THE SALVATION OF ALL -WHEN SHOULD IT BE TAUGHT?
THREE outstanding views are held concerning the ultimate destiny of all mankind. Each of these views is based on statements found in the English Bible. Each of these positions represents God as an entirely different kind of God. Unfortunately, two of these positions actually deny the attributes of the true and living God. Two of these positions represent Jesus Christ as a failure insofar as the salvation of the majority is concerned.
Only one of these positions recognizes God as the ALMIGHTY GOD of Infinite Wisdom, Righteousness and Love that He is actually shown to be in the Scriptures. Only one of these positions represents Jesus Christ as the ALL TRIUMPHANT Saviour that He really is.
THE TWO FALSE POSITIONS ARE BASED ON SIX COMMON ERRORS
(1). Failure to believe the plain statements in the Scriptures concerning the salvation of all.
(2). Inaccurate and false translations of the Scriptures from the original languages into English.
(3). Twisting passages from their true context and mis- applying them.
(4). Failure to understand and believe what is revealed in the Scriptures concerning the "eons" or ages.
(5). Failure to grasp and believe what the Scriptures actually teach concerning death and resurrection.
(6). Bondage to the traditions and teachings of men rather than submission to the truth of God.
To receive and stand by the truth of God usually results in ostracism and persecution. Acceptance by men requires adherence to the traditions and teachings of men, even though these traditions repudiate and invalidate the Word of God.
In seeking to ascertain the truth concerning the ultimate destiny of all mankind, one should consider carefully the basis of each of these three positions. For those who are interested in looking into this subject we have prepared a list of the outstanding passages cited to support each position. The references are put under three headings: (1) The Salvation of All; (2) The Annihilation of SOME; (3) The endless torment of MANY.
THE FINAL DESTINY OF ALL MANKIND ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES
THREE DIFFERENT VIEWS EXAMINED
SALVATION OF ALL
ANNIHILATION OF SOME
ENDLESS TORMENT OF MANY
1 Tim.2:1-7 Rom.5:18,19
Rom.8:18-21 Rom. 11:25-36
1 Cor. 15:20-28 Eph.1:7-11 Eph.3:14-19 Phil.2:9-11
Col. 1:12-23 Heb. 2:5-10 Heb. 9:23-26 John 12:20-33
1 John 3:8
2 Thess. 1:7-10
Gk. olethros 1 Thess.5:3
1 Tim.6:9 1 Cor.5:5
Consume, perish Gk. apollumi)
Jer. 51:39, 57
perpetual sleep. cf Jer 18:13-17, 25:8-11 Mal.4:1-3 Obadiah 1:15, 16 Matt 10:28
Everlasting punishment Luke 16:19-31
Hades Mark 9:38-48
Gehenna Matt. 12:24-32
Unpardonable sin John 3:35, 36
Wrath abides Rev.14:9-12
Torment in fire Rev.19:19-21 Rev. 20:7-10 2 Thess. 1:7-10
Everlasting destruction Rev. 20: 11-15
Lake of fire
When the facts are known and understood the truth shines forth in splendor. God is glorified. Jesus Christ is honored. Peace and joy fill the heart. Worship and thanksgiving go up to God.
Unfortunately many Christians have never considered prayerfully and carefully these wonderful passages of Scripture which reveal that God will in due time save all. One of these passages is found in 1 Timothy chapter 4 verses 9 through 11. This passage reads as follows:
"Faithful is the saying, and worthy of all acceptation. For to this end we labor and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, Who is THE SAVIOUR OF ALL MEN, specially of them that believe. THESE THINGS COMMAND AND TEACH."
The fact that God is the Saviour Of ALL MEN is said to be a FAITHFUL SAYING, and WORTHY OF ALL ACCEPTATION. Unbelieving men say it is unfaithful and should be rejected. But God declares that it is faithful and worthy of all acceptation.
But the question arises, What does it mean when it says that God is the Saviour of all men? That the meaning is clear is evidenced by the way many seek to change what it says. Some alter the passage and make it say that God is "the preserver of all." Some change it to "God offers salvation to all." But none of these efforts to get around the truth change the fact that the text declares, "God is the SAVIOUR OF ALL MEN. "An offer of salvation to all would not constitute God the Saviour of all. He is only the Saviour of those He actually saves. In other places the Scriptures reveal what is included in this salvation. It is revealed that God will JUSTIFY ALL (Rom.5:18,19). He will RECONCILE ALL to Himself (Col.1:15-20). He will VIVIFY ALL (1 Cor. 15:20-28). He will SUBJECT ALL to Himself (Phil.2:5-11). And finally God will BECOME ALL IN ALL, (1 Cor. 15:26-28).
