“…He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”
1 John 2:2 (NIV)
Some people argue that repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ are really not necessary for salvation, because, they say, in the end all souls will be saved by God’s grace anyway, including all humans, all angels and even all demons.
What a person believes, what a person does, or how a person lives, makes no difference – salvation for everyone is already determined and certain. Such a belief is called universalism.
And Colossian 1:19-20 says, “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” (NIV)
That tells us that everyone, without exception, is included in Christ’s atoning work and is reconciled to God through Christ’s blood.
And yet, Paul also wrote in Romans 1:16: “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes…”
In Christ, God has already finished his saving work for humanity, adopted humanity as his beloved children in Christ, and raised humanity with Christ, seating everyone with him in the heavenly realms. And yet, to take part in that fellowship with God we have to believe it and embrace it. We have to trust the giver of the gift.
Contrary to universalism, the Bible teaches that there is salvation only in Jesus Christ. In Christ, God has done everything necessary for every human to be saved, but all who remain hostile to God remain unsaved by their own choice.
Salvation is fellowship with God, a right relationship with God. Those who refuse God’s love and fellowship are refusing salvation. And he will not allow hostile, destructive people, to whom his love means nothing, spoil his kingdom for everyone else.
In Jesus Christ, God has already made us his beloved children. He will never give up on us. He will never let us go. That is why he wants us to accept his good gift and hold it close, to turn to him and trust him and enter into eternal loving fellowship with him and our fellow humans.
Salvation is free, but it’s not automatic. Just turn to him and trust him. It’s that easy.
Thank you, Father, that Jesus died for the whole world, and that we can turn to him and trust him with our salvation.
Study by Joseph Tkach