Browsing Category "Defending the Faith"
13 Jul
2013

Refuting Universal Salvation

the worldI’ve found that the verses the Universal Salvationists use to support their theory can be easily explained by considering the times of the apostles.  “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” 1 Cor 15:22.  When Paul says ‘all’, he is telling us that Jesus came for the salvation all people, as opposed to God’s plan being restricted to only the Jewish nation.  It was a really amazing concept back then, that God had it in His plans to spread His offer of salvation to the entire world, Gentiles too.

The book of Acts is all about how Jesus came for the entire world, not just the Jews.  Read about the vision of Peter in Acts chapter 10, and also read Acts, chapter 15, to see how this shook everyone as completely strange.  They didn’t know how to react to such an outpouring of love from the Father.

“For God so loved the world” doesn’t mean the entire world will be saved, but that God made His plan of salvation available to the entire world.  Acts 13:48 “And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.  And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region.”

Room for Speculation?

Maybe there is a bit of room to speculate, and only speculate, that perhaps all people will have equal opportunity to hear of God’s plan for salvation, and that perhaps that will be after the resurrection of the dead.  I am gathering this speculation from Acts 3:23, when Paul is speaking about the restitution of the world, he quotes Moses saying, “and it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people”.  It is somewhat understandable that one might speculate that perhaps every soul will have opportunity to either accept or reject the prophet.  However it is perhaps more probable that the verse simply means that every soul which did happen to have opportunity to hear the prophet, and then reject him, will be destroyed.

Also, looking at John 5:28, 29, we see that those who have done good here and now, go to eternal life at the resurrection of the dead, and those who have done evil here and now, are condemned at the resurrection.  “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”   This verse makes me strongly doubt the gospel will be preached after the resurrection of the dead.

And even if this speculation were correct, one would still need to account for Jesus declaring that the road to destruction is broad and many go in by it, Mat 7:13, and so very many other verses about the small number who are saved.  And for a direct answer from Christ concerning the question at hand, just see Luke 13:23 & 24.  After reading those verses we can be done with the entire discussion because Jesus doesn’t leave us with any mysteries.  “Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?” And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.”

I also argue that Scriptural language such as ‘everlasting destruction’, ‘utterly perish’, ‘eternal fire’, and ‘unquenchable fire’ certainly carry a sense of finality.  Some Universal Salvationists say hellfire will be used to refine the sinner.  This language of finality shows us the fire consumes utterly, which is not at all the type of fire that refines.  Scripture strongly and irrefutably declares that there are no other chances for the fire cannot be quenched.

Fair Verses Grace

‘But that’s not fair’, some cry out to God.  May I humbly submit to you that it is very fair that we who sin should, indeed, perish.  When we despise God by sinning, we do not deserve the life God has granted us.  As the Lord gives, it is His to also take away.  It would be fair if God would simply destroy us the instant we engaged in sin.  Wouldn’t the world be a far better place if God would just be fair to us?  No more war, no more adultery, no more child porn, no more hatred.  It’d be a perfect world if God were only fair.

How thankful we should be that God is not fair!  He graciously gives man time to repent; even the incredibly wicked man often has numerous days to turn to God.  Each sunrise is a testimony to the outpouring of mercy from the Lord upon both the just and the unjust.  And I am so thankful that God was not fair to His only begotten Son.  For He did not spare Him but, rather, “He made Him who knew no sin, to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him”  2 Cr 5:21.  The Savior of the world took the blame for our crimes.  That is not fair.

Coincidence: The Thief that Stole the Glory Due God

 On Wednesday, March 13th, I awoke with Hebrews 11:6 on my mind and my heart.   The quiet darkened bedroom a lovely sanctuary containing this unspoken verse, spoken only to my soul. 

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him; for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

And then in the moments that followed, still in the darkness of that quiet morning, the Lord began the conversation.  Though I had not read that verse recently, and though I rarely read Hebrews, and though by no means intended to, I opened my bible precisely to Hebrews 11 and the first thing I laid my eyes on, the very first thing I read, was Hebrews 11:6. 

A chill ran down my back as thanksgiving poured from my mouth because the blessing of His presence was so evident.

The next day, on March 14th, I spoke to an ‘atheist’, though I think she was probably more of an agnostic.  She told me that both of her parents were born-again believers.  Being a mother myself, my heart was heavy for these believers who were most likely heavily praying for their atheist daughter.  She told me that her parents became Christians on their honeymoon, by the same evangelist, on the same day, but at separate times during the day and without knowledge of the other one’s decision.  It was only later in the day that they realized they both had the same experience. 

After telling me that she said, “isn’t that cool?”  And of course, I agreed enthusiastically and proceeded to ask her how she perceives such evidence for God’s providence.  She shrugged her shoulders and quickly answered with one word, “coincidence”. 

What a thief this ‘coincidence’ word is to the glory due God’s name. 

God Provided the Donkey and Colt

I told her that it couldn’t possibly be coincidence.  The Lord then used my experience the morning before to explain to this young lady that not one sparrow falls to the ground without the Lord knowing about it, that it is all Providence, not coincidence.  I recounted heartily how God had spoken the morning before, how the verse was on my heart while I laid in my bed and then the Lord provided it exactly that morning during my devotions.  I described the chills that ran down my back, that I knew beyond any doubt that it was God, not coincidence that gave me that verse in the quiet and then in the written word. 

And she said, “but that has never happened to me personally”. 

I told her just because she hasn’t personally experienced God, that others haven’t had personal experiences.  I told her she has never truly sought the Lord for herself, but has depended upon her parent’s faith, and so now she has concluded something that isn’t so.  

