UNIVERSAL SALVATION, WHAT IS

UNIVERSAL SALVATION, WHAT IS?

Directly from the link (1) that supports this doctrine: 

Universal Salvation is eternal life for everyone, including Satan and the demons. All are to be given eternal life and the very nature of God. It means that everyone who has ever been created or born has a future. It means that you will definitely see all your loved ones again. And think about it, if everyone is one day going to be eternal, then death is only temporary. We often say at Christianworld Church, that death is no more than being temporarily out of order. ….If you turn to John 6:39 it says this. “This is the will of the Father who sent me, that of all He has given me I should lose nothing”. Please note that the will of the Father is for Jesus to lose nothing of what He has given him. What exactly has the Father given him? John 3:35 tells us. “The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand”. Can you see what is being said? The Father has given Jesus all things, of which he is to lose nothing. It could not be stated any more clearly than at Colossians 1:16 “For by him (Jesus) all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through him and for him” You can not get it any plainer than that. All things were created for him, in heaven and on Earth, both spirit and human. Again, can you see what is being said? The Father commissions the Son to lose nothing of what He has given him. What has He given him? If all things were created for him, in heaven and on Earth, both spirit and human, and the Father has given all things into his hands, then the Father has given him authority over every single thing in the universe, apart from Himself. Jesus has authority to save not just human beings but also spirit beings. In fact he must save all, because his Father commissioned him to lose nothing. Paul tells us at 1 Timothy 2:6 “Who gave himself a ransom for all”. The fact is that Jesus can lose no one. That is the greatest message you have ever heard. You can not save more than everyone, can you? And Jesus is not allowed to save less. The wise man Solomon said at Ecclesiastes 3:1 “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” Now is the time for this good news to be preached. Now is the time for the greatest message on Earth to be proclaimed. Universal Salvation, eternal life for all.”


Are these assertions true?

1. Eternal life for everyone, including Satan and the demons;

2. Everyone is one day going to be eternal, then death is only temporary. 

3. The will of the Father who sent me, that of all He has given me I should lose nothing.

4. That Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 2:6 “Who (Jesus) gave himself a ransom for all”.

5. Jesus is not allowed to save less and can lose no one


Universal salvation or apokatastasis is a disturbing concept especially since a good number of intelligent and well-meaning Christians have this belief. On its surface, it is a very enticing proposition that emphasizes attributes of God, viz., immutable, omniscient, omnipotent, etc. Moreover, it acknowledges that salvation is by grace without “works”, the supremacy of God’s will and power, his divine love and mercy. But most especially, love for all. It is an inclusive philosophy of salvation, instead of only to some, exclusively. And, there are preachers opposed to “universalism” who limit eternal life only to them and their flock. As such, this doctrine therefore deserves evaluation and analysis to know the truth. To do this, one may need to start with its history, go through the pros/cons, meticulously combed through them with questions about implications and form a tentative summary.

History:

It has been claimed that apostle Paul preached Universalism. In the fifth chapter of The Inescapable Love of God by eminent Christian Universalist and Philosopher Tom Talbott, he makes a case for Universalism from Paul’s writings, especially Romans (2). Also, that in the 1st century, Origen likewise may have taught this belief. These are “claims” as interpreted from their writings and may not necessarily be true. It is a fact that during that period and even now, there are people who twist and misrepresent teachings, especially that of Paul. We need to take all these claims with “a grain of salt”(Matt. 7:15).
On the North American continent in 1770, Universalism started when a man named Tom Potter allegedly heard God speak to him about this ‘revelation’ that everyone was already saved (3). Potter shared this with another man named John Murray, they began preaching this message in churches, and it spread very quickly. A man named Hosea Ballou considered the great theologian of American Universalism promulgated this teaching. Ballou was a ‘hyper-universalist’ and wrote hundreds of sermons about how everybody was going to get saved in the end. A growing consortium of Christians today are simply ‘rediscovering’ Ballou’s teachings, and they think they have some new ‘revelation’ that is going to change the world for Christ. From there, the concept persisted and the universalist movement led to the formation of the Universalist Church of America, which later merged in 1961, with the American Unitarian Association. Thereafter, it formed into the religious organization known as the Unitarian Universalist Association. In Unitarian Universalism’s brand of church, there is no official church dogma, but most of its members adhere to the “no punishment in the afterlife” theory, as do many Anglicans (Church of England, and in North America, Episcopalians). 

Pros in the Bible:



The following are excerpts that were interpreted to support this concept:

Romans 5:18 “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.”  
Colossians 1:19-20 “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.”
Philippians 2:10-12 “…so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Romans 11:32 “For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.”

1 Corinthians 15:22 “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.”  

1 Timothy 2:4-6 “who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. 

1 Timothy 4:10 “For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.” 

2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

Isaiah 45:22-23 “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear..”

