January 31, 2010

Henry James Carpenter on the Double Payment Argument

But I proceed to notice another objection, and one very commonly urged against this doctrine [general redemption]. It is objected, that if our Lord died for all, then it would be unjust to punish any one, for this would be to exact a double penalty for the same offence—to punish the same sins twice over.

No doubt it would be unjust to punish the sinner if Christ had borne his sins, with the stipulation that his sins should be absolutely forgiven—that, in consequence of his sacrifice, all men should be unconditionally pardoned, irrespective of their state of mind, irrespective of their believing or not believing, of their receiving the Gospel or rejecting the Gospel.

But nothing like this doctrine can be discovered in the Bible; the death of our Lord is nowhere in Scripture represented in this light. There we read, as I observed before, that a certain medium is necessary before the benefits of Christ's death can be actually applied to any man. Men must have faith; they must believe on Christ—they must trust wholly in his atoning sacrifice, that they may be forgiven their trespasses. "He that believeth shall be saved; he that believeth not shall be damned." The Lord Jesus is "set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood."

It is undeniable that our Lord could have annexed what condition he, in his wisdom, thought fit, in order that man should receive the benefits of the sacrifice he was about to offer; and it is no more unjust to punish the sinner who rejects Christ's offer of salvation than to treat an imprisoned debtor as still liable to his debt, because he refuses to send a petition to his rich benefactor, who freely paid his debt, but stipulated that the benefits of his generous payment should only be enjoyed by those debtors who would comply with his condition, and petition him for their release.
Henry James Carpenter, Did Christ Die For All Men, Or For The Elect Only? A Letter To A Friend In Ireland (London: T. Hatchard, 1857), 21.

No comments: