Is everybody going to be saved?

Some say “yes, all human beings will be saved” – with scripture and logic for support, too. Logically, for instance, how could a loving God let anybody go to hell? It’s against his very nature, surely.

Scripturally too, Jesus “gave his life as a ransom for all,1 Timothy 2:6; he’s the “Saviour of all men,” 1 Timothy 4:10; and “in Christ all will be made alive,” 1 Corinthians 15:22. God also “wants all men to be saved,” 1 Timothy 2:4, he doesn’t want “anyone to perish,” 2 Peter 3:9, and Christ draws “all men to himself,” John 12:32. God also promises “mercy on all,Romans 11:32, and the restoration of “everything,Acts 3:21.

Clearly, God wants us all saved and sent Jesus so we could be. But there’s the awful irrationality of evil to consider too, that strange phenomenon that makes people reject God for no understandable reason. Why, for instance, did an archangel rebel against God after knowing God so well for so long? Why did Adam and Eve listen to a talking serpent? Why did Israel demand a return to Egypt after God had just rescued them? Why did people want Jesus dead after all his amazing miracles?

Something out there makes angels and humans do insane, stupid things – and it made a devil out of an archangel, who now disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14) seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). He tempts, snares, upsets and deceives us by twisting the truth (John 8:44), blinding our minds (2 Corinthians 4:4) and stirring up jealousy and pride (James 3:14-16). The devil can really mess us up.

But Jesus came to “destroy the works of the devil,” 1 John 3:8, and 4:4 says, “greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world,” so how can the devil destroy us? But if he can’t destroy us, why would scripture also say, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you,” James 4:7, and “put on the full armour of God so you can stand against the devil’s schemes,” Ephesians 6:11, and pray that God will deliver us from evil, and be super careful that Satan doesn’t “outwit us,” 2 Corinthians 2:11?

Why? Because evil is real and deadly. It makes people do irrational things, think insane thoughts, choose darkness over light (John 3:19) and risk an unforgivable sin (Mark 3:29). But it also makes salvation real, because we see in brilliant clarity what we need saving from. Jesus described salvation as turning from Satan to God, Acts 26:18, because that’s the salvation we all so desperately need. It’s salvation from the awful irrationality of evil.

What’s more important, then? Is it figuring out if we’re all going to be saved (or not), or realizing what God is saving us from?

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Getting used to a spirit Dad

It’s taking some getting used to, having a spirit Dad, and a spirit Dad who calls us his children, too. Because if he’s a spirit Dad and I’m a spirit Dad’s son, what’s that make me? Spirit, too?!

Yes it does, according to what Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3. “No one can see the kingdom of God unless he has been born again,” Jesus said in verse 3. We humans can’t even “see” God’s world, let alone “enter” it (verse 5), unless we go through a second birth. A second birth? How? “Of water and the Spirit,” verse 5. It’s a birth by the Spirit. And what does a Spirit birth make a human into? “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit,verse 6. Well, of course anyone born of the Spirit is spirit. How could the Spirit give birth to anything else?!

Nicodemus was still a bit flummoxed by all this, but Jesus said he shouldn’t be (verse 7). Quite right, too. Nicodemus, a leading Pharisee and teacher, knew about the Spirit and how the Spirit would create an entirely “new heart” in people, Ezekiel 36:26-27, the evidence of which would be a wholehearted desire to obey God and trust him.

And hadn’t exactly that been happening of late, Jesus asks Nicodemus (John 3:11)? People’s hearts were turning to God all over the place in response to Jesus – as have people’s hearts ever since. Billions of people have looked to God as their “Abba, Father,” their spirit Dad, and responded to him as his children, in love and trust, just as Ezekiel predicted.

But if humans are responding to God as his children, then being the children of a spirit Dad makes us spirit too, right? Yes. But spirit in what way? In mind and heart. When the Spirit births us a second time, we’re born with “the mind of Christ,” 1 Corinthians 2:16. And it’s having this spirit mind of Christ that now enables us to “worship the Father in spirit and in truth,” John 4:23-24. We’re now on the same spirit level the Father is. We share his same mind and heart, so we can respond back to him in the same spirit mind and heart he has.

And God put us on that same spirit level with him through the Spirit. It means I’ve got a spirit Dad I can respond back to with affection, complete trust and obedience. Like a real son of God. It’s still taking some getting used to, though, just as it took Nicodemus a while too, to grasp what the Spirit’s given us.