First Adam vs Last Adam

Two_Adams

Universalism and inclusionism are twin towers built on the same foundation, which is this:

When Adam fell, he took all of us with him. We had no choice in the matter. If Jesus only saves those who meet certain conditions – those who repent, believe, etc. – then first Adam is greater than last Adam. Since that cannot be true, Jesus must save everyone.

If you think everyone will end up saved and in heaven, you are a universalist. But if you think everyone is already saved, you may be an inclusionist.

Since I am neither, I am often hit with the two-Adam argument, which goes like this:

Just as the human race was in Adam when he fell, the human race was in Jesus when he went to the cross. Say otherwise and you’re elevating Adam above Jesus.

The two-Adam argument comes from Romans 5 where Paul compares the damage done by first Adam with the redeeming work done by last Adam (i.e., Jesus). The key phrase is “how much more,” which appears in this verse:

But the gift is not like the trespass. 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! (Rom 5:15)

Paul’s point is that last Adam did a greater work than first Adam. Grace is greater than sin and the gift is greater than the trespass.

This is such a wonderful revelation that I have written a study note on it. It’s called Last Adam’s Greater Work and you can download it for free. Read it and you will learn just how much more Christ has done on our behalf.

The two-Adam argument: 5 problems

If the two-Adam argument is true, then either everyone is saved or they will be. This is surely a happy outcome, but there are at least five problems with the two-Adam argument.

1. If Jesus merely raised those who had been killed by sin, then his is not a greater work; it is a comparable work, an equivalent work. There is nothing “how much more” about it.

2. First Adam took us down against our will. This is an outrage because we had no choice in it. In a sense, we were violated by Adam’s trespass. But if last Adam did the same thing in reverse, then we have been violated twice. You had no say in it. Some will say the ends justify the means, but two wrongs don’t make a right.

All or many

3. Universalists and inclusionists love Romans 5:18 which talks about how Jesus’ one act brings life for all men. “All means all.” Then why does Paul refer to “the many” in verses 15 and 19? Many means many, not all. Paul never says all have been or will be made alive. He says life has come and is now freely available for all men. (For more, read the accompanying the study note.)

4. The universalist/inclusionist conclusion that all will be/have been saved ignores the prerequisites for life that Paul stipulates in the preceding verse, namely, receiving God’s abundant provision of grace (Rom 5:17). Since grace is accessed through faith, unbelievers have not crossed over from death to life (Joh 5:24). If you refuse to come to Jesus to receive life (Joh 5:40), how can you have life?

5. If universalism/inclusionism were true, then God made a mistake by giving Adam the freedom to choose. Somewhere along the way he changed his mind and decided this whole free will thing was too risky. Adam had a choice but you get none. If this were true then you’re not free, God makes mistakes and he doesn’t trust you. How is that good news?

The two-Adam argument diminishes the cross

On account of Romans 5:18, universalists and inclusionists claim all will be or all have been saved. Their thinking is that just as Adam’s sin tainted 100% of humanity, Jesus must therefore save 100% of humanity. (Actually he must save more than 100% if his is a greater work, but never mind.)

But this is to miss the point of the cross. Jesus didn’t come merely to undo Adam’s harm but to give us what Adam never had in the first place, namely, his life.

We tend to imagine unfallen Adam as a superstar but he isn’t a patch on Jesus. Adam was called to reign but didn’t. Adam was called to fill the earth with godly offspring but failed. And since Adam was never filled with the Holy Spirit he only ever experienced God at arm’s length.

The newest Christian has advantages infinitely superior to what Adam had. Adam occasionally talked with God, but we have God living permanently within. Adam knew what it was like to be apart from God but we need never know. God will never leave us. When the devil comes to tempt us the Holy Spirit is right there to guide us in the way of life.

Because of Jesus, we have it far better than Adam ever did. This is the greater work. This is the how much more.

This isn’t about sin

“If Adam’s sin condemned everyone, then Jesus simply has to save everyone. It stands to reason.” I suppose it does if you define salvation as merely “no more sin.” But the new life Christ offers us is much more than that.

