Limited Atonement: Why Jesus Christ Is Better Than LeBron James
Posted by Job on March 1, 2011
Who is your favorite pro athlete? Michael Jordan? Larry Bird? John Stockton? Alex Rodriguez? Babe Ruth? LeBron James? Steve Nash? Tim Tebow? Peyton Manning? Kim Clijsters? Tiger Woods? Michelle Wie? Aaron Rodgers?
Well, here is the ironic thing. Professional athletes, no matter how great they are or how many championships they win, are mostly rewarded for a lot of failure.
Consider a baseball player. The benchmark for a successful hitter? .300. If you are a .300 hitter, you can play baseball for 20 years and make about $200 million in the course of your career. But you know what? A .300 hitter fails SEVENTY PERCENT OF THE TIME.
Basketball? More of the same. A very good shooting guard will have a 48% shooting average, which means that he will fail to get the ball in the basket more than half the time. Even a superior power forward, considered a high percentage scorer, is going to miss over 40 times for every 100 shots.
Now your quarterback has better percentages: 65% to 70% of the time that they throw the ball, someone will catch it. That is much more reliable than your hitter in baseball. However, that still means that nearly 4 times out of 10, the ball either lands on the ground or is intercepted by the opposing team.
And golf? Even if a golfer ends a tournament well below par, it still means that most of the time that he hit the ball, it missed the mark. Indeed, “a hole in one” is one of the rarest events in sports!
So, isn’t it ironic that these athletes are loved, praised, rewarded with so much fame and riches for a stunning rate of failure? Even if we are judging athletes by other measures, such as championships, well Jerry West, the fellow whose silhouette is used as the NBA logo, didn’t win a single one.
So, rather than following after the manner of a fallen world that glorifies, venerates, idolizes and worships athletes who mostly fail, is it not greater and more excellent to give that glory and honor to the One who truly deserves it? That One would be none other than Jesus Christ. The reason? Jesus Christ did not fail. Instead, Jesus Christ had a 100% success rate.
Forgive me for being what may be called irreverent for the purposes of extending this comparison. Jesus Christ never missed a free throw. Jesus Christ never threw an interception. Jesus Christ never hit a foul ball. Jesus Christ delivered all aces and His serve was never broken. He only bowled strikes, and all His shots were holes-in-one. This is what must be said regarding Jesus Christ and His atoning death on the cross.
Make no mistake: Jesus Christ died only for those given to Him by God the Father. Jesus Christ died only for His sheep. Jesus Christ died only for His friends. Jesus Christ went to the cross only for the bride. On the cross, it was only the church, the elect, who was bought and redeemed by Jesus Christ’s blood. Otherwise, Jesus Christ would have “the worst batting average” in history, one that makes Bob Uecker appear to be Ted Williams by comparison.
Jesus Christ Himself stated that few people would find the path to salvation, and even that group is among those who are looking for it in the first place. Consider the parable of the sower. Only the last group was saved. The ones who fell by the wayside, the ones who fell in the stony soil, the ones who fell among thorns perished. Also, Jesus Christ said that many are called, but few are chosen. It is only the ones who are chosen from among those that are called that are saved. Further, consider the ones that were not even called?
If atonement is universal, then the cross was more random than throwing spaghetti on a wall and seeing what sticks. Not wet, cooked spaghetti, mind you, but dry uncooked spaghetti. For consider the vast numbers of people that have gone through this life without ever having heard the Name Jesus Christ at all? Even if atonement is “technically” unlimited so that men can get a free will choice, it will still “functionally” and “practically” be greatly limited by the fact that most men never receive a choice. Indeed, faith cometh by hearing, but the fact of history is that most men never heard. Now is that fact by accident or by design?
If the doctrine is unlimited atonement, then how else can it be anything else but by accident? Or should we ask “Why did not the atonement happen earlier, such as immediately after the fall? Why not give everyone – or at least as many people as possible throughout the ages – some sort of theoretical choice as Adam received?” Instead, the answer must be that it was not by accident. It was by design, and the effect of the design was that the atonement saved each and every person for whom the act was intended. Of the sheep that were given to God the Son by God the Father, not one was lost. The atonement, thus, was not some net with holes that allowed the overwhelming majority of souls that it attempted to catch slip through into perdition. It was not some desperate, flailing attempt to save as many people as possible from a rampaging plague, a burning skyscraper, or a sinking ship. Why not? Because that would mean that in a boxing match between Jesus Christ and Satan, by provoking the fall of mankind through Adam, Satan can be declared the winner, if only in a decision by the judges based on accumulating more points. Far be it that such a thing could be said. Further be it would such a thing be the case. Instead, Satan is a defeated foe, because Satan failed to gain a single soul that Jesus Christ set aside for Himself, not even the apostle Peter who denied Jesus Christ thrice.
So there you go. Unlike your favorite professional (or college or high school or Pee Wee league) athlete, Jesus Christ has a 100% success rate. Glory to Jesus Christ!
(And as for why I chose LeBron James for the title? Well, James did choose to allow himself to nicknamed after a Bible, and he also allowed himself to appear in at least one Nike commercial in which Christians were mocked. So, that makes it appropriate. In my eyes anyway.)