Gospel, Salvation, and Other Religions - Lesson 7


This lesson examines the concept of universalism, which is the belief that all people will ultimately be saved by God. It explores the historical and theological context of universalism, as well as its implications for the Bible and theology. The lesson begins with an introduction to the definition of universalism, the historical context of universalism, and the different types of universalism. It then examines the biblical passages related to universalism, including those from the Old and New Testament. Finally, the lesson looks at the theological perspectives on universalism, including biblical universalism, process universalism, and inclusivist universalism.

Todd Miles
Gospel, Salvation, and Other Religions
Lesson 7
Watching Now

I. Introduction

A. Definition of Universalism

B. Historical Context of Universalism

C. Types of Universalism

II. Universalism in Relation to the Bible

A. Overview of Biblical Passages on Universalism

B. Universalism in the Old Testament

C. Universalism in the New Testament

III. Universalism in Relation to Theology

A. Overview of Theological Perspectives on Universalism

B. Biblical Universalism

C. Process Universalism

D. Inclusivist Universalism

IV. Summary and Conclusion

  • This lesson provides an overview of the various aspects of Theology of Religion, and explores the complexities of engaging in dialogue with other religions.
  • You will gain an understanding of the exclusivity of Christ and its implications for other religions, as well as the challenges to exclusivity presented by atheism, theological pluralism, and other religions. You'll also learn how to engage other religions and live out Christian witness in a pluralistic world.
  • This lesson will provide you a deeper understanding of how Jesus is the central figure of Scripture, and how Old Testament prophecies are fulfilled in the New Testament.
  • You will gain insight into the similarities and differences between the religions of the Ancient Near East and the religions of the Bible, looking at concepts such as Hebrew monotheism, the theology of salvation, and the theology of creation. You'll also explore how mythology and evil are portrayed in both the Ancient Near East religions and the Bible, as well as how the Bible incorporates cultural elements from the Ancient Near East religions.
  • You will gain insight into the implications of polytheism from a biblical perspective and understand the nature of God and the roles of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
  • In this lesson, you will gain a better understanding of the New Testament and its relationship to other religions. You will gain insight into the theological messages found in the various books of the New Testament, and learn how the New Testament relates to other religions in terms of Jesus, salvation, evangelism, and relationships.
  • This lesson you will receive an overview of universalism, its historical context, and its implications for the Bible and theology. You will learn the different types of universalism and examine the biblical passages related to universalism, as well as the theological perspectives on universalism.
  • You will gain an understanding of what pluralism is and how it has evolved over time. You will also explore the challenges to pluralism and the implications it has for religious dialogue and multiculturalism.
  • In this lesson, you will gain an understanding of inclusivism, its history and theology, as well as its application in missions. You will learn that inclusivism is an approach to theology that respects and works with different religious paths, and offers a robust theology of salvation that is both inclusive and faithful to the biblical message
  • This lesson will teach you about the presence and role of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament, including Ancient Near Eastern Religion, the Old Testament, the Pentateuch, Wisdom Literature, and Prophets.
  • You will gain a comprehensive understanding of the person and nature of the Holy Spirit, the role and ministry of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament, the process of receiving the Holy Spirit, and the gifts and fruit of the Spirit.
  • This lesson provides an overview of the critical questions related to the gospel, salvation and other religions, and the importance of asking them. It explores questions of homogeneity, essentialism and pluralism with definitions and examples.

With Todd Miles, Ph.D. Western Christianity’s interaction with world religions used to be, for the most part, overseas. Today, “religious others” often live next door. At a changing time when one public prayer spoken during the 2009 U.S. presidential inauguration festivities was addressed to “O god of our many understandings,” the evangelical Christian church should do more than simply dismiss non-Christian religions as pagan without argument or comment. The Church needs a theology of religions that is Christ-honoring, biblically faithful, intellectually satisfying, compassionate, and that will encourage Spirit-powered mission.



