Question / Comment - Everyone will be saved and go to Heaven! Or do they?
I would like you to explain Roman's 5:18-19 'Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.'

And 2 Cor 5:18-21 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.'

Surely Christ has redeemed the whole world and coming into the revelation of this fact will indeed save our soul's..

According to these passage's, I think that they speak for themselves. I do believe that all will go to heaven. The reason why I believe this is that I believe that God The Father and the son made covenant to redeem the entire world. But that it was made to embrace the whole world. I believe that it was through Christ's faith and obedience that we all have received eternal life. Our faith only embrace's the fact that Christ did this for us all.

FOR GOD HATH CONCLUDED THEM "ALL" IN UNBELIEF, THAT HE MIGHT HAVE MERCY UPON "ALL". Romans 11:32
If we just simply read the verses that follow the above statement made by Paul (33-36) we will notice that those of us who are caught up in the "having to believe to be saved" are pretty much trying to decide for God who will make it and who won't. Yet we see that Paul states... "For who has known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been His counselor?" Evangelical Christianity and other religions along with them - who base their relationship with God on their performance - are the ones who seem to continue to know the mind of God and be His counselor. When someone takes the position that "believing" is what determines who is saved and who isn't, they are pretty much saying that they have figured out the "depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! and have reached the point of understanding God's judgments, and have found out about His ways". If we just simply look to Christ and realize that it was "For Him, and through Him, and to Him, are "ALL" things; to who be glory forever", that God DECIDED to save the entire world, we wouldn't have the mess that we have in our religious institutions today. The fact is that none of us have ever been able to tell God who gets in and who is out. The covenant was made between God the Father and God the Son and man was left totally out of the picture. When Adam fell, everyone fell and God did not ask anyone for permission to conclude all in unbelief, just as He did not ask anyone’s permission to conclude "ALL" under mercy. God's love is not like ours. He made the decision of choosing to save "ALL" in spite of us "ALL". So it can be said that God did not give anyone the choice to be saved. He violated their so called "Free Will" by declaring everyone guilty so that He might be the justifier of "ALL". As long as the heart is not established in Grace, we will always have the tendency as human beings in taking things out of context and seeing salvation in light of performance and earning it by good works.

Grace and Peace.
 
JPN Reply:
 

Hi, thanks for the question and your comments.

It is fair to say that we see things quite differently. In fact, I would be surprised if even you believe some of what you have written above. I don't mean to be rude or offensive in saying this, but let me explain what I mean. You use Romans 11:33-36 to basically say that we cannot know God's mind or who it is that will be saved. So even though God's word tells us over and over that salvation is available to those that believe in the person and work of the Lord Jesus on our behalf, you undermine such faith in the word of God by saying that we can't know the mind of the Lord. And yet, you have no problem in quoting verses that you believe support your position of universal salvation, so you obviously do believe that we can know the mind of the Lord in these matters because of what the Bible teaches. Hence, you don't really believe what you have written above.

 

Of course we can know the mind of God in these matters! Christians are His ambassadors, with a message from God. (2 Cor 5:20). We are not to be wishy-washy on what that message is or simply say that we don't really know what God thinks on something as important as salvation! While the things of God are hidden from the natural man, we have the word of God, Christians have the Spirit of God, and through these we 'have the mind of Christ' as Paul writes. (See 1 Cor 2:10-16).

 

You write "When someone takes the position that "believing" is what determines who is saved and who isn't, they are pretty much saying that they have figured out the "depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! and have reached the point of understanding God's judgments, and have found out about His ways".

 

No, a person who takes the position that "believing" is what determines who is saved and who isn't, is simply expressing their faith in both the word of God and the teaching of Jesus and the Apostles. It isn't complicated... it is quite simple.

 

As Jesus said in John 3:36 "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” Again, it isn't complicated. The whole basis of the great commission that Jesus gave to the Church is based on this very principle... the whole reason that Jesus told us to go into the entire world and preach is so that people will believe and be saved, and not perish. Listen again to the words of Jesus, spoken after His resurrection, in all their glorious SIMPLICITY - 'Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.' (Mark 16:15-16)

 

Nor is salvation (if it is a true faith) 'a performance and earning it by good works' although some 'Christian cults' and other religions may wrongly view it this way. To place your faith in the Lord Jesus for salvation is the total opposite of trusting in yourself and your own good works or ability.
As the Apostle Paul says in Romans 4:3-5 'What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.'

