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Joined: 2006/9/5
Posts: 94
Melbourne Australia

 Limited Atonement

Please explain limited atonement in the context of the following verse

1 John 2:2

and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for {those of}
[b]the whole world.[/b] (Emphasis Added)

 2008/12/27 18:46Profile

Joined: 2007/1/30
Posts: 926

 Re: Limited Atonement

If you're seriously desiring an answer and not a debate, then I recommend this:

[url=]John Gill - 1 John 2:2[/url]

May God bless you with joy in the revelation of His victorious work.

 2008/12/27 21:44Profile

Joined: 2008/6/19
Posts: 1257


Matthew Poole's Commentary on the Holy Bible
1 John 2:2
Ver. 2. And he is the propitiation for our sins: the adding of these words, shows that our Lord grounds his intercession for pardon of sin unto penitent believers, upon his having made atonement for them before; and therefore that he doth not herein merely supplicate for favour, but (which is the proper business of an advocate) plead law and right; agreeably to what is said above, 1Jo 1:9.
And not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world; nor is his undertaking herein limited to any select persons among believers, but he must be understood to be an Advocate for all, for whom he is effectually a Propitiation, i.e. for all that truly believe in him, (Ro 3:25), all the world over.

Pulpit Commentary
1 John 2:2

And he (not quia nor enim, but idemque ille) is a Propitiation for our sins. JIlasmov occurs here and chapter 4:10 only in the New Testament. St. Paul's word is katallagh [Ro 5:11; 11:15; 2Co 5:18-19] They are not equivalents; iJlasmov has reference to the one party to be propitiated, katallagh to the two parties to be reconciled. jApolutrwsiv is a third word expressing yet another aspect of the atonement—the redemption of the offending party by payment of his.1 Although iJlasmov does not necessarily include the idea of sacrifice, yet the use of the word in the LXX, and of iJlaskesqai [Heb 2:2-7] and iJlasthrion [Ro 3:25; Heb 9:5] in the New Testament, points to the expiation wrought by the great High Priest by the sacrifice of himself. It is iJlasmov, and not iJlasthr, because the prominent fact is Christ as an Offering rather than as One who offers. With the peri, cf. Joh 8:46; 10:33; 16:8. Our sins arethe subject-matter of his propitiatory work. And not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. Again we seem to have an echo of the prayer of the great High Priest. [Joh 17:20,24] The propitiation is for all, not for the first band of believers only. The sins of the whole world are expiated; and if the expiation does not effect the salvation of the sinner, it is because he rejects it, loving the darkness rather than the light. [Joh 3:19] No man—Christian, Jew, or Gentile—is outside the mercy of God, unless he places himself there deliberately. "It seems clear that the sacrifice of Christ, though peculiarly and completely available only for those who were called, does in some particulars benefit the whole world, and release it from the evil in which the whole creation was travailing" (Jelf).

Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible
1 John 2:2
And he is the propitiation - ' Ιλασμος The atoning sacrifice for our sins. This is the proper sense of the word as used in the Septuagint, where it often occurs; and is the translation of אשם asham, an oblation for sin, Am 8:14. חטאת chattath, a sacrifice for sin, Eze 44:27. כפור kippur, an atonement, Nu 5:8. See the note on Ro 3:25, and particularly the note on Lu 18:13. The word is used only here and in 1Jo 4:10.

And not for ours only - It is not for us apostles that he has died, nor exclusively for the Jewish people, but περι ολου του κοσμου , for the whole world, Gentiles as well as Jews, all the descendants of Adam. The apostle does not say that he died for any select part of the inhabitants of the earth, or for some out of every nation, tribe, or kindred; but for All Mankind; and the attempt to limit this is a violent outrage against God and his word.

For the meaning of the word παρακλητος , which we here translate advocate, see the note on Joh 14:16.

From these verses we learn that a poor backslider need not despair of again finding mercy; this passage holds out sufficient encouragement for his hope. There is scarcely another such in the Bible, and why? That sinners might not presume on the mercy of God. And why this one? That no backslider might utterly despair. Here, then, is a guard against presumption on the one hand, and despondency on the other.

 2008/12/27 23:21Profile

Joined: 2007/1/30
Posts: 926


Tonight I wrote this full response, which I have also made available as an audio file:

[url=]1 John 2:2 - Propitiation for the Whole World.mp3[/url]

I have written this article in hopes of dispelling at least some of the confusion which arises whenever a believer in Sovereign Grace comes upon texts such as 1 John 2:2, which says,

"[Christ] is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."

