“Once again, if it was Christ’s intention to save all men, HOW DEPLORABLY HAS HE BEEN DISAPPOINTED, for we have His own testimony that there is a lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, and into that pit of woe have been cast some of the very persons who, according to the theory of universal redemption, were bought with His blood. That seems to me a conception a thousand times more repulsive than any of those consequences which are said to be associated with the Calvinistic and Christian doctrine of special and particular redemption. To think that my Saviour died for men who were or are in hell, seems a supposition too horrible for me to entertain. To imagine for a moment that He was the substitute for all the sons of men, and that God, having first punished the substitute, afterwards punished the sinners themselves, seems to conflict with all my ideas of divine justice” (Charles Haddon Spurgeon, “Defense of Calvinism”).
In Spurgeon’s Lapse Part III, I am gonna continue to tackle the long extensive quote I put in part II. We placed the portion we will tackle today above.
Spurgeon focuses on the disappointment of those who reject the Cross; he then uses this to argue a limited atonement. What struck me the most was that he uses the concept of Hell itself to argue that Christ could not have died for everyone. In short, those who went to Hell did so because “Christ didn’t die for them.” This actually makes me quite sick to my stomach—to think that Christ only died for a few people!
Well, since Spurgeon wrote it, let’s look at the concept of Hell. To do this, I will tackle one passage:
41 Then He will also say to those on the left, 'Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels! (S) 42 For I was hungry and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink; 43 I was a stranger and you didn't take Me in; I was naked and you didn't clothe Me, sick and in prison and you didn't take care of Me.' 44 "Then they too will answer, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or without clothes, or sick, or in prison, and not help You?' 45 "Then He will answer them, 'I assure you: Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me either. (T) ' 46 "And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." (Matthew 25: 41-46, Holman Christian Standard Bible)
Look at verse 41: the eternal fire was not prepared for MANKIND, but “FOR THE DEVIL AND HIS ANGELS!” Nowhere in Scripture are we ever told that Hell was prepared for people.
So if Hell was originally prepared for Satan and the fallen angels, then why does Jesus speak of humanity going to Hell?
“And they (those on the left) will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:46, HCSB)
Is it because Christ didn’t die for them all? No. They are going to Hell because their works condemn them:
42 For I was hungry and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty
and you gave Me nothing to drink; 43 I was a stranger and you didn't take Me in; I was naked and you didn't clothe Me, sick and in prison and you didn't take care of Me.' (Matthew 25:42-43, HCSB)
The cursed are those who did nothing for the Lord, those who refused to do anything that would reflect their Savior. And this section comes at the end of Matthew chapter 25, where, earlier, we find that the five foolish virgins miss the Wedding Banquet because they carry no oil with them in their lamps!
I agree with Spurgeon on one thing: it seems unthinkable that, after the Lord Jesus died, that souls would STILL go to Hell; however, that is the case of fallen humanity.
And I think that this is the pitfall of not just the great Charles Haddon Spurgeon, but of all Calvinists: they desire to affirm fallen humanity and “being dead in trespasses and sins” until it gets to the atonement. At that moment, suddenly, Christ only died for people who accept Him. They seem to forget Jesus’ words to Nicodemus in John 3:16—18 (HCSB):
16 "For God loved (Y) the world in this way: He gave His One and Only (Z) Son, (AA) so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. (AB) 17 For God did not send His Son into the world that He might judge (AC) the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 Anyone who believes in Him is not judged, (AD) but anyone who does not believe is already judged, (AE) because he has not believed in the name (AF) of the One and Only Son (AG) of God.
Look at verse 17: “For God did not send His Son into the world that He might JUDGE the world, but that the world MIGHT BE SAVED through Him.” The Father’s goal was to save the world, not condemn the world to Hell; however, notice the POTENTIALITY in those words—the world MIGHT be saved, not WILL BE saved. I think these words show us the POSSIBILITY and not the PROBABILITY. But such is fallen humanity; however, for those who accept Christ’s work on the Cross and receive Him into their hearts, they show the efficacy of Calvary…