Universal Salvation: Grace Part One
With all of the qualities that God has to administer to you, grace is not amazing; it is to be expected. God Himself is perfect; therefore nothing but perfection, as an end result, is acceptable to God. The fact that God (YHWH) can cause whatever He wants to come about, would be completely out of order if He wanted anything less than perfection for you.
What did Jesus say at Luke 10:25-27? "25 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, 'Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?' 26 He said to him, 'What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?' 27 So he answered and said, 'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and "your neighbour as yourself." 28 And He said to him, 'You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.' "
Can you see that? You are to 'love…your neighbour as yourself.' God is eternal. We are God's neighbours, so He has to love us as Himself: He has to help us to attain to the same eternal life that He enjoys Himself. That is why God promised eternal life before time began: as it says at Titus 1:2: "in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began."
You see, as His neighbour, you have always been going to have eternal life.
The Greek word for "grace" is charis. And charis, whichever way you look at it, basically means favour. God has always favoured all of His creation. He always has, and He always will. As His neighbour, once again, you have always been under God's grace and favour.
"Yes, but what about His enemies?"
The same. It does not say to love just your good neighbour. You do not have to like your enemy, but you do have to love him. Let us continue with Luke 10, and read verses 29-37, bearing in mind that the Jews and the Samaritans did not like each other: "29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, 'And who is my neighbour?' 30 Then Jesus answered and said: 'A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. (one of the many qualities that God has, and has to extend to everyone). 34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, "Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you." 36 So which of these three do you think was neighbour to him who fell among the thieves?' 37 And he said, 'He who showed mercy on him.' (another quality that God has, and has to extend to everyone).Then Jesus said to him, 'Go and do likewise.' "
He was to be helped and taken care of, until he was better. God can do no less than show the same qualities of compassion and mercy. The Samaritan did the injured man a favour (charis), which automatically came from loving his neighbour as himself. Mankind has been favoured, because God has to use all of His qualities in loving you as Himself.
Let us now look at God for a moment: in His heart, He is not willing that any should perish. 2 Peter 3:9 has this to say: "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing (Greek: boulomenos, from boulomai) that any should perish but that all should come to repentance."
"Yes, but 'The Lord…is not willing that any should perish…' is speaking only about the saints, is it not?"
No, it is not. It says very clearly: 'The Lord is not…willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.'
"Any" is not just speaking about the saints; it is speaking about everyone.
"Any" in this scripture is the Greek word tinas, from tis. It is an indefinite pronoun, and grammatically, it does not determine any one class of people. As we have already said, it is indefinite. That is why it goes on to say, that not only is He not willing that any should perish, but 'that all (Greek: pantas, from pas) should come to repentance'.
You have always had His favour (charis) bestowed upon you. That is because He loves you. He is not partial; He will not give it to some, and not to others. He is not willing that any should perish: that is the plan in His heart. He could not do it differently even if He wanted to.
Romans 12:2 says: "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."
You see, if God is not willing that any should perish, and His will is perfect, how can anyone perish? It means that everyone was born to be favoured ('charis') by God. It also means that you were born to have eternal life.
Romans 6:23 says this: "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift (Greek: charisma, from charis) of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
God is doing everyone a favour. His gift (charis: gift, favour) to all is eternal life, and always has been. But He has another gift for you: universal repentance. Eternal life is no good unless you have the right mind to go with it.
Just look what Psalm 65:1-3 says: "1 Praise is awaiting You, O God, in Zion; And to You the vow shall be performed. 2 O You who hear prayer, To You all flesh will come. 3 Iniquities prevail against me; As for our transgressions, You will provide atonement for them."
As David said, God is providing atonement for our sins. It is all part of His grace, or favour. You can not do it. But legally, the atonement was the easy part. The hard part, legally, is changing someone's mind when they do not want you to.
Once again, what was God's will in His heart? He is not willing that any should perish BUT 'that all should come to repentance.'
If you are born for eternal life, that is not necessarily perfection. But if you are born to be perfect, God has to give you a heart and mind that is conducive to that. He has to do you the favour (charis) of not only giving you eternal life but He has to change your hearts and minds. It is what the travel agents would call "a package deal".
"Yes, but He can not make us do what we do not want to do, can He?"
He certainly, and legally, can: as long as the outcome is that we freely agree with what He has done; no reservations, and end up with freewill.
Just read the new covenant:
Jeremiah 31:31-33: "31 Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah - 32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people."
Can you see what God is going to do? He is going to put His law in our minds, and write it on our hearts. We will have no choice. It is exactly what He did with the Holy Spirit: the Holy Spirit is the legal precedent, and He is now free with a mind of his own. This is the biggest favour that God is going to do for you. Eternal life, without the right mind to go with it, does not bear thinking about. Universal Salvation is not just giving everyone eternal life: it is also giving everyone a right mind and heart to go with eternal life. You do not just need eternal life; you need the package deal. And the one Person who can do this for you is going to do you the biggest favour of all, by doing it for you.
Be sure to read our next article, entitled "Universal Salvation! Grace Part Two".
Next article: Grace Part Two