This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires ("will have" in some translations) all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time . . . (1 Tim 2:3-6). 1 John 4:14 tells us that the Father sent the Son to be Savior of the world. John 3:35 tells us that the Father has given all into Jesus' hands. If it is the desire of the Father to save all and He has given Jesus all power and authority to do his will, why don't we believe Him? "This is the will of the Father Who sent Me, that of all He has given Me, I should lose nothing, but raise it up at the last day." (John 6:39) The Father has given all into His hands. (John 3:35)
The previous list of Scriptures speak very plainly of the salvation of everyone born under the sun. So why doesn't everyone simply believe these Scriptures and rejoice? There are three main reasons why.
First, most people are vengeful. They do not want all to receive forgiveness. As racists always need someone to look down on, so also, some Christians cannot enjoy their salvation apart from seeing others being denied theirs. They do not want anyone hired at the last hour of the day receiving the same wages as themselves. They do not think this is fair.
There was a time when I wanted vengeance. I wanted many people to "get what they deserved." But then a day came in my life, when I was brought to the realization that apart from God's grace, I was no better or more righteous than anyone else on the face of this earth. Even before God manifested Himself to us, His grace was present in different degrees.
Where we are born, tragic moments in our lives we did not plan, our upbringing, the form and condition of our bodies which we were placed in-all these a a host of many other things shaped how we view ourselves, God, and others. I am no better than the worst of men. In Adam, we are all consigned to death. Death is death. It is foolish to speak of anyone being higher than anyone else in death. The size of one's tombstone does not raise one above another. Dead flesh pretty much smells the same. In Adam, we are all consigned to death, from Hitler to mother Theresa. "By grace are we saved, through grace, it is a gift from God not of works, lest anyone should boast."
When John and James wanted to bring fire down on the heads of the Samaritans for not believing the Gospel, Jesus' words to them are still appropriate for many church members: "You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them." Are these the words you will hear one day? (Luke 9:54-56) I don't.
The second reason we seem to be unable to see this wonderful truth, and this is why it took me so long to clearly see this wonderful truth, is that many Bibles have been tainted with the pagan doctrines of the dark ages. Roman Catholicism absorbed every dark thought it came in contact with. The early reformators, who first brought the scriptures into every day languages, were still deeply entrenched with the false doctrines of the dark ages. What the early reformators did to the Anabaptists perhaps gives an indication of how little the reformation actually changed things in Europe. Thousands of Anabaptists were killed by Lutherans, Calvinists and followers of other reformators. These reformators brought forth the early Bibles in common European languages. The imperfect and often intolerable doctrines of some of these men found their way into the early Bibles. These early Bibles still have a profound effect on modern translators. As a result, there are still a few lingering passages grossly mistranslated in our Bibles. Many leading English Bibles actually teach all three main concepts of salvation, that is, eternal torment for many, annihilation for many, and the salvation of all mankind. All three cannot be true.
Thirdly, mankind has a natural tendency to stay with what we are most familiar with, even if it is untrue. The King James Bible uses English which is almost four hundred years old. Word meanings often drastically change, often within a short period of time. There are many words in the King James Bible, for example, that have a different meanings today than when this Bible was first written. Therefore we can no longer determine the meaning of the original languages. The word "let" in modern English, for example, means to "allow." In the seventeen century, when the King James Bible was written, "let" often meant just the opposite. In 2 Thess. 2:7, "he who now letteth will let," the word "let" means to restrain, just the opposite of the modern definition of the word. Many key words in Bibles such as the King James do not convey the meaning they had when written and therefore do not convey the meaning of the original Greek and Hebrew. A thorough study of the etymology of the word "damn" will show this word no longer convey the meaning of that word as used in sixteen century England. It was a legal term simply meaning "loss" and did not contain the theological overtone we associate with the word due to religious influence the church has had on this word. The word today has a much stronger meaning than it once had.
Another reason people cannot see is because many political, religious, and economic powers have found "fear of hell" to be an extremely effective power to keep the masses in subjection. It was effective for ancient monarchs who held their kingdoms together with fear, and it is effective even today for modern political, business, or religious tyrants.
Other reasons would include:
There is certainly much boasting in the church. This boasting will be dealt with when the Rock falls in judgment on His people. It fell on Israel in 70 A.D. Too few Christians have read, far less learned the lesson from Jerusalem's destruction. The Pharisee in Jesus' day was no better than the Hitler of our times. When we truly see, we come to realized that apart from the grace of God, we could have been, and perhaps we are, the Pharisee disguised in Christian clothing. I know for certain, that apart from His grace, I am not only no better than the worst of Pharisees, but am also capable of being a Hitler. A Christian who cannot say that about themselves still has room for growth. But more important than saying it, is knowing it! Gary Amirault
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