The stumbling block for many in embracing ‘Calvinism’ is the teaching usually labeled ‘limited atonement.’ It is offensive to many. It was to me as well (and sometimes still is). But when I understood that Jesus’ atonement must necessarily be ‘limited’ in some way or other, I chose the least offensive and the most Biblically supportable.
The two choices for the Christian are clear. Jesus’ atonement is either limited in its application, available and sufficient only for the elect and no one else. Or it is limited in its effect, really saving only when a repenting sinner believes in its power to forgive.
The traditional Arminian position became very distasteful to me as I studied the Scripture and began to understand that Jesus really and truly did something on Calvary’s cross. He did more than just create a possibility of salvation. He truly saved sinners on the cross. If Jesus bore the sins of the entire world (without exception) and if God poured out His wrath on His Son at the cross, then the sins of the entire world are forgiven.
I put it this way. Was sin taken care of at the cross or not? Were my sins forgiven at the cross around 33 AD when Jesus died or were they forgiven in 1972 when I put my trust in Christ? I contend the former. My sins were paid were, forgiven and blotted out when Jesus died. That necessarily means (since the Bible clearly rejects universal salvation) Jesus died only for the elect.
Jesus came, not to enable men to be saved, but to save them:
Luke 19:10 “For the Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost.”
Matthew 1:21 “…and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
1 Peter 3:18 “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.”
Titus 2:14 “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”
Jesus, through His death on the cross, reconciled us to God:
Romans 5:10 “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”
2 Corinthians 5:18,19 “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.”
Colossians 1:20-21 “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight.”