Archive for the ‘Sufficient for All, Efficient for the Elect’ Category


Thirdly, we must distinguish of the sufficiency, and worth of Christ’s death in itself, and the effectual application of it: Christ’s death is of value enough to redeem ten thousand worlds, because it’s the obedience to death of that person who is God as well as man, and by reason of his Deity there is such a merit, and satisfaction upon his death, that the sins of all men, and devils are not able to counterpoise it: But Christ’s intention, and purpose was to lay down his life only for his sheep, John 10:11.

Samuel Clarke, Medulla Theologiæ: Or the Marrow of Divinity, Contained in Sundry Questions and Cases of Conscience, both Speculative, and Practical; the Greatest Part of them Collected out of the Works of Our Most Judicious, Experienced, and Orthodox English Divines, The Rest Supplied by the Authour, (London: Printed by Thomas Ratcliff, for Thomas Underhill, of the Blue Anchor and Bible in Pauls Church-Yard, 1659), 282. [Some spelling modernized.]

Du Moulin:

VIII. We do very much differ from this opinion: We acknowledge that Christ died for all; but we deny, that by his death salvation and forgiveness of sin is obtained for all men: Or that reconciliation is made for Cain, Pharaoh, Saul, Judas, &c. Neither do we think that remission of sins is obtained for any one, whose sins are not remitted; or that salvation was purchased for him, whom God from eternity has decreed to condemn: for this were a vain purchase. We deny that election is after the death of Christ, as for many other causes, for also because Christ in the very agony of death gave a notable proof of election in these, whose heart he affected, and enlightened his mind after an immutable manner; the other these being left and neglected. And seeing that Christ does every where say that he died for his sheep, and for those whom his Father gave him, he does sufficiently declare that he died for the elect.

IX. And when we say that Christ died for all, we take it thus, to wit, that the death of Christ is sufficient to save whosoever do believe, yea, and that it is sufficient to save all men, if all men in the whole world did believe in him: And that the cause why all men are not saved, is not in the insufficiency of the death of Christ, but in the wickedness and incredulity of men. Finally Christ may be said to reconcile all men to God by his death, after the same manner, that we say that the Sun does enlighten the eyes of all men, although many are blind, many sleep, and many are hid in darkness: Because if all and several men had their eyes, and were awake, and were inn the midst of the light, the light of the Sun were sufficient to enlighten them. Neither is it any doubt but that it may be said, not only that Christ died for all men, but also that all men are saved by Christ, because among men, there is none saved but by Christ: After the same manner, that the Apostle says, 1 Cor. 15.20, that, “all men are made alive by Christ,” because no man is made alive but by him.

Peter Du Moulin, The Anatomy of Arminianism (London: Printed for Nathanael Nevvbery, at the signs of the star in the Popes-Head-Alley, 1635), 198-199. [Some spelling modernized and underlining mine.]

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6. If it be ruled thus, that Christ died sufficiently for all, but it is not effectual to all, me thinks that is not a sufficient answer. His death was sufficient for all, if the will of God had been1 so set, and if men would receive him. We are not to look at an aptitudinal, potential, objective, abstracted sufficiency of the death of Christ, but we look at it subjectively, and actually and formally, with the will and intention of the Father and the Son, for a price to be paid, and merit to be given, and satisfaction to be made for sinners. [Vide Voetium disputat. Theolog. p. 2. Cap. De mertito Christi.] We do not look whether Christ’s death was sufficient to save the damned, but whether Christ did actually give himself a ransom for the reprobates, or no. It will be a hard thing and not to be digested by the reason of Scripture, to take this for a truth, that Christ died for those that shall perish; that he suffered in the stead and room of the damned, that he paid a price for them, and yet they perish [Maxime, hypothetica minime est positiva.]. It will but come to this, that the death and sufferings of Christ might have been sufficient for all, if God so had intended, if Christ so would have had it, but it does not conclude, that the obedience and death of Christ is sufficient for all. The sufficiency of a thing is best seen in the intention it should be so, and in the efficiency of it.