Dr. Todd Miles
Gospel, Salvation, and Other Religions
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:10] The doctrine of hell is not a popular doctrine today. Of course, in one sense it ought not to be as. As born again believers in Jesus Christ. We should find the idea that that some could be condemned to hell. Image bearers of God could be condemned to hell for all of eternity. To be a horrific thought, which is what compels us to preach the gospel. But I say the doctrine of hell is not a popular doctrine today. I mean it in a different way. I mean it that there are many, including Christians, who find the doctrine to be so loathsome that they think that it could not possibly be true. That is that it that it impugns the character of God. And those passages in the Bible that speak of the doctrine of hell. Well, they must mean something other than what they appear on the surface to mean. Now, this this hesitancy towards the doctrine of hell is being reflected just in the population at large. In a Pew Research Data poll that was released in 2008, 59% of Americans surveyed believe that hell awaits the evil person. So on the street, still, a majority of people believe that there will be some sort of final judgment where the evil will be punished forever. But this 2008 poll reflects a downward trend in commitment to the idea that the hell exists in 2000. In a 2001 survey, 71% of Americans surveyed believe that it believed in the existence of hell or a future judgment. But even even so, we still have a majority of people out there who recognize that there's going to be some sort of balancing of accounts. See, the reason is not that the heaven and hell are cultural or religious constructs, but I think it's intuitive.

[00:02:13] I think as image bearers, we have this idea that there has to be final judgment. The concept of of recompense for righteous deeds, for unrighteous deeds as it's written on the human conscience. It's consistent with the way that the world works and the way that we feel the world ought to work. People expect that there will be punishment and reward in the afterlife to balance the scales of of right and wrong during this lifetime. It's interesting. Although majority of people still believe in hell. Hardly anyone actually believes that they're going there. So whatever the standard is that allows you to escape, hell, it's somewhere below what everybody's behavior is. I mean, after all, you might not be as righteous as someone like Mother Teresa, but most people can't fathom sharing the eternal destiny of someone like an Adolf Hitler or whoever the villain of the day happens to be. But there is a growing concern that such a thing is is not the case, that hell, it cannot possibly be. We see that reflected in the sermons that are preached in our churches. How often do we hear a sermon? Much like what Jonathan Edwards preached sinners in the hands of an angry God with a doctrine of hell, as is is proclaimed at His expositor from the Word of God. Here's a few examples of people who are hesitant toward this Charles death that he questions. Which of us finds it possible to be at ease with the God who creates human beings in such a manner that the abuse of their freedom, however terrible, is visited with unending penalty? Emerging church visionary Brian McClary Brian McLaren I'm sorry, believes that the conventional doctrine of how has too often engendered a view of a deity who suffers from borderline personality disorder or some worse sociopathic diagnosis.

[00:04:02] And Clark Pinnick goes as far as to characterize any God who would condemn individuals to an eternity in hellfire as being on a lower moral plane than Adolf Hitler. So what do people do with this doctrine of hell as we consider how we are supposed to comport ourselves around religious others, for those who just refuse to to to believe that the Bible could teach something, that God could actually condemn someone to hell for all of eternity, There are two. Proposals that are growing in popularity. One is the idea of conditional immortality. That is, that that you go to hell for a while and then you are annihilated. Some people call that annihilation ism. It's called conditional immortality because your immortal status is conditioned upon your faith response to Jesus. And so there's hell for a short period. Then you're annihilated. Or when you die, you're annihilated. At that point, your judgment is eternal in that sense. I'm not going to go into detail on that topic, but but in my book and God of many understandings, I have an extended examination of this idea of conditional immortality. Now, today, as we begin to transition from what the Bible has to say about religious others to the current proposals that are out there in the church, we're going to look at the idea of universalism. Universalism and this. It's born out of this impulse that the idea of of hell is is loathsome. There's a discomfort with it. And so as people read scripture, they see certain passages that lead them to believe that the work of Christ on the cross is sufficient for all. As they look at the attributes of God that they they consider and then believe that that that God would surely not condemn an individual to hell for all of eternal, all of eternity.

