Today I have found myself rejoicing in the unique position I have found myself on this forum.Those of you who have been on the forum for some time, and have followed some of the threads that I have participated in will be able to relate to my realization. I discovered myself in the middle of two different views regarding salvation.I have enjoyed wonderful discussions with several dear brothers on this forum who advocate that only the elect have been predestined for salvation. Their understanding is that God does not extend prevenient saving grace to all men. They sincerely believe that according to His own foreknowledge God has predestined the elect unto salvation. In these discussions, they explained that the state of death that men are in under the bondage of SIN has rendered men uncapable of responding without the prevenient grace of God quickening them first. I have not understood predestination, election, and grace in this way, but have set forth my current understanding that from the beginning Christ was predestined as the source of grace offered to all men and that the elect are those who respond in faith to the grace that comes to them through the preaching of the gospel. The discussions were very helpful to me personally and I hope they were equally helpful to my brothers with whom I engaged. Recently, I have encountered a fellow believer on the forum who advocates that the saving work of Christ is so extensive as to ultimately save every person either by grace through faith in this life, or eventually even by grace through faith out of the lake of fire. This person advocates that everyone, from every age will have been ultimately saved by the redemption Christ accomplished. These are the two positions that I find myself between. I am somewhere in between my dear brothers who sincerely believe salvation is for the predestined, elect, alone and never intended for all men and another who believes that my understanding of grace is too limited because I believe even though all men are offered the opportunity to be saved by grace through faith, many will perish eternally because of their unbelief.I do not feel lost in the middle, but rejoice that God is the only one who knows all. Today, I find myself rejoicing that the one who searches hearts and minds sees my gratitude for His love to us through Christ Jesus and who knows that I can only trust in His mercy to continue to reveal Himself to me and to all my brothers and sisters here who love Him. Since, I can only know in part, I can only hope and trust that in His mercy, the Father will bring me and those I have enjoyed interacting with here on the forum to the full knowledge of the truth in His own good time.mak
_________________Alan and Dina Martin
Hey Fletcher- You can interject whenever you want. I am pretty much done with this discussion but that’s ok. I am not 100% sure what you are trying to say in your post. You seem to be saying that I am basing my willingness to consider some alternate view to eternal conscious torment on “wishful thinking” or “my concept of fairness” (my phrasing, not yours) I will admit I have a very difficult time understanding how God keeping folks alive for all eternity for the sole purpose of torturing them brings Him any glory, but all that is just gravy. I think there is a ton of biblical support, particularly for Conditional Immortality. Did you know that David Servant (who has 542 articles on this site) holds and John Stott held this view? Surely they did not reach this conclusion based on wishful thinking.
Ha! No dear brother I do not believe nor am laying charge that you are “wishful thinking” regarding your willingness to question.... in fact I applaud it ! So forgive my clumsiness in attempting to articulate this point 🙏🏻 You, like the Lord, don’t want anyone to perish and I share in that desire. The simple truth is, just ask Him Todd... go before the Lord petitioning Him to open your heart to His truth believing He will and being willing to accept whatever He says as truth :) Otherwise we are left to our own devices and as you well know, they fall well short of what is required to apprehend that for which we were apprehended. Honestly I believe He gave you the desire to search out this matter and in this way gets glory from the revelation of it 😇
Todd, The idea of exploring the true meaning of texts that have such enormous implications is really very healthy and "noble". The thing I have always been concerned about for you and not for truth's sake or for Christ's sake is when you say something like "If God eternally torments then you find Him or that fact 'distasteful" or on other issues maybe monstrous. I'm not trying to debate the doctrines or positions held. I've talked to David Servant who I consider a good friend about the same concerns with some statements he's made about the character of God if this or that doctrine is true. It really is more a concern for him ( IF he is wrong). Being wrong on doctrine is one thing. Potentially, and I emphasize potentially, ascribing ugliness to God if the doctrine goes a certain way is a real concern on individual levels.
Dear Jade,As I am translating I John, I see a connection between "eternal life" and "believing" repeated multiple times.This caused me to reflect back on the gospel of John and the many times John records our Lord making the same connection.Eternal life is given to those who believe. It seems that you have come to an understanding that even those who do not believe will be given eternal life.Can you explain how you understand the words of Jesus equating eternal life with only those who believe and your conclusion that His redemption secured eternal life for everyone whether they believe or not?mak
BTW Mak, I thought I was in the middle. :)
Mak,MY VIEW ON REVELATION 21:3-8First, let me say that I uphold the holiness of God.1 Pet. 1:15-16 –but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”God is holy and nothing unclean or anyone practising abomination and lying can enter God’s glorious city as Rev. 21:27 affirms: “and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.”There are only two places for a man. He is either in life or in death. Man must choose life or death.From the beginning of the Bible to the end, God presents man with that choice.To Adam:Gen. 2:15-17 –Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. The LORD God commanded the man, saying, "From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die."To the Israelites in the land of Moab:Deut. 30:15,19 –See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity………I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants,And here in Rev. 21:3-8, God again sets before men the choice of life or death.LIFE:Rev. 21:6-7 –And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the WATER OF LIFE freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son………”DEATH:Rev. 21:8 –But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the SECOND DEATH."Comment:Those without the WATER OF LIFE (re: John 4:14, 1 John 5:11-12) are in the SECOND DEATH.At the beginning of creation, Adam chose death. What would his descendants choose at the end of this age? Scripture indicates that men will choose life.John 17:3 –This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.Phil. 3:10-11 –that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.Isa. 11:9 –For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea.Isa. 66:23 –"And it shall be from new moon to new moon And from sabbath to sabbath, All mankind will come to bow down before Me," says the LORD.1 Cor. 15:22 –For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.
