I. We must take heed of mistakes about, pardon of sin.
1st Mistake, that our sins are pardoned, when they are not.

Qu. Whence is this mistake?
Ans.. From two grounds.

1. Because God is merciful.
Ans.. God’s being merciful, shows, that a man’s sins are pardonable. But there is a great deal of difference between sins pardonable and sins pardoned; thy sins may be pardonable, yet not pardoned. Though God be merciful, yet who is God’s mercy for? Not for the presuming sinner but the repenting sinner. Such as go on in sin, cannot lay claim to it. God’s mercy is like the ark, none but the priests, might touch the ark; none but such as are spiritual priests, sacrificing their sins, may touch this ark of God’s mercy.

2. Because Christ died for their sins, therefore they are forgiven.Ans.. That Christ died for remission of sin is true; but, that, therefore, all have remission is false; then Judas should be forgiven. Remission is limited to believers, Acts xiii. 39. “By him all that believe are justified;” but all do not believe: some slight and trample Christ’s blood under foot, Heb. x. 29. So that, notwithstanding Christ’s death, all are not pardoned. Take heed of this dangerous mistake. Who will seek after pardon, that thinks he has it already?

Thomas Watson, Body of Divinity (Berwick: Printed by and for W. George, 1806), 2:294. [Some spelling modernized, italics original; and underlining mine.]

[Note: What Watson says is bullet-proof. The statement, "then Judas should be forgiven" can only be hypothetically true on the supposition that Christ had died for his sin. Stated another way, if Christ had not died for his sin, then the alleged connection between "Christ’s dying for a man and that man necessarily being saved" would have no bearing in the case of Judas. Watson’s reply would already be antecedently false or irrelevant on other grounds: Jesus never even died for Judas, which being so would not invalidate the alleged connection Watson is actually trying to invalidate. Judas is not a person for whom Christ died anyway, so why bring him up?

Simply stated, if Christ had not died for Judas, enlisting the case of Judas in order to refute the alleged connection, would not invalidate the connection: as the alleged connection is already antecedently inapplicable and irrelevant to Judas.

This then tells us that Christ dying for their sins and Christ dying for Judas (which is implied) are functionally equivalent. This is further sustained by the reference to Heb. 10:29, regarding those who trample the blood of Christ which sanctified them. It follows, then, that Watson did, in fact, hold that in some sense. Christ had died for Judas’ sin.

What is more, secondary theological inferences can be gleaned from this statement. Watson’s comments entail a denial of the double payment dilemma. The very connection Watson seeks to refute, is, in fact, the core of Owen’s trilemma, namely, if Christ dies for a man, that man cannot fail to be saved (i.e., pardoned). Watson is arguing that Christ’s death, even for Judas, is conditional. That is, the benefits of Christ’s death are only conditionally applied. The condition being faith. Lastly, in some ways, Watson’s language approximates that of Aquinas and Ursinus.]

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