When I first stumbled across the True Gospel (Christian Universalism as it is called today) in the website by Gary Amirault (www.tentmaker.org), some (8 – 10) years ago, I was sceptical.
I thought it would be a ‘piece of cake’ to refute it since like many of you, I knew the verses in the ‘English’ Bible which clearly implies that punishment is eternal and so implies that hell is eternal.
Nevertheless, as the law implies, “Do you judge a man based on the law of God before hearing him out?”:
“Then Paul said, ”God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! For you sit to judge me according to the Law, and do you command me to be struck contrary to the Law?” (Acts 23:3)
Thus I studied their point of view. It didn’t happen overnight. I knew the warning that “don’t trust anything on the internet and neither be convicted by it”. The irony is that those who give that warning themselves immerse one’s self into the internet daily for work and other Christian read-ups. Even when pastors warn such, they don’t see the duality that even they have their church websites on the internet. If the people take their advice, that no one from the public should even come to their church webpage because it is on the internet. Sounds absurd? It is.
It is not the internet we should be careful of but rather be careful of determining for ourselves the truth of what we have read based on Scripture and prayer. As the years passed, and many events took place in my life, not just I couldn’t refute it (the true gospel), God changed my heart of unbelief to begin believing it. I juggled with two opinions (e.g. believing that eternal hell- 48% while universalism-52%) whenever people asked me regarding that topic.
It was a long road of ‘knocks’. I knew that no one can believe in Jesus unless the Father draws him and that no one knows the Father except whom the Son wills to reveal him. In other words, we may know about the Father and Jesus but we may not really know them both as we ought to unless ‘the Father leads you to Jesus’ and ‘Jesus reveals who the Father really is to you’. The couplet of verses below testify to this ‘mysterious working of the Father and Son’:
“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:44)
“All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.”
(Matthew 11:27 correlates with Luke 10:22)
Note that knowing the Father and the Son has something to do with All things being delivered to Jesus…
After we know the Father and Son regarding what He will do with all things (reconcile all things – Colossians 1:20), we can finally find rest in Him for our souls as the subsequent verse testifies: (see the link?)
“Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
Even many prophets and kings have desired to see what you see and hear it (what God wants to do with all things which is to reconcile them all) but they never got the chance to hear nor see it directly as the subsequent verses in Luke records after that,
“For I tell you that many prophets and kings have desired to see what you see, and have not seen it, and to hear what you hear, and have not heard it.” (Luke 10:24)
Ever wondered why the disciples never seem to have been bothered by the topic of eternal hell? Simply because they never understood Christ’s words to mean it as eternal.
Now that you know about Him (have right knowledge that He is indeed the Christ, Saviour of the world), don’t harden your hearts. Let Him come inside and dwell within you as says the verse below:
“Jesus answered and said to him, ’If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.” (John 14:23)
With the Holy Spirit of God, the mysterious words of Christ will make sense, even plainly:
“These things I’ve spoken to you in a figurative language; but the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in a figurative language, but I will tell you plainly about the Father.” (John 16:25)
Believing Jesus is not just enough. We must believe Jesus in truth.
Believing lies and made up tales that do not conform with scripture leads us far away from Him. God the Father seeks true worship that first stems from believing the truth about Him as the scripture states:
“But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.” (John 4:23)
That is why it is written that our ‘belief’ (faith) itself is not from ourselves but is initiated by God.
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:
who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1: 12-13)
We don’t really choose Him (note the nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man) but that it’s God’s will (but of God) that He chose us first in love.
“We love Him because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)
It is a honour and privilege to even align our freewill to choose and follow Him. You cannot ‘trick’ God. Choosing Him is not so much of the reason of saving ourselves only out of hell but rather believing His will which is also to save the whole world.
A warning : (Remember to those lawless ones to whom He declared ‘I never knew you’ (Matthew 7:21 – 23), did not do the will of the Father; How can someone do the will of the Father if he himself does not know nor believe the One will that is echoed throughout scripture (stated in different ways), namely His will to save the world and that none should be lost nor perish ‘eternally’)
Salvation begins with ‘I’, moves on to ‘we’ and ends in ‘all’.
Personal salvation is the end of your faith and not the end of God’s love (Agape) which is greater than faith itself and that is the reason (Agape) He sent His son and will save the world. (John 3:16 & John 3:17 – the ‘might’ there is a ‘may be’ that will eventually ‘be’).
God doesn’t want ability nor availability above belief in Him in order to do the work of God. The work of God is not built with money as a tool nor with our earthly intellect (no such excuses made up in the pulpit today are found in the Bible). The verse below testifies to that fact:
“Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.’ (John 6:29)
He wants you to declare the ‘good news’ (gospel) that He will save the World and not that He will fail to save it – How can you declare this great Truth if you don’t believe it yourselves? We must first believe that He is able to do all His will.
Spreading a half-truth is probably what the Lord meant as making a proselyte twice the son of hell (gehenna) after converting him through much effort of travelling land and sea) as recorded by Matthew:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.” (Matthew 23:15)
An important note: The Pharisees believed in eternal hell (some sort of everlasting torture) while the Sadducees believed in annihilation (cease to exist type of punishment). This fact is recorded by Josephus, the Jewish historian who wrote in Greek and was almost a contemporary with Christ. Shocking? There’s even more. The Greek words used by Josephus when he describes the belief of Pharisees and Sadducees regarding their ‘eternal’ and ‘annihilation’ beliefs is not same at all with the word aion/aionon (age/ages) used by our blessed Lord and loving saviour. Thus our Lord implied a temporal punishment (which comes to an end) whilst the Pharisees and Sadducees implied an endless (eternal) punishment and destruction (cease to exist). Remember, the Pharisees and Sadducees too ‘lovingly’ wanted to warn the world that the ‘Jewish God’ is going to ‘torture endlessly/destroy completely’ those who don’t convert. Thus as Jesus says in Matthew, they travelled the land and sea with a ‘heart for the lost’ warning against a ‘Jewish God’ that is ‘angry’ until they managed to ‘win’ or ‘convert’ a ‘proselyte’ (new believer). What happens next? Our Lord says that these ‘converts’ become twice the son of hell than the ‘converters’ (missionaries). Now do you understand why is it important to know the truth first before endeavouring to preach or teach?
Being a missionary is commendable. But ask yourself, are we preaching the truth or lie about Him? Now you know that Christ saves the world in His time, do you still feel the fire for missions?
If yes, then go, and may He be with you. Tell the lost world that ‘He lives and will not fail’.
These things were written that ye may believe … (Luke 1: 3-4)
Remember, even the apostles concluded the true belief about knowing Jesus as:
“And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Saviour of the World.” (1 John 4:14 correlates with John 4:42)
And when we believe in Jesus, we get eternal life. Note that verses such as the one below is where we get the concept of ‘eternal life’.
The ones such as ‘Matthew 25:46’ as discussed elsewhere in this book, talks about a rewarded life in the age to come (a highlighted life during a particular age, namely, the next age which is to come).
“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.
And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?’ ”. (John 11: 25-26)
Paul himself instructed Timothy (the evangelist) to teach and command these things (regarding God saving all men) as scripture below testifies:
“For this is a faithful saying worthy of all acceptance.
For to this end we labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the saviour of all men, especially of those who believe. These things command and teach.” (1 Timothy 4:9 – 11)
Do you believe Him?