IS EVERYONE SAVED?

17  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (2 Corinthians 5:17-21)

There is a growing sentiment within the American church toward the all inclusive message of universalism, 

What is the Universalism?

In a nut shell, Universalism is the theory that God has reconciled every person, having forgiven every person’s sins, and everyone is going to be saved and live happily ever after. 2 Corinthians 5:18 -19, referenced above, is one of the main “go – to” texts for those who teach and for those who accept universalism.

The universalists zeros in on certain words and phrases at the expense of the context, emphasizing certain portions of a text to create a theological narrative not supported by the whole counsel of scripture.

For example the words, God was in Christ, RECONCILING THE WORLD UNTO HIMSELF, NOT IMPUTING THEIR TRESPASSES UNTO THEM, is used to advance the ideology that God has already forgiven everyone; and everyone is already reconciled to God. 

However, in 2 Corinthians 5, Paul’s intent is not that all humanity is already reconciled to God with all their sins forgiven. Rather Paul’s message is, in Christ, God has provided atonement so that all who will believe the gospel will be reconciled to God. This is why we are to make appeal to people to “be reconciled to God” as Paul says in verse 20.

In Christ alone there is the forgiveness of sins for those who humble themselves in repentance.

When Paul says God was in Christ reconciling the world, not imputing their trespasses unto them, he is referring to the work of God in Christ as the offering for our sins. Jesus gave himself as our sin offering and was accepted by God on the behalf of all who will believe and repent.

No where in scripture, neither in the old testament or in the new, will you ever find any servant of God preaching that God has done it all, and you are right with God no matter what your response is.

In the new testament, we see John the Baptist preaching repentance and warning of the wrath to come. Jesus preached the gospel and called men to repentance. Throughout the book of Acts, the gospel was never preached as an announcement that “you are already forgiven and reconciled to God.” In Acts, the gospel message was preached with a calling to faith and repentance.

Universalism is predicated on random biblical texts taken out of their context, which creates a theology which can not be supported by the whole counsel of scripture. It is, instead, condemned by the whole counsel of scripture.

The Universalist believes that God holds nothing against anyone even though this is inconsistent with the words of Jesus to the church at Pergamos:

I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. But I have a few things AGAINST thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate. REPENT; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will FIGHT AGAINST THEM with the sword of my mouth. (Revelation 2:13- 16)

It doesn’t take a theologian or a scholar to understand that Jesus held things against those in the church at Pergamos.

When Paul says God was in Christ reconciling the world “not imputing their trespasses unto them” he is not teaching God will never hold people accountable for their sins. On the contrary, Paul is preaching Christ as the gift of God for all who believe. We will all be held accountable, and without Christ, all will be condemned.

This is why Paul says: “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men…” (2 Corinthians 5:11)

Paul never preached that God had foregone the judgment of the ungodly. Paul believed that we are called to come out from the ungodly and live for God to be accepted by God.

Consider Paul’s words from 2 Corinthians 6:

14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.

18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (2 Corinthians 6:14- 18)

In universalism there is no difference between the godly and the ungodly. There is no difference between the children of God and the world. Therefore the world, rather than the church, is sanctified and made holy.

Someone actually told me recently, “Jesus made the world holy,”  but nothing, could be further from the truth.

According to Paul’s words from 2 Corinthians 6 (which is found in the very next chapter after the text which tells us that God was in Christ reconciling the world not imputing their trespasses unto them) we are commanded to come out from among them and be separate, AND THEN, we will be received by God, AND THEN,  we will be the sons and daughters of God.

If all people are already reconciled to God, and all people are going to be saved, because everyone is already forgiven, and no one will be judged, there would be no differentiation made between God’s people and those who are not God’s people in the scriptures.

There would be no differentiation between those in the light, and those in darkness. There would be no differentiation between the church and the world. Yet the Bible repeatedly makes a differentiation.

