Here is #24 of 31 Questions in 31 Days! To learn more about this 31 Day series, just search “31 Questions” in the search bar above or click here!
Q #24: Won’t God really save everyone in the end?
A: The idea expressed in the question above that Christians have asked for about as long as there has been a Church. It’s called Universalism.
It’s the idea that no matter how people respond to Christ in this life, everyone will ultimately receive salvation. I find it is a question many Christians are asking, particularly younger believers.
Here are my central objections to it:
- Universalism twists scripture and ignores its plain meaning to make its case. Over and over in the Bible, and particularly in the New Testament, warnings about hell and eternal condemnation abound. The only way to defend the idea of universalism is to ignore passages like John 3:18–“Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
- Universalism is warm and comforting, but guts the significance of Christ’s coming and dying on the cross. I am sure for some universalists, they imagine that the cross is made even more glorious when you think its blessings will ultimately be extended to all human beings. However, if faith in this life is not a prerequisite to salvation in the next life, one must ask why Christ would come and why the word of God should ever be spread, if it is God’s plan to save everyone in the end anyway. Jesus made it plain that few make it into life; broad is the way that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13).
- Universalism strips justice from the biblical story. Beyond the fact that universalism would mean that sinners are not punished for their sins, universalism seems also to imply necessarily that the most heinous crimes are dealt with by forgiving and never through the punishment of hell. Without the real possibility of hell, one begins to ask if any sin will ever truly face punishment.
- Universalism trivializes sin and the holiness of God. The human choice to sin creates hostility between us and God (Romans 1:18). God is angry about our sins because we thwart his reason for making us in the first place. Universalism seems to see God’s love as trumping his wrath. This approach to salvation–that it’s just a matter of God melting our hearts with love in the next life–undercuts the starting point of the gospel. The place we start is that sin has created an impassable chasm between God and people. God has poured his wrath out on his Son, and those finding their place in him through faith are delivered from wrath and enter into peace (Ephesians 2:13).
Check out more posts from the 31 Questions series on subjects as varied as marijuana, infidelity, 666, the eternal destiny of children who die, dealing with discouragement, cremation, co-habitation, baptism, suicide, prayer, the origins of scripture, hell, work, the third heaven, tithing, Old Testament salvation, giving in the Old Testament, reading Proverbs, recovering from failure, taking the Bible literally, understanding the parables, and even speaking in tongues!
Next Sunday at First Assembly Community Ministries, we will be changing the regular format for our service to accommodate questions from the congregation! I can’t wait. Join us there on Sunday, February 1 for a morning of discovery on what we call Q Sunday for two unique services 9 and 11 AM.