John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

 

I have heard many people quote this verse recently. I love this verse. But what some have been interpreting it to mean is what I am not so sure of.

 

So what does this verse mean? I believe it means exactly what it says. Jesus took the sin of the entire world away. Every person who has ever lived or will ever live, has had their sin taken away already. Forgiveness is a choice, but it was God’s choice and He made it without your input. Now some people are drawing the conclusion that because everybody’s sin has been taken away already, that Jesus has thus already saved all people, they just don’t know it yet. This is called trinitarian inclusion theology, or historical reconciliation, and is one branch of the deceptive universal/ultimate reconciliation theology.

 

They propose that since all people’s sin has been taken away, that there is no longer anything separating people from God. Since sin caused the problem, its removal must obviously solve the problem, right? Logical yes, but true, I am not so sure for a number of reasons.

 

Reason 1: Righteousness

 

The historical inclusionist view proposes that since sin makes one unrighteous, that its removal makes one righteous. And because Jesus removed all the world’s sin, that all the world is righteous. That still makes logical sense, but I believe there is huge difference between being righteous due a lack of sin, and being the righteousness of God in Christ.

 

 

Mat 5:20 “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

 

What Jesus just said here is one of the reasons why I don’t believe universal forgiveness = universal salvation. According to Jesus, to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, you need righteousness, and not just a little, more than that of the Pharisees actually. Now the Pharisees where a group of people who made it their life’s purpose and their job to be as righteous as possible. It was what they were known for. According to the people of the day, the Pharisees were as righteous you can get.

 

Now let’s quickly get back to our no sin equation. Before the entire world’s sin was taken away, they were fallen short, or in debt. Then Jesus came and took it all their sin away. That cleared their debt (sin), but cleared debt and credit (righteousness) are to different things. If you have credit card debt and I clear it on your behalf, I have only brought your balance to zero. You are no longer in debt, but you are also not in credit. You are still at zero. For you to be in credit, you need to be on the positive side of zero. You need to have loads of credit, more than that of the Pharisees, according to Jesus. Read more on this here and also here.

 

So how does one go about getting more righteousness than that of the Pharisees? Do you work as hard as you can, trying to keep all 613 laws? Do read your Bible, pray, go to church, fast, worship, soak or evangelize enough people? Nope. You receive the free gift of His righteousness BY Grace THROUGH Faith. (Eph 2:8-9). Salvation comes by grace through faith. If Jesus already included all people in salvation, then faith would be totally useless.

 

Reason 2: Old vs New Creations.

 

When Jesus forgave the world’s sin, all the world merely became forgiven old creations. Old creations aren’t saved, it is only new creations that are part of the Divine family, included, adopted, and accepted. All old creations are at zero on the credit line. They used to be on the negative side, then the cross brought them to zero. The invitation is there for them to freely go over into credit, into true righteousness, to become born-again as new creations. But as long as they don’t accept the invitation, they don’t join in the inheritance of the saints.

 

Gal 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.

 

Only the new creation avails anything, and that happens only IN Christ. This is why Jesus spoke so often of being born-again. If all people have already been saved, it means all people had to have been born-again since birth. It would mean you were born with the Holy Spirit inside you already. If this were true, what was the point of Pentecost? If every single person were already saved after the cross, united with the Holy Spirit and sealed with Him, why did the disciples only receive the Spirit 50 days after the cross? Why is the book of Acts full of accounts of people being told to believe in order to be saved, to become new creations? For example:

 

Act 16:30-25 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.

 

2Cr 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

 

New creations are only found IN Christ. The entire world has been forgiven, but the entire world is not IN Christ. That happens by grace through faith.

 

Reason 3: Faith

 

In my opinion, Trinitarian inclusion or historical reconciliation is merely attempting to remove faith from the salvation invitation as mentioned above. This means they are merely preaching the law in a very deep undercover operation. (The law is not of faith and whatever is not of faith is sin – Gal 3:12 & Rom 14:23).

 

If faith is not necessary, then what is the point of Rom 10:17? What is the point of even preaching? What is the point of the Great Commission? If everybody was already saved, why didn’t Jesus just take all mankind with Him when He ascended? What are we waiting for if all people are already saved? Why does He want us to proclaim His good news?

 

Good news is not living out life in a fallen world telling people who are already saved they are already saved, but the have to live out life on this fallen world telling others they are already saved also. That is just dumb. If all are already included and saved, what is the point of it all? For this exact reason, faith was and still is an important part of the salvation invitation.

