- Parent Category: FAQs
- Category: Questions about Sin and Salvation
- Published on Saturday, 05 February 2011 23:23
Do not scriptures such as Colossians 1:20, Ephesians 1:10; 1 Timothy 2:4-6; 1 Timothy 4:10; Romans 5:19; 1 Corinthians 15:22-28; Philippians 2:9-11; teach the universal salvation of the race? Will not all men be saved?
This questioner is a “Universalist,” believing that all fallen creatures will one day be restored to Divine favour, and brought to heaven.
Let us examine each verse in turn:
there is nothing in Phil. 2:9-11 about willing submission. All will bow the knee and confess Christ as Lord, if not willingly, then unwillingly. When the Lord utters the terrible words to certain ones, “Depart ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels,” is there a hint that this will mean their conversion and restoration?
Certainly 1 Corinthians 15: 22-28 is a strange passage to prove the salvation of all. It refers to the terrible scenes in Revelation 20 when Satan and the impenitent will be judged and cast into the lake of fire. It is said that Christ at the end will “put down all rule and all authority and power” (v. 24). If this meant their reconciliation, then death would be reconciled too, for “destroyed,” in verse 26, is the same in the Greek (Katargeo) as “put down” in verse 24. The real meaning is explained in v. 25: “all His enemies will be put under His feet,” or “made His footstool,” as in Psa. cx. This would be a peculiar way of expressing reconciliation. It was not thus that the father in Luke 15 welcomed the prodigal. Joshua did treat the Amorite kings just in this way, and it sealed their doom, and they were executed before nightfall.
Romans 5:19 does not say a word about all being saved, but merely that “as many were made sinners by the disobedience of Adam, so many will be made righteous by the obedience of Christ”. The condition of repentance and faith is enforced throughout the epistle. How divorce it from this verse? Romans 2:5 tells us of those who refuse to repent.
1 Timothy 4:10 simply says that God is the Saviour of all men, “specially of them that believe.” Why “specially,” if all are equally saved? Many believe, and I think they are right, that Saviour here means “Preserver.” (The French—version has usually ‘Conservateur,” i.e, Preserver.) The Lord cares for all, and in a special way for His people.
1 Timothy2:4-6 does not say that all will be saved, but that God is willing that all should be saved. We glory in this truth, and we are sure that wherever He can righteously apply the saving efficacy of the blood of Christ, He will do so. The ransom is paid for all. It is sufficient for all, efficient for them that believe. But those who refuse to believe will perish in spite of the work of Christ. To some the Lord had to say, “Ye will not come to Me that ye might have life”. Neither Ephesians 1:10 nor Colossians 1:20 says a word about “things under the earth,” or infernal things, as Phil. 2:10 does, when the sujection of all is in view. It is, moreover, “all things” that are to be reconciled. How could heavenly persons need it? But sin has entered the heavenly sphere; discord has marred the harmony there as here, and things, so far, need adjustment or harmonising. Certainly, all things in heaven and earth will be “headed up” in Christ (Ephesians 1:10), but the impenitent are not included. They will be vessels of wrath to display God’s power and wrath. The questioner allows there are some verses which seem to teach otherwise, and quotes one—John 3:36—which he really explains away by leaving out the first part, and dwelling on the fact that “the wrath of God abideth in the unbeliever” is in the present. But it is clear that the future is referred to from the first words, “He that believeth not, shall not see life.” This cannot refer to the present, for as long as breath is in the body, a man may turn, believe, and see life; but once the unbeliever passes from this scene he will never see life, but will exist under the wrath of God for ever. Space will only allow me to point out, that our Lord gave no hint of a future probation and restoration of all. Do His words (to quote only one Gospel) in Matthew 10:28; Matthew 13:42; Matthew 18:9; Matthew 25:46, teach universal salvation? The Lord spoke of many passing down the broad road to perdition; of a “closed door,” and of many asking in vain for admission; of “a great gulf fixed,” which none might pass! The hope of Universalists is a false hope, as all who trust in it will one day find. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, He that believeth not shall be damned."