Russell and Duenes

Providing for One’s Family

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Providing for one’s family is central to the genuineness of one’s faith, and thus, should be a central priority. This begins with basics such as shelter, clothing and food, but also includes providing for the education of one’s children and for the nurture of their souls in matters pertaining to goodness, truth and beauty generally. “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. . . Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her. . . A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children . . . A good wife rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.”

St. John, in his first letter, says that Jesus is a sacrifice of atonement not only for his readers’ sins, but for those of the whole world as well. However, I do not take this to mean that Jesus died for all people in the same way. In other words, I believe in what is historically called “limited atonement,” or more appropriately, “particular atonement.” This means I believe that Jesus’ death was an atoning death only for those whom God has chosen for salvation, and not for every individual on the planet earth. This sounds horribly undemocratic and unfair to modern ears, but when one considers the the alternative, it comes out a whole lot better, at least to me. If Jesus died for every individual on this planet, and yet some of these individuals are judged forever in hell, then what did Jesus’ death do for these lost people? It clearly did not save them, or they would trust in Jesus and be in heaven. The most that can be said is that Jesus’ death gave them the “opportunity” to be saved, which is to say, it has no saving power in their lives. But this is to empty Jesus’ death of all of its power and efficacy. By contrast, I agree with J.I. Packer when he says that “the cross saves.” But we can only say that Jesus’ death actually saves sinners if we believe that all sinners for whom Christ is an atonement go to heaven. Further, if we say that Jesus died only for those whom God has chosen for salvation, we must also say that Jesus’ death for them purchased their conversion to Christ, their faith, their reconciliation with God, their adoption into God’s family, their sanctification, the application of all of God’s promises to their lives, and all things that would be good for them. I hold to particular atonement because I believe that Jesus’ death actually produces and purchases all these things for sinners like me, rather than only “potentially” obtaining them for me, as the alternative view holds. Thus, particular atonement is glorious because it actually buys dead sinners and quickens them into Christ’s kingdom life and all its attendant blessings.

My wife has many beautiful qualities, but one of the most valuable and endearing to me is this: She gives me every reason to trust her and no reasons to distrust her. She is trustworthy. There is no guile. There is also no way to convey what reassurance this brings to our marriage, and to my soul. It is a very precious gift indeed!

-D

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Written by Michael Duenes

February 14, 2015 at 9:13 am

Posted in Duenes, Marriage, Money, Theology

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