Obviously I’m really pushing this book. Here’s why:
Let’s begin by considering the logic of the doctrine. Some claim that definite atonement is a monstrosity of Calvinistic logic. In reality, both Arminianism and Calvinism are self-consistent logical systems.
If human beings are capable of responding to God’s grace on their own, and if election means only God’s acceptance of those He foresees will turn to Him, then the only atonement that is necessary is one that permits God to forgive those who so respond (Arminianism). But if, on the other hand, fallen human beings are in bondage to their sinful nature, incapable of understanding spiritual things, submitting to God’s Law, or doing anything pleasing to Him; and if election is truly a matter of God’s unconditional choice—if, in short, God has given a people to His Son—then we would expect an atonement that actually saves the lost (Calvinism). From the point of view of a Calvinistic understanding of the Scriptures, it is the Arminian atonement that seems a monstrosity, because it promises fallen men and women no power to raise them from their spiritual death. If a woman were lying at the bottom of a deep well, with no strength to climb out, it would not comfort her much to hear somebody at the top shouting, “Good news! There is nothing to prevent me giving you a hand once you get to the top!” From the Calvinist perspective, the help offered by an Arminian atonement is worthless.
The Calvinist atonement, in contrast, is one that actually saves the lost. Jesus’ death satisfied the claims of divine justice against the sins of the elect and purchased for them all that is required for their salvation: effectual calling, faith, justification, sanctification, and eventual glorification with Christ in heaven. All these blessings of salvation flow to them from the Cross. Christ has paid for their sins. He has descended to the very bottom of the well on their behalf, and He will by no means fail to rescue them. “And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day” (John 6:39).
From the Calvinist point of view, it is Arminianism that presents logical impossibilities. Arminianism tells us that Jesus died for multitudes that will never be saved, including millions who never so much as heard of Him. It tells us that in the case of those who are lost, the death of Jesus, represented in Scripture as an act whereby He took upon Himself the punishment that should have been ours (Isa. 53:5), was ineffective. Christ has suffered once for their sins, but they will now have to suffer for those same sins in hell.*
“I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them (Jn 17:6–10 emphasis mine).
Soli Deo Gloria!
For His Glory,
*Clotfelter, David (2004-10-01). Sinners in the Hands of a Good God: Reconciling Divine Judgment and Mercy (p. 164-165). Moody Publishers. Kindle Edition.