 

Hbr 4:2-3 For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. 3 For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: “So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest,’ “although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.”

 

Yes, Jesus said ‘It is finished’ and meant it. Yes, His works were done. Yes, He forgave us all. But that good news does not profit you one single bit when not mixed with faith. And don’t get worked up on faith either. The smallest amount removes the largest of obstacles. It is not a work to believe, it’s a joy!

 

To be continued… (But in the meantime, read my friend Paul Ellis’ post on the same topic!)

 

Cornel

 

Ps. Don’t forget to sign up to our email subscription to qualify for out free Rob Rufus book giveaway happening tomorrow! Click here for more details!

 

17 Responses to Is The Entire World Saved, They Just Don’t Know It Yet?

  • Great stuff, I have seen it passing on the internet too. Steve McVey, who has written some great books, seems to be really into this too. I have also been reading some Baxter Kruger, Robert Capon, etc. who seem to be in the same line of thinking. Yet somehow it does not fit with all the ‘faith’ verses.

  • Su San says:

    Revival Or Riots shared this article on his FB page, here was my reply and I thought to share it here, too…

    Is faith a gift of God’s grace and administered according to His will? The thing is, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that no man or woman saved me, or even led me to Jesus. I was sovereignly saved by God and God alone. As we all are. John 1:13. He drew me to Jesus like a star ship tractor beam. Like Paul, who called himself the example, I was overcome and overwhelmed by Grace. He called me, chose me, gave birth to me. It was His work, His will. And He did it His way.

    But then folks began to teach me otherwise. Which wasn’t anything different from what I had already been accustomed to in the world. My responsibility. All the should’s and have to’s. Resting in His grace? His yoke being easy and light? I think not.

    If we believe He has it all worked out, from beginning to ‘end’ (ie GreatestStoryTold.com) we will be able to relax. Regardless of how much we can figure out or not figure out about it all (the Bible doesn’t tell us a whole bunch). But if we believe folks have ‘choices’ concerning their eternal destiny, and one of those ‘choices’ includes being eternally tormented in a demon-infested mosh pit called hell (which only an verifiably insane person would ‘choose’ btw)… I mean, how can anyone in their right mind who believes that truly rest? And if they can I would have to wonder what condition their heart was in. But the thing is, what ‘finished’ work? It’d be all up to us. Forget you, it’d be up to me! Unless we’re dyed in the wool Calvinist types, that is.

    But thankfully He showed me a long time ago that if my faith and prayers didn’t always work when it came to someone’s physical healing, I was going to rely on that same faith and those same prayers (mine) to get someone into Heaven!? I.. don’t.. think.. so. Hard stuff, but THANK YOU, LORD! (GoingToHell.net) Bless you, keep you, and yours!

    • Cornel says:

      Yes faith is a gift. It is God’s gift to us. But just because he gave it, doesn’t mean everybody is using it. My wife gave me a new shirt the other day. It is mine, I received it, it is hanging in my cupboard. But I have not yet worn it, I have never used it. That doesn’t negate the fact that she gave it. God gave every man the measure of faith. With that measure they either choose to believe in Christ and have a relationship with him, or they choose to not believe. Also, I didn’t get saved out of a fear of going to hell. I got saved out of experiencing his love and wanting to know him more. I do believe God has worked it out from start to finish, that His love is the greatest story ever told. Some just don’t choose to mix their free gift of faith when they hear his story. Read Heb 4:2-3 again.

  • Daniel J. says:

    Thank you Cornel for this post. I was expecting a reaction to all the new revelation is going around.
    I debate this inclusion with my family and we have a talk for 1 month everyday almost, and Ania at one point said:
    “If faith is not necessary, then what is the point of Rom 10:17? What is the point of even preaching? What is the point of the Great Commission? If everybody was already saved, why didn’t Jesus just take all mankind with Him when He ascended? What are we waiting for if all people are already saved? Why does He want us to proclaim His good news? ”
    Exactly your point. Exactly.
    It is a confirmation for us that it is demonic activity going around and to sad many are deceived.

