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This devotion reflects on Main Point II of the Canons of Dort.

Stop saying “limited atonement” right now! It’s a terribly misleading phrase to sum up the second point of doctrine in the Canons of Dort. There is nothing limited about what Christ accomplished on the cross.

Christ’s death is more than sufficient for the sins of the whole world, and our salvation is secure because of what Christ has done. Atonement is “limited” simply in the sense that not everyone will be able to turn to Christ and be saved.

This is hard to hear. If we love Jesus and have experienced new life in him, shouldn’t we want the same for everyone?

Yes! This is why the Synod of Dort urges us to share the good news of Jesus with anyone and everyone, “without differentiation or discrimination” (Main Point II, Article 5). In fact, the Canons of Dort give a more in-depth account of the church’s call to lovingly evangelize than any other of our confessions.

It is not for us to know who will or won’t respond, and we don’t need to feel anxious or inadequate for the task of making Christ known. The Holy Spirit is the one who draws people to faith in Christ (Article 7), and we are given the privilege of participating in this wondrous work.

By grace, your words and deeds can become part of how the Holy Spirit brings someone else to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord, so that they too can come to love and worship him, now and eternally, for who he is and what he has done.

Prayer

Sovereign God, help me to trust your love and your justice, while also earnestly sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with everyone I encounter. Take my efforts and multiply them.
Amen.

At 400 years old, the Canons of Dort might seem like ancient history. Thankfully, they’re anything but.

Written in the midst of a conflict that threatened to tear the Netherlands apart, they insisted that salvation was pure grace. That’s a truth we still need to hear.

To celebrate their birthday, we’re offering devotional riffs on each of the main points of the canons:

About the author

Suzanne McDonald

Suzanne McDonald is professor of historical and systematic theology at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan, and is ordained in the Christian Reformed Church. In her spare time, she is likely to be out watching and photographing birds. She also loves reading, art, and music, is a life-long cricket fan (not an easy sport to follow in the U.S.!), and has somehow become an NFL fan too.