John 12:32 “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

Romans 5:15-19: “For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!” (To me, this states that God’s grace overflows to the many in the same way that the trespass of Adam was given to many; in other words, every human being.(?) why many instead of all ??

Romans 11:32 “For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all”

1 Corinthians 15:22 “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive

Colossians 1:15-20: “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullnessdwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”

Revelations 21:5 “He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 

I Peter 3:18-19 “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison,”
“The verses in which God expresses his intent to save everyone are also foundational”, so they say. It is God’s desire for everyone (including fallen angels I Pet. 3:19) to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9), for Jesus to be “a ransom for all” (1 

Timothy 2:4-6), and for all to be saved. The idea is that if God wants to save everyone, He can do just that because “with God everything is possible” (Matt. 19:26) and works all things according to the council of his will” (Eph. 1:11). Those who believe in this theology states that ” though there may be some level of judgement/punishment in the meantime, he will eventually save all”.

“The Christian Doctrine of Universal Salvation, or Universal Reconciliation, states that all people, no matter how evil they may be, are created by God; and that God the Father, acting through His Son, Jesus Christ, will eventually bring all people back to Himself and into Heaven, by means which we cannot know or understand. After death, each person will be judged by God according to his deeds.There is punishment for evildoing, according to God’s desire for justice. But this punishment is temporary and not eternal. Eventually, everyone comes back to God the Father, by Jesus Christ, His Son.(4)
Books of the Bible argued to possibly support the idea of full reconciliation include the First Epistle to the Corinthians. The sections of 1 Corinthians 15:22, “As all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ”, and 1 Corinthians 15:28, “God will be all in all”, are cited. Verses that seem to contradict the tradition of complete damnation and come up in arguments also include Lamentations 3:31-33 (NIV), “For no one is cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love”,[9] and 1 Timothy 4:10(NIV), “We have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.”

Similarly, the Epistle to the Colossians receives attention, with Colossians 1:17-20 reading: “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross.”

In a nutshell the Christian Universalism basic scriptures were compiled by Rev. Bill McGinnis InternetChurchOfChrist.org which support the Christian Universalist doctrine of Universal Salvation and the Christian Universalist faith. “Please note the use of “every” and “all.” These Scriptures apply to all people, not merely some people. And what they say is that all people will eventually come to Christ and be saved. ” . . . every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.” “I . . . will draw all men to me.” ” . . . the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.” “And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” ” . . . in Christ shall all be made alive.” Isaiah 45:22-23 (KJV) Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. John 12:32 (KJV) And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. 1 Timothy 4:10-11 (KJV) For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. These things command and teach. Philippians 2:9-11 (KJV) Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 1 Corinthians 15:22 (KJV) For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”

In essence the bases for the preceding dogma stem from these verses:

John 6:39 it says this. “This is the will of the Father who sent me, that of all He has given me I should lose nothing”.

John 3:35 tells us. “The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand”. 

Colossians 1:16 “For by him (Jesus) all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through him and for him” 

1 Timothy 2:6 “Who (Jesus) gave himself a ransom for all”.

Once saved, always saved?


A subset of “universalism teaching” is a common preaching that “once saved, always saved”. That, people are predestinated for salvation and God, being powerful, will implement his will. Notice that the core basis of these beliefs hang on the word “all”.And that God will do his “will” no matter what. Really? But, if all or everyone’s going to be ‘saved” in the end, why not eat, drink, and be merry? Why not “have fun” and continue on sinning when after all, punishment is just temporary and not eternal ? Doesn’t this appear to be enabling sin? How then can these beliefs be reconciled with Revelation 21:8, Galatians 5:19-21, and other verses that speak against evil and enjoins everyone to “bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), as the tree that does not bear fruit will be cut down (Matt.7:19)? It is obvious then that for one to get the true meaning of what was stated, the context of what was referred to, has to be analyzed and reconciled /aligned with other basic principles.

Additionally, while God is all-powerful and can do whatever he wants, He also has wisdom and plans regarding what is the best approach to salvation. And the plan of salvation is being implemented even now, without being “forced down our throats”. For further dissertation, please access Salvation Series posts, all 6 of them.

