Originally, the term "Universal Salvation," was used to convey that salvation was no longer limited to the Nation of Israel.
"Or is God the God of the Jews only? Is he not the God of the Gentiles also? Of course he is."
(Rom 3:29) [See also Gal 3:25-29]
Certainly, this is the true biblical meaning of the term. Unfortunately, in the past several decades, a new non-biblical definition has been applied to the term. This new belief is growing in popularity and this page deals with the non-biblical corruption of the term, "Universal Salvation."
This corruption of the term "Universal Salvation" proclaims that God will save all people and that everyone is going to Heaven. This belief is growing among the 'Christian' community and is based on several excerpts from the Bible. Among the key verses the belief rests upon are:
" -God is love."
(1 John 4:8)
" The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance."
(2 Peter 3:9)
"- who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."
(1 Timothy 2:4)
If you take these as isolated statements, while discounting all the other verses of the Bible, you can make the case that God will save all people. Unfortunately, this is not true!
Keeping in mind this new twist to Universal Salvation, let's take a an overview of God's history of dealings with man.
- God told Adam & Eve don't eat. They ate. He banished them from the Garden.
- God seeing the violence in mankind, chose Noah, the one just man of his time, and saved him, while destroying the rest of humanity in the great flood.
- God disgusted with the depravity of Sodom & Gomorah's citizens saved the few righteous people and destroyed not only the cities but also ALL the unrighteous citizenry.
- God saved the Israelites, captive in Egypt; promised them the "Promised Land;" they decided to worship idols; He expressed His displeasure by leading them on a 40 year Exodus in the desert until ALL those He originally brought out of Egypt had died. It was their descendants that entered the Promised Land.
- Following that, every time the Nation of Israel fell in to wide spread sinning and disregard of God, they were punished severely.
"What's the point?", you ask? God, 'the Great I AM', is the same today, as He was yesterday, and will be tomorrow. The 'New Testament God' is the same being as the 'Old Testament God'. He has never rewarded unrighteousness, and He never will!
John 3:16, is often quoted,
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son- etc."
Let's look at this verse in context.
" And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
He who believes in 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."
In context, you can see that John 3:16 has an entirely different meaning than some are led to believe. It thoroughly contradicts the 'everybody is going to Heaven' philosophy. Jesus had much to say about Salvation. All of which contradicts the 'Universal Salvation' mentality. Two parables are of special note: the ten servants (Luke 19:12-27) & the sower and the seed (Mark 4:1-20)
Then what about the verses in 1 Timothy and 2 Peter? Considering the entirety of Holy Scripture, the truth is that they pertain to God's elect; not to mankind in general. (For more information on God's elect visit The Doctrine of Election)
Consider what Jesus has to say about salvation:
Jesus answered, " Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God."
" Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it."
" There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out."
" And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire."
And He said to them, " Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned."
" But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."
" Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie."
It is obvious that Our Lord & Savior, the Author of Salvation, does not support this universal free-ticket to Heaven.
What do other areas of Holy Scripture have to say on the subject?
Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel: " Because you despise this word, And trust in oppression and perversity, And rely on them, Therefore this iniquity shall be to you Like a breach ready to fall, A bulge in a high wall, Whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant. And He shall break it like the breaking of the potter's vessel, Which is broken in pieces; He shall not spare."
" Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God."
(1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
" Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God."
It is abundantly evident that Holy Scripture does not support Universal Salvation, and that not everyone will be saved.
page updated 04/02/2011.