    We are very bless by your teaching and this blog!. thank you

  • Morgan Rowe says:

    What I am about say may sound a little weird? Basically I can only touch on this. When the bible says, we are all saved or that He is the Saviour of all men you may be missing the point. You’re not looking at the bigger picture? Basically, it is a time-thing. Man began at the age of creation, then man entered the age of Law. Then man proceeded to the age of grace, which we are in now. From here we will, God willing, enter the millenial age. After this the creation will be released into the glorious liberty of the children of God. Now, I was taught that once your in Hell there is no hope for you, that you’re there forever! But that’s not true, Hell is forever, judgment is not. Hell, says Mathew was made for the devil and his legions, not for mankind so much. There are 15 verses that back this up in the NT, maybe more? There is coming a day of the restitution of all things. In Adam all die in Christ shall all be made alive, 1 Cor 15:24-28. Paul said,”There is a ransome to be testified in due time, 1 Tim 2:6. There is a resurrection of the righteous but also the resurrection of damnation John 5:28. Finally, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace towards us. Really, it has not been given unto to us to know the times and the seasons? We will fully understand what it means when it says “He is the savour of all men, but not until the end, when all men come together as one.

    • Cornel says:

      Morgan,

      Thanks for your thoughts, although I am really not sure where you are going with most of what you are saying. I am not sure what point you think I am missing, I have never even touched on 1 Ti 4:10 yet. As for a timing thing, all mankind did not enter the age of law. Only Israel did. Grace has appeared to all men, but some love the darkness more than the light. As for hell, I have not spoken on that topic yet, so your assumptions of what I think regarding hell are only assumed. Tell, how is hell not made for mankind so much? Is it made for mankind a little then? Times and seasons? Not really sure what you are trying to convey Morgan. Perhaps try to be a bit more on-topic and specific.

      Thanks.

  • Morgan Rowe says:

    Firstly Cornel, I agree with about 98% of what you have written. But I’m coming from the perspective from the end of times; or the end of the ages. We will truly understand all things towards the end, we just see through a glass dimly? I mentioned 5 consecutive ages of man, we are in the age of grace right now. Jesus did not come into the world to condemn the world, but that the world will be saved. But, if we look at Jesus in light of who is saved right now; then He can’;t be doing a very good job? Right now its only a remnant that are saved. But in God’s eyes we are all saved? The bible says, “Jesus is the saviour of all men”, not saviour of some men. He is not the saviour of only those who are presently saved but all. Even though some go to Hell, there is a ransome for them to be testified in due time, says Paul? If you have family who have died without Christ, you may just see them again one day. Hell, is more like a baptism.We die,we are buried,we rise again? Isn’t most of christianity a baptism of soughts. Why every trial I have been through is like a baptism? The death-Burial-Resurrection theme comes up alot in scripture don’t you think? What I’m saying,and I’m not trying to be smart is,”It aint over till it’s over”. We just see through a glass deeply. But I do understand where you are coming from on this subject, and I do go along with you,probably just from the overall perspective. If however you still fell I am off topic please forgive me.

    • Cornel says:

      Jesus did a fantastic job. He provided salvation for all mankind. He paid the price. If mankind does not come to him, even after all this, then we can’t blame Jesus for not doing enough just because some still choose to reject him and his salvation.

  • Cliff Simon says:

    what are your thoughts on Steve Mcvey’s presentation of the Gospel? It seems like URT, but at the same time every now and then he will back away from it by saying something like, “I never said everyone is going to heaven” I am really having trouble discerning him. I do not doubt for one moment his genuineness and sincerity. Is he in this same camp?

  • Jesse says:

    Steve mcvey believes that it is impossible to self-generate the new man; its illogical to think otherwise. Your faith does not purchase salvation, that’s called transactional Christianity which excludes the idea of salvation being a gift and turns faith into willpower. Nothing new happens to you at the point when you believe except an experiential understanding of what youve had all along. Martin Luther said that faith is like the eye, it sees what is already there.

    • Cornel says:

      And to a degree I would agree. You can not self-generate the new man, and faith doesn’t self-generate you, God rebirths you through faith. Your faith doesn’t purchase salvation, Jesus’ blood bought it. Your faith redeems the purchase. Confusing faith with willpower shows a lack of understanding of both terms.

  • Heya says:

    Hi Cornel, a few thoughts on “Trinitarianism” & Universalism. Arminianism and Calvinism are two opposing theological grids that dominate christian thinking, interpretation and theology (as you already know). Long story short, one of the Calvinist beliefs is that God chose you in love, before the foundation of the world, and didn’t choose others (the reprobates). Arminians on the other hand believe God chose you, yet that decision was based on his foreknowledge of you choosing him.