“Adam’s sin affected the entire human race, so Jesus has to save us all.” One does not follow the other. Don’t you see? This isn’t about Adam’s sin. No one is going down for Adam’s mistakes. His sin, along with yours and mine, were done away with at the cross (Rom 8:3, Heb 9:26). To say “Jesus must save us all” is to say he has no choice and we have no choice. But Jesus, the Bible, and history all say otherwise: You have a choice.

Romans 5 views

This is about love

Here’s the important bit: Because of Jesus we all get the same choice Adam had – the choice to trust God or trust self. Either we will receive the life that God offers us or we will condemn ourselves through unbelief. No one is lost through Adam’s unbelief but their own.

Your freedom is a big deal to God. By giving Adam the freedom to choose, God took a risk he knew would ultimately cost him his life. He did it to show us that he’d rather die than live without us. There is no greater love.

God has not changed. God loves us too much to force himself on us. He wants us to choose him because that’s how love works. Love woos; it doesn’t snatch.

The gospel isn’t the horrific announcement that a God who makes mistakes has taken you against your will. It’s the happy declaration that God is good, he loves you, and wants to share his life with you.

___________

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56 Comments on First Adam vs Last Adam

  1. Don’t you contradict yourself in quoting that verse? If the whole world is under the sway of satan then what makes you think you or anybody else will make the right choice? As you are 100% sure in Christ, so are Muslims in Mohamed and the Jews in Moses. And that verse doesn’t support all the others that say Gods will be done. Matthew 7:22.

    God knew Judas was going to betray Jesus, he predicted it many years before Zechariah 11:12 and how much it would cost. This in no way counters Paul conversion as we are not talking about sin but salvation.

    Seems strange that God can see Jesus’s betrayal hundreds of years prior but couldn’t see Adam’s? You seem to say that God has no idea what man will do and makes things up as he goes along but yet he sees everything?

    Quote from this site” Your freedom is a big deal to God. By giving Adam the freedom to choose, God took a risk he knew would ultimately cost him his life. He did it to show us that he’d rather die than live without us. There is no greater love”. Unquote.

    When you take a risk you are uncertain. How can you be uncertain and then know it will cost you something, especially Gods life? That is an oxymoron. How do you take a risk but know? How can God be uncertain, sorry but that is absurd.

    Man’s free will forced God to lay down his life? So man had to sin for God to show his love on the cross? Forced love is not true love. Jesus laid down his life because he wanted to, not because he had to. Big difference! I cannot believe anyone would think otherwise. This again puts man equal to Gods sovereignty.

    Explain Paul’s conversion if you could please.

    • Correct me if I’m wrong: The universalist believes everyone will be saved. Except Judas. The universalist believes once everyone sees Jesus up close and personal, they will believe in him. Except Judas who didn’t. If Judas isn’t saved, universalism is false. If Judas is subsequently saved, thru some post-death opportunity, then Jesus is wrong in John 5:24,29 and many other passages. Since you are saying completely opposite things, you both can’t be right. So who’s wrong? The universalist or Jesus?

    • Paul belonged to God before there was time, man has free will but God knows what he will decide, You seem to have trouble reconciling this.Until you can accept that what God offers will render everything in this life and even what we define as life into insignificance the light of your eyes may be darkness and not light. God has not murdered even one man, and he never will, there is one murderer.God does not take life, he gives life.He is life.

  2. A lot of people are quick to pass judgment on Judas and condemn but fail to see the log in their own eye. You don’t think Paul was betraying Jesus before his salvation or Peter?

    Look at the whole bible and it teaches whatever you do to the least you do to Jesus. You betray any man on earth you betray Jesus. Great to say you believe but if you walk past the poor and thirsty but don’t offer a drink then your belief is weak and is not true belief. You have betrayed Jesus also.

    Be careful when you say Jesus is wrong! More to the point you or I may be wrong! In that verse you quote it also says those who believe and done good. Also read James 2:13.

    Jesus saying it would have been better if that man were never born is saying guilt and your heart and conscience will condemn you which is what consumed Judas and he hung himself. To suffer that it would have been better to not have been born. Many of the prophets cursed the day they were born and wished they were never born. Psalm 13:2-4 Jeremiah 20:14-18 Job 7:15-16.

    What were Jesus’s last words to the world before him while on the cross? Father forgive them for they know not what they do! That goes for Judas also.

    You asked me to explain Judas and I have twice but you have yet to explain Paul after I asked sir? Please don’t dodge the question again.

