The atonement – part of a poem by William Blane

“The atonement” is a work set in verse which discusses some of the great issues that have been the source of debate among Christians for centuries.  What is God really like, and how do His attributes combine together?  How does God really deal with mankind, especially with regard to matters of salvation?

These are vital questions, and sadly many true Christians have followed doctrinal systems that have distorted the truths as revealed in the Bible.  Please read and consider prayerfully.

What means a universal call
If there be not enough for all?
As if the Saviour passed some by
While He for others’ sins did die,
And that, though all are told to come,
There’s but provision made for some;
Or that, in some mysterious way,
The Scriptures mean not what they say.
The mighty work of Jesus scan –
He “tasted death for every man.”
He “died for all” that they who live
Back to Himself that life should give.
He has for “all” Atonement made –
For all mankind the ransom paid.
God loved the world; and when He gave
His Son, it was the world to save.
And though He knew some would not take
Of the provision He would make,
The foreseen choice of self-willed man
Change not Heaven’s universal plan,
As in the love that moved His heart,
All in the Atonement had a part.

If not, He only mocks their fate
Who presses all, “ere ’tis too late,”
To trust a work not for them done,
To take a pardon while there’s none,
To fly from hell without a way,
Or perish if they disobey.
They scarcely can the sinner reach
Who thus a crippled Gospel preach.
‘Tis He who knows of food for all
That only can afford to call
A hungry world to come and feed –
All others would but mock their need.

O tell the tidings all around,
That every soul may hear the sound –
The Atoning work embraces all
Who were enveloped in the Fall.
To earth’s remotest regions go,
And preach to every child of woe,
Impartial who or what they be –
The rich, the poor, the bond, the free,
That Christ on their behalf has died,
And now is ready to forgive –
The simple terms, “Believe and live.”

Important points to consider:

1. The Biblical distinctions between God’s knowledge and His determination. Even the events of the cross – central events in history – were a combination of the two (Acts 2:23 “determined purpose” and “foreknowledge” being quite distinct and separate aspects of God’s outworking).
2. God can only hold creatures responsible when they have agency for making alternative choices. See Genesis 4 and God’s dealing with Cain – God gave him a real choice and decision to make, with real responsibility.
3. God in His sovereignty made creatures with just such agency, thereby limiting His own part in determining all their individual choices, without any loss of His complete knowledge of all things, including decisions and choices that would be freely and responsibly made.
4. The Biblical presentation of God’s love, grace and mercy are all incompatible with doctrines of absolute determinism. The word “irresistible” alone destroys the very Biblical concept of grace. As Stephen asked “Why do you always resist the Holy Spirit?” Grace is more an attitude towards all than it is a force imposed a some.
5. If God loves one sinner, He must love all others equally, as He is no respecter of persons. A love that cannot suffer being unrequited through rejection is no love at all.

No doubt these are just the starting point for many future discussions and articles. May God bless you from His Word as you search the scriptures and allow the Bible to be its own interpreter in all things.

This is contributed in the confidence that this outlook meets with the general consensus of those most closely involved with the witness of Cregrina Free Mission.

To close, here are a few more lines from William Blane’s remarkable work.

The Atonement is the mercy-seat
Where God the guilty one can meet,
And show him how his sins are gone,
Through what the Lord of Life hath done.
There Truth and Mercy met together,
Justice and Peace have kissed each other,
God’s attributes are harmonised,
And in His boundless love baptised;
There Justice, which we once did fear,
With outstretched hands invites us near,
And every soul by sin defiled
May unto God in Christ be reconciled.


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