As I have stated in previous posts, I was surprised with the number of passages that seem to support an evangelical universal reconciliation teaching. Of course many may think, as I initially thought, that this teaching didn’t include a form of hell, or that the cross was not necessary.
Please do not think that this teaching is the same as the “all roads lead to heaven” teaching, which I consider to be blasphemous. There is only one way to the Father, and that is through the Lord Jesus Christ.
With this, I would like to begin delving into some of the New Testament passages Mr. Giles brought to my attention, for your consideration, edification and civil discussion.
Our next post will consider 1 Timothy 4:10
1 Timothy 4:10
For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.
This verse always confused me as a Calvinist. I remember actually skipping this verse (mentally) as I read through the 1 Timothy. It turns out I tend to avoid passages that conflict with my current understanding of the Word. A difficult position to be in, but then again, we aren’t called to be readers of cartoon comics.
It is important to consider the entire Word of God in formulating a belief, and as I continue to study and ask for direction in understanding, I find I am accumulating more questions than answers. One of these questions is in relation to the teaching on hell. And one of the passages that provides some of God’s thoughts on the topic of hell is the one we are looking at today.
So what does this verse say? Does it teach the damnation of a portion of God’s creation? Or that only some reach the golden shores of heaven?
Of course, if the apostle Paul meant to insert the words “kinds of” so as the verse would read ….the living God, who is the Savior of all kinds of people..
If that is what Paul meant, we might have to begin inserting words elsewhere to make the Word more comfortable for us. But again, I think that is too easy a way out of this possible dilemma, for this verse definitely throws a monkey wrench in our standard “orthodox” way of thinking.
First off, he states that God is the Savior of all people, which seems clear. If he intended to insert “kinds of” into the verse, it would still not resolve the dilemma. (By the way, I am not advocating the insertion of words into any text!) The kicker is the next phrase, “especially of those who believe”. What does that mean?
Paul preached to the nations the necessity of faith in the crucified Savior. He is the great apostle of the gospel of grace, the “faith plus nothing” gospel that began the expansion of the church in the first century, with the growth continuing even today. Who would have thunk it?
So, could Paul be hinting at the salvation of all people, (he seems to state that clearly) but that some “particular” people, those “particular” people that have believed, have already entered into salvation?
No no no.
That can’t be true, since there has to be a hell for those who refuse to accept the Messiah before death. This is utterly impossible. Beyond the scope of the written Word!
When the Lord came to earth, He scandalized the religious community with His acceptance of sinners and tax collectors. His love for sinners, (and even Samaritans!) was beyond all the expectations of those who looked for the Messiah.
When the Lord was crucified and rose again, the infant church stayed in Israel. For whatever their strategy was in performing Acts 1:8, it took special revelation to both Peter and that newby Paul for the church to accept those dirty gentiles into it’s fold. His grace and love again expanded beyond the accepted bounds of religious understanding. The Old Testament made reference to the expansion of the Kingdom in many places, and yet the infant church stayed in Israel for years. Why?
I will not be dogmatic in the restriction of God’s grace and love for His creation, that He loves only some and hates the rest. This is not the nature of God, for the nature of our God is that “God is love”. Universal reconciliation may be offensive to some in the church, and may cause claims of heresy. That is fair, since we are to protect the truth of God. But let us consider all the truth of God, and not exclude the verses that may interrupt of systematic theology. God tends to upset the apple cart sometimes and His glory and grace, in reaching ALL would only be magnified if this is His will.
Granted, there are many questions universal reconciliation needs to address, and I am seeking to find answers with passages in the Word that argue against this teaching. Questions involving New Testament descriptions of perishing, of everlasting punishment, of judgement to come and of “post death conversion”.
It is a wild teaching, too good to be true?!
Surely there must be a hell to avoid. The judgement of our saving God must be a prime motivator in our day to day life, for the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
What think you? This is the beginning of at least 10 posts that will provide passages that suggest (some quite clearly) of a universal reconciliation. I need your feedback, so as not to be simply hearing myself think.
I look forward to a civil and honest discussion.
Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.