    • So you think Judas was saved? I don’t want to read anything into you words but you seem reluctant to come out and say it. If Judas was saved, when was he saved. Paul’s conversion experience is well known, but I am not familiar with Judas’s. Do you care to share? Jesus said those who refused to trust him would be condemned (John 3:18). It seems to me Judas condemned himself by refusing to trust in Jesus. Judas was never filled with the Holy Spirit and born again. You evidently disagree but won’t explain why.

  3. Paul,

    I appreciate your work here. I hadn’t heard of inclusionism, and now a friend tells me that CS Lewis leaned and led (and likely significantly influenced the RCC) in that direction. But I know Lewis (not as well as my friend) and I don’t think I’d characterize his writings as the sort of inclusionism (or is it inclusivism and are they the same?) that you describe here. I’m sure there are many flavors of inclusionism and I’m not sure you’ve quite got the taste of them all, or maybe even of the main stream. I say that because of your characterization of universalism, which I do know a fair amount about as I hold that soteriology myself. Since you’ve kind of misspoken about universalisim, I wonder about your grasp of inclusionism. No offense intended, but I’ve been miss-characterized so very much regarding my beliefs, and thus I’m a little sensitive about others getting the same treatment.

    Perhaps there are some, but I know exactly zero universalists who believe that Father will drag unwilling sinners kicking and screaming into the Kingdom. I think ultra-u’s believe that all sinners who don’t repent in this life will in a moment’s judgment have their sin destroyed in the LoF, but that they’ll be glad of it even as it’s happening. I only know maybe two people at the most who hold this. I understand this belief is more prominent amongst those of a Calv background.

    Everyone else I know in the universalist camp believes that Father will eventually win through to all hearts just as He has done to ours. Most of us believe in some sort of post-mortem punishment/purgation for those who choose to hold on to their sins — mostly a natural consequences form of chastisement just like we have in this life — only without the wicked prospering like a green bay tree.

    Thanks for listening. 🙂
    Cindy

    • Cindy, there are so many variations on universalism or inclusionism that it’s almost impossible for me to discuss either without some universalist or inclusionist responding, “That’s not what I believe.” So I focus on specific, little issues – like the two Adam argument above – and then the message I get is, “You’re simplifying. You haven’t got the full picture.” You don’t say this. I’m just telling you how it is from this end.

      My understanding of Christian universalism is summarized as follows: “After we die and see Jesus as He really is – altogether lovely and attractive – no one will be able to resist Him. All will come to Him be saved.”

      My difficulty with this message – apart from the fact that it’s speculative – is it rules out faith and promotes self-trust. It says, “When you have all the facts, you will make the right decision,” which is fruit off the wrong tree. Yet God calls us to trust Him in the face of uncertainty. He doesn’t tell Adam why he shouldn’t eat from the tree nor does He fully explain the consequences of doing so. God’s message to humanity is and always has been, “Trust Me.” God is looking for faith for love can be experienced no other way (Eph. 2:8).

      • I understand, and I’m sure you’ve heard the argument for U that you describe. It’s not bad, as far as it goes, but it is a thousand miles from anything like an accurate representation of the beliefs of most U’s. It just is. That said, I hear you. But I don’t generally choose to write about a belief system unless I think I can at least do it a modicum of justice. Your short posts are excellent, btw, and I’m not saying you’re obligated to give a treatise. Most readers would skim at best.

        As for Judas — I didn’t read the comments above until after I posted mine. Based on the fact that your description of U does not describe my belief, I see no problem with Judas being saved.

        Nor do I have a problem with some rising to a resurrection of judgment. Those who have done good to a resurrection of life and those who have done evil to a resurrection of judgment. It’s interesting that we’re judged for life or for judgment based on what we have done, isn’t it? I find most of us tend to miss that. But haven’t we all done both good and evil? Isn’t it right that Jesus should judge and condemn the evil within us and (our God being a consuming fire) consume it? BUT even if the judgment is only for those who have not (yet) believed, why should we assume capital (or worse, never-ending) punishment? I see nothing her to indicate a particular sentence.

