Arminian Today

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Unlimited Atonement as a Motivation for Evangelism

The early Methodists were driven by a hope of the gospel that they found in the doctrine of unlimited atonement.  Because they believed the Bible taught that Jesus died for all men and that He shed His blood for all men, they assumed that the entire world needed to hear that message.  This was the passion of the Methodist missionaries such as Francis Asbury who burned up and down the east coast of the United States (then the thirteen colonies) with the gospel.  Asbury was burning not just with a passionate love for Christ but for the lost.  Asbury longed to see the lost come into the kingdom of God.

The motivation for evangelism among us Arminians should be the same.  We should, above all others, burn with a passion for the lost to hear the gospel because we believe that Jesus died for all men but only those appropriate the work of Christ will be eternally saved.  We believe that the Scriptures are clear on this issue and cannot be ignored.  We must not twist the texts to make them read something they do not such as the notorious work of John Owen over John 3:16.

Scripture is clear that Jesus died for all (1 Timothy 2:3-4).  God said through the prophet Ezekiel that He doesn’t delight in the death of the wicked but He wants them to turn and live (Ezekiel 18:32).  Jesus said in John 6:40 that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life.  He said in John 6:44 that no one could come to Him unless the Father who sent Him draws them and He would raise them up at the last day.  Jesus went on to say in John 12:32 that He would draw all peoples to Himself.  How does the Lord do this?  The answer is through the preaching of the gospel (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:47; John 20:21; Acts 1:8; Romans 10:14-17; 2 Corinthians 5:18-21).

Paul the Apostle wrote in 1 Timothy 4:10 that Jesus is the Savior of all men especially of those who believe.  This verses teaches us that the atonement is sufficient for all to be saved (a point even Calvinists acknowledge) but is efficient only for those who receive His saving work by faith (John 3:14-18).  The Lamb of God was slain for the sins of the whole world (John 1:29; 1 John 2:1-2) but people remain under the wrath of God unless they repent of their sins (Acts 17:30-31).

This doctrine should thus drive us to evangelism.  The Spirit of God is working through the gospel to draw sinners to the Savior.  Jesus said that the work of the Spirit of God is to convict the world of sin (John 16:8-11).  This is nothing less than the enabling, pre-regenerating work of God’s grace to draw the lost to Himself.  God alone saves sinners but He works through the agency of men to draw the lost to Himself through the preaching of the gospel.  No doubt God could just zap people and they be saved but this would not glorify Him as much as lost sinners now saved by grace telling others the truth of the gospel, that Jesus shed His blood for the lost and He will save all who repent of their sins and place their saving faith in Jesus (Romans 10:13).

What this means then is that the person sitting by you on the subway is a person who can be saved through faith in Christ.  What this means is that the person working next to you in the office is a person who can be saved through faith in Christ.  What this means is that your next door neighbor in your apartment complex is a person who can be saved through faith in Christ.  What this means is that the wicked sinful ISIS can be saved through faith in Christ.  What this means is that the store clerk you pay when you buy a Coke is a person who can be saved through faith in Christ.  What this means is that the person you pay for your food is a person who can be saved through faith in Christ.  What this means is that every person you give a gospel tract to is a person who can be saved through faith in Christ.

So go out in boldness and share the gospel with the lost.  This pleases the Lord (2 Peter 3:9).  God is exalted through lost sinners being found by His grace (Ephesians 2:7).  Pray for all to be saved (1 Timothy 2:1-6) and share the gospel with all.  Allow the love of God to fill your heart for the lost.

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Written by The Seeking Disciple

09/19/2014 at 12:31 PM

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