According to 1 John 2:15-16 we are instructed: love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

In 2 Peter we read that through our union with Jesus Christ we have escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (2 Peter 1:4)

Peter then tells us that if after having escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, people are again entangled therein, and overcome by the world, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. (2 Peter 2:20)

Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 4:4 that the devil is the god of this world and has blinded the minds of them which BELIEVE NOT, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

1 John 5:19 tells us: the whole world lieth in wickedness. And in Ephesians 2:2, we read that the prince of the power of the air (Satan) is behind the course of this world.

We can see from these references above that the world is in opposition to God, and in opposition to the the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In 1 John 2:17, we are taught that the world, along with its lust is going to pass away, but those who do the will of God will abide for ever.  John also says the following, contrasting the children of God from those in the world: Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. (1 John 3:1)

John also tells us to “marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.” (1 John 3:13)

In 1 John 4, the apostle John tells us how that many false prophets have gone out into the world, having the spirit of anti-Christ. John tells us that we have overcome them because we have the Spirit of God.

Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. (1 John 4:4-6)

The world is not holy. The world is under the influence of the wicked one, and is the spirit of error. Only those who know God, through faith in Jesus Christ, have overcome the world.

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God. (1 John 5:4-5)

The new testament writers make a clear distinction between those who have the Spirit of God and those with the spirit of this world.

Consider the words of Paul from 1 Corinthians 2:12: Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

In John’s gospel, Jesus made a clear distinction between his followers and the world in his prayer in John 17.

For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. I pray for them: I PRAY NOT FOR THE WORLD, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. (John 17:8-9)

Jesus also says: I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. (John 17:14-17)

James tells us that pure religion and undefined before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. (James 1:27)

James rebuked the recipients of his epistle for their wordiness, saying: Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. (James 4:4)

If God has made the world holy, how does friendship with the world make one and enemy of God?

The world is not holy, on the contrary, Jesus gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father. (Galatians 1:4)

In Titus, the apostle Paul tells us that the grace of God teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts:

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ… (Titus 2:11-13)

Through Jesus Christ, God has called out a people from the world. Only those who obey that calling – believing on Jesus and following him – are made holy. Through the cross of Jesus Christ, God has revealed that the world’s wisdom is foolish, for through his wisdom, God has chosen to save those who believe through the preaching of the gospel (see 2 Corinthians 1:20-21).

The message of universalism is worldly. It is in no way Christian. Everyone is not saved, and neither will they be.

DOES GOD LOVE ALL PEOPLE THE SAME?

Does God love the unrepentant murderer or rapist with the same affection as he loves someone who humbles himself before him and seeks him with all his heart?

Most of us have been taught that God loves everybody the same, but is this the teaching of the Bible, or is it something that we just haven’t taken the time to to think through and search out in the scriptures?

Allow me to present the following texts to you:

First, consider John 14:21.

He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me SHALL BE LOVED OF MY FATHER , AND I WILL LOVE HIM , and will manifest myself to him.

Clearly, this text suggests that those who love Jesus and obey him will be recipients of both his, and his Father’s love.

Now, consider verse 23:

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and MY FATHER WILL LOVE HIM, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

Finally, consider Hebrews 12:6-8

FOR WHOM THE LORD LOVETH he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, GOD DEALETH WITH YOU AS SONS; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye illegitimate, and not sons.

Notice that here in Hebrews, the Father chastens “those he loves.” This is said in contrast to those who are without chastisement. There is a love bestowed on his sons (his children) that those who are not his children, are not partakers of.

With this in mind, I’d like to present the teaching linked below.

_____________________________________________

THE LOVE AND WRATH OF A HOLY GOD
https://michaelbattle65.wordpress.com/2017/02/24/the-love-and-wrath-of-a-holy-god/

THE LOVE AND WRATH OF A HOLY GOD

Throughout the Bible, God’s word reveals that God is holy and is to be feared and held in reverence. This holy God, who is to be feared and held in reverence, is very compassionate and gracious and merciful towards all who repent of their sins.