        Blessings, Cindy

      • Cindy, would you agree with Romans 8:9-11 that says a Christian is someone who has received the Holy Spirit? If so, when did Judas receive the Holy Spirit? Or, if we might use a post-cross example, when did Herod or Caiaphas receive the Holy Spirit? Not trying to provoke. Just curious.

      • Hi, Paul

        I do agree that if we have not the Spirit of Christ, we are none of His. And while I don’t know, I think it’s safe to say that Judas, at least, died without having received the Spirit of Christ (though I think a good case may be made that he repented bitterly, with tears — and more than that, of course.)

        Our Arminian view of things requires that people “choose Jesus” at some point in order to enter into salvation, and I agree with that as well. The thing I don’t agree with is what I call the “death deadline.” I think there is scant evidence for this in scripture, and I’ve looked very, very hard in an effort to find that evidence. It isn’t there. You can find a few verses/passages that might make auxiliary support for such a position, but for such an important doctrine, I need some foundational evidence — not just a couple of candidates for supporting actors.

        Therefore I would say that Judas either did receive or at some point will receive the indwelling Spirit of Christ. Otherwise, as your passage points out, he could be none of His. And of course that goes for all people, whether they enter into the Kingdom before or after physical death.

        Blessings, Cindy

      • Paul, I find your teachings and revelations on grace very feeding and enlightening, though can’t always participate in the theological debates following your articles. It brings about some questions:
        For instance here, what is the understanding of grace of the universalist/inclusionist, how does he live it, and what is his experiential knowledge of God? Could it be considered a lack of knowledge of who God really is and not only a lack of understanding of the scriptures – the Early Church for hundreds of years didn’t have the scriptures as we know them now but obviously lived in and knew the Living Word – now, all scriptures for many are being filtered by a lack of knowledge of who God is.
        Grace is a person and not the technical and reductive “unmerited favor”. Grace is God’s quality of Life and intimate loving relationship with Him, which produces universal love for all and makes me want to include all to participate in that relationship.
        Can universalism/inclusionism simply be extreme hypergrace born from a lack of experiential knowledge of God. Lack of knowledge of God + grace = license to sin.
        God lives in me NOW, He knows my every thought. Grace for me is acknowledging His Presence and knowledge of me and freely communicating within this intimacy, directing my conscience and bringing every thought captive to His Love and unconditional acceptance of everything I am. Narrow but oh how wonderful way!
        Made it in exactly 250 words this time! Glory to God!

      • hey cindy, in response to the “death deadline” (the possibility of people being saved after they have died)… Jesus has already descended into the place of death… and the pre-cross saints who believed left with Him (in Him) when He was resurrected. He cant die again, so He’s not going back there. but He is here, with us in this world… where all men have the opportunity to encounter Him while they are still breathing… before they go to the place where He will never go again

      • Hi, Jeannie 🙂

        That’s an interesting and insightful take on things. Ultimately though, I’m not sure we must conclude that Jesus would need to return to the grave in order to call men out from it (as He did Lazarus):

        Joh 5:28-29 RYLT-NT
        (28) . . . there does come an hour in which all those in the tombs shall hear his voice,
        (29) and they shall come forth; those who did the good things to a rising again of life, and those who practiced the evil things to a rising again of judgment.

        Judgment is dreadful for evil-doers, but it’s a needed thing, as the Hebrews needed the exile in Babylon to cure them from worshiping of idols and indifference to and oppression of the poor and helpless. Hosea later wrote:

        Hos 6:1 KJV
        (1) Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.

        “Judgment” needn’t mean hopeless punishment, and punishment for no reason wouldn’t fit God’s character. If He’s unable to save, immediate or eventual annihilation seems more likely. But He is mighty to save.

        Regarding Jesus’ presence in the grave, David said, “If I make my bed in Sheol, Thou art there.” Nevertheless, even if He’s not present in the grave, He can save its prisoners if He chooses, without going there.

