|Everyone is saved! (part three of four)
||[Jan. 10th, 2008|11:23 am]
Here's some info I've found on the 'net over the years from people who believe in universal salvation *and* base it on their belief in biblical inerrancy:|
(v. 12) Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man [Adam, v.14] , and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned -
[Because of what Adam did in the garden, death came to all men not just to the elect, (cp v. 15; Gen 2:17; 3:19; Eph 2:5). The context is herein confirmed that "all men" elect and non-elect are being referred to in this passage when this term is used and it establishes the meaning of all men = elect and non-elect for the word many in the next verse]:
(v. 15) But the gift [of eternal life, Eph 2:8-9] is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man [Adam], how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!
So "the many" who "died by the trespass of the one man" [Adam] refers to all men, elect and non-elect. And the same "many" had the "gift that came by the grace of the one Man Jesus Christ, overflow" to them.
(v. 18) "Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men."
[Again "all men" must mean all elect and non-elect of all ages as previously established in verse 12.
2 Corinthians 5:14-15: "For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all.
(v18)All this is from God, Who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:
(v. 19) that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation."
Verses 18 and 19 confirm that God's ministry of reconciliation encompasses the whole world such that as a result of what Jesus Christ did on the cross the sins of men would not be counted against them - all men, elect, non-elect, believer and unbeliever. The words "world" and "men's" can only be interpreted as universal - the whole world and all mankind in the context of this passage, otherwise the passage deteriorates into double talk.
Chafer states, op. cit., p. 115:
"In 2 Corinthians 5:19 Paul stated that 'God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation.' Those who would hold to limited atonement must understand the word 'kosmos' [= "world"] here to include only the elect. But this is not supported by the passage itself. The believer is to declare to everyone that Christ has reconciled the world. To limit this declaration to the elect is to make the passage say what it does not say."
1 Timothy 2:3-4: "This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth."
1 Timothy 2:5-6: "Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men."
1 Timothy 4:10: "We have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe."
Titus 2:11: "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men."
Hebrews 2:9: "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone."
The word "everyone" is better translated "each."
Henry Alford comments: "If it be asked, why pantos (each) rather than panton (all), we may safely say that the singular brings out, far more strongly than the plural word, the applicability of Christ's death to each individual man."
2 Peter 3:9: "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."
1 John 2:2: "He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world."
1 John 4:14: "And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world."
Romans 5:18 says: "Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men."
Regarding this verse, John Calvin says: "He makes this favor common to all, because it is propoundable to all; Christ suffered for the sins of the whole world, and is offered through God's benignity indiscriminately to all."
Regarding the two occurrences of the phrase "all men," E. H. Gifford comments: "The words all men [in v. 18] must have the same extent in both clauses."
1 John 2:2 says: "He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world." A natural reading of this verse, without imposing theological presuppositions on it, supports unlimited atonement.
Isaiah 53:6 says: "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all"
This verse doesn't make sense unless it is read to say that the same "all" that went astray is the "all" for whom the Lord died.
"In the first of these statements, the general apostasy of men is declared; in the second, the particular deviation of each one; in the third, the atoning suffering of the Messiah, which is said to be on behalf of all. As the first 'all' is true of all men (and not just of the elect), we judge that the last 'all' relates to the same company."
Theologian Millard Erickson comments: "This passage is especially powerful from a logical standpoint. It is clear that the extent of sin is universal; it is specified that every one of us has sinned. It should also be noticed that the extent of what will be laid on the suffering servant exactly parallels the extent of sin. It is difficult to read this passage and not conclude that just as everyone sins, everyone is also atoned for."
Titus 2:11: "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men."
In view of such passages, it is legitimate to ask: "If Christ died only for the elect, how can the offer of salvation be made to all persons without some sort of insincerity, artificiality, or dishonesty being involved? Is it not improper to offer salvation to everyone if in fact Christ did not die to save everyone?"
"How can God authorize His servants to offer pardon to the non-elect if Christ did not purchase it for them? This is a problem that does not plague those who hold to General [Unlimited] Redemption, for it is most reasonable to proclaim the Gospel to all if Christ died for all."
Romans 5 indicates that through Adam's act of disobedience the entire human race became the recipients of sin. And through one act of obedience the last Adam made provision for the gracious gift of righteousness for the entire human race.
