Are there some people God can’t save?

For some odd reason there are Christians who seriously object to the idea that God might just save everybody.

It’s a bit like Jonah who was seriously put out when God didn’t destroy Nineveh. Jonah wanted Nineveh to go to hell, because in his mind they deserved hell. No wonder he dug in his heels when he heard God was offering salvation to a hated and dangerous enemy. And humanly that’s understandable, just as it’s understandable hearing that God might save Hitler, or your drunken, abusive father, or the predator who kills young girls, or the pedophile priest, or the owner of a clothing company who uses children as slave labour.

But Nineveh is encouraging because it means God can get through to even the most obstinate, arrogant, vicious, power-hungry people on earth, which is what the Assyrian Empire was. Quoting from The Minor Prophets by Farrar, there was “no power more savage. The kings of Assyria exult to record how they flung away the bodies of soldiers like so much clay; how they made pyramids of human heads; how they impaled ‘heaps of men’ on stakes; how they cut off the hands of kings and nailed them on the walls, and left their bodies to rot on the entrance gates of cities, and covered pillars with the flayed skins of rival monarchs.”

The Assyrians are like those brutal corporations today that care nothing about human life or the planet in their pursuit of power and profit. They revel in manipulating governments, they laugh as they supply weapons to both sides in a war, and they strut in their arrogance as though they’re invincible.

And God wants to save them too? Why? Because he can. If he can get through to Nineveh he can get through to anybody. He got through to Paul, who by his own admission was the “worst sinner of all.” When God goes to work on a person, there is no stopping him in his relentless pursuit. A person can resist him, as did Israel, who even killed their Saviour, but God will save all Israel one day (Romans 11:26-27).

A lot of people resist God, and for understandable reasons – they’ve been turned off God by fear religion, by natural disasters killing innocent people, or by God not stopping serial killers of women and children. But God has mercy on them all (verse 32) because of what he accomplished through Jesus. Jesus became Nineveh, he became the serial killer, he became the power-hungry corporation and conquered them all on the cross, so that every enemy of humanity will be under Jesus’ feet (1 Corinthian 15:25), and EVERY knee will gladly bow before him (Romans 14:11-12).


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