Limited Atonement

Session 7


Before I pray, I want to pose a question now as we are moving into the section on the atonement, and the question is, “What is all of this about? What’s the meaning of everything that we’re talking about in this seminar on TULIP? Why did God create the universe? Why does he govern the universe the way he is governing it? What’s the point of it all? Is Jesus coming and dying and rising a means to that point, or that point himself?”

The Means and the End of Redemption

The answer to that question is not simple. When human beings fell, became rebellious, and began opposing their creator instead of worshiping their creator, they needed, at that moment, a redeemer; they needed a substitute. They could never save themselves and recover the possibility of worshiping God and enjoying him forever, ever again. They were doomed, and there had to be a remedy for the fall, and Jesus is that remedy.

Jesus became a means to the end that a people could be saved and fulfill the ultimate end of seeing and savoring and displaying the glory of God, which the universe was created to manifest. So Jesus, at the center of that story, is the remedy of the fall, the means to the end of a people magnifying God by seeing and savoring him forever.

However, at the moment, the 33 years in which he stood forth as the God-man, Jesus became in his person and in his work, especially on the cross, the supreme manifestation of the glory of God — namely, the glory of his grace.

Therefore, in the very act of becoming a means to the end of achieving the purpose of the universe, he became the end. Because he has enabled us to be redeemed, forgiven, justified, glorified, enjoying God forever, in the very doing of that he will become the focus where we will direct all of our attention forever and ever as we increasingly behold the riches of the glory of God. So the answer to the question, “Did Jesus become the means to the end of the universe or the end of the universe?” is, “Yes.”

What we’re about to spend some time on in the atonement is simply huge. It’s not a little side event in history so that the main thing could happen. It is a means to the main thing, and it is the main thing. God’s aim was the revelation of the riches of his glory for the vessels of mercy prepared beforehand for glory, and the apex of that glory is the glory of grace, and the supreme demonstration of that grace was the death of Jesus. Let’s pray.

The Vastness of the Universe and the Smallness of Man

Just one further comment. A blog pointed me to Google Sky, the new thing that Google is doing. Basically, you can look at the universe through the Hubble and other ways. So I was doodling in the universe yesterday, and you have to ask, “God, why is this so big? Because we’re small.” There’s no evidence that anybody has that there’s another planet like the Earth in the universe. Somebody could speculate there is, but we don’t know about it. And it’s really tiny.

And then there’s the solar system, and then there’s the galaxy, and then there are billions of galaxies, and then there are these galaxies bumping into each other. And you just want to say, “Lord, shouldn’t the universe be about, I don’t know, 80,000 miles across? Just suitable to contain man? What’s the point?” The point is that man is incredibly tiny, “What is man, oh God, that you should care for him?” (Psalm 8:4). And then the universe is huge and it is telling the glory of God (Psalm 19:1), and we are to learn both from the Bible, from Google Sky, and Hubble Telescope that God is something like that.

As I prayed this morning, I felt ridiculously small and wondered, “Are you really listening to me? This universe is breathtakingly big, and you flung it out like this with your finger, and spoke it into being in order to say, ‘That’s a little bit like me?’ And you’re going to listen to me this morning? You’re going to listen to my prayer for my little girl as she goes off on her trip today and care about her?” So in order to comprehend what Jesus did on the cross, as the revelation of the apex — the highest point of the glory of God — you need to make sure you see it in its proper proportions, because what Christ achieved is greater than the universe. The revelation of the riches of the glory of God do not reach their apex in the galaxies, but on the cross.

The Bethlehem Elder Affirmation of Faith

A good place to start again, I think, will be to read what we affirm in the Elder Affirmation of Faith at Bethlehem, so I’m going to read the three paragraphs concerning the saving work of Christ. This is what we’re about in these next minutes:

We believe that by his perfect obedience to God, and by his suffering and death as the immaculate Lamb of God, Jesus Christ obtained forgiveness of sins and the gift of perfect righteousness for all who trusted in God prior to the cross and all who would trust in Christ thereafter. Through living a perfect life and dying in our place, the just for the unjust, Christ absorbed our punishment, appeased the wrath of God against us, vindicated the righteousness of God in our justification, and removed the condemnation of the law against us.