1. Better were it for us to see if we be Christ’s sheep, know our shepherd, hear his voice and follow him [Matt 1:21.].
2. If we be soul-wounded sheep, these may best look at wounds of the Savior [Luke 1:77.].
3. If we be a people in covenant with Christ, he came to save his people from their iniquities [Luke 1:77.].
4. If we believe Christ, and can trust in him for remission of sins, the knowledge of salvation is given by remission of sins.
5. If we be obedient to Christ, for he is the author of eternal salvation to them that obey him [Heb. 5:9.].
6. If we partake of Christ’s Spirit of sanctification and purifying, for he gave himself for us, that he might purify us to himself [Tit. 2:14.].

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Thirdly, this point serves for consolation, and that many ways. First, against this fear of our own weakness, “It is not our Father’s will that one of the little ones should perish” [Mat. 18:14]; “None is able to take them out of his hand” [John 10:29]. Secondly, against our doubts about prayer, “Whatsoever you ask the Father in Christ’s name shall be given you” John 16:23]. Thirdly, against all the troubles of this world, if he has been a Father of Mercy, to forgive your sins, and give you grace, he will be a Father of Glory, to crown you in a better world in the inheritance of his Sons [Ephes. 1:17].

Who has made us fit.] Doct. We are neither naturally happy, nor universally so, not naturally, for we are made fit, not born so, not universally, for he has made [us] fit, not all men. Christ died for his sheep only [John 10], for his Church only [Ephes. 1], not for the World [John 17]. And therefore when the Scripture says, Christ died for all men, we must understand it, first, in respect of the sufficiency of his death, not in respect of the efficiency of it. Secondly, in respect of the common oblation of the benefits of his death externally in the Gospel unto all. Thirdly, as his death extends to all the Elect: for all, that is, for the Elect. Fourthly, for all, that is, for all that are saved, so that none that are justified and saved, are so, but by the virtue of his death. Fifthly, for all, that is for all indefinitely, for all sorts of men, not for every man of every sort. Lastly, he died for all, that is not for the Jews only, but for the Gentiles also.

Nicolas Byfield, An Exposition Vpon the Epistle to the Colossians (Printed by E.G. For Nathaniel Bvtter, and are to be sould at his Shop at the signe of the pide-bull in Pauls Church-yard, neare to S. Austins Gate, 1617), 99.


Christ certainly has not redeemed all; for then having satisfied offended justice, what should hinder their salvation? Application? “He that freely grave his Son, how shall he not freely give us all things,” even application?–You will say, all fell, therefore, Christ must redeem all; nay, rather as all fell, so all by Christ shall be quickened by resurrection. Christ paid, indeed, a sufficiency price for the world, but not efficient: he redeemed the elect only; now all are not ordained or elected to life, for then all would have been prayed for, John 17:9, and all would believe, “for as many as were ordained to eternal life believed,” Acts 13:48. But we see few believe and persevere to the end; yet all Christ’s do and shall believe; increase of them is daily seen; every lost groat1 shall be found; nothing can hinder, they (when built) are built upon a sure foundation, “Christ the rock; the gates of hell,” that is, hell’s strength and policy shall not prevail against them. “No weapon formed against them shall prosper,” Isa. 54, ver. ult. “Christ’s the builder, the Word and Spirit,” the means which cannot fail. If God send his word, great shall be the company of them hat praise him, even in this sense–the building as it shall go forward, so it will last, since the foundation Christ cannot shrink. Christ assures us his blood was shed (not for all) “but for many for the remission of sins,” those who loves, those he will continue “to love to the end,” according to the text, “whom he loves, he loves to the end.”

Hezekiah Holland, A Christian Looking-Glasse: Or a Glimps of Christ’s Unchangably Everlasting Love (London: Printed by T.R. & E.M. for George Calvert, at the Half-moon in Watling-street, neer Pauls stump, 1649), 13-15. [Some spelling modernized; marginal comments not included; footnote mine; and underlining mine.]


1[An English silver coin worth four pence, used from the 14th to the 17th century.]