Just another Christian - All to be saved?

One day, about thirteen years ago, I stumbled upon a website which published for free a web book concerning the coming Apostasy in Christianity.

First I started reading online, then I started printing off chapters to read at leisure, and give to other believers to read, then I contacted the 'author' to buy a case of these books to get them out to my friends.

To say it changed my life would be an understatement.

The author simply called himself J.A.C. which I learned referred to 'Just another Christian' in a simple attempt to remain anonymous, not from any fear of exposure, but to ensure that nobody built any following around him.

In the many intervening years, we have corresponded frequently, and he and his 'family' (a lose group of believers who live in community of fellowship with each other) have visited with me.

I know this man pretty well.

JAC is one of those folk who came to faith in the 70's, originally from the 'Jesus Freak' movement, and then studied to be approved.

He's a very ordinary farmer from Tennessee, who has been given a exceedingly clear understanding of scripture.

If the words 'Eat this scroll ' mean anything, they refer to him! - He has consumed the whole book several times, probably hundreds and the bible forms an integral part of his life, indeed it is his life!

But this man did not stop there, he then progressed to reading virtually every part of all the works available from the church fathers, and then most every believer that ever wrote a thesis on what God has told us in his word.

Holding an email discussion with him is to say the least interesting, for he will continue presenting his evidence that supports his stance until proven wrong or proven right.

He is normally right, or at least 'more right' when he writes.

Not infallible, indeed he will openly confess his failings and errors, but when he is right, he really is right!

At the end of what follows I have given some contact details that anybody who wishes will be able to use for further discussion.

If you have read that far, you probably deserve to get in touch with him!

What follows is one small correspondence from him to 'the list' which answers a vexing question.

The 'list' is a long time debate list that has about fifty members, who are united in their fellowship, despite being scattered all across the world.

It's open to anybody, but it's a tough list to belong to if your mouth flaps before your brain has consumed the scroll!

Footnote:

JAC uses CAPS and BLOCK CAP for emphasis, as an old typesetter this infuriates me, but I leave his words intact as written.

SOMEONE ASKED:

I was wondering if you guys had any insight on this passage as far as it relates to predestination.

Someone I have been arguing the issue with keeps bringing this back up.

They don't see how God can will all men to be saved and yet choose those who He will save. I'm not exactly sure how to handle this one.

Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. (1Ti 2:4)

REPLY:

1 Timothy 2:1-6

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

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.

How does "safety and orderliness " in society contribute to anyone's salvation? WE KNOW that many/most conversions come at the end of some realization or experience of dismay and fear about life in the world.

My conversion came that way. I was well and safe physically, but in utter dismay about the corrupt and brutal social order of humanity and my part in it.

I was in dismay about the evil of my own nature. I knew that I could not and did not DARE to love anyone, because both them AND I were too treacherous to be trusted. SOZO (to save ) or SOTERIO (salvation ) are not essentially religious words.

They simply mean "rescued " in the simplest sense of the language.

Rescued FROM WHAT is set by context. In this place, it is merely rescued from disorder, anarchy, poverty, pain and war.

The TRUTH promotes orderliness and decency in the world - as much of the truth as the world will accept.

STABLE MARRIAGES with healthy, safe, non-criminal children are a product of The Truth. Now you can either OPPOSE Romans 9 to 1Timothy 2 and make both meaningless, or you can allow them to address different matters.

The idea that God "wishes He COULD " save all men while yet He cannot is antithetical to having faith at all. It presents a God Who CANNOT REACH YOU at your point of greatest need for some reason or other - and such a thought is sheer terror to someone who is needy before God - like I am.

CONSIDER ALSO:

2 Pet 3:9 KJV

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

The attention in each case is on the word "all " (pas - Grk) - (same word used in 2 Peter 3:9)

pav pas pas

including all the forms of declension; TDNT-5:886,795; adj

AV-all 748, all things 170, every 117, all men 41, whosoever 31, everyone 28, whole 12, all manner of 11, every man 11, no + 3756 9, every thing 7, any 7, whatsoever 6, whosoever + 3739 + 302 3, always + 12233, daily + 2250 2, any thing 2, no + 3361 2, not tr 7, misc 26; 1243

