“Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God: and everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is Love: and He that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God and God in him.”
1 John 4:7, 16
“Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”
Good will is the divine nature and essence. Whatever God does is always directed by what He is. Such a God will do the best He can by each of His creatures. But endless torment would be the worst He could. Is the best a God of Love can do, no better than the worst He can do? Can a God of Love do that which does not benefit Himself, angels, men nor devils, which will defeat His benevolent purpose, render heaven an exile to millions, who miss their loved ones, and fill hell with agony? No!
His “love worketh no ill.” Therefore He will always be kind to the unthankful and evil, He will punish to reform and bless.
“For I am the Lord, I change not.” Malachi 3:6 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with Whom there is no variableness, neither a shadow of turning.” James 1:17
Then He will always love His enemies, will always seek their good, for this He does and always has done.
“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5: 6-8
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whomsoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved” John 3:16,17
“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world that we might live through Him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, that He loved us, and sent His son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
1 John 4: 9,10
He loves sinners, and will do the best he can for them. God is Love. This is the passion that He ever manifests towards His children. It will never cease in the bosom of the Father.
“They sin who tell us love can die’
With life all other passions fly.”
All others are but vanity
Its holy flame forever burneth.
From heaven it came to heaven returneth.”
Hence the apostle says: “If a man says, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar.”
1 John 4:20
So if a man says God is love, and will hate and curse His child, He is a liar. He can only ordain or allow, what is for the final good of His children. Even His punishments will result in their improvement.
“Our God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12: 29 But the fire is love, and will only consume the enemies of His children; for “love worketh no ill.” Romans 13:10 “And God so loved the world that He sent His Son to die for it.”
“We have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the World”
1 John 4:14
So that the believing Christian can say: “For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, not things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be above to separate us from the Love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38
God created, governs, judges, punishes, and does all things as a Father, all wise, Almighty, all merciful. All that the best earthly father would do for his children, God can do for His offspring. Good will, kindness, the best He can do with infinite might and wisdom, God will do for every child….for all mankind. The best thing that infinite love, aided by omnipotence and omniscience can accomplish….the only thing these divine attributes will accomplish, is universal happiness.
GOD’S ATTRIBUTES UNLIMITED
‘The psalmist reprehends a practice prevalent both in his day and now, of “limiting the Holy One of Israel.” Psalms 78: 41….. of placing boundaries to the abilities of the divine attributes. Infinite, they are without limitation, and it is a sort of profanity to adopt any conclusions that place bounds to them, and yet many Christians represent God as like the foolish man:
“For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, so all that behold it begin to mock him, saying, this man began to build, and was not able to finish.” Luke14: 28-30
GOD’S POWER UNLIMTED
“He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, what doest thou?” Daniel 4:35
“For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater so shall my word be that goeth forth out of My mouth; it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that whereto I sent it.” Isaiah 4:10,10
“Who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will.” Ephesians 1:11
“The Lord God omnipotent reignes” Revelation 19:6
Then nothing can hinder Hs power from executing whatever He wishes to accomplish. And yet how often it is said that the weakest human being who ever lived, is endowed with a will so strong that if he please to exercise it, God cannot accomplish a plan between that one and Himself if that stubborn will shall rise, even though it is a plan which He has pledged His sacred word, and sent His only Son to live and die to accomplish!
God has commanded all souls to obey Him: has declared that all shall obey Him but we are told that if we help Him, then He will succeed, but if we decline to do so, we can defeat Him??? Can we throw the divine purpose from the track and though God’s omnipotence exert itself to the utmost, it shall fail utterly of its purpose. Is not this limiting that attribute of Deity on which the Divine character rests?
GOD’S WISDOM UNLIMITED
“His understanding is infinite.” Psalms 117:5 “Declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient time the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand and I will do all My pleasure” Isaiah 46:10 “Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world.” Acts 15:18
To claim that God desires the final welfare of all men, and that His wisdom has devised the best plan possible of infinite wisdom, but that man’s rebellion has not been foreseen, or, if foreseen, not amply provided for, presents the same disastrous results.
What would be said of a mechanic who should construct a sewing machine, which, on trial would not sew? On examination it is found that a little wheel or spring has been inserted that utterly prevents the machine from doing what its maker declares it was constructed to do! Would not such a machinist convict himself of folly?
