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

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1 Timothy 4:10, 'Savior of all men'

...). (4) It means “the helper of all people,” taking Greek Sōtēr, “Savior,” to refer not to forgiveness of sins but to God’s common grace by which God helps and protects people in need. (5) It means “the Savior of all kinds of people, not Jews only but both Jews and Greeks.” In any case, the emphasis is on God’s care for the unsaved world, and in the flow of the letter Paul is stressing once more (cf. 2:3–5) that God’s will that people would be saved is the basis of the universal mission (cf. Matt. 28:19–20). On God as “Savior,” see note on 2 Tim. 1:8–10.

The ESV MacArthur Study Bible provides a commentary about this verse:[4]

1 Tim. 4:10 hope. Believers are saved in hope and live and serve in light of that hope of eternal life (Titus 1:2; 3:7; see note on Rom. 5:2). Working to the point of exhaustion and suffering rejection and persecution are acceptable because believers understand they are doing God’s work—which is the work of salvation. That makes it worth all of the sacrifices (Phil. 1:12–18, 27–30; 2:17; Col. 1:24–25; 2 Tim. 1:6–12; 2:3–4, 9–10; 4:5–8). the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. Paul is obviously not teaching universalism, that all people will be saved in the spiritual and eternal sense, since the rest of Scripture clearly teaches that God will not save everyone. Most will reject him and spend eternity in hell (Matt. 25:41, 46; Rev. 20:11–15). Yet, the Greek word translated “especially” must mean that all people enjoy God’s salvation in some way like those who believe enjoy his salvation. The simple explanation is that God is the Savior of all people, only in a temporal sense, while of believers in an eternal sense. Paul’s point is that while God graciously delivers believers from sin’s condemnation and penalty because he was their substitute (2 Cor. 5:21), all people experience some earthly benefits from the goodness of God. Those benefits are: 1) common grace—a term that describes God’s goodness shown to all mankind universally (Ps. 145:9) in restraining sin (Rom. 2:15) and judgment (Rom. 2:3–6), maintaining order in society through government (Rom. 13:1–5), enabling man to appreciate beauty and goodness (Ps. 50:2), and showering him with temporal blessings (Matt. 5:45; Acts 14:15–17; 17:25); 2) compassion—the broken-hearted, loving pity that God shows to undeserving, unregenerate sinners (Ex. 34:6, 7; Ps. 86:5; Dan. 9:9; Matt. 23:37; Luke 19:41–44; cf. Isa. 16:11–13; Jer. 48:35–37); 3) admonition to repent—God constantly warns sinners of their fate, demonstrating the heart of a compassionate Creator who has no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezek. 18:30–32; 33:11); and 4) the gospel invitation—salvation in Christ is indiscriminately offered to all (Matt. 11:28–29; 22:2–14; John 6:35–40; Rev. 22:17; cf. John 5:39–40). God is, by nature, a saving God. That is, he finds no pleasure in the death of sinners. His saving character is revealed even in how he deals with those who will never believe, but only in these four temporal ways. See notes on 1 Tim. 2:6.

The HCSB Study Bible explains:[5]

The statement that Jesus is the Savior of everyone, especially of those who believe may seem to teach universalism, the belief that every person will eventually go to heaven regardless of whether they accept Christ. But the rest of Scripture clearly denies this idea. The Greek word......


God's Absolute Sovereignty: Resources used

...ment Notes ...

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

...ldquo;a sacrifice that bears God’s wrath and turns it to favor,” and that is also the meaning of the English word “propitiation.” (See note on Rom. 3:25.) As the perfect sacrifice for sin, Jesus turns away God’s wrath (see also 1 John 4:10). For the sins of the whole world does not mean that every person will be saved, for John is clear that forgiveness of sins comes only to those who repent and believe the gospel (see 2:4, 23; 3:10; 5:12; cf.John 3:18; 5:24). But Jesus’ sacrifice is offered and made available to everyone in “the whole world,” not just to John and his current readers. 