1) individually

1a) each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything

2) collectively

2a) some of all types

COMMENT BY CHARLES SPURGEON

..." the whole world has gone after him" Did all the world go after Christ? "then went all Judea, and were baptized of him in Jordan." Was all Judea, or all Jerusalem, baptized in Jordan? "Ye are of God, little children", and the whole world lieth in the wicked one". Does the whole world there mean everybody? The words "world" and "all" are used in some seven or eight senses in Scripture, and it is very rarely the "all" means all persons, taken individually. The words are generally used to signify that Christ has redeemed some of all sorts --some Jews, some Gentiles, some rich, some poor, and has not restricted His redemption to either Jew or Gentile ... (C.H. Spurgeon from a sermon on Particular Redemption) END QUOTE

I do not presume that God made men as toys-for-torment.

I do not believe that God divided men up between saved and doomed without any respect to the individual persons.

But neither can I deny that the word PREDESTINATION is used in continuous reference to The Saints, which word would be senseless if it was not meant to distinguish some from others. If all are predestined to eternal life (as some say), and some do not obtain eternal life, then they were not predestined.

They were only given an INVITATION .

If I were to use that word PREDESTINED in any other context, you would know that it refers to INEVITABILITY ,not POSSIBILITY.

Those who "don't make it" are never referred to as being PREDESTINED TO ETERNAL LIFE, but only the (going to be) Saints are referred to in this way.

The word PREDESTINED ought to be replaced with the word "INVITED" if all that is meant is, "everyone gets an invitation".

(Rom 8:30 KJV) Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

So - did God really do all these things with the unsaved?

Are they glorified?

Is there some kind of hypothetical glorification being presented here, that may never be realized? If predestination to eternal life is universal to the human race, then they were ALL also called; justified and glorified.

The PROBATIONIST will say that PREDESTINATE and CALLED are true for every single person - actually true - they all got the equal and same level of opportunity and convicting influence of the Holy Ghost in this life.

But the latter two things.... JUSTIFIED and GLORIFIED, they will say are not actual and practically real (or even potentially real) until and unless the man responds acceptably to being PREDESTINED and CALLED.

Is that the intended message of Romans 8:30?

Are the PREDESTINATION and the CALL present, real and actual for every man, while the JUSTIFICATION and GLORIFICATION are only potential for every man?

Is THAT what the above seems to be intending to communicate?

If PREDESTINATION is finally and utterly dependant upon what men would do with God's offer of salvation, then it is not PREDESTINATION - it is merely the holding forth of a universalinvitation .

But in our case, it is is as if God holds out His invitation to a dead man, for we neither recognize nor can react to God's invitation without being "revived" first.

But that is another matter (though connected ).

I propose that we go back again to Romans 8:29, and see if there is a resolution there (I say there is ).

(Rom 8:29 KJV) For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Here, it is not said that God "foreknew" ALL (every single human that would ever live ) - but "whom" - meaning individuals. God foreknew something about every individual. On the basis of whatever it was that God foreknew, He PREDESTINATED some to be called; justified, and glorified.

From this, we deduce that GOD HAS A REASON for PREDESTINATING some to eternal life, and not others. This reason becomes the just basis for God's decision, and removes the horrific image of a merely arbitrary God, Who, without any reference whatsoever to what a man was or hoped or wished or would do - simply decided to DAMN a lot of them DESPITE THEMSELVES while saving so many others.

Now what is this thing that God foreknew?

We are not told - but in order to satisfy those who demand that man have unfettered free will in respect to salvation, I will present this. GOD (at least) KNEW who would be amenable to His salvation, and on that basis, before these were ever born, God SET THEM UP TO BE SAVED.

So I will answer to the 2 scriptures above (1 Timothy 2:4 & 2 Peter 3:9 - the only 2 that can be used this way in the whole Bible ) by saying that God had a generally beneficent good will to to His entire creation, but in order to make sons and daughters that He could fellowship with in the truest sense, He had to create the power and potential for evil in men and angels.

Did God "cast the dice" on this and then discover after the fact which way each man would come out?

The thought is hard to grasp - but if nothing is impossible with God, I suppose that God could hide a future outcome from Himself for a moment, if He so pleased, and then "learn" what that outcome would be, later.

I do believe that God can create a free will - for if He cannot, He is restricted.

But I also believe that God can restrict and confine that free will.

The scripture texts which either bluntly assert, presume or conclude in PREDESTINATION are numerous (you have seen some in this debate).