[00:06:03] That is, in the end, all will be saved, universal salvation or universal reconciliation. Now, universalism, though, is not a current phenomenon. It's not something that's just popped up in the last 20 years. It's it's almost as old as the as the Christian church itself. The idea was first put forward by by origin during the third century, where he believed that all will eventually be saved, even Satan. It's it's it's questionable whether he actually believed that or was just floating it out there as a proposal. But but as the church examined the writings of origin on this, it decided that they were heretical, that the Scripture does teach that there is a doctrine of our universalist movement that we didn't die with with origin or his post mortem condemnation as a heretic. No, the universalist movement enjoyed perhaps its most widespread dominance during the 19th century and eventually gave birth to a denomination that bore the name Universalist Universalist During this time that they rested their doctrine on the following five central tenets that I have for you in the handout the universal Fatherhood of God, the spiritual authority and leadership of His Son, Jesus Christ, the trustworthiness of the Bible as containing revelation from God, the certainty of just retribution for sin. And finally, the final harmony of all souls with God. Common conviction here was that of universalism is the death is not the final determiner. After death, there will still be opportunity for moral progress and even repentance and acceptance of the gospel. Some people now call that postmortem evangelism. That is, after you die, you have a chance to respond to the gospel. Some popular promoters of universalism during the 19th century, John or and even up into this period, John Roberts and Bishop of the Church of England.

[00:08:04] That might be a name that some of you are familiar with. Many of you would be familiar with the Scottish pastor, novelist George MacDonald. And and then Madeleine L'Engle, the author of A Wrinkle in Time, The Christian Novelist. Let me summarize for you the arguments that are typically employed by Christian Universalists. And I'm going to begin with the theological arguments, these weighty theological arguments, and I'm going to do those first. I'm going to walk through those first, because I think that that's really what drives the bus for universalist thinking. Then after that, we'll look at the biblical text that they turn to to support their convictions. At that point, I'm going to begin to offer responses. I'm going to look at the Bible verses first. I'm going to I'm going to explain what they actually mean as opposed to what the Universalists say they mean. And then I'm going to look at those at those theological arguments. And what I think we'll find is that scripture is very clear. God in all of his Holy Majesty, is the kind of God who will most certainly condemn people to hell, who have who have rebelled against him and have not accepted the gracious gift of life in his son, Jesus Christ. It's completely consistent with his character, and it echoes from the pages of Scripture common theological arguments for universal reconciliation or universal restoration. The first theological argument the sovereign love of God. Most, most Universalists believe that that a commitment to. Universal salvation will do justice to the love of God in only universal salvation will do justice to the love of God. The read their Bible say See first John four eight. God is love. And they consider that if any, would persist eternally in rebellion or under punishment, then God could be judged as being less than loving.

[00:09:57] They also know that God is sovereign. So when you combine the sovereignty of God, His control of human affairs in history with the love of God, then the thought that some would be condemned to hell for eternity, some who would have been and who would never repent, that is unthinkable. If all are not saved, then that necessarily means that God is either not loving. That is, He created a universe where he desires the eternal damnation of some or that God is not sovereign. That is, He's not able to carry out his universal Salvific will. But God is both loving and sovereign and therefore all have to be saved. The second argument more attributes of God, the omnipotence, the patience, and the eternal city of God. Because God is eternal, He is not limited by time. If the destinies of people are fixed at their death, then the capacity of God to work out His desires. They would be limited by time. But God is not limited by time. Also, He is infinitely patient. He is eternal and he is infinitely patient. So he has a lot of time. He can outlast anybody. He can woo and woo and woo the sinner to repentance. And they may persist in rebellion under punishment for a long time, but eventually hell will be emptied out. And this sovereign God is omnipotent. He has all the resources necessary to accomplish His will at his disposal. The third major argument the nature and experience of heaven and hell. Its unthinkable. The horror of hell that God would punish someone for eternal for eternity. Therefore, most universalist suggest that if if hell exists, if it actually does exist, it has to be remedial or purifying, not punitive. It's more like purgatory then it would be like in like modern conceptions of hell or historic conceptions of hell.

