Is Jesus the savior of the world?
I know, it’s a dumb question. And yet among Christians this question – Is Jesus the Savior of the world? – leads to two radically different answers:
(1) Yes – all can be saved
(2) Yes – all are now saved
Between these two answers lies one of biggest debates raging on Gracebook, sorry Facebook, today. It’s a debate between those who believe in ultimate reconciliation, historical reconciliation, and, er, regular reconciliation. (I’m not good with labels.)
I normally steer clear of Facebook debates – my heart is simply to preach Jesus and Him crucified – but since many grace folk have been drawn in I thought it might help to frame the issues so people can see what they are getting into. In a series of short posts, I want to look at some of the scriptures used to support these and similar claims (e.g., all are righteous, all are in union with Christ). If you’re not interested, no problem. Normal service will resume soon. But if you are interested and want to ask “What about this scripture and that scripture?” then check out my detailed study notes. I don’t normally publish my notes, but several people have been asking for my views so there they are.
Why preach “the whole world is saved”?
Those who say the whole world is already saved mainly stake their claim on the fact that Jesus was called the “Savior of the world.” That was His title and job description. Since Jesus would not have returned to heaven leaving the job half-done, the whole world must have been saved 2000 years ago.
The connection between the title – “Savior of the world” – and the conclusion – “all are now saved” – is logical but flawed. When did Jesus save the world? It could only have happened on the cross. Yet Jesus was known as the Savior of the world long before He died. When He was born He was heralded as good news for all people – not just Jewish people (Lk 2:10); when He was presented in the temple Simeon recognized that He was holding the salvation of all people (Lk 2:30-31); and to a group of stunned Samaritans at a well He was revealed as “the Savior of the world” (Joh 4:42).
Before Jesus had saved anyone, He was known as the Savior of the world. In other words, Jesus was not just the Jewish Messiah, He was also the Gentile Messiah and your Messiah, just as Isaiah had prophesied:
It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth. (Isa 49:6)
Good news of great joy for all people
If you’re non-Jewish that’s a cause for celebration right there! Thank God that He considered it too small a thing to save only Israel. Thank God that He sent His only begotten Son because He so loved the whole world. We take this for granted now but 2000 years ago this was big news. Paul, Peter, and John were all struck by it. Here’s John writing about it in his first epistle:
And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. (1 Joh 4:14)
And what does it mean to be Savior of the world? This is how John explains it:
He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 Joh 2:2)
According to the Bible, “Savior of the world” does not necessarily mean “all are saved.” It means Jesus is the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. Of all those who physically laid eyes on Jesus, John the Baptist was the first to recognize this:
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (Joh 1:29)
Again, this was big news. Jesus hadn’t come to die solely for the Jews but for everyone. For Paul this revelation was a mystery revealed: “Through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel” (Eph 3:6). Does this mean that all are saved? Paul never says this. Instead he said that grace only comes through faith. Since not all have faith, not all are saved. This was Peter’s understanding as well:
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. (Act 4:12)
Jesus is the Savior of the world, as Peter declared to the Sanhedrin, but we still must be saved.
“Jesus came to save the entire world. Did He fail?”
Not at all. Jesus has provided for the salvation of the entire world. There is nothing more He can do. Since the Greek word for save (sozo) includes healing, one might just as easily ask, “Jesus came to heal the entire world – did He fail?” The answer to the second question is the same as the answer to the first. Jesus has provided for the complete healing of every sick person, but not everyone is healed. Similarly, the Lamb of God who took away the sin of the world has provided for the salvation of every sinner, but not everyone is saved. Hence Peter’s exhortation, we must be saved.
Is it a bad idea to tell a sinner that they are saved?
You may say, “Isn’t this all just semantics? Does it really matter if we tell sinners they’re saved or unsaved? Isn’t the main thing that they turn to Jesus and realize what He provided for them 2000 years ago?” I think it does matter because when you tell an unsaved person that they are already saved, you’re sending a very different message from the one they will hear from Jesus:
The Son of Man must be lifted up so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life… whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life… Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. (Joh 3:14-18)
Those who preach historical reconciliation, a.k.a. inclusionism, read these verses and say “I agree – we must believe to experience eternal life.” But they will disagree with what Jesus says in verse 18. “The unbeliever is not condemned already but saved already.” Since you can’t be condemned and saved at the same time, you’re going to have to choose who you would listen to. My money’s on Jesus. If He’s right then unbelievers are definitely not saved; they are condemned. Certainly Jesus is not the one condemning them; they condemn themselves by spurning God’s grace. But in rejecting the Savior of the world they are rejecting the only name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.
As we will see in the coming weeks, the gospel is really good news for lost people. But if the lost don’t think they’re lost, perhaps because some well-meaning believer told them that they are already saved, then the finished work of the cross isn’t going to seem quite so appealing. If you think you’re not drowning you won’t see your need for a rescuer.
Jesus and all the apostles exhorted sinners to put their faith in God and be saved. Those who refused to come to Jesus to receive life were considered condemned, wretched, and foolish. These are harsh words but some people need to hear the bad news before they will appreciate the good news. And what is the good news? That Jesus died for every condemned and wretched fool! Everyone who believes in Jesus – whether Jew or Gentile, foolish or wise – may have eternal life, for Jesus truly is the Savior of the world.
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Nicely put! You did it again! Thanks for taking time to explain topics like this. Blessings, bro! You are a big blessing to the body of Christ!
Thanks my brother for writing this much needed artice. I admit I am one of the BIG debaters on Facebook who you spoke about in your article. But I have seen the MASSIVE rate at which this dangerous doctrine is growing and being advocated, especially within the GRACE circles.