These 2 texts (1 Timothy 2:4 and 2 Peter 3:9 ) must be HARMONIZED with all those predestination texts, just as those predestination texts must be harmonized with 1 Timothy 2:4 and 2 Peter 3:9.

The tougher job....

The tougher job (by far ), is to try and make the predestination texts agree with the idea that every man, upon coming into the world, was just as likely to be saved as every other man.

Try to do that with these:

(John 6:37 KJV) All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

(Gal 1:15 KJV) But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb , and called me by his grace,

Romans 9:18-24

Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

Thou wilt say then unto me , Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?

Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God ? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?

Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:

And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,

Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentile s?

I could really stack these up - you may have seen already how many there are - in BOTH Testaments.

Here is the single Bible verse that Martin Luther built his case for election and predestination from:

(Rom 9:16 KJV) So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.

"It" (salvation ) is NOT "of" (from; subject to ) him that "willeth " (decides ) nor of him that "runneth " (makes an effort; pursues ) but of God that showeth mercy.

The problem with PREDESTINATION has always been that the opponents of this doctrine always insist that IF there is such a thing, then it makes God into a brutal and unfair God.

But what if PREDESTINATION is completely reconciled with God's utter fairness?

What if God, FOR GOOD (justifiable ) REASONS predestined some to salvation while not predestining others ?

The opposers say that I am (by preaching predestination) making God into a brutal monster - but I am not calling God a brutal monster - THEY ARE.

Predestination does not make God into brutal monster to me!

My God (the God that PREDESTINED me to salvation ) is only a BRUTAL MONSTER to those who disagree (with my doctrine of predestination).

They call my God a brutal monster , and then they accuse me of making God Himself into a brutal monster.

They are actually (therefore ) accusing me of making THEIR GOD into a brutal monster, and that is why they are so outraged.

For some reason or other, they innately conclude that if the saved are PREDESTINED to salvation..... they either might be or must be LEFT OUT , and thus, they are outraged (not just in disagreement - have you noticed? ).

I don't know about their god, whether he is brutal monster or not.

If THEIR GOD is not a brutal monster, then they have nothing to worry about, for certainly a "fair God " will gladly receive and affirm such piously disposed persons as themselves, who have Both WILLED and RAN with ALL THEIR MIGHT.

So, there is nothing to worry about for either of us........... right?

I'll get my salvation as a "gift " and they'll get their's as a reward for how hard they tried.

Fine with me.

OH, and by the way.... the Lord did add this:

(2 Tim 2:19 KJV) Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

IF someone is "His ", they will and can take the counsel.

..........oops....... I almost forgot to plug in that all important proof text for, "IF someone is "His", they will and can take the counsel."

(John 10:27 KJV) My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

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Comments 23 comments

50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 6 years ago from Arizona

John, an interesting read. At one point, quote:The thought is hard to grasp - but if nothing is impossible with God, I suppose that God could hide a future outcome from Himself for a moment, if He so pleased, and then "learn" what that outcome would be, later. :end quote First thought was Saul, How could God be disappointed in anointing Saul unless he did not look forward? It is a scripture that always made me think that though he has the power, does not mean he uses it, or does it? Seems like through out first and second Samuel, David was groomed for the throne. If I dwell on all of this I get a headache, hence I am forced to read John 3:16-19 and sprinkle it with a dose of Mathew 25: 31-46 and discern the knowledge that is given me from the balance. I have asked this before and never heard an answer, is there another description of the day of judgment in the Bible other than Mathew and the goats and sheep? If so I'd like to be pointed that direction. Peace, Dusty


Marliza Gunter profile image

Marliza Gunter 6 years ago from South Africa

The little I know about predestination...