The ESV MacArthur Study Bible explains:  [2]

Propitiation. C.f. 4:10. The word means “appeasement” or “satisfaction.” The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross satisfied the demands of God’s holiness for the punishment of sin (cf. Rom. 1:18; 2 Cor. 5:21; Eph 2:3). So Jesus propitiated or satisfied God. For the sins of the whole world. This is a generic term, referring not to every single individual, but to mankind in general. Christ actually paid the penalty only for those who would repent and believe. A number of Scripture indicates that Christ died for the world (John 1:29; 3:16; 6:51; 1 Tim. 2:6; Heb 2:9). Most of the world will be eternally condemned to hell to pay for their own sins, so they could not have been paid for by Christ. The passages that speak of Christ’s dying for the whole world must be understood to refer to mankind in general (as in Titus 2:3-4). “World” indicates the sphere, the beings toward whom God seeks reconciliation and has provided propitiation. God has mitigated his wrath on sinners temporarily, by letting them live and enjoy earthly life. In that sense, Christ has provided a brief, temporal propitiation for the whole world. But he actually satisfied fully the wrath of God eternally only for the elect who believe. Christ’s death in itself had unlimited and infinite value because he is Holy God. Thus his sacrifice was sufficient to pay the penalty for all the sins of all whom God brings to faith. But the actual satisfaction and atonement was made only for those who believe (cf. John 10:11, 15; 17:9, 20; Acts 20:28; Rom 8:32, 37; Eph 5:25). The pardon for sin is offered to the whole world, but received only by those who believe (cf. 1 John 4:9, 14; John 5:24). There is no other way to be reconciled to God.

The HCSB Study Bible says:  [3]

Jesus' perfect obedience and sacrificial death satisfied God's just demand for sin to be punished ( propitiation). But His punishment was for others, not for Himself. The phrase for those of the whole world does not mean the salvation of all people. It does mean that, in keeping with God's promise to bless all the nations through Abraham and his descendants (Gen 12:3), Jesus' saving death extends the offer of salvation to all nations.

This is what John Gill said: [4]

  • And he is the propitiation for our sins,.... For the sins of us who now believe, and are Jews:
  • and not for ours only; but for the sins of Old Testament saints, and of those who shall hereafter believe in Christ, and of the Gentiles also, signified in the next clause:
  • but also for [the sins] of the whole world; the Syriac version renders it, "not for us only, but also for the whole world"; that is, not for the Jews only, for John was a Jew, and so were those he wrote unto, but for the Gentiles also. Nothing is more common in Jewish writings than to call the Gentiles עלמא, "the world"; and
  • כל העו...

1 Timothy 2:4 & Titus 2:11, 'desires all people to be saved'

...edge of God, obedience, and authentic worship.

1 Timothy 2:5-6 Compact teachings, as in this passage, occur throughout the letters to Timothy and Titus (see also 3:16; 2 Tim 1:9-10; 2:8, 11-13; Titus 3:4-7). They might be adapted bits of creeds, hymns, or prayers that were known to the churches. The doctrines referenced probably relate to Paul’s trouble with the false teachers; it appears that their teaching undercut the universal appeal of the Good News and the effectiveness of the Gentile mission. The false teachers also had a deficient understanding of Jesus and his salvation.

Will of Desire

God’s will of desire: ESV MacArthur Study Bible:[6]

2:4 desires all people to be saved. The Greek word for “desires” is not that which normally expresses God’s will of decree (his eternal purpose), but God’s will of desire. There is a distinction between God’s desire and his eternal saving purpose, which must transcend his desires. God does not want men to sin. He hates sin with all his being (Ps 5:4; 45:7); thus, he hates its consequences ­­– eternal wickedness in hell. God does not want people to remain wicked forever in eternal remorse and hatred of himself. Yet, God for his own glory, and to manifest that glory in wrath, chose to endure “vessels…prepared for destruction” for the supreme fulfillment of his will (Rom. 9:22). In his eternal purpose, he chose only the elect out of the world (John 17:6) and passed over the rest, leaving them to the consequences of their sin, unbelief, and rejection of Christ, (cf. Rom. 1:18-32). Ultimately, God’s choices are determined by his sovereign, eternal purpose, not his desires. See note on 2 Pet. 3:9 the knowledge of the truth. Meaning “to be saved.” See note on 2 Tim 3:7

2:5 there is one God. There is no other way of salvation (Acts 4:12); hence there is the need to pray for the lost to come to know the one true God (cf. Deut. 4:35, 39; 6:4; Isa. 43:10; 44:6; 45:5-6, 21, 22; 46:9; 1 Cor. 8:4,6). Mediator. This refers to someone who intervenes between two parties to resolve a conflict or ratify a covenant. Jesus Christ is the only “mediator” who can restore peace between God and sinners (Heb. 8:6; 9:15; 12:24). The man Christ Jesus. The absence of the article before “man” in the Greek suggest the translation, “Christ Jesus, himself a man.” Only the perfect God-Man could bring God and man together. Cf. Job 9:32-33

