Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | July 16, 2018

“Limited Atonement”: “this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.”

Today’s devotion comes from Matthew 26:14-35.  Here is a link to this Scripture –

I quote only the following verses.

“While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat;  this is My body.”  And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you;  for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.”  Matthew 26:26-28.


Other doctrine teaches Christ shed His blood for all.

But, Reformed Doctrine teaches that Christ shed His blood only for God’s elect.

We note that today’s Scripture does not say that His blood was poured out for all, but rather, Christ’s blood was poured out “for many”.

This point of Reformed Doctrine is called “Limited Atonement”.  Although Christ’s atonement was limited to God’s elect, Christ’s atonement was unlimited in its ability to totally atone for all of the sins of all of the people within that class of God’s elect.  “Limited Atonement” is the “L” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation, as summarized in the Canons of Dordt.

When we consider the comparisons of the Lord’s Supper with Passover, Reformed Doctrine’s teaching of “Limited Atonement” should not seen like some strange teaching.  

The Passover memorialized the physical deliverance of how the LORD passed over the homes of the Israelites (His chosen people) who placed blood on the lintel and two doorposts of their homes but smote the Egyptians who did not do so.

“For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians;  and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to come in to your houses to smite you.  And you shall observe this event as an ordinance for you and your children forever.  When you enter the land which the LORD will give you, as He has promised, you shall observe this rite.  And when your children say to you, ‘What does this rite mean to you?’ you shall say, ‘It is a Passover sacrifice to the LORD who passed over the houses of the sons of Israel in Egypt when He smote the Egyptians, but spared our homes.’” And the people bowed low and worshiped.”  Exodus 12:23-27.

The Lord’s Supper memorializes the spiritual deliverance of how the Lord passed over the sins (forgiveness) of “the many” (His elect) for whom He poured out His blood.

We know that not all are forgiven.

And, we also know that not all were spared from the Passover as stated in the Exodus Scripture above.

We know that not all celebrate the Lord’s Supper.

And, we also know that not all celebrate the Passover.

We know that if Christ poured out His blood for all, then all would have been forgiven.

And, we also know that if blood was applied to the lintel and doorposts of all the homes, then all would have been spared.

Just like a good shepherd does not lay down his life for all sheep, but only for his own sheep, our Lord laid down His life only for His people (the elect). 

“I am the good shepherd;  the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”  John 10:11.

“I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me,”  John 10:14.

“But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep.  My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;  and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish;  and no one will snatch them out of My hand.”  John 10:26-28.

Just like a husband does not love all women and does not give Himself up to all women, but loves only his wife and gives himself up only for his wife, our Lord only loved the church (the elect) and gave Himself up only for her. 

“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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