Universalism and Paul: Universal Condemnation

The universal condemnation of mankind

I found something dealing with the subject of Universalism – actually the opposite thereof – in 12 of the 16 chapters of Romans. Truly this gem of the apostle Paul is key to a proper understanding of God's eternal program.

Romans 1:5-6,8. As in Acts, so here, the word all catches our attention. Paul has been called to bring the message to all nations, that people among them might be called to obedience. But immediately the contrast: "… among whom you also (people of Rome, Italy) are the called of Jesus Christ."

Did every person in Italy hear and obey the call? Not then, not now. It's a simple fact, but it is important to keep in mind, that God calls His people from among all nations, but also that not all individuals in the nations respond.

Paul uses another general verbal sweep in verse 8: The faith of the Romans is spoken of throughout the world. True. You could visit, in that day, any number of churches or synagogues, and hear people talking about the Roman Church. It was a real powerhouse. But did every creature on God's green earth know of the Christians in Italy? I think not.

All is not always all. Try to remember that…

Romans 1:16-18. God's power of salvation is for everyone! Everyone, that is, who believes. Faith is the qualifier, the divider, of earth's peoples. For all those unbelievers who will be without excuse because they suppress the truth about God, is reserved the wrath of God.

Romans 2 and 3. Paul's long discussion about man's deserved condemnation is very telling, but it tells us things we may not want to hear. God's judgment against all evil men is coming. Indignation, wrath, tribulation, anguish. It's all on the way, make no mistake.

But what of those who have never heard? The Universalist truly wants to upstage the Bible believer here with what he believes is the obvious answer to this centuries-old enigma: "Why, they will all be saved. This is a non-issue now."

Believing that all men will be saved from God's judgment eventually, certainly takes the teeth out of the Great Commission, and the entire missions history of the church of Jesus. Something in us wants to believe it, but it doesn't ring true when measured by other Biblical facts.

Without going further into that whole very difficult problem, let me just share Paul's short answer, here in Romans 2:12:

Damnation will come to those who sinned because they had no law, and it will come equally to those who had the law and sinned against it. Sin is sin. God's law is written in the hearts of even the Gentiles. They know what is right and wrong. God will judge every thought, every motive, of every man by the Man Christ Jesus.

Who will be able to stand in that day?

Paul says, in essence, no one. Righteousness is not obtainable by human effort. Only those who cling to the righteousness of Christ will be saved.

If there is a universalism in God's world, it is universal damnation. "… all the world may become guilty before God (3:19)." The planet is cursed with a curse. Jesus did not come into the world to condemn the world… It was already condemned!

Out of this worldwide lost-ness shall be raised up a band of holy men and women from every nation on earth. It is this called-out assembly, the church, that cancels this original universalism, so that now no blanket statement covers all men of all time.

Many lost. Some saved. The righteousness of God is not poured on every man, but on every man who believes (3:22, 26, 28). Note the wording:

"… to all and on all who believe… "

"… the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus… "

"… a man is justified by faith… "

The teachers who promote a universal acceptance need to show upon what basis that acceptance comes. Certainly it is not based on the work of Jesus.

Jesus gave His blood for our sins. Without the forgiveness of sins, how can man be justified? Is it not obvious to even a child that not all men repent, that not all men believe? These who have not asked for God's forgiveness are still in their sins and shall be lost forever.

Salvation has always been a two-way covenant. God's grace and invitation are sent out. But men who despise such cannot ever hope to be swept into the Kingdom of God by default.


Source by Bob Faulkner

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