I have always believed that GOD loves all of HIS creation. That on this side of the Cross HE gives everyone an opportunity to turn to HIM and accept HIS gift of salvation. Recently, I have heard of another idea that many Christians believe. This idea is that GOD only loves an elect. They say that the elect are actually people GOD decided from the very beginning would be HIS, and they are the only ones HE would save. Only these people are wanted by HIM, loved by HIM, and saved by HIM.
I want to say that if you happen to read this blog post and you hold to the belief that GOD pre-selected some people to love and save; know that in writing about it I mean you no offense!!! My blog has always been a place for me to write down in one place all my thoughts on a particular subject that is heavy on my heart at any given time. Since I started my blog I have written about many different subjects. I know everyone that might read my post will not agree with me and that is o.k.!! I don’t kid myself into thinking that I am right about everything in GOD’s word. I know GOD has so much more to reveal to me, and I want to learn!! My heart and prayer is always that GOD will continue to reveal HIMSELF and HIS ways and correct me when it’s needed!! I do not want to disagree with anyone in the body of CHRIST but that is not reality. The reality is that there are many,many different sets of beliefs with-in Christianity. We may not all agree but we can choose to love each other, and pray for each other. So even if I do disagree with you on something, know that I love you in Christ and I want nothing but GOD’s best for you!!
I believe that I must read the BIBLE to get to know the Triune GOD; who GOD the FATHER is, who JESUS the Son is, and who the HOLY SPIRIT is. I must read the word to know what this three-in-one GOD is like, how HE related to HIS creation before JESUS the son came in the flesh, and on this side of the cross. My guess is that GOD didn’t put in the bible everything that HE has ever done, said or thought. So I can speculate but I can not be certain of those things. I can only read, and ponder on what HE did put in HIS Word. There are some things that are what we would call ‘black and white’. On these things there is no confusion whatsoever about the meaning. Yet, there are other things that are not so clear. We have to keep reading, pondering and studying but in the end we just have to trust that GOD will reveal what it means in HIS perfect time. There are times it seems when one scripture contradicts another, but I know that is not true. I have heard it said “Context is everything”! I also believe that to be true. Though you can’t always just read the scripture before or after the one you are pondering. You might have to look at the whole chapter, book, all the writings in the New Covenant, and the writings of the Old Covenant. It might help to know who the author is or who they were talking to and or about. Though, I think the biggest key is looking at the context of the entire bible to really be able to see what GOD is speaking in a particular scripture.
In my relationship with HIM and study of HIS word I try to always take HIS Word at face value. I try not to read into it more than is clearly there. I assume that GOD worded it the way HE wanted. Though there will always be the exception to the rule, and sometimes you really benefit by digging deeper into all the study materials GOD has given. It does help to occasionally check out the original language of the bible’s writings, to check commentaries, and bible dictionaries, etc.. Though the majority of the time I do not think you need to do that to be able to understand GOD’s message in HIS word, because HE has given us the HOLY SPIRIT which will lead us into all truth. So I may be naive but I always just assume that if GOD said “All” HE meant all, and if HE said “world” HE meant the whole world meaning all of man-kind. Of course this is true unless it is very clear that these two words could have a limited scope, as when it says “all the world will be taxed” but we know that it is actually only the Roman World that would be taxed. (Luke 2:1). When HE said that a people wouldn’t let HIM do what HE wanted HE actually meant just what HE said; that the people could reject HIM. If HE said that we have to believe and repent; it means what it says, and we have to do that. I do not believe that HE meant HE will make us do it or put it in us. I have never read any scripture in the bible during my entire life that led me to believe GOD only loves some and only offers salvation to some. I never conceived of this idea until recently when it came up one day in a conversation. Since I was made aware of this idea; I have spent a lot of time in prayer, reading all I can on it, talking it out with some trusted people and studying the scripture that is said to support it, and to be honest I still don’t see it!
What I see in scripture is that for some reason GOD wanted a relationship that HE didn’t have with the angels or other creatures HE had created, so HE created humans. HE loved HIS creation (humans), and even though HE knew we would sin (reject HIM), HE created us anyway. HE even created us capable of sin (though HE didn’t make us sin). HE obviously still wanted that relationship with us and since sin separated us; HE chose to make a way for us to be able to be with HIM now and for eternity. HE sent JESUS and stated that this is a free gift from HIM, because HE loved the ‘world’ (which in context I truly believe means all mankind that has ever been born and that would ever be born), HE set it up so that people (anyone) can receive this gift by just accepting it (believing it), not by working for it, and HE also allows mankind to reject it. By allowing us to accept or reject doesn’t take away from HIS power, greatness or the fact that HE is in complete control. It just means HE planned it to be this way. This plan of HIS clearly shows us many if not all of HIS characteristics; love, merciful, kindness, compassion, righteousness, forgiveness, and slow-to-anger. Also through ALL of this, GOD’s plan will bring HIM amazing glory, which HE truly does deserve!! To me it really is as profound and as simply as that. As I said earlier, I don’t understand everything in GOD’s word but I do believe that what I don’t fully understand yet, does not take away or change the BIG PICTURE I just described. As always, I pray that the words of my mouth (and blog) are pleasing to my Heavenly FATHER, and that HE might use them to encourage others.
