REFUTING UNIVERSALISM: ARE ALL PEOPLE IN CHRIST?

There is an increasing sentiment for the dangerous theology of universalism.

What is universalism?

In a nut shell, it is the theory that God has reconciled every person, having already forgiven every person’s sins (no repentance or faith in Jesus is necessary), and everyone is going to be saved and live happily ever after.

One of the scriptural texts taken and twisted by the universalists is 1 Corinthians 15:22:

For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

The universalist interprets this text as saying, “just as all men died (spiritually) in Adam, even so, all men (literally every human) shall be made (spiritually alive) in Christ.” Some universalist go as far as to make claim that every person is in Christ and Christ is in every person.

This is a fallacy.

In 1 Corinthians 15:22, Paul is expounding on the resurrection to come. Paul does this by way of comparison that just as every man who is in Adam, dies; every man who is in Christ shall be made alive.

Paul is not teaching that every human being is in Christ, and therefore will be made alive.

Paul states that he preached that Christ had risen from the dead and this is what the Corinthians had believed. He then asks how is it that there are some among them who claim there is no resurrection of the dead, since Christ was preached to them that he was raised from the dead.

Paul then expounds on the resurrection and concludes with these words:

51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep (be physically dead), but we shall all be changed,

52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

57 But thanks be to God, which giveth US the victory through OUR Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:51-58

Paul makes reference to this same mystery of the resurrection in his 1st epistle to the Thessalonians.

14 For IF WE BELIEVE that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead IN CHRIST shall rise first:

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words. ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18

The dead “in Christ” who raise from the dead, and those who remain (still alive) at the coming of the Lord, are those who (in verse 14) believe that Jesus did and rose again.

Reading into chapter 5, we see that there is a difference made between those who are, in Christ, who will be gathered to the Lord when he comes, and those who are NOT in Christ, and will not be partakers of the resurrection.

1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.

For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.

Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.

For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.

But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.

For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.

11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

Paul’s reference to the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15 is not a reference to every human being. Neither is it scriptural to say that every human is in Christ and Christ is in every human. Neither is every person a child of God as taught by universal theology.

Such ideology is deceptive, misleading, and demonic.

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