I am a firm advocator of the need to believe in Christ before being saved. We need to ACCEPT through faith the free gift of God’s grace – He doesn’t force it onto us. A relationship based on love is always through mutual consent of both the parties involved. If one party forces their love onto the other party without that person’s consent, it’s called rape.
First this doctrine started to do the rounds under the name of “Universalism”, now there is a variant doing the rounds by the name of Trinitarian Theology (or Trinatarianism), both of which claim that every person under the sun is a born-again child of God, the only difference is that some people just don’t “know” it yet. This implies that every person on the planet, regardless of their beliefs or which religion they follow, will get to spend an eternity with God. Well I guess Jesus must have been pretty surprized when got back to heaven after He rose from the dead and see Mohammed’s name written on the gate as a way to the Father as well…
Two questions that those who promote this doctrine can’t answer you is this:
1) WHEN did you receive the Holy Spirit? (The correct answer of course, is when you believed. But they can’t say this because it would destroy their doctrine).
2) If God managed to save the entire world 2000 years ago, why didn’t He also HEAL everyone 2000 years ago (you touched on this one in your article).
Well done Paul, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. Bless you, Andre
We are all literally a part of God, therefore we all go back to God upon the human body’s death. It is universal and automatic. We are not separate from God. God created the universe within his consciousness. We have never left God. All of the universe is within God’s mind. We are not human animals with souls, we ARE SOULS inhabiting human animals to experience for God.
God did not appoint any one person, or group of people to write a collection of books for humans to live by. God gave us free-will, and any and all experience we have, is for God and ok with God.
The “devil” and “hell” are fear-based HUMAN creations, by church leaders, to CONTROL the followers. Neither exist or ever have existed.
God, the all-knowing, all-loving, self aware energy being would not need a “savior”, because we are all a part of God, and automatically go back to God, when our HUMAN body dies. Jesus might have been a teacher, but he was NOT a “savior.”
None of the four gospels KNEW jesus. They wrote about him 70-100 years after he supposedly died. Nowhere is there anything that anyone wrote about Jesus WHILE HE WAS ALIVE !!! The bible was written over thousands of years by Hearsay. And, the bible has been edited and re-edited over and over again, so it would conform to what the different church leaders wanted the Followers to believe. Some religious leaders say that you can only get to “heaven” (a state of being) by going through THEM. That is ridiculous. And FALSE. Love is all that matters. We are ALL a PART OF GOD.
Respectfully, I know where you are coming from. I am from India, the birthplace of Hinduism (and the progenitor of every New Age movement in the West), and everything you wrote echoes a philosophy which is most famously found in the Bhagvad Gita. I am not sure whether you already know this, but every sacred text of Hinduism has undergone a process of revision and re-editing which has lasted centuries- made quite easy by the fact that they were not written down for centuries but passed by word of mouth. Your belief differs from theirs in just one point- you do not reunite with God upon your death. Simply put, you are not good enough for it. It supposedly takes you thousands and millions of lifetimes across countless reincarnations before you become sufficiently purified (assuming you keep sufficiently austere, spiritual lives in each of them) to attain this. The attractiveness of this idea is obvious- you can become God through your own efforts, but then you notice the downside- you can become God ONLY through your own efforts. You have a better chance of jumping to the moon through practice, practice, practice. This is not really good news. There is a world of difference between their teachings and what Jesus did- purchase salvation with His own blood and offer it to the world for free with His love. And the Bible has remained a VERY faithful copy to the original texts from over the millenia, by the way. Just do a little research, compare translations and you will see 🙂
Very well written and presented Paul. I would say that I totally agree on this. There is a very clear distinction in any transaction between being paid for and then receiving, just as what you said when you expounded on the word meaning of saved. (sozo)
Thanks for a simple, non-argumentative article on this subject. I look forward to reading the rest of the series.
Paul I really enjoyed your post. I truly believe that you have to choose to accept the gift that was made available to each and everyone of us. There is yet another raging argue,ent that has sprung up in grace and it has to do with hell. Even though we believe in hell some are saying that we don’t preach it enough or we don’t go far enough. I have had so many people irate at the fact that we need to preach hell more that I have simply began to get irritated with the constant separation and division that seems to continually happen in a body of believers. It reminds me of why we have so many different names associated with a religion. My take is that he’ll is an absolute. What that looks like I have no clue. But even though I believe this I would still tell the story of the finished work of the cross before I would try and scare them into salvation with hell. I agree that if letting people know about a beautiful and wonderful Savior isn’t enough then share about the eternal separation from God. Or allow that to come as the relationship grows. I believe it is a natural question that will evolve through relationship. Well not trying to write a book but it has concerned me and it’s been coming up alot more from others with a vengeance that is not very nice. Thank you for all you do! Blessings!
I’m glad you brought this up, Marsha. It seems to me that if eternal torment in hell is a possible destiny for even one soul, what more is there to say? All we need to preach is turn or burn, eternity being eternal and all. Nothing else matters.
Paul thanks for addressing this topic in your series about hell. That it’s a stick of the convenant that came before the cross of Jesus. That it’s a lousy way to reconcile us to our loving Father, and that it’s necessary for “law-loving wingnuts.” otherwise not.
Thank you also for addressing that while we don’t know if univeralism is true, we do know that the gospel of grace leads to confidence, hope and action for today.
Explain “saved” and explain “condemned”. I see the person not walking with God to be living under (experiencing) condemnation. To “walk” with God is to trust Him implicitly. To “believe” has to mean much more than simple assent to a syllogism. Even demons “believe”.
I maintain not that “All are saved”, rather… all are forgiven. Salvation isn’t a noun, it’s actually a verb. A person who is saved is being transformed. If the transformation is not happening, what does that imply about one’s concept of salvation?
Logic is dead, but the living word of God transforms a person… and I’m not talking about letters on a page.
