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The Calvinists and the Universalists both misinterpret God’s sovereignty and man’s free will in salvation. The Calvinists think it is God’s will for only some (the elect) to be regenerated and afterwards always retain that salvation. The Universalists, on the other hand, think everyone will go to heaven (even without repenting) because Jesus died for all. They both deny God’s will and grace can beresisted by man to the point that his salvation will never begin or can be negated afterwards. Such false views have led to other doctrinal errors.
It seems beyond belief that anyone could misunderstand the clarity of the following, which states that God wants all people to be saved and none to perish:
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Pet 3:9)
[God] who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (1 Tim 2:4)
In contrast to man, when God commands the wind, waves, animals, vines and insects they always obey:
But the LORD provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights. (Jonah 1:17)
And the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land. (Jonah 2:10)
Then the LORD God provided a vine and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the vine. (Jonah 4:6)
But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the vine so that it withered. (Jonah 4:7)
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. (Mark 4:39)
When it comes to man, God has given him a choice to obey or disobey. Man’s free will is the key in understanding why most will perish in hell, even though God wants all to be saved. Hence, God’s will regarding man’s salvation can be resisted, refused, etc. by man to his own eternal damnation:
You refuse to come to me to have life. (John 5:40)
They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. (2 Thess. 2:10)
You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the HolySpirit! (Acts 7:51)
But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. (Acts 14:2)
But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. (Acts 19:9)
He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come. (Mat 22:3)
How shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? (Heb 2:3)
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! (Luke 13:34)
They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him. (Rev 16:9)
I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. (Rev 2:21)
But the house of Israel is not willing to listen to you because they are not willing to listen to me, for the whole house of Israel is hardened and obstinate. (Ezek 3:7)
Similarly, in the following passage Jesus commands all to get saved, that is, enter through the narrow gate. Then we read that manywill not enter the narrow gate but instead the wide gate to destruction, even though it is God’s will for them to be saved:
Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (Mat 7:13,14)
● God wants all people to be saved.
● God’s sovereignty allows for man’s free will to accept or reject salvation.
● Many, in contrast to few, will go to hell in the end.
A misunderstanding of God’s sovereignty and man’s free will has led to dreadful doctrinal errors for both the Calvinists and Universalists. Be assured you can have peace with God and it is his will for such, but your free will regarding your own salvation can override God’s will for it! GOD BLESS YOU.
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