Cons in the Bible:(5)

Ezekiel 18:1-5, 9 “And the word of Yahweh came to me saying, “As I live, proclaims the Lord, Yahweh… “See, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so the soul of the son is Mine: death will be the fate of the sinner’s soul. But if a man is upright, {he is} living rightly and doing righteousness… and has been guided by My rules and has kept My laws and done them: he is upright, life will certainly be his,” says the Lord Yahweh.’ TAT

 

 Ezekiel 18:20-24 “The soul which does sin will be put to death: the son will not be made responsible for the evil-doing of the father, or the father for the evil-doing of the son; the righteousness of the upright will be on himself, and the evil-doing of the evil-doer on himself. But if the evil-doer, turning away from all the sins which he has done, keeps my rules and does what is ordered and right, life will certainly be his; death will not be his fate. Not one of the sins which he has done will be kept in memory against him: in the righteousness which he has done he will have life. ‘Have I any pleasure in the death of the evil-doer,’ says the Lord, ‘am I not pleased if he is turned from his way so that he may have life?’ 24 But when the upright man, turning away from his righteousness, does evil, like all the disgusting things which the evil man does, will he have life? Not one of his upright acts will be kept in memory: in the wrong which he has done and in his sin death will overtake him.” (1985 Bible in Basic English)

 

Revelation 2:11 “Let every listener hear what the Spirit says to the Churches: The victorious cannot suffer the slightest hurt from the second death.”

 

Revelation 20:6 “Happy and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! The second death cannot touch such men; they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him for the thousand years.”

 

Revelation 20:14 “Then death and the grave were themselves hurled into the lake of fire, which is the second death.”

 

Revelation 21:8 “But as for the cowards, the faithless and the corrupt, the murderers, the traffickers in sex and sorcery, the worshippers of idols and all liars––their inheritance is in the lake which burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death.”

Revelation 20:4-21:5″And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. 7 Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. 1The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This isthe second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. 21:1 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” (New King James Version)

2 Thessalonians 1:5-12 “This is a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering. For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our LordJesus. And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, 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. To this end also we pray for you always that our God may count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power; in order that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”(New American Standard Bible)

Galatians 5:19-21, “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

Galatians 5:22-23 tells us, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

Implications:
From the preceding verses, it is clear that evil has consequence and death is destined for evil doers. God has no pleasure in the death of the evil-doer and is pleased if the individual turned from his way to have life. But when the upright man, turns away from his righteousness and does evil, like all the disgusting things which the evil man does, he will not have life, death follows. The “firstfruits” who are living at the time of Christ’s second coming together with those who previously died will participate in the first resurrection and have immortality. For those who are alive and not “firstfruits”, they will experience the Millenium government of Christ and the “firstfruits”, and more importantly the power of the Holy Spirit for them to choose to become “sons of God”. Those in the Millenium who still reject the Holy Spirit will not partake of immortality. The rest of the dead will wait until after the Millenium for their resurrection to life or perdition. From among them, those who willingly grow “in spirit” will become “sons and daughters” of the kingdom of God.

Summary:

Collating all the preceding data, one may conclude the following:
1. When the Bible says “all” it really means all but does not suggest necessarily at the same time and may confirm a precise schedule in time. When it says God loves all, that is a fact. However, that God wants all to be saved, may be predicated on a specific strategic plan and timing for each one. But, certainly this awesome gift of salvation will not be forced on anyone. When someone rejects it, this does not suggest that in the future, the person will continually reject it; may accept it willingly as the best option. 
2. When the Bible says “eternal”, it does not necessarily mean forever and may sometime mean only for that time period which does not include all the future. 
3. Punishment for evil doers may refer to first death that one can be resurrected from. But, may also refer subsequently to second death from which there is no resurrection. As to which one is referred to, can be deduced from the context.
Altogether, no one can divine the decision of the Father being the final arbiter of what is best. He reserves the right of a decision-maker as he reserves to himself the timing of the “end times” ( see Matt. 24:36). As Jesus said, “let your will be done”(Lu. 22:42). For the sake of argument, that Jesus was given all the powers after his resurrection (Matt. 28:18) even to know all, much like us, we defer certain things to show respect and awe to our Father. Still, the Father is the ultimate judge as to the fate of anyone, either ending the person’s life temporarily or permanently depending on his wisdom. 

The bottom-line for this research is this: let us not second-guess or pre-empt the Father as to whether all will be saved. A universalism concept that precludes the Father’s ultimate sovereignty and final decision should remind us of the experience of Job (Job 38-42). The essence of Job’s indictment tells us, who should we think we really are. 

Let us all be respectful of the Father and join the chorus with Jesus to sing… “let your will be done” (Lu. 22:42).

References:

1. Universal Salvation: The Greatest Message on Earth. Retrieved October 1, 2016 from http://www.universalsalvation.org/page2.htm
2. Retrieved October 10, 2016 from http://christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/525/what-is-the-biblical-basis-for-universaluhsswd 
3.Christian Universal Salvation – THE BIG LIE By Craig Bluemel. Retrieved October 16, 2016 from http://bibleanswerstand.org/universal.htm
4. Christian Doctrine of Universal Salvation. Retrieved October 17, 2016 from http://www.loveallpeople.org/universalsalvation.html
5.Ibid. Retrieved October 16, 2016. http://bibleanswerstand.org/universal.htm

Original post:12/13/2016

Revised: 1/10/17

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