[00:12:05] After all, if hell, if a hell of punishing fire were eternal. Then there would exist this inconsistent dualism for all of eternity. A loving God and unconquered evil in hell. Okay, what are some biblical texts that that Universalists point to? I did the theological arguments first because I think those drive the interpretation of these very biblical text. I have them grouped in in a number of categories here. The first one is cosmic restoration text. These are the most important set of biblical text, and they focus on on the eschatological promises of cosmic restoration. And by eschatological I mean those things related to eschatology in times at that time, when God consummated the new heavens, the new Earth, all things will be restored, all people will be reconciled to God. And so they read Colossians chapter one versus 19 and 20, for example. It speaks of the universal implications of the atonement. God has reconciled everything to himself by making peace through the blood of his cross, whether things on earth or things in heaven, this peace that is accomplished through the blood of his cry of Christ, cross that that is in in heaven and on Earth, all things in cosmic in scope, that cosmic peace has to imply the salvation of all. There are some universal salvific desire texts that universalist point to Romans Chapter 11, verse 32, for example, states that God's desire is to have mercy on all. First Timothy, Chapter two, Verse four teaches that God wants everyone to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. Everyone must mean everyone, and if God desires it, surely with all the resources, all of His attributes, He has to be able to accomplish and see the fulfillment of his desires.

[00:14:10] The third category of biblical texts that are cited, They speak to the extent of the atoning work of Jesus on the cross and to the universalist, when the desire that everyone be saved is coupled with these statements from the Bible that the work of the of Christ on the cross extends across the cosmos to all people. The result has to be that. All will be reconciled at the end. And so, for example, in John chapter 12, verse 32, Jesus said that when he's lifted up, which is a clear reference to his crucifixion, I will draw all people to myself, he said. Hebrews chapter two verse night instructs that Christ tasted death for everyone. And then first John two two is another is another passage you could turn to to that the speaks of this that the work of Christ and the Christ extends to all people everywhere. And then finally, the final group of texts that are are cited. They discuss the result of the atoning work of Christ, the results of a universalist find here evidence that that is universal desire that all be saved coupled with an atonement is directed toward the sins of all people actually results in the actual salvation of all people. The most significant of these taxes in Romans Chapter five, verses 12 through 21 and and here in this passage and I'm not going to read all of it for you, but I'll summarize it. Paul contrasts the first Adam with the second Adam, Jesus Christ. And and according to Universalist, as you read through the passage, just as Adam sin resulted in death for all people, universal in scope, in the same way Christ's obedience on the cross, it it ushers in salvation for the exact same scope of people.

[00:15:49] That would be all people. And so through Christ's sacrifice, as verse 18 of Romans five says, There is life giving justification for everyone. Some other texts here. Second Corinthians Chapter five, verse 19 The teaches that God reconciled the world to himself. Okay, what do we do with these texts? This I hope that this does not sound so arrogant, but. But the reason that Universalism is is still a relative minority position within the thinking of the Christian church is that people read their Bibles, Christians read their Bibles, and and the evidence against universalism is so compelling and it just leaps off the page at you that Jesus is teaching on. The doctrine of hell is so convincing and so persuasive. The scatological passages in the Bible that speak of a final judgment are so convincing that most people just can't reconcile this proposal of of universal restoration and reconciliation universalism, where all are saved with the clear teaching of Scripture. So what do we say to these biblical text that are cited by Universalists? Well, turn to Colossians chapter one verses 1920. This is the one of the universal restoration texts Paul speaks in Colossians, one of the working of Christ at the Cross in versus 1920, where whereby God reconciles everything to himself. And I think that is absolutely true that at the cross, Jesus Christ accomplished everything for the ultimate reconciliation of all things. The scope of that reconciliation is clear from the text, whether things on earth or things in heaven. I think this is a prism from A to Z. It hearkens back to Genesis chapter one, verse one speaks of all things in the created order, the nature of the reconciliation that's at work here. It's demonstrated by the phrase making peace through the blood of his cross.

