Thursday, December 18, 2014

Is Everyone Forgiven?

A popular grace teacher puts a video to a 45-minute teaching of his on his social media account. He teases the video with the following; "Is Everyone Okay? Is Everyone Forgiven? Does Everyone Have the Spirit?" Being somewhat familiar with his teaching, I was interested in what he had to say in answer to the question, "Is Everyone Forgiven?" One quickly learns his answer to that question is, "No. Not everyone is forgiven." To support his belief he starts to ramble off some scriptures and comes to one in 2 Corinthians 5. He says, " Next we see 2 Corinthians 5, it says, 'God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself ...'" He stops there and continues with, "That sounds really good. God has reconciled the world, so apparently they don't need to decide anything, right? The whole world is reconciled. Well, all you have to do is keep reading to the next verse and it says, 'We beg you on behalf of Christ be reconciled to God." Do you see what he did? The verse he originally quotes is 2 Corinthians 5:19, but he only reads half of the sentence. The full sentence reads, "God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them." He completely omits where it says, "not counting men's sins against them." I can only conclude that he does this on purpose because to include this part of the sentence would severely damage his position that the whole world is not forgiven. Yet, the passage clearly says God reconciled the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them." It doesn't say "not counting saved men's sins." It doesn't say, "not counting the sins of men who are alive to God." It says men's sins which when coupled with the world means everybody's sins are forgiven. Now, I believe the teacher and those who agree with his position are worried that to say that the world's sins are forgiven, both those who believe in Jesus Christ and those who don't is to teach a form of universalism. That would be true if you believe that Jesus Christ dying on the cross saved anybody. If salvation was just Jesus dying on the cross then you could make that argument.

However, the death of Jesus Christ, while necessary for salvation is not salvation. Romans 5:10 says, "For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!" We are reconciled by the death of Jesus Christ, but we are saved by His life; through the resurrection! Now, an unbeliever may not know they are forgiven and many of them probably don't even believe they are sinners in need of forgiveness, but they are still forgiven. The problem between man and God is not that we are sinners in need of forgiveness. The problem is that we are spiritually dead to God and need His life restored to us. Until a person accepts Jesus Christ as their savior, they are still forgiven, but have not experienced the benefit of that forgiveness. The benefit of forgiveness is that once they come alive to God by being born again of the Spirit of God through faith in Jesus Christ, there is no sin that can cause the life of God to leave them again. That is why the life a born again Christian has is an eternal life; it carries you from the moment of salvation on through eternity and will never leave you. It is also important to not only know the fullness of the Gospel, but also to know the fullness of God's Word so you can spot when people are misquoting and misusing God's Word in order to defend beliefs and deceive the masses. When an unbeliever, who did not accept Jesus Christ as their savior, stands before God, he will be cast into hell not because his sins were unforgiven, but because he is dead to God in unbelief! In John 16:8-9, Jesus was talking about the Holy Spirit when He said, "When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me." The sins of the world are forgiven. The sin of unbelief in Jesus Christ is not. 

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