I want to piggy back off of a post that Larry made on the SGP site. Larry brings up the point that “those who are “saved” implies the necessity of logical limitation” concerning the use of Paul’s “all”. IMO this is an extremely important point to recognize concerning the language of the scriptures. There is an inherent propensity by Christians to “assume” that the “all” that is spoken of by Paul is to be inferred universally toward all men in context to the discussion. Well yes and no. Yes when the Gospel is for all men but no when specifically discussing the corporate application of salvation and covenant inclusion. Here is the specific quote from Larry that I had in mind.
Larry said … “With respect to "limited atonement" the fact that God's grace is directed toward those who are "saved" implies the necessity of logical limitation. The "all" verses of Scripture are always best understood from the standpoint of Jew and Gentile as the collective "all" to whom the text is directed. The word is never universally inclusive of every individual, nor should it be understood in that sense.”
Where this application can rear up and bite us is in the classic discussion found in Romans chapter 5 concerning “all” men. In verse 18 we see that “all” men are said to be justified and have life but should we understand that inclusion to be comprehensive of men who have rejected or outside of Covenant life? Obviously the answer is no because we realize that Life comes only through faith in Christ and His Works of faithfulness on the Cross.
Rom 5:18-19 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.
Now let us consider the earlier application of “all” men by Paul just a few verses earlier.
Rom 5:12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned--
So how are we to consider the “all” men of verse 12 when it comes to the “death”? The answer is similar to the previous point. The “all” men under consideration that Paul has under consideration are only those Men seeking relationship with the One True God from Adam onward thru a Covenant status. Those outside of this Covenant relationship already resided in the original darkness which excludes them from Life with God. (Eph 2:12) and their position as “dead” men was already a given and firmly established. The “Death” of Adam was a Covenantal Death as he was the first and original hope of humanity for reconciliation with God but through the weakness of the imperfect flesh those men who strove to know the God of Adam, Abraham and Moses would have futility until Christ.
Paul assumes his “all” as Larry states within a “logical limitation” both in verse 12 and again in verse 18. This is firmly established in verse 19 in which the two statements of Paul are reestablished with the qualification of the “many” for both “all’s”.
(19) For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous.
Adam was originally established to bring mankind into Covenant as a type of Christ (Rom 5:14) but we know that it is not a covenant inclusive of the non covenantal Gentiles. Contrary then to popular understanding Adam should not be understood as a biological progenitor of “sin death” but instead is one through whom was established a “covenantal “sin death” progeny as that is the default understanding found throughout scriptures. It is only in Covenant that Man is established with God and outside it becomes a moot point. When men come seeking God in Covenant is when they are effectively under consideration for Paul’s “all” men classification.
The question of whether Gentile Pagan men were in Darkness and already effectively dead to God is never an issue as it is the default understanding of scriptures. That is why Adam corresponds to the beginning creation of Light out of the void of Darkness and was created from the dead and mortal dust of the Earth and from a dry wilderness land in Genesis. This is also why because of the fall that he would return to the dust of the earth because he had lost the Gardne immortality through the weakness of the flesh and only through Christ this lost immortal life would be reclaimed for Covenant mankind.
Paul tells us clearly his logic and reasoning concerning the “all” in Rom 9:7-8.
Rom 9:7-8 and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but "Through Isaac shall your offspring be named." (8) This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.
You can find Larry’s full post at the following link