To say that God has created men to serve Him, and has conferred upon them an agency that prevents them from serving Him…. that He has not wisdom enough to overcome the agency He has given them, is to limit God’s wisdom. To say that man’s agency is not abundantly provided for in the plans of God, and that all souls will not be willing to obey Him in the day of His power, is to limit the Holy One of Israel.
The divine perfections are equally impeached if we suppose that God will do all He wishes, but that He does not desire that all souls shall enjoy Him; that His wisdom and power will accomplish all He pleases but the final triumph of evil in a portion of His universe is a part of the divine plan. This is Calvinism. It plumes itself on a strong and wise God, but it builds His wisdom and power on the ruins of His goodness, just as in other systems of error His goodness stands on the ruins of His wisdom and power.
GOD’S LOVE UNLIMITED
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
“But God commendeth His love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5: 8 “But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved) Ephesians 2:4, 5 “The Lord is good to all and His tender mercies are over all His works.” Psalms 114:9
It matters not which view we take. No theory of the loss of a single soul can be adopted that does not drag to ruin one or more of the attributes of God.
Does he not desire the welfare of that soul? Then He is deficient in goodness.
Can He not plan its welfare? Then He is not infinitely wise.
Can He not execute the plan he desires? Then His power is limited.
To be infinite in all His attributes he must be so good as to desire, so wise as to plan and so powerful as to execute the good of all.
The God of Calvinism is strong but bad; the God of Armenianism is good but weak. The Christian God has the faults of neither and the merits of both.
If therefore we say that God will not and cannot, or can but will not, or will but cannot, save every human soul, we limit Him in some direction, but if He will and can, then the result contemplated by the Universalist faith must be accomplished.
GOD’S WILL, PLEASURE, PURPOSE, PROMISE, AND OATH
It is the will of God to save all souls: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings and for all that in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For, this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; who will have all men to be saved. And, to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified to in due time. 1 Timothy 2: 1-6
“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For, I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that to all which He hath give me I should lose nothing, but should
raise up again at the last day. And this is the will of Him that sent me, that every one which seeth the son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:37-40
This is not a will of desire merely, but of purpose, such being the meaning of the word thelo, as the following passages show:
“For as the Father raiseth up the dead and quickenth them, even so the son quickeneth whom He will.” John 5:21 “And Jesus put forth His had and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.” Matthew 8:3 “The same day there came certain of the Pharisees saying unto Him, get thee out, and depart hence; for Herod will kill thee.” Luke13: 31 “We will not have this man to reign over us.” Luke 19:14
A good being, a Father could have not other will that the welfare of His children. His will is finally to be accomplished.
“But He is in one mind, and who can turn Him? And what His soul desireth, even that He doeth.” Job 23: 13 “There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord that shall stand.” Proverbs 19:21 “He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and among, the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him what doest thou? Daniel 4:35
“Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power.” Psalms 110: 3 also “thy will be done.” Matthew 6: 10
It is God’s pleasure that all shall be redeemed from sin and error.
“For thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created.” Revelation 4: 11 “As I live saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked.” Ezekiel 18: 23, 32 “Having made know unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He both purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth even in Him.” Ephesians 1:9,10
God’s pleasure will be performed.
“I will do all My pleasure.” Isaiah 46: 10 “So shall My word be that goeth forth out of My mouth; it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11 “The pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His (Christ’s) hands.” Isaiah 53: 10
It is God’s purpose to save all
“Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him: in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will; that we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ: in whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory.” Ephesians 1:9-14
The phrase, “all things,” here employed denotes “the universe” according to Professor Stuart, and Arch Bishop Newcome…who says the phrase means “all intelligent beings.” God, then, purposes to unite in one, all intelligent beings, that is the whole purchased possession.” God’s purpose will be executed.
“The Lord of Hosts hath sworn, saying, surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed so shall it stand….for the Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? And His hand is stretched out and who shall turn it back?”
“I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.”
“Who hath saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” 2 Timothy 1:9
If God had no purpose He would not be God. If a bad purpose He would not be a father. He had a good purpose. It embraces the moral universe. It will be fulfilled in the holiness and happiness of all mankind.
