In that interchange, Jim Pierce employed Colossians 2:13-15, to prove that this passage teaches the forgiveness of the whole world, without faith, prior to faith before we were born. I quote Mr. Pierce in one comment said...
If you deny that the sins of the whole world have been forgiven on account of the blood sacrifice of Christ, then you have likely fallen into error regarding the atonement. That is, you must reject that Christ has made full satisfaction for the debt of sins for the whole world. Here the debt of sin is defined for us by Paul in the epistle to the Colossians:"And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him" (Colossians 2:13-15 ESV).
After Joe replied saying the context of that passage refers to believers, Jim replied with
I understand that the greater context of the Colossians quotation is directed at believers. However, the text I cite to you deals with the sins of the world. If that is not true, as you assert, then you are left defending a version of limited atonement, which I know you do not want to do, but it is inescapable. Deny that the cancellation of the record of debt, by nailing it to the cross, is universal and you are left with the cancellation of debt only being for some and namely only the elect.
In my study, I find this doctrine of universal objective justification, truly a peculiar doctrine found amongst synodic Lutherans in USA. This doctrine teaches that the whole human race has been declared righteous (effectively forgiven) already even before any of them (humans) ever believed in Christ or not. Faith has nothing to do with this declaration, so they say. In fact if I recall in that interchange, one UOJer opposing Joe Krohn even confessed that Sodom and Gomorrah were forgiven (hence, declared righteous) too. I grin since I recall that God told Abraham if He found 10 righteous people there he would not destroy the twin cities.
Thankfully there are some pastors and theologians who oppose this UOJ teaching on Justification.
Jim homed in on the phrase " having forgiven us all our trespasses" (v.13-14). His contention is the "us" there refers to all human beings and he asserts that if you do not believe like he does, you are guilty of being a Calvinist, believing in Limited Atonement. Is this true?
Let me examine this claim using a fine tooth comb, called Scripture interprets Scripture, a Lutheran method which is axiomatic for handling the Word of God rightly. Please note, you do not need the Greek here (though I can deal with it if you want me too).
First the said passage obviously is preceded by verses 8 - 12. Note that the pronoun "you" (the Colossians St. Paul is addressing), refers to believers, in fact St. Paul mentions they have been circumcised with Christ through their being baptised. Did St Paul mean by the word "us" the whole human race, of which he and the Colossians are included? Or did St. Paul mean by that pronoun, he and the Colossians as Christians since they all both got baptised and have believed in Christ? Is it not obvious that St. Paul was baptised like them? If you have doubts read Acts where St. Paul got baptised. Because the "you" refers to the Colossians, the "us" must be taken in the sense of "us" baptised believers in Christ.
Now, wait, do not be in hurry to label this Limited Atonement, we will get to that shortly.
Let me proceed further.
Observe a few things. In this passage St. Paul speaks nailing it to the cross. The "it" refers back to the demands of the Law - the demand to be punished for your debt, your sins. Notice this crucifixion language. St. Paul often adopts this co-crucified language in many of his letters. For example in Galatians, St. Paul said this of himself, Gal 2:20I am crucified with Christ. When did this crucifixion happen to him? When was St. Paul crucified? See Romans 6:6, at his baptism.
The point here then is that the time when God nailed the demands of the Law against us was when we got baptised! It was not before we got baptised, it was at that point when we got baptised, so says Scripture. Thus the forgiveness St. Paul speaks of here is at the point when the Means of Grace was applied to us by the HS - at our baptism.
What Jim Pierce is espousing is that people are forgiven before and without the Means of Grace. Yet when we use Scripture to interpret Scripture it is conclusive that - in this example, a person once baptised is attached to Christ, buried, dead, crucified with Christ. Clearly and obviously, in some sense, the Law has no more claim on a person who is dead. The IRS and the ATO can not keep going to cemeteries demanding payment for unpaid taxes. These taxation bureaus are writing off the tax debt of dead people, they must, because who do they run after?
Thus the forgiveness St. Paul was speaking of in Colossians happened at the point of their baptism.
So let us deal with Pierce's claim that if you do not believe his interpretation you must slide to Limited Atonement. There are so many fallacies in this assertion. It is tertium non datur, meaning, no third alternative. It is also the slippery slope fallacy.
Now, if this is the only passage we have in the Scripture, one may be sympathetic to Jim's claim, but is this all the teaching we have from Scripture? No, we have 1 John 2:1-2, 1 Tim 2:6 etc. These passages teach no Limited Atonement. Hence, once again as per normal I have found again severe fallacies in the claims of UOJers.
In fact in my study of UOJ, no UOJer who has come before him ever gave the passage as a support for UOJ. Jim was being creative in throwing this passage as support for UOJ but it does not avail.
In the end what does the Colossian passage teach? Forgiveness happens through the Means of Grace .......ONLY. Note, I did not say forgiveness happes through the Means of Grace. (period), I said -- Forgiveness happens through the Means of Grace .......ONLY.