By Kevin V. Rutherford
Should Christians desire that all people be saved? Absolutely! God does (1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9). We should strongly, deeply, and dearly love God with every aspect of our being (Mark 12:30). We must love our wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ with an abiding, longsuffering, and sacrificial love (1 Corinthians 13; 1 John 3:10-5:3). In fact, we must love all people (Mark 12:31)! We want all people to be saved, because we love all people, even as God loves all people (John 3:14-21; 1 John 3:16; Romans 5:8-11).
Will all people be saved? Sadly, no. The love, care, and compassion we have for others can bring grief and heaviness to our hearts as we contemplate the fact that there are some individuals who are not going to be saved (Matthew 7:13-14). We do not rejoice in this. God does not rejoice in this (Ezekiel 18:29-32). But universalism is not true. That is, God will not save everyone. Everyone has the opportunity for salvation (John 3:16; 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9; Acts 10:34-35; Titus 2:11; Romans 1:16-17). But not all will choose to call upon God for salvation (Joshua 24:15; Acts 13:46; Romans 10; Acts 2:21-41; Matthew 7:13-29).
What then is the standard by which it can be determined who is going to be saved? Is it the doctrines and commandments of men? Absolutely not (Matthew 15:1-9)! Is it one’s opinions and gut feelings? Most assuredly, no (Jeremiah 7:23-24; 10:23; 11:8; 13:9-10)! The Word of God, the Holy Scriptures, the Divinely Inspired Bible is the standard of authority which identifies who will be saved and who will be lost (1 Timothy 4:1-6; 2 Timothy 2:14-4:5; 2 Thessalonians 1:3-12; 1 Corinthians 1-3; Romans 2:1-16). It is this God given standard that tells us those who do the will of the Father in heaven will be saved, and those who will not do what God says will be lost (Matthew 7:21-27).
There can be no doubt that God is the judge! He will judge the world through His Son someday (Acts 17:31), and the truth will be the standard by which His Son will judge the world (Acts 17:30; John 17:17; John 8:31-36; 1 Peter 1:13-25; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; John 12:44-50). Ignorance of the Word of God will be no excuse (Acts 17:30; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). The Bible is the standard by which one can determine who is going to be saved and who is going to be lost. Therefore, one’s opinions or doctrines that originate with men rather than God have absolutely zero authority (Acts 5:29; 2 Peter 1:16-21; Matthew 15:9). In fact the doctrines of men, the personal feelings of people, and the current cultural climate are standards which will cause people to be lost (Romans 16:17-18; 1 Timothy 1:3-4; 2 Timothy 2:14-18; Titus 1:9-16; Galatians 1:6-10).
- Kevin V. Rutherford preaches for the Warners Chapel church of Christ in Clemmons, NC. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://warnerschapelchurchofchrist.org/