Thomas Aquinas on 1 John 2:2

   Posted by: CalvinandCalvinism   in 1 John 2:2


I answer that, He properly atones for an offense who offers something which the offended one loves equally, or even more than he detested the offense. But by suffering out of love and obedience, Christ gave more to God than was required to compensate for the offense of the whole human race. First of all, because of the exceeding charity from which He suffered; secondly, on account of the dignity of His life which He laid down in atonement, for it was the life of one who was God and man; thirdly, on account of the extent of the Passion, and the greatness of the grief endured, as stated above (46, 6). And therefore Christ’s Passion was not only a sufficient but a superabundant atonement for the sins of the human race; according to 1 John 2:2: “He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.”

Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Part 3, Q 48.2.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 19th, 2008 at 10:46 am and is filed under 1 John 2:2. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 comments so far


Matthew Henry gives it a different interpretation, that it refers to believers all across the world, and not just Jews: It is not confined to one nation; and not particularly to the ancient Israel of God: He is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only (not only for the sins of us Jews, us that are Abraham’s seed according to the flesh), but also for those of the whole world (v. 2); not only for the past, or us present believers, but for the sins of all who shall hereafter believe on him or come to God through him. The extent and intent of the Mediator’s death reach to all tribes, nations, and countries. As he is the only, so he is the universal atonement and propitiation for all that are saved and brought home to God, and to his favour and forgiveness.

March 19th, 2008 at 1:37 pm

Hey Larry,

Thanks for stopping by. You are right. For this reason I would not cite the comments for 1 Jn 2:2. I had a memory cell tell me that most of the NT commentary was not actually written by Henry. I went searching Google and came across the wiki entry. It looks like everything after Acts was finished by others. I don’t know who they are. The annotations of Poole have the same problem. There I was able to find out who wrote what exactly. If you scope out the Henry entry for 1 Tim 2:4-6 you will see a different sort of comment. Calvin also goofs up on 1 Jn 2:2. I think Dabney’s brief critique of the line that converts ‘whole world’ into the elect is powerful.

Thanks for posting a comment.


March 19th, 2008 at 2:08 pm

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