God’s love is freely given to those who bow before him, in holy fear and reverence. It is not bestowed on those who refuse to humble themselves before him, and who defy him.

Throughout the Bible, God’s love for the world is his offer of forgiveness and mercy to the ungodly who will humbly come to him with a repentant heart.

I read something once which I think is very indicative of how many people have come to view God’s love. The comment said of God “He is madly in love with people.  That is why He dealt so furiously with sin. He crushed Jesus so He could save me.”

This statement speaks more of our infatuation with ourselves than it does God’s loves for us as revealed in the scriptures. In truth, God’s love for us isn’t a revelation of how wonderful we are: how God just can go on without us. Instead, God’s love is a revelation of how glorious he is.

That a holy, sovereign God, who is going to judge the world in righteousness reaches out to us in love to save us through his Son, Jesus Christ, glorifies him and not us. It displays his majesty and beauty, not ours.

There are many people who recognize the words of  John 3:16: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son. Many can quote these words verbatim. Unfortunately, many of those same people do not know the context in which the words are spoken.

Let us consider, briefly, the context of God’s love in John 3:16 to better understand God’s love as it is revealed in scripture. Let’s begin with verses 14-15:

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:  That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

Now consider the old testament account from which Jesus references in verses 14-15 above.

5 And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. 

6 And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. 

7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto theLord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. 

8 And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten,when he looketh upon it, shall live. 

9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived. ~ Numbers 21:5-9

The serpent of brass which God commanded Moses to make was the atoning provision to save the people from the judgment which God had sent. Notice that the text says: And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. (v.6)

According to Jesus, this was a type of how God would deliver us from our sins, and it was an old testament foreshadowing of how God would display his love for us in Jesus Christ.

Sinful man is under the judgment of God, but God sent his son to be the atoning sacrifice for the sins of all who will repent and turn to him and this is how God so loved the world. He gave his only begotten Son so that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have eternal life. ~ John 3:16

Now consider John 3:17 – 21:

17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.John 3:16 – 21

Now notice verse 36:

He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

God gave his Son to bestow his love on all who would humbly turn from their sins. God’s love for all people is revealed in his giving of his Son, with the condition, that the recipients of his love turn from their sins.

Those who refuse to turn from their sins by rejecting the precious gift of God, which he gave through the offering of his Son, have consequently rejected the love of God. Therefore they are condemned, and are under God’s wrath.

Whether we like it or not, there are people throughout the world who hate God because they love their sins. God’s love is extended to them, calling them to repentance. If they persist in their rebellion against God, refusing to humble themselves, they will be judged and damned in their sins: In this way, they are under the wrath of God.

The New Testament teaches that God has appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man he has appointed: Jesus Christ.

God has given his Son as the witness of himself, and in the Son, God offers forgiveness, grace, and mercy, to all people. Those who believe God’s witness, in his Son, receive life everlasting through God’s forgiveness, grace, and mercy; which is freely given in Jesus Christ.

Those who reject the Son of God; reject the love, mercy, and grace, God has offered them. God is holy and just to be displeased and angry with those who refuse to humble themselves before him so that they may receive mercy and grace.

On the day of judgement, those who reject God’s love will have no intercessor, no advocate to defend them, and will stand before a holy and righteous God with all their sins exposed before him. They will be judged for their sins because of their defiance of his goodness, and their rejection of the love God offered them in Jesus.

For them, there will no forgiveness when they stand before God to be judged. They will be judged, not by God’s compassion, but by God’s wrath.

______________________________________________________

To read about the Day of Judgment, follow this link:

https://michaelbattle65.wordpress.com/2017/03/15/the-day-of-judgment/?frame-nonce=ed082e7af4

 

THE BLOOD OF JESUS AND THE PRESENCE OF GOD

In the Bible God is revealed as a holy God, and all who enter into his presence must be clean.  In the old testament, God gave Israel the tabernacle to sanctify the people so that he could dwell among them.

