Limited Atonement is the teaching that Jesus Christ died only for the elect. I like to call it Actual Atonement or simply the Atonement. This teaching is found throughout scripture so we will look at some passages where this doctrine is found.
Matt. 26:28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
John 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. (See Matt. 25:32-34)
John 10:15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
Act 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.
Isa 53:12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
There are many more verse with this teaching but I do not believe we must see every single verse on a doctrine to prove that doctrine. If the verses are 'explicit' like these are, we don't need anything else.
Now I want to look at some verses that the Arminian will throw up to try to say Christ died for everybody.
John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Joh 4:42 And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.
1Jn 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
1Jn 4:14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.
1Tim. 4:10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.
2Pet. 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
Now real quickly I will handle each verse from John's writings. John being a Jew in the first century seen two types of people. First, there was the Jew. Second, there was the rest of the world. So when John uses the word world it doesn't necessarily mean 'everyone.' (See John 1:10; 6:33; 7:7; 17:9)
Now we will look at 1 Tim. 4:10. Is Jesus the Saviour of all men in the sense that He has saved all men? No He is not. He is a Saviour to whom? "Those that believe" as the texts says.
In 1 Timothy, Paul uses this word for all many different times and I think it is clear from the contexts that he doesn't mean 'every single.' Just look at 1 Tim. 2:1 where Paul exhorts us to pray for "all men." Paul obviously doesn't mean pray for every single person in the world for that would be impossible. Paul also describes what he means in verse 2, "For kings, and for all that are in authority..." So not only for average Joe but for "all men."
The word for "all" here is "pas" which means, "some of all types." I think Paul makes this use of this word clear when he uses it in 1 Timothy 6:10. Paul states there that "the love of money is the root of all evil." So my question is, is all evil rooted in money? When Satan fell from Heaven was it because of money? When Adam and Eve fell was it because of money? The obvious answer is no, so the obvious meaning of the word is "some of all types." So Jesus is the Saviour of some of all types of men. Not just the average Joe but also the Saviour for Kings and them in authority.
Now unto 2 Pet. 2:1, "the Lord that bought them."
The word used for "Lord" here I do not believe is talking about Christ. Why? You ask. Well the word that is used for Lord here is a word that is never used for Christ. When speaking of Christ the word, "Kurios" is used. This word is "Despostes" it is never once used for Christ. So what or better Who is it talking about?
I believe that Peter being a Jew and writing to Jews was using this to speak of the Father. The Father was spoken of in the Old Testament as buying the Jews.
Deut. 32:6 Do ye thus requite the LORD, O foolish people and unwise? is not he thy father that hath bought thee? hath he not made thee, and established thee?
There is another view of this being "bought" also. Some say that it's speaking about God being the Master of all creation, since the word can be translated Master. Check out John Gill's commentary of this portion of the verse.
"...and even denying the Lord that bought them; not the Lord Jesus Christ, but God the Father; for the word κυριος (Kurios) is not here used, which always is where Christ is spoken of as the Lord, but δεσποτης (Despostes); and which is expressive of the power which masters have over their servants (i), and which God has over all mankind; and wherever this word is elsewhere used, it is spoken of God the Father, whenever applied to a divine person, as in Luk_2:29 and especially this appears to be the sense, from the parallel text in Jud_1:4 where the Lord God denied by those men is manifestly distinguished from our Lord Jesus Christ, and by whom these persons are said to be bought: the meaning is not that they were redeemed by the blood of Christ, for Christ is not intended; and besides, whenever redemption by Christ is spoken of, the price is usually mentioned, or some circumstance or another which fully determines the sense; see Act_20:28 whereas here is not the least hint of anything of this kind: add to this, that such who are redeemed by Christ are the elect of God only, the people of Christ, his sheep and friends, and church, and who are never left to deny him so as to perish eternally; for could such be lost, or deceive, or be deceived finally and totally by damnable heresies, and bring on themselves swift destruction, Christ's purchase would be in vain, and the ransom price be paid for nought; but the word "bought" regards temporal mercies and deliverance, which these men enjoyed, and is used as an aggravation of their sin in denying the Lord; both by words, delivering out such tenets as are derogatory to the glory of the divine perfections, and which deny one or other of them, and of his purposes, providence, promises, and truths; and by works, turning the doctrine of the grace of God into lasciviousness, being disobedient and reprobate to every good work; that they should act this part against the Lord who had made them, and upheld them in their beings and took care of them in his providence, and had followed them with goodness and mercy all the days of their lives; just as Moses aggravates the ingratitude of the Jews in Deu_32:6 from whence this phrase is borrowed, and to which it manifestly refers: "do ye thus requite the Lord, O foolish people and unwise! is not he thy Father that hath bought thee? hath he not made thee, and established thee?" nor is this the only place the apostle refers to in this chapter, see 2Pe_2:12 compared with Deu_32:5 and it is to be observed, that the persons he writes to were Jews, who were called the people the Lord had redeemed and purchased, Exo_15:13 and so were the first false teachers that rose up among them; and therefore this phrase is very applicable to them." John Gill's Exposition of the whole bible
The atonement was a legal payment to God. With that being said let's see how that affects how we see the Atonement.
He did not lay down His life for everybody that has ever lived. For if that was the case everybody would be saved. Jesus Christ's blood is that powerful!
When Jesus died on the cross one of the things He said was "It is finished!" The meaning of this word is very important. These three words in English are actually one word in Greek, this word is "tetelestai." This word means, "paid in full." I'm sure you know what paid in full means. If you went to a restaurant and you paid your bill, what would you do if they asked for you to pay again? You would argue that the debt has already been paid.
Let's apply this in the legal aspect. If you committed a crime, like speeding 100 mph, and you paid your ticket. What would you do if they tried to make you pay your ticket again in a year? It's not legal or just to make someone pay twice for the same crime.
This is obviously a scriptural teaching also.
Heb 10:10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Heb 10:11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:
Heb 10:12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.
This payment was demanded to be paid once and it was paid by Jesus Christ for the sins of the elect.
If limited atonement weren't true then there would be a double payment for sin. For if Jesus died for everybody and some still go to Hell, then Jesus paid the price for sins and the sinner will pay the price for sins also.
One last thing. Jesus Christ is called a "propitiation." Propitiation means to appease God's wrath or take away God's wrath. If Jesus Christ was the propitiation for everybody, as some insist 1 Jn. 2:2 means, then God wouldn't have anymore wrath for the unbelieving. Yet John 3:36 states very clear that God's wrath abides or rests on the unbelieving. Psalm 7:11 say's that God is angry with the wicked everyday. So there is obviously wrath that Jesus didn't take away and there is wrath that Jesus did take away. Jesus took away or appeased the wrath of the Father for the elect and no more.