Elder Bill Walden (dec)

The very word “atonement” is sufficient to show that amends have been made for the wrongs of those for whom Christ died, their sins have been expiated and atoned for through the precious, literal blood of the spotless Lamb of God -- the Just for the unjust. “Universal atonement” is the common doctrine taught by the majority of religious institutions, and it brings all denominations to common grounds, opens ways for ecumenical councils, and is the foundation for the “World For Christ” movement today. This is an insult to the sovereignty and perfection of God.

Atonement is taught in the inspired word to be limited to the objects of God’s love. God, who works all things after the counsel of His own will, saw fit to choose in His Son a particular number in eternity past (Ephesians 1:4), and these objects of divine love shall, through means of sovereign grace, praise Him, world without end.

It pleased the Son to shed His blood and atone for just as many as were chosen in Him; no more, no less. John the Baptist said in John 1:29, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” The meaning of the Greek words “taketh away” is to “tend,” or to “carry off." We refer the reader to the 16th Chapter of Leviticus, verses 20-22. You will find the scapegoat was a type of Jesus Christ, the sin-bearer of the elect. All the iniquities, all the sins, all the transgressions of Israel were borne away into the wilderness, “And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness” (verse 22). This is what John the Baptist is saying: “Behold the Lamb of God that beareth away the sin of the world.

Now, in light of this scripture, it is evident that the “sin of the world” was to be borne, and it was prophesied by the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 53:6, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”  Seeing then that the “iniquity of us all,” and the “sin of the world” was laid upon Him, we know neither John nor Isaiah was talking about the whole world of the Adamic race.

Reference is made in the Bible to various worlds. In Hebrews 11:3, “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God,...” Here we find many meanings of “world,” including “universe” and “ages.”  To say that the word “world” in every mention in the Bible is the one Christ died for is to say He died for the “universe.” Paul said, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world.” Translated from the Greek here, world is “cosmos,” which means “earth.” Christ did not die for the earth.  As we examine the world in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world," this can be none other than the covenant, or elect, world. “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.”

Luke 1:68: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people."  John, in Revelation 5:9, saw the blood bought out of “every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;...” and Paul was persuaded of the efficacy of the blood of Christ for those whom God foreknew in the great covenant when he said, “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect?” (Romans 8:33).

We have great reason to rejoice that our Christ would condescend to die for sinful mortals. As one inspired poet wrote, “0, wondrous love, to bleed and die; to bear the cross and shame; that guilty sinners such as I, might plead Thy gracious name.”