Did Jesus Christ die for the sins of all men or only for the sins of the elect? The Arminian or non-Reformed view of salvation holds to the work of Christ on the cross being as being for all men. In this view, Christ dies for the sins of all men to make salvation possible. It is then made effective upon the acceptance of man, those that reject this gift of salvation are then sent to the eternal flames of hell. What then becomes of those that never heard the gospel? They had their sins paid on calvary but yet never rejected the offer of salvation, do they perish as well? Upon what basis do they, the ones that never heard the gospel and thus never rejected it, get sent to hell since Christ died for their sins as well? Does God take a double payment?
God has received payment for the sins of all men by the sacrifice made by Jesus, he then takes payment from the individual for the very same sins that Jesus already paid, is this not double jeopardy? There are a few problems with holding to a universal atonement. Lets use the American Indian as an example. Prior to the colonization of the north American continent by Spain, France and England in the early part of the 16th century, the Indians did not have anyone presenting them with the gospel and thus did not reject the gospel. If they are then saved because their sins were atoned by Christ then salvation is possible without ever knowing Christ as Lord and savior. If they are not saved and are sent to hell then God is receiving a double payment for those sins.
Among those that hold to a reformed view of salvation the atoning work of Christ is only efficacious for the elect. In my opinion, had God wanted all men without exception to be saved, Jesus would not have to do anymore than he already did but His work is meant only for those whom God predestined unto salvation. Therefore, because God decreed that only those whom He called will be saved, the perfect work of Jesus on the cross is limited only to the elect.
I will be discussing the topic of salvation and try to get into more specifics and provide scriptural references in future posts. I may take the time and go through the Ordo Salutis from the Reformed perspective. Remember… Calvinism is a nick name for biblical Christianity ;-)