Salvation by Grace Dovetailed With the Worlds, Alls and Everys

The Case for Salvation by Grace

Dovetailed with the Worlds, Alls and Everys

 

Elder Jeff Winfrey, Pastor

Dawson Springs Primitive Baptist Church

101 East Walnut Street

Dawson Springs, KY 42408

  

Many people claim to believe in salvation by grace, but then add this, or that, or something else to their proposed plan of salvation.  It is so common to hear such things as, “I believe in grace, but….” Or to hear, “I believe in grace, if…”  Yet, I believe that the Bible makes the case for :

—Amazing grace (and grace alone) that saves God’s people from their sins.

—Election, not based on foreseen works or cooperation in the one chosen.

—Particular redemption, not offered to everybody, but certain for some.

—Holy Spirit unassisted regeneration, not based upon the consent of man.

—A plan of salvation, based on God’s control and not man’s.

—A plan of salvation:

        —Perfect in its design.

        —Perfect in the way the parts of the plan fit together.

        —Perfect in the way the plan correlates with the scriptures.

        —Perfect in the success of its completion, when none in the plan is lost.

Yet on the surface the case for salvation by grace that is limited to particular God-chosen people seems to conflict with a few worlds, alls, and everys found in the Bible.  Now it is readily admitted that these worlds, alls and everys do seem to imply an all-inclusiveness, and as such, they continue to lead many to believe in an offer of universal redemption, as opposed to finished particular redemption.

So what is the solution?  Do we discard the bulk of the Bible’s teaching that makes the case for salvation by grace and use a few worlds, alls, and everys to make the case for salvation based on man’s cooperation?  Or do we hold to the bulk of the Bible’s teachings and throw out the worlds, alls, and everys?  Neither!  Any interpretation of God’s word that requires discarding a portion of the word is a wrong approach.  Thy word is truth, and when rightly understood, it all fits together.  We just need to fit the worlds, alls, and everys into the Bible based foundation of salvation by grace.  Yet to do this we must go beyond the surface.  We must go beyond thinking of just one verse.  We must put individual verses in the context of their passages, and then put entire passages in the context of the bulk of the Bible’s teachings.  We must first get the foundation right.  We must first fit the big pieces of the puzzle together in their right places, and then we will be able to put a few little (seemingly hard to fit) pieces into the big puzzle.

May God bless us to first find the foundational pieces that make the case for salvation by grace, and then bless us to reconcile the worlds, alls, and everys with the Bible-based case for God’s salvation of a particular people by grace.  So let us begin to make the case for salvation by grace with a most foundational Bible teaching:  God has a particular people that He possessively claims to be His.

 

 

A Particular People That God Calls “Mine”

God claims specific individuals as His.  They are His to have, His to possess.  They are His own, even His to own.  The Bible uses possessive terms to describe this particular and definite group of individuals.  God calls them my people.

Isa 53:8  …for the transgression of my people was he stricken. 

Jesus came to save a people called His people.

Mat 1:21  And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. 

Jesus called some people my sheep.

Joh 10:27  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

Joh 10:28  And I give unto them eternal life;

But in the previous verse, Jesus said to some who were there that day:

Joh 10:26  But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep…

Jesus called some my sheep, while others were not of my sheep.  Some Jesus possessed; some He did not claim.  So we see a foundational truth:  Some, but not all, are His.  Let us continue in Jesus’ words in order to find other important truths.

 

 

Jesus’ Life-Giving Voice

Speaks to “My Sheep”

Joh 10:27  My sheep hear my voice

Hearing Jesus’ voice is crucial to the salvation of His sheep.  Jesus individually and effectually calls to each one of His people at some point in their natural lives, and it is a life-giving voice that He calls them with.  They hear that call, and they live.  They hear that voice, and they are regenerated.

Joh 5:25  Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.

