Is the doctrine of Unlimited Atonement Biblical?

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By BibleAsk Team


The Doctrine of Unlimited Atonement 

Unlimited atonement is a doctrine in Protestant Christianity that is commonly linked with Arminianism and other non-Calvinist traditions. Unlimited atonement teaches that Jesus died as a propitiation for all humans without exception. It is different from the teachings of the Calvinist acronym TULIP and is contrary to the Calvinist doctrine of limited atonement. One of the great proponents of unlimited atonement was the Methodist theologian, John Wesley.  

The purpose of unlimited atonement was universal. The Savior died on behalf of all people, not just the “elect.”  The atonement provides a way for all to respond to the Gospel call. The doctrine of unlimited atonement opposes the doctrine of predestination (associated with Calvinism) and states that every human has a chance to accept Jesus by faith. The atonement legally pays for the sins of those who believe on Jesus

Although the invitation to the Gospel is universal and there are no limits on who can believe through faith, the legal payment is still regarded as limited only to those that accept it by faith in Jesus. Thus, unlimited atonement is not the same as the doctrine of universal salvation, which teaches that all people will ultimately be saved, irrespective of faith.    

Is Unlimited Atonement Biblical? 

The Bible fully supports the doctrine of unlimited atonement as seen in the following passages: 

"The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). 
"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 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; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God" (John 3:14–18). 
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Romans 3:23–24).   
"Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men" (Romans 5:18). 
"For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again" (2 Corinthians 5:14–15).  
"[I]n Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation" (2 Corinthians 5:19).   
"Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst" (1 Timothy 1:15).  
"For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time" (1 Timothy 2:3–6).   
"For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe" (1 Timothy 4:10). 
"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people" (Titus 2:11).  
"But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone" (Hebrews 2:9).   
"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9). 
"And He [Christ] Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world" (1 John 2:2). 
"And we have seen and we testify that the Father has sent His Son as the world’s Savior" (1 John 4:14). 

In His service,
BibleAsk Team 

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