What Sense is Salvation Universal?

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Heavenly Pilgrim, Sep 13, 2007.

  1. Heavenly Pilgrim

    Heavenly Pilgrim
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    God is love. I doubt that any on the list would argue that point. The question that needs to be addressed is does love necessitate God to provide a Savior to man? Is God under any obligation, or has he been, to save sinful man? Is there any compelling necessity that coerces God into saving anyone?

    I would render a guess that most would say no to this question. I may be wrong. If in fact I am right, I have yet another question. If God is not under compulsion to save anyone, is He under compulsion to utilize equal means to save some? In other words, if love does not necessitate even saving one, what attribute or characteristic of God demands that He use the same means to save everyone?

    Many seem to be of the opinion that if God’s love is for all, that He must grant the same opportunity to all. What if, in His wisdom, knowing the beginning from the end, God would see that it is not in the best interest of the entire universe to allow the same opportunity to all, or that something just as or more important can an dwill be accomplished by limiting the means by which His salvation is offered? I am not speaking only of salvation, but of other privileges as well. Take for instance His choice of Abraham in the OT, and his descendents as the race of people to grant the benefits of the covenants God made with them as opposed to making a covenant with the entire human race? Even when Christ came, He specifically stated that He had come for the ‘lost sheep of the house of Israel,’ and did not offer His message of hope to the gentiles, at least generally and directly at that time. Just as the marriage supper was only at first for the specific invited guest, the gentiles were not afforded the same opportunity as the Jews UNTIL the Jews rejected the offer. Was God unfair during this time or the previous dispensation to the gentiles?

    I am in no way suggesting that God has arbitrarily selected a few to be saved and selected others to be damned as Calvinism purports. What I am suggesting is that God has obviously placed into effect a plan of redemption, that although it is indeed sufficient for the salvation of the entire human race, was not implemented in a universal fashion or shared equally on a universal basis. Do we, as finite humans, have to understand why God has chosen to act as He obviously has dealing with salvations offer in order to believe that however He has chosen to act is indeed in line with not being a respecter of persons, due to the fact, that as I began this post laid out that he is under obligation to save none, therefore not under any obligation to save all in the same manner or afford all the very same level of opportunity for salvation?

    Cannot God have reasons, consistent with His Infinite love yet hidden from the purview of finite man, that might compel Him to offer salvation just as He has done, in a manner seen at least by us as not being universal in nature? Is that not precisely what God stated when he said, “Ro 9:18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.”?

    I am again in no way suggesting that God forces some to damnation due to the fact Scripture says ‘whom He will He hardeneth.” That is the topic for another thread. I am trying to limit the scope of this thread to issue of why God has chosen the means by which to offer His plan of salvation and if in fact it is within the scope of Scripture and reason to believe that the opportunity of hearing the gospel message is less than universal, yet God is indeed love, remains NOT a respecter of persons, and indeed does love the entire world. He has yet still offered and made an atonement that is indeed sufficient for the salvation of the whole world.
     
  2. NotCountedWise

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    I think it is very difficult to maintain a position which states, in effect, that everyone literally has an "equal chance" at salvation.

    I suspect this is implicit, but I think it will be necessary to discuss exactly what those means are.

    For example, if we concede that the Spirit operates apart from the Word, what exactly does that mean--and what does that imply?

    At perhaps the most "conservative" level, we might say that the Holy Spirit continues to *dwell* in individuals who have received him through the Word, but he is not specifically *active* unless the individual is actually hearing/reading the Word or at least thinking about it. (This allows us to say that you can retain your salvation even if you aren't literally thinking about the Word 24/7.)

    Next we might blur the concepts of "dwelling" and "activity" to the effect that the Spirit is continually working in those individuals in whom he dwells, even if they are not listening to a sermon or reading their Bibles.

    To clarify how this ties into the thread: The "universality" of salvation depends significantly upon the degree to which the Spirit is woven into the Word.

    If we, for example, flatly say that the Spirit is perfectly free to work apart from the Word, then we are likewise free to argue that everyone may really have an "equal chance" at salvation, in the sense that the Spirit is at liberty to save the whole world apart from the Gospel. Clearly, this puts us into a serious paradox. Now I suppose we could either accept the paradox (indeed, there are paradoxes that the Christian must accept anyway) or attempt to place in effect a series of "exceptions" or "qualifications" that would succeed in explaining away the paradox.

    In summary: I believe this thread fundamentally asks, "What is the person and work of the Holy Spirit?"
     