 

As for answering your query concerning Romans 5:18, the old saying applies here - 'Take a text out of context, and you are left with a con!' The whole book of Romans testifies to the fact that salvation is available to those who believe and have faith, and that those who reject God and salvation will perish. It certainly doesn't teach that salvation is just given to everyone whether they believe in Jesus or not, or desire salvation or not. For example some of these verses leading up to 5:18 include Rom 1:16-17, 18-32 (which shows that the wrath of God abides on those that reject the truth), 2:5-12 (the unrepentant are storing up wrath for themselves and will 'perish'), 3:22, 26-28 (justification and salvation is available through faith... to those that 'believe'), 4:1-8 (again, as both Abraham and David found, God credits 'righteousness' to those who have faith), 5:1 (justification is by faith), 17 (and this gift of righteousness is available to all because of what Jesus did, but it needs to be received). Later on, Paul returns to this topic and again shows that faith and belief are essential to salvation. See Rom 10:1-11.

 

William MacDonald, author of the Believers Bible Commentary writes well concerning Romans 5:18 when he says "The two 'alls' in this verse do not refer to the same people. The first 'all' means all who are in Adam. The second all means all who are in Christ. This is clear from the preceding verse "those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness..." The gift must be received by faith. Only those who trust the Lord receive justification of life."

 

It seems to me that you are focusing on the gift of salvation that is available to the entire world, (which is correct) and totally overlooking the need on man's behalf to accept and receive that gift through faith. Though Jesus has paid for the sins of the entire world, it is still true, as Jesus Himself to one unbeliever, that 'you shall die in your sins: for except you believe that I am he, you shall die in your sins.' (John 8:24). Or, to use another analogy that Jesus Himself used concerning salvation -

'Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.' I'm sure you know the story... Those in Israel that had been bitten by the poisonous snake simply had to look to the bronze snake upon the pole to be healed and live. If they looked, they lived. If they didn't look, they perished. Jesus used this analogy because the same is true for the human race spiritually. If we look to Jesus in simple faith, we live. If we don't, we perish.

 

So, the bottom line is that there is a Heaven, and there is a Hell. To believe that everyone just ends up in Heaven no matter what may be a nice thought for a person to hang onto but it is a blind assumption not based on the word of God. Jesus, previewing and speaking of the judgment of mankind at the end of the age said -

 

'“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels...Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (Matt 25:41-46)

 

In no passage concerning the judgment to come is there any thought whatsoever of 'some' covenant made between the Father and the Son to save ALL mankind, irrespective of their faith, their life, and their will. There is only eternal life to the righteous and eternal punishment to the unrighteous.

 

"Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books... The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.' Rev 20:11-15

 

I do hope so of this helps. I have not written anything to purposefully offend you but the truth about salvation is obviously important! We all have a responsibility to accurately declare the mind of God as revealed in His word.

 

All the best. May God bless.   

A reply to the above from a different reader

Hi,
I stumbled across this thread on the web as this is a topic that I’m searching for in my heart at the moment. I have been reading Romans 5 & 6 and I initially drew the same conclusion as the first writer below. I appreciate both points of view, but at the end of the day I want to know what God’s truth is not what truth makes me feel the most comfortable.
However, I guess my struggle with the second view point is still that Jesus died for the sins of the world and conquered death through his life once and for all and I know that Satan is still in the world prowling to devour...but I am struggling to accept that Jesus’ death on the cross wouldn’t be enough to ‘override’ what Satan is doing. I mean doesn’t it take away from the power of the cross to say that Satan can undo it or that it relies on a human to accept the gift to complete salvation? I guess I feel that God is bigger than all of this, and that he is aware of our limitations and that we are still sinners although made right through the blood of Jesus, and the power of the cross is more powerful than we can comprehend. And so the saving has been done through Jesus, as He said 'it is finished' and now we have peace (relationship) with God because of it.


Well these are just a few of the thoughts going through my head! If you have any further comments to help me on my way, I would love to hear them!


Thanks,
JPN Reply

Thanks for your honesty in your email. I really, really really, hope you can see and accept what the consensus of scripture says on this topic. Yes, as always there will be some scriptures that may be used incorrectly to form some kind of argument for "salvation for all" but to do so you have to reject and turn a blind eye to the vast majority of truth on the subject. Universal Salvation is a slippery slope in my opinion and not one that I would like you to get on!

It is good to see that you 'want to know what God’s truth is, not what truth makes me feel the most comfortable.' Always maintain that attitude! Universal Salvation may be nice or 'most comfortable' to believe but obviously God's truth is what is important - not what we would like to believe.