Scripture says that Christ died for "sinners" (1 Tim. 1:15; Rom. 5:6-8). The word "sinner" nowhere is limited to the elect or to the church. It is used exclusively in the Bible of lost humanity. Scripture tells us that Christ died for sinners, not penitent sinners, and for the ungodly, not for just some of them.
We conclude that the hypothesis of universal atonement is able to account for a larger segment of the biblical witness with less distortion than is the hypothesis of limited atonement."
Robert Lightner similarly argues: "The task of harmonizing those various Scriptures poses a far greater problem for those who hold to a limited atonement than it does to those who hold to an unlimited position. Those who hold to an unlimited atonement recognize that some Scriptures emphasize the fact that Christ died for the elect, for the church, and for individual believers. However, they point out that when those verses single out a specific group they do not do so to the exclusion of any who are outside that group since dozens of other passages include them. The 'limited' passages are just emphasizing one aspect of a larger truth. In contrast, those who hold to a limited atonement have a far more difficult time explaining away the 'unlimited' passages."
The fact is, the Scriptures do not always include all aspects of a truth in any one passage. "If these texts are used in isolation to 'prove' that Christ died only for the elect, then it could be argued with equal logic from other isolated passages that Christ died only for Israel (cf. John 11:51; Isa. 53:8), or that He died only for the Apostle Paul (for Paul declares of Christ, 'Who loved me, and gave himself for me,' Gal. 2:20). As well might one contend that Christ restricted His prayers to Peter because of the fact that He said to Peter, 'But I have prayed for thee' (Luke 22:32)."
In none of these passages do the advocates of limited atonement insist that the Jewish people exclusively are the objects of God's saving grace. Similarly, when Christ is said to have purchased the church with His blood (Acts 20:28), we cannot limit Christ's atoning work to the church alone.
Galatians 2:20 declares that Christ loved Paul and gave Himself for him ("The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me"). But this does not mean that Christ gave Himself only for Paul.
To sum up, Christ did not give Himself in the atonement only for Paul, or only for Israel, or only for the church, but for all men.
Universal terms like "world" should not be restricted in contexts which speak of the atonement.
Robert Lightner comments: "Those who always limit the meaning of those terms in contexts that deal with salvation do so on the basis of theological presuppositions, not on the basis of the texts themselves."
A word study of the word "world" - particularly in the apostle John's writings, where it is used 78 times - indicates that the world is God-hating, Christ-rejecting, and Satan-dominated. Yet this is the world that Christ died for. Particularly in John's writings, interpreting "world" as "world of the elect" seems a great distortion of Scripture.
John Calvin thus declares: "By the word many He means not a part of the world only, but the whole human race."
This is the same meaning as in Romans 5:15: "For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! Note that the "many" of verse 15 is clearly defined in verse 18 as "all men": "...just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men."
Notice that in this verse Paul speaks of Adam's sin, and of the resultant death coming upon all his descendants. But then the apostle goes on to speak of the grace of God and of its resultant gift (of life), abounding to the same company.
I say, "to the same company," because "the many" in the second clause of the verse is coextensive with "the many" in the first clause.
Unlimited atonement has been held by a majority of scholars throughout church history.
Millard Erickson points out that unlimited atonement has been "held by the vast majority of theologians, reformers, evangelists, and fathers from the beginning of the church until the present day, including virtually all the writers before the Reformation, with the possible exception of Augustine. Among the Reformers the doctrine is found in Luther, Melanchthon, Bullinger, Latimer, Cranmer, Coverdale, and even Calvin in some of his commentaries....Is it likely that the overwhelming majority of Christians could have so misread the leading of the Holy Spirit on such an important point?"
Robert Lightner addresses Calvin's position on the issue: "Those who subscribe to a limited atonement generally argue that that is the position espoused by Calvin. But it is highly debatable that he did, in fact, hold that view....Whereas some scholars have attempted to show that there is harmony between Calvin and later orthodox Calvinism, others have argued that contemporary Calvinism has veered significantly from Calvin's teaching, including his teaching on the extent of the atonement."
(The reader will recall that a number of Calvin's citations in this paper show him favorable to unlimited atonement.)
Quotations from the Early Church Fathers
Clement of Alexandria (150-220): "Christ freely brings...salvation to the whole human race."