The hour is coming, and now is.  These words describe an ongoing process.  This is not the end of time when the dead hear Jesus’ voice and live.  This was going on in Jesus’ day and continues to proceed.  The dead that hear this voice of Jesus are not dead in the graves.  Instead, they are dead in trespasses and sins.  They are dead to the realm of spiritual life.  They have natural life, but are in need of a quickening to spiritual life.  They need to be raised from spiritual deadness, and the voice of Jesus is the only voice that can raise the dead.  Not the preacher’s voice, not the voice of the gospel, but the voice of the Son of God.

The Bible describes this regeneration of God’s children in different ways, but no matter the terms used to explain it, the power behind this phenomenal process is always credited to God.  In the words, my sheep hear my voice, the power behind raising the dead is the live-giving voice of Jesus.  The power behind the new birth is the moving of the Holy Spirit.

Joh 3:8  The wind bloweth where it listeth…so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

The power behind coming to Jesus is the Father drawing one who cannot come.

Joh 6:44  No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Why does God have to draw a person to Jesus?  Why is the power of God required for the new birth?  It has to be this way.  How dead is dead?  The dead have no power to raise themselves from deadness.  The dead have no thoughts, no words, that could lead to raising themselves from deadness.  Oh, but when one of Jesus’ sheep hear His voice, they shall hear and shall live.

 

 

Jesus Knows His People

(In the Biblical Sense of the Word)

Joh 10:27  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them.   

We commonly use the word know to express mental awareness, but the Bible often uses it in a different way.  Jesus does not just know His sheep in that He is mentally aware of them.  Yes, He is mentally aware of them; he knows all about them; even the very hairs of their head are numbered.  Yet to know in Biblical terms often refers to the most personal and intimate kind of love, even a oneness of love best represented by marriage.

Gen 4:1  And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain…

As with the relationship of Adam and Eve, so the idea that Jesus knows His sheep goes far beyond mental awareness.  This individual oneness kind of loving relationship of God toward His people is perhaps the most foundational of all the doctrines of salvation.

2Ti 2:19  Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his

This foundation of salvation, that God knows (personally loves) His people, is a sure foundation.  Indeed, God knows everybody, and God knows all about everybody, but God does not know everybody in an individual, personal, loving relationship.  He only knoweth them that are his in this way.  Moreover, this sure foundation of God , that the Lord knoweth them that are his, goes clear back to before the foundation of the world, where it is said that God foreknew His people.  (Before time began God individually and personally loved His people.)

Rom 8:29  For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Just to prove that Jesus is mentally aware of everybody, but does not know (intimately love) everybody, we go to these words that He spoke to some.

Mat 7:23  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

It is obvious that Jesus was aware of them and of all things about them.  He knew them and knew their sinful works.  Yet He never knew them in the oneness of the two being one.  Unlike my sheep…I know them, these workers of iniquity were never known, never foreknown, and had no foundation of salvation.

 

 

Jesus’ Sheep Come To Jesus

Joh 10:27  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:  

Jesus declared, my sheep…follow me.  Yet, He had previously said, No man can come to me.  How can Jesus’ sheep follow Him, if they cannot come to Him?  They can come if, and only if, the Father draws them.  

Joh 6:44  No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him…

Now a man cannot come unless the Father draws him, but when the Father draws a man, that man shall come to Jesus. 

Joh 6:37  All that the Father giveth me shall come to me…  

Through the new birth the Father draws every one of Jesus’ sheep, yet only Jesus’ sheep.  Moreover, every Father-drawn sheep shall come to, and will follow, Jesus.  And in the end no Father-drawn sheep will finally be cast away.

Joh 6:37  All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

Praise be to God!  Every Father-drawn sheep will come, will follow, will never be cast out, and will be raised to be with Jesus in the end.

Joh 6:44  No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

 

 

Jesus Gives Eternal Life To His Sheep

That Had Been Given To Him

Joh 10:27  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

Joh 10:28  And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them our of my hand.