        Blessings, Cindy

      • well, lazarus was called back from the grave into his mortal body… not his resurrected one. we have the authority to do the same thing… so there is definitely a purpose for us being in these mortal bodies… (and perhaps this could explain the reports of old testament saints springing from their graves after the cross…) i believe john 5:28-29 was describing Jesus’ visit into death after the cross. now He holds the keys of death and the grave… which will be emptied at the great white throne… the second resurrection… unto judgement. i don’t know if we will understand every detail until it actually happens, but i do know that a person who doesn’t already have the life of Christ in him will not tolerate being in the presence of God in all His glory very well… 😉

      • Jennie, said: ” . . . but i do know that a person who doesn’t already have the life of Christ in him will not tolerate being in the presence of God in all His glory very well… ;)”

        Very true. The Eastern Orthodox believe the fire IS God, (our God is a consuming fire.) Is it the very presence of God that “burns the hell right out of us”? Paul talks about building with gold, pearl and precious stones, and the wood, hay, and stubble being burned up but the person saved — though as through fire. The works are lost, but that’s good as the works were bad. We assume that for an unbeliever nothing will be left after the fire. I’m not sure scripture says that — in fact I’m pretty sure it doesn’t say that. Annihilationists might go with that picture. C.S. Lewis seems to, in “The Great Divorce”.

        It’s interesting that C.S. Lewis’ proclaimed “master” took Lewis’ generous soteriology one step further to what I believe is its obvious conclusion. That would be George MacDonald. If you’ve never read any of GMac’s work, quite a lot if not all of it is available free on-line (including for Kindle). I LOVE his fantasy. Very symbolic, and a challenge sometimes to tease out the meaning, but well worth it.

  4. Andrew mack // July 7, 2014 at 3:01 pm // Reply

    Exactly Paul! If God is love and according to 1 Cor 13, love does not seek it’s own, then for God to save you apart from you wanting to be saved is being violated twice! Love how you put that. Sin left us no choice because it holds people as slaves, but as we know, God doesn’t want slaves, but sons!

  5. “The Many” in Romans 5, could it be that this is the Gift of Salvation in v17 for “Those who receive” and therefore in v19 “Many will be made righteous”?
    While the Gift in v18 that “came to all” and results / resulted in justification is the Gift of Forgiveness?

    Thus All Are forgiven because of God’s unconditional Love, not violating free will as ones identity has not changed (the consequence of sin to be separated = a sinner) and is in need of salvation, therefore what you do with it makes the difference (which you Paul seem to refer as “receiving the gift of forgiveness”), being justified already so we can accept it, which by exercising free will is to believe and as a result receive the Gift of Life = Salvation.

    As you put it “God has reconciled the world but you still need to be reconciled”

    In other words: Just as through Adam ALL die physically, judgement came to ALL and MANY were made Sinners, likewise ALL Sin died in Christ and MANY(who believe) will be made Saints, alive through His resurrection.

    Repent = Renew/Change our mind with God’s word on that all our sin is forgiven, which is to confess them as such = agreeing with God.

  6. Just read Acts 10:43 “Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”

    That actually makes clear that not ALL are forgiven but receive it through believing in Him.
    In hindsight I would look at both gift’s as being offered/given and have to be received 🙂

    In other words, in Christ is provided Forgiveness of all Sin, Salvation, Life, Righteousness and Justification. He who beliefs in Him is born again and thus in Him has it all.

    • It depends on your definition of forgiveness. The Biblical definition is to carry sins away, and Jesus has done that already. He will never do it again (Heb 9:26). From God’s side, forgiveness is a done deal. The Gift has been given. The gospel is God is no longer holding your sins against you. You are forgiven – believe it! But as the scripture declares, not all have received the gift of forgiveness.

  7. Adam had a choice …. and that choice affected all of us(we had no “free will” choice in that) So God in all his love said your all sinners bc of Adam’s choice
    And then comes along Jesus and he had a choice but the outcome of that choice was not as powerful as Adams choice leaving us with the “free will” to chose for ourselves?

  8. God has reconciled ” The World unto Himself, not counting their sins against them and has given to US ( believers ) the responsibility of taking this message to the world declaring this truth THAT GOD IS NO LONGER HOLDING THEIR SINS AGAINST THEM—This is the GIOD NEWS that Jesus has taken Sin
    OFF THE TABLE . He then tells them because He has done this ” TO BE RECNCILED TO GOD. Because GOD has been satisfied ( propitiation ) by Jesus’ SACRIFICE,, accept it and be reconciled. Reconciliation has occurred for mankind , but we must ACCEPT such. The good news is that SIN WAS PUT AWAY and is no longer an issue. The issue now is a SON issue not a SIN ISSUE.

