Is Christian Universalism True?

Is Christian Universalism True?

Matt McMillen Ministries

“Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts”

See Hebrews 3:15

The answer to the title of this devotional is, “No, Christian Universalism is not true.” If it were, we would have to ignore quite a bit of Scripture about three things:

  1. Choosing to believe
  2. Evangelism
  3. Warnings about hell

What is Christian Universalism?

It’s the belief the entire world is saved, whether we like it or not, most just don’t realize what Jesus did for everyone. Hell isn’t real and nobody will be punished by God.

This idea began in the early 1800s and continues on today. Christian Universalism gives no one the opportunity to make the decision of placing their faith in Jesus, nor can they reject Him. His “universal” love and saving ability has saved us. We have no say in the matter. We’re safe, secure, and have nothing to worry about in regard to our salvation.

This sounds amazing! But it’s just not true, scripturally.

Universalists have a handful of Bible passages they’ll use in an attempt to say Jesus’ work on the Cross saved everyone and fixed the world’s sin issue with God. Let’s look at a couple:

  1. 1 John 2:2 “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” Propitiation simply means satisfying sacrifice. They’ll use this passage and point out what I’ve underlined–“for the sins of the whole world”–which is true. Christ’s bloody body did satisfy the Father’s wrath over all sin for all time (see Romans 5:1,9, 6:23, Hebrews 1:3, 10:10,26). The issue is, we must accept this truth by faith for our sins. He doesn’t force forgiveness onto us. We must receive it by receiving Jesus. Christ is standing at the door of our lives, knocking. We have to make the decision to open up and let Him in by grace through faith. He’ll never kick in the door and yell, “Here, take this forgiveness!” Even though He has paid for all our sins–past, present, and future–we must still believe, once (see Revelation 3:20, Ephesians 2:8-9, John 3:16-18).
  2. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19“Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”  This passage from Paul is outstanding! He’s explaining what God has done through Jesus, which is reconcile Himself to us! Sadly, the Universalist will pull this passage out of context and say we’re all reconciled–the world–and nobody’s sins are counted against them. But we must keep reading through the next verse, “We beg you, be reconciled to God” (see 2 Corinthians 5:20). Why beg if they were already reconciled? Why plead be reconciled if Jesus did this without us knowing? Reconciliation takes two willing parties. If I want to reconcile with someone but they refuse, we aren’t reconciled. It takes two to tango. We–on our part–must believe Christ has saved us from our sins. We must believe God. This is the one-time saving faith James talks about, using Abraham and Rahab as examples (see James 2). This is the faith Paul reminded the Galatians of–what’s already happened–a moment of faith which entered them into a union with our Creator (see Galatians 3).

If Christian Universalism were true, we must also ignore all the Bible passages about evangelism, so get out your Sharpie. Spreading the Good News about Christ wouldn’t be necessary because everyone is already saved. So scratch through these verses:

“Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts” (See Hebrews 3:15)

“I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” (See Acts 26:17-18)

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” (John 3:16-18)

And what about this doozy?

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

Why would a saved person confess something which doesn’t exist? We may as well toss out the entire canon of Scripture! We wouldn’t need it because we’re all good to go!

Wrong. The truth is we have a choice. We can believe or choose to reject faith in Christ. If we’re believing God we’re believing Christ because Christ is God (see John 14:9).

This musters up a logical question we all think at some point or another, so let’s just go ahead and tackle it: What about the people who don’t get the opportunity to believe in Jesus because they’ve never had a chance to hear about Him?

Why stop there? Let’s ask even tougher questions: What about aborted babies, little children, the handicapped and mentally-impaired?

Here’s my answer: God is love.

He is love. Love isn’t just one of His many characteristics but love is who He is (see 1 John 4:8). Therefore we have to trust Him in regard to these topics rather than say all the world is saved because it’s not. We mustn’t brush these matters off with condescending or appeasing universal answers. We don’t need to give the day of the week when someone asks us what time it is. We don’t need to be salespeople for God. We can even say, “I don’t know,” when we don’t know. Our identity isn’t found in having all the answers.