Its like a father with 10 sons..one son asks him for a electric guitar (he wants to become a rock star) the father gives him the guitar but knows this boy will never become a rock star because he is too lazy, too lazy to practice...the other son wants to become a pharmacist, again his father supports him also, but also knows this son is too active physically and to slow academically..probably he will end up as a manual laborer at a construction site...the other son wants to become a doctor..again father supports him as well, but with him the father just knows in his inside that this boy will become a doctor and not only become one but be successful..because he knows all his children by heart..but then there is the other son..Judas...father just knows no matter how he has taught and trained and lived the example, he will just never get the love and respect of this son...as soon as this boy can, he will leave the house and live opposite to everything that his father was...but still, this is a caring, faithful father and although this son will never love him he still offers his son a bed and a place at the food table every day...the father did not condemn the other children, but the father in his wisdom and having seen and experienced more in life, could see in advance how his children reacted to all sorts of lessons and experiences in life...he just knows his children that well...be blessed... :)


EnLydia Listener 6 years ago

I have sort of an unusual belief when it comes to this...I came to this belief when I read the writings of St Julian of Norwich...in a vision Jesus told her that "All will be well, and Every Manner of Thing will be well"....she wondered how that would be so, with so many people who did not have the hope of salvation...He gave her a special message about salvation for these people....I am not going to give it away...you have to read it yourself....but it has influenced my thinking on the "saved" and the "damned".


Judah's Daughter profile image

Judah's Daughter 6 years ago from Roseville, CA

You know, I've written at least four hubs on this topic and the bottom line is, God predestined the Lamb to be slain from the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8). He died for the whole world and everyone's names start out in the Book of Life (conf. John 15:22). His word says He draws ALL men unto Himself when He is lifted up from the earth (John 12:32). Those since Adam and Eve were saved by faith in the coming Lamb (Heb 11); those saved since are saved by faith by the proof furnished to ALL men, the Lamb having been raised from the dead (Acts 17:31; Eph 2:8).

Those who reject God nullify His grace (Gal 2:21) provided for them since the foundation of the world and have their names blotted out of the Book of Life (Rev 3:5). God is omniscient, knows all things and will not turn away anyone (John 6:37); yet, just as Jesus went to prepare a place for us (believers) with Him (John 14:3), He also PRE-pared the Lake of Fire as the destination for all who won't receive (Mat 25:41).

My latest of the four hubs is called "God's Sovereignty: Jacob and Esau" Blessings ~~


Dave Mathews profile image

Dave Mathews 6 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

John the further I read the more confused I got, but what I got out of it was in my wheel-house Through sin we are spiritually dead, but through Christ we are re-born.

Brother Dave.


exjwlaurie 6 years ago

What an excellent hub aguasilver! And--what 'mindful' comments you have elicited from it!

I think that because we are all born 'steeped in sin'; not even ‘one’ of us is actually "deserving" of redemption. It is truly ONLY because of God's grace, and Christ's perfect sacrifice for our redemption that ‘anyone’ can be 'redeemed' and have eternal life.

Romans 9:11-18 clearly brings this out regarding this topic, where God says:

“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion. It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he “hardens” whom he wants to “harden”.

In all things God’s Divine will and purpose shall be accomplished. The outworking of this is the purview of God. But He is LOVE; and He is JUST, and those who trust in him will never be disappointed.

Anyone who will ‘seek him’ with their whole hearts, their whole souls and all their strength…those who want only to do His Will—His Way shall receive the reward.

Thanks for the thought provoking, Awesome Hub!


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 6 years ago from Malaga, Spain Author

Thanks Laurie, in fact this was written by a friend of mine as a teaching letter, but I thought it merited a hub of it's own!


Judah's Daughter profile image

Judah's Daughter 6 years ago from Roseville, CA

God doesn't predestine ANYONE for Hell. He died for the whole world (humanity). The ONLY ones that cannot be saved are the fallen angels and Satan himself. Consider what is said about Pharaoh in Ezekiel 31:18 "To which among the trees of Eden are you thus equal in glory and greatness? Yet you will be brought down with the trees of Eden to the earth beneath; you will lie in the midst of the uncircumcised, with those who were slain by the sword. So is Pharaoh and all his hordes!"' declares the Lord GOD." Could Pharaoh have been a fallen angel in the flesh? Consider the king of Babylon in Isaiah 14 - yep, Lucifer. God showered His mercy upon us from the foundation of the world because the Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world (prophecy - Rev 13:8) pre-granted that grace through faith. In Hebrews 11 are some of those saved by faith in the Old Testament (as an example) ~ the same faith we are saved by today.


Judah's Daughter profile image

Judah's Daughter 6 years ago from Roseville, CA

P.S. :-) Rom 9:16, "It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy" is just a confirmation of Eph 2:8-9: "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast." (We can't save ourselves, in other words). Blessings ~~


exjwlaurie 6 years ago

Good points Judah's Daughter! You have an anointed wisdom that we can all learn from!