It is sometimes said that the Divine will is defeated. “O, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her brood under her wings, and ye would not! Behold your house is left unto you desolate.” Matthew 23: 37,38
But such critics do not read the next verse: “For I say unto you, ye shall not see me henceforth, until ye shall say, blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” It was a postponement…not a defeat, of the will of Christ. Thus God’s Will, Purpose and Pleasure are all invested in the work of universal redemption, and His will, purpose and pleasure will be accomplished, for they will remain eternally the same, inasmuch as He is “without variableness or shadow of turning.” James 1:17 God wills, and Christ wills universal salvation, the people shall be willing, and God’s will shall be done.
He has pledged His sacred promise to render all is offspring Holy and happy. In the beginning He announced the temporal duration of sin, and the death of evil.
“And I will put enmity between thee (the serpent) and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: it shall bruise they head and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:15
What is the serpent or man’s tempter? “Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed.” James 1:14
Satan and his works are the lusts of the flesh, and are to be destroyed. “For as much, then, as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same, that though death He might destroy Him that had the power of death, that is, the devil: and deliver the, who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Hebrew 11:14,15 “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:8
This promise He renewed to the patriarchs and confirmed to the apostles.
“In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” Genesis 12:3
“In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” Genesis 12:18
“I will perform My oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father, and I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and I will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” Genesis 26: 3, 4
“And in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. Genesis 28:14
“Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, and in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Unto you first, God having raised up His Son, Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities. Acts 3:25,26
“And the scripture foreseeing that God would justify the heathen, through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham saying, in thee shall all nations be blessed.”
Galatians 3: 8
“Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, and to seeds as of many; but, as of one, and to thy seed, which is Christ.” Galatians 3: 16
All the nations, families and kindreds of the earth are to be blessed with a gospel blessing, to consist in being turned away from iniquity, and the Universalist can plead the promise of God for his faith. “That anchor holds.” He will fulfill His promise.
“God is not a man that He should lie, neither the son of man that He should repent. Hath He said and shall He not do it? Or Hath He spoken and shall He not make it good?”
“For what if some did not believe? Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect, God forbid: yea, let God be true but every man a liar.” Romans 3:3, 4
“For all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him …amen.” 2 Corinthians 1:20
God has confirmed His promise, by an oath. He has sworn to redeem all mankind from sin and error.
“I have sworn by Myself; the word has gone out of My mouth and shalt not return, that unto Me, every knee shall bow and every tongue shall swear surely shall saying, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength.” Isaiah 14: 23
“For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. Wherein God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath: that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God t lie we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us; which hope we have as an anchor of he soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the vail: whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made a high priest forever after the order of Melchisedek.” Hebrew 6: 16-20
Thus we have GOD”S AFFIDAVIT to plead in evidence of our faith.
Jesus is the appointed means to accomplish this end. “My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me and to finish His work.” John 4: 34
“Thy will be done.” Matthew 6:10 was His prayer. “God sent not His Son into the world not to condemn the world, but that the world though Him might be saved.” John 3: 17
“We have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.” 1 John 4:14 “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me.” John 12: 32
God wills the salvation of all men. “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” 1 Timothy 2: 4
The will of God shall be done. “He doeth according to His will I the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest thou?” Daniel 4:35
The will of God is law, alike in the spiritual as in the material world. It must ultimately be accomplished.
God purposes to save all men. “Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of times, He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in him.” Ephesians 1: 9,10
God’s purpose will be executed. “My counsel shall stand and I will do all my pleasure.” Isaiah 46:10
God promises to save all men. “Ye are the children of the prophets and of the covenant which god made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, and in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.” Acts 3: 25
God will fulfill His promises. “ for all the promises of God in Him are Yea and in Him amen, unto the glory of Body by us.” 2 Corinthians 1:20
God makes oath that He will save all men. “ I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that unto Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear, surely shall say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength.” Isaiah 45: 23, 29
And God will make good His oath. “Wherein, God willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath; that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to Lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us.”
Hebrews 6: 17, 18
Jesus will accomplish the work he came to do. “He shall see of the travail of His soul and shall be satisfied.” Isaiah 53:1
“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”
Philippians 2: 9-11
WHAT GOD WILLS, HE PURPOSES; WHAT HE PURPOSES, HE PROMISES; WHAT HE PROMISES HE MAKES AN OATH TO, HE SENDS HIS SON TO ACCOMPLISH, AND JESUS DOES ACCOMPLISH.
YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN
In this language addressed by Jesus to Nicodemus, John 3: 7 is the perpetual declaration of the Almighty Father to all who are unregenerated, and it will continue to be uttered, as long as there is an unregenerated soul. Usually it is understood as expressing what ought to be, but it also expresses what God has determined shall be….what must, will be. “Ye must be born again, is prophetic of all human beings.
A CONDITIONAL PROMISE
“I, if I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto Me.” John 12:32
Here Jesus predicates universal salvation on His crucifixion. “If I am crucified,” He says, “I will ultimately attract all men unto myself.” For He said this (verse 33) to signify the mode of His death. The conditions have been complied with; He has to be crucified. We must believe in the result announced, or we deny the declaration of Jesus Himself.
SIN BURNED; SINNERS SAVED
“If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire.” 1 Corinthians 3: 15
EVERY SOUL WORTH SAVING
“Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsel of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.” 1 Corinthians 4: 5
COMFORT FOR ALL
“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” 2 Corinthians 1: 3, 4
What can the Christian say to those who mourn the death of unrepentant friends, that will comfort them…. “those in any trouble’….except that they are still in the hands of Divine Grace, who will do for and by them better that their dearest friends can ask or think?
Only the Universalist faith can comfort those in any trouble.
HEAVEN’S JOYS CERTAIN
“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
2 Corinthians 5:1
The apostle could not know this unless it depended on God’s immutable purpose. If human weakness or sin could sacrifice it, then Paul could only hope or believe that he might have such a house. His certainty renders its existence absolute, and its inheritance sure.
THE SUBSTANCE OF THINGS HOPED FOR
Paul gives one grand definition of Christian faith: “It is the substance of things hoped for.” Hebrews 11:1 What partial view of God’s redeeming grace merits this description? What do all Christians ardently hope for, but the ultimate deliverance of all souls from the thralldom of sin?
THE WICKEDEST SAVED
The apostle Peter addressed the wickedest of human beings, those who committed the worst act ever perpetrated, the murder of the sinless Savior, as destined to salvation, after having received the just penalty of their sins…..He said: “ Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles, and wonders, and signs, which god did by Him I the midst of you, as ye yourself; ye also know; Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain. Acts 2:22, 23
And when they were “pricked to the heart” he added:
“Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. (verses 38, 39)
It is not possible that the promise was to these men, and that they are to be saved, and any less wicked than the “lost” their deliverance insured the redemption of all. Hence Peter adds to the same wicked people: “ Ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; and killed the Prince of life. Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant, which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, and in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Unto you first, God having raised up His Son Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.” Acts 3: 14,25
THE IMAGE OF GOD
Jesus was….”The image of the invisible God.” Colossians 1:15 “The brightness of His glory and the express image of His person.” Hebrews 1: 3
That is in all His conduct, in every trait of His disposition, he was just like God, and did just what God would have done. How did He treat sinners? To the woman taken in adultery, He said “Go and sin no more.” John 8
To Thomas, the skeptic, who refused to credit His resurrection, He showed the evidence of that great fact in His hands, His feet, and His side. John 20 To Peter, denying with oaths and curses that he had ever known Him, He looks with pity and grief, and the heart of the false disciple is melted. John 18 To Saul, hating Him and persecuting His followers, He sends no stroke of doom to annihilate him, but the opening heavens are radiant with light as He arrests the cruel persecutor with the unanswerable question,
“Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” Acts 9:4
For those who nailed Him to the cross His last breath is a prayer that they may be forgiven for their unparalleled crime. Luke 23: 34 Was it the prayer of faith, and will that prayer be answered? Christ was the friend of sinners in this world: Is He their friend now? Will He always be their friend? If not, is He the same yesterday, today, and forever?
As God’s image He will always remain the loving friend of sinners, employing all possible means for their improvement and welfare. His whole life was in the same spirit.
He invoked no vengeance, demanded no bloody sacrifice, either of the sinner or of a vicarious substitute, but pity, mildness, mercy and love went from Him towards even the vilest of the vile.
God must treat the skeptic, the profane, the cruel, the murderer, and the wicked of every grade in the same manner, or the resemblance between image and original would be destroyed. Can God justify the resemblance to Christ, unless, though He punish, He continues to love, and employs all His infinite attributes, and all the ages of eternity if need be, in the blessed work of purifying and saving His children form the sins that alienate them from Him?
