1 Timothy 2:4-6 speaks of all sorts of men, and specifically the elect of God. The passage does not speak of God’s will of desire, but God’s will of decree (see Book IV, chapter 4, see also here). The “all” and “every” in 2 Peter 3:9 is limited by the “you” (in the KJV “us-ward”), who are the elect and the beloved of the epistle (see Book IV, chapter 4, see also here). See also his comments on Hebrews 2:9 (see also here) and on 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (see also here) in chapter 4.
Comparing the Two Systems
Much more could be said about this work, but I’ll leave that task to you to find out by reading it. Let us close with a table which Owen provides (Book IV, chapter 7):
|1. Christ died for all and every one, elect and reprobate.||1. Christ died for the elect only.|
|2. Most of them for whom Christ died are damned.||2. All those for whom Christ died are certainly saved.|
|3. Christ, by his death, purchased not any saving grace for them for whom he died.||3. Christ by his death purchased all saving grace for them for whom he died.|
|4. Christ took no care for the greatest part of them for whom he died, that ever they should hear one word of his death.||4. Christ sends the means and reveals the way of life to all them for whom he died.|
|5. Christ, in his death, did not ratify nor confirm a covenant of grace with any federates, but only procured by his death that God might, if he would, enter into a new covenant with whom he would, and upon what condition he pleased.||5. The new covenant of grace was confirmed to all the elect in the blood of Jesus.|
|Christ might have died, and yet no one be saved.||6. Christ, by his death, purchased, upon covenant and compact, an assured peculiar people, the pleasure of the Lord prospering to the end in his hand.|
|7. Christ had no intention to redeem his church, any more than the wicked seed of the serpent.||7. Christ loved his church, and gave himself for it.|
|8. Christ died not for the infidelity of any.||8. Christ died for the infidelity of the elect.|
John Owen makes a biblically and logically tight case for what is commonly but unfortunately called Limited Atonement. He extensively uses Scripture and Scriptural concepts to argue his case, which makes the case all the more convincing. Adding to the final and primary authority of Scripture, his good use of “sanctified” common sense and logic against universal atonement and for definite redemption. This work, while extensive and verbose, is truly a blessing and a very good case not only for Particular Redemption, but on the whole question of the accomplishment and application of redemption. Owen spent 7 years writing and researching for this book, and it is still the foremost defense of particular redemption. No learned theo...