In Christian theology, universalism is a belief that all humankind will eventually be saved. As described in Episode 1191: “Are Christians Supposed to Convert the World?” we are not universalists. However, we believe the Bible teaches a “universal opportunity.” We believe most of humanity, after experiencing sin and death and all it entails, once given a choice between righteousness and sin, will choose righteousness.
“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
A voluntary living belief in Jesus is what will determine salvation.
“For as in Adam ALL die, even so in Christ shall ALL be made alive.” 1 Corinthians 15:22
Every human being ever born in Adam will be resurrected.
Jesus describes two phases of resurrection in John 5:28-29: (NASB) ”Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life [a heavenly resurrection], those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment” [a resurrection on earth].
So, this complete opportunity for salvation is in two parts:
First the resurrection of life, a resurrection to a heavenly reward, which is the resurrection of those who respond to the call now to be faithful followers of Christ. Matthew 7:13-14: “Enter by the narrow gate…for the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it.”
This narrow way open now is in contrast to the second part of salvation, “the Highway of Holiness” in Isaiah 35, (the resurrection on earth) which will provide the amazing opportunity for salvation to every person who did not respond to the ‘narrow gate invitation.’ The Highway of Holiness that will be very accessible to all, and Satan, the “roaring lion,” will not be there. He will be bound during a 1,000 year time wherein man will be rehabilitated and reconciled back to God (Isaiah 35:9; Revelation 20:1-3). This second phase of opportunity for salvation will include physical healing of the body and spiritual healing of the heart and mind (Isaiah 35:5-8).
All who choose to use these earthly resurrection blessings to have a living belief in Jesus will have perfect life on earth forever. But the Scriptures show us that some will rebel.
“And when the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for war…And they came up on the board plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them” Revelation 20:7-9.
All those who rebel are described as being thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, symbols for a permanent and irreversible judgment of death—of permanent non-existence.
God loved the world so much he was willing to sacrifice His beloved Son for ALL who die in Adam. He created an opportunity for a heavenly class, the spiritual seed of Abraham, which will bless all the families of the earth through the resurrection of judgment and the Highway of Holiness (Genesis 12:2-3, Galatians 27-29).
God created an amazingly complete opportunity for salvation, and voluntary living belief in Jesus is what will determine salvation. The Scriptures show some will exercise their freedom of choice to rebel and He respects the freedom of choice that He created us with.
To learn more about salvation listen to, “Are Jesus’ Ransom and Our Salvation the Same?”
To learn more about conversion today listen to, “Are Christians Supposed to Convert the World?”