We believe that the atonement of Christ for sin warrants and impels a universal offering of the gospel to all persons (make sure you hear that as we come towards this phrase limited atonement), so that to every person it may be truly said, “God gave his only begotten Son so that whoever believes in him might not perish but have eternal life.” Whosoever will may come for cleansing at this fountain, and whoever does come, Jesus will not cast out.

We believe, moreover, that the death of Christ did obtain more than the bonafide offer of the gospel for all; it also obtained the omnipotent New Covenant mercy of repentance and faith for God’s elect.

That’s very important. When Christ died, I’m arguing, he secured faith and repentance for his own. He bought it. It will be theirs, by virtue of the cross. He didn’t just buy the possibility of it for the elect; he bought the actuality of it for the elect. We’ll argue for that from texts shortly.

Christ died for all (that is in our affirmation of faith, let it be said), but not for all in the same way. In his death, Christ expressed a special covenant love to his friends, his sheep, his bride (you can hear texts behind each of those words, like John 15:13). For them, he obtained the infallible and effectual working of the Spirit, to triumph over their resistance and bring them to saving faith.

So there’s the summary of the way the elders and I understand and embrace the doctrine of the atonement. Call it limited, call it definite, call it a combination, whatever you want to call it, that’s the summary of it and now we need to probe into its biblical foundation.

The Necessity of the Atonement

Why is the atonement needed for God to save sinners? Why won’t he just do it? You sin, and he forgives you, none of this bloody cross. Why not? Here’s one of the most important paragraphs in the Bible. Romans 3:23–25 says:

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God . . .

That means we’re not living up to that purpose to display the glory of God by enjoying him forever. We have other things that we prefer to God, and we have scorned God’s glory by demeaning its value, by having it assume such a small place in our affections.

And are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith (Romans 3:24).

The word redemption connotes purchases that are released from bondage at the payment of a price. Our bondage is the wrath of God and our own sin, and he’s paying a price here and he is propitiating, satisfying the wrath of God in the death of his Son as the Son absorbs God’s wrath on our behalf, and that wrath is spent and that justice is satisfied. And now here comes the reason for why it’s all happening:

This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just (righteous) and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Romans 3:25–26).

Christ Put Forward as a Propitiation

We’re going to linger over that for a few minutes, just to make sure that we understand the deep, inner dynamics of the atonement. In putting Christ forward as a propitiation, a punishment-bearing, wrath-absorbing, justice-satisfying substitute, he was demonstrating God’s righteousness. Now, why did it have to be done that way? Because in God’s forbearance, he was passing over sins previously committed (Romans 3:25). What does that mean?

That means in the Old Testament, God had treated people way better than they deserved. Ηe was constantly passing over sins. He was forgiving them through blood sacrifices in Israel, and he was causing the rain to fall and the sun to shine on pagan tribes that were in arch-rebellion against him and should have been wiped out the moment they came on the scene. He let them go on and gave them seasons of fruitfulness and abounding pleasures. He’s treating this world better than it, than we, deserve.

Now, why is that problem for his righteousness? That’s what’s being demonstrated. “This was to demonstrate his righteousness because in his forbearance he passed over the sins previously committed” (Romans 3:25). Why is passing over sin calling his righteousness into question? The world doesn’t struggle with this. The world doesn’t lose any sleep over God’s kindness to them as excessive and unjust. Nobody in the world is wrestling with how God can be just and treat them so well. Paul was. That was his major problem — “How can God treat sinners so well and still be righteous?” Now, why? Why was that calling his righteousness into question?

