I am in a discussion with a Calvinist and he has proposed the limited atonement theory. He basically says that Christ died for certain people. I came back with a response listing several quotes that specifically say that Christ died for all. This is his response. My response to him follows, I would like to hear what your opinion of my response is. I would also like to hear any suggestions.
If the sin debt has been paid for, then the sin debt has been paid for. For God to cast someone into hell to pay their own sin debt when Christ had already paid for it is absurd. If you owe a traffic fine and refuse to pay it and I come along and pay it, its paid and they will no longer require a payment from you - this is justice, God is just.
Your understanding of the atonement is wrong. You understand it as a legal payment. Christ payed the price therefore you are forgiven. That is a completely wrong understanding. Christ died to merit us grace. It was not because God said I require this much sacrifice, since My Son sacrificed this much, then you are forgiven. If this were true then God would not be allowed to send anyone to hell because as the verses I showed you above said, Christ died for all. There is no way to get around it unless you just ignore the verses. It is clear when Paul, John, and the author of Hebrews all say that He died for all. The truth is, the result of the sacrifice of Christ was that He united Gods grace and man. Through this grace man recieved forgiveness. This grace works by making men perfect and making us pure enough to enter heaven. As Apocalypse says nothing impure shall enter heaven. God created us in His own image, therefore we will only recieve salvation by being restored to His image. God created us clean and pure and holy, we will not recieve salvation until we are returned to this state or even a higher state.
You also have a problem with understanding Gods justice. Gods justice is nothing other than Himself. He knows what is just by looking at Himself. If this were not true then God would be imperfect and consequently would not be God. God would be subject to something that is apart from Himself: whether it is some actual being or just a thought of what justice is. So, in order for God to be just, all things must reflect God Himself. We must be holy as God is Holy[Exodus] We must be perfect as God is perfect.[Matthew] Since God is justice, then true justice would be to make everything reflect Himself. This is done through the grace of God.
Think about it like this. There is God and then there is nothing, literally nothing, not even an empty space. Look at God being a light and He shines into the darkness(which is nothingness). God created man and man was united to God. Man sinned and seperated himself from God and Gods grace. From that time on man was in complete darkness. They had lost the beatific vision of God. They had rejected His grace. Christ, full of grace and truth, came and He sacrificed Himself to pull man from this darkness. By sacrificing Himself Christ merited grace for mankind. Through this sacrifice of Christ, mankind was united to God once again. Man recieves grace through it. Now, the forgiveness is on two levels. First there is the forgiveness that is obtained simply due to Christ sacrificing Himself. Second there is the forgiveness recieved through accepting Christ in every way. Through Christs sacrafice He obtained the forgiveness of Original Sin from God for all of His Church. In our baptism we are brought into this Church. Second, Christ also died for the forgiveness of each of your actual sins. But this forgiveness is obtained only through your repentance of sin and through your acceptance of Christ in every way. What you did not do by your own personal act but was accorded to you was forgiven automatically through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. What was done specifically by you, with your hands, is forgiven through the sacrifice of Christ when you reject your sins. You can not be forgiven for your actions until you reject them(this is more than just a vocal rejection).
Christ spoke with Peter after the ressurection and He questioned Peter. He said, “Simon son of John, lovest thou me more than these?” Peter said “Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee.” Christ told him to feed His lambs. Christ then said again, “Simon, son of John, lovest thou me?” Peter responded, “Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee.” Christ told him to feed His lambs. “A third time Christ said, Simon, son of John, lovest thou me?” Peter responded, “Lord, thou knowest all things: thou knowest that I love thee.” Christ told him to feed His sheep. The point of this discourse was partly to reaffirm Peter in the faith. Peter had rejected Christ three times when questioned, therefore Christ questioned him three times.