  9. Raymond Grigsby // June 8, 2016 at 1:15 pm // Reply

    Paul, first off I love this site and am truly grateful for the clarity you bring to difficult biblical concepts. I’m a strong believer that grace, faith, and repentence come as a package deal unto salvation. God distributes measures of faith as He divinely persuades us through the testimony of the Holy Spirit about who Jesus is. I also believe that God first choose us, but we have to choose not to respond negatively to the love of God by refusing to believe. Trusting Jesus by faith comes naturally and easily because a demonstration of the Spirt’s power is able to fully convince us that Jesus is the Christ. My question to you is in John 12:32 where Jesus says he will draw all men unto himself, the Greek word to draw here literally means to drag. How do we reconcile the word “draw” or “to drag” with God’s love, which doesn’t force itself onto humanity, marrying us against our will, but rather provides us with the gift of free will?

  10. Raymond Grigsby // June 9, 2016 at 12:02 am // Reply

    πάντας ἑλκύσω πρός ἐμαυτόν, I by my moral, my spiritual, influence will win over to myself the hearts of all, John 12:32

    This is what the Stong’s concordance has for John 12:32. I am no universalism but how do we reconcile this verse with the concept that the Lord only imputes righteousness to those who trust in Jesus’ finished work?

    • The point is that Jesus is not merely the Messiah of the Jews but the Savior of all. “And I, if and when I am lifted up from the earth [on the cross], will draw and attract all men [Gentiles as well as Jews] to Myself” (
      John 12:32, AMP). The context was the Pharisees’ complaint that “the whole world has gone after him!” (v.19) and the private visit of some Greeks (v.21).

      • Raymond Grigsby // June 10, 2016 at 12:00 am //

        Thanks for the reply Paul! Great answer as always. Love you brother, thank for your work.

    • Cindy Skillman // June 9, 2016 at 12:57 pm // Reply

      God does only impute righteousness to those who trust Jesus, and given sufficient time (which God has plenty of), all will eventually trust Him. This happens not because He negates free will, but rather because He perfects it by healing our minds and our emotions and correcting our deficits in knowledge of the truth. Once we are fully sane and KNOW that He is GOOD, we will never hold out against His love and our own well being forever.

      To do so would only prove that we are still lacking in sanity, emotional health, and/or authentic knowledge of the Truth (Who alone sets people free.)

      • Raymond Grigsby // June 10, 2016 at 12:02 am //

        Although I agree God only imputes righteousness to those who follow in Abrahams footsteps by believing God, I don’t agree with what you when you say all will eventually trust God for the righteousness needed to exceed that of the Pharisees and enter His kingdom, otherwise you have all men saved. Unless you define all as only the elect.

  11. Gosh! Love this .

  12. Just to be clear are you also implying you don’t believe in the doctrine of original sin, namely that Adam’s sin resulted in every human being born sinful by nature and this in need of Jesus blood long before they committed the first act of sin after birth?

    I never quite understood how God could curse others for Adam’s sin when his word says the sons won’t pay for the sins of the fathers. How can he hold accountable those who don’t choose him, when they were born that way?

  13. Can someone tell me how does Enoch fit into this discussion? Thank you.

  14. Calvin Sykes // March 8, 2017 at 4:11 pm // Reply

    Hi Paul, first of all I want to say this is an awesome Forum on the two Adams. Can you elaborate more on this phrase “forced love”. God does not have to force his love, but he teaches us love.. although we do have choice, if we are taught how to love then we simply will not make a bad choice. So I believe that he gives us choice and we are able to make a bad choice but God’s responsibility is to teach us how to love so that we can always make good choices and in the end I believe that all will be taught how to love completely and therefore will have free will, but simply will fully understand God’s love but will not make a wrong choice. Just as He is.

    • I wish it were as simple as that but as every parent knows, kids will make bad choices no matter how much we love them. God was a perfect parent to Adam. He showed nothing but perfect love to this “son of God” (Luke 3:38). Yet in a perfect and sinless world, and without a sin nature to influence him, Adam still made a bad choice.

