When viewing the number of sinners to be saved, why is limited atonement less limiting than Arminian teaching?
The following verses also indicate the use of "all" in Scripture
in other situations where it clearly does not mean every individual.
Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan,
And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.
"And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw Him, they besought Him that He would depart out of their coasts.
"Whole city" refers to the people being from all parts and stations of life in the city.
While limited atonement, or particular redemption, sounds more limiting than unlimited atonement, or universal redemption, it is important to realize that this is not true. The Arminians or universal redemptionists believe that Jesus' death makes salvation possible for every person, but that it does not secure salvation for any. Salvation depends upon each person to also do his part -to repent and believe. On the other hand, limited atonement teaches that the saving value of Christ's death is limited to the elect, but that it secures a full and complete salvation for all.
In short, limited atonement limits the number for whom Christ died to save, but proclaims a full extent of salvation to its recipients -it fully saves them, bringing them from death to life. Universal redemption teaching is wider in number but restricted in extent for it proclaims that by Christ's death no person is saved, but salvation is only offered to all.
One of our church forefathers once used the following example:
"Which would you prefer," he asked, "a wide bridge (upon which everyone can stand) that extends only half way across a deep canyon, or a narrower one (which holds a limited number) that brings them safely to the other side?
Which bridge pictures universal redemption? Which portrays limited atonement? If full salvation is the goal, which of the two presents a more limiting factor? Why?
If salvation depended upon us "to build our half of the bridge" to meet God, no person would ever be saved. Why?