I bless the One Who sits on the throne for every word He said. He is righteous to show mercy and He is to be glorified by His wrath just as well…… We are exhorted to behold His kindness and His severity. I am not ashamed that the gospel of God includes the truth that the wicked shall be destroyed by the breath of His mouth.
Paul, who understood grace better than either of us, introduced the gospel of God alongside the wrath of God being revealed from heaven against all unrighteousness and ungodliness of men who suppress the truth in their unrighteousness.
The Jesus of the New Testament is both Savior and the one leading the armies of heaven to slay the wicked.
Eternal life is given to those who believe. It seems that you have come to an understanding that even those who do not believe will be given eternal life.
Fletcher— got it!You are right, I do ask Him but I have not (yet) received a definitive answer. I may need to ask more often.
Robert-You are right- I have said things like that and I shouldn’t. God is God and because I know Him I trust that He will do what is right when all is said and done and I realize that not I (nor anybody else) has all the facts.
Dear Jade,What you are interpreting as a "choice" in Revelation 21 is a very unique interpretation. I admit to have read the passage for many years and never saw the choice you say is there. But are you saying that those described as being in the lake of fire in Revelations 21 have chosen death again, or are they there because of their first choice. I am not following you. I apologize for asking you to explain, but I am attempting to understand how you have arrived at your understanding.The things that I think I understand about what you have written is that you believe certain passages that refer to the destruction of the wicked are alluding to the "old man" being destroyed - ie Romans 6, Galatians 5, and possibly other passages. You have written that Christ did not come to destroy men, but to save men, and rightly noted He does not take pleasure in destroying men, just the wickedness in man. Am I with you here? If I have understood you correctly, you also believe that Christ obtained a salvation for all men that will ultimately result in NO ONE who was cast into the hell being left in the lake of fire, or any suffering or sorrow of any kind anywhere, for ever more. Is that close to what you believe? Please try to be patient, for certainly you must already know that your view is unique, and very uncommon. That does not make it wrong, but it does mean that the vast majority of men and women who have read and studied these same passages have understood them differently. Perhaps you have received special revelation, that is a possibility. Perhaps you have a sharper mind than many others who have not understood the passages as you have. What is obvious, is that your view is not common and therefore please consider that since what you believe you have seen has not been seen by a great number of others, it may be more difficult to explain or to follow.I hope that I am not picking up on the leaven of pride. What am I referring to? - a statement like "please read the rest of Romans." Can you see how such a statement could appear condescending? Perhaps you did not intend for it to be taken that way at all, but is it not better to assume that the scriptures are as precious to others as they are to you. Most of the brothers and sisters on this forum are devoted to the love of the truth and the careful study of the scriptures. Can you see how such a statement might be interpreted as leavened (even if only a little) with pride.I do not agree with you but I love the scriptures, and I can see that you clearly love them. I have assumed that you have read and studied the scriptures very carefully. I am also aware that life can not be found only by studying the scriptures. I know what our Lord said to the Jewish leaders about studying the scriptures while refusing to come to Him for life. I only hope to challenge your understanding. Yes, I believe you are wrong, but please do not single me out as if I think more highly of myself than I should. I just happen to be the one conversing with you now, surely others have before and others will after me. Certainly you do not think that anyone who does not agree with you is ignorant of the scriptures or has not received the revelation of Jesus Christ. I certainly do not think my own understanding is complete, but I am not afraid to challenge another person's interpretation. If I am wrong, I trust my heavenly Father will discipline me and show me the way more adequately. Thank God for the Aquilas and Priscillas of the world, who help brothers like Apollos see the way more completely. In my last post I asked you a sincere question that arose as I was enjoying some time translating I John this morning. I wondered how you had worked out your own understanding of dying in unbelief and still ultimately receiving eternal life from Christ. I assume by the tone of your writing I should have already figured that out. I apologize, I think I know, but I wanted to see how you would put it in your own words.I think you have said that those who are cast into hell, the second death, will be given the opportunity to choose life and of course they will do so. If that is what you believe, then I have understood you at least partially. I am not trying to misrepresent you. Honestly, you are the first person I have ever corresponded with who has advocated what you do. Unless I have lived in a bubble, there are not many believers who see things the way you do.mak