Affirming the Reformed Distinctive
Having outlined the several aspects pertaining to the nature of Christ’s atonement (found here and here) we come now to address the heart of the Reformed distinctive, or that which separates our view from all other schools of thought. To state it concisely, the biblical and Reformed doctrine is that God had a definite saving purpose in the mission of His Son, so that Jesus Christ was sent into the world – not merely to make the salvation of all men possible, nor simply to remove the legal obstacles which stood in the way of their full acceptance with God — that he certainly did.
More specifically though, the satisfaction of Jesus Christ was designed to infallibly secure the total salvation of his own people (Matthew 1:21). This affirmation is not just unique to the Reformed Faith; it is indispensable to the biblical doctrine. In other words, the atonement of Jesus Christ was a purpose driven atonement. It was for this reason our Savior said to his Father, “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do,” and again “that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him” (John 17:4, 2). The connection between the definite saving purpose of God, and the definite saving work of the Son cannot be denied. Again and again we see these two points linked together.