Joh 10:29  My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

So Jesus gives eternal life to my sheep, but recall that He said to some, ye are not of my sheep.  Jesus gives life to some, but not all.  To the goats He will say:

Mat 25:41  …Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

Also notice from the words, My Father, which gave them me, that the sheep originally belonged to the Father, and that they became Jesus’ sheep when the Father gave them to Jesus.  This idea that the Father initially possessed a particular people and gave these people to Jesus so that Jesus could give eternal life to these people is a very important Bible teaching that is spoken of in many places.

Joh 17:1  These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:

Joh 17:2  As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.

Joh 17:6  I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me 

Joh 17:9  I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.  

Joh 17:24  Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me…

Joh 6:37  All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.  

Joh 6:39  And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.

 

 

God’s Election Of A Particular People

Jesus said, Thine they were, and thou gavest them me, but how did God’s people become God’s people?  Before the beginning of the world God chose specific, particular, individual people to be His people.  .

Eph 1:4  According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world…

God chose His people.  He elected individuals.  This is how God’s people became God’s people.  This is how God had a people to give to Jesus.  Moreover, these chosen ones were elected according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.

1Pe 1:2  Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father…

But I remind you that this foreknowledge does not refer to God-foreseen things about the chosen people.  God did not choose His people according to His ability to know the future.  The verse states that election is according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, but this foreknowledge is God’s deep, individual and personal love for each of these people.

Some try to explain election away by saying that God looked into the future and based His choice of individuals on the works they would do, but the scriptures clearly state that election is not of works.

Rom 9:11  (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)

Furthermore, the Bible specifically states that election is to the praise of the glory of God’s grace.

Eph 1:4  According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

Eph 1:5  Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

Eph 1:6  To the praise of the glory of his grace

Grace by definition is an undeserved gift.  So if election praises God’s grace, then it praises the fact that God without obligation chose men who did not deserve to be chosen.  But if God’s choice of a particular man had been based on God looking into the future and seeing the works of that man, or if God’s choice of a man had been based on God looking into the future and seeing the choices that man would make, then election was not based on grace.  Instead of being based on grace, it would have been based on something the man did in order to deserve to be chosen.  Moreover, if this be the case, then the Bible is wrong to say that election is to the praise of the glory of God’s grace, because if it is by grace, it cannot be of works.

Rom 11:6  And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

So according to the foreknowledge of God, God chose particular people before the world began.  Moreover, according to the good pleasure of his will, God predestinated (predetermined the final destiny of) each of those deeply loved and personally chosen people, and this is all to the praise of the glory of his grace.

Eph 1:4  According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

Eph 1:5  Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

Eph 1:6  To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

Praise be to God!  What begins with foreknowledge, election, and predestination, ends in salvation!  Trace it through this chain of salvation.  In each link of the chain the whoms become the thems, and in the end each and every one whom God foreknew in His love before the world began will be one of them who is glorified with God.

 Rom 8:29  For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Rom 8:30  Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

Some try to explain election away by saying that it only relates to God choosing the nation of Israel in the Old Testament.  Now election does include God choosing a nation in the Old Testament, but election also includes God choosing particular people in the Old Testament.

Rom 9:11  (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)

Rom 9:12  It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.

Rom 9:13  As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

But election was not limited to God choosing a nation or individuals in the Old Testament.  In Romans 9, Paul declared that God chose Isaac (and not Ishmael), Jacob (and not Esau), Moses (and not Pharaoh).  Yet Paul did not stop with election in the Old Testament, but used these Old Testament examples of election as the groundwork to teach that God likewise chose some people (and not others) to eternal salvation.

Rom 9:22  What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:

Rom 9:23  And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,

Rom 9:24  Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

In those last words we find that election is not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles.  Jesus’ elect sheep are not just made up of the Jews, but also of the Gentiles.

Joh 10:16  And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

God chose His people from among the Gentiles as well as Jews.

Act 15:14  Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.

On the contrary, not all the Jews in Jesus’ day were the elect sheep of God.  Jesus was talking to Jews when He said:

Joh 10:26  But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep.   