The question we must ask is, how may Christ's propitiatory death be considered effectual if it seems here to include ones who are not ultimately saved?

Let us begin at the bottom of the mountain. Before we may understand a passage properly, we must understand the context and purpose for which it was written. In John's first recorded epistle, the apostle's overarching objective is to increase the joy of believers to persevere by promoting assurance of salvation to those who are born again, while demarcating boundaries which exclude and warn others still unregenerate. Hence, "I write these things that your joy may be full," and "hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him."

With this context, we now consider the particular passage, 1 John 2:2, "He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world," and take into account that John is a Jew, writing to Jews. It is our belief that the author here highlights the expansive scope of the New Covenant in contrast to the Old Covenant made with ethnic Israel, as now encompassing persons of every tribe, tongue, and people. This point is essential to his total argument, though not in the way moderns might expect. Understand that one does not easily shake thirty or forty years of habit, and the Jews to whom he writes might have been accustomed to automatically disassociating Gentiles from the circle of God's promises. After all, Paul himself describes Old Covenant Gentiles [Eph. 2:12], that they were "aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world." This custom of thought was also echoed by the Jerusalem brethren who exclaimed, "Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life." [Acts 11:18] Their silence and awe demonstrates the unexpected nature of the revelation. And so, John can hardly give assurance to Gentile believers if Jewish ones are questioning their inclusion. Nor can he grant fullest joy without underscoring the broad extent of Christ's redemption, for every true believer rejoices in the appearance of another saint, regardless of national origin.*

Now we must bear all of this in mind as we turn to John's statement that Christ "is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." Here the Apostle employs the term kosmos, for 'world'. Though having no less than eleven usages, throughout John's writing the term most frequently - almost without exception - implies "all without discrimination", rather than "all without exception". Again, kosmos intends 'many of all sorts', as opposed to 'every last one collectively'.

For example, John writes, "we are of God, but the whole world lieth in wickedness." [1 John 5:19] The writer distinguishes "we" from "the whole world", creating two groups. If this "whole world" meant every person alive, then claiming "we are of God" would become impossible, for these too would be in wickedness. In Luke 2:1 we find that "a decree went out that all the world should be taxed", though it did not go to Brazil, nor to certain historical figures we know to have been exempt, such as Caesar himself. This instance uses kosmos to mean many persons of all sorts. In Romans 1:8 we find that the faith of that people was "spoken of throughout the whole world." It was surely not spoken of in every last cottage, nor in some whole regions, but kosmos does not usually intend such a reading. The term simply tells that many of all sorts were included. I will not belabor citing and explaining numerous similar passages such as Rom. 3:19; Col. 1:6; Rev. 3:10; Rev. 12:9, and 13:3, all which use kosmos in the same way.

Coming again to 1 John 2:2, let us consider Matthew Henry's comments on Christ's propitiatory death,

"It is not confined to one nation; and not particularly to the ancient Israel of God: He is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only (not only for the sins of us Jews, us that are Abraham's seed according to the flesh), but also for those of the whole world (v. 2); not only for the past, or us present believers, but for the sins of all who shall hereafter believe on him or come to God through him. The extent and intent of the Mediator's death reach to all tribes, nations, and countries. As he is the only, so he is the universal atonement and propitiation for all that are saved and brought home to God, and to his favour and forgiveness."

Henry argues that Christ's propitiatory death intended and effected the redemption of only those who are finally "saved and brought home to God", simply because to do otherwise is to make the propitiation less than propitiatory. The very meaning of propitiation is to appease wrath and thereby conciliate the favor of an offended person. When we say that Christ's death was a propitiation, we are stating that God's wrath was actually satisfied towards persons by it! Practically, this means that our faith is not the basis of God's approval of us, but is only the means through which we receive the benefits already purchased on our behalf at the cross. Thus Paul writes, "By grace [the sovereign determination of God to propitiate by Christ on behalf of an elect group] you are saved through faith, not of yourselves, it is the gift of God." [Eph 2:8]

Even as the proceeding verse, 1 John 2:1, promises Christ is the Advocate for sinners, we must remember John's familiarity with Jesus' own words, "the Son of Man came... to give His life as a ransom for many," [Matt 20:28] And, that after calling certain persons goats, the Lord said, "I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. " And so His life is laid down as a sacrifice specially for the elect, for whom He is an advocate. Meanwhile there is a world for whom He will not utter an advocating prayer. John 17 soberly recalls His prayer, "I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine... Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word." John is thoroughly acquainted with the particular and effectual nuances of the atonement, but these he summons to further his argument.

