In our Bible study the other night, the topic of universal salvation came up. We all needed a refresher on what this unorthodox teaching is, since it seems to be cycling around and gaining popularity again these days.
I am reminded of the Ecclesiastes reading we just finished. Remember when the writer wrote, “There is nothing new under the sun” (Ecc. 1:9)? Satan has some pat tricks he uses over and over again. Here Satan uses a trick to get people’s minds off of the redemptive work of Christ.
Universal salvation (also called universal reconciliation) is a doctrine that says that all human souls- because of divine love and mercy, will ultimately be reconciled to God. Universalists “feel” that Jesus is so loving, he would never condemn a soul to hell for eternity.
Yet, they ignore verses where Jesus doesn’t sound all that pleasant. Today’s reading shows that!
“Everyone who falls on that stone (Jesus speaking of himself) will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.” (20:18) 😱Ouch!!
I love that you are reading the entire New Testament with me!! By reading all the way through, we not only learn of the incredible love God has for us, but we also learn of his justice. We get the whole picture!
We have seen first hand how Satan can use scripture to trip people up if they don’t know it well. We saw that when he tried to tempt Jesus. He used Psalms 91:11-12 to show God’s loving side. “Jesus, God loves you, he would never let you get hurt!” What a great example for us that Jesus used scripture to respond to Satan. (Deut. 6:16)
In the same way, we are learning, as we do our daily reading, how to respond to doctrine that sounds…well…almost right….sounds good…but in our gut the Holy Spirit is saying….”No, that’s not right..remember what you are reading…”
Using God’s Word, we can respond, not with “feelings” but with truth. For example, to someone who is teaching that “all will go to heaven” we can remind them to take a look at Hebrews 9:27-28, “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgement, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sin of many (not all), will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.”
However, someone may protest by saying Hebrews was written after Jesus so it was an ‘add on’ to the gospel; ‘that’s not what Jesus said’.…..Okaay,…..let’s just stick to what Jesus said, “And these (the goats) will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matt. 25:46).
And let’s not forget today’s reading about that corner stone that will trip people and “crush them”! 😳