Not all natural Israelites according to their nation were spiritual Israelites according to God’s election.  In other words, God did not choose all natural Jews to have spiritual life.

Rom 9:6  …For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel

Indeed, election does apply to God choosing the nation of Israel, but God’s choice of natural Israel to be His people is a picture of God’s choice of spiritual Israel to be His people.  God chose natural Israel and made her to be His holy nation.  Moreover, God also chose spiritual Israel to be:

1Pe 2:9  …a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people. 

 

 

The Absolute Necessity

Of Election For Salvation

Election is an absolute necessity in God’s plan of eternal salvation.  It is so crucial that without it there can be no salvation.  Election is as essential as the crucifixion—as essential as the new birth.  If God had just chosen to save sinners in general, and not chosen particular sinners to come to with the salvation, then none would ever be saved.  If Jesus had just generally died for everybody, and only offered salvation to fallen sinners who would come, and is now waiting for somebody to come, then nobody will ever be saved.

The Bible teaches that fallen man is impotent of his own free will and ability to raise himself from the fallen condition he is in by nature.  The nature of fallen man is such that he will not come to Jesus.  The inabilities of fallen man are to the extent that he cannot come to Jesus.  So if fallen man will not come to God to be saved, and if fallen man cannot come to God to be saved, then God must be the one to come.  Furthermore, it only makes sense that if God must be the one to first come to an individual in order to save that individual, then surely God must have previously chosen that individual as one He would come to.

So all that is left for us to do in order to prove that it is absolutely essential for God to choose individuals to come to with salvation is to show from the Bible that no man can or will come to God of his own free will and ability.  A multitude of clear statements in God’s word proclaim the lack of ability and the unwillingness of a depraved carnal sinner to come to God.  The following is only a partial list of such statements that describe the problems associated with the idea that an unregenerate sinner can assist in his own salvation.

No man can come, unless God (of His choice) first comes to that man.

Joh 6:44  No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.  

No man can come, unless God gives the “coming”. (To whom He chooses)

Joh 6:65  …that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.

—A carnal natural mind considers God to be its enemy.

Rom 8:7  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God...

—A reprobate fallen mind hates God.

Rom 1:30  …haters of God

—Will the mind that is at enmity against and hates God choose to come to God?

Joh 5:40  And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. 

—What would motivate the man with no fear of God to come to God?

Rom 3:18  There is no fear of God before their eyes.

—Will the natural man choose to come to that which is foolishness to him?

1Co 2:14  But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him…

—Before regeneration men are dead to the spiritual realm.  Can dead men come?

Eph 2:1  And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 

Joh 5:25  …The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.

—Those who are dead to spiritual things cannot hear spiritual teachings.

Joh 8:43  Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word…

Joh 8:47  He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.

—The spiritually dead cannot see (understand) things of the spiritual kingdom.

Joh 3:3  …Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

—The natural man without spiritual life cannot know spiritual things.

1Co 2:14  But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 

—The spiritually dead, those without spiritual life, cannot believe.

Joh 12:39  Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again,

Joh 12:40  He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.  

—But some (those ordered by God to have spiritual life) can believe.

Act 13:48  And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

 

 

God’s Purpose

Accomplished In A Perfect Plan

The God of the Bible is the God who brings His purposes to pass.

Isa 46:9  …for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,

Isa 46:10  Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

Isa 46:11  …yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.  

Isa 14:24  The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand:  

Isa 14:27  For the LORD of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it?…

The God of the Bible has saved His people according to His own purpose and grace.

2Ti 1:9  [God] Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

Indeed God is a God of purpose and grace, and before the foundation of the world God purposed to save His people from their sins. He devised a perfect plan of salvation, without loopholes, without the possibility of failure.  The plan is perfect in the way it fits together.  The plan has been, is now, and forever will be perfectly accomplished by the God of perfection who devised it.  In the fullness of time every minute detail of the plan will be completed to perfection in regard to every individual that was ever in the plan.  In the end none in the plan can ever be lost and none missing.