  15. Calvin Sykes // March 8, 2017 at 4:16 pm // Reply

    God knew that Adam would sin, and he knew that he would show the human race love. Not just telling people, but teaching them to understand who he really is. It’s not force love. It’s just hard to believe that anyone would reject him knowing his true love. I think that everyone would be taught sooner or later

  16. This is a great article, Paul. Thank you. While I believe that in the end (the “very end” so to speak), the effect of the ‘lesser-Adam’s’ failure cannot possibly overcome – or be greater than – the effect of the ‘greater-Adam’s sacrifice’, I have yet to understand how that will play-out and meantime I rejoice that today, we are brothers in arms who are agreed on the most important thing in all the universe, who is CHRIST! My views on universalism and inclusionism (right or wrong…. and I am radical in my views I confess that no one will be able to reject his love) cannot in anyway or even in small part detract from my immense enjoyment, relief, and joy gained from your teachings on His Grace. THANK GOD we are both free to enjoy the Blessing today. Thank you again for your love, this forum and applying your gift of teaching. I cannot express my thanks enough…

  17. “But if last Adam did the same thing in reverse, then we have been violated twice. ” What?! You mean you have been violated for having been born by your natural parents? They didn’t consult you whether you want it or not, ts ts ts? They violated your free will! No, we should thank them for life. The same goes for Jesus. By definition, conception and birth don’t depend on US.

    • So there’s no free will, no choice to be made?

      Adam had a choice. Sadly, his choice robbed us of our freedom, but the Son of God has set us free. Because of Jesus you are free to choose.

  18. Keith Stanton // November 12, 2017 at 12:15 am // Reply

    Inclusion does not mean that you are saved. Rather, it means we were all included in the finished work of the Cross. However, in order to experience salvation in the subjective reality of our newness in Christ, we must believe it. In other words, unless we believe in the finished work of the cross, we are not saved. And what is it that we are saved from? We are saved from ourselves, from our self-righteous thinking, from believing that we have to do something to earn salvation. And Truth (Jesus), salvation is a gift freely given to us through God’s Grace (Jesus). But until we believe that to be true, we will never experience our salvation.

  19. It’s been roughly four years since I read the original post and responded. I’ve enjoyed catching up today. Great thread. Interesting dialogue. My sister is a universal inclusionist. I’ve heard much on the subject. But it has never provided an enticing perspective in my mind. It is absent the concept of relationship.

    I still maintain that to be married to Christ is entirely voluntary or it is equivalent to rape and abuse. Love that is forced isn’t love. Love is patient and is kind. It does not exert its will authoritatively. It’s not demanding or dictatorial. Is it the will of God that all be saved? Certainly but He’s never going to force himself on anyone. Jesus saved us through his death and resurrection, He forgave us all our trespasses, but He did not make us alive to God without our consent. If we are united with Him, one with Him, it is consensual or not at all.

    If I rescue a woman from an attacker, I’ve saved her but I don’t then immediately force her to into a relationship with me. I think we all recognize the difference between rescue and relationship. What kind of God would he be if he forced us into a relationship? What kind of relationship would that be? Love would be nowhere in that equation. His love must be received to make it a relationship.

    “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” and “Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” and “To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.”

    The nature of the relationship is based on us receiving what He’s giving. Under the old covenant, man initiated, God responded. If you do good, you get good, if you do bad, you get bad. Now, under the new, God initiates and we respond. He gives, we receive. That’s the nature of our relationship. Without the receiving, it is not a relationship. That is not to say that receiving is meritorious but it is relationship. It is vine and branches. It is union. It is consent. It is love.

  20. I have followed your teachings for several years and they helped me see the Truth, Grace and Faith, aka Jesus. Everything you teach is perfectly in line and the same as what inclusionists believe. And that is Adam cursed mankind with the disease of sin and Jesus cured the disease for mankind. But, this gift of rightnstanding with God does not mean we are saved. It is only in believing that Jesus work at the cross was the free gift for each one of us. If we exercise our free will and choose not to believe the Truth (Jesus) we will never be free and and saved from self. Heaven is the experience of an inimate relationship with Father, Son and Spirit. Hell is not experiencing the relationship. We can experience either one both now and in eternity, but we have to choose to believe in Jesus finished work to be saved. You yourself have taught these very things. I am sorry you have been misinformed by those who do not understand or teach what inclusionists actually believe. I encourage you to take a look at more of Dr. Steve McVeys teachings, a man you have quoted and even referenced his book Grace Walk. Please take some time to listen to his teachings and you will find they line up perfectly with yours.