[00:17:55] The problem, though, is that universalist gloss reconcile everything to himself with bringing salvation to every human. That is, they just replace it. They read, reconcile everything to himself with that has to mean bring salvation to every human. But I don't think that follows and I don't think it follows because I can just keep reading. In Colossians, I read the passage in context. It has to be understood in light of, say, Colossus chapter two, verse 15, where Paul explains that Christ, quote, disarmed the rulers and authorities and disgraced them publicly. He triumphed over them. In him, the peace of Christ can be either freely accepted, it seems, or coercively imposed, and I think the latter is clearly in view. Here in Colossians two, these rulers and authorities are not joyfully submitting to the person of Christ, but have been subjugated by a dominant power that is God, the Father, the Son, the spirit. These these rulers and authorities have been pacified. They are unable to rise up in rebellion. They cannot mount any sort of threat against God they have been done away with in this passage. They haven't been annihilated. I think it seems from the context that their ongoing subjugated existence is an occasion for the accrual of greater glory to Christ. And I would point you to Revelation chapter 19 versus one through three for further evidence of this idea that that the ongoing punishment of the foes of God is an occasion for praising God. There's no reason for. In this passage to understand the reconciliation of all things as a universal salvation for all humans. Context of Colossians points an entirely different direction. Think of it like reconciling your checkbook. You have your credits and you have your debits. It doesn't mean that suddenly everything turns into a credit.

[00:19:52] It's all things are accounted for. And then this universal reconciliation that takes place, it's reconciled in this way. SANDERS Who have repented, they turned to God and reconciled to God, his friends, sinners who do not turn to Christ and do not believe the gospel. They are punished. There is no more rebellion. All things are accounted for. There is peace in the universe because the rebellion is over. What about these days? Divine desire for universal salvation. Text. First Timothy, Chapter two, Verse four states that God desires all people to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth. Well, Universal suggests that the divine desires of an omnipotent God, they can't be thwarted. Eventually, all have to be saved. But. But I would suggest that a desire that all be saved doesn't entail that all will, in fact be saved, even when that desire comes from the sovereign lord of human history. Consider in the same passage First, Timothy two. Paul's statement comes in the context of a call for all Christians to pray for kings and all those who are in authority to the end, that Christians might lead a quiet, tranquil life in all godliness and dignity. That's chapter two verse To God's desire. The Christians pray for leaders, though, does not entail that God will respond in anticipated ways by causing the leaders to govern in such a way that makes it possible for Christians to actually lead these tranquil and quiet lives. After all, the Roman emperor at the time of Paul's writing was the notorious persecutor of the church, Nero. Now no one would question that God desires such prayers to be made. No one would question He is capable of moving the heart of even the most hardened tyrant to care for his loved ones.

[00:21:47] It must be possible, therefore, that God, in the complexities of his mind and in the complexities of his sovereign governance, that he can genuinely value, genuinely desire many states of affairs that are not compatible with his particular plan for each individual or for the cosmos in general. You keep reading. And first, Timothy. After all, he warns that there will be some who depart from the faith into gross sin and misconduct. That's in chapter one versus six through 11. Some will listen to deceitful spirits in the teachings of demons through the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared. First, Timothy four went through to the result of this. The result of these sins was hidden sins and apparent judgment. First Timothy, Chapter five Ruin and Destruction Many Pains. First Timothy Chapter six. In the larger context of First, Timothy teaches an impending and devastating judgment that is incompatible with universalism or about the universal atonement texts. These texts, like John 1232, Hebrews two, first, John two What do we do with us? Well, again, I would urge us to keep reading, read them in context. The John 12 passage, for example, just prior to the Last Supper in the upper room discourse, Jesus stated, If I am lifted up from the Earth, I will draw all people to myself. His announcement came on the heels of some Gentiles requesting to see him while in Jerusalem during the feast of Passover. Jesus knew that this event signaled the moment of his glorification. That is, his crucifixion, which would atone for the sins of the world, was at hand. In the Prolog to John's gospel. John explained that Jesus came to his own, but his own did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, he gave them the right to be children of God to those who believe in His name.

