Muller on Dort and “L”

In a second chapter, the Canons treat of the problem of the relationship of Christ’s sacrifice to the salvation of the elect. Because the form of the Canons is so closely related to the forms of the Remonstrance it is incorrect to argue that the Synod derived a concept of limited Atonement from the decrees. The second chapter of the Canons follows logically not upon the first chapter but upon the second chapter of the Remonstrance. The Remonstrance stated that the universal sufficiency of Christ’s death was available to all those men who chose faith in Christ. Dort affirms the infinite value and sufficiency of Christ’s death. It affirms also the universality of the call of the Gospel. The benefits of Christ, however, are available only to those chosen by God in eternity. No man is able to accept the promise of the Gospel without the gift of God’s grace. The Remonstrants might have accepted these declarations had it not been for their concept of election. Arminian theology like Calvinist restricted the actual efficacy of Atonement to the faithful. It set the limit in man’s rejection of God’s grace: the elect are those foreseen by God as faithful. The Calvinists denied the doctrine that election was based on foreknown faith. They thereby placed the limit of the efficacy of the Atonement in the will of God. The underlying issue addressed by the Calvinist response is the sovereignty of God’s grace in the work of salvation.

~ Richard Muller Predestination and Christology in Sixteenth Century Reformed Thought pg. 424, 425

Note that it is election that is limited. The value and sufficiency of Christ’s death is infinite. The reception is conditioned upon faith, and the creation of that faith is limited in God’s plan. This arrangement is key because it allows for a true offer of the gospel to all and places the blame of damnation on man’s rejection of God.

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