  3. NotCountedWise

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    Double post, sorry.
     
  4. BobRyan

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    1. God is love
    2. UNIVERSAL MEANS
    "God sent His Son to be the SAVIOR of the WORLD" 1John 4:10
    "Christ is the light that coming into the world ENLIGHTENS EVERY MAN" John1
    "God sent Christ to be the ATONING SACRIFICE for OUR sins and not for OUR SINS only but for the sins of the WHOLE WORLD" 1John 2
    "The Spirit CONVICTS THE WORLD of sin and righteousness and judgment" John 16
    "They are without excuse because the INVISIBLE ATTRIBUTES of God ... ARE CLEARLY seen in the things that have been made" Romans 1

    God's MEANS reach ALL!!

    3. Yet not ALL respond to them and also it is true that not ALL have the same level of "means" reaching them. To some the list in part 2 above (without ALSO have a missionary there to explain it all) is the limit to the "means" that they get.

    As to your question "what obligates God" to do this?

    Answer: Being true to His Word!

    Another question "What obligated God to promising such universal means to start with?"

    Answer: God's sovereign choice.

    in Christ,

    Bob
     
  5. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: No, they have not an most likely will not even reach all those in our world today. God’s means are sufficient for all, but not all have or most likely have not reached all, for all will not hear the good news.

    As I have pointed out on others threads, God even alienated all but the Jews form the covenant for four thousand years. It was not until Christ came that the door to salvation was opened to the Gentiles that had the opportunity to hear and respond. Certainly there were a few exceptions in the OT of Gentiles coming into the benefits of the OT covenant, but they were the exception not the rule. Because God grants universal knowledge in some measure that there is a God and some ideas of right and wrong, does NOT equate with having the gospel presented to all or that the gospel has been shared universally with mankind. For you to pound on the pulpit on this notion and make every verse walk on all four legs in support of the notion that all have received the gospel, does not make it so. What kind of reasonable interpretation simply reads into every verse, speaking of the gospel being universal in one sense, i.e., being sufficient to atone for the sins of the entire world, to be extrapolated to support the notion that mandates it being universally given to all, granting the same opportunity for all to hear concerning it? Scripture clearly refutes that point. No man can hear without a preacher, and one certainly cannot be part of the benefits of a covenant that excludes them in particular, such as we find concerning the Gentiles of the OT.
     
  6. Dan V.

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    I think it would be helpful to not just think of God as 'infinite love', but in all His attributes:

    "God is a spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth"

    This would help in our understanding of His plan (historically) in redeeming His people.

    Dan V.
     
  7. BobRyan

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    And your proof??



    That can not possibly be your proof that His MEANS have not reached all since you will freely admit that EVEN among those who do have the full gospel in text in video on tape in missionary form and in ALL forms -- there are those who exercise free will and DO NOT accept.

    The fact that they do not except is not "proof" that the missionary or the Holy Spirit "does not exist" or "did not minister to them".

    So again I ask -- what is the "proof" for your claim above?

    in Christ,

    Bob
     
  8. Dan V.

    Dan V.
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    The gospel has not reached all. Please read Romans 10.

    Dan V.
     
  9. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    BR, was there any way for one to come to know the Lord in the OT outside of the Jewish faith and outside of the covenant God made directly to a chosen seed?

    At the beginning of Christ's ministry, who did He say he came for? Who was the focus of His ministry at the beginning? At what point were the Gentiles invited to come to the Father?
     
    #9 Heavenly Pilgrim, Sep 15, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 15, 2007
  10. BobRyan

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    Romans 10 tells us that the Gospel is preached via nature and so does Romans 1.

    Romans 10 asks "surely they have NOT heard have they?" the answers the question telling us that THEY HAVE heard.
     
  11. BobRyan

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    Let's go with the really really easy part first -- then the harder questions.

    If I let you ignore the easy stuff the hard questions can be misleading.


    That can not possibly be your proof that His MEANS have not reached all.

    EXAMPLE: (The really easy one) You will freely admit that EVEN in the IDEAL case among those who do have the full gospel in text in video on tape in missionary form and in ALL forms -- there are those who exercise free will and DO NOT accept.

    The fact that they do not except is not "proof" that the missionary or the Holy Spirit "does not exist" or "did not minister to them".

    So again I ask -- what is the "proof" for your claim above? Or is it your claim that the MEANS of God reaches ALL today - but not before the cross??
     