Eusebius (260-340): "It was needful that the Lamb of God should be offered for the other lambs whose nature He assumed, even for the whole human race."
Athanasius (293-373): "Christ the Son of God, having assumed a body like ours, because we were all exposed to death [which takes in more than the elect], gave Himself up to death for us all as a sacrifice to His Father."
Cyril of Jerusalem (315-386): "Do not wonder if the whole world was ransomed, for He was not a mere man, but the only-begotten Son of God."
Gregory of Nazianzen (324-389): "The sacrifice of Christ is an imperishable expiation of the whole world."
Basil (330-379): "But one thing was found that was equivalent to all men....the holy and precious blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He poured out for us all."
Ambrose (340-407): "Christ suffered for all, rose again for all." He also said, "Christ came for the salvation of all, and undertook the redemption of all, inasmuch as He brought a remedy by which all might escape."
Augustine (354-430): Though Augustine is often cited as supporting limited atonement, there are also clear statements in Augustine's writings that are supportive of unlimited atonement. For example: "The Redeemer came and gave the price, shed His blood, and bought the world. Do you ask what He bought? See what He gave, and find what He bought. The blood of Christ is the price: what is of so great worth? What, but the whole world? What, but all nations?"
He also stated, "The blood of Christ was shed for the remission of all sins."
Cyril of Alexandria (376-444): "The death of one flesh is sufficient for the ransom of the whole human race, for it belonged to the Logos, begotten of God the Father."
Prosper (a friend and disciple of Augustine who died in 463): "As far as relates to the magnitude and virtue of the price, and to the one cause of the human race, the blood of Christ is the redemption of the whole world" He also said, "The Savior is most rightly said to have been crucified for the redemption of the whole world." He then said, "The blood of Christ be the ransom of the whole world."
Quotations from the Reformers of the 16th Century
Martin Luther (1483-1546): "Christ is not cruel exactor, but a forgiver of the sins of the whole world....He hath given Himself for our sins, and with one oblation hath put away the sins of the whole world....Christ hath taken away the sins, not of certain men only, but also of thee, yea, of the whole world...Not only my sins and thine, but also the sins of the whole world...take hold upon Christ."
Philip Melanchton (1497-1560): "It is necessary to know that the Gospel is a universal promise, that is, that reconciliation is offered and promised to all mankind. It is necessary to hold that this promise is universal, in opposition to any dangerous imaginations on predestination, lest we should reason this promise pertains to a few others and ourselves. But we declare that the promise of the Gospel is universal. And to this are brought those universal expressions which are used constantly in the Scriptures."
Other people involved to some degree in the Reformation who held to unlimited atonement include: Hugh Latimer, Myles Coverdale, Thomas Cranmer, Wolfgang Musculus, Henry Bullinger, Benedict Aretius, Thomas Becon, Jerome Zanchius, David Paraeus, and, as noted earlier, John Calvin.
Quotations from Other Luminaries from Recent Church History
Philip Schaff: "His saving grace flows and overflows to all and for all"
B. F. Westcott: "Potentially, the work of Christ extends to the whole world." And "the love of God is without limit on His part, but to appropriate the blessing of love, man must fulfill the necessary condition of faith."
A. T. Robertson: [The word "world" in John 3:16 - "For God so loved the world" - means] "the whole cosmos of men, including the Gentiles, the whole human race," and adds that "this universal aspect of God's love appears also in II Cor. 5:19; Rom. 5:8."
In this brief outline, we have looked at both sides of the debate regarding the extent of the atonement. I believe that when one considers all the scriptural evidence collectively, the correct view is unlimited atonement.
[Rev 22:17]:'The Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let him who hears say, 'come!' Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.'
The Law which condemns all men, elect and non-elect, was canceled for all mankind by what Christ did on the cross:
2) [Col 2:14]:
"[Christ] having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; He took it away, nailing it to the cross."
3) [Eph 2:15a]:
"by abolishing in His flesh the Law with its commandmentments and regulations..."
4) [Gal 3:13-14]:
(v. 13) "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written; 'Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.'
(v. 14) He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit."
[1 Cor 15:22-23]:
I Cor 15:22 "For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.
Rom 3:23-24 "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are justified [i.e., saved] freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."
O, give thanks unto the Lord for he is good; for his mercy endures forever. Ps. 107: 1.
