Consider two verses which, together, show God’s clear intent to ultimately save all mankind.
God wills that all mankind be saved (1 Timothy 2:4)
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God is operating all in accord with the counsel of His will (Ephesians 1:11)
If it is, indeed, God’s will that all mankind be saved … and if He is operating all in accord with the counsel of His will … then should this not lead us to the conclusion that He will be successful in this endeavor?
Some will try to explain away this argument by pointing to a Greek word used in the 1 Timothy 2 passage. Instead of “will” the word means “wish,” some will say. So it is not a determined will that God has … but a wish that all mankind will be saved. But alas, this is not to be, since men possess a “free will” and some will continually reject God and will never be saved.
Let’s suppose the 1 Timothy 2 passage does carry the meaning “God wishes that all men will be saved.” Are we to say that something can stand in the way of God “getting His wish?” He is our Creator. He knows us thru and thru. He knows all of the factors that influence us. Is He not able to lead us thru every situation to the point where He gets His wish? I agree we are not robots; and we do have a will. Some even have a very stubborn and rebellious will. But is God not in control of the things that influence us? And could God really be satisfied with having created such fallible creatures as us, with such awful tendencies and desires of the flesh (flesh that He created), allowing us to wallow thru life … hoping we will make it, but knowing a large number of us will not?
If God wishes that all mankind be saved, and if He is operating all in accord with the counsel of His will, then it will be done; and NOTHING can stop even a single person from being saved … not Satan, nor the most rebellious of men.
And beyond these two verses, consider the large number of passages that clearly speak of God’s plan to ultimately save all mankind. I have had some individuals tell me that there is no clear statement expressing universal reconciliation anywhere in the Bible. If such a clear passage can be provided, they will believe in universal reconciliation … so they say. This calls to mind the Pharisees asking Jesus for a sign, and with Jesus responding there would be no sign but the sign of Jonah. (In other words, there had been many signs, but they went unrecognized.)
Ø What about the fact that Christ is described as a “correspondent ransom for all” (1 Timothy 2:6)
Ø Or the parallels between Adam and Christ … all are dying; all will be made alive (1 Corinthians 15:21-23)
Ø Or Christ saying “if I be lifted up I will draw all men to myself” (John 12:32)
Ø Or the very global passage in Colossians 1:16-20 that clearly speaks of the universal reconcilation?
Ø Or 1 Corinthians 15 culminating with God becoming All in all? (1 Corinthians 15:28)
We need more? These passages, and others not mentioned here, are clear statements; and they are only seen as being less than clear statements because of misunderstandings of other passages, or of simple concepts such as “aion” (“age” … not eternity) which have been clouded by poor translation.
Whether God wills that all mankind be saved, or if He simply wishes this will be the case, can anyone or anything prevent this will or wish from coming to pass?