Love Your Enemies

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; Matthew 5:44

God loves even his enemies. For he requires men to love their enemies, which he could not do if he hated his. (Matt. 5:44) And Jesus declared, “for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.” Luke 6:35. This is but an amplification of the preceding argument. If God loves his enemies, he certainly loves all men; for no one doubts that he loves his friends. And can God cause those to be endlessly miserable whom he loves?

From “100 Arguments in Favor of Universalism” by Thomas Whittemore. Read the complete book here.

The Good Shepherd

What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? Luke 15:4
If a shepherd would do such for a mere animal, how much more will God do for His own offspring (Acts 17: 28-29) created in His image? (Ge. 1:26-27; Mt. 7:11). “I am the good shepherd…(who) gives His life for the sheep” (Jn. 10:11). Since we humans would leave the 99 for the lost one, how much more will the Good Shepherd who gave His very life for the sheep? “Likewise.. joy in heaven…” (Lu. 15:7, 20)
This shepherd illustration assures us that the Good Shepherd will not give up the search until He finds all His missing ones! This is especially so since He gave us these heartwarming words as a prelude to what to me is the most touching and comforting parable in the whole Bible – The Wayward or Prodigal son.
From Hope Beyond Hell (p. 136) by Gerry Beauchemin. You can order the book or get a free down load here.

Weekend Wisdom – William Barclay

I am a convinced universalist. I believe that in the end all men will be gathered into the love of God. In the early days Origen was the great name connected with universalism. I would believe with Origen that universalism is no easy thing. Origen believed that after death there were many who would need prolonged instruction, the sternest discipline, even the severest punishment before they were fit for the presence of God. Origen did not eliminate hell; he believed that some people would have to go to heaven via hell. He believed that even at the end of the day there would be some on whom the scars remained. He did not believe in eternal punishment, but he did see the possibility of eternal penalty. And so the choice is whether we accept God’s offer and invitation willingly, or take the long and terrible way round through ages of purification.

Gregory of Nyssa offered three reasons why he believed in universalism. First, he believed in it because of the character of God. “Being good, God entertains pity for fallen man; being wise, he is not ignorant of the means for his recovery.” Second, he believed in it because of the nature of evil. Evil must in the end be moved out of existence, “so that the absolutely non-existent should cease to be at all.” Evil is essentially negative and doomed to non-existence. Third, he believed in it because of the purpose of punishment. The purpose of punishment is always remedial. Its aim is “to get the good separated from the evil and to attract it into the communion of blessedness.” Punishment will hurt, but it is like the fire which separates the alloy from the gold; it is like the surgery which removes the diseased thing; it is like the cautery which burns out that which cannot be removed any other way.

But I want to set down not the arguments of others but the thoughts which have persuaded me personally of universal salvation.

First, there is the fact that there are things in the New Testament which more than justify this belief. Jesus said: “I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself” (John 12:32). Paul writes to the Romans: “God has consigned all men to disobedience that he may have mercy on all” (Rom. 11:32). He writes to the Corinthians: “As in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:22); and he looks to the final total triumph when God will be everything to everyone (1 Cor. 15:28). In the First Letter to Timothy we read of God “who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth,” and of Christ Jesus “who gave himself as a ransom for all” (1 Tim 2:4-6). The New Testament itself is not in the least afraid of the word all.

Second, one of the key passages is Matthew 25:46 where it is said that the rejected go away to eternal punishment, and the righteous to eternal life. The Greek word for punishment is kolasis, which was not originally an ethical word at all. It originally meant the pruning of trees to make them grow better. I think it is true to say that in all Greek secular literature kolasis is never used of anything but remedial punishment. The word for eternal is aionios. It means more than everlasting, for Plato – who may have invented the word – plainly says that a thing may be everlasting and still not be aionios. The simplest way to out it is that aionios cannot be used properly of anyone but God; it is the word uniquely, as Plato saw it, of God. Eternal punishment is then literally that kind of remedial punishment which it befits God to give and which only God can give.

Third, I believe that it is impossible to set limits to the grace of God. I believe that not only in this world, but in any other world there may be, the grace of God is still effective, still operative, still at work. I do not believe that the operation of the grace of God is limited to this world. I believe that the grace of God is as wide as the universe.