In Psalm 136, this language, "his mercy endures forever" occurs twenty times. There never can come a moment, in the endless existence of the sinner, when he cannot resort to the fountain of infinite mercy, and find a full supply of Divine grace. It is for all souls, and the fountain will ever be accessible.
He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces. Isa. 25: 8.
Look unto me and be you saved, all the ends of the earth, for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself; the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear, surely shall say: "In the Lord have I righteousness and strength." Isa. 45: 24-27.
Before the birth of Jesus the Angel of the Lord comprehended the grand result when he said to Joseph,
You shall call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins." Matt. 1: 21
He is to save his people. Who are his people? Sinners, for they are to be saved from their sins. How many sinners will he reach and redeem?
Ask of me, and I shall give you the heathen for your inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for a possession. Ps. 2: 8. The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hands. John 3: 35.
In one sense, in the sense employed in this passage, the people of Christ are sinners, and all sinners are his people, and as "no man lives and sins not," the expression "his people" denotes all men. The apostle illustrates the thought when he says:
God has concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy on all. Rom. 11: 32.
The heavenly messenger made his name, Jesus, (one who saves,) an epitome of his character and mission. He is entitled to be called Jesus, because he will deliver his people, sinners, all men from transgression and sin.
What is the spirit of that grandest discourse ever yet heard or uttered, the Sermon on the Mount. Be like God. He is kind to the wicked, good to the bad. Be like him.
Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. But love you your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again, and your reward shall be great, and you shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be you therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Luke 6: 27, 28, 35, 36. Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you, that you may be the children of your Father who is in heaven, for he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just, and on the unjust. For if you love them which love you, what reward have you? do not even the publicans the same? And if you salute your brethren only, what do you more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. Matt. 5: 44-48.
Could this language be employed concerning God, if he consigned the sinner to an endless hell? And if he did torment his enemies forever, should we be like him, if we loved our enemies. The fact that we are like God only when we are kind to those who injure us, demonstrates that God is the same, and as he is without variableness, or even the shadow of turning," James 1: 17, the same yesterday to-day and forever, Heb. 13: 8, it follows that he will always manifest himself with impartial kindness towards all. The spirit of this language is in eternal hostility to the idea of endless torment, and inculcates the restitution of all souls to Him whose property they are. We must treat each other as God treats us, in order to be merciful as God is merciful. If God is not merciful to all who offend him, where is our obligation? and if we must not be unmerciful because he is not, how can he eternally punish? God forbids us to overcome evil with evil, and demands of us that we overcome evil with good.
Be not overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good. Rom. 12: 21
And yet it is said that he employs his infinite power in overcoming evil by evil to all eternity! "Recompense no man evil for evil," Rom. 12: 17, is the Divine injunction, and yet God employs eternity in disobeying his own commands! We are told to bless our foes:
If your enemy hunger feed him; if he thirst give him drink; for in so doing you shall heap coals of fire on his head, Rom 12: 20.
And yet we are taught that damned souls shall cry for water in vain - a drop of water - to all eternity. Thus God is represented as not doing what he commands us to do, and doing what he commands us not to do, and that to all eternity! Let it be shown that God is unforgiving, cruel, unmerciful, will torment his enemies forever, and men will resemble him most when they are most fiendish. If God were to torment one soul forever, a Sioux Indian would be his best representative among men. But as we are most like him when kindest and tenderest, it follows that his mercy and love towards every child of his will be without limit or bound.
As this Divine discourse proceeds, it culminates in
THE LORD'S PRAYER.
And this may be called the Universalist Profession of Faith. All men are required to recognize and address God daily as their Heavenly Father; one who is always kind and merciful toward all his children. They are commanded in that prayer to pray for his kingdom to come, his kingdom of holiness and purity, and for his will to be done. We will show hereafter that his will is that all souls shall be saved, (See 1 Tim 2: 1-6; Eph. 1: 9-14; John 6: 38-40). It is declared that all true Christian prayer must be in faith, nothing doubting, (1 Tim 2: 8,) for whatever is not of faith is sin, Rom. 14: 23). Now, how can any one address God as a Father. and pray that his will may be done, and understand that will to include the final welfare of all souls, and offer that prayer in faith, and not be a Universalist? The doxology of the prayer is in the same vein. He who offers it understandingly, and who prays in faith, can say triumphantly, "Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory," and his "Amen." Signifying, So may it be, and So shall it be, is an aspiration and a psalm, a petition and an exultation. He sees the Father's will universally triumphant, or his Amen is but an ignorantly pronounced expletive offending heaven with idle rhetoric. Unless he utters it as a triumphant ejaculation that the desire "Deliver us from evil" will at length be answered in universal redemption, his Amen has no meaning. But let us dwell a little on the one great fact in this prayer that demonstrates universal salvation:
THE UNIVERSAL FATHERHOOD.
