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Who Then Can Be Saved?!

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Matthew 19:16-26
(16)  And behold, one came and said to Him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?
(17)  And He said to him, Why do you call Me good? There is none good but one, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.
(18)  He said to Him, Which? Jesus said, You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not bear false witness,
(19)  honor your father and mother, and, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.
(20)  The young man said to Him, I have kept all these things from my youth up; what do I lack yet?
(21)  Jesus said to him, If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in Heaven. And come, follow Me.
(22)  But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.
(23)  Then Jesus said to His disciples, Truly I say to you that a rich man will with great difficulty enter into the kingdom of Heaven.
(24)  And again I say to you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
(25)  When His disciples heard, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?
(26)  But Jesus looked on them and said to them, With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.

When the rich young ruler walked away sadly, and Jesus told His disciples that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it was for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, the disciples were amazed, and responded with the question, “Who then can be saved?! Jesus told them that with men, these things were impossible, but that with God, all things were possible. Yes, it is true that no man can save himself nor can any one man save another. Only God can save. Only He can show mercy unto salvation. There is no man worthy of the Kingdom of God. If he enters, and is permitted to remain, it is only because God has worked in him to give him a new heart befitting of His Kingdom.

What a wonderful lifting of the burden of having to be righteous, when we understand that only God can make us righteous! I now discuss a passage that declares, in all reasonable terms, the redemption of all men.

John 6:37-40 MKJV
(37)  All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will in no way cast out.
(38)  For I came down from Heaven, not to do My own will but the will of Him Who sent Me.
(39)  And this is the will of the Father Who sent Me, that of all which He has given Me I should lose nothing but should raise it up again at the last day.
(40)  And this is the will of Him Who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes on Him should have everlasting life. And I will raise him up at the last day.

Let us take this passage line by line:

(37) “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me…”:

We read in Holy Scripture the following words:

2 Peter 3:9
(9)  The Lord is not slow concerning His promise, as some count slowness, but is long-suffering toward us, not purposing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

My question is this: If the Father wills that all come to repentance, will He not then eventually give all to His Son? Is He not able to do so? It is written:

Isaiah 59:1
(1)  Behold, Jehovah’s hand is not shortened so that it cannot save, nor is His ear heavy so that it cannot hear.

(37,38) “…and the one who comes to Me I will in no way cast out. For I came down from Heaven, not to do My own will but the will of Him Who sent Me.” 

If He brings all, and none are rejected, and His will is to save all, then how can any possibly perish?

(39) “And this is the will of the Father Who sent Me, that of all which He has given Me I should lose nothing but should raise it up again at the last day.” 

It is argued that man has a free will, that he must choose to believe or not, to obey or not. But what does the Scripture say?

Jeremiah 10:23
(23)  O Jehovah, I know that the way of man does not belong to man; it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.  And:

Romans 3:10-12
(10)  as it is written: “There is none righteous, no not one;
(11)  there is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God.”
(12)  “They are all gone out of the way, they have together become unprofitable, there is none that does good, no, not one.”

How can any man come to God, believing, when God says that no man seeks after Him? The Bible clearly teaches that men are slaves to sin, but by the grace of God. If God does not deliver them, how can they choose on their own? What power does a slave have to redeem himself? You say, “He needs only to choose.” But the Scripture is clear that he will not choose, not at all. Therefore, unless he is given a new heart, he is surely lost. Not even a preacher of the Gospel can save anyone. So now we read:

Isaiah 59:16
(16)  And He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor. Therefore His own arm brought salvation to Him; and His righteousness sustained Him.

Philippians 2:13
(13)  For it is God who works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.

(40) “And this is the will of Him Who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes on Him should have everlasting life. And I will raise him up at the last day.”

Who can believe on Him if not given to believe? The Scripture is also clear on this matter:

Ephesians 2:8-10
(8)  For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God,
(9)  not of works, lest anyone should boast.
(10)  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.

David, a man after God’s heart, confessed that he was born in sin, shaped in iniquity, or lawlessness and rebellion (Psalm 51:5). Truly, rebellious and lawless people do not seek after good or right. We are not talking oxymorons here.

Saul of Tarsus led a severe persecution of the saints, seeking to destroy all those who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. Did he cry out to God to save him? Not at all! He was saved because God determined to do so. Now if God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance, then will He not intervene in every life even as He did in Saul’s? Of course! As it is written:

1 Corinthians 15:22-23
(22)  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all will be made alive.
(23)  But each in his own order: Christ the first-fruit, and afterward they who are Christ’s at His coming;

And of himself, Saul (Paul) wrote that he was put forth as a special example of this grace to come for every man:

1 Timothy 1:15-16
(15)  Faithful is the Word and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.
(16)  But for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering, as a pattern to those being about to believe on Him to life everlasting.

No doubt, not all men are Christ’s at all times. I was not Christ’s before I was redeemed. He came, I was there, and I was not His. Then He redeemed me. Now He comes, and I with Him, because I am His. This process will continue for every man, till all are made alive, as the Scripture declares in no uncertain terms.

In the meantime, those that are Christ’s preach the good news, warning all men to repent. At any one time, some have ears to hear and a heart to respond, by the grace of God, and most do not. In each age and world, it is the same. It will continue until God has reconciled every soul unto Himself. As it is written:

Colossians 1:20
(20)  And through Him having made peace through the blood of His cross, it pleased the Father to reconcile all things to Himself through Him, whether the things on earth or the things in Heaven.

While hope perishes for a time for each and all, there comes a time for every man when that hope is restored, never to be withdrawn again, be it in this life or in the world to come. Therefore, we can hope even when there is no hope, if we know that there will one day be a sure hope. Consider that in all men, there must be a kind of hope, or they would all despair, a hope that men often do not recognize themselves. That hope is there by virtue of their very, continuing existence. Is God unrighteous that He should allow men hope, by nature, without fulfillment? No. He has created man for Himself, and will complete His work to perfection. He does all things well.

Romans 8:20-21
(20)  For the creation was not willingly subjected to vanity, but because of Him who subjected it on hope
(21)  that the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

The Good News is that Christ died, and did not die in vain for any man, but died to accomplish the perfect will of the Father in Heaven, redeeming all mankind, created in His image. Can any of us be truly fulfilled and content if our wills are not completely satisfied? I don’t think so. Created in God’s image, I should think that the same applies to Him. Therefore, it is my conclusion, according to the testimony of the Scriptures, and according to sound reason, that God cannot be satisfied except His perfect will is accomplished. I do believe that the end of creation and perfection demands entire fulfillment. This we call Paradise. It is our destiny, even if it takes going through Hell to get there. Hell and Death, it is written, will be done away. If so, how can any man be held therein forever? Without Hell, we revive; without death, we live! We live because of the One Who gave His life for us, and Who IS our Life.

Victor Hafichuk

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