In what way does the fact of an effectual propitiation of both Jews and Gentiles help a Christian to endure? Simply this: in magnifying the sovereign and extensive design of God to save persons of all sorts, by Christ's gracious propitiation, John assures his readers of Christ's sufficiency as Advocate and Redeemer, and promotes their faith and joy for perseverance. Believing that salvation is guaranteed to the elect and is received through faith in his blood [Rom. 3:25], causes those who have faith to resound with confidence, even to exclaim, "whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." [1 John 5:4] And in this way we may understand John's words, "these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. "

May God bless you with joy in the revelation of His victorious work.

*A third point might be to remind his audience that those who were saved in Old Covenant times were themselves received by grace through Christ, and not by works of the Law. This also benefits the point that perseverance is made joyful by faith in the victorious redemption of Christ.

If you're desiring a more thorough answer, then I recommend this article:

[url=]John Gill - 1 John 2:2 - Cause of God and Truth[/url]

 2008/12/28 1:04Profile

 Re: Limited Atonement


joeSOC wrote:
Please explain limited atonement in the context of the following verse

1 John 2:2

and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for {those of}
[b]the whole world.[/b] (Emphasis Added)

Jesus is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world, in the sense that the Father OFFERED the sacrifice of His Son, not in the sense that it was RECEIVED by the whole World.

This is also an Eternal sacrifice, that is timeless. Jesus was therefore slain BEFORE the foundations of the Earth. By Noah's time, the entire Earth had rejected God, being aware of the lamb in the Garden, and Abel's sacrifice of Blood, pointing to Jesus.

This old world categorically rejected God and His sacrifice. Noah did not....through Abraham, Jacob.....Moses and the Law, Jesus and yet today.

Whosoever will come, let him come and drink from the wells of Salvation. Any living soul has opportunity to repent and believe. One thief believed, and was honored with paradise, one thief rejected Jesus, and was not saved.

"Go ye unto all the Earth and preach the Gospel to every creature."....he who believes and is baptized will be saved; BUT HE WHO DOES NOT BELIEVE WILL BE CONDEMNED."

There will come a day when the door is shut, and the last soul born to woman will be saved. Until that day, God is no respecter of persons.


We see that faith is the key for the entire world....

"For God did not send his son into the World to condemn the World......but that the World through Him might be saved."

"He who believes in Him is not condemned, ...[this is universal for all men and all time..]but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."

All of the Earth....not just the Jews. Those who believe gain Him, in all of the World...and those who refuse Him, Jew or Gentile alike, are damned.

"Behold the goodness, and the severity, of God!"

 2008/12/28 6:16

Joined: 2006/1/31
Posts: 4991


1Jn 2:2 And he is the propitiation - The atoning sacrifice by which the wrath of God is appeased. For our sins - Who believe. And not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world - Just as wide as sin extends, the propitiation extends also .



 2008/12/28 6:33Profile

Joined: 2006/8/25
Posts: 1658
Indiana USA

 Re: Limited Atonement

The following was taken from [url=]here[/url] and written by By Daryl Wingerd

1 John 2:1-2

In his first epistle John writes,

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world (1 John 2:1-2).

This passage, which initially seems to affirm a universal atonement, needs to be addressed in two ways. First I will discuss the meaning of the word "propitiation," and then I will address the meaning of "the whole world."

The word "propitiation" indicates not merely potential substitution but rather actual substitution. If Christ actually (as opposed to potentially) bore the wrath of God on behalf of every sinner, then God's anger toward every sinner is totally appeased. He has no remaining wrath to vent on anyone, whether they are a believer or an atheist. Unless God unjustly demands double payment for the same sins (i.e., first from Christ, and then from the unrepentant sinner himself), no one can be justly punished for their sin.

The Bible leaves no doubt that at the final judgment, men are judged according to their deeds (plural), not merely according to the single sin of unbelief, as some say. I could multiply many scriptural examples of this, but consider these few:

It was because of specific sins ("fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness which is idolatry") that Paul said "the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience" (Colossians 3:5-6).