 

A Summation of God’s Plan of Salvation

Before the foundation of the world the Father elected a vast host of people from every nation, tribe, and family under heaven.  Each individual was chosen according to the Father’s foreknowledge and personal love for that particular person. God predestinated them to be adopted into His family and to be conformed to the image of His Son.  The Father gave each of these chosen individuals to His Son in the Covenant of Grace:  Thine they were, and thou gavest them me.

The Son of God took possession of each of these that He had  been given.  Jesus agreed to save each of them from their sins.  The plan was for the Son to become a man, only without sin.  And as a man, this sinless Son agreed to suffer and die on a cross for those that had been given to Him:

—In order that He might save each and every one of His people from their sins.

—In order that He might Himself suffer God’s wrath that was due to them.

—In order that He might pay the debt they owed to God because of their sins.

—In order that He might totally and completely wash their sins from them.

—In order that He might reconcile each and every one of them to God.

—In order that He might satisfy God concerning God’s judgment of them.

—In order that God might declare His people to be righteous and innocent.

—In order that God might justify them by His grace and the blood of Jesus.

—In order that every one that Jesus died for would be raised up at the last day.

—In order that Jesus might lose nothing of all that He had been given.

—In order that every one of His people might be with Him forever in glory.

Moreover, Jesus finished all He came to accomplish for each one He died for:

—Jesus did save each and every one that He died for.

—Jesus did suffer God’s wrath in the place of every one that He died for.

—Jesus did fully pay the debt owed to God for every one that He died for.

—Jesus did completely wash away the sins from every that He died for.

—Jesus did reconcile to God each and every one that He died for.

—God is satisfied with Jesus’ finished work for every one that He died for.

—God has declared every one that Jesus died for to be righteous and innocent.

—God has justified every one that Jesus died for by His grace and Jesus’ blood.

—Each and every one that Jesus died for must be raised up at the last day.

—None of the ones given to Jesus, and died for by Jesus, can ever be lost.

—Each and every one that Jesus died for must be with Him forever in glory.

Jesus accomplished everything necessary for the eternal salvation for each and every one that He died for, so each and every individual that Jesus died for must get to heaven.  If each and every one Jesus died for has been saved on the cross, each and every Jesus died for must be eventually saved in heaven.  If each and every one Jesus died for has his debt fully paid for him, and his sins fully washed from him, what can send him to hell?  If God is reconciled with the sinner, and satisfied with the Savior, what else can be required?  If God has justified (declared to be righteous) the ones Jesus made to be righteous, who can now lay a charge?  What can now keep a single one Jesus died for out of heaven?  The point is that each and every person that Jesus died for must get to heaven.  So if Jesus died for all people, then all people must get to heaven.  But the Bible is clear that all people will not be in heaven.  So the conclusion is that Jesus did not die for all people.  Jesus died for His people, God’s elect people.

From start to finish, salvation is of the Lord.  God chose to save.  God chose a particular people to save.  God sent His Son to save that particular people.  God sends His Spirit to save those particular people.  The Holy Spirit borns again each one of the chosen and died for people.  God’s elect children were just as dead to the spiritual realm as the non-elect.  They were by nature children of wrath even as others.  They were not seeking, not coming, not believing.  Yet, by God’s grace the Holy Spirit breathes life into the dead, and so it is with every one that is born of the Spirit.

No matter how you look at it, the Bible’s plan for eternal salvation is a plan that is laid out for a particular people.  Now it is not a particular people according to what church they go to.  It is not a particular people according to the works that they would do.  It is not a particular people according to the choices that they would make.  It is a particular people according to the choice God made.  The only plan of salvation that will agree with the Bible is:

—Unconditional election by the Father not based on foreseen works.

—Particular redemption only for those chosen by God and given to Jesus.

—Unassisted Holy Spirit regeneration for those who cannot and will not come.

The Bible’s plan of salvation is a plan of grace.  The Bible’s plan of salvation is not of cooperation.