I’m going to create an arc here between this and our argument in a previous session concerning the defense of the righteousness of God in Romans 9:14. Is there then, unrighteousness on God’s part in choosing Jacob over Esau? And you remember the nature of my argument. The argument was that God’s freedom in choosing whom he will is an essential part of his glory. His righteousness consists in always upholding his glory, vindicating his glory, displaying his glory, and treating his glory as of infinite value, and if he doesn’t do that he’s not righteous because he’s not treating the infinitely valuable as infinitely valuable. Therefore, he’s wrong. But he’s not wrong, he’s right, and therefore he’s righteous in always upholding the infinite value of his glory.

Demeaning the Glory of God

Now, when God passes over sins, what does it look like he does doing? Because sin is a falling short of his glory (Romans 3:23). Basically, what it looks like God is doing when he passes over sins, is scorning his glory. He’s saying, “No big deal. You despise me, ignore me, belittle me, demean me, and I’ll make the sun rise on you tomorrow. No big deal. I don’t get bent out of shape when people treat me badly.” That’s what it looks like. That would be the essence of unrighteousness because he would be treating his glory as though it were of no great consequence.

So humanity can stiff-arm the glory of God, exalt their own glory, pay no attention to the glory of God, exalt God-demeaning sins, whether it’s on NPR or anywhere else, and God just keeps giving them life. He keeps blessing them. It looks like, “Well, I guess God doesn’t value his glory after all.” That’s what’s at stake here. He has to demonstrate that that’s not true. He has to elevate and magnify his righteousness because it looks like he has simply allowed his glory to be trampled underfoot by the way he passes over sins.

So how does he do it? He takes the most exalted, magnificent, beautiful, precious being in the universe and covenants with him to bear a demonstration of the kind of fury that God feels against those who belittle his glory. And he pours everything out on him, and says, “That’s the way I feel about my glory being trampled in the dirt. There will be consequences.” And for us, the consequence is either hell, which is a fitting response to belittling the glory of God, or if we will have it, a substitute who bore it in our place.

The Righteous for the Unrighteous

So, that’s the atonement. The atonement is driven by this dual commitment of God to save the people for the enjoyment of his glory and to vindicate his righteousness which that very salvation seems to call into question so that he could be both righteous and the one who declares righteous those who have faith in Jesus. They’re not righteous in themselves, they’re putting their faith in the Righteous One, the one who bore their sins and absorbed their wrath and satisfied God’s justice and provided their righteousness. That faith is connecting them with Jesus. Jesus is their only hope of redemption.

Second Corinthians 5:21 describes the event and the accomplishment like this:

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

So, our sin is counted as being Christ’s sin as he dies. That’s why our sin has been punished. And his righteousness — that is, his total unswerving allegiance to live for the glory of God and the fulfillment of the law and all righteousness — is counted as our having lived that way, which is what we are required to do, though we don’t do it. And in the miracle of the atonement, his achievement, both of that substitutionary death and that perfect God-honoring righteousness, is counted as ours through faith alone.

This is right at the heart of why the universe exists — that God would do this, that he could do this. And we will spend eternity plumbing the depths of this achievement, vindicating God’s glory and saving sinners forever. It’s good to get a good start on it during Holy Week, year by year. Let yourself have some time to meditate on these things, or, 1 Peter, 3:18, which says:

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God . . .

There’s the substitution again. He was just, we weren’t. He took our place, died for our sins. We didn’t die for our own sins. He becomes the hell-experiencing one so that we don’t have to be the hell-experiencing ones, and all of it for this end: to bring us to God. The goal of the atonement is the seeing and savoring and reflecting of God, which we could have never done had he left us in our sins. And he is the clearest manifestation of the God we will see forever.

Justified by His Blood

Here’s just a couple more. Romans 5:9–10 says:

Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

Or Romans 8:32, which says:

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

That’s near the top of my favorite verses. He didn’t spare his own Son, and then the argument is, “How then, in view of that, will he not also freely give us all things?” If this has happened, this must happen. If he gave his Son on our behalf, it would contradict the worth of the Son if he withheld everything we need.

