Here’s a great insight from a great book: What’s So Great About The Doctrines of Grace? by Richard Phillips.
“…It is helpful to note that both Arminians and Calvinists believe in limited atonement. The question is with regard to what is limited. Arminians believe that the atonement is limited in terms of its efficacy. Calvinists believe the atonement is limited in the scope of people for whom it was intended. Arminians believe the atonement is unlimited in scope but limited in effect: it offers everyone the chance of salvation. Calvinists believe the atonement is limited in scope but unlimited in effect: it effectually saves the elect.”
“If we think of the atonement as a bridge spanning a great river, Arminians see it as infinitely wide, but not reaching all the way to the far bank; Calvinists hold that the atonement is a narrow bridge, wide enough only for the elect, but reaching all the way to the other side. We [Calvinists] believe that Christ’s death actually saves those for whom He died” (p. 56).
rev. shane lems