Thomas Gery (d. 1670?) on the Death of Christ

   Posted by: CalvinandCalvinism   in For Whom did Christ Die?


The Second Controversy. Of the Universality of Christ’s Redemption.

To decide and determine this controversy, I must first state the question aright between us and the adversaries.

To speak nothing of the word (all) which sometimes is put for all sorts of men, and sometimes for all particular men of all sorts. Seeing we acknowledge that Christ died not only for all sorts of men, but for all of all sorts, that do repent and believe.

The controversy depends upon these three Queries.

1. Whether Christ died for unbelievers at all or not.
2. Whether he died for them in as full and ample sense as for believers.
3. In what sense he died for them; and in what sense he died not for them.

To the first query or question, I answer affirmatively (for my part) that Christ died for unbelievers in some sense.

To the second I answer negatively, scil, that he died not for unbelievers in as full and ample sense as for believers; which I prove from Scripture three ways. First, because it’s said sometime in Scripture, that he died for many as well as for all; as in Isa. 53:12, “He bare the sins of many.” Matth. 20:28, “He gave his life a ransom for many.” Heb. 9:28, “Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many.” Which expressions import, that he died not for all alike; but for many in the one sense, and for all in another; or else the expression of his dying for many were needless, in that it is so oft expressed that he died for all. Secondly, because it’s oft said, that he died for his Church; as John 10:15, “I lay down my life for the sheep.” Eph. 5:25, “Husbands love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church, and gave himself for I.” Which imports also that he died for all men in one sense, and for his Church in another. Thirdly, because the Scripture has (in terminis) in express words, put a difference between his being a Saviour of all men, and his being a Saviour to them that believe; as in 1 Tim. 4:10, “We trust the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.” From whence I argue thus: Christ died for all men, as he is the Saviour of all men, but he is a Saviour of all men in a different sense and sort, namely generally of the universality of men, and specially of his Church; (witness the distinction made by the Apostle in the fore-cited text). Therefore, he died for all men in a different sense and sort; namely in the one sense and sort for the universality of men, and in another sense and sort for the particularity of his Church.

To the third query I answer, that he died for all wicked men and unbelievers, in these two senses according to the Scripture.

1. As suffering a satisfactory punishment for the sins of all men in the world, so as they are not left destitute of the means of remission of sins and of salvation, according to the words of the Apostle, 1 Tim. 2:6, “There is one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all, a testimony in due time.” And again, Heb. 2:9, the Apostle says that “He tasted death for everyman.” He died for them upon condition of their faith and obedience, according to these Scriptures, John 3:16, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” And Heb. 5:9, “He became the author of eternal salvation unto all that obey him.” And so in like manner, it’s the affirmation of sundry other texts of Scripture.

But then he died not for them with an intention and purpose to give them grace to repent and believe, and so to bring them to salvation; which appears by Scripture to be a clear truth these two ways.

1. Because Scripture has revealed abundantly, namely to save some men, but not all. These proofs whereof are so numerous that I need not quote any.
2. Because if Christ died for all men, with an intention and purpose to save all, then either all shall be saved (which is contradicted by Scripture) or else Christ’s purpose may be altered.

But his purpose cannot be altered or disappointed, and therefore he died not for all, with a purpose to save all. That his purpose cannot be altered I prove, because he can neither alter it himself, nor can any other alter it. That he cannot alter it himself is oft taught in Scripture, Mal. 3:6, “I am the the Lord, I change not.” Jam. 1:17, “With him there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” Neither can any other alter it, for his purpose is immutable and his will irresistible, Isa. 46:10, “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.” And, 43:13, “I will work, and who shall let it?” And, Rom. 9:19, “Who has resisted his will?”

Thus then from the premises sufficiently proved, I conclude and determine the controversy thus: That Christ died for all the men in the world in these two senses. First, as paying by his death a sufficient ransom for the sins of them all, which the Scripture calls lutron, a price of redemption several times. Secondly, he died for them all upon the condition of their faith and obedience, but died not for all men with purpose to bring all actually to salvation. And so the old distinction of Christ’s dying for all men, either sufficientur or efficaciter, (as it may be understood and applied) stands still upon its basis as feet, and challenges all the deserters and rejectors of it to frame a more fit and proper distinction between Christ’s dying for all men, and his dying for his Church. Seeing a distinction between them is to be made (as has been already declared) by testimony of Scripture.

Thomas Gery, A Discussion and Decission of Some Great Controversies in Religion: Being an Antidote Against Some Erroneous Pamphlets (London: Printed for N. Webb and W. Grantham, 1657), 18-23. [Bound with: Thomas Gery, The Fort-Royal of Christianity Defended (London: Printed by T.C. for Nathaniel Web, and William Grantham at the sign of the Black Bear in Paul’s Church-yard, neer the little North-door of Paul’s, 1657.)] [Some reformatting; some spelling modernized; italics original; and underlining mine.]

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