She was, in fact, experiencing God at that very moment, if she’d just have the faith to see it.  The Lord used the very verse He provided the morning before, that “He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”  That verse was actually intended for her, it was not only mine!  She had not personally experienced God because she has never diligently sought Him for herself. 

She agreed with me that it was true she had never diligently sought God for herself.  I left her with a hug and a 15 page packet about the scientific evidence that God exists. 

I have no doubt that all this occurred because God truly does reward those who diligently seek Him.  I am sure this young woman’s parents have been praying for their daughter, that she would come to a personal faith in Christ.  I believe that was why I woke with the verse on my heart on March 13th, and then I immediately opened to the verse for my devotions, and then the next day was given opportunity to use the experience for the glory of the Lord in the life of another.  The Lord works in mysterious ways, and He most surely does reward those who diligently seek Him.  Please pray that this young woman would come to faith because the Lord’s hand is upon her already.

What Does the Bible Say About Why We Exist?

God so Loved the WorldWhy do we exist?  Because of three little words.  We exist because “God is love” 1 John 4:8b.  Love is a complex concept but I will discuss two attributes of love that greatly pertain to our creation.

One attribute of love is that it must have exchange; love involves more than one party; it involves both a giver and a receiver. God created us because He is who He is.  He is love, and we are an outpouring of Him, created in His image; He is the giver and we are the receivers. 

1 John 4:8b, “God is love” also answers why we were created in His image, yet immeasurably inferior to Hiim, “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you visit him?” Psalm 147:4.  He is great and we are not, yet because He is so rich in love He is still mindful of us.  God Almighty created us because it glorified Him to do so; our creation, and our humble frame, fits ideally within His attributes.  He is love and we are an expression of His love. “For I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yes, I have made him” Isaiah 43:7.

Another important element of love is that it involves choice, without choice it is simply not love but a series of robotic mechanics.  If God made man to automatically love God, the world would be peaches and cream but love would not exist.  And this is an impossibility since the Reality is that ‘God is love’, and praise Him for it, since perfect love is far greater in glory than a loveless utopia.  And so, 1 John 4:8b can also explain why evil exists.  God is perfect and love is perfect, therefore love exists.  Love must have exchange and choice; man did not return God’s love, but instead chose hatred toward God, therefore evil exists.

So what is an appropriate response to all this love from the Creator?  Love and worship.  The bible says we exist to glorify God and to love Him forever. “…for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” Revelations 4:11. ”Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the first and great commandment’” Matthew 22:37,38.

If this seems unbelievable or unattractive, perhaps you haven’t personally experienced God’s love.  Man chose emnity toward God from the very beginning, and so there is great suffering and corruption today “by man came death” 1 Corin 15:21, so much so that many look around at all the destruction and blame God, doubting the goodness and love of the Almighty.  But where man (the receiver) failed to return His love, God (the Giver) found a way to love greater still, to give even more.  Find out how to personally experience God’s love by continuing this article here.

Is God Selfish? An Atheist Knows Not What He Says

I watched a street preacher speak to a crowd with an atheist ready to pounce.  He wanted to know why ‘good’ people don’t go to heaven, feeling hell was unjust, and he called God selfish, and he called God a curse word.  I was impressed with the preacher’s calm demeanor and his loving persistence with the man, and the crowd, which was clearly antagonistic.  

“The Heavens Are Not Pure in His Sight”

The man in the video, full of sin like every man, boasts about his own goodness (after all, he did go to Ethiopia to help humanity).  He wants God to judge him based on his own goodness.  And God will judge him based on his own goodness just as he desires, but what a foolish desire for “God puts no trust in His holy ones, and the heavens are not pure in His sight” Job 15:15.   Jesus, who was sinless, gave all for humanity, and graciously offers a way for God to judge us by His own righteousness.  We are welcome to trust in our own goodness, as that man desires, but we are also welcome to trust in His goodness.  

This is a gift freely offered, but instead of an appropriately thankful response, Jesus continues to get sneers and condemnation from mankind.  The man’s accusation is rooted in ignorance of who God is, who we are, and how horrific sin is.   Sin is costly.  That man offers no answer to the severity and magnitude of the rampant injustice on earth.  God does.  

God is Just: Do Not Hope He Will Sweep Your Sin Under the Rug

How does it feel to be wronged by someone else?  Does it hurt, does it hurt a great deal?  What if God were to just brush it aside like that man wants Him to, is that just, is it good and unselfish?  As the victim of someone else’s sin, you need objective  justice, not a perpetrator telling you it was good for them and besides, it’s minor and relative anyway so it’s okay, no biggie.  Who’s to say it’s minor?  The perpetrator of course, but not objective truth, not goodness, not God.  It is right that your pain is not swept under the rug, but expressed in a just way.  Punishment is necessary, this is basic justice and it is good and right; “without the shedding of blood there can be no remission of sin”  Heb 9:22.  Blood was shed, justice was paid in full, at the cross, unless we chose to stay under God’s just wrath.  Even if the perpetrater, and all the world, brushes aside your pain as relative, Christ does not, He knows better than anyone the painful terror of that sin.   

Is Sacrifice Selfish?

What do you call a man who take a bullet for you?  Do you call that selfish?  Would this man say these things if he were on the hill that dark night at Calvary when the moon turned red?  Would he be yelling at Christ telling Him that He was so #%@! selfish?  Would he say that to the bloody Christ, the one man in all of history who was truly good and innocent?  Sin is costly!  If God is good, then every lie I told, every wrong thought, every wrong deed is costly; and the payment is hell.  But praise God, the good news is that I don’t have to pay it because Christ already did.  May God have mercy on this man’s soul, may he someday hear what is was that Christ said over and over again while paying for our sin on the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”.

Is this our idea of selfish?  Would that man yell those things if he were standing in the crowd witnessing this?…