In part 1, we examined Owen’s contention: Christ’s death does not make salvation possible. It actually and infallibly applies the benefits of the cross to everyone that Christ died for.
the [purpose] of our Saviour’s coming, … [was] namely, to “save sinners;” — not to open a door for them to come in if they will or can; not to make a way passable, that they may be saved; … but actually to save them … (Bk II, chap 3; emphasis added)
This is true, according to Owen, because that is what God, as a wise and powerful agent, wanted to achieve through the cross. God would fail to achieve his goal of saving sinners if anyone for whom Christ died did not have salvation applied. Given these premises, it logically follows that anyone who does not receive salvation was someone that Christ did not die for.
In part 2, we looked at several of Owen’s arguments against a general atonement as presented in Book II. In this post we will examine some of Owen’s ideas on faith as a condition for receiving salvation as presented in Book II and III.
Begrudgingly admitting there is a distinction
The opponents of a limited atonement argue for a distinction between Christ obtaining the spiritual blessings of salvation and the application of these blessings. The discriminating factor, between the obtaining and the application, is an enduring faith.
The sum of all [who reject a limited atonement] comes to this, … Christ obtained redemption and reconciliation for all; [but] it is bestowed only on them who do believe and continue therein.
That there could be a distinction based on faith, in the eyes of Owen, is an idea full of “venom”. It has “no place in the intention and purpose of Christ.” For Owen, God is not in the business of conditionally applying salvation. Continue reading