If Christ Dies as Proxy for All Humanity, Why Isn’t Universal Salvation the Result?
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If Christ Dies as Proxy for All Humanity, Why Isn’t Universal Salvation the Result?


The question I have is, if the basis
on which Jesus becomes our proxy pertains to the Incarnation and
potentially baptism, would that not entail that he stands in as proxy for
all humanity, and therefore all humanity is atoned? Yes; this is a very very interesting question. Again, one of the
objections raised by Socinus says that if Christ died for all persons and paid
the penalty for their sins, then why isn’t universal salvation the result? Why
are some people still damned? This is not an objection to penal substitution as
such; this is an argument concerning the extent of the atonement. And reformed
theologians like [inaudible] actually agreed with this objection, and therefore
believed that Christ died only for the elect, and therefore the non-elect,
their sins are not atoned for, and therefore they are damned. Now, I don’t like the doctrine of limited atonement; I think that it’s not
biblically supported and so what I would say is that although Christ’s atoning
death is sufficient for the salvation of all persons, its actualization requires a
response of faith and repentance on the part of the individual believer in order
to become a beneficiary of that payment. And here, the legal notion of pardon is very instructive. Divine forgiveness of sin is
much more akin to a legal pardon than it is to the kind of forgiveness that
typically takes place in interpersonal human relationships because as a result
of divine forgiveness of sins, our guilt is abolished and our liability
to punishment is annulled. In other words, what God issues to us is a legal pardon
of our wrongdoing so that we are no longer liable to punishment. Now pardons
require acceptance by the pardon-ey. The courts have ruled in the past that in
order for a pardon to be fully efficacious it needs to be accepted by
the pardon-ey, and in any case, pardons can be conditional. The president or the
governor may issue a pardon which is efficacious on certain conditions being
fulfilled. So, suppose that God has issued the pardon for sin on the condition of
repentance and faith. In that case, that pardon, though achieved by Christ’s death,
will only be efficacious when the conditions of repentance and faith are
met by the individual person. And so I would say that yes Christ’s death is
universal in covering the penalty for all sin, but that it becomes an
efficacious pardon of our sins only insofar as we accept it by repentance
and faith.

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