Through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name’s sake, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ.
Question: Why doesn’t this verse instead state, “To bring about the obedience of faith among all of [the elect]”? Why instead say “Gentiles,” and “all” of them?
Answer: Paul received the grace to be able to reach all of these people, and not just him, but “you also,” who are the “called of God,” can do so too. Calvinists can’t use the “Well, it just means ‘groups’” defense, since this refers to “all the Gentiles.”
John Calvin: “It was not enough for Paul to have been appointed an apostle, unless his ministry had reference to the making of disciples. He therefore adds that his apostleship extends to all the Gentiles.” (Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries: Romans and Thessalonians, p.18, emphasis mine)
Question: In what way, is it that his apostleship “extends to all the Gentiles”?
Answer: “To bring about the obedience of faith.” In other words, it’s for their salvation. But if Jesus didn’t die for them (meaning only a few Calvinistically elect ones), then the apostleship is to bring about the salvation of the Calvinistically elect and Calvinistically non-elect, and how would that make sense? Only an Unlimited scope Atonement can adequately explain this.
Question: Is the reference to “all the Gentiles” just merely a synecdoche, or hyperbole, or some form of exaggeration, where there may be an implicit reference to the Calvinistically elect?
Answer: Since the Gentile reference is unbounded, there doesn’t appear to be a good argument for that. Consider the example of Romans 12:8, which states: “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” That might be hyperbole, if Paul had not also added, “so far as it depends on you.” In other words, for your part, that is to be your attitude towards all others. Sometimes, though, the other party is unwilling, and there is no opportunity for peace. But if the other party is willing to be at peace with you, and you decide that Romans 12:8 is not literally true in all circumstances, but is only metaphorically true for whomever you wish it to be true, in only the most convenient circumstances, then you would be perfectly justified in showing evil in return, even though the opposing party might genuinely desire consolation. Thus, here is the implication of “all the Gentiles” at Romans 1:5: “For as many Gentiles as God gives us opportunity to reach, if indeed perhaps, Lord willing, all of them.” That’s the universal objective of the Gospel, and which necessarily requires an Unlimited scope Atonement.
Regarding “all the Gentiles,” the New Living Translation paraphrases: “Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to his name.” (emphasis mine) And what did He do for them? Calvary is what He did for them. This means that Jesus died for everyone, and all who partner in the ministry are “the called of Jesus Christ” in order to reach these people. But if Limited Atonement is true, then God hasn’t “done” anything for them, at least in a salvific sense, or an eternally beneficially sense, and so, what good news do you really have for any random Gentile, if not every Gentile is so loved by God? After all, if you cannot assure them that Jesus loves them, died for them, and rose again on their behalf, then you are merely offering them a could-be, might-be, hope that you are secretly elect in an eternal raffle, find out in the end, hope for the best, Gospel. I think that the biblical Gospel is better than that.