2:6 a ransom. This describes the result of Christ’s substitutionary death for believers, which he did voluntarily (John 10:17-18), and reminds one of Christ’s own statement in Matt. 20:28, “a ransom for many.” The “all” is qualified by the “many.” Not all will be ransomed (though his death would be sufficient), but only the many who believe by the work of the Holy Spirit and for whom the actual atonement was made. See note on 2:9. Christ did not pay a ransom only; he became the object of God’s just wrath in the believer’s place –he died his death and bore his sin (cf. 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet 2:24). For all. This should be taken in two senses; 1) there are temporal benefits of the atonement that accrue to all people universally (see note on 1 Tim. 4:10), and 2) Christ’s death was sufficient to cover the sins of all people. Yet the substitutionary aspect of his death is applied to the elect alone (see above and notes on 2 Cor. 5:14-21). Christ’s death is therefore unlimited in it’s sufficiency, but limited in its application. Because Christ’s expiation of sin is indivisible, ...


2 Peter 3:8-9, not wishing that any should perish

...s who yet have to be born and/or be saved, so the Lord is patient toward His own and He’s not willing that any of them perish, but all of them come to Him (v 9).

In 2 Peter 3, the Christians – all God's elect are represented by Peter's audience as His beloved, even when they were dead in trespasses God loved them (Eph 2:1-10) and in love predestined them (Eph 1:3-6). It is for their sake that God is delaying the Parousia of our blessed Savior. God is waiting until the number of His elect is complete then He will send the Savior to judge the world in righteousness.

Commentaries

John MacArthur says the following in the ESV MacArthur Study Bible [1]

2 Pet. 3:9 not slow. That is, not loitering or late (cf. Gal. 4:4; Titus 2:13; Heb. 6:18; 10:23, 37; Rev. 19:11). patient toward you. “You” is the saved, the people of God. He waits for them to be saved. God has an immense capacity for patience before he breaks forth in judgment (cf. 2 Pet. 3:15; Joel 2:13; Luke 15:20; Rom. 9:22; 1 Pet. 3:15). God endures endless blasphemies against his name, along with rebellion, murders, and the ongoing breaking of his law, waiting patiently while he is calling and redeeming his own. It is not impotence or slackness that delays final judgment; it is patience. not wishing that any should perish. The “any” must refer to those whom the Lord has chosen and will call to complete the redeemed, i.e., the “you.” Since the whole passage is about God’s destroying the wicked, his patience is not so he can save all of them, but so that he can receive all his own. He can’t be waiting for everyone to be saved, since the emphasis is that he will destroy the world and the ungodly. Those who do perish and go to hell, go because they are depraved and worthy only of hell and have rejected the only remedy, Jesus Christ, not because they were created for hell and predetermined to go there. The path to damnation is the path of a non-repentant heart; it is the path of one who rejects the person and provision of Jesus Christ and holds on to sin (cf. Isa. 55:1; Jer. 13:17; Ezek. 18:32; Matt. 11:28; 23:37; Luke 13:3; John 3:16; 8:21, 24; 1 Tim. 2:3–4; Rev. 22:17). all should reach repentance. “All” (cf. “you,” “any”) must refer to all who are God’s people who will come to Christ to make up the full number of the people of God. The reason for the delay in Christ’s coming and the attendant judgments is not because he is slow to keep his promise, or because he wants to judge more of the wicked, or because he is impotent in the face of wickedness. He delays his coming because he is patient and desires the time for his people to repent.

The ESV Reformation Study Bible explains:  [2]

3:9 as some count slowness. See v. 4.

patient . . . all should reach repentance. Peter’s Christian readers must realize that the apparent delay of divine judgment is a sign of God’s forbearance and mercy toward them, particularly toward the believers in their midst who have been confused and misled by the false teachers. The repentance in view, for the sake of which God delays judgment, is that of God’s people rather than the world at large. God is not willing that any of His elect should perish (John 6:39).