[00:23:45] I think it's apparent from the overall context that only those who believe in his name are saved and this criterion is repeated throughout the Gospel of John. John. Chapter three 416 John 524 John 824 John 1025 and 26 John 1126 John 2031 is just a few passages to speak of the necessity of believing in Jesus to be saved. And so to believe that John, all of a sudden in his gospel writing, puts the words of universalism on Jesus's lips based in chapter 12, verse 32. It's to ignore the rest of his gospel that requires faith for salvation. Besides, Jesus had already told his disciples in chapter five, verse 29 that if the sound of his voice, those who have done wicked things. We'll come out to the resurrection of judgment. So I think the best way to understand 1232 is that the coming of the Gentiles indicates that the moment of Jesus's cross work is at hand. His own the Jewish people had rejected him, though not all of them, and the way of salvation was now open for all who would believe both Jews and Gentiles, all without distinction, who have faith in Jesus, will be saved. No one, without exception, who refuses God's plan of salvation in Jesus will be saved. The last group of biblical texts, Universal results of the Atonement. Let's look at Romans 518 again. I think, again, we need to read this this passage in context. Romans 518 It affirms that the through the Righteous act of Jesus in redemption, there is life giving justification for everyone. Now, remember Universal. They want to affirm that the scope of those who will be justified is the same as those who have been condemned in Adam. That is everyone. But Paul describes the scope of those who will be justified in the prior verse.

[00:25:44] Verse 17. And it's narrower than those who are in Adam since by one man's trespass death reign through that one man. How much more will those who receive the overflow of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man? Jesus Christ? There's all those who are in Adam. And then there are those who receive. Only those who receive the overflow of grace will be justified. The immediate context doesn't allow for a universalist reading of Romans Chapter five versus 12 through 21, nor does the larger context. All of these passages, I would just encourage you read through them in context on the passages that I cited earlier that I haven't walked through here that discuss I'm sorry that the flow out of one of Paul's letters or one of Peter's letters, read the entire letter and see if there's not also words, warnings of eternal judgment in them. How much time do I have? Where am I in your head? 2649. Oh, I get this. Okay. I'm gonna get a drink here. All right. We've looked at the the biblical texts that are cited. Now, let's go to those theological statements, those theological affirmations. The first one we looked at, the sovereign love of God. You know, that God is love is absolutely undeniable, that God is simultaneously sovereign and all powerful is also indisputable from Scripture. God, God cannot be thwarted. He's able to accomplish all that he desires. But my concern here is that Universalists are guilty of reducing the love of God into a one size fits all sort of affair. It doesn't account for the complexity of God's love, the complexity that's represented in the biblical narrative. Instead, Universalists believe that God loves everybody and everything the same.

[00:28:02] What you find in the streets of time is that God loves everything the rocks, the trees, the birds, the animals, as much as He loves his his human beings. So, of course, God loves all humans exactly the same. And if that's the case, then he will do whatever is necessary to bring about the same end. For all of those, the love of God in the biblical text is flattened. It's read as though it's uniform toward all people in all things. Doesn't allow for any variation or particularity. Now, as a human, we don't love all things the same. I have a love for my wife that is different than my love for my daughter. And I have a love for my daughter that's different than the kind of love that I have for my sons. It's different for the kind of love that I have from my mother that's different than the kind of love that I have for my aunts and uncles and cousins and nephews and nieces. Very different than the love that I have for for my close friends, more than the love I have for my acquaintances, more than the love I have for just Christians everywhere and indeed for all people that are in the world. I mean, as Christians, we're compelled to be loving. I mean, we're expected to love everybody exactly the same. If I love someone in my church in a different way, perhaps even less than I love my wife, would you think that there's a flaw in my love? I hope not. I think you would think there was a flaw in my love. If I. If I told you that I love the people who sit in the pews the same way that I love my wife.

