I wrote a paper for my last class of my undergrad degree on TULIP in the book of John. For the next several weeks I will be posting small sections of this paper. Each day of the week, I will post one portion of each doctrine in their respective order. I hope this sample from the introduction will prove to be true for these blog posts and each and every one of our hearts:
The burden of this paper is to show these doctrines from the Bible. If it cannot be shown, it should not be believed. But o how clear it is! For the purpose of this paper, the focus will be on the Gospel of John. Every page of the Bible testifies to the sovereign grace of God. This narrow focus will allow the reader to see the heavy volume of texts in just one book of the Bible that proves the Reformed tradition. The Reformed tradition should be known as one that loves the Bible. More than that, the Reformed tradition is rich in doxology. The purpose of this paper is far from simple persuasion. The aim is worship. Bad theology dishonors God and hurts people, to quote John Piper. In fact, the theme of this paper is drawn from the book of John itself. Hear the Word of the Lord:
“but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
(John 20:31 ESV)
This paper is written so that you will believe and have life in Christ’s name. God is glorified in the gladness of His people in Him. Man’s satisfaction, indeed His joy will only increase the more he knows the God of His salvation and knows Him as He has revealed Himself. So may we now, together, behold the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ with an unveiled face (2 Cor 3:18).
Limited Atonement (1)
“It will be helpful for the reader to keep in mind that the term “Limited Atonement” is not a great way to express the idea of Christ’s atonement from the Reformed (and dare I say biblical) perspective. “Definite” or “particular” would be the most accurate adjectives to describe the atonement of Christ. It will soon become obvious that there are far fewer texts to deal with for this doctrine than the previous two. There are several reasons for this phenomenon.
First, the other two doctrines presuppose a particular view of the atonement. Christ lays down His life for those the Father has given Him. Second, we must assume continuity between the Godhead. The Father, Spirit and Son are on the same team. I pray we have already see that the Father elects freely. We will soon see that the Spirit applies effectually. It is most logical, and biblical, that Christ died for those who the Father has chosen and the Spirit applies that redemption won by Christ. Systematic theology is a biblical and human necessity.
Again, the question really is whether the system arises from Scripture or from our imagination. Finally, as we will see, how one views the facts of the atonement should dictate its extent. It is the Calvinistic burden that the cross of Christ accomplished something. Redemption, propitiation, expiation, sacrifice and reconciliation were decisively won. It is finished indeed. The logic of penal substitution begs for a definite atonement. This argument will be teased out shortly.
What did Jesus come to accomplish? How one answers this question is telling. Many will say He came primarily to defeat evil and to bring about shalom. He came to alleviate poverty or to give us material prosperity. But none of these can function as the primary mission of Christ. Mark tells us that the Son of Man came to give His life as a ransom for many (10:45). In John 1, this mission is confirmed further. Verse 29 reads: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John the Baptist relates Christ to a Lamb. We know that John loves to refer to Christ by this name, as this is what the satisfied mass of the redeemed shout in worship around the throne in Revelation 5 and 7.
The Holy Spirit certainly wants us to think of the OT sacrificial system when using the lamb language. God provided atonement by the sacrifice of a lamb. The sins of the people were imputed to the lamb and it was slaughtered, judged as if it were the people themselves. We know from the book of Hebrews that this system was a shadow of Christ’s atonement. After all, the blood of bulls and goats never actually atoned for sin (Heb 10:4). In the eternal mind of God, the Lamb was already slain. Christ was not a plan B that the sacrificial system was plan A to.”