The HCSB Study Bible explains:  [3]

3:9 The Lord has not yet returned, says Peter, because He is patient with you, not wanting any to perish. "You" is variously interpreted as a reference to the letter's Christian recipients (identified in 1:1) or else more broad...


2 Corinthians 5:14-15, 'he died for all'

...and God counts their old life as ended, thus freeing them from any future penal claims. he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him. As a consequence of Christ’s death, the power of sin in one’s life (see Gen. 3:1–7) has also been broken for all those who trust in Christ (cf. Rom. 6:1–14). Christ’s cross therefore frees the believer for a new way of life, exemplified by Paul himself as one that the love of Christ controls (see Titus 2:11–14).[1]

The ESV MacArthur Study Bible says the following:

2 Cor. 5:14 the love of Christ. Christ’s love for Paul and all believers at the cross (cf. Rom. 5:6–8). Christ’s loving, substitutionary death motivated Paul’s service for him (cf. Gal. 2:20; Eph. 3:19). controls. This refers to pressure that causes action. Paul emphasized the strength of his desire to offer his life to the Lord. one has died for all. This expresses the truth of Christ’s substitutionary death. The preposition “for” indicates he died “in behalf of,” or “in the place of ” all (cf. Isa. 53:4–12; Gal. 3:13; Heb. 9:11–14). This truth is at the heart of the doctrine of salvation. God’s wrath against sin required death; Jesus took that wrath and died in the sinner’s place. Thus he took away God’s wrath and satisfied God’s justice as a perfect sacrifice (see notes on 2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 5:6–11, 18–19; 1 Tim. 2:5–6; cf. Eph. 5:2; 1 Thess. 5:10; Titus 2:14; 1 Pet. 2:24). therefore all have died. Everyone who died in Christ receives the benefits of his substitutionary death (see notes on Rom. 3:24–26; 6:8). With this short phrase, Paul defined the extent of the atonement and limited its application. This statement logically completes the meaning of the preceding phrase, in effect saying, “Christ died for all who died in him,” or “One died for all, therefore all died” (see notes on 2 Cor. 5:19–21; cf. John 10:11–16; Acts 20:28). Paul was overwhelmed with gratitude that Christ loved him and was so gracious as to make him a part of the “all” who died in him.[2]

The HCSB Study Bible says about 2 Corinthians 5:13-15:

5:13-14 Paul's opponents probably had suggested that he was religiously unbalanced (see Ac 26:24). He was "insane" in that Christ's love compelled him into vigorous apostolic ministry. On the other hand, his ministry among the Corinthians had never been that of a madman (1Co 2:1-5). Indeed, he had kept his "third heaven" vision private for 14 years until he mentioned it later in this letter (12:1-10). The heart of Paul's message was that the Jewish Messiah had died on behalf of all kinds of sinners (1Co 15:3). Jews as well as Gentiles were included in Jesus' substitutionary death (Rev 7:9). In union with Christ, sinners who believe the gospel have died to sin and have been raised to walk in a new way of life.

 5:15 The phrase those who live refers to believers who are now spiritually alive (Eph 2:4-6). Christ's dea

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1 Corinthians 15:22-23, 'in Christ shall all be made alive'

...ow him, and his sin therefore affected all human beings. Similarly, Christ represented all who would belong to him, and his obedience therefore affected all believers (see note on 1 Cor. 15:23).

1 Cor. 15:23 at his coming. When Christ returns, all his people from all time will receive resurrection bodies, never again subject to weakness, illness, aging, or death. Until that time, those who have died exist in heaven as spirits without bodies (see 2 Cor. 5:8; Heb. 12:23; Rev. 6:9). Those who belong to Christ demonstrates that the “all” in relation to Christ in 1 Cor. 15:22 does not imply universalism.

The ESV MacArthur Study Bible sheds some light: [2]

1 Cor. 15:22 all . . . all. The two “alls” are alike only in the sense that they both apply to descendants. The second “all” applies only to believers (see Gal. 3:26, 29; 4:7; Eph. 3:6; cf. Acts 20:32; Titus 3:7) and does not imply universalism (the salvation of everyone without faith). Countless other passages clearly teach the eternal punishment of the unbelieving (e.g., Matt. 5:29; 10:28; 25:41, 46; Luke 16:23; 2 Thess. 1:9; Rev. 20:15).