So, what is the good news? The good news is that God destroyed the curtain that separated us from Him. He loves us without condition. To be saved is to rest in that… and that rest brings with it total transformation.
Hi Tom, I agree that faith is more than intellectual acceptance of an idea. I talk more about this in my post on Rahab’s faith (and indeed, in the whole James series). Everyone in Jericho believed in the God of the Israelites, but only Rahab did something about it. Only she left the camp of the condemned to joined the ranks of God’s people.
Paul… let me say first that I really appreciate your blogs. My questions aren’t intended to impugn what you say. I just want further explanation.
Without bible citations, what does “saved” mean… and what does “condemned” mean. I’m asking you not to reference the bible because I would like you to put those words in the context of how “saved” and “condemned” work in daily life… not in some eschatological scheme of things.
It’s so easy for a person to say “I was saved on such and such a date and nothing can change that” and then go and live a miserable life which looks no different or worse than the life of the unbeliever. For me, saved is a verb.. it is something constantly in motion and in action. I’m not talking about works. What I am talking about is the transformative power of Grace in action. If one (I don’t know how else to say it) falls into grace, actively accepting and depending on God’s love, it is inevitable that that falling into grace has an outward effect on one’s life. That’s how I interpret James. Faith without any outward effect is worthless. It’s not meant to be condemning, rather it is meant to make one think about what one may be missing out on.
BTW, I read your articles on Rahab and James.
As I said, Salvation is a Person – it’s knowing Jesus. One day He was a stranger to me, outside, waiting to be invited in. Now He’s in me and I – the old me – no longer live. “Condemned” is existing apart from Him.
That’s the short version because I’m on the road – in Opononi if you’re curious (and have a phenomenally good atlas).
Amen! Truly Jesus is Savior and He is Lord. Part of our error in sending a “wrong message” to unbelievers was in suggesting that salvation is just a ticket to Heaven for fire insurance. We believe and confess and are saved (sozo) to be transformed. Nothing less will do.
Thank you, Paul. I listened to a sermon just a few days ago by a Grace Teacher that I love and respect. It sure sounded like Trinitarian inclusion and sounded good but was confusing to me. I have only been learning about the Gospel of Grace in the last two years or so. This post and your study notes are a great help in clarifying what I believe and why. Thanks again!!
Insightful Post, i really enjoyed this page. Thank you Paul for always sharing the wisdom and revelation you have received. I am blessed. Blessings!!!
Finally! Something that actually makes sense! Thank you for this explanation. it sits right with me, as i too was having a hard job getting my head around the ‘we are all saved”issue that some have been putting forward lately. Great post! Thanks for yr work Paul.
Bless you, Paul. An observation… whether folks receive Christ in this age, or not, the Bible seems to be quite clear that He wins in the end. Who? God. What does He win? Everything. Everyone. ALL. The whole shooting match. ALL THINGS, to be precise, as laid out scripturally here…GreatestStoryTold.com. Bless you and yours!
Isaiah 57:17-19. Jesus is the Savior of the entire world. Should one choose not to believe in Jesus’ finished work at the cross and go to hell to be convinced, to be disciplined, to be broken until they agree with God and call on his name to be saved, that’s his choosing. Should one choose to continue struggle with despite their suffering in hell, the lake of fire will be their for further cleansing. God creates everything for a purpose including death, hell and the lake of fire. God’s mercy endures forever and ever. God has all eternity to prove it to the heavens and the earth. His Love reaches the lowest hell. Glory to You, Lord.
Thank you for another wonderful post, Paul. Good questions and well thought out answers. I love hearing and reading challenging things that make me rethink stuff that I may hold too dear to the point of dogma. It helps me to tune, to refine and to sift out the dross… We are all on a journey of further understanding and clarity. Any one of us who claims to have it all down pat and 100% pure is fooling no one but themselves. We will effectively kill off messengers if we insist that only those who have it right speak only the purest message. Who will speak up and say it is your message that must be preached and no other?
Brothers and sisters, we are being fooled into making something so simple so elite. The simplicity should confound the wise. We were told it will. Let’s not help it along. Out of the mouth of babes comes praise and cries of salvation and heralding of the Messiah. Please do not silence any message of the Gospel from any lips to any ear. There is danger in applying a purity test to the message. Who will want to speak at all when they fear that there’s a slight chance that they may have a flawed message? Who will want to speak if they fear they will unwittingly mislead someone. The bottom line then becomes how will they believe if they do not hear?…
I say you can add all you want to the simple message of the Gospel, but be very careful. There is meat that feeds, and there is meat that chokes. We are “birthing” babes into the Kingdom. Once they are there they must be fed according to their abilities to chew; but always keep this in mind, they are already born. Even those that are born in Grace who are being misled into keeping the Law are still under Grace in spite of what they are taught. Works won’t kill you, it just wastes your time and keeps your eyes on yourself rather than on what matters.
In love, Dave Rumfelt
I have been praying in the Spirit almost daily for over 30 years and I KNOW when the Holy Spirit is giving me a green or red light in regards to all of the theology that is streaming down the pike these days.. That everyone is saved stuff that has infiltrated FB had all sorts of alarms start going off in my Spirit. Some of the new wave of Grace preachers are so adept at presenting deception that people are falling for it in droves — at least on FB where many are lone rangers. Just yesterday I witnessed a young baby Christian being persuaded that the Trinitarian Theology was the way to go. The guy would keep asking question after question steering her towards his belief until finally she said, Gee, I never thought about it that way. This morning she was posting all that Triniatarian garbage on her own wall. It doesn’t matter what we think — it only matters what God says! I applaud you for taking the time to speak on this Paul! Those of us who have been around awhile know that Herbert Armstrong’s Worldwide Church of God was flacky!!! Now they have packaged it under a new title. The younger folks have no idea!!! ____ says they have 67,000 members — but think about it — that is a drop in the bucket compared to those who ascribe to the TRUTH. The trouble with FB — is that it gives an inflated sense of what is happening in the world. I have a new age church in my town that was formerly headed by Oprah’s friend, Marilyn Williamson who is heavily into The Course of Miracles and it has remained steady at only around 200 members since it took over an old Presbyterian Church around 5 years ago.