I’d advise anyone with difficult thoughts and scenarios to ask God more and more questions. He’s a good Father and good fathers never belittle their children’s queries. With Him, there’s no such thing as a dumb question. He welcomes them all because each question will lead us right back into His great love for humanity.

So what about those who’ve never had the chance to hear about Jesus? How can they be saved? Here’s what I believe the Spirit has taught me: God has presented Himself to everyone on this planet at some point in their lives, and Jesus is God.

Friend, there’s only one true God. From Creation, He’s always made Himself known to each and every person who’s ever lived, both before and after the Cross. Paul informs the Romans:

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–His eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20)

There’s no mention of Jesus because no chance to believe in Him had been given, yet God is clearly seen. Keep in mind, this is Romans 1. The first five chapters of this letter is Paul building his case for all of humanity’s problem apart from God, both the Jews and non-Jews, we Gentiles.

For us, Gentiles, we’re without excuse and must believe Him when He presents Himself through His creation. What we’re seeing around us causes us to naturally think, “Where did all this come from?”

This continues today, even with the smartest scientists, because even they will tell you something can’t come from nothing. Matter cannot create itself. Something has to come from something else which always has been and always will be. That’s the God of the Bible. That’s Christ; the Word; the Lamb. No beginning or end. The First and the Last. Alpha and Omega. God is timeless! This is why He calls Himself, “I Am!” (See Exodus 3:14, John 1:1,29, 8:58, Revelation 22:13).

Atheistic scientists have a serious origin problem and they know it. Ultimately this is where their arguments dissolve. With no other way to defend their theory, personal attacks and insults become their only defense. When “reason” can’t come up with a Creator, because they know something created us, they’ll get furious or laugh. It’s really sad. Why not just say, “A god made this.”? But they won’t. Pride prevents it. If they concede to a god of creation then they must figure out which one is the truth. It’s Jesus (see John 14:6).

Some of the most intelligent people claim a Big Bang happened but even they will tell you they don’t know what caused the bang. I do. It was God when He said, “Let there be light!” (See Genesis 1:3).

Whereas we Gentiles look up at the sky and “believing a god is real” is at least an option set into motion, for the Jews, they must believe in Him apart from the Law (see Romans chapters 2-4). After all, they already know where the sun, moon, stars, and humans came from. Moses wrote about it in Genesis after God told him.

The Jews weren’t special, per se. Yes, the Word chose their race to become physical flesh; and yes, they got to carry the oracles of human history. But even they had to believe God at some point. That is, each, individual person. Being a Jew by birth did not make them right with God. The righteous have always lived by faith, through simply believing God. The Law never made anyone righteous. It simply increased one’s awareness of a deep need for a graceful Savior (see Romans 1:17, 5:20, 10:4, Galatians 3:11).

Solomon, a Jew, even he said God has written the notion of eternity in the heart of every human, not just the Hebrews (see Ecclesiastes 3:11). Believing the One True God is what saves a person. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened. “Why am I here, God? Who are you?” Every human can ask these questions and He’ll always answer.

“In past generations He allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. Yet He did not leave Himself without witness” (See Acts 14:16-17)

Since the beginning of time, faith has always been the way into a relationship with God, even for Gentiles. This is why Paul said all the nations. Before the Cross, believing God–faith–credited accounts because Christ’s blood payment goes forward and backwards. He’s not bound by time, we are. He created the planets–their rotations and revolutions–and the sun in which we get our notion of time from (see 2 Peter 3:8, Revelation 13:8). So if we can be saved by faith thousands of years after the Cross, why can’t others be saved by faith thousands of years before it? The answer is, they can!

I go deeper into this subject in a devotional titled, Jesus Has Retroactive Blood, from, The Christian Identity, Volume 2.