The HCSB Study Bible: [3]

15:21-22 Paul presents a parallel of necessary effects. Through one man, Adam, death came to humanity. If this is ever to be reversed, it must be done so through like kind: a man. God has appointed just such a man: Jesus Christ, who is fully divine and fully human. Through His resurrection the promise of resurrection comes to a new humanity "in Christ." The second occurrence of the word all refers to all those who are joined to Christ through faith.

15:23 Jesus' resurrection precedes and makes certain the resurrection of those who belong to Christ at His coming.

Here is what Johann Albrecht Bengel said about 1 Cor 15:22: [4]

1Co 15:22. Πάντες ἀποθνήσκουσιν, all die) he says, die, not in the preterite, as for example, Rom 5:17; Rom 5:21, but in the present, in order that in the antithesis he may the more plainly speak of the resurrection, as even still future. And he says, all. Those who are in the highest degree wicked die in Adam; but Paul is here speaking of the godly, of whom the first fruits, ἀπαρχὴ, is Christ, and as these all die in Adam, so also shall they all be made alive in Christ. Scripture everywhere deals with believers, and treats primarily of their resurrection, 1Th 4:13-14: and only incidentally of the resurrection of the ungodly.—ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ, in Christ) These are the emphatic words in this clause. The resurrection of Christ being once established, the quickening of all is also established.—ζωοποιηθήσονται, they shall be made alive) He had said; they die, not, they are put to death; whereas now, not, they sh

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John 1:29, 'takes away the sin of the world'

...e Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 
(John 1:29 ESV)

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

Those who advocate the doctrine of Unlimited Atonement obviously take “world” everyone who has lived or will live, all without exception. Not world in the sense of many people, not world in the sense of from every “tribe and language and people and nation” as Revelation 5:9 would put it

Here is what the ESV MacArthur Study Bible says: [1]

John 1:29 The next day. This phrase probably refers to the day after John’s response to the Jerusalem delegation. It also initiates a sequence of days (v. 43; 2:1) that culminated in the miracle at Cana (2:1–11). the Lamb of God. The use of a lamb for sacrifice was very familiar to Jews. A lamb was used as a sacrifice during Passover (Ex. 12:1–36); a lamb was led to the slaughter in the prophecies of Isaiah (Isa. 53:7); a lamb was offered in the daily sacrifices of Israel (Lev. 14:12–21; cf. Heb. 10:5–7). John the Baptist used this expression as a reference to the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus on the cross to atone for the sins of the world, a theme which John the apostle carries throughout his writings (John 19:36; cf. Rev. 5:1–6; 7:17; 17:14) and that appears in other NT writings (e.g., 1 Pet. 1:19). sin of the world! See note on John 1:9; cf. 3:16; 6:33, 51. In this context “world” has the connotation of humanity in general, not specifically every person. The use of the singular “sin” in conjunction with “of the world” indicates that Jesus’ sacrifice for sin potentially reaches all human beings without distinction (cf. 1 John 2:2). John makes clear, however, that its efficacious effect is only for those who receive Christ (John 1:11–12). For discussion of the relation of Christ’s death to the world, see note on 2 Cor. 5:19.

The following is said by John Gill:[2]

  • and saith, behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world: he calls him a "lamb", either with respect to any lamb in common, for his harmlessness and innocence; for his meekness and humility; for his patience; and for his usefulness, both for food and clothing, in a spiritual sense; as well as for his being to be a sacrifice for the sins of his people: or else with respect to the lambs that were offered in sacrifice, under the legal dispensation; and that either to the passover lamb, or rather to the lambs of the daily sacrifice, that were offered morning and evening; since the account of them best agrees with what is said of this Lamb of God, who was slain in type, in the morning of the world, or from the foundation of the world; and actually in the evening of the world, or in the end of it; and who has a continued virtue to take away the sins of his people, from the beginning, to the end of the world; and their sins, both of the day and night, or which are committed every day: for as they are daily committed, there is need of the daily application of the blood and sacrifice of Christ, to remove them; or of continual looking unto him by faith, whose blood has a continual virtue, to cleanse from all sin: the Jewish doctors say {d}, that
  • "the morning daily sacrifice made atonement for the iniquities done in the night; and the evening sacrifice made atonement for the iniquities that were by day:''
  • and in various things they were typical of Christ, as that they were lambs of the first year, which may denote the weakness of the human nature of Christ, which had all the sinless i...