For those of us who went to Bible college or seminary, one of the first rules of Bible interpretation we learned was that you interpret an unclear passage by a clear one, never the other way around. If we interpret the clear by the unclear, we can easily be led astray. I believe it is safe to say that many false doctrines have been brought into existence this way. This is a basic rule of interpretation. Keeping things in context is another one.
With that in mind, the word ALL is an important word, not only in the Bible, but in everyday life. It is a word of completeness and no exceptions. It is a word of absolutes. It means the totality or the whole of something. It is 100% of all there is. It meant the same in biblical times as we use it today.
If I were selling apples and you came up to me and wanted to buy one, what would you think I meant if I said, “I’m sorry, I just sold my last one. They are ALL gone”? How many would you expect to see in the basket? Or, let’s say I was a teacher and you wanted to know what my attendance was in my classroom one day. If you said, “How many students are present today?” And I said, “They are ALL here.” What would that mean?
What we are covering in this booklet are some of the ALLs of salvation. Every passage we will look at focuses on the concept of ALL. This is a good topic to meditate on as we reflect on who God is, how He sees the human race, and what He has provided through His amazing grace.
I realize that the issue of how Calvinists see predestination and what the Bible teaches on the topic cannot be fully discussed in the small form factor of this booklet. However, for most people, I believe we can use our heads and think through this issue without much difficulty. Remember, we must always interpret the unclear passages by the clear ones. Our focus will be on the clear ones.
When it comes to the gospel and salvation, we see many wonderful truths clearly spelled out:The sins of ALL people were paid for when Jesus died on the cross. Contrary to what Calvinism teaches, there is no such thing as limited atonement. The Apostle John gives clear teaching on this important issue:
“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world”
(1 John 2:1-2).
The word propitiation means a satisfactory payment. In verse 2, John makes it clear that he is not talking about the sins of believers only, but also of everyone in the human race. If Jesus paid for the sins of the whole world, then it only makes sense that the whole world can be saved. Otherwise, why would He pay for the sins of the whole world?
“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man” (Hebrews 2:9).
Jesus tasted death for every man. The idea of tasting means to experience. This doesn’t mean that He sampled it but didn’t go through with it. The context says He suffered death. He did this for every man.
“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).
The all of v.14 applies to all mankind because all were dead. This is clear by what v.18-19 states:
“And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18-19).
Notice that there is a distinction between us and the world. The distinction shows that the entire world can be reconciled, not just a select few.
Isaiah understood this truth when he wrote:
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him [Christ] the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). The most famous verse in all of the Bible is very straightforward on this issue. “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. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16-17).
Remember that v.16 is connected with v.17. The world is clearly referring to all of the people of the world, not the “elect” of the world, whatever that means. Jesus did not come to condemn the world because the world was already condemned. He came so that the world could be saved. He came to save the world, if they would just believe in Him. For it to mean anything else, a person has to inject an idea into the text that simply does not exist.
ALL of the sins of ALL people were paid for when Jesus died on the cross.
“When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, It is finished: and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost” (John 19:30).
It is finished. The Greek word is tetelestai. This is the same word as in v. 28 for accomplished.
“After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst” (John 19:28).
One Bible dictionary says, “It means to make an end or to accomplish, to complete something, not merely to end it, but to bring it to perfection or its destined goal, to carry it through.” Another commentator on John 19:30 says, “It is finished: It has been finished and stands complete”.
This becomes very clear when you look at what Jesus did in light of Hebrews 10.
“For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins” (Hebrews 10:1-4).
The Old Testament sacrifices were only a temporary solution and covering for sins. If they would have solved the problem, once and for all, then they wouldn’t have had to continue. But they didn’t permanently solve the problem. This is why Jesus came, as the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world. “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;” (Hebrews 10:10-12).
He sat down because the work was accomplished. ”From henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool. For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified” (Hebrews 10:13-14).
This is one major proof why salvation is not of works. The price has already been paid for everyone. Jesus did all the work necessary to obtain salvation for us. All we need to do is believe or trust in Him as the One who did that for us. When we do, we receive everlasting life as a gift, that very moment. We are secure forever! ALL people are being drawn to the Lord. It is common for Calvinists to say that you cannot come to Christ unless you are being drawn. I would agree with that, but the fact is, everyone is being drawn by God Himself. Jesus said:
”And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me” (John 12:32).
Notice the use of the word “all” in this verse. All men are being drawn. What does it mean? It means 100% of all that is, according to the context of what is being talked about.
Also, Jesus said something very powerful about how things would be when the Holy Spirit would come after His ascension:
”Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you. And when He is come, He will reprove [convict] the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on Me; Of
righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see Me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged” (John 16:7-11).
Notice that the entire world, ALL the world, is being convicted by the Holy Spirit. Why convict the whole world if the whole world can’t be saved?
John 1 gives powerful testimony concerning this issue:
”There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:6-9).
In v.7 it says that John came for a witness so that ALL men through him might believe. ALL men, not just some. Also, in v.9 it says that Jesus would give light to every man who comes into the world, not just a select few. Why give witness to ALL men and give light to ALL men if ALL men cannot respond?
ALL people of ALL time CAN be saved. This is the plan of salvation that the God of the Bible has created. God means what He says and says what He means. This is truly good news! Yet, Calvinism paints a different and distorted portrait of God. Let me give you an illustration:
Let’s say that you went on a mission trip overseas to a region where thousands of children were starving to death. You went with someone who leads this kind of trip on a regular basis. That person brought more than enough food to satisfy as many starving children as you would come in contact with. You travelled there by air, and after you landed, you went to the area where the starving children were. But instead of feeding all of the starving children, the leader of your group simply chose to feed a select few from the thousands who were crying out for food. He refused to provide for all of the others, even though He had the ability and resources to do so. He chose to let the others starve to death even though he could have met their need. What would you think of someone like that? You would probably be stunned and deeply troubled by his cruelty.
