There is a second reason that I cannot accept the tenets of Calvinism and it involves the Calvinist postulate that God before the foundation of the world chose the elect to be “in Christ” and those individuals are the ones Jesus died for on the cross to pay the penalty for THEIR sin and THEIR sin alone. Calvinism contends that propitiation and expiation were completed on the cross. Propitiation means God’s wrath is satisfied while expiation means sin has been wiped away. Propitiation involves a sacrifice. So Christ went to the cross to become our substitute and in dying, He paid the price for our sin, expiating our sin and propitiating God’s wrath therefore reconciling us to Him.
People are propitiated and problems expiated. If this is indeed true and propitiation and expiation were completed on the cross for the elect and the elect alone, then two things MUST be true. First of all, the elect are predestined for heaven and never become the elect but rather ARE the elect from the foundation of the world. The second truth is the non-elect can NEVER be redeemed because no expiation was provided for them on the cross and forgiveness is impossible apart from the shedding of blood. According to calvinism, Jesus did not shed a drop of blood to expiate the sin of the non-elect and propitiation is not possible for the non-elect.
There is another implication that must be considered if propitiation and expiation were completed on the cross and that is the eternal state of the elect. Calvinism posits every person being born in an unregenerate state and at the appointed time, the elect are regenerated and repentance THEN takes place and believing faith becomes operative and conversion takes place. The question must be answered is this; are the elect and the non-elect in the same condition prior to regeneration?
I am convinced they are not. If expiation was completed on the cross for the elect or ANYONE for that matter, his or her sin has already been dealt with. If propitiation was completed on the cross, then God’s wrath is placated and reconciliation has already taken place for the elect. Listen to John Piper’s comment on propitiation,
“If ‘the whole world’ referred to every individual in the world, we would be forced to say that John is teaching that all people will be saved, which he does not believe (Revelation 14:9-11). The reason we would be forced to say this is that the term propitiation refers to a real removal of wrath from sinners. When God’s wrath against a sinner is propitiated, it is removed from that sinner. And the result is that all God’s power now flows in the service of his mercy, with the result that nothing can stop him from saving that sinner.
Propitiated sins cannot be punished. Otherwise propitiation loses its meaning. Therefore if Christ is the propitiation for all the sins of every individual in the world, they cannot be punished, and must be saved. But John does not believe in such universalism (John 5:29). Therefore it is very unlikely that 1 John 2:2 teaches that Jesus is the propitiation of every person in the world.” To see Piper’s comments CLICK HERE.
Piper is correct. Propitiation refers to a REAL REMOVAL OF WRATH FROM SINNERS. Given this statement, the following conclusion that Piper makes is problematic: “the result is that all God’s power now flows in the service of his mercy, with the result that nothing can stop him from saving that sinner.” Once expiation and propitiation take place, the result is the sinner IS SAVED not TO BE SAVED. If expiation and propitiation are completed on the cross, there is NOTHING that needs to be done for the one whose sins have been removed. Piper’s own statement confirms this: “Therefore if Christ is the propitiation for all the sins of every individual in the world, they cannot be punished, and must be saved.” Now, he is looking at another angle of his own argument BUT the implications work both ways!
One of two things MUST be true; propitiation and expiation are either completed at Calvary or they are not. They cannot be completed at Calvary and then appropriated at conversion. One thing is absolutely clear; completed means what it means. If one MUST repent and believe BEFORE propitiation or expiation are completed, then they cannot be completed on the cross and the whole foundation of calvinism’s position on limited or particular atonement crumbles.
If propitiation and expiation and the atonement are indeed completed on the cross, then as Piper points out, sin is removed when propitiation and expiation are completed and there is now no more condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus; if propitiation, expiation and atonement were completed at the cross and sin is indeed removed and reconciliation completed, there is no need for regeneration at a later date. If the postulates of calvinism are indeed true, the elect are born the elect and do not BECOME the elect and they cannot not be the elect. There is never a time in the life or an individual who is born the elect where his sin is not paid for in full and as such there is never a time when he is in danger of God’s wrath and in fact he is born reconciled to God.
I understand this is NOT what calvinists teach, but it is consistent with the tenets of calvinism as I have put forth and that is why I cannot subscribe to the calvinist theological system.