For me, this whole issue is abundantly clear. Those that believe in Universal Salvation believe that while many are not saved in this life (ie they continue to live sinful lives rejecting Jesus' sacrifice), come the resurrection and the life to come EVERYONE will find that Jesus has reconciled them to God 'automatically' because of the cross and will thus find salvation. Thus it matters not in terms of the final salvation whether a person was a life long Satanist, a Hitler, a child molester, a serial unrepentant murderer... It's all ok in the end - or so they say.

We don't have to be unclear as to what happens in the life to come because the Bible makes it REALLY clear what happens at the resurrection and judgement of mankind. You can examine what Jesus said on the matter, what Paul said, what John said... it is all CONSISTENT and TOTALLY not what the Universalist would LIKE to believe. Let's have a look at some scriptures - I don't think I need to comment on them as they are pretty clear but I will highlight some parts. PLEASE read them all.

What Jesus said concerning the resurrection

John 5:28-29 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, (29) And shall come forth;
they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

What Jesus said about the coming judgement of the nations

Matthew 25:41-46
"Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; (42) for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; (43) I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.' (44) "Then they themselves also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?' (45) "Then He will answer them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.' (46) "These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

What the Apostle Paul said about the judgement when Jesus returns

2 Thessalonians 1:6-10 For after all
it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, (7) and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, (8) dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. (9) These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, (10) when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed--for our testimony to you was believed.

Hebrews 10:26-27 For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth,
there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, (27) but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES.

What John recorded concerning the outcome of the judgement to come

Revelation 20:11-15 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. (12) And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened;
and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. (13) And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. (14) Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. (15) And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

What John recorded concerning some of Jesus' last words in Revelation

Revelation 21:6-8 Then He said to me, "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.
I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. (7) "He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. (8) "But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."

All of these verses are CLEAR. They may not be what a person would LIKE to believe. But they are clear on what happens. If we just think about the ones from Revelation we see that when the FINAL judgement takes place, the destination of the unbelieving, the murderers, the immoral etc is the lake of fire - not reconciliation with God. This is called the second death. There are NO scriptures which talk about those that have been judged and sent to that place coming out later or finding salvation, nor any talk of ALL being saved. Quite the opposite.

You mentioned the 'power of the cross' a bit in your email. Scripture says the following about the power of the cross and the power of the gospel:

1 Corinthians 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

You will notice that it is powerful to those of us being saved (who believe), but only foolishness to those perishing.

Romans 1:16-17 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because
it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. (17) For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."

The universalist would like YOU to believe that the cross (and gospel concerning Jesus' work on the cross) is the power of God for the salvation of everyone. And stop there. That is fairly much what you were saying in your email also. But the scripture doesn't stop there. It says it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone WHO BELIEVES. The one who does not believe stands condemned already as Jesus said in John 3:18.

Probably the most famous verse in the entire Bible is John 3:16. It is famous because it fairly much encapsulates the gospel message in one verse (as well as just one verse can anyway!) For me, it has always been a great verse to see whether people are preaching the true gospel. It says:

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that
whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Yes, God gave His Son because He loved the whole world. Yes there is salvation available to the entire world because of the cross. But those that HAVE eternal life are those that BELIEVE IN HIM. Otherwise they shall perish.


John 3:36 "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life,
but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”

Oh well. I have written enough. More words probably won't add anything. But I hope what I have written helps. Do pray that God will give you insight and do tell the Lord that you really want to know what HIS truth is. I know that was your desire. He will do so if your heart is true and sincere. That applies to any truth and not just this one. But I hope that you don't go down the universalism road. That is a broad road and it is a narrow one that leads to life!

May God Bless,

The readers reply to JPN Reply

Thank you so much for your reply Iain. I really appreciate the time and effort taken to help me, and I will look further into all those scriptures you've given me.

 

I know you don't know me from a bar of soap, but the reason I'm struggling with this issue is because I recently found out that my sister is gay. I love her and will continue to love her and show her how much I do, and believe that my 'role' is just to love her because any other reaction would make her feel condemned and make her turn further away from God. And the thing is, it's not like she's just chosen to be gay all of a sudden... it's just not black and white...there's so much hurt in her life right from when she was bullied in school, sexually abused as a child, anorexia and depression in her teens and then rape as a young adult....and all this and more I believe have played a part in leading her to this decision. She used to have such a strong Christian faith and all I want for her is to know God again...

