“And he himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” (1 John 2:2)
Here a question may be raised, how have the sins of the whole world been expiated?
I pass by the dotages of the fanatics, who under this pretense extend salvation to all the reprobate, and therefore to Satan himself. Such a monstrous thing deserves no refutation.
They who seek to avoid this absurdity, have said that Christ suffered sufficiently for the whole world, but efficiently only for the elect. This solution has commonly prevailed in the schools.
Though then I allow that what has been said is true, yet I deny that it is suitable to this passage; for the design of John was no other than to make this benefit common to the whole Church.
Then under the word all or whole, he does not include the reprobate, but designates those who should believe as well as those who were then scattered through various parts of the world.
For then is really made evident, as it is meet, the grace of Christ, when it is declared to be the only true salvation of the world.
Answered by John Calvin (1509-1564)