Guys I’ve been away for a couple of days and am behind in approving comments. I appreciate I’ve touched a nerve with this post – this is something many of you feel deeply about – but I’ve had to delete several comments because they violated E2R’s comment policy.
A gentle reminder:
(1) The fastest way to get your comment deleted is to write >250 words. I’ve been kind and trimmed a couple of the longer ones but that’s really out of character for me. I’m normally pretty mean about this sort of thing.
(2) Stick to the post (I wrote nothing about hell so comments specifically about hell will likely get trashed).
(3) Don’t use these threads to advertise. I know it’s tempting but just don’t.
(4) Don’t use this thread to attack people/ministries/websites – especially our brothers!
I appreciate some of you want to unload both barrels on Trinitarians and Universalists for various reasons. I am NOT of the same heart. For the record, there is much about Trinitarian theology that I find wonderful and inspiring, not to mention utterly Biblical. From time to time I have reviewed the books of some Trinitarian writers here. Before I published my study notes attacking one of their pet doctrines, I deliberately sought out the opinions of notable Trinitarian thinkers to check that I wasn’t coming across as unloving. (I’d rather be known for my love than my theology.) And as regards to the universalists’ dream that all make it in the end, well I sincerely hope they are right!
Anyway, I’ve nearly come to the end of my 250 words. Short version: Please do keep commenting but let’s all play by the same rules. Muchas gracios!
A heart reception. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,” ( John 1:12).
As good as your post was I liked your comment # 14. Like you, I am not a Universalist…but I sure would love if they are right!
Jesus not only saved everyone 2000 years ago, but he also healed everyone 2000 years ago. It is up to us to realize it and live in the higher reality that is already available. Everything is now up to us, not God. He gave us full authority, and is waiting for us to do something with it. I don’t pray for healing or salvation, I simply acknowledge it. God does not condemn us, we condemn ourselves. The word “eternal” in the verse you quoted actually means “divine”. Jesus became man to make man godlike. This divineness already exists for ALL men. Now we just have to share this higher truth with others. Even if Adam and Eve didn’t sin, Jesus was still coming to earth in order to bring mankind into relationship with the Trinity. (The uncreated had to become created in order to bring the created into the family of God). Everyone is in this family. Believing in salvation does not make you “saved”. It just means you are agreeing with something that has already happened.
I loved this article! Thank you!
So God sent his Son to be the payment for All sin and yet You like most other preachers stand daily speaking of sacrifices that cannot. His grace IS sufficient ransom for all. And all will be saved… That is to the Glory of God. He will not lose one… Not one!
I used to think Christian Universalism was the lunatic fringe of Christianity. Then, after decades of suffering through depression and scupulosity because of the fear of eternal torment and the insane doctrinal conflicts of just about every preacher there is (and not about trivial matters, but the most important – how are we saved and how does forgiveness really work), I started looking seriously in what Christian Universalism is really about. Would you push the button and send ANYONE to eternal torment? If not, are you more merciful than the Father who defines Himself as love itself!! Christian Universalists believe that all will be saved because of the infinite merits of the blood of Jesus. We just believe that our Father is loving enough toward the pitiful creatures that He created to work that out. Most of us believe that there is a separation from Him in the next life, but that our hope of salvation through Jesus does not stop when a heart stops beating. Jesus said when He was lifted up, He would draw ALL men to himself. He went looking for the lost sheep, just one of hundred, but He went looking for that one. Universal salvation throught the merits of Jesus was the prevailing doctrine of the early church. Gregory of Nyssa, of Nicene creed fame, was a Christian Universalist. George Macdonald, who C.S. Lewis called his master, was a Christian Universalist. Abraham Lincoln was a Christian Universalist. This doctrine gives greater glory to our Father, much greater than a doctrine that says He would send His own creatures that He created to eternal torment!!
I guess if God will save EVERYONE then He must have been a little confused when He wiped out the entire planet with a flood, except for Noah and his family… God must have been suffering from a split peronality when He destroyed Sodom and Gamorra… He must have been facing an identity crisis when He sent an Angel to slay 185,000 Assyrians (2 Kings 19:35) who were fighting against Israel. Yep, God sure seems confused according to your little pet doctrine…
Perhaps I didn’t explain Christian Universalism as opposed to Pluralism (all religions are equally valide, all roads lead to God, etc.). Christian Universalism is based on salvation through the perfect sacrifice of Jesus. Most believe there is a “hell”, not for eternal torment, but for retributive and redemptive suffering leading to acknowledgement that Jesus is the Savior of the whole world. If you have studied the subject and are honest, you will have to admit that the doctrine of “eternal torment” did not become the prevailing doctrine on the matter until Augustine and Jerome oversaw the corruption of the faith once delivered to the saints into a twisted doctrinal pretzel when Constantine became a Christian and Rome became the center of “Christian thought”, and a myriad of pagan teachings became entwined with the truth of a gospel so simple that a little child could understand it.
If you are sincere, at least look at Thomas Talbott’s “The Inescapable Love of God”, a good portion of which is available free at his website. Also, YWAM missionary Gerry Beauchemin’s website where his entire book is available for free download.
Andre, please humor me and my “little pet doctrine” by answering this question: why did Jesus dying on the cross, pray for his murderers, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”. They did not believe in Him (at that time) and they certainly didn’t ask for forgiveness, yet He prayed to our Father to forgive them. According to your little pet doctrine, He might have said to them: I cannot wait to see you all suffering eternal torment with no hope.
