.  Here is a link to this chapter –

I quote only the following verses.

“1  Now Boaz went up to the gate and sat down there, and behold,  the close relative of whom Boaz spoke was passing by, so he said, “Turn aside, friend, sit down here.”  And he turned aside and sat down.  2 He took ten men of the elders of the city and said, “Sit down here.”  So they sat down.  3 Then he said to the closest relative, “Naomi, who has come back from the land of Moab, has to sell the piece of land which belonged to our brother Elimelech.  4 So I thought to inform you, saying, ‘Buy it before those who are sitting here, and before the elders of my people.  If you will redeem it, redeem it;  but if not, tell me that I may know; for there is no one but you to redeem it, and I am after you.’”  And he said, “I will redeem it.”  5 Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you must also acquire Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of the deceased, in order to raise up the name of the deceased on his inheritance.”  6 The closest relative said, “I cannot redeem it for myself, because I would jeopardize my own inheritance.  Redeem it for yourself;  you may have my right of redemption, for I cannot redeem it.”

9 Then Boaz said to the elders and all the people, “You are witnesses today that I have bought from the hand of Naomi all that belonged to Elimelech and all that belonged to Chilion and Mahlon.  10 Moreover, I have acquired Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, to be my wife in order to raise up the name of the deceased on his inheritance, so that the name of the deceased will not be cut off from his brothers or from the court of his birth place; you are witnesses today.”  11 All the people who were in the court, and the elders, said, “We are witnesses.  May the Lord make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, both of whom built the house of Israel;  and may you achieve wealth in Ephrathah and become famous in Bethlehem.  12 Moreover, may your house be like the house of Perez whom Tamar bore to Judah, through the offspring which the Lord will give you by this young woman.”

13 So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife, and he went in to her.  And the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son.  14 Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed is the Lord who has not left you without a redeemer today, and may his name become famous in Israel.  15 May he also be to you a restorer of life and a sustainer of your old age;  for your daughter-in-law, who loves you and is better to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.”  Ruth Chapter 4:  Verses 1-6 and 9-15.


In today’s Scripture, we notice that the closest relative only wanted to generally redeem the land:  “And he said, “I will redeem it.”  Verse 4.

But, notice what Boaz replied:  “Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you must also acquire Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of the deceased, in order to raise up the name of the deceased on his inheritance.”  Verse 5.

Today’s Scripture helps us understand “Limited Atonement”, the “L” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.  “Limited Atonement” is also known as “Particular Redemption”.

No Christian denies atonement.  No Christian denies redemption.  The issue is only whether atonement is limited or universal, or in other words, the issue is whether the redemption is particular or general.  Was atonement made for everyone which is “Universal Atonement”, or was atonement made (or limited) for just God’s elect which is “Limited Atonement”?  Or, in other words, was redemption made for everyone which is “General Redemption”, or was redemption particular to just God’s elect which is “Particular Redemption”?

On its face, “Universal Atonement” should make no sense.  Although it may appeal to a warm, fuzzy feeling that God loves everyone, when we take time to consider it, it should not make sense.  If Christ indeed died for everyone and atoned for everyone’s sins and redeemed everyone, then everyone would be saved.  The fact that Scripture very clearly and repeatedly teaches that not everyone is saved should cause us to believe that atonement is limited (or, in other words, the redemption is particular).

Thus, we have an insight into the fact that redemption is not general, but redemption is particular to a specific person.  Or, in other words, atonement is not made universally, but it is made (or limited) to a specific person.  Not everyone was redeemed;  only Ruth was particularly redeemed.

In today’s Scripture, we also notice that Boaz married Ruth, and we even get a closer, more intimate sense to what is meant by “Limited Atonement” also known as  “Particular Redemption”.

If a wife asked her husband, “Do you love me?”, would she be pleased if her husband replied:  “Yes, I love everyone.”?

If a wife asked her husband, “Will you give yourself to me?”, would she be pleased if her husband replied:  “Yes, I give myself to everybody.”?

The relationship between Christ and God’s elect, the church, has been compared to the marriage relationship between a husband and wife.  “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing;  but that she would be holy and blameless.”  Ephesians 5:25-27.


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