Now, I would like to share some scripture that I have always taken at face value, and it is because of these and many, many, many more not listed here, I believe what I do. These are of course not ALL the scriptures I could use as an example but if I used all of them, this post would be almost as lengthy as a book.
1 Timothy 2:11The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; 12 if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we DENY him, he also will DENY us; 13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful—
** GOD has set it up where we can DENY HIM…..
Romans 1: For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to
everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
**the GOSPEL is the power of GOD for Salvation to EVERYONE that believes
Romans 16: 25Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my GOSPEL and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept SECRET for long ages 26but has now been DISCLOSED and through the prophetic writings has been made known to ALL nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— 27 to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.
**the SECRET of the gospel is now being disclosed to ALL nations by command of GOD,
Romans 2: 5But because of YOUR HARD and IMPENITENT HEART YOU are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.
**It is our own hard heart that brings wrath, NOT that GOD doesn’t give us a chance
Romans 2:6He will render to each one according to his works: 7to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. 9There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11For GOD SHOWS NO PARTIALITY
**GOD SHOWS NO PARTIALITY
Romans 5:6 For while we were still weak, at the right time CHRIST died for the UNGODLY.
**CHRIST dies for the UNGODLY …. everyone outside or before CHRIST is ungodly, so therefore HE died for all people.
Romans 8:32He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us ALL, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
**GOD gave HIS son up for ALL
1 Timothy 2:1First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for ALL people,3This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4who DESIRES ALL PEOPLE TO BE SAVED and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the mana Christ JESUS, 6who GAVE HIMSELF AS A RANSOM FOR ALL, which is the testimony given at the proper time. 7For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
**GOD wants us to pray for ALL people, GOD desires ALL people to be saved and JESUS gave HIMSELF up for ALL
2 Peter 3:9The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, NOT WANTING ANYONE to PERISH, but EVERYONE to come to REPENTANCE.
**HE wants salvation for all, but as other verses show, he has allowed us a choice, to believe or not.
Titus 2: 11 For the GRACE of GOD has appeared, bringing salvation FOR ALL PEOPLE, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
**GODS GRACE has appeared, bringing salvation for ALL people, but that doesn’t mean ALL will accept this salvation.
John 3: 13No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.g 14And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15that WHOEVER believes in him may have eternal life. 16“For GOD so loved the WORLD,i that he gave his only Son, that WHOEVER BELIEVES in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the WORLD MIGHT BE SAVED through him. 18 WHOEVER BELIEVES in him is not condemned, but WHOEVER DOES NOT BELIEVE is condemned already, because he HAS NOT BELIEVED in the name of the only Son of God.
**It says WHOEVER over and over, not just a chosen few, it says WORLD not just a chosen few, it says who doesn’t believe NOT who doesn’t get a chance to believe.
2 John 2: 2He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the WHOLE WORLD.
**JESUS death and resurrection was for the WHOLE WORLD
Matthew 18:12What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the ONE that went astray? 13And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he REJOICES OVER IT more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. 14So it is NOT the WILL of my FATHER who is in heaven THAT ONE of these little ones should PERISH.
**NOT GOD’s will for people to perish. That GOD goes out of HIS way to bring the lost in.
John 1:29The next day he saw JESUS coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
**JESUS takes away sin of the WORLD.
Hebrews 2:9But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might TASTE DEATH for EVERYONE.
**JESUS tasted death for EVERYONE
**JESUS was sent to be the Savior for ALL People, BUT especially of those that BELIEVE
1 John 4:14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the SAVIOR of the WORLD.
**It was GOD’s plan for JESUS to be the SAVIOR of the WORLD
Acts 7:51“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, YOU ALWAYS RESIST the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you.
**GOD’s plan was to allow us to be able to accept or RESIST HIM
**JESUS is telling them to take the GOSPEL to the WHOLE WORLD to the WHOLE CREATION, HE said IF THE PEOPLE BELIEVE they will be saved, IF THEY DO NOT BELIEVE they will be condemned. So again GOD is giving people the choice to believe or not to believe.