How can you say that our Father IS unconditional love, unfailing love, who sent His Son to save the world, Who said He does not willingly bring grief to the children of men, Who said it is His will that all men be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth and still perpetuate the doctrine of eternal torment. Does He not have the power to carry out His will. Does He not have the will to use His power.
Calvinist believe in the sovereignty of God. Arminians believe in the free will of men to reject Him.
We believe in His power, His will, AND His unfailing love. For that, we are thrown out of churches and called heretics.
Paul, thank you for your response. You expressed your beliefs with compassion for what I have suffered and without being angry.
David, I am sorry that you suffered for decades in fear of hell. I can only imagine that that was the result of some misguided preaching. This is not what the gospel is about. Hell was not made for mankind. However, the universalist conclusion – that hell is not real because there is no chance we are more merciful than a loving God – is based on the false assumption that God would want anyone to go there. He does not. In fact, He is so strongly opposed to the idea that He sent us His Son. God doesn’t send people to hell; people willingly choose to go there. I know – it’s incredible. Yet this is what Jesus said: “The Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son” (Joh 5:22). So if anyone is going to hell, Jesus must be sending them right? But then look at this: “I do not judge any one” (Joh 8:15). So if the Father is not judging and the Son is not judging, then who is doing all this condemning that is sending people to hell? We are: “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son” (Joh 3:17-18). Like my heavenly Father, I hope that no one goes to hell. But in a world of freedom, love doesn’t always win. Sometimes love is spurned.
For more on this I would encourage you to read my post “What was Last Adam’s greater work?” and the related study note.
The will of God is that the wicked repent. God always get His Will.
“Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?” Ezekiel 18:23
Ezekiel says God is saddened when the wicked die and pleased when they repent. He doesn’t say God always gets his way. Neither do I.
Prov. 16:9 “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.” Paul, it’s hard to let go of your understanding and not rely on it. But until you do so to realize that your thoughts are not God’s thoughts, nor your ways His ways, you’ll be a prisoner to your own understanding and not the good news of the Lord. God will take whatever measure to redeem the lost sheep. ”
Let all that has breath praise the Lord, Paul. Give them the good news of Christ by telling them that their sins have been forgiven and that they are to come back to God. If they believe, they are saved. If not, they remain lost. But don’t lose heart, keep on sowing the good news by the power of the Holy Spirit, and pray for the lost. Do the work of an evangelist, just as Christ commanded all His disciples whom He has filled with the Holy Spirit, as promised by God to Abraham.
The fact that ALL sin was paid for does not automatically imply that EVERYBODY has chosen to ACCEPT the free gift. God is not a rapist – He does not force His love onto everybody, as you propose…
Chuck, perhaps you would care to explain why God’s salvation (which includes HEALING) is good enough to have everybody saved (as you propose) but yet too weak to cure ALL the diseases that currently ravages the earth? I propose to you that salvation (including healing) is received through FAITH alone.
If i were to ask someone here,When the verse says that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess,how many knees are excluded?u would say none every means every.
What about,all have sinned and come short of gods glory,in that all have any been excluded?ur answer all means all.
What you knowing that all things work for your good,does that leave out any situation that wont work for your good?no you say all means all..and you are correct in your answers..we agree.
Then why is it when in that same bible it says in 1tim.2:3&4:God our saviour who will have All men be saved and come into the knowledge of the truth…and i say does that all excluded any we say why yes it does…just thinking out loud…going back to finish my eggs thanx……
Donavon, I see no contradiction between those scriptures and Jesus’ warnings about sheep and goats or wheat and weeds. When the king comes every knee will bow and every tongue will confess, some in adoration, some by compulsion. God wants all men to be saved. Does God always get what he wants? Well he didn’t in the Garden of Eden. And he didn’t with Cain. And he didn’t about a thousand other places in the Bible. God is love and love doesn’t force itself on the unwilling.
Interesting…God doesn’t get what he wants?God?Sovereign Ruler?King of kings and Lord of lords?The one who told me I can get whatever I want as long as I ask in his name and believe,cannot get whatever he wants?I think you should take a minute and think about that statement..First let’s get this clear I’m a paul Ellis fan,so i’m not really here for arguments sake just to make us think sometimes such as you do with your writing…with that said…A Sovereign Ruler of a universe that cannot have what he wants in that universe that he is Ruler over is he truly a ruler?Lets say you are king of Paul-asia,and what ever you told your subjects to do,they either didn’t do it or told you,you do it?You are but a king by title only but not authority..what kind of king is that?There is only one power and that is Gods and he wills it to do of his good pleasure…
The Holocaust, the abortion of millions, China’s Great Leap Forward where millions died from mismanagement and starvation, Hiroshima – do you think God wanted these things to happen? God is not willing that any perish, yet people perish. Death is not God’s desire but sin’s wage.
If God is sovereign then it is his sovereign will for me to tell you that God cannot be both good and the author of evil. The “God is sovereign” mantra is utterly absurd in a world characterized by free choice. The idea that God is behind everything that happens is not Biblical. “The highest heavens belong to the LORD, but the earth he has given to man” (Psa 115:16). Who is responsible for what happens here? We are. It was one of us who gave the planet to Satan and Jesus acting as one of us who died to take it back. “We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one” (1 Jn 5:19). John didn’t think that God was in control of everything.
Will God do something dramatic after the last day to convince the unsaved to repent and get saved? Who knows. If he does, no one will cheer louder than me. All I know is that while God desires that all men get saved (1 Tim 2:4), in a dozen and more places Jesus said not everyone would be (eg: Mat 7:22-23). The problem I have with the “God is sovereign” mantra – apart from the fact that it is absurd, foolish, and unbiblical – is that it promotes passivity, a “she’ll be right” complacency among those who have been commissioned to preach the good news to the lost and the poor.