This passage in 1 Timothy chapter 4 does not explain when and how God will save all. It is clear that God is not saving all mankind at the present time. At present only those who believe in Jesus Christ are being saved. Notice the text says, "God is the Saviour of all men, SPECIALLY of them that believe," not EXCLUSIVELY of them that believe, but SPECIALLY.
Believers are saved prior to the rest. They will be made like their Lord at the time of His appearing for them. They will live and reign with Christ during the coming eons. They will not be brought into judgment at the time of the Great White Throne described in Revelation Chapter 20. Believers will not have to endure the second death.
Those who do not believe now will be raised up at the time of the Great White Throne and will be judged and dealt with according to their deeds. Then all whose names are not in the book of life will be cast into the lake of Fire which is the second death.
After this, at the end of the eons, God will abolish death, all death. This will be accomplished by Jesus Christ imparting His own resurrection life to all. Then it will be clear to all that God is indeed the SAVIOUR of ALL.
Some who see clearly that God will save all say: "Though it is true, it should not be taught publicly." But what are God's instructions about this? Let me read the passage again.
"Faithful is the saying and welcome of all acceptation. For to this end we labor and suffer reproach, because we have our hope set on the living God, Who is THE SAVIOUR OF ALL MEN, Specially of them that believe. THESE THINGS COMMAND AND TEACH."
How could it be made plainer! God's positive and clear instructions are: "These things command and teach." Not just teach them, but command them! Faith obeys God and relies upon His wisdom and judgment and suffers the consequences of obedience. Unbelief disregards God's instructions and seeks to avoid the reproach and rejection of men.
Once it is clear that the truth of the salvation of all is to be taught, the question arises: When should it be taught? This is a fair and an important question.
A good answer to this question is: It should be taught when and where the Apostle Paul taught it. But when and where did the Apostle Paul teach the salvation of all? This question is answered in the Epistle to the Romans. In this Epistle, the Gospel which was entrusted to Paul is set forth. Paul's first detailed instructions concerning the race-wide benefits of the saving work of Jesus Christ are found in Romans chapter 5, verses 18 and 19.
But before examining this passage, let us think for a few minutes of what precedes it in the first five chapters of Romans.
In Romans chapter 1, the Apostle deals with the subject of the present wrath of God which is being revealed from heaven against all the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold down the truth in unrighteousness. The FACT of the present wrath of God is stated. The REASONS for this wrath are explained. Then the FORM this wrath takes is described in a striking manner. The Apostle shows that because men refuse to have God in their knowledge, God gives them up: First, to the lusts of their own hearts. Second, to vile passions and the evil consequences of their debauchery. And third, God gives men up to a reprobate or disqualified mind, to do those things which are not proper.
This first chapter of Romans describes most accurately the evil conditions which exist in the world today, and shows the reasons for them. The only remedy is for man to reverently acknowledge God and walk in His righteous ways.
In the second chapter of Romans, the Apostle takes up the subject of the coming day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God. The outstanding principles governing this judgment are spelled out and the results of the judgment are indicated. It will be a judgment ACCORDING TO TRUTH. It will be the RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT of God Who will render to every man according to his deeds. It will be without respect of persons. God will deal with the secrets of men. It will be according to Paul's Gospel. And it will all be through Jesus Christ.
Coming on to Romans chapters 3 and 4, the Apostle deals with Justification by Faith through the deliverance which is in Christ Jesus. He shows that those who believe in Christ Jesus unto salvation are to be delivered from the wrath to come.
Then in the first part of the fifth chapter of Romans, the Apostle deals with the subject of Conciliation. He shows that Christ not only died for the ungodly and sinners but that He also died for His enemies; that through Christ man can be delivered from his enmity toward God and his estrangement from God.
With this wonderful background contained in the first five and a half chapters of Romans, the Apostle proceeds to deal with the race-wide consequences of Adam's transgression, and the race- wide benefits that are to come to mankind through the saving work of Jesus Christ. This is set forth in Romans chapter 5, verses 12 through 19. We shall consider only verses 18 and 19 where Paul summarizes what he has been setting forth in verses 12 through 17. Verses 18 and 19 read as follows:
"Consequently, then, as it was through one offense for all mankind for condemnation, thus also it is through one just award for all mankind for justification of life. For even as, through the disobedience of the one man, the many were constituted sinners, thus also, through the obedience of the One, the many shall be constituted just" (Romans 5:18,19).
Two persons, two acts, and two results affecting the entire human race are brought before us in this passage. Adam's act of disobedience and its race-wide, life-destroying result, presents a dark and dismal situation. Christ's act of obedience and its race- wide, life-giving result, presents a situation that is bright and glorious.
Adam's one offense brought judgment to all men to their condemnation. None escape this condemnation to death. "All are dying." Even so, Christ's one act of righteousness brings the free gift unto all men to justification of life. Not one will be left out. "All will be made alive."