This was the work that always occupied Jesus that still occupies Him as He sits at the right hand of the Father. As truly as Jesus is the image of God, the Father must always thus be employed, until the last exile from the home of the soul returns to allegiance, and duty, and of heaven.
Paul hoped that the unjust would be raised. He said: “I have hope towards god that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both the just and of the unjust.” Acts 24:15
He must have believed that the resurrection of the unjust would be a moral as well as an existential anastasis. He might believe in it, if it were an unhappy fate, but he could not hope for it. Hope is compounded of desire and expectation. He therefore expected and desired the resurrection of the unjust. Only a demon could desire they’re rising if it were to a condition of endless torment.
But Paul, whose heart always yearned for human happiness, tells us that the unjust will rise into an improved condition, a desirable and therefore good and happy existence, when he says he hopes for the resurrection of he unjust. Hoping for it he demonstrates that he believed it to be something desirable, a benefit to them.
THE GLAD TIDING OF GOD
The apostle Paul, in the first verse of the first chapter of his letter to the church in Rome, call Christianity “The glad Tidings of God” gospel, (euaggelion) His writings show that the delighted to dwell on the universal grace and mercy of god. He announces it in scores of passages, found in this book, and asks concerning those who deny it; “ What if some did not believe? Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar.’ Romans 3:3 Believe what? That…..
THE UNIVERSE SHALL BE DELIVERED FROM SIN
Paul says: “The creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” Romans 8: 21
Dr Macknight says “ Ktisis” (the creature in this passage) “signifies every human creature.” Professor Stuart declares it’s meaning to be, as in Mark 16:15 and Colossians 1:23 “mankind in general.”
It is subject to evil.
It has a hope of deliverance.
It shall be delivered
Into the liberty of god’s angel’s or children. Though not yet accomplished it is the province of Christian faith to believe in the result, and thus eat celestial fruit on earthly ground. Hence the same apostle says;
“Thou hast put all things in subjection under His feet. For in that He put all in subjection under Him he left nothing that is not put under Him. But, now we see not yet all things put under Him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower that the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” Hebrews 2: 8, 9
The subjection of all men to Christ is like that of Christ to God. “And when all things shall be subdued unto Him (hupotagee) then shall the Son also Himself be subject, (jupotageesetai), unto Him that put all things under (hupoazanti) Him, that God may be all in all.” 1 Corinthians 15:28
“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery lest ye should
Be wise in your own conceits, that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the gentiles come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, there shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: for this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.”
Romans 11: 25-27
It is therefore a willing service, the love and homage of faithful and obedient children. All men are to be subject to Christ with the same subjection under which Christ is subject to God.
WHAT GOD WILL NOT DO
“He will not always chide.” Psalms 103:9 “He will not contend forever.” Isaiah 57:16 “He will not cast off forever” Lamentations 3:31 “He will not retain His anger forever.” Micah 7: 18
WHAT GOD WILL DO
“He will have all men to be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 1Timothy 2:4 “He will swallow up death in victory, and wipe tears from off all faces.” Isaiah 25:8 “He will destroy the devil” 1 John 3:8 “He will destroy man’s last enemy… Death” 1 Corinthians 25:26 “He will reconcile all things unto Himself.” Colossians 1: 19,20 “He will finish sin, make an end of transgression, and bring in everlasting righteousness.” Daniel 9:24
SIN, SATAN, DEATH AND HELL DESTROYED.
“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy Him that had the power of death, that is the devil and deliver them who through fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Hebrews 11:14,15 “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:8
The Revelator saw the work accomplished…. “Death and Hell were cast into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:14 this denotes their destruction. Paul declares: “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is Death.” 1 Corinthians 15:26
The words “that” and “is” are supplied by the translators. The passage as Paul wrote it is “The last enemy shall be destroyed, Death.” So whether we suppose He meant physical or moral death, it is to be destroyed, and all other enemies are to be destroyed previously. Death is the last. This is what caused the apostle to exclaim triumphantly: “O Death, where is thy sting? O Grave, where is thy victory?”