[00:29:26] It's clearly not the case. So. So logically, wouldn't it be possible for God to also love things differently? I think logically, it's possible. And then when we look at the biblical text, that's what we find. Carson has written a book called The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God. I highly recommend it. He finds five distinct ways that the love of God is taught in Scripture, and they're not all equal. They're different. First, the Bible speaks of a unique intra Trinitarian love of the Father for the son and the son for the Father. Second God, God is the providential lover of all of His creation. He loves the birds. He loves the trees. He truly does. But it's different than third, the kind of love that he has toward the fallen world that John 316 love that that salvific stance. God does love every person. But there is a particular effective selecting love towards his elect. People read the book of Deuteronomy, for example. Moses reminds the people that God loves them. Why does he love them? Because he chose them. He loves them in a different way more than he loves. Say them. Turn to the Book of Malachi for evidence of that. And then fifth, there's a kind of love of God. Christians often no speak of this. That is conditional. It's provisional. It's. It's conditioned on the obedience of his chosen people. Now. Now. God loves me as a son always. But his disposition towards me changes from from from happiness and delight to disappointment in my actions. And so we're told through Scripture at times, to keep yourself in the love of God. How do you do that? Through through obedience. That's not to deny the unconditional love that God has for for people.

[00:31:12] It's just to to make sense of the text. We speak of God's and God being disappointed in our actions. So clearly, is it legitimate to to to say God loves all people the same. Therefore, he has to save all? Well, it's a harsh reality, but the Bible teaches that God doesn't love all people the same. God doesn't love all things the same. And then I'm also concerned Universalists want one privilege, one attribute of God over another. They take the love of God and it trumps all of His other attributes as though he were only holy insofar as it fits in his capacity to love. He's only just insofar as it fits in his capacity to love, which dominates all of his other attributes. But we recall when when Moses wanted to see the glory of God in Exodus 34, how God responded. X is 34, verses six and seven. God passes before Moses. He proclaims the Lord the Lord, a God, merciful and gracious. Slow to anger, abounding and steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who are by no means clear the guilty. He visits the iniquity of the fathers on the children, the children's children of the third and fourth generation. Most just want to see the glory of God. And so God proclaims His love and mercy and His justice and His commitment to punish those who rebelled against him. There is no privileging of love over those things. God is fully loving, but he is also holy. However, the love of God is to be understood. His Holiness and commitment to punish the guilty must be taken into consideration. To focus on one attribute of God to the exclusion of others. Not only distorts the character of God, but ironically, it doesn't even allow us to bring that one attribute that we want to focus on into proper focus.

[00:33:07] Here's what's ironic Universals who elevate the love of God and then redefine the holiness and justice as an aspect of his love. They not only distort the character of God regarding His Holiness and justice. They don't even get the love of God right. They water it down into a one size fits all sort of affair. What about the omnipotence, the patience, the eternal ity of God? Well, if God is omnipotent and sovereign, that surely entails that all be saved. A truly omnipotent sovereign God would not allow any to escape his saving designs, especially if he desires all to be saved, as first Timothy two teaches. They reason that the only conclusion possible from the idea that God is omnipotent and He has a desire that all be saved is that all will ultimately be saved. But that's not a valid conclusion because Scripture is clear that God desires all to be saved. I don't want to negate that at all. That is true. He does desire that he doesn't take pleasure in the destruction of the wicked. And I do believe that he is a sovereign God who is fully able to do all that he desires. We ought not to deny those affirmations of who God is or what He has said. They speak to the loving and compassionate, unchanging character and ability of God. But again, isn't it possible for God to genuinely desire many possible states of affairs? But He has a glorious plan that may not be compatible with all those desires coming into fruition. That is God's mysterious plan. It might be that many will be justly judged without denying the the validity of that affirmation that he does not delight in some sense in the punishment of the wicked.

