Universal Salvation


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

I saw this verse as the defense for Universal Reconciliationist. This version is from the ESV Bible. The ISV comes out like this:

To this end we work hard and struggle, because we have set our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, that is, of those who believe. (1Ti 4:10)

ISV goes a step farther to specify that the all people is really only those who believe. The majority of the translations seem to follow along the same lines as the ESV though.  You can see why there might be some confusion on what it means.

Personally, I think Jesus died for the sins of all mankind and is the Savior to all people. That is not to say that all people have salvation though.

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his unique Son so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of God’s unique Son.

(Joh 3:16-18)

Jesus is very clear on the matter of salvation. It is offered to all, but only received by those who believe.

This is contrary to the Universal Reconciliationist as well as the modern spiritual movement. You see Oprah and many others stating there are multiple ways to Heaven, not just through Jesus. This is a problem with trying to reconcile the message of God to social views. You will get a man based view of God instead of who He says He is. When we reason God into something we can understand and something that aligns with our beliefs, He is no longer God. Instead the person is worshipping a man based creation which happens to look like a more holy version of themselves.

It is true that God loves all people, but not all people will be saved. That is their choice.

Advertisements

20 Comments

Filed under Bible, Christianity

20 responses to “Universal Salvation

  1. societyvs

    “For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers” (1 Tim 4:10 – NASB)

    I tend to find the passage to mean what you have said, emphasis being on believers to re-assure the readers. However, hope is available to all if they are willing to follow God (thus ‘savior to all’).

    I am not a universalist myself, I live with the hope that this is the case, but I also know that their is a judgment at the end of it concerning our behaviors towards one another and justice. I think all can be saved, but some will choose to destroy God’s creation further…and God gave us ‘choice’.

    “When we reason God into something we can understand and something that aligns with our beliefs, He is no longer God. Instead the person is worshipping a man based creation which happens to look like a more holy version of themselves.” (Xander)

    I would say this claim can also be squarely placed on the person of Jesus as well. Jesus becomes any version of Jesus they want to see. He rides skateboards today, tomorrow in another community he is a very conservative person that hates abortion. Jesus becomes the mirror image of what we think we should be instead of what the texts actually say about him. I mean, which Jesus is the correct Jesus? Was Jesus liberal or conservative? Did Jesus support a ban on gay marriage or not? Etc.

    Jesus is becoming a cultural phenonmenon – depending on where you live – Jesus is made to resemble that cultural area and ‘be on it’s side’. So we can say other people are doing this with making all religions equal, but Christianity is also playing selectively with the figure of Jesus.

    Jesus was a Jewish man that followed Judaism…and seemed to love it. He carved out an identity as a great prophet/teacher figure to his disciples. We believe this person is the messiah and now resides with God, and was resurrected by God. His teachings however can only truly be understood in a Jewish lense.

    But this is not the same Jesus we see in Evangelical circles, and you know this. Jesus is a white person with blond hair and blue eyes that waves an American (or Western country) flag. We have made an idol out of Jesus.

    • I don’t hold to the white Jesus model, but a lot of westerners do though. He becomes a symbol for their way of life and the message of Christianity becomes co-mingled in with the social customs and beliefs of the followers. The idol of Jesus is sold to people who are looking for something tangible. I know Jesus wouldn’t be waiving a country’s flag and singing their national anthem. That is what we see though.

      It does make you wonder how true the Christianity is that is followed today. How much of it matches up to what it written about in the Bible. I don’t think we have to follow all of the Jewish practices and customs to follow Jesus, but I do think we lack an understanding of the times in which the Bible was written and it has been overly westernized to justify our society.

  2. societyvs

    “but I do think we lack an understanding of the times in which the Bible was written and it has been overly westernized to justify our society.” (Xander)

    I agree 100%…and the goal of a good biblical interpreter is to sift through all that to find the base truths being taught.

