Universal Salvation: Grace Part Two
Just about everyone thinks that grace is something new, something that came with Jesus; and that is not so. If God is 'not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance', then whatever has happened is part of the procedure to take everyone up to perfection.
In the Old Testament, the word which is most translated as "grace" or "favour" is chen (khane). Out of the 69 times this word is mentioned, the King James Version translates it 38 times as grace and 26 times as favour, which accounts for 64 of the 69 times. The first time that the word grace is mentioned in the Bible is at Genesis 6:8.
This is what it says at Genesis 6:5-8: 5 "Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. 7 So the LORD said, 'I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.' 8 But Noah found grace (chen) in the eyes of the LORD."
Obviously, Satan would be trying his best to get rid of Noah.
At Genesis 6:8, chen is translated by the Greek word charis in the Septuagint, or LXX translation. So charis, grace or favour by God, is nothing new.
"Does that mean, then, that those who were destroyed in the Flood were not under God's favour?"
No, they were very much under God's favour: as it says in verse 5: "Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." God had to protect the line to Jesus, and it was in their interests that He did so. It was the only way to Universal Salvation. Love moved God to exercise His power to meet all of our needs: what was needed was a saviour. He had no choice but to protect the line. He will always act, not because we merit it, but because we need it. The Flood only put their lives on hold until a later date. This was the Master Potter moulding the clay.
As Genesis 1:26 says: "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…", all of those who lost their lives in the Flood will one day be taken up to perfection. Remember that every intent of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually. So eternal life with a change of hearts and thoughts is what is necessary for them: something very simple for God, once He has gone through all the legal procedures.
Moses was another who found grace, or favour, with God. Just look at this conversation between Moses and God. And look what Moses asks for and which God grants. These six verses are absolutely tremendous:
Exodus 33:12-17 says: 12 "Then Moses said to the LORD, 'See, You say to me, "Bring up this people." But You have not let me know whom You will send with me. Yet You have said, "I know you by name, and you have also found grace (or favour) in My sight." 13 Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace (or favour) in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace (or favour) in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people.' 14 And He said, 'My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.' 15 Then he said to Him, 'If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. 16 For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace (or favour) in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, Your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.' 17 So the LORD said to Moses, 'I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace (or favour) in My sight, and I know you by name.' "
Each time the word "grace" is used, the Hebrew word is chen, and in the Septuagint, the Greek word is charis. But just look at the request: 15 "Then he said to Him, 'If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. 16 For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace (or favour) in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, Your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.' 17 So the LORD said to Moses, 'I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace (or favour) in My sight, and I know you by name.' "
Moses knew that God's presence was essential, and God knew it, too. What a favour. God knew that Moses was special, even before he was born. Do you remember he found favour with God when he was a baby? God kept him alive. God knew that Moses was special, even when his abilities were invisible to others.
"But what about Jesus? Did not grace come through Jesus?"
Well, let us look at it. John 1:14-17 says: 14 "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, 'This was He of whom I said, "He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.' 16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace (charis) and truth came through Jesus Christ."
"There you are, as plain as the nose on your face. Grace came through Jesus Christ, did it not?"
And that is not wrong. But what grace came through Jesus Christ? It certainly was not when the children of Israel came out of Egypt, because Moses led them out. It was not the Flood, because Noah led his family through the Flood. So what was the grace or favour that came through Jesus Christ?
Romans 6:23 tells us: "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift (charisma, from charis: grace or favour) of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
The favour that Jesus brought, was to open the door to eternal life. And neither Noah nor Moses brought that, although they did make it possible. The Plan is well on its way now. Jesus came to literally open the door to eternal life: part of the procedure to take everyone up to perfection, bearing in mind that eternal life is only living forever, and is only part of perfection. Therefore, more grace or favours are needed. Since Jesus was trained by His Father, and not programmed, He could only bring access to eternal life. He could not legally bring access to programming everyone. Giving all peoples all knowledge, simply by upgrading their knowledge, would be legally unjustifiable, especially if some did not want it in the first place.
But look back at what was said at John 1:17: "For the law was given through Moses, but grace (charis) and truth came through Jesus Christ."
He did not just bring with Him eternal life; He also brought with Him truth; which, if you think about it, is another favour in itself. Jesus would have to reveal how His Father could legally take people from eternal life up to perfection. This would need a complete change of mind and heart for everyone, which is exactly what God says He is going to do anyway: "I will put My law in their minds and write it on their hearts".
No choice for anyone.
Jesus was trained by His Father; He was faithful down to death. And that gave the Father the legal right to give everyone eternal life, on the basis that if He could train one, He could train all. But it did not give Him the right to programme anyone; to upgrade them instantaneously with knowledge, which would last forever. That would make them no more than robots.
What was legally necessary was for God to programme a created being - nothing less would do - and for this created being to end up identical to Jesus (another created being), with full knowledge, and with absolute free will. This is what happened with the Holy Spirit: He now has freewill and a mind of his own. And He is the legal precedent.
1 Corinthians 12:8-11 says this: 8 "for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills."
Look at the last three words: "as He wills." As the Holy Spirit wills. The Greek word there for "wills" is bouletai, from boulomai. This means that the Holy Spirit is exercising His own free will, and making His own schedule. It puts His own personal plan on the drawing board, which then has to be put into action - and on this occasion, by Himself on behalf of God.
The bringer of eternal life and truth, revealed the truth to the Holy Spirit, and it set Him free. The truth will one day set you free. But you do have to know the full truth. It can not fail for anyone. As 2 Peter 3:9 says: "The Lord is…not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance."
God's will on the drawing board is not just eternal life in Jesus, but that all should come to repentance; made possible by God programming the Holy Spirit. Everyone can now be programmed with full truth which will set everyone free, and with freewill. Universal Salvation.
Be sure to read next article entitled "Universal Salvation! The One Hundred and Forty Four Thousand".
Next article: The One Hundred and Forty Four Thousand