Make that the foundation of your life. Just preach that logic to yourself every time you’re in a crisis. Every time you think he’s not for you, every time you think he’s dropped the ball, every time you’re facing something that you simply can’t handle, say to yourself, “If he didn’t spare his Son for me, he will not spare any effort to help me; therefore, I’m seeing things wrong here. I’m making wrong judgments. I’m dishonoring the Son. I’m dishonoring the cross with my anxiety, with my murmuring. All things are mine because of the cross. He is working everything together for good here. There is no lapse in God’s love for me here. The cross is the final logic and proof and foundation of his total being for me. He’s never anything but for me.”

That’s what all things implies. That is the foundation of our life. Every day you’re building on the gospel. Every day we’re preaching the gospel to ourselves, saying, “If he didn’t spare Jesus, if he did this to Jesus, if Jesus bore this for me, then this . . .” Okay, so there’s the atonement in summary, and now the issue of its limitation.

Limited Atonement

Who limits the atonement? Answer: both Calvinists and Arminians. Arminians limit the effectiveness of the atonement by denying that it purchased the promises of the New Covenant for irresistible grace. I’ll come back to explain that and give texts to show what I mean.

Arminians limit the atonement in that they say there was no design in it to actually achieve the securing and the purchasing of faith and repentance for God’s elect. According to them, that’s not what happened in the cross. It doesn’t have that effect. It’s limited in the sense that it doesn’t include that.

Calvinists also limit the atonement. Calvinists affirm this purchase of the promises of the New Covenant to give us a new heart, bring us irresistibly to Christ, and therefore limit the full blessings of the atonement to those God irresistibly brings to faith. The word full is key there. The fullest possible experience of the atonement was by design for God’s elect, not denying that there are other dimensions of the atonement that are there for everyone.

There are other names for limited atonement. Definite atonement is one, meaning that it is designed for definite individuals who are effectively saved by it. Particular redemption is another one, meaning that God has a particular people in view in the design of the atonement to purchase all the blessings of salvation for his people. What’s another name for unlimited atonement? Universal redemption, meaning that God’s design in the atonement is the same for all individual humans. That would be what I don’t believe. There are designs that are the same for all, and designs that aren’t.

Do Calvinists water down John 3:16? It says:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

No, because John 3:16 affirms that God loved the world so that anyone who believes will be saved by the death of his Son. Both Calvinists and Arminians affirm this: All who believe will be saved by the atonement of Jesus.

Christ Died for More Than an Offer

Now, let me set up the issue more completely and then look at the texts with you briefly. Here’s the way I set up the issue. Arminians take all the passages which say the death of Christ is for us, for his own sheep, for the church, for the children of God, for those who are being sanctified, and they say that the meaning is that God designs and intends the atonement for all people in the same way. That’s a key phrase right there — all people in the same way. But they say that God applies it as effective and saving only for those who believe and become part of us by their believing, becoming the sheep and the church and the children of God. In this view, then, the sentence “Christ died for you” means that Christ died for all sinners so that if you will repent and believe in Christ then the death of Jesus will become effective in your case and will take away your sins.

Now, as far as it goes, this seems to me to be acceptable teaching. It’s right teaching. But then Arminians deny something that I think the Bible teaches. They deny that the texts about Christ’s dying for us, or his sheep, or his church, or the children of God were intended by God to obtain something more for his people than the benefits they get after they believe. They deny, specifically, that the death of Christ was not only intended by God to obtain benefits for people after they believe, which is true, but even more. They deny that Christ’s death was intended by God to obtain the very willingness to believe. In other words, the divine grace that it takes to overcome our hardness of heart and become a believer was also obtained by the blood of Jesus for God’s elect.

There’s no dispute that Christ died to obtain great saving benefits for all who believe. There’s just no dispute there, we agree on that. Moreover, there’s no dispute that Christ died so that we might say to all persons everywhere without exception, “God gave his only begotten son to die for sins so that if you believe on him you may have eternal life.” The dispute is whether God intended for the death of Christ to obtain more than these two thing — saving benefits after faith and a bonafide invitation that can be made to believe on Christ or salvation. Specifically, did God intend for the death of Christ to obtain the free gift of faith and repentance? Did the blood of Jesus obtain both the benefits after faith and the benefit of faith itself?

