God's Will Is That ALL Be Saved

James Preston 1 9:53 AM
I didn't realise the minefield of controversy I was entering when I wrote my article about Rob Bell and Universalsim.  I should've known better.  My audience is comprised mostly of Googling Christians.  Where Christians are involved, stones of criticism are usually in their pockets.


That article was easy to write.  I had been thinking about the premise of Rob Bell's new book "Love Wins" for quite some time, and so I simply sat down and "penned" some thoughts.  This article is different.  I have laboured, tossed and toiled with the question, "what do I say now?"  After all the correction and criticism I received, I have had to think twice about whether it is actually worth saying what I am thinking.  Having said that, I doubt it will be a hinderance in the future, but for this article I have battled.  As it is a follow-up to arguably my most controversial post to date.


But what keeps coming back to me is simple:  Just write what you believe and don't care too much what anonymous people have to say.  I have deep relationships with incredible people of God whose opinions mean much more to me than anonymous typers hiding behind a computer screen.


So I will simply continue writing what burns on my heart, and if ever I find myself saying something out of line, I have enough friends to help me see otherwise.


And what burns on my heart most, especially amidst all this controversy surrounding Rob Bell's new book, is the Truth that God IS Love itself.  He is The Most Powerful Force in the entire Universe (for He created it) and every fibre of His being is Unconditional Love.  That is a Truth that wrecks me continuously.


He has wrath, He has anger, but does not merely have love.  No, He is Love Itself.  And not just any love!  Agape!  The Greek word that means "unconditional Love, a Love that Loves deeply without expectation, need or desire for reciprocation (or getting anything in return)."  That is who He is!


Love is not just an emotion He has.  But It is What and Who He Is.


This what the New Covenant revealed!  It is what Jesus came to reveal!  He came to show us that God is not out to get us, but He is out to love us!  And in the Glory of the New Covenant (the greatest period mankind has ever lived in since before Adam and Eve "fell") this Glorious Truth can be and has been revealed!


1 John 4:16
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.

This is a Truth that has been missed by the church.  The church uses all sorts of Bible verses to justify facts that God is angry, hates sinners, and is going to wipe everyone who rebels against Him out one day because He is Holy and just.  But they do not approach these subjects or these verses from the foundation that the very Nature of God Himself is LOVE.  I believe this Truth is the highest Truth in the Universe.  I really do.  It is even higher than some Bible verses.  And I can Scripturally substantiate that statement...


1 Corinthians 13:13
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.


Notice that Love is actually greater than faith and hope.  That means love is a higher truth than the other two.  This means that there are levels of truth.  Some truths are higher than others.


For instance:  The verse "God is Love" (1 John 4:16) is a higher Truth than "Without faith it is impossible to please God" (Heb 11:6).  Both are true.  But one truth is higher than the other.  What I mean by that is one truth holds more weight than the other.


Take John chapter 3 for instance.  Being born again is a fundamental truth that Christians (both theologians and new believers alike) hold to as deeply significant.  But it is only ever mentioned in John 3.  But it is such an important truth that it does not need to be repeated again in the Bible.  Just because it isn't repeated doesn't take away from its significance.  It holds so much weight that it only needed to be mentioned once.


This is what Christians have missed.  We're all out to get each other using Bible verses to justify our arrogant, scathing attacks on those who are apparently offending God by teaching "false doctrine".


I think what Rob Bell has done has been good for the church.  He has revealed how much legalistic, rigid, religious thinking there is in the church.  But it has also called for a wake up by a number of Christians calling for peace and love.  To whom I add my voice.


Christians, brothers and sisters, let us use Rob Bell's argument as an opportunity to re-evaluate what we're doing and why we're doing it.  After all, it is God's will that all would be saved.


1 Timothy 2:3 and 4
This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.


This is a remarkable thought!  I doubt there are many people in the world, let alone Christians, who want everyone to be saved!  We want justice!  We want to see the sick murderers and rapists pay for their crimes.  But God wants them saved.  That is God's will.  What a paradigm shift.  


Am I advocating Universalism again?  No.  Am I saying murder and rape is ok?  Absolutely not!  Of course its despicable!  Such acts must be stopped at all costs!  But God sees the murderer and the rapist (as well as the victims) and He has deep pity and Love for them.


You see, my point is; God Loves the entire world so much that He wants to see them made fully whole and complete.  (The meaning for the Greek word for salvation).  And mankind can only be made whole and complete when he experiences and is filled with the unconditional Love of God.  It is the most satisfying experience in the entire known, and unknown, Universe.


That is the point.  That is what it is all about.  That is what Christians are meant to be representing.  For it is we who have the privilege (hopefully) of being directly connected and even already in perfect union with The One who Is That Love.


Song of Songs 1:2
Let Him kiss us with the kisses of His mouth—
   for His love is more delightful than wine.



I end with the Words of Love in the flesh:


"He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone."

1 comments

Hey James…

I've also read a few reviews on this (not the book yet either) but from what I can see it isn't so much that Bell emphasizes that God's will is that none should perish but more that he gives readers the impression that none will perish(or thats how they are reading it) hence making him a universalist.

Most agree that it is God's will that none should perish - they wouldn't have any problem with Bell if he left it at that, I mean just because it is God's intention it doesn't mean that it will come to pass. Look at Moses - You will inherit the promised land. Did he? ummm, no. Two blokes from the original crew saw the promise fulfilled. So that leaves the solution that either God is a liar or something else is wrong. Our choices or bad attitudes can cause God's intentions not to come to pass. Same thing goes with His will that none should perish. Unfortunately some will because of their choice.

I read one interview where Bell opposes that insinuation though. He mentions like in your blog that God is love and if God is love then how can everyone be saved because that would mean that we don't have a choice and if we don't have a choice that would not be love. (something along those lines)

The problem I see with this and any other controversial christian topics/authors/preachers etc is that Christians like to create theology from things that never happened rather than things that did happen. Bill Johnson explains it in a recent sermon - I think its called: "Revealing His heart". He says that if there was a pool of Bethesda now days, christian journalists would interview the people who never got healed before the one guy who did and try to find out why they weren't healed.

When Bell was confronted head on with the question: Are you a universalist? The answer was outright - No!

Is it settled though? I highly doubt it.

Lloyd

PS - read the review below. He makes some good points about interpreting greek texts. Not necessarily my view. I just found that to be an interesting view.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/cdp/member-reviews/A3SOFPESQSZGUV/ref=cm_cr_pr_auth_rev?ie=UTF8&sort_by=MostRecentReview

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