In Exodus 25, God said to Moses, “let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.” This was a type of the sanctuary and the true tabernacle which Jesus entered in the Heavens, when through his own blood, he entered into the presence of God for us, to make intercession for us.

Under the Law, the tabernacle and all that was in it had to be first purified by the atoning blood before it could be put into service for the Living God to dwell in among his people.

On the annual day of atonement, the tabernacle and everything that pertained to it, had to be purified again with the atoning blood because of the sins of the people. All that was associated with the presence of God had to be holy and purified by blood.

This was a foreshadowing of what Jesus would do to bring us near to God. The writer of Hebrews tells us the following in Hebrews 9:21-24.

Moreover he (Moses) sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us…

After he shed his blood on the cross as payment for our sins, Jesus entered into the very presence of God for us with his own blood to purify for us access to God so that we may live in his presence.

This is why the author of Hebrews tells us: to enter with boldness into the holiest (the presence of God) by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:19-22)

NOT WITHOUT BLOOD

Under the Law, love held man back from entering God’s presence.

Only the high priest could enter the presence of God, and only on the Day of Atonement, and only with the blood of sacrificial animals that could not take away sin. Those sacrifices were only a foreshadowing of the glorious redemption that God had not yet (at that time) fully revealed.

The high priest was commanded to enter but, NOT WITHOUT BLOOD.

When Jesus offered himself for us, God unveiled the glorious and hidden plan of redemption. Through his own blood, shed at the cross, Jesus entered into the presence of God for us having obtained our eternal redemption.

Jesus, our great High Priest, entered the presence of God for us, but unlike the priests under the Law who could not abide permanently in the presence of God, Jesus abides there FOREVER to make intercession for us.

Because of Jesus, we too are invited in. We are told to come boldly by his blood, the new and living way, which Jesus has consecrated for us.

The message of the old covenant was that only the high priest may come into God’s presence, and only for a short time, and only once a year, and NOT WITHOUT BLOOD.

The message of the new covenant is COME BOLDLY BY THE BLOOD OF JESUS! For we have been redeemed!

GOD IS A JUST GOD

Fallen humanity, whose judgement and understanding is darkened, can never believe that a loving God would send anyone to hell. Fallen man judges by his own righteousness which is flawed by sin, error, ignorance, and vanity.

The one true God, who is love, is revealed throughout the scriptures as the righteous judge, to whom every individual is accountable for his own deeds.

He is the righteous judge, and as the righteous judge, he does not show favoritism. Every man shall give an account for himself to God.

No man can stand before God, guiltless. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. However, God who is just, is also merciful, and he has made provision for the justification of every man in his sight.

Romans 3:25 tells us that God has set Jesus forth as the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice and mercy seat) through whom all who believe will be justified in his sight.

In verse 26, the apostle Paul tells us that through this atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, God has declared HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, and is JUST and THE JUSTIFIER the one who has true faith in Jesus.

Why would a loving God send people to hell?  Why would a sinner not accept the atonement provided by a loving God to keep him out of hell?

Sin separates man from God, and because of his love, God withholds sinful man from entering his glorious presence. Sinful man cannot stand in the presence of a holy God, without his sins being accounted for.

Through the sacrifice of his Son, Jesus, God has made a way for the sins of sinful man to be accounted for. God accepts the death of his Son, Jesus, as the payment for the man’s sins. Man can now be restored to God, and cleansed from his sins, for the wage for his sins has been paid.

God’s love is just, and if God did not hold man accountable for his sins, he would not be loving, for his love holds back sin from entering his kingdom.

His holy love protects his kingdom and all within it from OUR wickedness. Yet because he is loving, and merciful, and gracious; he offers forgiveness and cleansing from sin through the atonement that he has provided in his Son Jesus Christ.

All are without excuse.