This illustration is an example of the god of Calvinism. Calvinism teaches that even though God could provide salvation for all mankind and the opportunity to believe, He chose not to, but only chose certain ones out of the human race to be saved. Friend, that is not the God of the Bible!
Or, let’s say that 10% of the people of the world throughout human history will be saved. (By the way, that is probably a generous number in my view). That means that 90% of the people of the world will be lost forever, suffering in a literal Hell for all eternity. If Calvinism is true, that means that in eternity past, before they were ever conceived, God had predetermined that the destiny of 9 out of every 10 people would be to suffer forever in Hell. They would suffer there simply because that is what God had decided for them. Friend, that is not the God of the Bible!
In stark contrast to that, when Jesus was born, the angel had a wonderful announcement to proclaim:
”And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord”
Notice that the good news of great joy is for ALL people. How can it be good news if it is not for ALL people? The Bible clearly says that God offers salvation to ALL. God does not discriminate on this.
”For there is no respect of persons with God” (Romans 2:11).
The word respect means partiality or favoritism. In other words, God treats everyone the same.
Let’s look at a few more clear passages showing that ALL people can be saved:
”For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (I Timothy 2:3-6).
Notice in v.4 that it is God’s will that ALL be saved and that is why Jesus came- to be a ransom for ALL, v.6.
”For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all” (Romans 11:32).
”And He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).
Why preach the gospel to every creature unless all can be saved? This is not a game of “Guess Who’s One of the Elect?”
”For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).
How many of us were lost? ALL of us. Therefore, He is seeking ALL to be saved. Therefore, ALL can be saved.
The reason people remain lost is because they are resisting the conviction of the Holy Spirit and rejecting the Word of God. Look closely at the following two passages:
”O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” (Matthew 23:37).
It was God’s will for the Jewish people to respond and receive Christ, but they would not. The problem is not God but man.
When Stephen was preaching his great sermon in Acts 7, he came to this revealing conclusion:
”Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye” (Acts 7:51).
Man remains lost because he resists the conviction of the Holy Spirit and rejects the gospel. Remember, according to 1 Timothy 2:4, it is God’s will that ALL would be saved.
Salvation is a free gift to ALL mankind. The reason this is true is because Jesus paid the price. Make no mistake about it, a death payment had to be made. But Jesus did it for us. This was done for ALL mankind.
”For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
”For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). ”Therefore as by the offence of one [Adam] judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of One [Jesus Christ] the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life” (Romans 5:18). V.18 is a very powerful verse. If judgment came upon ALL men, the free gift is offered to those same people, namely, all men (mankind).
When we believe, ALL of our sins are forgiven. If all sin is forgiven when we believe, then we can go to Heaven because all of our sin is gone. What a wonderful truth!
”Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this Man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by Him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses” (Acts 13:38-39).
”Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” (Romans 8:33-34).
Jesus is the One who determines who goes to Heaven and who doesn’t. He has personally taken care of all of our sins forever, and as believers we stand forgiven. So then, what could keep us out of Heaven? Nothing So, here are the facts in review:
- The sins of ALL people were paid for when Jesus died on the cross. That includes you.
- ALL of the sins of ALL people were paid for when Jesus died on the cross. That includes you.
- ALL people are being drawn to the Lord. That includes you.
- ALL people of ALL time CAN be saved. That includes you.
- Salvation is a free gift to ALL mankind. That includes you.
- When we believe, ALL of our sins are forgiven. That includes you.
I hope this booklet has been of help to you and that it has manifested the God of the Bible as He is, the One who loves all mankind and wants every man, woman, and child to be saved. If you have never understood His plan of salvation, please read the following
- ARE YOU SURE OF HEAVEN?
- While reading this booklet you may have come to the realization that you have been trusting in your good works to get you to heaven. You cannot be saved that way. Please take some time to read and understand the following truths:
- The Bible tells us that we are all sinners, less perfect than God.
- “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
- To sin is to miss the mark of God’s perfection. We have all violated His word and broken His commandments.
- The price that God demands for payment of sin is death. If you choose to pay for your own sin, you will have to die and spend forever separated from God in Hell.
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
God’s Word also says that no sin can enter Heaven because Heaven is a perfect place and sin would bring death. Man must be sinless in God’s eyes to enter Heaven.
“And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:27).
There is absolutely nothing you can do to obtain the sinless perfection God requires for eternal life. No amount of good works or sincerity can give you the righteousness needed. The Bible says,
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Because God loves you, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ– God in the flesh– to earth to take your place and make the complete payment for all your sin. Three days later, he came back from the dead proving the payment
was accepted by God the Father. “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8).
All you must do to possess everlasting life is believe, or trust, that Jesus Christ alone paid the price for your sin.
“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).
God promises that if you put your trust in Christ alone you will receive, at that very moment, everlasting life. He cannot lie. Because He has promised it, on the authority of God’s Word, you can be sure of going to Heaven today.
“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that
ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God” (1 John 5:13).
Why not, right now, trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior? If you do, He will give you eternal life and you will be secure forever.
If you have any questions about the Bible, salvation, or how to grow in the Christian life, please feel free to contact me.
Dr. Thomas M. Cucuzza 3686 County Road 8 S.E. St. Cloud, MN 56304 Phone: 320.252.5677
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