All Invited, All Responsible To Choose

July 19, 2013

Friends,
Many within “Christianity” are teaching that God chose, from eternity past, to bring salvation to only some humans, not to all humans. They teach that Christ Jesus did not die for the sins of the whole world (even though the Word of God says that He did, such as in John 1:29, 2 Cor. 5:15, 1 Tim. 2:6, 1 John 2:2, and elsewhere), but that Jesus died only for the sins of those whom God pre-chose to save. The main ones who promote this false doctrine are the Calvinists.

Christ’s followers have all been given a commission: To take Christ’s Gospel everywhere, and to do so in the authority of Jesus’ name and in the power of the Holy Spirit. (Mt. 28:18-20 // Acts 1:8) This Gospel that we’ve been told to proclaim to everyone is the Good News of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18); “that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting mankind’s trespasses [rebellion / sins] against them.” (v. 19) As 1 John 2:2 says, “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”

The whole world was bought. It was bought back –ransomed and rescued– from the dark realm (Col. 1:13,14 // 1 Tim. 2:6) to belong again to its Creator so that men could walk righteously. (Rom. 8:3,4) This freedom to walk free (of sin and its penalty) was purchased with the precious blood of Christ (Gal. 5:1 // 1 Peter 1:18,19), the Lamb of God who, though He Himself was sinless (Heb. 4:15), became sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21) as He hung on the cross and took upon Himself God’s wrath against sin, thus paying its debt, which is eternal death. (Rom. 6:23) This is the glorious message, and it is for whosoever believes and wants to come and drink from the Water of Life. (John 3:16 & 7:37,38 // Rev. 22:17)

So, though the Calvinists are wrong, are the Universalists then correct when they claim all mankind will be saved in the end? No. For though Jesus did pay for the sins of everyone, not everyone accepts the gift. Many violently refuse or just pay no attention. (Mt. 22:1-6) They ignore God’s call to be reconciled, and loving to sin, they cling to wickedness all the more. (Eph. 4:18,19)

Even those who have never heard the Gospel have been given the ability to look at creation, to realize there is a Creator (Rom. 1:19,20), and to seek Him. (Acts 17:27) But most do not seek God, and instead “suppress the truth by their wickedness” (Rom. 1:18), continuously seeking ways to gratify the desires of the sinful nature. Such people, though Christ paid for their sins on the cross, “forfeit the grace that could have been theirs.” (Jonah 2:8) For every tree (person) that does not produce fruit consistent with repentance will be thrown into the fire. (Mt. 3:8,10) This is their just punishment by Him who is perfectly holy and who requires that His created creatures be holy as well. (1 Peter 1:15,16) Moreover, it is just, because, by refusing the gift of salvation and the Spirit by submitting to the rightful King, a person has shown utter contempt for his Maker. (Heb. 10:29) Therefore the pardon is withdrawn (v. 26) and God’s wrath justly remains on those rebels. (v. 30,31 // John 3:36 // Eph. 5:6) They have chosen to remain in (or go back to) the devil’s realm (1 John 3:8-15) and so they will incur, along with the devil, the “eternal punishment” (Mt. 25:46) in “the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” (v. 41)

The Lord is loving. In fact, God is Love. (1 John 4:16) We know this. However, in order to abide in His love and to receive the rewards of His love, we must obey Christ’s commands. (John 14:23 & 15:10) In order to be close to God, to have Him confide in us, to have our prayers answered, and to have Him call us His friend, we must be found righteous –a righteousness which comes by doing what God commands. (Pr. 3:32 // John 15:14 // Ja. 5:16)

For a Bible teacher to say that God loves everyone equally no matter what they do, or that God loves every believer intensely no matter what they do, or that there is nothing we can do to receive more and more love from God, is to show oneself ignorant of what the Word of God teaches. How many times must the Word state that God loves those who love and obey Him (Ps. 146:8 // John 14:23), and that He detests the perverse man (Pr. 3:32), abhors the violent and deceitful man (Ps. 5:6), and hates all who do wrong? (v. 5) (God’s hate is not to be compared with the natural man’s hate which is evil and does not also intensely desire the ultimate good for the individual.) Of course God lovingly invites and woos each rebel to come into His love. But, if they remain outside of that Love, the choice has been made by them alone. Not by God. God grieves for them, but they, by their own choosing, have not come into His love.

Come into My love, Christ says, and remain there –by obeying Me. (See John 15:10) Only by choosing to do this, will a person be saved. (14:15 // Heb. 5:9)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

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