Will The Truth About The
Salvation of All Remove
Restraints And Encourage
In other leaflets we have called attention to some of the clear and direct statements of Scripture which reveal that God through Jesus Christ is ultimately going to save all mankind. A few of these passages are as follows: (Rom.5:12-19); Rom.8:18-23; 1Cor.15:20-28; Eph.1:7-10; 3:14-21; Phil.2:5-11; 3:20,21; Col.1:15-20; 1Tim.2:1-7; 4:9-11).
At this time let us consider one of the objections which is raised against this teaching. It is this: Will not the teaching of the salvation of all remove restraints and encourage men to lead lives of wickedness?
This is a fair question. No sincere Christian wants to believe or teach anything that will encourage men to live in sin. The truth God has revealed concerning the ultimate salvation of all will not do this. The Scriptures distinctly tell us that it is the goodness of God that leads men to repentance (Rom.2:1-4).
The truth about the salvation of all does not do away with the truth God has revealed concerning the just judgment and condemnation of evil doers. When we speak out against the traditional God-defaming teaching of endless torment, we are not protesting against the truth God has revealed concerning the judgment of the wicked. However there is a vast difference between the traditions and teachings of men on this subject and the truth God has actually revealed in the original Scriptures.
Evil doers will certainly be judged and punished. To those who are contentious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish in the day of judgment (Rom.2:1-16; Rev.20:11-15). But the requital of the wicked will be just and righteous. To teach that God is going to punish men endlessly for what they have done during this brief, sin-cursed, death-doomed, devil-blinded life, is to charge God with unrighteousness. The teaching of endless torment will not stand up for a minute in the light of Gods righteousness and justice, to say nothing about His wisdom, His power and His love.
The assumption that future judgment and punishment is the greatest deterrent to wickedness is wrong. There are five outstanding means which God uses to restrain wickedness.
The first is the immediate consequence of wrong doing. If a person doubles up his fist and hits another he is apt to get hit back. This makes a person think twice before he gets careless with his fists. To every sin there are immediate consequences which exert a strong influence upon men to restrain them from doing wrong. The opposite is also true. There are immediate benefits and blessings in doing right; not only benefits to our fellow man but also an inward satisfaction and joy which in itself moves men to do what is good and right.
The second means God uses to restrain wickedness is the never-failing law: Whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap (Gal.6:7,8). Those who lie, and cheat, and steal, reap the hardness, the cynicism, the mistrust which results from such actions. The sin-hardened and cynical person does not know what real life is. The idea that those who live wickedly have the best time in life is far from the truth. There is no peace to the wicked. Sin rations out death, not life. Consider the drug addict, the alcoholic, the immoral, the irreverent, the atheist, they do not know what it is to experience real life.
Real life is in righteousness and peace and joy in Holy Spirit and in living in harmony and fellowship with God. Those who sow to the Spirit reap this life which is life indeed. The never-failing law: Whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap is a real and strong factor in restraining men from wickedness and in encouraging them to do that which is good and right.
The third powerful means God uses to restrain wickedness is human government. In Romans chapter 13 we are told the authorities that be are ordained by God and that they are Gods ministers to avenge wrong and visit wrath upon them that do evil. Notwithstanding the imperfections and failures of human governments, there is only a fraction of the wickedness in the world today as compared with what there would be if human governments did not exist. Take away the police force in any community, and life as we know it would quickly cease to be. In this world, human governments exert a meaningful force in restraining men from wickedness.
The fourth means God uses to restrain wickedness is the fact of future judgment and condemnation. Human instinct as well as Gods word make men realize that there is a day coming when they shall give account to God and be dealt with according to their deeds. But notwithstanding the power of Gods word and the testimony of human instinct, knowledge of future judgment does not restrain men from doing evil as much as what happens at the present. As the word of God declares: Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil (Ecclesiastes 8:11).
The fifth and most wonderful means God uses to deliver men from wickedness is the transforming power of salvation that is in Christ Jesus. When we believe in the sacrificial and saving work of Jesus Christ in our behalf, we are brought into the in Christ relationship (2Cor.5:17). This means that we have been united with Christ in His death, in His entombment, and in His resurrection. By this means we have been set free from the lordship of Sin and have been enslaved to God and to Righteousness (Rom.6:1-23). As Christ is formed in us (Gal.4:19) our greatest desire and determination is to do the will of God as revealed in His word.
The truth concerning the just requital of the wicked and the eventual salvation of all will have a far greater effect in deterring men from wickedness than the false teaching of endless torment. When we threaten our children with a punishment in excess of what they know will be carried out, we encourage them to do the thing forbidden. The teaching of endless torment does exactly that. It threatens a punishment which man's god-given instinct makes him realize will never be carried out. As a result men disregard the warnings and continue in their irreverence and unrighteousness.
The dreadful and delusive teaching of endless torment slanders God in a revolting manner. It turns: the love of God into cruel hate; the righteousness of God into wickedness; the power of God into ignominious weakness; the wisdom of God into stupidity; the wonderful grace of God into sadistic cruelty; the matchless mercy of God into unrighteous severity.
Shall we support, endorse, or condone such flagrant misrepresentation of our God and Saviour? God forbid! The presentation of Gods truth is one of the most important contributions that can be made to the well-being of our fellow man. May God stir up many to search out the truth, to believe it, to live by it, and to do everything possible to make it known as far and wide as possible. God is the Saviour of all men, specially of them that believe. These Things Command and Teach (See 1Tim.4:9-11).
Joseph E. Kirk
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