    So while the Arminian view seems to be more ‘fair’, God basically doesn’t choose anyone by grace (his sovereign choice), but its freely available to everyone. Its based on your decision at the end of the day. On the other side, many calvinists hold to ‘limited’ atonement, Jesus doesn’t die for everyone, but dies for the those whom he chose or predestined. This is a very limited, plain, and rough comparison.

    Traditional universalism is now more down the line of calvinism. God chooses everyone before the world began, not based on their decision. Theres different views about the afterlife and hell, but generally speaking, this belief arrives at everyone eventually ending up in heaven, even if they are in hell for a period though.

    Now to my point – Trinitarian faith is not universalism. If you say it is, I ask you to research some more. Don’t just look on the surface here. Look at guys like Karl Barth (one of the best theologians of our time), the Torrance brothers, those guys are enough research material to see that trinitarian faith is not universalism. If anything, its an amazing balance between calvinism and arminianism.

    I’m not writing this to enter into a massive debate, but I felt this is worth sharing. Too many people do a quick search on Wikipedia, and come out with a conclusion. I’m not saying you’ve done this. But in Trinitarian faith, Faith is very important. Not everyone is ‘saved’. There is an eternal hell. You are saved by grace (Gods decision), through faith (you receiving it).

    There is so much info here, but here are some thoughts. While you were dead in your sins, God made you alive together with Christ. WHEN? TOGETHER WITH Christ means that when he was raised to life, you were raised at the same time… so its 2000 years ago. Roman 6 talks clearly of how we died WITH Jesus. The ONLY old testament reference of the 3rd day resurrection includes us (Hos 6:2). Again, you were raised with christ while you were dead in your sins. It sounds like the dry bones story. You were dead, and God made you alive. You had no part to play in being made alive. Scripture is clear on this. Now, just as the giving of the law brought awareness and awakening to the death that was already there (from Adam), and increased sin, so now the preaching of the gospel brings an awakening to the gospel BY FAITH. We need to preach the gospel. People need to believe. Its vitally important. There is something that is true about everyone, even if it is in seed form.

    I can’t paint the whole picture here. I thought this John Calvin quote to be very good: “a man cannot apply himself seriously to repentance without knowing himself to belong to God. But no one is truly persuaded that he belongs to God unless he has first recognized God’s grace” (Institutes, III.2). Yet how is one to recognize God’s grace if it is not proclaimed to him or her as a fact rather than a conditional promise?

  • Cornel says:

    If that is in deed the case, then maybe the people who claim to be trinitarian need to go study for themselves what they ‘should be’ believing & teaching because there seems to be a lot of confusion on the matter even in their own camp. I have just written my thoughts in response to actual things I have heard certain people say, people who call themselves trinitarians. So even if I don’t know all there is to know about trinitarianism, I have come across the things I wrote about a lot. Thanks for your gracious comment. I will look into it some more.

  • Ken says:

    Great post Cornel. I am a grace teacher and was horrified to hear other ‘grace’ speakers teaching this corruption of the gospel. I searched the internet to see if others were concerned and was amazed to find so little being said. Whenever it is discussed, like here, its advocates seem to wander from the plain sense of the Scripture and venture into human reason and philosophy. Usually they will take a verse to its ‘logical’ conclusion such as “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself” and ignore the context of that verse and the many other passages which clearly refute universal salvation. Or, in a weird way they will insist that we have turned faith into a work. The gospel is a command to believe in Christ. This new taching takes the urgency out of the gospel message and reduces it to mean “You’re already saved; you just don’t know it.” Almost 150 times we are informed in the Bible that if we have faith (noun) or believe (verb) in Christ we will be saved. Multitudes of verses also spell out that those who believe not are condemned. Condemnation is the antithesis of justification. A person cannot be justified and condemned at the same time. Thank you for sharing this post. Just a question. What are your thoughts on Acts 2:38; 3:19; John 8:24, which seem to imply that even one’s sins are not forgiven without believing in Christ?

    • Cornel says:

      Thanks for the comment Ken and for the encouragement. My thoughts regarding forgiveness of all is that Jesus forgave all. When He died on the cross there were no saved people, so He took away the sin of the world at the cross. So I believe all people are forgiven, but I do not believe all people are saved simply because being forgiven and being saved are not the same thing. Read more about my thoughts here if you want:

      http://www.charismaministries.org/all-forgiven-all-saved/

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