[00:34:50] And this can be so without contradiction. Some Universalists suggested that the omnipotence of God it entails that God will save all. If God doesn't save all that apparently is not able to save all the omnipotent sovereignty of God entails it all be saved. But why can the Lord not omnipotent Lee, exercise his sovereignty by sending some to hell? By the same logic, but with a different premise. If God were not able to since sin summoned to Perdition, then would that not also deny God's sovereignty and omnipotence? Also, and I'm not going to go into this in great detail, but where does it say that the patience of God is eternal? That the patience of God is infinite? As I read through the pages of Scripture and I find evidence that the patience of God runs out at times. It's a horrifying thought because God is unthinkably patient. His long suffering is beyond that that humans can comprehend. But even then, God says, I'm fed up. My patience has come to an end. Well, look at some of the pages. Look at some of the passages, scripture that I've that I've provided for you. The rest of the New Testament concurs with Jesus's teaching on that and the whole notion of God's capacity to judge. Jesus spoke that God can destroy both body and soul in hell. Those who will be judged guilty and cast in the fires of hell include those who cannot conquer their luster, anger scribes and Pharisees who lead some astray the offspring of the evil one, the unrighteous whose lives are not characterized by acts of righteousness and mercy. Jesus himself designated himself as is the judge of the living in the dead, and who spoke more in the Bible about hell than any other person was Jesus Christ.

[00:36:48] Paul picks up on this. He preaches a judgment to come in Acts 24. He depicts God's judgment is the outpouring of his wrath describes it not in remedial or purifying language, but in as destruction death. Its its punishment. Peter reasoned that if judgment begins at the household of God, then that which awaits those who disobey the gospel is much worse. James taught that those who do not show mercy will be also judged without mercy. And the writer of Hebrews described the judgment that is to come in terms of vengeance and recompense. Contrary to universalist thinking, the judgment of God does not create questions and problems regarding His justice and righteousness. Isn't it interesting that in our modern sensibilities, we find hell to be problematic? But the biblical writers did not. The biblical writers saw the final judgment as the answer to a two troubling questions. They weren't troubled by it at all. They were, in fact, in some sense, comforted by it. Because the evil cannot go unpunished, and it will not forever. There will come a day when the righteous will be vindicated, when God's holdings will be on display for all we dare not we dare not diminish the holiness of God, the justice of God, the righteousness of God by declaring that God is not going to judge people eternally. If you read in the Book of Revelation and you look at the praise that goes on in heaven right now, God is praised for three things that He is the Creator, that He is the Savior and that He is the judge. Turn to Revelation chapter four and Revelation chapter five, and you'll find how significant this is. In Revelation four, God is in the air, the Apostle is ushered into the throne room of God, where created beings are worshiping God and everything is as it ought to be.

[00:38:50] But when a scroll is brought in that we later find out almost immediately that it is that there is a scroll of judgment. But no one has found who is worthy to open this scroll of judgment. John begins to wail. He despairs. He's heartbroken. Until the Lion of Judah, the LAMB of God comes in. He is the one who's worthy to open the scroll. And Jesus Christ is praised because of his capacity to judge in light of this clear teaching. Is it possible to affirm the glory of God and the joy of salvation while simultaneously denying God's righteous judgments? Is it possible to preach the Biblical Gospel while simultaneously rejecting the future reality of how Biblical writers were convinced that it was not possible to do this and we would do well to hear them speak, to model our praise, our eschatological hope and our commitment to mission, our understanding of the gospel on their words, not modern sensibilities.


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