As I’ve stated in my earlier post this is my 3rd and final post.This is an amazing(sight) that people can go to and have scales removed.So I will end my post by using knowledge that I’ve learned from this site.One of the most important that I’ve learned was to view everything in view of the cross.What was said and done before the cross and what was said and done after the cross.For examples lets take your 1John 5;19 comment where john stated that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.
1.I said that God is in control of the universe,You said he’s not because of free choice.Yet you have no problem stating that Satan is in total power of the world.How can Satan be in charge with that same free choice?If God can’t be in charge then surely Satan can’t be either and he gets his power from God.For there is only 1 true power.Romans 13;1.
2.You said John didn’t think that God is in control.Well lets see..When Jesus came on the scene..he was only one.He chose 12 but one was the devil so that makes 11 disciples+Jesus now it grew from 1 to 12.Twas 150 on the day of pentecost..do you see his seed growing…it’s spreading..after Peter preached 3000 were added to the church.So thats 3,150.So even as John is saying that the world is in the control of that evil one 2,000 years ago you would have to agree that the God seed is gaing ground.
The bible said that the Lord was adding to the church on a daily basis(Acts 2:47).So while in Johns view at that time thousands were being saved, the church was still in it’s infant stage.But millions have been saved in that 2,000 years since John wrote that…so how still can Satan have as much rule with hundreds of millions saved now compared to thousands then?
3.And finally…If one man freely gave the keys to the Earth to Satan(Adam) and Jesus died to get the keys back and Rev.1;18 says he has the keys then how is Satan in control if Jesus has the keys now?
4.I view the good and bad ,sheep and goats, wheat and tares because that what Jesus said.jeus also said that noone is good except the Father and yet he turns around and says he’s the good shepard.
You probably have to edit this but it was fun talking to you..and I look forward to your book……now i have to peel some potatoes….
Donovan, you’re arguing with John, not me. Take it up with him. I will say that John was speaking of the world, not the church. Those that refuse to believe in God, who refuse to come to the light, are walking under the power of darkness. Paul said the same thing in Eph 2:2. Even Jesus called Satan the “prince of this world.” If you think Satan is God’s delegated authority, as per Romans 13:1 – that Satan has implicit permission to rob, steal, and destroy – why would Jesus call him a thief (Joh 10:10)?
These philosophical excursions are fun, but I would prefer to talk about the post. Jesus and all the apostles exhorted sinners to put their faith in God and be saved. It is God’s desire that they be saved yet not all are saved, which is why we are commissioned to preach the gospel.
Well written Paul. Whilst we love our brothers and sisters who are teaching ultimate reconciliation, the true nature of the gospel is at stake if we say nothing. Have bookmarked this page.
I’ve been waiting for this post for a long time. Yes Jesus Christ took away the sins of the whole world, but salvation comes by faith in Him. By faith in Him, He is revealed the second time in the person without sin unto salvation (Hebrews 9:28)
As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the Sons of God. The primary work of the Holy Spirit in the unbeliever is to point Him to Christ. Believing in Christ Jesus is adhering to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Jesus is the perfect sacrifice for sin (sin of the whole world). Believe in Him and salvation is yours.
u have tried alot, but i want to let u know that jesus came only to save his people (jews) from the technical point of view in the gospel of (john 17:9) “i pray for them, i pray not for the world, but for them which u have given me, for they are thine”. if this is the case, then who were given to him by God? Jesus said in the gospel of (mattew 15:24) “i am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of isreal”, as well as gospel of (mattew 10:5-6), Jesus said “go not into the way of the Gentiles and into any city of samaritans enter ye not. But go rather to the lost sheep sheep of the house of isreal”. That means the saviorhood of Jesus was restricted to the jews from the technical point of view. We also learn that from the bibie that nobody will carry somebody’s sin in (ezekel 18:20) “the soul that sinneth shall die, the father shall not bear the iniquity of the son, neither the son bear the iniquity of the father, the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him”. Also in (DEU. 24:16) “the children shall be put to death for thier fathers, neither the fathers be put to death for thier children, but everyone be put to death for his own sin”. Also (Gal. 6:5-7) mention thesame. But from the literal point of view only God is the savior of the world and i quote in (isaiah 43:11-12) “i even i am the LORD and beside me there is no savior. I have declared, and have saved, and have shewed when there was no strange god among you: therefore you are my witness said the Lord, that i am your God”. Also mentioned in (Hosea 13:4). To also prove to you that only God is the savior from literal point of view, Jesus cry and pray to God to save him in(john 12:27, mark 15:34, john 20:17, matt. 26:39, matt. 20:21-23 )
Jesus Christ is The Savior of the WORLD! That is his title, one that he deserves! You are trying to strip away his title to fit him into your flawed creed! You also failed to mention option #3.
Option #3 – All will be saved in the end!
Jesus is the Savior of the WORLD, not the potential savior of the World!
I did forget option #3. My apologies to all the universalists out there.
Hi PG everyone will get what they believe or have created, at the end the heavens and earth will be shaken , we should take note the heavens also included and what is not eternal will end .The ultimate truth everything exposed for what it is, nothing unfair, nothing lost, only awareness of what was already lost.I am glad I have been found.
