What is the value of an atonement that fails to save? Those who espouse an unlimited atonement must answer that question.
Paul also taught that Christ gave Himself at the cross for “us”—that is, for all believers—in order to redeem us and transform us into a people for His own possession:Our great God and Savior Jesus Christ . . . gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. —Titus 2:13b–14
Jesus gave Himself at the cross for all believers—“us”—in order to redeem them from their sins. To redeem us means “to ransom us from an evil power.” The ransom Christ paid to purchase His church was His own blood (1 Peter 1:18–19). By the power of His death, Christ bought all believers from lawlessness in order to purify them and make them His own. The extent of the atonement is not one person more or one person less than all of the elect. Benjamin B. Warfield said, “The things we have to choose between are an atonement of high value, or an atonement of wide extension. The two cannot go together.” The fact is, Jesus accomplished an atonement of exceedingly high value as He purchased all who would believe upon Him—“a people for His own possession.”
—Steve Lawson, Foundations of Grace (Reformation Trust, 2006), 456.