Christ Did NOT Die For Every Person

1 John 2:1-2
Joel Webbon

In the second half of verse 2 of our text, John says that Jesus is the propitiation, “not for our [sins] only, but also for those of the whole world.” This little phrase has sparked a lot of theological controversy. Those who oppose the Reformed (Calvinist) view of salvation say that this verse refutes the doctrine of “limited atonement” – that Christ died only for the elect. However, Calvinists rightly respond by pointing out that this verse cannot mean that Christ actually satisfied God’s wrath on behalf of every person, or else everyone would be saved. Scripture is clear that the wrath of God abides (remains) on those who do not obey Jesus (John 3:36). Thus they argue that the “whole world” refers to God’s elect from every tribe, tongue, and nation, not to every person who has ever lived.