Is everybody going to be saved?
Another great controversy raging in today’s world of Christianity is the teaching on “Universal Salvation,” “Universal Reconciliation,” or “Universalism” for short.
This is the belief that because of Christ’s love, all people will be saved in the end. Hell is just a metaphor for humans. Others believe that hell is the equivalent of purgatory (a temporary state or form of punishment), but that hell is the real destination for the demons — but not humans. Is this true?
Historically, there was no hint of universalism in the first two centuries of Christian writings. This teaching seemed to find its early roots from some of the ideas of Catholic Bishop Augustine (354–430). About eleven centuries later, Protestant theologian John Calvin (1509–1564), adopted some of Augustine’s ideas into his teachings. But the belief in universalism was a minority view for most of history until the 1800s. Since then, certain preachers and theologians began to develop those ideas into doctrines, but with various conflicting interpretations.
Does God Reward With Justice and Fairness?
One common objection made by many to the doctrine of universalism is that it is still helpful to preserve the deep-rooted fear of eternal torment as a good deterrent to living an immoral life. For example, consider this realistic scenario:
Here is one person who disciplined himself to live a good, morally upright, righteous, and godly life. Will he just have the same “saved” destiny as one who has lived a rabidly notorious and criminal life — with reckless abandon?
Some Bible Verses Misused by Universalists
… who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. [NOTE: That is God’s desire, but He has also given an irrevocable “free moral agency” to all human beings.]
~1 Timothy 2:4
For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. [NOTE: This is qualified by the statement to “those who believe (only).”]
~1 Timothy 4:10
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. [NOTE: While God is not willing that any should perish, all humans have also been given free moral agency for them to choose to “repent.”]
~2 Peter 3:9
Some Clear Verses That Contradict Universalism
The soul [not just body] who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell [Gehenna — the lake of fire, the second death].
“For behold, the day is coming, Burning like an oven, And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up,” Says the LORD of hosts, “That will leave them neither root nor branch… You shall trample the wicked, For they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet On the day that I do this,” Says the LORD of hosts.
…Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition… [NOTE: There is indeed perdition (loss of the soul, eternal damnation; utter ruin) for certain individuals.]
… in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power…
~2 Thessalonians 1:8-9
But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
~2 Peter 3:7
The beast that you saw… will… go to perdition…
And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
These verses show very clearly that there is no such thing as “universal salvation,” which is an unbiblical doctrine. Why? Because there are those who will die (due to their rejection of Christ’s sacrifice and their willful sinning) and go into perdition. They will be punished with flaming fire into everlasting destruction, burned up, and turned into ashes.
Why Such Great Misunderstanding?
- Because of the belief in a false concept of hell and punishment
- The failure to correctly understand the purpose of human life
- Ignorance concerning God’s Master Plan of Salvation for all humanity
We plan to expound on the correct biblical concepts on these fundamental topics in succeeding articles in BiblicalTruths.com. Watch out for them.