I supported my comment in the original post (link). We get the definitive universality of sinfulness from the "there is none righteous, no not one." The "all" unmistakably refers to "both Jews and Gentiles" in context. If that doesn't fit with your theory, revise your theory. As for "academic training" and "presume too much," they would be relevant if you had some sort of merit to your contentions: merit that you could demonstrate with exegesis, not assertion. On the other hand, I don't rest on academic laurels, but simply on the Scriptures. If you presume that I would go along with your theory without holding it up to the light of Scriptures, you do presume too much.
GMB, of course, stands for Gene M. Bridges, who commented on the original post (link). It seems you are having trouble understanding the verses, or simply want to promote your theory regardless of what the verses say.
Here, again, is the text:
22Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
You seem to want to imagine that "all have sinned" is the same group as "being justified" AND that "all have sinned" is a reference to the entirety of humanity. If that were so, then the result would be that the entirety of humanity is justified. If that were so, then the entirety of humanity would be saved. There's no escape from that conclusion.
FreeGrace: "Since Paul has noted in 3:9 that everyone is under sin, not just "all kinds of men", it is ridiculous to presuppose that 3:23 is referring only to believers, which is what you have done. 3:23 is clearly a re-iteration of 3:9. You may deny it, but that's what Paul has done."
If you go back and read the original post (link), you will see that "presuppos[ing]" it is not what I did. Instead, I derived the sense of verse 23 from the context, something you seem incapable of following. I hope this explanation will help. The interpretation of verse 23 does not depend on whether the "all" in verse 9 extends (in context) to all of the members of both sets (in context, it does - because of the "none is righteous, no not one"). In fact the way to logically arrange the discussion is to see Paul making a general statement about humanity in verses 9-10, and then a specific statement about the elect in verses 22-24.
It's actually quite a simple, syllogistic way of discussing things:
1. All men are sinners.
2. Believers are men.
3. Believers are sinners.
Furthermore, Paul presented the entire argument from verse 9 to verse 20 to deal with the issue of the possibility of works righteousness. Paul denies that we are better than the unbelievers, affirming the universality of sinfulness both categorically ("both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin") and individually ("There is none righteous, no, not one: there is noen that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable, there is none that doeth good, no, not one ... there is no fear of God before their eyes.")
Verse 23 serves as a reapplication of that general principle to the believers, "all them that believe" (verse 22) namely those who are "justified freely by his grace." After all, that's the reason for Paul's argument ... referring back to verse 9, "What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise ..."
The "we" and "they" in verse 9 is not Jews and Gentiles (for Paul is a Jew writing to Gentiles) but believers and unbelievers. We are not saved because we are saved because we are better. Instead, we are saved by the free and sovereign grace of God.
I assume by "absurd" that you mean that you did not intend to say that there are two ways of salvation. I think, though, that you need to go back to the original post and reread his comment to see the point of what he's saying. I'll let him clarify again, though, if he so chooses.
As for the issue of claims about universal atonement being non-differentiable from statements about universal salvation is not "reformed presupposition," but extensive experience speaking. We look for advocates of the former to try to differentiate their statements from those of the latter, and it comes up empty. This case is no different: rather than differentiate, you have simply sold the house.
What do I mean by saying that you have sold the house? You have acknowledged that, to use your words, "The condition for justification is believing." If that is so, then there are only three options:
1. The "for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" refers (as, in fact, it does) only to believers in the context of verse 23;
2. It refers to "each and every person" and "each and every person" fulfills the condition and is justified (leading to universal salvation); or
3. It refers to "each and every person" but not all of them fulfill the condition which contradicts your original statement that "all have sinned" refers to the same group as "being justified."
So, you have (1) our position, (2) universal salvation, or (3) self-contradiction. Take your pick.
A. The Whole Foundation of this Argument is Contra-Biblical
1. Christ purchased (peripoieomai) the church with his blood (Acts 20:28).
2. That's why we can be refered to as the purchased possession (peripoiēsis) (Ephesians 1:14).
3. We, believers, are bought (agorazō) with a price (timē). (1 Corinthians 6:20 and 7:23).
4. Indeed, the elect was redeemed (agorazō) out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation (Revelation 5:9) and redeemed (agorazō) from the earth (Revelation 14:3) and redeemed (agorazō) from among men (Revelation 14:4).
But Scripture never ever refers to salvation being purchased (agorazō) by Christ's blood, it speaks of people, namely the elect, being purchased by Christ's blood.
B. Even if it were Biblical, it is not germane to Romans 3.
Romans 3 refers to believe who are justified, not who might possibly some day be justified, if they choose to be justified. In short, there's no reason, linguistic or contextual to jump from "being justified" to "potentially being justified."
FreeGrace: "A man living in an apartment building wants everyone in his building to have a Bible. So he goes out and purchases a Bible for every resident in the building. Then he goes to every apartment and offers a Bible to each resident. Those that want one receive one, and those who do not want one, don't receive one."
The great over-spender analogy. Counter query. If the man knows in advance that only 1/2 of the people will want one, would he be wiser to buy the right amount, or wiser to overpurchase? (as he does in your analogy) In fact, wouldn't the man in your analogy be wiser to go around and find out how many people want a Bible before making his purchase?
Surely, in this example, a Bible has been purchased for each and every person, but to what end? It is simply to make Bible ownership a possibility for each person. If that's your analogy to salvation, come out and say that you think Christ died on the cross simply to make salvation possible for his people, not - as Scripture says - to save his people from their sins.
FreeGrace: "Now, how can you or GMB claim that statements about "universal Bible purchases" cannot be differentiated from statement about "universal Bible ownership"? Please explain. My example demonstrates that while a Bible was purchased (agarazo) for everyone, not everyone received one."
FreeGrace: "Anyway, thanks for your thoughts. You have in no way provided me any support for your pov on this passage, as I'm sure you have already figured."
I'm willing to let the reader judge for himself.
FreeGrace: "I thought it was interesting how you wanted to emphasize the passage, when you put in very small print the last part of v.22 and v.23. Seems you want to "minimize" it. Here is a way to read the passage with only the prepositional phrase in v.25 moved to the beginning of the verse:
Your problem is clearly seen here. The verse says "are justified," whether you ignore that or not. It does not say "can be justified" or "should be justified" or "ought to be justified" or "may be justified" or "might be justified" or "would be justified" or "could be justified" or anything else but "are justified" (or "being justified").
The point of the passage is only partly to talk about justification by grace through faith - you're missing the other half: the other half of the point is to show that gracious justification is the great equalizer: it is because justification is not based on us distinguishing ourselves from others, but instead is based on grace, that there is no difference between us and the unbeliever except the grace of God.
Yes, Paul does implicitly limit who can be justified, by making by grace. If justification were by works, those who wanted to be justified would simply work hard, distinguishing themselves from others.
But instead, all mankind universally is under sin - there is none that seeks after God. God graciously converts some, bringing them to faith in Christ, justifying them by grace. All of these were sinners, none were righteous, for everyone is a sinner. Thus, there is no room for pride to those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, because this was not of themselves - they were saved by grace, not obedience to God's law.
Nevertheless, the limitation on who can be justified is not the main point of the passage, it's simply implicit in gracious salvation (see above for the main point). If other parts of Scripture were ignored, we could accept universal salvation as being consistent with this text, because God could (again, ignoring other things we know about God from other Scriptures) show the same grace to all, if he so desired, because his grace is freely bestowed, not earned, merited, or procured.