1 Corinthians 15: 55
There is no sting, no victory. Then there is no sin. “The sting of death is sin,” and Christ is victorious over sin and death, by accomplishing their destruction. These passages teach that Jesus became mortal to destroy man’s enemies, the devil, sin and death, and that He succeeded in His great mission, leaving not an enemy of man in existence, when He had finished His work.
“O’er every foe victorious,
He on His throne shall rest,
From age to age more glorious
All blessing and all blest.
The tide of time shall never
His covenant remove,
His name shall stand forever
That name to us is Love.”
ALL SHALL BE RIGHTEOUS
Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.” Isaiah 60:21
Who are His people? “ Thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people FROM THEIR SINS.” Matthew 1:21
His people are sinners and as “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” all men are sinners, and all are “his people.” “All souls are his,” and though all have gone out of the way in sin, all are to return to willing obedience.
“I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear, surely shall say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength.” Isaiah 45:23,24
And that word shall be fulfilled: “It shall not return unto me void; but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing where to I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11
Hence we read: “I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance and the utter most parts of the earth for thy possession. Psalms 2:8 “Thou has given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as thou has give Him. And this is life eternal that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou has sent. John 17: 2,3
“And He is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the WHOLE WORLD” 1 John 2:2 “He gave Himself a ransom for ALL.”
1 Timothy 2:6 “He tasted death for EVERY MAN.” Hebrews 2:9
Jesus foresaw and announced this when He said: “ And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, (crucified) will draw all men unto me.” John 12:32 “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.”
John 6: 37
This explains the meaning of such passages as these:
“ All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee. Psalms 86:9
“Unto thee shall all flesh come” Psalms 65:2
“All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord.” Psalms 22:27
“And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying know the Lord, for they shall all know Me, from the least of them, unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord, and I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sins no more. Jeremiah 31:34
“For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell; and having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him I say, whether they be things in earth or things in heave. Colossians 1:19,20
Archbishop Newcome and professor Stuart say ‘all things” here mean “all intelligent beings.” Thus all souls are to be converted to God, and universal holiness will prevail.
ALL DESTINED TO GOD
“For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: To Whom be glory forever.” Romans 11:36
Can human language more fully state the sublime truth of God of universal triumph over sin and death in briefer terms, than it is here declared?
As truly as all souls came from God, and exist by Him, they shall go to Him. For it is of human beings that the great apostle is here speaking. Having reached the conclusion of universal salvation, what wonder that he said:
“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and are His ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been His counselor? Or who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto Him again?” Romans 11:33-35
And then he closes with that grand epitome: “OF HIM, THROUGH HIM, and TO HIM ARE ALL THNGS.”
O thou whose power oe’r moving worlds presides,
Whose voice created and whose wisdom guides:
On darkling man in pure effulgence shine,
And clear the clouded mind with light divine.
Tis, Thine alone to calm the pious breast,
With silent confidence and holy rest;
From Thee alone we spring, to Thee we tend,
PATH. MOTIVE, GUIDE, ORIGINAL AND END!
What wonder that, on hearing this great truth for the first time,
THE PEOPLE WERE ASTONSIHED.
The common people were astonished at His doctrine of the resurrection of all souls to holiness. They were familiar with the idea of annihilation and of endless punishment, but universal salvation was new to them. Nor other news could have astonished them. “They were astonished at His doctrine.” Matthew 22: 33
Had He taught annihilation I this argument concerning the resurrection, he would not have astonished the Sadducees, had He taught endless punishment He would not have astonished the Pharisees and Pagans. But universal salvation astonished all because new to all. He taught the resurrection of all mankind to an equality with the angels.
UNIVERSAL PARDON AND OBEDIENCE.
“I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and I will be their God and they shall be My people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, know the Lord; for they shall all know Me. From the last to the greatest of them, saith the Lord, for I will forgive their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” Jeremiah 31: 33, 34
“Whom to know is life eternal”
“For all (the house of Israel) shall know me, from the least to the greatest.” Hebrews 8:11 “Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” Romans 8: 21
CHRIST CANCELS ADAM
Christ’s labors cancel Adam’s influence,
Therefore as the offense of one even so by the righteousness
judgment came upon all men to of one, the free gift came upon
condemnation, all men unto justification of
life. Romans 5:13
But where sin abounded grace did much more abound.