  12. TCGreek

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    If nature preaches the Gospel, What then is the gospel?
     
  13. BobRyan

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    Adam, Enoch, Noah - all these were "gentiles".

    Lot, the King of Salem -- all "gentiles"

    "God so loved the WORLD that He gave"
     
  14. BobRyan

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    Romans 10


    16 However, they did not all heed the GOOD NEWS[/b]; for Isaiah says, "LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT?"
    17 so
    faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
    18 but i say, surely they have never heard, have they? Indeed they have;
    “their voice has gone out into all the earth,
    and their words to the ends of the world.”



    The full text quoted in vs 18 above is as follows


    Psalms 19
    1 the heavens are telling
    of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of his hands.
    2 day to day
    pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.
    3 there is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard.
    4
    their line has gone out through all the earth, and their utterances to the end of the world. In them he has placed a tent for the sun,
    5 which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber; it rejoices as a strong man to run his course.
    6 its rising is from one end of the heavens, and its circuit to the other end of them; and there is nothing hidden from its heat.

    Clearly Paul is appealing (again) to nature's voice in declaring the truth of God
    (as we already saw in Romans 1) - so that "they (the people - Jew and gentile) did hear" - fulfilling the
    condition –


    And using that Ps 19 context – Paul then continues…



    and this - is in perfect agreement with the opening context of the book of Romans - chapter 1.

    Clearly - they are without excuse because God did manifest himself as described in the text and still they refused the God that "draws all men unto him".

    So although Paul points to the witness of God's creation in Ps 19 as proving that
    Israel is "without excuse" and did have the opportunity to "believe" - he also points to the motive of jealousy as God's witness to non-Hebrew people results in salvation
     
  15. BobRyan

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    Question - did this "MEANS" work??

    Paul will now address that argument against the impartiality of God with a uniquely tailored example of the “ succeeding case”! Yes that is right! His argument works and he gives a very simple proving case.

    Romans2:

    14for when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a Law to themselves,
    15in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them,



    There actually were Gentiles that really did not have the Law of God! That is very important to understand. And there were those who did instinctively the things of the Law showing it was written on their heart!! Wow! So that means Paul really was right!



    Even more interesting is the fact that this terminology regarding "the Law written on the heart" is new covenant terminology. Heb 8, 2Cor 3!!! Yes indeed we have the succeeding case as well as the failing case made in this non-myopic chapter of God's infallible word.




    wow! Apparently the infallible word is telling us that it is gospel - good news that a future judgment, where the Gentiles are shown to be doers of the Law and not merely hearers only, is coming. A future Christ centered judgment!! What a Christ-centered gospel Paul has in this chapter!!
     
  16. Dan V.

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    Your posts are filled with errors. Romans 1 tells us that all men know of God in their conscience - yet suppress it in unrighteousness. The Psalmist tells us that creation points to the Holy Creator. This 'speech' tells all men that God is holy, all powerful, and all wise. This is natural revelation.

    The preaching of the gospel is special revelation (His Word). Doesn't Romans 10 state the necessity of the gospel preached to one to be saved? What about the great commision? Why did Christ bother with this if sinful men can look at a comet and learn that they must repent and believe in Christ.? Can you observe a monkey and discover what Christ did on the cross?

    The scriptures make a distinction between natural revelation and special revelation.


    Dan V.
     
  17. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: I fully agree!:thumbs:
     
  18. BobRyan

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    Actually my post on Romans 10 is where the flaw in your argument was exposed.

    http://www.baptistboard.com/showpost.php?p=1093505&postcount=14


    The fact that missionaries ALSO exist and minister on behalf of Christ and the Gospel does not mean that the Holy Spirit does not exist doing the job He says He does in John 16, Rom 10 and Rom 1.

    Special revelation given in written form is not a way of denying the general revelation of Romans 1 and Romans 10 regarding "the Invisible attributes of God"

    in Christ,

    Bob
     
  19. Dan V.

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    Don't the following verses make the distinction between general and special revealtion?

    Romans 10:14 "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

    Otherwise these passages lose their explicit meaning.

    To summarize, saving faith comes by hearing the Word of God, because observing a baboon is not sufficient to save.

    Sincerely,

    Dan V.
     
  20. ReformedBaptist

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    Blaaahahahahahaha :laugh: :laugh:

    Man, that is hilareous. It is interesting that men, because of their depravity, have come to believe their are decendents of baboons by observing baboons! :laugh:
     

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