The prophet Malachi (2: 10) asks. "Have we not all one Father?" If he employed this language in a restricted sense, confining it to the Jews, Christianity enlarges it. In the Lord's Prayer, above, all are under perpetual obligations to call God by the dear name that describes as no other word can, his kindly purpose towards all men, his children. Jesus declares: "One is your Father:" Matt 23: 9. Paul affirms, "There is one God and Father of all. Eph. 4: 6
He illustrates his paternal love in sending the sunshine and the rain on the evil and the good, who are alike his children. Sin does not destroy this relation. It continues when man forgets or disregards it.
We are to judge God's feelings towards his children by our own feelings towards our offspring.
Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? Matt. 7: 9-11.
Make the heart of the best earthly parent the unit to be multiplied as far as the mind can go, and the quotient - differing in degree, but the same in kind, indicates Our Father. The earthly parent will do all he can for his children, but God not only will do so much, but he can do all he will. Let any earthly parent look into his own heart, and in the drop of love there he will see reflected the great heart of God, planning, devising, executing, in time and in eternity, the best possible for every child. The fact of God's paternity infinitely wise and powerful, is a guaranty of universal salvation. God created and does all things as a Father. He will not permit final woe to befall any one of his vast family. He will accomplish the ultimate welfare of each and all, this we know, as truly as we know that he is "Our Father."
The power of leaven is irresistible. However small the quantity placed in meal it overcomes by its fermentation, all opposition, and assimilates the entire mass to its own likeness. Jesus makes this beautiful figure illustrative of the irresistible influence of his Gospel in the human heart, in the moral world.
Another parable spoke he unto them: The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. Matt. 13: 33. And again he said, whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God? It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. Luke 13: 20, 21.
The Gospel leaven must prevail universally; it will ferment until "the whole is leavened."
The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand. John 3: 35.
All that the Father gives me shall come to me; and him that comes to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which has sent me, that of all which he has given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. John 6: 37-39.
For the love of Christ constrains us: because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh; yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and has committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be you reconciled to God. For he has made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin: that we might he made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Cor. 5: 14-21.
Who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: who is the image of the invisible God, the first born of every creature: for by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist, and he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead that in all things he might have the pre-eminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell: and, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were some time alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now has he reconciled. Col. 1: 13-21.
Therefore, He will draw all men unto him, and they will obey the call, and submit to him in willing and righteous obedience.
He tasted death for every man, Heb. 2: 9, that each might become his disciple, and possess eternal life, and this he declares all men will have, as surely as he is lifted up, that is, crucified. Now is the judgment of this world; now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die. John 12: 31, 33. No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, and they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that has heard, and has learned of the Father, comes unto me. John 6: 44, 45. As you have given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as you has given him. John 17: 2. All things are delivered unto me of my Father John 6:
All that the Father gives me shall come to me; and him that comes to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which has sent me, that of all which he has given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which sees the Son, and believes on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. John 6: 37-40.
All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before you. For the kingdom is the Lord's: and he is the governor among the nations. Ps. 22: 27, 28.
Wherefore God also has highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things in earth and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Phil. 2: 9-11.
The phrase "under the earth," Kataxthonion, means infernal, and the whole description, says Bretschneider, is equivalent to all mankind. Professor Stuart says:
Things in heaven, earth and under the earth is a common periphrasis of the Hebrew and New Testament writers for the universe.
Albert Barnes says:
The whole universe shall confess that he is Lord. This is a willing confession, to God's glory, and must therefore be of sincere worship.
Who so offers praise glorifies me." Ps. 50: 23.