Points of Agreement

Does his historic Arminian interpretation of any of the universal texts on the atonement necessarily contradict this more than I’m affirming about God’s intention for the death of Christ? I don’t think so. In other words, I think you can affirm everything the Arminian affirms about the cross making salvation universally available to all who believe. And all the texts they use to warrant that do not contradict this more that I think the cross was designed to achieve.

Arminians, historically, are just as eager as Calvinists to avoid saying that these texts teach universal salvation — that is, that everybody will be saved in the end. So they do not teach that the death of Christ for all saves all, rather, they say — here’s the quote from Millard Erickson:

God intended the atonement to make salvation possible for all persons. Christ died for all persons, but this atoning death becomes effective only when accepted by the individual. This is the view of all Arminians. The atonement makes salvation possible for all persons, and Christ died for all persons, but this atoning death becomes effective (it doesn’t produce the effect, it makes possible salvation) only when accepted by the individual.

Now, I totally agree with that, so I’m with the Arminians at the level of what the cross achieved by way of making salvation available to all with the bonafide offer, “If you believe, you will be saved.” We may look every person in the eye and say that, so I’m with them.

My only question left is, did it do more? Not less, this is why the word limited atonement seems odd at this point. I’m arguing, “I go with you this far, and then I’m going to just say, “But I see some texts where the cross by its design does more than that.” So just get this, Piper doesn’t say, “Oh my, what a big wonderful view of the cross Arminians have, I wish I could have that, but I have a little view.” I say, “Okay, here’s their big wonderful view and I’m with them, and I’m standing there and I’m preaching to everybody on the weekends, ‘Believe and you’ll be saved. I don’t care who you are or what socioeconomic level or what race you are. I don’t care, if you believe, you’ll be saved. It’s designed to make that possible for you.’” That’s preaching like an Arminian, right?

The Further Effect of the Cross

I’m just believing something else also was designed in the cross. Now, what is that? What has become clear to me as I have pondered these things, is that Arminians do not say that in the death of Christ God intends to effectively save all for whom he died. They don’t say that. They only say that God intends to make possible the salvation of all for whom Christ died, but this interpretation of these universal texts does not contradict the Calvinist assertion that God does intend to obtain the grace of faith and repentance for a definite group by the death of Christ. Arminians may deny the assertion, but they cannot deny it on the basis of their interpretation of the universal texts of the atonement. That interpretation simply affirms that all may have salvation if they believe. I don’t dispute that, I only go beyond it.

Here’s the rub: If God did this more, he didn’t do it for everyone, and so at this level, the atonement becomes limited, and this is what Arminians stumble over. Is there anything that God would do to get some unbelievers saved that he would not do for all? Is there some design in the cross for the elect? This limitation implies a choice on God’s part to save some and not all, which leads of course to the U — unconditional election — which Arminians do not believe, and therefore they’ll back away from what I’m about to show you from these texts. These are texts supporting the assertion that the atonement obtained the grace of faith.

The Blood of the Covenant

There are several arguments. First, consider the blood of the New Covenant. Luke 22:20 says:

And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”

In other words, what he’s saying is, “When I shed my blood tomorrow, I’m going to purchase, obtain, secure the New Covenant. I’m going to seal the New Covenant. Thus, my blood is the blood of the covenant.” Now, what did the New Covenant promise?

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules (Ezekiel 36:26–27).

That’s the sum of the New Covenant. In the Old Covenant, we were required to do these things and God didn’t do them. The New Covenant says, “I’m coming in and taking over for my people. I’m changing their hearts, I’m taking out the heart of stone, I’m putting in the heart of flesh, I’m taking out the old rebellious spirit, I’m putting in the new spirit, I’m giving them eyes to see, I’m bringing them to myself, and I’m holding them.” And my argument is that Jesus bought that. It didn’t just happen.

