Greetings in the Lord Jesus Christ to all.
Michael, thanks for writing, and permit me to introduce you and the circumstances involved here to our readers:
We met a fellow about a year ago, with whom we shared the great and true Gospel, or “Good News” that one day, ALL men would come to a saving faith in, and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then, in sending Part One of Time For God, there were apparently Scriptures quoted, and statements I made to cause him to think that perhaps I had changed my mind.
Michael’s letter is as follows:
Have you changed or did I hear you wrong in Calgary?
“…depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.”
You said no one was lost?!
I write this response to clarify:
Thank you for writing and asking for clarification. No, I did not say, “no one was lost.” What I did say was that “when all is said and done, no one would be lost.” As it is written:
“That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him…” (Ephesians 1:10).
I know you won’t mind my sharing this letter with everyone. Truth serves in goodness to all who will receive, though it is often not palatable when first heard. The reason truth is not initially received by man is because he is flesh, and the Bible teaches that flesh cannot receive the things of the Spirit, and even abhors the truth. But eventually, when truth has its way, it will be received, one way or another, sooner or later. As it is written:
“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and returns not there, but waters the earth, and makes it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: so shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Isaiah 55:10-11).
Now, the Bible teaches that Jesus Christ is the Word:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God” (John 1:1-2).
The Bible teaches that God sent His Son (The Word) into the world, not to condemn it, but to save it. As it is written:
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16-17).
It also says that God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should be saved. Peter wrote these words, inspired by the Spirit of God:
“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
Put those words of John together with those of Isaiah, together with those of Peter, making three witnesses to establish the truth, and one will, in honesty, be forced to conclude that all men will be saved.
If Jesus Christ is the Word, and God sent forth His Word, and His Word will accomplish all that He sent it to do, that which He pleases, and His will is that none should perish, but that all should come to repentance, then all will be saved.
Let us add a fourth witness to testify to the eventual and sure salvation of all men. The apostle Paul, by the Holy Spirit, wrote these words:
“For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:21-22).
Did all men die with Adam? Was any man spared? The Bible is quite clear on that point:
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that does good, no, not one” (Romans 3:10-12).
What then is God’s approach to this situation?
“For God has concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all” (Romans 11:32).
“But the Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe” (Galatians 3:22).
There are many Scriptures that would seem to contradict what is said here. Take, for example, the last four words of the last quoted verse, “to them that believe.” Some would say, “There it is right there! Salvation is only for those who believe!” What the Scripture is pointing out is that salvation will come only through faith, and not by works, or by any virtue on our part. Yes, salvation is ONLY for those that believe, but it does not say that some will NEVER believe.
What about the words you quote from Scripture, when the Lord says, “…depart from Me, ye that work iniquity?”
Clearly, there is a time of damnation and rejection for many. What the Scripture does NOT declare, but which men read into it, is that it is forever. While I said, “All will be saved,” which is what the Lord teaches by the Scriptures, I did not say, “None will perish even for a time.” It is obvious that many have perished, and do perish, but Jesus Christ is not only the Life, but also Life from the dead, the Resurrection. How can there be a resurrection, unless there is first a death? When all seems assuredly lost, that is where the glory of God begins to shine into a world without hope.
One of the assumptions people make is that if salvation does not come to a man in this life, that person is lost for all eternity. This assumption comes from criminal false teaching, in which the character, reputation and will of God are maligned. Men teach this doctrine, not because it is Biblical, though they claim it is, but to inflict fear, and to gain power over others. It also comes from our being subject to vanity, subject to this world, in which, for the most part, the past and future are locked out. We assume this life is where everything is determined and finalized for all time. Such an assumption is erroneous, and consequently, quite unscriptural.
No, Michael, I haven’t changed my mind at all, about salvation for all. Yes, men must repent and believe to be saved. There will be no escape from the consequence of sin. There is no encouragement here to sin. But there is hope that what God purposed, He will accomplish perfectly. Let those who tempt Him pay the price, and pay it they will. Even so, they will learn, know, and rejoice in the end. Think of it, Michael. How wonderful it is to know that our salvation does not rest in our own feeble hands! What a glorious hope we have, that Jesus Christ has risen from the dead, is Almighty God, Lord of lords, King of kings, and that He has gotten the victory for us, over sin, over death, over the flesh and the devil!
If anyone has any more questions or comments, do write, and Lord willing, I will get back to you.
In His service,