13 September, 2018

Romans 5:18—“… the free gift came upon all men …”



Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life (Rom. 5:18).


COMMON GRACE ARGUMENT:
This passage sometimes has been appealed to by Universalists—those who say that oneday all without exception will be saved and no one will perish. All will get to heaven eventually.

The passage is also appealed to in support of “the general well-meant offer”—that is, the notion that the infinitely holy and righteous God ‘loves’ the reprobate wicked, and earnestly desires them to be saved, and expresses this in a gracious invitation to all men.

The key-phrase is: “the free gift came upon all men …” and many read this text as if it says “and the free gift is offered to all men.”



(I)

Herman Hoeksema (1886-1965)

[Source: The Protestant Reformed Churches in America (1947), pp. 345-346; emphasis added]

(4)   Sometimes “all men” must be interpreted as meaning “all of one group” in distinction from “all of another group.” This is the case in Romans 5:18: “Therefore, as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” You must note, that in the latter part of this text it does not say, that the free gift is offered to all men, but that it came upon all men unto justification of life. Now, they, who actually receive this free gift, are surely saved. Hence, they cannot be all men without exception. But they do include “all that belong to the group of which Christ is the Head” in distinction from “the group of which Adam is the head.”


** On pages 345-347, Rev. Hoeksema demonstrates that, in Scripture, “all” or “all men” can mean (1) “all of us [i.e. of the church]” (I Pet. 3:9),  (2) “all kinds of men” (Tit. 2:11; I Tim. 2:4),  (3) “all believers or all the elect” (I Cor. 15:22; John 12:31) (4) “‘all of one group,’ in distinction from ‘all of another group’” (Rom. 5:18).


-------------------------------------------------

(II)

Louis Berkhof (1873-1957)

[Source: Systematic Theology (Banner of Truth, 2005), p. 396]

... the context clearly shows that the “all” or “all men” of Rom. 5:18, and I Cor. 15:22 includes only those who are in Christ, as contrasted with all who are in Adam. If the word “all” in these passages is not interpreted in a limited sense, they would teach, not merely that Christ made salvation possible for all men, but that He actually saves all without exception. Thus the Arminian would again be forced into the camp of the absolute Universalist, where he does not want to be. A similar limitation must be applied in the interpretation of II Cor. 5:14, and Heb. 2:9, cf. verse 10. Otherwise they would prove too much, and therefore prove nothing. In all these passages the “all” are simply all those who are in Christ.


-------------------------------------------------


(III)

More to come! (DV)




No comments:

Post a comment