Cork Free Presbyterian Church, 10 Briarscourt (Annex) Shanakiel, Cork, Ireland Pastor: Colin Maxwell. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
DID CHRIST PURCHASE WITH HIS OWN BLOOD THE APOSTATES IN 2 PETER 2:1?
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
If He did, then here is solid evidence that He died for those other than His own elect because these men (being damnable heretics) are in hell. How do Calvinists answer this objection to our doctrine of Particular Redemption i.e. that all for whom Christ died will eventually be saved and be in Heaven? Read on!
In keeping with the general tenor of Scripture that God cannot know frustration in those things which He sets out to do (Isaiah 46:10 etc.,) we believe that their purchase was professed and not actual i.e. they denied the Lord whom they professed to have bought them.
This is no novel way of explaining the Scriptures as may be seen from the following examples:
1) In John 1:10 we read that those who say that they have not sinned, "make God a liar" Question: Do they actually make Him to be a liar...or do they (by their denial of His charges against them) profess Him to be a liar? Obviously the latter. No one can make anybody (never mind God) an actual liar - the only one who can actually make you a liar is yourself (i.e. when you tell lies) But anyone can profess you to be a liar - just spread the rumour and the deed is done. In was on this principle that Potiphar's wife got Joseph sent to prison for adultery - it was professed rather than actual.
2) Is it actually foolishness to preach the Cross? (1 Corinthians 1:21) If so...how could the all wise God command or bless it? Or is it only foolishness as professed by an unbelieving world?
3) The Amalekite (2 Samuel 1:16) professed to have killed King Saul. However the Holy Spirit inspired narrative denies his story. In 1 Samuel 31:1-5 we read that Saul actually fell upon his own sword and was already dead...yet the Amalekite was dealt with on the basis of his profession and slain.
So here in 2 Peter 2:1 These damnable heretics, professing to be redeemed by Christ's blood, are dealt with accordingly.
If Christ actually did purchase these apostates with His own blood - just the same way He actually did purchase His church (Acts 20:28) - we are left with the following scenario:
Christ died for all the sins of the apostates. All manner of sins may be viewed here e.g. those outlined in Mark 7:21-22 evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness etc., But these apostates have another sin laid to their charge which the ordinary sinner may not be guilty of i.e. apostasy. A man who never professed faith can never turn back from what he never professed. Let's think therefore about this particular sin of apostasy.
Is there pardon for sin of apostasy? Decidedly there is not, because by its very definition, it admits of no pardon. It is assuredly final...the man who commits it stepping over a boundary line of no return. Judas committed this sin and perished...Peter didn't (although he cursed Christ) and found pardon. We may conclude that there is no forgiveness for the sin of apostasy.
Did Christ die for the sin of apostasy? Either He did or He didn't. If He didn't...then obviously He did not die for all their sins. No matter how you look at it, this limits the atonement. There is a fuller atonement in the thought that Christ died for every last sin of His elect.
If Christ did die for the sin of apostasy...why is there no pardon for it? Why should this sin - paid for in full and included in that great cry "It is finished" - hinder the apostate more than any other sin for which the Saviour is said to have made full atonement?
Would the Saviour make atonement for a sin that could not be pardoned? What would be the point?
If we bring the foreknowledge of God into the debate, would the Saviour die for all the other sins of a man whom He foreknew would commit apostasy and never enter into the benefit of them?
[Note: We may widen these questions out...would the Saviour suffer for the sins of any man who dies in sin, knowing that they would never enter into the benefit of them? Would the Saviour suffer for the sins of those who have never had the gospel preached to them at all and are not numbered among the elect i.e. those OT heathen nations and many heathen nations today? Was Christ obliged to die for the sins of any man? Assuming your answer is "No" (Grace demands a negative reply) then is He obliged to die for the sins of all men?]
For the reasons given above, the Calvinist concludes that Christ did not actually redeem at any time the apostates mentioned in 2 Peter 2:1 They are judged according to their profession.
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