Recently I have been in discussions with some friends that read my blog fairly consistently and they have, in an effort to understand my beliefs, have baited me by calling me a universalist.
That is fair, since I may not have defined every specific teaching as they may want, most likely due to the fact I honestly haven’t come to a settled persuasion on some of the teaching they may ask about me.
Initially, as I have stated in previous posts, I was surprised with the number of passages that support an evangelical universal reconciliation teaching. 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.
Regarding the book itself, I read it in one sitting, not simply because it was under 200 pages, but that it was challenging my though process and I found it enjoyable reading. If this topic interests you, please pick up a copy. It is well worth your time.
Our eighth blog post will begin with passage Hebrews 12:6-11
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.
Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?
For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
As we visit this passage, we find that there are a number of verses within the passage that are helpful to Mr. Giles discussion, primarily reflecting on the nature of chastening and how it benefits the recipients, and reflects on the purpose of the discipline.
Mr. Giles initially refers to John 3:16, to remind the reader of the love of God for the entire world, and connects this passage to this thought. He then calls the readers attention to the phrase “all have become partakers” of God’s discipline. Hs argument is that all of humanity become partakers of God’s discispline, since God loves the world. The author of Hebrews then goes on to describe the result of the discipline (for all) in the receiving of life.
Mr. Giles also approaches the purpose of discipline, or God’s intended purpose of chastisement, and that is of restoration, of discipline being for “our profit”. The concept of punishment for the sake of retribution is not broached in this passage but the restorative love of God is, and the end result in that holiness is produced. At no place within this passage is the concept of God’s wrath.
Mr. Giles gives us a progression that is based on the teaching of God’s love for the world (John 3:16), that goes like this
- Everyone endures discipline
- Everyone is treated as a son or daughter
- Everyone endures a “painful” discipline
- Everyone becomes a partaker of His holiness
For Mr. Giles argument to convince me, I would need to understand the authors intended audience. My current understanding of the passage is that it relates to believers, and that all believers go through a disciplinary process.
He has assumed in a few of his texts that all of humanity are “in Christ”, which admittedly is a difficult teaching to follow. In my opinion and at this time in my life, it is a weak argument but the following verses were provided to show the Fatherhood of God for all of humanity.
And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,
that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,
for “‘In him we live and move and have our being‘; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.’
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,
from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,
the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.
There is one body and one Spirit–just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call–
one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
In all of the verses he has provided, there is an argument for seeing all of humanity possibly being considered, and I will leave it with my readers to arrive at their own conclusions.
If you happen to have passages that would provide additional support for this teaching, please provide. I am always willing to understand this teaching, but currently do not see this passage (Hebrews 12:6-11) as strong as some may assume.
Our next post will address Revelation chapters 20 – 22. It shocked me more than the Philippian passage. I hope you will join me.
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.