As sin hath reigned unto even so might grace reign
death through righteousness unto
eternal life, by Jesus Christ
our Lord. Romans 5:21
As in Adam all die even so in Christ shall all be
made alive.1 Corinthians 15: 32
For as by one man’s disobedience so by the obedience of one
many were made sinners, shall many be made righteous
All mankind are to be made alive.
They are to live “in Christ”
They are therefore to be new creatures, for “if any man be in Christ he is a new creature.” 1 Corinthians 5:17
They wear the heavenly image.
Grace reigns where ever sin has borne sway
The exact number “made sinners’ namely all men, are “made righteous”
A HEALTHFUL DOCTRINE,
A belief in universal salvation exerts a good moral influence.
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation to all men hath appeared teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lust, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world.” Titus 2: 11, 12
This is the true reading. “God’s grace hath not appeared to all men, but it bringeth salvation to all.”
NO MORE SORROW
“Can there be a hell full of agony and woe? Must not heaven, then be universal?
The Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces.” Isaiah 25: 8
UNIVERSAL OBEDIENCE PROPHESIED
“All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord, and all the kindred’s of the nations shall worship before thee. For the kingdom is the Lord’s and He is the governor among the nations.” Psalms 22:27, 28
“All Kings shall fall down before Him; all nations shall serve Him, all men shall be blessed in Him: all nations shall call Him blessed.” Psalms 72: 11, 17
“All nations Whom Thou hast made shall come and worship before Thee, O Lord, and shall glorify Thy name.” Psalms 86: 9
“The Glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” Isaiah 11: 5
When all the ends of the world turn to God and worship, then will be universal obedience.
THE UNIVERSAL PROPITIATION
“And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one: and He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:1, 2
Have the sins of the whole world been propitiated? If so, can payment be asked again? Christ has done for all what he had done for any. The fate of each, so far as Christ is concerned, must be the fate of all.
THEIR WORKS FOLLOW THEM
“And I heard a voice from heaven, saying unto me, write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors and their works do follow them.” Revelation 14: 13
Not the belief, the faith or the moral and spiritual condition of the last moments if life is here alluded to, but the works. That is, the works of the spirit. These are love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.
Galatians 5: 22,23
These follow the spirit into the other world. The Bible does not teach that the works of the flesh follow the dead. These are adultery, fornication, uncleanliness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envying, murders, drunkenness, reveling and such like.” Galatians 5: 19-21
These perish at the death of the body: “For I know that in me (that is in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me: but how to perform that which is good, I find not. For the good that I would, I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do, Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me, I find then a law, that when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God, after the inward man: but I see another law in my members warring against the law of my mind and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin, which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death” Romans 7:18-24
This explains Paul’s words: “For he that soweth to the flesh shall of the flesh (not of the spirit) reap corruption.” Galatians 6: 8
The works of the flesh perish with the flesh, but the works of the spirit survive with the spirit. All that is worthless dies.
“Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire: and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abides which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss, but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire.” 1Corinthians 3:13-15
THE BUILDING OF GOD IS SURE
“For we know that, if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
2 Corinthians 5:1
Did the reader ever reflect that the apostle could not say “we know” that we have an eternal mansion, if its acquisition depended on man’s efforts, or if any possible act of his could forfeit it?
He might hope for it, but it would not be certain. His certainty demonstrates that the title rests not on man’s conduct, which might forfeit it, but on God’s absolute purpose. Every Christian can say “we know,” because God in His house of many mansions has reserved one tenement of each immortal tenant, and at some time in the far future each son and daughter of God will find and occupy his predestined home. We can only read our title clear, and say with Paul “WE KNOW” when we feel that we can neither earn nor forfeit that title, but that our occupancy depends on one whose purpose cannot fail.
GOD HATES SIN
Sin is the abominable thing that His soul hateth. He could not, therefore, so stultify Himself as to build an eternal hell, and perpetuate sin. But he loves the sinner. He will, therefore, destroy the sinner’s foes, all his enemies, even the last.
“The last enemy shall be destroyed, death.” 1 Corinthians 15:26
GOD ALL IN ALL
“And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.”
1 Corinthians 15: 28
When He is all in all can the devil be in any?
“And what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us ward who believe, according to the working of this might power, which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places far above all principality and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all.”