Great hub aguasilver, wherever you got the information from, it is powerful!

-Laurie


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 6 years ago from Malaga, Spain Author

I intend to put more of this mans teachings up as hubs, he has many sound messages!

John


Judah's Daughter profile image

Judah's Daughter 6 years ago from Roseville, CA

Luv U guys bunches, sister Laurie and brother aguasilver!! Jesus is LORD! Amen!!!


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 6 years ago from Malaga, Spain Author

You're welcome JD, we luv you too!


Brenda Durham 6 years ago

Interesting. I'm a little unclear as to the author's final conclusion of the matter....

What I know is John 3: 16 which says Christ died for everyone, but that we must exercise our free will and accept Him in order to be saved.

I don't believe that anyone was or is given the gift of salvation on a silver platter while others have to try (work) for it! God is not a respecter of persons.

...The concept of predestination has been used to say that Judas was "predestined" to betray Christ and go to hell. But that leaves out free will PLUS it leaves out God's omniscience. Judas had a choice. Even though God (and the Son, apparently) knew what Judas would do all along, it still did not negate Judas's free will. He had an opportunity to live and accept Christ as his Savior, yes, even after he betrayed Him! Peter did the same thing (betrayed Him), yet Peter didn't give up.

Calvin's views have caused much controversy for a long time. Calvin was either in grave error or else did not explain predestination correctly, or else other people twisted his meanings. I think he was in grave error, because his views parallel the doctrine of "Universalism".

The Bible says some people WILL perish! What's that verse(s) where it says all liars and unbelievers will have their part in the lake of fire (that had been) reserved for the devil and his angels?

Anyway, always a lively discussion on this subject! But usually a tedious one.

I keep it simple--------God calls everyone! But He only chooses those who answer the call by showing up to volunteer for service!

I believe I, as is everyone, was "born for such a time as this!".....For me to worship Him is what He desires. But I don't have to! It is simply my desire to do so, my free choice.


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 6 years ago from Malaga, Spain Author

Good summation Brenda, and received considerably more warmly than your words are normally in the forums!

Patience of a saint comes to mind....

John


Judah's Daughter profile image

Judah's Daughter 6 years ago from Roseville, CA

Right on, Brenda!


Brenda Durham 6 years ago

John, thanks, and you're right, I and you and others have to refrain lotsa times. Lordy, it is sooo tempting to give back as bad as we get, ain't it?! haha God help us all! (and He will, and He does!)

I always read your hubs with a sense of good expectation!

Hi Judah's Daughter!


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 6 years ago from Malaga, Spain Author

For me the challenge is how to deal with MK without REALLY going to town.... he's repetitious banter tempts me to just mirror his inane commentary.....so the challenge is to come up with original and discerned remarks. I know I've got it right when he does not reply.... minor satisfaction.

Expectations can be disappointing! - sometimes even I wonder why some hubs I have written, have been written, or which direction I'm veering off towards, but like all things the Romans 8:28 normally comes out later, in the comments or in the responses to my email address!

Thanks for revisiting...

John


Brenda Durham 6 years ago

Yeah that person is kinda in the category of those who seem to be hopeless cases....

But you must be an "eternal optimist" like me, 'cause we keep on trying. ha


Baileybear 5 years ago

stable marriages? I know many christians that have had affairs & split up. Some that had affairs were even convinced it was God's will! My christian parents know people that have murdered - one murdered his wife and neighbour and raped their dead corpses; another was a murder/suicide.

People that don't believe in God can have stable marriages and non-criminal children.


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 5 years ago from Malaga, Spain Author

Hi Baileybear , thanks for visiting... of course unbelievers can have stable marriages, and of course bad things can happen to and with believers.

But what we are talking about is not that point, it's about predestination, and if I, as an avowed non believer for the first 41 years of my life, could not resist Christ, then none who are predestined to come to faith can either, and none that are not will want to.


Baileybear 5 years ago

with the predestined argument, with god's ability to see the future etc, what is the point of making atheists - so he can enjoy watching them burn in hell?


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 5 years ago from Malaga, Spain Author

God does not make atheists, that's Satan's job....and their decision.

Listen, if God does not exist, what's your problem, He can hardly be blamed if He is fictitious.

But if you still think He does exist, I understand your anger.

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