But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.
Does that only mean “everyone” of the Calvinistically elect?
John Goodwin comments: “The inspired writer attributes his death to the grace of God, i.e. the love and gracious affections of God, not towards some, or a few, no, nor yet towards all men collectively taken or in the lump, but towards all men distributively taken, i.e. towards every particular and individual man.” (Redemption Redeemed, p.57)
Calvin seems to agree:
John Calvin comments: “He means that Christ died for us, because He took on Himself our lot, and redeemed us from the curse of death. So there is added that this was done by the grace of God, because the ground of our redemption is that immense love of God towards us by which it happened that He did not even spare His own Son (Rom. 8:32).” (Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries: Hebrews and I and II Peter, p.24, emphasis mine)
Calvin also writes: “That Christ, the redeemer of the whole world, commands the Gospel to be preached promiscuously to all does not seem congruent with special Election. ... But the solution of the difficulty lies in seeing how the doctrine of the Gospel offers salvation to all. That it is salvific for all I do not deny. But the question is whether the Lord in His counsel here destines salvation equally for all.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, pp.102, 103, emphasis mine)
This is Atoning Grace: By the grace of God, He tasted death for “everyone.” Whereas 4-Point Calvinists (like John Calvin) and Arminians agree that Christ’s provision at Calvary was made for all, and is salvific for all, 5-Point Calvinists explain the verse with the all too familiar inference of everyone “of the elect.”
5-Point Calvinist, James White, explains: “Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. (Hebrews 2:17) Propitiation is the sacrifice that brings forgiveness and takes away wrath. What ‘people’ is here in view? It is the ‘many sons’ of 2:10, those He ‘sanctifies’ (2:11), ‘My brethren’ (2:12), ‘the children God gave Me’ (2:13) those ‘subject to slavery all their lives’ (2:15), ‘the descendant of Abraham’ (2:16), ‘His brethren’ (2:17). In light of this we understand the statement of Hebrews 2:9, ‘so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.’” (The Potter’s Freedom, pp.246-247, emphasis mine)
In other words, according to James White, “everyone” at Hebrews 2:9 is not meant to mean everyone indiscriminately throughout the whole world, but merely everyone among “the people” for whom the propitiation was made (i.e. wink and a nod, the Calvinistically elect). However, the propitiation in question is spoken of elsewhere of Scripture: “And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.” (1st John 2:2) So Jesus is not just the propitiation for the sins of the Jews only, but for the Gentiles as well, and what is the whole, but the sum of its parts?, which is tantamount to the same thing as meaning everyone, which takes us right back to where we started. In the context of the “whole world,” “everyone” really does mean everyone.
White explains: “Christ’s substitutionary death in behalf of His people is a real and finished work: It is not dependent upon the human act of faith for success or failure.” (Debating Calvinism, p.191, emphasis mine)
The substitutionary death is already a success. God accepted it. The provision of Calvary is 100% valid. The question is whether one will receive the offer of salvation.
Calvinists have many pet arguments concerning the atonement, such as the God according to Arminianism being a “failure,” and that the God according to Arminianism risked sending His Son to Calvary with the possibility of it being a complete waste, if no one ever believed in Him. For these types of arguments, consider the article on the Calvinist complaint of: Arminianism Cheapens Grace.