The matter of faith or acceptance is not introduced on either side in this passage. The subject is not the special salvation of those who now believe. When that is discussed, faith has its place.
Neither is the time of this justification brought up. All are not justified at the same time. The point being emphasized is that all men shall be constituted righteous through the obedience of Jesus Christ, just as surely as they have been constituted sinners through the disobedience of Adam.
But someone will ask, Why does it say "the many" instead of "all" in verse 19? This is because the one disobedient man and the One righteous Man are put in a class by themselves. They are in contrast with "the many."
We may put it as follows: The one disobedient man plus "the many" equals all mankind made sinners. The One obedient Man plus "the many" equals all mankind made righteous.
That "the one" plus "the many" made sinners, includes all mankind, few, if any, attempt to deny. Even so, "the One" plus "the many" made righteous is all-inclusive and guarantees justification of life for all mankind.
The next place the Apostle Paul brings up the salvation of all is in Romans chapter 8, verses 18 through 23. Here the Apostle is dealing with sufferings of the present life; the groaning, the travail, the bondage of corruption that the whole creation is now enduring.
Apart from the ultimate salvation of all there is no satisfactory answer to this problem of suffering. But once one sees what is revealed in the Scriptures concerning God's loving and wise purpose back of it all, there is indeed a satisfactory solution to this difficult problem. Through sufferings, obedience is learned, patience is acquired, maturity is wrought. Sufferings lead to glory.
Listen carefully while I read this wonderful passage found in Romans chapter 8, verses 18 through 23.
"For I am reckoning that the sufferings of the present time do not deserve the glory about to be revealed for us. For the premonition of the creation is awaiting the unveiling of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to vanity, not voluntarily, but because of Him Who subjects it, in expectation that the creation itself, also, shall be freed from the slavery of corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we are aware that the entire creation is groaning and travailing together until now. Yet not only so, but we ourselves also, who have the firstfruit of the Spirit, we ourselves also, are groaning in ourselves, awaiting the Sonship, the deliverance of our body."
Think of it, the whole creation is to be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God. It is no wonder that the Apostle by the spirit of God could write: "The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed for us." The "us" of this statement does indeed refer to "the children of God." But the text distinctly declares that "the whole creation is to be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God."
The next time Paul brings up the Salvation of All in the Epistle to the Romans is in chapter 11 verses 25 through 36. Here the Apostle is dealing with the subject of man's stubbornness toward God. He points out what is back of man's stubbornness and shows what God is going to do about it. He makes the astonishing statement that "God locks all up together in stubbornness that He should be merciful to all." Instead of human stubbornness being something that God cannot cope with, it is revealed that God will deliver man from his stubbornness and show mercy to all. This enlightening passage reads as follows: "For I am not willing for you to be ignorant of this secret, brethren, lest you may be passing for prudent among yourselves, that callousness, in part, on Israel has come, until the complement of the Gentiles may be entering. And thus all Israel shall be saved, according as it is written, "Arriving out of Zion shall be the Rescuer, He will be turning away irreverence from Jacob. And this is My covenant with them whenever I should be eliminating their sins.'
"As to the evangel, indeed, they are enemies because of you, yet, as to choice, they are beloved because of the fathers.
"For unregretted are the graces and the calling of God. For even as you once are stubborn toward God, yet now were shown mercy at their stubbornness, thus these also are now stubborn to this mercy of yours, that now they also may be shown mercy. FOR GOD LOCKS All UP TOGETHER IN STUBBORNNESS, THAT HE SHOULD BE MERCIFUL TO ALL."
To sum up, then, in reply to the question, When does the Apostle Paul teach the salvation of all? He does this after presenting the facts about the present wrath of God, the coming day of wrath, and the salvation which is in Christ Jesus. The apostle then proceeds to deal with the race-wide consequences of Adam's disobedience, and this leads him to the
race-wide benefits that are to come to all mankind through the saving work of Jesus Christ.
The next time the Apostle brings up the salvation of all is when he is dealing with the sufferings of the creation. He makes it clear that the whole creation is to be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God.
And lastly Paul brings up the salvation of all when he is dealing with the subject of man's stubbornness to God. He shows that God will eventually deliver man from his stubbornness and unbelief, and show the mercy of salvation to all.
Contemplation of such a triumphant Saviour calls forth those wonderful words of worship, adoration and praise to God with which the Apostle closes this eleventh chapter of Romans:
"O, the depth of the riches and the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How inscrutable are His judgments, and untraceable His ways! For, who knew the mind of the Lord? or who became His adviser? or, who gave to Him first, and will be repaid by Him? Seeing that out of Him and through Him and unto Him is all: to Him be the glory for the eons! Amen!" By: Joseph E Kirk