I would like to continue to look at the doctrine of limited/definite atonement, and lest you accuse me of accepting a system rather than Scripture let me lead a short expositional look at the doctrine of limited/definite atonement from John chapter 10. At the outset I want to admit that my goal is not to “wax eloquent” on this passage. My intent is simply to put the Scripture before you, and let it speak for itself.John 10:11 (ESV)
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.This is an obvious reference to the crucifixion. Here Christ foreshadows the sacrifice that would be paid on the cross. Notice who Christ says the shepherd will lay down his for, it is the sheep. So the obvious question that pertains to our subject is who are the sheep?
John 10:27 (ESV)
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
Here Christ answers our question for us. The sheep are the ones who hear the voice of the shepherd, the shepherd knows the sheep, and the sheep follow the shepherd. These are the ones that the shepherd lays down his life for.
The obvious question that may be left in your mind is “what about the ‘all’ and ‘world’ passages in Scripture that seem to teach that Christ died for the sins of the world. This is a good question, because it comes from a desire to understand God’s word. I think that we can gain some insight into these passages with several thoughts. First is the use of hyperbolic language in Scripture. We should not have a hard time understanding hyperbole because we use it all the time (get it). Second, I think that we can be true to God’s word and interpret “world” and “all” to mean that the gospel is available to all people groups regardless of race. In other words, the gospel is available to the entire world not just the Jews. Again, lest you think that I am bowing to a system rather than Scripture look at John 10.
John 10:16 (ESV)
I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice.
I know that this has not been the most in-depth look at this doctrine, but that was never my goal. My prayer is that no matter what view you take on this doctrine you do so because your conviction of Scripture forces you to do so.