Christ is an Undivided Priest

Andrew Roycroft has an excellent summary of John Owen’s argument in The Death of Death in the Death of Christ for particular atonement by virtue of Christ’s undivided priesthood.

In this case it is the priesthood of Christ Jesus which comes into view, and through this prism Owen makes the case that Christ must be the whole Priest for his whole people, or he is no priest at all. This may sound self-evident on a first pass, but consider (as Owen does) the logical implications of this, and particular redemption comes sweeping into view. The key question which Owen is teasing out is does Christ intercede for all people, or merely for his own people, and if for his own people only, then does he intercede for fewer souls than those he redeems? In other words, is Christ’s a divided or at best lopsided priesthood where he atones for all but only prays for some?

The grist for this particular argument obviously emanates from John 17. There Christ Jesus in his high priestly prayer asserts in verses 9-10 that ‘I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them’. From this basis Owen asserts that the only orthodox position to adopt is that Christ intercedes for and offers himself for the elect in a particular and discerning way.