John 12:32

(Part of the Election, Sovereign Grace Salvation, bible study.)

"And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself."

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  John 12:32, and similar bible verses, a few of which are listed below, are often cited to justify free-will salvation; and to attempt to disprove the Doctrine of Election, salvation by God's Sovereign Grace. The rendering of these verses as a basis for free will salvation presents us with several very large contradictions and paradoxes in the Gospel message.

Following is a sampling of bible verses similar to John 12:32:
- - "For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all."
(Romans 11:32)
- - "who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,-."
(1 Timothy 2:6)
- - "And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world."
(1 John 2:2)

  To view these types of Scripture verses in a literal sense presents quite a few problems of contradiction & paradox in the Bible message.

The Contradictions and paradoxes
  When the words all men and world are taken in a literal sense, i.e. meaning each and every person, several problems arise. We know that the Bible clearly teaches that each and every person does not come to Jesus.
- - "He who believes on Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God. "
(John 3:18 )
- - "And if anyone was not found having been written in the Book of Life, he was cast into the Lake of Fire."
(Rev 20:15)
- - "But the fearful, and the unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, will have their part in the Lake burning with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. "
(Rev 21:8)
Also see Parable of the Sower & the Seed (Mat 13)
Therefore, if you take John 12:32, and similar verses of Scripture, literally you create the following problems:
Jesus is not being truthful, since all men are not drawn to Him;
Jesus is not capable of drawing all men to Himself.
There is Universal Salvation and the sections of the Bible which state otherwise are untrue, thereby invalidating 2 Timothy 3:16,
- - "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,-";
John misunderstood what Jesus was saying, again invalidating 2 Timothy 3:16.

  Since the Bible clearly teaches that not all are saved, which is an act of God's mercy, taking Romans 11:32, and similar verses, literally poses its own problems:
Paul is teaching a lie, or has misunderstood what he was taught, again invalidating 2 Timothy 3:16;
God is limited and cannot extend His mercy to everyone;
or, there is Universal Salvation and the Bible is not valid.

  Since the Gospel message clearly teaches that Jesus' sacrifice on the cross fulfilled the atonement sacrifice for all time, and also teaches that not all are saved, taking 1 John 2:2, and similar verses, literally poses more problems:
John is teaching error, invalidating the veracity of the Bible;
God is limited and cannot extend His mercy to everyone;
There is Universal Salvation.
Since NONE of these are true, it must be realized that these types of verses are not meant to be taken literally. Verses in Holy Scripture must be taken in the entire context of all Scripture. Additionally, they should be taken in context of the book they are from and who was being addressed. Verses such as John 12:32 had a dual purpose. They notified the followers of Judaism that the Covenant no longer applied solely to the Jewish Nation but that it had been expanded to the Gentiles also. And, they proclaim that salvation was not limited to office, health or station in life. It was common among the Jews to believe that the condition of people who were extremely poor, or suffered from some handicap or disease, was due to sin and that it was also a sign from God that they were accursed.

  There is no biblical basis for the claim that these types of verses disprove election, or show that salvation by God's Sovereign Grace & Will is not a valid belief. Therefore it has no bearing on the validity of the belief in salvation by God's Sovereign Grace & Will, also called the Doctrine of Election.

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John 12:32
page updated 03/21/2011.