The Staunch Calvinist

"Absolute sovereignty is what I love to ascribe to God." - Jonathan Edwards



1 John 2:2, 'for the sins of the whole world'

1 John 2:2 

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, 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 (ESV)

(For a better and more recent defense see here.)

The first word to examine is propitiation. Propitiation (ἱλασμός, G2434) means the appeasement of (divine wrath of) God. Thus it means the forgiveness of sins as seen for example in Rom 3:25, 1 Jn 4:10.  If we take the “sins of the world world” to mean the sins of every single individual who has ever lived, then we have Universalism on our hands, which is not consistent with the whole testimony of the Bible. Second, we know from the Bible that we have to believe to be saved, we need to have faith to be redeemed (Rom 10:9-10; c.f. “Repentance and faith are necessary for salvation”).

There is a passage in the Gospel according to John that is very similar to 1 Jn 2:2 and I believe it will help us understand what 1 Jn 2:2 is talking about. The passage is Jn 11:51-52.

...
1 John 2:2 John 11:51-52
He is the propitiation for our sins, …he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation,
and not for ours only and not for the nation only,
but also for the sins of the whole world. but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.

God's Absolute Sovereignty: Concise Scripture List

The LORD reigns

Eph 1:11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,

Heb 1:3 “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”

1Ch 29:11-12; Ps 115:3, 135:6; Rom 11:36; Col 1:15-17; Heb 1:3

Over life and death

1Sm 2:6-8 The LORD kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up. 7 The LORD makes poor and makes rich; he brings low and he exalts. 8 He raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor. For the pillars of the earth are the LORD's, and on them he has set the world.

Ex 4:11; Dt 32:39

Good and ill; Peace and war

Isa 45:5-7 I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, 6 that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the LORD, and there is no other. 7 I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity , I am the LORD, who does all these things.

Job 2:10; Lam 3:37-38; Amos 3:6; 1Pet 4:19

The LORD’s Decree

Ps 33:10-12 The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples. 11 The counsel of ...