Fourth, I believe implicitly in the ultimate and complete triumph of God, the time when all things will be subject to him, and when God will be everything to everyone (1 Cor. 15:24-28). For me this has certain consequences. If one man remains outside the love of God at the end of time, it means that that one man has defeated the love of God – and that is impossible. Further, there is only one way in which we can think of the triumph of God. If God was no more than a King or Judge, then it would be possible to speak of his triumph, if his enemies were agonizing in hell or were totally and completely obliterated and wiped out. But God is not only King and Judge, God is Father – he is indeed Father more than anything else. No father could be happy while there were members of his family for ever in agony. No father would count it a triumph to obliterate the disobedient members of his family. The only triumph a father can know is to have all his family back home. The only victory love can enjoy is the day when its offer of love is answered by the return of love. The only possible final triumph is a universe loved by and in love with God.

 

(Quoted from William Barclay: A Spiritual Autobiography)

The Savior of All!

For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. 1 Timothy 4:10

Check out this VERY short video.

Spiritual Magnetism

And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. John 12:32
Jesus promised that due to his crucifixlon, he will draw all people to himself (Jn. 12:32, 33). He is, therefore, in the process of drawing all to himself through the power of the Holy Spirit. All that is necessary to be saved is to accept Christ as ones savior and then relax and go with the flow. Christ, as the Savior of the whole world, is like a spiritual magnet and sinners are like spiritual metal. Since a magnet naturally draws metal to itself, the metal does not have to try to be drawn to the magnet; it just happens. While metal has no power to resist the magnetic attraction, people do. Nevertheless, Christ, in love, continues to draw people, through good times as well as all the trials, tragedies, and tribulations of life. Eventually, through the spiritual magnetism of Christ, who is God, all human beings will be drawn to his everlasting arms waiting to embrace them and welcome them into heaven our eternal home.
From Spiritual Terrorism (p. 227) by Boyd C. Purcell PH.D.

Righteous Judgment

For He [God] has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by a Man [the Lord Jesus Christ] whom He has appointed, having given assurance of this to all men by raising Him from the dead.” Acts 17:31

Is it not plainly indicated here that the period of the world’s judgment is one of blessing? Christ’s resurrection is presented as an assurance that the world shall one day be judged in righteousness; this declaration is in the nature of a promise, an assurance of good, and the most glorious event that ever took place is the pledge to all men of their ultimate realization of this promise.  In conclusion see Jude 14, 15.  The Lord’s coming with his saints “to execute judgment” (see I Cor. 6:2 and Psa. 149:9) will result in “convincing the ungodly” of their error, and thus bringing them to a better mind. So from Rev. XIV. 6, 7, we learn that when the hour [season, time] of God’s judgment is come, the everlasting gospel shall be preached to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people; and “when his judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.”

By A. P. Adams. Read the complete article here.

Everlasting Life and Perishing: A Fresh Look

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

The famous John 3:16 passage sets before mankind two options:

1. Everlasting Life
2. Perishing

These two words have been invested with ecclesiastical meanings rather than Biblical ones. This has led to horrible and frightful teaching with regard to man’s destiny. Let’s take a look at the two words.

1. “Everlasting life” is literally “age-abiding life.” The word for age has the thought of “something flowing.” Those who believe have a life flowing from God, abundant life.

2. “Perishing” is literally “to lose out”. It’s not about “remaining dead forever” or “burning in hell forever.” The same word is used to describe the “LOST” sheep of the house of Israel. They weren’t annihilated or “in hell”, the sheep were scattered far away from the protection of the Shepherd.

In your Bible study try to read those two words with these concepts in mind. In the coming Kingdom of God there will be those who will be raised to an abundant life flowing from God. Others will be raised to a resurrection of judgment, they will be alive, but they will lose out. They will have to go through a period of correction and sanctions when God governs.

Try it on for size:

“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are losing out.” 2 Cor. 4:3.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not lose out, but enjoy a full life flowing from God.” John 3:16

It’s shocking to realize how much Plato combined with corrupt Christian ecclesiasticalism has caused us to “lose out” when it comes to our understanding of the future and the destiny of man. Scripture truths have been lost in false terminology.

One day God will be all in all. Before that people will go through various experiences. Some will enjoy a life flowing from God, others will go through sanctions and correction.

A life flowing from God is given by faith in Jesus Christ. Those who do not yield to the Son will lose out. How much will they lose out? It will depend on the circumstances.

Food for thought.

By Dan Sheridan. Read his blog at sheridanvoice.com/blog/