Ask and you shall receive. I asked for clarity and answers in my search, and found answers not only on your site but other sites by googling questions to help me find some answers, as I do not grasp quickly the understanding of my salvation and what it means to me. My questions were; why me, how come I am this way, why is my life is so challenging, what does it mean to be saved, Old Testament vs. New Testament? What does it mean to be saved though my flesh is weak and I am sin in nature? And what that means to me. Growing up Catholic I didn’t receive many answers, only to obey, confess, pray penance, take communion, say the rosary, and go to catechism. What I found on your site is the reality of being saved from the moment I asked Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior to come into my heart and life, “Thank You Jesus”. What I had a hard time understanding is salvation, grace given by Jesus Christ, correlating that with my sinful nature. I found out is though I am saved I would still be judged< I don't lose my salvation, I will be rewarded according to my faith, and every word that comes out of my mouth. First there will be judgment for the church and then believers and judgment for the unbelievers, this is what is written. I will study as much as I can as I am still learning and finding more information to help understand better the order of things to come, thank you Paul Ellis and your help in Jesus name. I wait your response,
I am sorry to tell you friends, you have been deceived by the prince of this world. The world, including christians have been deceived by this false doctrine of demons. The last enemy that shall be abolished is death” (1 Corinthians 15:26)
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4
Both death and hades will be abolished. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Revelation 20:14
The “lake of fire” which is the second death will be abolished. So this is not eternal because it will be abolished and is used by God to destroy the sin nature of humanity so saving humanity
Ever man’s works…. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.1 Corinthians 3:15
So this is how to a saved by fire. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 1 Corinthians 15:22. Saved by Grace. It’s a gift. Nothing to do with works or beliefs
Robert, you haven’t actually told us what in the post you disagree with. Please respect E2R’s Comment Policy by having something to say, keeping things short and not throwing scriptures around.
I know this is against the original intent of this blog entry, but it goes directly to the question “was Jesus the Savior of the whole world” – albeit in a different context.
I’m new to the Grace concept as presented on this (and other) forums, but I’ve always believed in Jesus as Savior. I was recently taken aback by a group of Jewish people who denied Christ as savior. I wasn’t shocked that they didn’t accept him as such, that is not a new concept, but I was startled that they used His own words as proof of this. What they used as proof was Mathew 27:46 and Mark 15:34 when Jesus asked “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me”? The obvious questions then become: if Jesus is the son of God, then would he not know the answer to this question? Why ask it if he truly is the Messiah? Did God really abandon Jesus because he really was not the Messiah as some people claim?
In all honesty, I’d never thought of it from the standpoint that Jesus himself may have been questioning (doubting) his own quality or actually thinking God had abandoned Him. The perfect person would have no need to do these things, I thought. I had always been taught he was quoting Psalm 22. But then why did he only quote the first line?
Being even more honest, once a little doubt creeps in, the notion has really begun to frighten me. Of course, doubt is a very strong feeling that tends to linger and always seems to have more power over people than simple truth. I find it extremely hard to agree with these claims that Jesus is not the Messiah, but I’m also finding it difficult to outright dismiss their reference to Mathew and Mark (I’ve even read that Martin Luther was very troubled by this and spent large amounts of time thinking on this). In any event, I’ve yet to have it adequately answered by my Christian acquaintances and would love to hear others’ opinions.
Don’t be afraid of doubt. If there were no scope for doubt there would be no room for faith.
Perhaps Jesus said what he said because on the cross he who knew no sin became sin for us and in that moment the Son, who had walked in constant communion with the Father, suddenly discovered the isolation of sinful, alienated man.
My grandfather have me a vey good answer to that. Basically, when Jesus came in the flesh, he may not have sinned, but he still felt pain and fear. He could still be tempted, he just didn’t give into that temptation because even as a human being, he loved God more than anyone of is ever could on this Earth. He went through so much physical and me so anguish. Jesus had to be completely broken down (which means he had to lose faith) in order for the sacrifice to be completed.
Just want to throw out some questions and a few words to research that really helped me understand the full plan of God. I should share the I personally believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins; was buried and rose again. Giving HIM all the glory!
Questions: Can we truly say we believe Christ accomplished His goal on Calvary if we think His goal will never be completely accomplished? How will God claim victory over sin and death (destroying both); become all in all at the end of the eons and reconcile the whole world to Himself (all in heaven and on earth) IF the majority of the earth’s population is “lost”? What did Noah need to believe to be “saved” (counted righteous)? How about Abraham or the twelve disciples? How about us today by Paul’s message of grace? Different things, right? During each dispensation, a minority believed. Still that way today. The preaching of the cross came with Paul. Are all those billions lost becasue they didn’t know Christ? God let Himslef and His will be known over time,right? If we hold that God sovereign, did He not know what satan was going to do? If He didn’t plan on the events of the world, especially the sinful ones, why was His Son “the Lamb slain BEFORE the foundation of the world”? If God has a soveriegn will yet He really doesn’t work it out after His own counsel, what kind of second rate God do we worship? I think He is still on plan A. We see things from a sinful human perspective He has a bigger plan.
Personally I believe eventually everyone will be saved. Otherwise, more appropriate titles for Jesus will be: The saviour of the elect or the saviour of only those who believe. God wouldn’t have made it ambiguous, he made it crystal clear: Jesus is the saviour of the world. Do we need to repent? Of course we do and we will, but right now God is only focused on the elect and then he will focus on saving everyone else. Will this the judgement against the unrighteous? absolutely. I don’t deny that.
i boil it down to this in a nut shell is Gods or mans will greater and from throughout scripture it is quite clear ultimately Gods will prevails and not the creatures and it is quite clear God wills all men to be saved so you answer who is victor the creature or the creator i would rather worship the creato over the creature.
You have a very demeaning view of God, you imply that in someway he is in competition with man, and what you believe is worship is more of an insult. You read scripture with the view that the creator is in competition with the creation, no wonder you are so confused.