Before the Cross, God left all sins committed by the believing Jew and the believing Gentile unpunished until the moment Christ died.

“For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in His divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.” (See Romans 3:22-25)

Forbearance? That means He was patient. He was patiently waiting for the Cross to happen as believers sinned all the time with no distinction in their race. And do you see what I underlined? The sins before Christ’s death were passed over, but not just for the Jews! Again, there was no distinction! This included my heathen forefathers who believed God, and yours too, Gentile! Another translation reads, “He had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished.” How were sins unpunished before the Cross happened?

Credited righteousness by faith.

By believing God. Abraham lived way before Jesus did and Paul used him as an example of credited righteousness:

What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” (Romans 4:3, {Paul quoting Genesis 15:6})

Someone might say, “Well Abraham was a Jew, that’s why he received a righteousness credit put on his books”–but hold on. Rahab was not a Jew, she lived before the Cross, and she too was credited as righteous by faith–by simply believing God (see James 2:25, Hebrews 11:31).

This proves God has always been interested in one main thing, “Do you believe me?” If you do, once, you are right with Him forever. From the time of Adam and Eve that’s all He’s ever wanted. Had they believed Him–that they were already perfect–they wouldn’t have eaten from the tree to receive the devil’s legalistic knowledge of right and wrong.

Lastly, what about hell? Universalists say a loving God would never send someone to such a torturous place. They claim it doesn’t even exist. However, Jesus spoke more about hell than He did heaven. There are warnings all throughout Scripture. Hell is real and hell is bad. It’s specifically reserved for those who reject God–His enemies. I’m no expert on hell because my focus is on how not to go there: Faith in Jesus Christ.

But I do know this, God is not sending people to hell. It’s them choosing unbelief over believing Him. Whereas heaven is the complete absence of sin, hell is the most potent place of it. There’s no hope there.

I used to think hell never ended because there’s scriptures which indicate it doesn’t end. But an argument has surfaced lately which I’ve heard from trusted colleagues. It’s the thought–not the proof–that God will ultimately destroy hell and all who are there, annihilation. The word destruction is the basis. Yet, I don’t know. Why take the chance, unbeliever?

Whether it ends or not, hell is explicitly booked for the enemies of God, the devil, and his demons (see Matthew 25:41). Do not go there. You decide, God doesn’t. Believe Him right now if you haven’t. If you have, don’t worry about hell. You’re already seated in heaven, spiritually (see Ephesians 2:6).

Do babies, children, and handicapped people who obviously have the mind of children, go to hell? I don’t see that in Scripture. I see Jesus saying the kingdom of God belongs to such as these (see Matthew 19:14, Mark 10:14, Luke 18:16). When David’s baby died, he said, “I will go to be with him one day” (see 2 Samuel 12:23).

I think I’ll trust that. I think I’ll trust the love of God.

So today, my friends, know this: The whole world isn’t saved. We must believe God. If you’re on a remote island and have never heard about Jesus, God is still there because God is Jesus. His Holy Spirit is wooing you through your conscience and creation. That palm tree? He made that. Those seagulls and vast ocean? He dreamt that up. Believe Him today! The message about Christ must continue to spread because countless people have rejected God’s Spirit by faith. This message must continue until His return so we can all be built up into the full knowledge of His great love!

A prayer for you: God–Father, Son, Holy Spirit–thank you for life. Thank you for creating us. Even though we descended from our sinful forefather, Adam, therefore inheriting sin by no fault of our own, you made a way for us to become righteous by faith in Christ–by no works of our own. Thank you for making a way before the world began! Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. For the believer, take them deeper into the truths of your grace. Reveal just how loving you are and how much you care for the entire world. For the unbeliever, keep calling them, Lord. Keep reminding them you’re there with arms wide open, whenever they want to turn to you. Amen.

This devotional is from The Christian Identity, Volume 3. Get your copy here!

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