Joh 6:44  No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him…  

Joh 5:40  And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

The Bible’s plan of salvation is:  Salvation is of the Lord.  God’s plan of salvation is exact and precise.  It is without guesswork.  It has no loopholes.  God chose whom to save.  Jesus died for the chosen.  The Holy Spirit gives life to the chosen.  Those predestinated by God are called by the Spirit, justified by the blood, and glorified in the end.  Every one in the plan, but only the ones in the plan, get to heaven.  Salvation is of the Lord.

So this is my case for salvation by grace.  From God’s word we have made the case:

—For God having specific people that He calls, “Mine”.

—For election, not based on any thing of merit in the one elected

—For particular redemption, not offered to everybody, but certain for some.

—For unassisted regeneration, not based on cooperation by one who is dead.

—For grace, and grace alone, that saves God’s people from their sins.

—For God who does His will in all things, including the salvation of His people.

—For God’s plan of salvation that is:

      —Perfectly designed.

      —Perfectly fit together.

      —Perfectly correlated with scripture.

      —Perfectly accomplished in the end:

                 —All God ever intended to save—Will finally be saved.

                  —100% successful—None lost—None missing.

 

 

The Quest for Truth

My lifelong quest has been to understand God’s plan of salvation.  Surely God does have a plan of salvation, but what is His plan?  I want the case I make for God’s plan of salvation to be the same case that the Bible makes.  If the Bible makes the case for salvation by grace, then I want to make that same case.  Yet if the Bible makes the case for some other plan of salvation, then I want to find and make that case.  I want to find and know truth.  I want to preach truth.  So for many years I have searched for the Bible’s truths, and after much study I am of the conclusion that from start to finish, salvation is (and must be) of the Lord and by His grace.  Taken as a whole the Bible declares that God saves His people by grace, and grace alone.  The vast majority of the Bible’s teachings very reasonably agree with the idea that salvation is totally according to God’s purpose, and that salvation is totally by grace.

But in the Christian thinking today, these conclusion are rare, and only a few hold to these truths.  Even among those who strive to base their beliefs on the Bible, there appears to be much confusion about God’s plan of salvation.  And it seems that much of the confusion comes from a few worlds, and alls, and everys.  A few isolated verses that contain these words lead many to truly believe that there are legitimate arguments against the case for salvation by grace, and grace alone, for a particular God-chosen people.  People who believe in universal redemption grab at these words.  And I readily admit that on the surface these words seem to teach universal redemption, as opposed to particular redemption.  But if you are going to understand the Bible,  you must go beyond the surface.  You must take the scripture as a whole.  The Bible is its own interpreter.  When it is rightly divided it, it all makes sense.  When you start with the right foundation, it will all fit together.

On the other hand, if you start with a few worlds, alls, and everys as your foundation, you will quickly jump to the error of universal redemption.  It is an error that can easily be shown to be an error by a host of Bible statements.  Yet if you start with the worlds, alls and everys as your foundation, then you have false teaching as your foundational principle for interpreting the Bible.  Jesus  said, Thy word is truth.  The Bible is truth, and the truths of the Bible will not stand on a false foundation.

The Bible taught truth of total depravity will not stand on a foundation that is built on a few worlds, alls and everys.  A vast host of Bible teachings declare that fallen man is impotent by his own will and ability to save himself.  These teachings will not stack up on a foundation based on the modern interpretation of the worlds, alls and everys.  The Bible speaks of a fallen man who cannot come, and who will not come to Christ.  So a plan of salvation that requires fallen man to come and accept the universal offer of redemption will not work.  It will not tie together.  Truth and error will not mix.

The Bible taught truth about election proclaims that God chose a people to be His people.  God chose them not according to their works, not according to anything He foresaw that they would think or do.  The Bible taught truth of God’s election of a particular people based on God’s choice, and the universal offer of salvation to all men based on man’s choice, will not tie together.  Truth and error won’t mix.

