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Is universalism / universal salvation Biblical?

Question: "Is universalism / universal salvation Biblical?"

Universalism is the belief that everyone will be saved. There are many people today who hold to the viewpoint of “Universal Salvation” - the idea that all men eventually end up in heaven with the Lord. Perhaps it is the thought of men and women living a life of eternal torment in hell that causes some to reject the teaching of Scripture on this issue. For some it is their over-emphasis on the love and compassion of Christ that lead them to believe that God will have mercy on every living soul. But the scriptures do teach that some men will spend an eternity in hell, while others an eternity in paradise with the Lord.

First of all, the proof that unredeemed men will dwell forever in hell. Jesus’ own words confirm that the time spent in heaven for the redeemed will last as long as the unredeemed in hell. Matthew 25:46 says, “And these [unredeemed] will go away into ETERNAL punishment, but the righteous into ETERNAL life” (emphasis mine). Some believe that those in hell will eventually cease to exist, but the Lord himself confirms that it will last forever. This "eternal fire" is mentioned previously in Matthew 25:41 as well. In Mark 9:44 Jesus speaks about hell as the "unquenchable fire." It will never go out because it will burn forever.

How does one avoid this "unquenchable fire"? Many people believe that all roads lead to heaven, or they consider that God is so full of love and mercy that He will allow all people into heaven. While God is certainly full of love and mercy, it was these qualities that lead Him into sending His Son, Jesus Christ to earth and to die on the cross for us. Jesus Christ is the exclusive door that leads to an eternity in heaven. Acts 4:12, “And there is salvation is no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” 1 Timothy 2:5, “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all …” In John 14:6, Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, the WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM should not perish but have eternal life.” If man chooses to reject God’s son, they do not meet the requirements for salvation (John 3:16,36).

With verses such as these, it becomes clear that Universalism and Universal Salvation is an anti-Biblical belief. Universalism does not line up with what scripture teaches. While many people today accuse Christians of being intolerant and “exclusive,” it is important to remember that these are the words of Christ Himself. Christianity did not develop these ideas on its own, Christians are simply stating what the Lord has already said. People choose to reject the message because they do not want to face up to their sin, and admit that they need the Lord to save them. To say that those who reject God’s provision of salvation through His Son will be saved is to belittle the holiness and justice of God and negate the need of Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf.

Recommended Resource: Four Views of Salvation in a Pluralistic World by Dennis L. Okholm & Timothy R. Phillips.

Related Topics:

Is annihilationism Biblical?

Is hell real? Is hell eternal?

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Is Jesus the only way to Heaven?

What is the gospel of inclusion?

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Is universalism / universal salvation Biblical?