“We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:1-2)
I. Biblical data that supports the premises of the two following arguments
Christ is the propitiation for our sins. He intercedes with the Father on the basis of his accomplished his work of atonement. He is the perfect advocate whose intercession with the Father is always successful (I John 2:1; Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25; 9:24-26; John 11:41-42,).
II. Argument 1 from Christ’s intercession
Premise: Christ’s intercession with the Father is always successful.
Outline of argument:
(1) If Jesus intercedes for all, all would actually be saved.
(2) But not all are saved.
(3) Therefore Jesus does not intercede for all.*
III. Argument 2 from “Propitiation”
Premise: Christ as “propitiation” has turned away God’s wrath (1John 2:2).
Outline of argument:
1) If Christ has really bore God’s wrath for everybody, nobody will go to hell, since their punishment has already been born by Christ.
2) But Scripture does testify that the wicked will experience punishment in hell.
3) Therefore Christ is not the propitiation for the sins of everybody
IV. The Logic of the arguments
The two arguments have the same logical form:
If P, then Q
Therefore, Not P [modus Tollens]
We summarize with the impeccable logical argument of Francis Turretin (1623-1687): “It is gratuitously supposed that a universal intercession can be granted. For as he is always heard by the Father (John 11:42), if he would intercede for all, all would be actually saved” [Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology, vol. 2 (Presbyterian & Reformed, 1994), p. 464.]
* For the purpose of the present argument, I am using term “for all” as a distributive term, that is, referring singly and without exception to the members of a group. For a different understanding of the term, read the two earlier related posts
Why Arminians Limit the Atonement More than Calvinists.
Definite Atonement (Part 1/3): Engaging Arminian Proof Texts for Universal Atonement.
Definite Atonement (Part 2/3): Biblical Evidence and Theological Arguments.