Chris i think you misunderstood my point i t was trying to get people thinking intelligently that claim that they believe God is absolutely sovereign but turn around and imply mans so called free will is able to thwart the will of Almighty God to save his entire creation . as to worship i bow my knee without shame to the Lord Jesus Christ who is not the potential savior of mankind but in fact is the savior of all mankind who took away the sin of the world and as in the first Adam all die so in the last Adam Jesus Christ all will be made alive but every man in his own order . grace and peace to Friend
I have a quandary maybe someone can lead me to some good answer on this site… The Bible teaches that the wrath of God is coming on the world, not just because of its rejection of Jesus, but because of its many sins that are not forgiven. For example, in Colossians 3:5–6, Paul refers to “immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed,” and then says, “On account of these things the wrath of God will come.” So people who reject Jesus really will be punished for their specific sins, not just for rejecting Jesus. I thought Jesus died for the sins of the world, not imputing their sins to them (2 Cor. 5:19)? Isn’t this a contradiction? If God does not impute the sins to people, then why does it say He will?
Excellent observation Michael Pearcy.
Paul writes something similar in Eph 5:5-6 “For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.”
I see two outpourings of wrath: (1) The cross, where God poured out his wrath on sin (see Rom 8:3), and (2) the day of wrath (a.k.a. judgment day) when God will pour out his wrath in a final act of cleansing that will rid the universe of everything opposed to his good nature (Rom 1:18-19).
The power of sin was broken at the cross, but men still sin. Adam’s sin was dealt with at the cross, but men still act like Adam. Because of Jesus, we all get the choice Adam had (ie: we are free); but some make the bad choice Adam made (ie: death). They refuse to receive the life that God offers and so store up wrath for the day of wrath.
I know in Col 3 it sounds like sin is the issue, but Paul is describing the fruit of a bad tree. He does say in verse 6 that “the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience.” Being disobedient or unpersuadable is the issue. If you harden your heart and defy the goodness of God with every fibre of your being – if you refuse the life he offers – eventually you’ll get what you’ve asked for.
I know this is brief. I encourage you to check out my series on the wrath of God (Archives > Subject Index).
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit….,
we are created in “the image of God”, and endowed with “free will”.
And, like Adam and Eve, it is up to us to make a choice, for or against a life of salvation.
The New Covenant, offered by our Savior Jesus Christ, encourages us to spend our lives striving for union with God. But only by our own personal choice can that full union with God, and the fullness of life eternal, be achieved.
Or likewise, by our own choice, we will suffer the torment that comes with eternal separation from God, and His creation.
yah(God) did not love the whole ,world because he said he did hate sinners, esau, and the nicolaitans. Christ came only to save Israel and through Israel the whole world would be saved if you believed in what he taught.
You are free to have your own opinion but scripture disagrees with you.
People certainly can have their own opinions and we can cherry pick various scriptures if we want to bolster a certain view point but I’m thankful that all the religious fervour of the Pharisees who believed they had a strangle hold on what Gods focus was in redemption turned out to be wrong. Gods plan of redemption went beyond the Jews and Paul does a good job in Romans laying this out. I believe careful study of Romans actually shows Gods plan is still larger than today’s traditional Christianity understands. For some reason we have believed that after death there remains no chance for believing in Christ. I’m not sure how this came to be but it is a position which is extremely difficult to support in scripture. God is sovereign over death, life, evil and all eternity. His plan of redemption and his act of redemption is different than salvation. We are redeemed (all) but not all saved. Salvation come by us declaring Christ is Lord and believing in our heart each in his own time as we are called. As believers we are invited and commanded to preach good news. We get to be voices of hope which the Holy Spirit will use to bring other to a saving knowledge of Jesus.
unless you are born again of the spirit there is no “you” to experience eternal life. Plus, “objective” vs “subjective” reality absolutely descends into word games. Salvation is a subjective experience by definition in the same way as a natural birth is. we would never say one is “objectively” alive when they were just a twinkle in their father’s eyes.
I used to be conditionalist, I never accepted traditionalist view. But recently I am leaning towards universalism.
Can God fail in His perfect plan (all His ways are perfect), can His love ever fail?
1 Cor 13:4-8 (KJV): Charity (=love) suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity NEVER faileth.
Is eternal suffering love? I hardly imagine human parent wanting their children to suffer CONTINIOUSLY for years, hardly even months, because that is the expression of love they feel for them. But we say God is, o so loving, for sending his children to torment for eternity (without end) and for what purpose? It will NEVER be achieved! Love failed.
Discipline, however, is totally different. Most people disciplined would consider it a good thing (not at the time of disciplining :), but afterwards sure, to prevent worse). My belief is affirmed with Heb 12:6: “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.”
God will do “tough” love to all His children, since we ALL sinners, to “straighten” us, no matter how long it takes (He has all the time in the world, this or next), even if it is unimaginable zillions of years in His “correctional facility”.
You seem to think the choice is between universal salvation and eternal suffering. There are other possibilities that may be more consistent with God’s word.
Paul, I respectfully disagree – I wrote at the beginning that there are at least three (3) choices and that I used to be more on the conditionalist view before I started to think about universalism. I understand that universalism and conditionalism (including traditionalism and some other views) can be strongly supported by the Bible texts, as well as questioned in opposite. To be honest, I do not think this issue can be resolved based on the information we have in this age completely and 100 %. People can discuss this issue without getting to the bottom of it until the end of the world. But what is important is how is one’s life affected by the view one has taken, even when we are all Christians.
I would think that if traditionalist, human loving Christian, would REALLY believe it, not just in philosophical way, they would in reality rather walk in molten lava and gouge their eyes out then EVER stop preaching gospel to everyone, to save all from everlasting torment – I do not know such many people… and I believe it is our most important duty on this earth to preach gospel to everyone. So in their heart of hearts they don’t .
Is this a salvation issue for born-again Christian? No, he trusts/believes in Christ implicitly and his finished work at the cross, but it can affect his relation to others (negatively).
May God bless you with his over-abundant love and true faith.