In the cross, there was a design to purchase and secure that, but that doesn’t happen to everybody. And you can’t say you get it if you choose to get it, because it’s the choosing that was bought for you; it’s the new heart that was bought for you; it’s the putting in a new spirit that was bought for you; it’s the causing you to walk in his statutes that was bought for you. That’s what the blood of the covenant means.

Gathering the Children of God

The second argument is regarding the ingathering of the children of God. I’m starting with a problem text here. This text is usually brought up as a problem for limited atonement, and I’m going to turn it on its head and make it an argument for it. First John 2:2 says:

He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

Now, that sounds like God effectively bore the wrath for everybody, and he did in the sense that it’s available to everybody if they would believe, but what’s John’s thinking behind this verse? It’s the parallel with John 11:50–52 that is so striking, and I commend it for your consideration. Here again, we saw this in the previous session. Caiaphas the priest is talking:

“It is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad (John 11:50–52).

Now, I think the structure of that sentence there in 1 John 2:2, paralleling the structure of the sentence here in John 11:50–52, means John is thinking similarly in those two situations. So when he says, “He is the propitiation for our sins” it’s like, “He will die for the nation.” And when he says, “But not for ours only,” it parallels, “But not for the nation only, but also for the children of God scattered abroad.” Now, the question is, who is that? In 1 John 2:2 he says “sins of the whole world,” and in John 11:50–52 he says, “He died to gather together into one the children of God scattered abroad.”

That means that the death of Jesus is by design a people-gathering death, he is going to achieve the conversion of the children of God. They’re scattered out there and they’re sheep. He says, “I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I lay down my life for the sheep, and now you go find the sheep and my death will be the triumphant means by which I gather my sheep.” I think that’s the way he’s thinking in 1 John 2:2. So the whole world here doesn’t mean every single individual in the world; it means, “Every tribe and tongue and nation where the children of God are scattered, go find them and bring them in.”

Redeemed from Every Nation

John 10:11 says:

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

And John 10:14–15 says:

I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.

There is a special, covenant purchase of the sheep in the design of the atonement. It’s the same thing in Revelation 5:9. It says:

And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation . . .

So think about that. It says, “You purchased men from every tribe . . .” That would be a strange way to talk if you didn’t think there was a special design in the purchase for some among every nation, rather than all among every nation. He died so that you could say to every nation, “Anyone who believes in this tribe will be saved,” and this text says that he died in such a way that there will be some from those nations because his death secures the New Covenant fulfillment of the promise.

The Ground of Christian Assurance

Let me just draw out one more text and then we’ll take our break. The death of Christ for the elect is the ground of their assurance.

Those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Now, so far there’s no mention of the death of Jesus or the atonement. You’ve just got this iron chain that cannot be broken, from foreknowing to predestining, to calling, to justification, to glorification, and nobody is missing. This achievement of the glorification of the elect is rock-solid sure. The question is, how does the death of Jesus figure in?

What, then, shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31).

That’s what we’ve just seen. He’s for us, and now he undergirds it with the death of Christ:

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

I’m going to end my argument here. That all things here includes predestination, calling, justification, and glorification. That is sure. How can you know it’s sure? You’re a sinner. Answer: He did not spare his own Son; therefore, it’s the blood, it’s the death that secures the rock-solid chain of foreknowledge, predestination, calling, justification, and glorification, which means my being called, my being predestined, my being chosen, was all purchased for me, it was all secured by the blood.

Therefore, this design is precious. It is a New Covenant design. It’s the difference between me standing up on a Sunday and saying to all the women in Bethlehem, “I love you. I would lay down my life for you,” and saying, “But I love Noël differently. There’s a covenant.” And God can say to the world, “I love you. I love you, and I gave my Son so that whoever believes among you, of any kind, would be saved. But I have a bride, and I died for my bride differently. I paid a price for her. I secured her by covenant infallibly, and she is mine from eternity to eternity.”