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"ουτως γαρ ηγαπησεν ο θεος τον κοσμον ωστε τον υιον αυτου τον μονογενη εδωκεν
ινα πας ο πιστευων εις αυτον μη αποληται αλλ εχη ζωην αιωνιον"
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only/unique Son,
that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life."
John 3:16
The failure
of some to grasp the infinite (un-limited) nature of Christ's atonement has resulted in the view propagated in some circles of Christianity that Christ died only for the Elect, in other words only for those whom God foreknew would become Christians.
This is patently false!
The Infinite Eternal One did not work our salvation from a budget but from His heart of unlimited love!
defence of the false Limited Atonement doctrine some Christian teachers have asserted that the term translated "world" must be understood as referring to Christ's disciples and therefore 'limited' to believers only.
However, honest exegesis/interpretation of Holy Scripture allows Scripture itself to define its use of this term "world".
in this same Gospel of John the same term κόσμος is used repeatedly of those who are not of God and therefore cannot receive the Spirit of God. Satan is even described as the the "prince of this κόσμος" (John 16:11), so the term in its own context cannot ever be 'limited' to believers.
It is an all inclusive term for ALL humanity.
  It needs to be remembered that the value of Christ's Atonement does not lie in God's knowledge of 'how many' would repent and become believers, any more than it lay in 'how long' Jesus was on that Cross.  
The value of His atonement lies directly in the fact that the eternal Infinity of God humbled Himself to our finiteness in His incarnation and then, having demonstrated true humanity sinlessly, took our place before God under His righteous judgement to the extent that in that specific moment even the knowledge of what was happening Him and the reason why was taken from Him.
Hence His anguished prayer: "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" was completely ignored by God!
The value
of the Christ's substitution of Himself under God's righteous judgement is in itself of infinite value, beyond measure, and therefore could never be limited to any particular number of persons! To not know this is to devalue the atonement of Jesus Christ!

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