  3. any christian that doesn’t believe in universal salvation’s faith is for not. as for any other way, it sounds like a very small God they have… i always love how in Jesus’ parable’s those who thought they were just and right are left out, and those who were considered “sinners” are in. odds are, you’re out, and the atheists, social justice, gays, blacks, Taliban, Muslim, buddhists, and mormons are all in. hell, i could be out as well.

    • But if I don’t believe the universal salvation’s faith, I am still saved according to their way of thinking.

      • Indeed, you are. So why not extend God’s radical grace to all? Why “box” God?

      • I didn’t think I was boxing Him in.

        By your rationale, I can lie, cheat and steal and it is all good. Child sacrifice wont keep you out of heaven so why do you follow anything? Go out and have fun. Do what you want and enjoy it all.

  4. “By your rationale, I can lie, cheat and steal and it is all good. Child sacrifice wont keep you out of heaven so why do you follow anything?”

    if you were a universalist, those thoughts would never occur to you.

  5. “if you were a universalist, those thoughts would never occur to you.”

    I like that response.

    It wouldn’t occur to you that there is no need to repent or modify your behavior? That is a logical thought. If there are no rules, why follow rules?

    • Kierkegaard coined the term double-minded for very idea. Anyone who does Good because they desire to be rewarded or because they are afraid of being punished if they do not, is a double-minded person. Doing what is good and right is its own reward for the one who has the love of God in their hearts. It is the goodness of God that brings us to repent, and not fear of being tortured for ever …

      Rom 2:4
      Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

      • Doing what is good and right is not salvation though. You have to accept God and not just do good.

        I agree that hell shouldn’t be the motivator for doing good though.

  6. the first words of Jesus to announce his ministry is “repent and believe the good news” (Mark 1:15b), so it is a must that can’t be ignored and you’re right in your questioning. it does indeed look very different from what non-universalist Christianity preaches. many preach a version of the good news which doesn’t sound all that good to me… it readily condemns selfishness more than it encourages love. it’s gotta be a balance.

    think Kant’s maxims that human beings must always be treated as ends and never as means and that we are to always act in a way that will be of greatest benefit to all involved. this is not a rational ethic. it’s not a legalistic ethic of the temple, the pharisees, or what many preach as being the good news in our churches today (Roman Catholics and Calvinists come to mind). The universalist good news is not nor cannot be consistently applied in any rational ethical scheme. it is rather, a religious ideal inherited from a pietistic religious wordlview. so there are rules, yes indeed… namely to love God and your neighbor as yourself. it is the paradox to know that self-sacrificing love is the highest ideal, and when we lose our life, we also gain it back (Matt 10:39). when we love as God loves, we end up loving our enemies and realize that we have no enemies.

    hope that sheds some light on it.

    • I wanted to respond to this part of your post…

      You wrote …

      “the first words of Jesus to announce his ministry is “repent and believe the good news” (Mark 1:15b), so it is a must that can’t be ignored and you’re right in your questioning. it does indeed look very different from what non-universalist Christianity preaches.”

      Christian Biblical Universalism does not disagree with Mark 1:15 … I understand this verse in light of Acts 5:31 and 2Ti 2:25 …

      Acts 5:31
      “Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.”

      2Ti 2:25
      “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth”

      Repentance itself is a gift from God. One is not able to acknowledge the truth unless God first gives them repentance. As it is God who works within us both to will and to do what pleases him(Phl 2:13).

      God bless …

  7. The Greek word translated as “especially” is malista, and the meaning of the word malista is “especially, chiefly, most of all, above all” … The ISV is a notoriously corrupt translation which, like most other translations, was translated according to the agenda of the traditions of men which came into the church and became orthodox doctrine after Rome made Christianity the state religion.

    The word malista is found in these verses as well, try and translate the word malista in these verses the same way that the ISV translates it in the verse in question …

    Phm 1:16
    Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, “specially”(malista) to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh, and in the Lord?

    Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, “that is only” (malista) to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh, and in the Lord?

    or …

    Gal 6:10
    As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, “especially”(malista) unto them who are of the household of faith.

    As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, “that is only” unto them who are of the household of faith.

    or …

    2Ti 4:13
    The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but “especially”(malista) the parchments.

    The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but “that is only”(malista) the parchments.

    So we see that this is a very disingenuous translation of the word. And the attempt to change what the scripture is actually saying by translating the word malista in this way solely to conceal the true meaning of the scripture and promote the tradition of the church(i.e. the traditions of men) is worthy of divine wrath if nothing else is.

    Indeed, the word of God has come into the world to accomplish all that he pleases, and it will not return to him void(Isa 55:11) … And God desires that all people be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. So if it is Gods desire to save all people, and his word accomplishes all that he pleases, then how is it that the church is so hell bent(pun intended) on teaching that the word of God who is Christ our lord cannot or will not accomplish Gods desire to do just that? As Christ himself did speak, the traditions of man make the word of God to none effect.

    There is a reckoning coming on the house of God, for judgment starts at the house of God. And it is high time believers wake up to the deception that has darkened the light of the church for nearly 1700 years now …

    Torture is not divine justice … And literally burning people alive is not inline with the spirit of God …

    Luk 9:51-55
    And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.

    • “And God desires that all people be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. So if it is Gods desire to save all people, and his word accomplishes all that he pleases, then how is it that the church is so hell bent(pun intended) on teaching that the word of God who is Christ our lord cannot or will not accomplish Gods desire to do just that?”

      But here is how it starts off:

      “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
      (Isa 55:6-7)

      Is it God’s desire to force people to worship Him? It appears that it is a choice we are given. His word goes out and calls the people to Him and asks them to respond to Him.

      • God does not force people to believe in him, at least not in the way you imply.

        The natural man cannot receive the things of the spirit, because they are spiritually discerned(1Cr 2:14). One must first be born of the spirit before they can discern spiritual things, and God must give one repentance before one can acknowledge the truth(Act 5:31, 2Ti 2:25).

        It i s Christ who is the author and perfecter of faith, and it is God who gives us a measure of faith(Hbr 12:2, Rom 12:3). If one does not repent and have faith, then they have not yet been given either repentance or faith, and so they are unable to acknowledge the truth of the gospel.

        Being lost and bound to sin and unbelief is not a choice, it is a spiritual illness(Matt 9:12-13), and Christ is the great physician who has it in his power to make the blind see and the lame walk, and the unbeliever believe, like he did for the apostle Thomas and the apostle Paul.

      • I was responding to your comment. I do not think God forces people to believe in Him, as my comment points out.

        I think a time will come when He will be revealed openly and publicly to all people, but that time will be a time of judgment. That is not to say that people do not know of God or are ignorant to Him or His ways.

      • Indeed … And what is the purpose of judgment? Is it merely for the purpose of reward and punishment? and is the punishment just? What is true justice? True justice is judgment tempered by mercy. And true justice works out for the best of all, including the one being judged. Gods judgment is for the purpose of correction, and those who will be judged in the day of the lord will learn righteousness(Isa 26:9) …

        God does not return evil for evil, but he overcomes evil with good. Just as we are commanded to do … After the judgment, every knee will bow and every tongue confess openly that Christ is lord to the glory of the father, and all thing in heaven and on earth and beneath the earth and in the sea will sing his name, and praise him and glorify him(Rev 5:13).

        God will in fact bring all things together in one in Christ when all is said and done(Eph 1:10), and the restitution of all things is accomplished(Act 3:21).

        Peace …

  8. Hello there! I could have sworn I’ve visited your blog – American Icons. | American Icons Blog before but after looking at many of the posts I realized it’s new to me. Regardless, I’m definitely pleased I stumbled upon it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking back regularly!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s