C.H. Spurgeon on Limited Atonement

CH Spurgeon on Limited Atonement
Reading Time: 2 minutes

C.H. Spurgeon preached the doctrine of Limited Atonement and taught that to deny this doctrine is to believe that much of Christ’s blood was shed in vain.

This is the fourth article in the series “C.H. Spurgeon on the Doctrines of Grace,” which discusses Spurgeon’s views on Calvinism as seen in his preaching and writing.

The doctrine of Limited Atonement teaches that Jesus’ death on the cross did not merely make salvation possible for those who choose to receive it, but that it made salvation definite for God’s elect.

There is nothing limited about the power of Christ’s atoning sacrifice – it is completely sufficient to save sinners. However, it is made definite only for those who God has chosen. (More on Limited Atonement)

Outside of Universalism, which falsely teaches that all will be saved, there are two options for understanding the extent of the atonement. Either Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was absolutely effective for those it was intended for (God’s elect) or it was intended for all but somehow limited in its effectiveness.

Spurgeon unequivocally rejected the theological consequences of the latter:

We do not believe that Christ made any effectual atonement for those who are forever damned; we dare not think that the blood of Christ was ever shed with the intention of saving those whom God foreknew never could be saved, and some of whom were even in Hell when Christ, according to some men’s account, died to save them. [1]

Either Christ’s atoning death was meant for the salvation of all but is limited in its ability to accomplish this end, or the intent of the atonement was limited to fully redeeming all of God’s elect.

Spurgeon found nothing appealing in the second view:

We say Christ so died that He infallibly secured the salvation of a multitude that no man can number, who through Christ’s death not only may be saved but are saved, must be saved, and cannot by any possibility run the hazard of being anything but saved. You are welcome to your atonement; you may keep it. We will never renounce ours for the sake of it. [2]

Christ’s sacrifice on the cross accomplished exactly what it was meant to, and no one who has had their sins paid for by His atoning death can be damned by those same sins. This was Spurgeon’s view and it is the view of all who hold to the Doctrines of Grace.


Other Articles in the Series C.H. Spurgeon on the Doctrines of Grace:

Article by Clay Kraby

For a more detailed look at Limited Atonement, please see The Five Points of Calvinism – Defining the Doctrines of Grace


[1] “Particular Redemption,”  http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0181.htm.
[2] Ibid.

Clayton Kraby
Written by Clayton Kraby
I'm a Pastor in North Dakota and created ReasonableTheology.org to help make theology accessible for the everyday Christian. You can find me on Twitter @ClayKraby.