Ephesians 1: 19-23
God’s glory can only be promoted by the salvation of all His children. Good music glorifies the musician, a good machine the machinist, a good farm the farmer, good children, a father. Success Glorifies, and defeat shame. God designs a holy race. He can only be glorified by universal holiness. Hence He says: “Whosoever offereth praise glorifieth me.” Psalms 1:23
And the “honor and the power and the glory” can only belong to Him when His efforts to redeem all shall issue in the redemption of all.
GOD A UNIVERSAL SAVIOR
Every soul is under perpetual obligations to regard God as his personal Savior. Then the doctrine must be true. God must be the final personal Savior of all, or those of whom He is not the Savior are commanded to believe a lie, but because He is, those who do not believe, make God a liar, by their unbelief.
He that believeth not God hath made Him a liar, because he believeth not the record that God gave of His Son. “And this is the record, that God has give us eternal life: and this life is in His Son.” 1John 5: 10, 11
That is the divine plan, and all the means have been adopted to insure success. In the Divine mind the future is the present, what is to be, is. Thus God is the Savior of all men. This was…..
WHY PAUL WAS PERSECUTED
It was for preaching Universal Salvation. He says:
“For therefore we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God who is the Savior of all men especially of those that believe.” 1 Timothy 4:10
Paul does not claim that he was persecuted for teaching that God had made it possible for all to be save, but for declaring that God is actually the Savior of all men.
Had he inculcated the Methodist or Presbyterian scheme of partial salvation, he would have agreed, substantially, with the heathen and the Jews. They believed in a partial God who would save but a part. Had the apostles taught only that, they would not have been reproached. But believing in the salvation of all, they were persecuted. Had they been partialists as were the Jews and the heathen would they have been persecuted for teaching that God is the universal Savior?
Can God be the Savior of those He does not save?
If anyone is lost, is God the Savior of all men? Is He in any sense the Savior of unbelievers? He is not the special Savior of believers, unless He is the actual Savior of all. Paul suffered reproach for no other reason that for teaching that God is a universal savior.
ALL ARE TO BE MADE RIGHTEOUS
All will confess righteousness: “Unto Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear, surely shall say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength.” Isaiah 14:24
This confesses the Lordship of Jesus. “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him and given Him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth: and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11
This is not compelled, but voluntary. “No man can say that Jesus is the Lord but by the Holy Ghost.” 1 Corinthians 12: 3
Hence, the attractions of the cross will win the loving allegiance of all souls, at last.
“And if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me.” John 12:32
This condition is now fulfilled, He has been crucified, the conclusion follows in due time.
“Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God even the Father, when He shall have put down all rule and all authority, and power. For He must reign till He hath put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For He hath put all things under His feet. But when he saith all things are put under Him, it is manifest that He is excepted, which did put all things under Him. And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.” 1 Corinthians 15: 24-28
THE FINAL CONSUMMATION
The apostle describes the “far off divine event to which the whole creation moves: thus:
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put My laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God and they shall be to Me a people: and they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, know the Lord; for all shall know Me, from the least to the greatest.
For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” Hebrews 13: 10-12
And the apocalyptic seer saw all men happy when he beheld the final consummation:
“Every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, blessing, and honor, and glory, and power be unto Him that sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever.” Revelation 5:13
“And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be anymore pain: for the former things are passed away.” Revelation 21: 2-4
We have thus indicated the chief passages that teach the doctrine of universal salvation. We have not quoted all of them, nor have we quoted that spirit which is without measure, and which cannot be reduced to chapter and verse, which pervades the Bible…..the divine aroma that sweetens and perfumes the book of books.
The love and character of God, and the life and spirit of Christ are forever at war with the idea of endless hate and ceaseless torment, and breathe that holy spirit that will have nothing less than universal reconciliation to God, universal holiness among men. The few passages we have quoted unmistakably teach the great truth inculcated by all God’s attributes, and that was the vital breath of Him who came to do God’s will among men, and who successfully accomplished His great mission, in reconciling universal humanity to it’s God and Father.
When God’s plans shall have been completed,
Then, THE END, beneath His rod
Man’s last enemy shall fall;
Hallelujah! Christ in God
God in Christ is ALL IN ALL.
Everlasting…..The Greek work translated, everlasting, eternal, forever….the usage of this word is found to be limited and not an endless duration..