    In closing let me say the not one of truly understands the mystery. We will all be surprised at what we really don’t know when we see Jesus face to face. I have learned we need to avoid foolish arguments and not attack the beliefs of others. God is not a respecter of persons and loves all humanity. The Apostle Paul implored us to avoid foolish arguments. In other words, if we want others to see the real character of God in Christ in us, we need to love and respect each other just as Jesus did.

    Love you brother and I praise God for the work He is doing in and through you.

    • If my teaching was the same as inclusionism, how is that those who subscribe to inclusionism regularly attack and condemn me, often in vitriolic language? (You are a gracious exception, which is why your comment is getting published. Thank you.)

      In truth, there are several varieties of inclusionism. There is inclusionism-lite, which conceals itself inside the gospel of grace, and at the other end there is extreme inclusionism, which resembles universalism. Because I choose not to name names, people may think I am unacquainted with all the shades of inclusionism or that I am misrepresenting their particular flavor or favorite teacher. This is an understandable error.

      Yes, there is a lot of mystery, particularly concerning the hereafter, and we should leave room for different understandings. But Paul also said to refute those who contradict sound doctrine. If inclusionism were sound doctrine, it should be able to stand up to scrutiny. It should align with scripture. I find that it does not. Although inclusionism borrows the language of grace, it’s subtle effect is to diminish grace. Strong claims, I admit. But the dangers of this manmade philosophy are real. This teaching has caused many to wander from the faith. It has destroyed churches and I will continue to refute with vigor.

  21. Thanks for sharing! The lies of Universalism and Inclusionism are accepted by many, and this article shows the harm these false beliefs cause.

    • John W Reed // August 14, 2018 at 1:34 pm // Reply

      Amen this is a vital truth. We must readily share the Good News of Grace but at times we must herald the alarms about the error and falsehoods that want to corrupt the Gospel.

  22. Hi Paul,
    When it comes to trying to disprove ‘inclusion’ you are licked – down for the count. You sound like a petulant ‘grade school’ kid looking to twist reality to fit your own agenda. You have to defend the ‘exclusion’ doctrine because that’s where the big money is. It’s where you bread is buttered. You’ll make up any unsound argument to protect your book sales. Let’s face it – if inclusion is discovered to be true as it should be (and is), then you’re out of a job!

    Phil

    • Let me get this straight: If I’m wrong about inclusion, the outcome is my “huge income” from book sales will diminish. But if you are wrong – I presume you are an inclusionist to talk like this – people will get hurt and churches will close, two things which are already happening as a result of the inclusionist message. Seems to me one of us is risking far more than the other.

      Inclusionism is a faith-killing message and it’s fruit are anger, hostility, and divisiveness. When I show that the claims of inclusionism are refuted by scripture, the usual response is similar to yours. There’s no discussion. There’s no, “have you considered this scripture?” Rather, I get animosity and ad hominem attacks on my character. This fruit, more than anything I might say, demonstrates the carnal origin of this philosophy.

      • John W Reed // December 27, 2018 at 9:02 pm //

        Good words. To see the validity and usefulness of something we should look at what it produces. Since late later 2013 I began to take note of the TT inclusion message, other forms of inclusionism messages, and see what they produced. I began to see once vibrant soul winning, highly successful outreach, gifted musically, greatly influential, churches and ministries, close their doors or shut down operations. Even those who wouldn’t expressly teach it themselves, but tolerated it in their midst and even allowed it to be taught by guests, saw their ministry fold. The Spirit through Paul said the Gospel leads us from Faith to Faith and glory to glory. What I see with inclusion is the opposite, people go from error to error and many have walked away from the faith entirely.
        The fruit or effects of this philosophy are clear. It’s a doctrine of devils that Paul warns of, and should be shunned and avoided.

  23. Nkumbe Kavin // November 27, 2021 at 2:15 am // Reply

    Good day, Dr. Paul Ellis. I thank you for you labour in the Word and in doctrine. I can proudly say i stand strong in grace because of this blog (escapetoreality) that Jesus led me to in 2017.

    I have a question, please. Can one safely say, “all are saved but not all are enjoying or have received salvation?”
    Thank you, sir.

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