At the final judgment, when the books are opened, the dead are judged "according to their works" (Revelation 20:12-13).

Some men receive a more severe condemnation because of their multiplied, and/or particularly grievous sins (cf. Mark 12:38-40).

All who remain unrepentant, far from being judged for the single sin of unbelief, are "treasuring up for [themselves] wrath in the day of wrath," by continuing to sin in every way (Romans 2:5).

Jesus said Himself, "the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds" (Matthew 16:27).

The sum of my argument about the meaning of "propitiation" in 1 John 2:2 is simple. Unless we are willing to either say that Christ's death was a propitiation that does not actually propitiate (i.e., appease God), or admit that every single person everywhere will be saved because His propitiation was effective for them, we cannot rightly conclude that He was the propitiation for every single person everywhere. The work of Christ must be "limited" in one way or the other. Either His death was offered for everyone but remains ineffective apart from the will of man, or it was less-than-universal in its intent. The only biblically justifiable option is to affirm the effectiveness of Christ's death while limiting its intent.

The real difficulty with 1 John 2:2 lies in another question: Why would John say that Christ was "the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world"? What does "the whole world" mean, especially here where it obviously refers to a group that is distinct from the Christians specifically addressed by John?

Most Christians believe John was making a distinction between Christians and unbelievers. They believe Christ was the propitiation for "our sins" (i.e., the sins of believers) and also "for those of the whole world" (i.e., the sins of unbelievers, even those who never believe). John was making some distinction in 1 John 2:2. But was he making that distinction—the one between believers and unbelievers? Is it possible that he making a different distinction? A simple examination of the biblical and historical context may help to solve the problem.

John was an apostle specifically sent to the Jews (cf. Galatians 2:9). It should not seem strange, therefore, if his letter were addressed specifically to Jewish Christians. There may have been Gentiles among his readers, but it would stand to reason that the flavor (so to speak) of a letter from John would be distinctly Jewish. Other letters in the New Testament have distinct cultural characteristics depending on their intended readers. This is undoubtedly true of the letter to the Hebrews. All Christians profit from studying Hebrews, and there may have been Gentiles among its original readership as well, but we rightly interpret every verse of that letter with the knowledge that it was addressed to a unique audience of Jewish Christians. It is almost certain that we are to approach John's letter in the same way. And the very concept he is explaining here (propitiation) could be one indicator of that.

The benefits of propitiation are common to all Christians, but the biblical concept of propitiation is distinctly Jewish, rooted in the Old Testament sacrificial system. The word calls to mind the work of the Jewish high priest on the Day of Atonement. On this day, once each year, the high priest sprinkled the blood of the sacrificial animal on the mercy seat (the cover of the ark of the covenant) inside the holy of holies (the inner part of the temple, cf. Leviticus 16:11-17). He did all of this in order to "make atonement for himself and for his household and for all the assembly of Israel" (Leviticus 16:17).

Interestingly, the Greek word for "propitiation" (Hilasmos) is used only in 1 John 2:2 and 4:10. Related forms of the word are used in only two other places in the New Testament: Hebrews 2:17 and Romans 3:25. Hebrews is obviously addressed to a Jewish audience. Romans, though inclusive of a much wider audience overall, specifically addresses Jewish readers a number of times in the first four chapters, particularly in the verses surrounding Paul's reference to propitiation in 3:25 (cf. 2:1-3; 2:17-29; 3:9; 4:1). The form of the word used in Romans 3:25 (Hilasterion) may actually be translated "mercy seat" (as in the NET), an unmistakably Jewish term. All of this considered, the very use of the word "propitiation" in John's first epistle lends strong credibility to the opinion that it was initially addressed to Jewish Christians.

Additionally, 1 John 2:2 presents a striking parallel with something John recorded in his gospel. Compare 1 John 2:2 with John's explanation of Caiaphas' unwitting prophecy about the benefits of one man dying as a substitute for the whole nation:

You know nothing at all, nor do you take into account that it is expedient for you that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish (John 11:49-50).

Although Caiaphas was sinfully advocating the murder of Jesus, John explains in the next verses what God meant when He sovereignly moved Caiaphas' mouth to speak:

Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation [Israel], and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad [God's elect from every nation]" (John 11:51-52).

