Before I share with my readers all of the Biblical evidence that clearly reveals God’s plan to ultimately save all mankind, I want to address a few points that were expressed in comments to my last blog.
1. If all are saved, we can go our merry way and live however we want.
Never miss a local story.
Wrong. The Bible does not say there will be no consequences for sin and for disbelief. There are most certainly consequences, both in this life and in the age to come. But I will show you from the Scriptures that these consequences are temporal and not eternal, and they have a constructive purpose leading to salvation.
2. If all are saved, there is no sense evangelizing.
Wrong. Christ has commissioned we who believe as “ambassadors” to share the wonderful gospel of reconciliation. Our “great commission” is found in 2 Corinthians 5:18-21. (Note that Matthew 28:19-20 is not the great commission as many teach. It pertained to Israel, and not to the body of Christ.)
We must evangelize because of the grace we receive from God. When He pours out His love upon us, how can we help but share this good news?
Do we really think we must preach the gospel so as to save people from eternal torment? If this is the case, much depends upon us, and many would be in eternal torment today because of our failure to preach the gospel. No! Salvation is entirely from God, through His grace. Thankfully the fate of others does not rest upon us. But we are nonetheless to proclaim the gospel.
We are to evangelize because Christ has called us to do so, as His ambassadors. But study the word of God carefully to be sure you are proclaiming the correct message. There are lots of ambassadors today that are proclaiming all kinds of different and conflicting messages; thus the many different denominations and church splits.
3. If all are saved, we will be in heaven with Hitler and Saddam.
Whoever makes this claim is saying, “I am good enough to get into heaven, but some are not.” Every one of us needs change or reform of some kind to be fit for heaven. Thankfully none of us gets in with these mortal bodies of corruption. We must be changed. We must put on immortality. (See 1 Corinthians 15 in its entirety.) Hitler and Saddam did some terrible things, and so have many others. All wicked acts will be addressed and there will be consequences. But God is able to take the worst of men, humble them, reform them, and make them fit for heaven. Remember that the apostle Paul described himself as the chief of sinners.
4. The salvation of all is just an opinion, not based on the Bible.
Wrong. In the weeks to come I will show you, from the Scriptures, God’s plan to ultimately save all mankind. True, it is an “interpretation” of the Scriptures; but any church, preacher or Bible teacher is only able to share an interpretation of the Scriptures. Many such interpretations rely heavily upon traditions; things like “orthodoxy” or creeds or the church fathers. Give me a chance in the coming weeks, and I promise to share things with you from the Scriptures that will surprise you. I too once relied upon church traditions, until I saw how inconsistently the Bible was actually taught and interpreted.
5. How can the salvation of all be true if most churches, preachers, Christians believe in eternal torment?
Consider this. The majority within “religious circles” has NEVER understood spiritual truth. The prophets of old were in the minority. Jesus was in the minority. The apostle Paul, even at the end of his life, had been abandoned by nearly everyone. Most had abandoned the truth, and this is still true today. At what point in history do we think those within “the church” got it right, if they had already abandoned the apostles’ teachings in their lifetime? More on this in a future blog, but just keep this in mind for now.
6. God loves us so much He gave us free will, and those making poor choices are responsible for their own fate.
God created us. He knows each one of us. He knows our hereditary makeup. He knows the environment within which He has placed us. He knows our likes and our dislikes. He knows what influences our decisions and choices. So are we saying that God is unable or unwilling to lead us, even the most stubborn of us, to the place He wants us to be? Is He not wise enough? Is He not patient enough? Remember the apostle Paul. It took a flash of light on the road to Damascus that blinded him. It took that much to catch his attention. But that turned Paul around. Is God not willing to do the same for each of His creation?
God is in control. He is loving enough, powerful enough and wise enough to gather every last stubborn sheep into the fold. How do I know this? Because the Bible tells us so.
7. What about the story of the rich man and Lazarus? (Luke 16:19)
I will in a future blog look just at this parable. But clearly this is a parable to teach a truth concerning Israel and the nations. It is not talking about heaven and hell at all.
When we point out that the Bible teaches the salvation of all, many like to throw out individual passages thinking they are proving eternal torment. I could just as easily throw out individual passages to prove the salvation of all; for there are many. But we must be careful to look at the Bible as a whole. Individual passages can, at first glance, appear to support multiple contradictory positions. This is because they are taken out of context or misinterpreted.
Much, much more to come. But I first wanted to address these prelminary concerns that I received after my first blog. Thanks for listening!