This is borrowed from some notes I receive via email by RC Sproul (jr). Please give me your thoughts on 1 John 2:2:

“And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”

 

 

My hero and teacher, Dr.
John Gerstner, in dealing with one of the errors of dispensationalism,
its rejection of the doctrine of limited atonement, referred to this
error as, “beating the ‘L’ out of TULIP. Though we believe the five
points of Calvinism are of a piece, that to reject one is at best to
confuse the others, at worst to deny the others, it is limited
atonement that most people have a struggle with. And this text is a
common proof-text for those wanting to affirm that it was the purpose
of Christ that He should suffer the wrath of the Father due to all men
for all sins.
 
This error, like many
such errors on this issue, is at base a failure to understand the
context of the
New
Testament
Church
. Two hundred years later the church struggled with the issues of the
Trinity and the incarnation. Fifteen hundred years later they struggled
with how to understand justification. But the first century church, by
and large, had one great issue to deal with- what about the Gentiles?
Huge sections of the book of Acts cover this issue. Galatians deals
with this issue. I Peter deals with the issue.  Even Hebrews, in a
mirroring kind of way, deals with the issue.
 
In
the time that Jesus took on flesh, we need to remember, even pious Jews
looked at the world as being divided into two kinds of people- God’s
people the Jews, and the rest, the dogs. God had since the time of
Abraham dealt with a single people. Now everything was changing. At the
beginning, the church was made up mostly of Abraham’s ethnic heirs. It
was not long, however, before the Spirit was poured out amongst the
Gentiles. Soon after Gentiles made up a majority of the church.
 
So
what is John telling us? If he means what our friends who don’t believe
in limited atonement think he means, just as with the rest of their
“proof-texts,” then he means too much. That is, if the text means that
Jesus covered all the sins of all people, then we can rest assured that
all people will be in heaven. The text then teaches not unlimited
atonement, but universalism. How could a person suffer in hell if his
sins had already been covered? Instead what John is telling us here, in
context, is simple enough. Jesus did not come to atone for the sins of
the Jews. God’s plan was neither to condemn all the Gentiles, nor to
send a savior different from Jesus to cover the sins of the Gentiles.
Instead, Jesus came and suffered for the sins of all of God’s people,
the Jews and the Gentiles.
 
The
good news isn’t that Jesus merely made it possible for all people to be
saved. The good news is that all those who are His have had their sins
covered. And in Him we are all one, with neither Jew nor Greek. The
gospel is about one kingdom, one king, and one people, the people of
God who are all those who Jesus suffered for. One Lord, one faith, one
baptism. He is indeed the propitiation for the sins of the world, for
those whom He chose before the foundation of time, whether they be in
Boone, North Carolina, or Yangon, Myanmar, whether they be in Antioch
or in Bristol, whether they be in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, or the
outermost parts of the world.

 

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