Here in his gospel, John was clearly noting the abolition of any Jew-Gentile distinction in God's redemptive plan by including elect Gentiles along with elect Jews as the beneficiaries of Christ's death (cf. John 10:16 and 12:32). In 1 John 2:2, he is again explaining (to Jewish Christians, I believe) the benefits of Christ's death as the propitiation for their sins. The parallel is strong evidence that he had the same distinction in mind when He said, "and not for ours only [i.e., Jewish Christians only], but also for those of the whole world [God's elect from every nation, Jew and Gentile alike]." He was saying the same thing Paul said when he referred to God's elect as "vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us who He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles" (Romans 9:23-24, emphasis added).

All factors considered, instead of assigning universal meaning to "the whole world," Scripture compels me to believe that John was magnifying Christ's racially impartial work. He was reminding his Jewish readers that God's chosen people are no longer only Israelites, but men and women from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.


 2008/12/28 8:19Profile

Joined: 2009/1/2
Posts: 2

 Re: limited attonement

Universal propitiation doesn't mean universal application.

11And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

12And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

13And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

14And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

15And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

It seems every body will be judged, only those written in the book of life get to escape God's ultimate wrath.
Revelation 21:27 refers to the book of life as being the Lamb's book of life ; Jesus the Lamb no doubt has something to say about who gets written into it or not blotted out from it. Jesus needs to be considered. What does He require for His sacrifice to be applied on our behalf.
Psalm 2:12
Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.
Belief, faith, devotion, a personal knowing of Him, a walk worthy of the Lord. -- kissing the son(proper hommage).
Not a good idea to piss off your lawyer when He's going to be your advocate at an extremely important trial. 1 John 2:1
My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
To summarize, the sacrifice of the 2nd Adam -Jesus was/is capable of forgiving the 1st Adam's sins, his wife's sins and all of the sins of all his children and their children's children.... It is the only provision for forgiveness truly available to all the world, but selectively applied according to the conditions Scripture establishes.

cordially Ron J.

Ron Johnson

 2009/1/2 6:18Profile

Joined: 2005/7/17
Posts: 1791


Limited Atonement does not claim that the power of the atonement is limited, in that any sin is so great that it can not be covered by Christ's sacrifice; however it does claim that it does not extend to all, only to those who God chooses to elect. Limited Atonement is an extension of the doctrine of Unconditional election, but it has more of an emphasis on the atonement of the elect or is mainly limited with the doctrine of the nature of the atonement, what it does and how it is applied. The false doctrine of this theory states that the atonement of Christ literally pays the penalty of the sins that men are liable for, in other words Christ receives the wrath of God for specific sins and that cancels the judgment they had built up. This is because it would be unjust for God to take the place in judgment for those specific sins and continues to condemn them for those sins; therefore, God must necessarily save all the specific people, whose specific sins were specifically forgiven.

Limited Atonement is only effectual after one believes which makes the atonement of Christ a potential work instead of an active work, exclusive and not inclusive, Ones who hold to this doctrine deny the power of Christ' making peace between God and all mankind, while they make atonement to be the salvation of only those who are elected.

Atonement is the translated word kaw-far' from Hebrew to English which means “to cover” of the Jewish Fast of Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). It incorporates the words reconciliation, propitiation (satisfaction) and forgiveness. The work of Christ on His cross makes away for salvation while the salvation it's self comes from the relationship one has with Him and not just in what he did on the cross.

This doctrine of Limited Atonement misinterprets the word atonement to be the salvation of man, when, in actuality, the true meaning is that it is only the taking away of sin, it is the forgiveness if sin, thus making peace between God and man (Col 1:20). Christ's work makes redemption possible for all but guaranteed for only those who have a relationship with Christ.
They claim that the atonement saves man instead of the relationship with Christ. The actual salvation is eternal life (John 17:3).

 2009/1/2 10:13Profile

Joined: 2002/12/11
Posts: 37290
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11



1Jn 2:2 And he is the propitiation - The atoning sacrifice by which the wrath of God is appeased. For our sins - Who believe. And not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world - Just as wide as sin extends, the propitiation extends also .


I love how all the answers for limited atonement are large philosophical answers and trying to use human logic while Wesley simply answers the scripture as it is.

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 2009/1/2 10:37Profile

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