This must be universal worship, as it is all to the glory of God the Father. There are no unwilling worshippers. Hence the apostle teaches that the result of Christ's mission is to render all souls righteous:
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (for until the law sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offense, so also is the free gift: for if through the offense of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, has abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift; for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses unto justification. For if by one man's offense death reigned by one: much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore, as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation: even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin has reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. Rom. 5: 12-21.
All have sinned, and become subject to death, and the same all are to be made spiritually alive. The same "many" who were disobedient sinners are to be made righteous.
Says Dr. Macknight (Scotch Presbyterian):
For as hoi polloi, the many, in the first part of the verse, does not mean some of mankind only, but all mankind, from first to last, who without exception are constituted through the disobedience of Adam sinners; so the many in the latter part of the verse, who are said to be constituted righteous through the obedience of Christ, must mean all mankind, from the beginning to the end of the world, without exception.
Thus these many, i.e. all mankind, are to become actively righteous. Says Professor Stuart.
Dikaioi, moreover, must have an active sense here, in order to make out the antithesis to hamartoloi, which clearly bears only an active sense, if the usus loquendi may decide this point; at least it does so wherever else it is employed.
The "many" who died in sin, died as Adam died and are to be made alive with spiritual life, as Christ was alive - that is, all men are to resemble Christ as they have resembled Adam. This the Apostle illustrates by the figure of a pair of scales:
As in Adam all die
In Christ shall all be made alive,
1 Cor. 15: 22.
Paul's view accords perfectly with the doctrine of the Savior:
But now is Christ risen from the dead and become the first fruit of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order; Christ the first fruits, afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. Then, comes the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule, and all authority and power. For he must reign till he has put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy (that) shall be destroyed (is) death. [The words "that," and "is" are supplied by the translators. What Paul says is, "The last enemy, Death, SHALL BE DESTROYED."] For he has put all things under his feet. But when he says, all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body it is raised a spiritual body. And so it is written, the first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural, and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy; and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption.
Behold, I show you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible; and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, death is swallowed up in victory. O death where is your sting? O grave where is your victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be you steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Cor. 15: 20-28; 42-58.
Here we see,
1. All mankind are included. The same all that die as Adam died will be resuscitated.
2. They are not merely to live, but are to live "in Christ." And as is the first fruit so is the harvest.
3. They are to be new creatures, and wear the image of the heavenly. If any man be in Christ he is a new creature. 2 Cor. 5: 17.
4. It is a condition of "glory," "incorruptibility," "immortality."
5. It is not the resurrection of the body, "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God."
6. Death is to be destroyed.
7. All man's enemies are to be annihilated.
8. And man is to be victor through Christ over all. And in this mountain shall the lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow; of wines on the lees well refined. And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death in victory, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall be taken away from off all the earth; for the Lord has spoken it. Isa. 25: 6-8.
9. That the final resurrection is to holiness, is evident from Paul's words in Acts 24: 15, in which he hopes for "the resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust." It is not supposable that Paul could hope, that is, desire and expect, the resurrection of the unjust, if he believed that they would rise to endless torture. The fact that he hoped for the resurrection of the unjust proves that he regarded it as a blessing to them, even.
It is said that there is a resurrection to be attained by human effort. True, Jesus says:
Then said he also to him that bade him, when you make a dinner or a supper, call not your friends, nor your brethren, neither your kinsmen, nor your rich neighbors; lest they also bid you again, and a recompense be made you. But when you make a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind; and you shall be blest; for they cannot recompense you; for you shall be recompensed at the resurrection of the just. Luke 14: 12-14.
This is the result, not of faith, but of good works, and gives a higher measure of glory to those who are worthy of it. "In the resurrection one star differs from another." Those who deserve it, have the larger measure of joy in the resurrection.
Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection. Heb 11: 35.
There are grades hereafter, all are not alike, though all are equal to, or like the angels.
The anastasis, or resurrection is not merely being, it is a rising, a moral and spiritual ascent ultimately to be experienced by all mankind, who are to be made alive in Christ, and become equal to the angels. It is "rising to a better life," in the words of Macknight, Scotch Presbyterian. This is the clear and unmistakable testimony of Jesus the Savior and Paul the Apostle. Well did this sublime consummation compel the apostle to exclaim:
For God has concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Or who has first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen. Rom. 11: 32-36. And let all the people say Amen.