All Commanded to Believe - Question

Discussion in 'Theological Forum' started by G, Feb 16, 2020.

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  1. G

    G Puritan Board Junior

    I hope this post finds you well on this Lord’s Day. Below is a quote from a section from The Christian’s Reasonable Service by A’ Brakel:

    Now to be fair, I am likely just being a little dense. However, when I read this common objection, as noted by Brakel, I too would agree it to be to false in the second preposition. However, when I read his responses I still get a sense that there is more that could be said and that A’ Brakel did not quite cut this argument down all the way. Any reflections would be much appreciated. I hope you find this a blessing to dwell upon.:detective:

    1. Is it true that all men are obligated to believe in Christ?

    2. If yes, then does it necessarily follow that Christ died for all?

    To be clear, I agree with Brakel, but for some reason, he will not answer me when I try to ask him for clarification.:oops:
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2020
  2. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Senior

    Hi Grant,

    I'm always amazed to dwell on this. In confirmation class, we've been studying and the children memorizing Heidelberg 37-39.

    The idea of Christ dying for all is not so cut and dry in Reformed theology. Some would say that Christ in no way died for anyone but the elect. Others believe that the truth of the matter is better stated that He did not die equally for all-- that is, with the same intention.

    Charles Hodge masterfully writes about this subject and it is my favorite treatment of the doctrine.
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  3. G

    G Puritan Board Junior

    Thanks for the resource. I liked the below quote and found it very helpful.

    “Nevertheless, the act of Adam as the head and representative of his race, was fruitful of evil consequences, not to man only, but to the earth and all that it contains; and so the work of Christ is fruitful of good consequences to others than those for whom He acted. But this does not justify any one in saying that Adam acted as much as the representative of the brute creation, as of his posterity; neither does it justify the assertion that Christ died for all mankind in the same sense that He died for his own people. This is all so clearly revealed in Scripture that it extorts the assent of those who are decidedly opposed to the Augustinian system.” - Charles Hodge from the above link

  4. Poimen

    Poimen Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    The one who is the only Saviour is not the Saviour of every person in the sense that everyone is saved because, in order to reason to that conclusion, we must make him not a Saviour - or a half Saviour which, again, is not the same thing as a Saviour (without qualifications).

    What I mean is that we must limit his salvation to potentiality for if he truly saves every person then every one is saved, regardless of whether they believe and whether or not (those who believe) persevere. All must limit the atonement if they want to hold to some being eternally lost: some in terms of the extent of the atonement, and all others (except universalists) in terms of the potency of the atonement.

    Furthermore, I do not believe there is an example in the scriptures where the gospel is preached to unbelievers as in: "Christ died for you" or even "believe that Christ died for you." Christ is presented as the sufficient Saviour for all who believe. The command to believe is based on the sufficient Saviour insofar as there is only one person and one way to be saved but not based on a real, substitutionary death and obedience for every one of them.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2020
  5. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Acts 17:30, "But now He commands all men everywhere to repent..."

    Wouldn't it be strange to hold a position that God commands all men everywhere to repent but doesn't demand all men everywhere also to believe?
  6. G

    G Puritan Board Junior


    In keeping with the OP, A’ Brakel is not really dealing with the biblical truth that we should command all men to repent. After all, the answer to the question in Acts of “What must we do to bo saved?” Is essentially “Repent and Believe” in the Acts account.

    I believe Brakel is a addressing more the question of the atonement of Christ and if it can be said if Christ dies for all? In context he is dealing more with the Lutheran, Arminian, and Universalist views.

    I think in my reading of the fuller section, that he would say “no”. I think this is an area within reformed bodies where the principle truths are confirmed and united, but the terminology used to describe those principles can have a range of expression.

    Case in point, when I read the Hodge section linked above, I did not read him disagreeing with Brakel so much as articulating the nuances in a different way.
  7. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Ok, thanks for the clarification.
  8. Afterthought

    Afterthought Puritan Board Senior

    1.) Yes. Not all are obligated to believe Christ died for them though. They are obligated to believe that Christ is offered to them; that Christ will be theirs if they repent and believe; that Christ is willing and desirous to save all who come to him in repentance and faith; and if they repent and believe, they can know that Christ died for them.

    2.) No, the obligation to believe comes from the moral law (1st Commandment), as does the obligation to repent. Faith is a gift purchased by Christ's death, and all for whom Christ died are dead in him and will be made alive. 2 Cor. 5:14, Rom. 6:8.
  9. G

    G Puritan Board Junior

    Direct, simple, and very helpful. Thank you brother.:detective:
  10. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    All men are commanded to believe in Christ as crucified and offered to them. But they are not required to believe that Christ died for them. Telling them that the crucified Christ is theirs for the taking is not the same thing as telling them that Christ died for them. That knowledge only comes after the fact.

    I can offer someone a check for $1000. That's not the same thing as telling thim that I earned that money for him in particular.
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