 

And I'm scared because I'm powerless to help her. And this whole issue of salvation, well, scares me for her. I know I can't really know what's in her heart, and I can't know what's in God's...I know her faith is still there, that she believes that Jesus is the Son of God and that God sent him to die on the cross for the sins of the world and that he rose again. But I also know that it's not as simple as turning off the gay button. And it's not up to me to do that for her either. And she feels like she can't control the way she feels, that God has made her this way and that He's..well to put it nicely..mean if he condemns her when she didn't choose to have these feelings and he also 'allowed' the circumstances in her life that may have contributed this outcome.

 

Sorry to lump this on you...again if you have any thoughts I would love a fresh perspective. I guess I'm grasping at straws a bit.. I know I really need to seek God and spend time in His word and in prayer, but I really appreciated your last email so if you have the time I'd love to hear your thoughts!

 

Kind regards

JPN Reply

Hi,

thanks for giving the detail concerning your sister. That is A LOT for anyone to bear and my heart goes out to her. And I know it will be tremendously difficult for you as well. Any one of those things mentioned (depression, anorexia, sexual abuse etc) is difficult enough on its own... let alone having to deal with them all. I understand now why you would be interested in Universalism. But I think what you really want to know is whether God would judge or give up on her. You see Universalism is about EVERYONE being saved in the end even if they hated/rejected Jesus and lived wilfully defiant lives. So what I wrote in the last email was about that. The Bible is clear that a person needs to believe and accept the gift of salvation.

The case with your sister doesn't fall into that category as far as I can see. Obviously I don't know you or her so can only go on what is written below but it seems that she does believe and 'had a strong faith' as you said. It is obvious that all of her experiences have messed her up and given some of those experiences I can understand if she has a not too favourable view of men.

Your position is very difficult and one that you will need to seek God about. The one thing about Jesus when He walked this earth is that He was the master at combining GRACE and TRUTH. And it changed people! Thus when everyone was ready and more than willing to condemn the woman caught in adultery to death (John 8:1-11), Jesus was able to extend amazing grace saying 'Neither do I condemn you' - while at the same time speaking and not dismissing TRUTH saying 'Go and sin no more'. And I bet in the wonder and amazement at what Jesus had done, that women would have left repentant and turned from her sinful ways. Grace and truth in action. Now we need God's enabling to deal with people in the same way. Hence PRAY!

Regarding truth, the Bible is clear that homosexually is sinful and wrong. That is truth that does not change. Paul specifically talks about fleeing sexual immorality in particular saying:

1 Corinthians 6:18-20 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. (19) Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? (20) For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body [16] and in your spirit, which are God's.

So on the one hand you can't ever condone or water down what she is doing. She has had terrible things done to her... no doubt. These will warp her thinking concerning men and God probably. Yet she still has a choice and people that have been abused by wicked men can still find healing in God and He can bring along a kind and honourable man for that person. If your sister was a true born again believer then she will have the Holy Spirit within her, so she will NEVER find peace in a gay relationship. The Holy Spirit will always be grieved because it is contrary to who He is.

That's the truth part of it. Yet on the other hand she needs GRACE and LOVE - even as you have said in your email. I was praying for her last night (and for what I should say because there is no doubt that this is a complicated and difficult situation) and while praying part of a verse came to me which said: 'a smouldering wick He shall not extinguish'. The entire verse is a fantastic prophecy from Isaiah about what the Messiah would be like when He came. It says:

Isaiah 42:3 A bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice'

Now there is no doubt that your sister is bruised. Terribly bruised by all that she has gone through and had happen to her. This tells us that the last thought in God's mind would be to break His relationship or faithfulness towards her. He is an amazing God who loves her far more than we could even imagine. And He knows everything that she has gone through to bring her to this place where wrong decisions are being made. The verse also says (and this was the part I got last night) that a smouldering wick he will not extinguish (or snuff out). That is, a person may have next to no light left. They may just have the remnant of some embers from what was previously a flame... The Messiah will be gentle and full of grace towards such people always seeking to fan what remains back to life. He will never say 'right, that's it! you've gone too far' and turn away from such struggling people. I believe that is what God would want emphasised for your sister. God is love and God is faithful.

So while I don't believe in Universalism, I do believe in the security for the believer. And that means that if a person is truly born again and has come into the family of God, then they are a son and daughter of the living God. And the God that I know, which the Bible attests to, is one who won't let go of His children. They will never perish. Things might look bad at the moment but Jesus is not through with your sister. He is the God who will leave the ninety-nine to go out and bring back the one sheep that has strayed.

Keep praying. Thank God that He is able.

May God bless you and your sister.