The Bible taught truth concerning the new birth (that God regenerates those who are dead to the realm of spiritual things), and the universal offer of redemption (based on the dead having to make a decision), will not mix.  How dead is dead?  How can one who is dead make a choice to be alive?  Using another Bible metaphor, can the unborn choose to be born?  Or yet another one, does the new creature participate in his own creation?  Absurdities!!  The universal offer of redemption, based on the dead having to make a decision, or based on a man having to cause his own birth, or based on the action of the creature before he is created, will not tie together.  Not only does it not tie in with the scriptures, it will not even tie in with common sense.  The universal offer of salvation is untruth, and untruth and truth don’t mix.

With a foundation based on error, the whole building quickly collapses.  The Bible is a very complex book, and even with a foundation of truth, there are great difficulties in sorting it out.  Yet one thing is for sure, Thy word is truth.  The Bible has no errors.  It has no contradictions.  It will agree with itself.  We just need the grace of God to rightly divide the word of truth.  We want to start with the right foundation, and the right foundation will stand.  The foundation of truth will support the word of truth.

 

 

The Worlds—Alls—And Everys

So at this point, let us go to God’s word and consider some passages where we find these particular words.  Let us start with the word, world, and even with John 3:16, since it is probably the best known of the world verses.

Joh 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Now that verse is truth, and the part about God so loving the world is absolute truth.  Yet if the word world is taken to be every individual that has ever lived in the world, then this verse comes into great conflict with many other verses.

Take for example:

Rom 9:13  …Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

Listen to this verse, and see if it sounds like “so loved” love.

Mat 25:41  Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

Or how about this?

Rom 9:22  What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:

You see, according to a vast host of teachings in the Bible, God has a chosen people that He loves.  Yet God does not love the rest.  That does not make God unfair, in that no sinner deserves God’s love.  No sinner deserves to be saved by the death of God’s Son.  The shock is not that God could hate Esau; the shock is that God could love the conniving Jacob.  The shock is that God would love any sinner to the extent of watching His Son die for that sinner.  Oh! Whomever God loves, He loves them with a great love.  And God loved (and still loves) the world of John 3:16, but what is this world?

Let me tell you that there is more than one world spoken of in the Bible.  In the Bible there are different groups of people that are described by the one word world.  Did you know that there is a world that Jesus refused to pray for?

Joh 17:9  I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.

Does it make sense that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, and that that only begotten Son refused to pray for the world that God so loved?  Does it make sense that Jesus loved the world enough that He died for it, and then refused to pray for—to intercede for—the same world that He was willing to die for?  No!  None of that makes sense.  But it makes good sense, when you realize that these are two different worlds.  Jesus said, I pray for them: I pray not for the world. These are two different groups.  Jesus prayed for some, but not for all.  Jesus prayed for God’s chosen, but not for the world.

Look at another verse where we again have two groups.  Notice those that God elected and gave to Jesus, and then notice those that make up the rest of the world.

Joh 17:6  I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me…

Look at yet another verse:

1Jn 2:15  Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

Does this make sense?  Did God so love the world that He gave His only Begotten Son?  Absolutely!!  Well are we told to not love the same ones God so loved?  Not at all!  These are again two different worlds.  The Bible tells of a world, ruled by the prince of this world, even Satan himself.  We are not to love that world, and God does not love that world either.  Moreover, Jesus did not pray for that world, and Jesus did not die for that world.

So God does not love every world that is mentioned in the Bible.  The Bible speaks of a world composed of Satan and his followers.  God will some day destroy that world in hell forever.  On the contrary, there is also a world composed of God and His children.  This is the world that God so loved, even loved this world enough to send His only begotten Son to die for it.

Our English word world is translated from the Greek word kosmosKosmos means orderly arrangement, and if ever there was an orderly arrangement, it is God’s perfect plan of salvation.  That orderly  arrangement was ordered by God from before the foundation of the world.  Before the world began, God chose a world of people to give to His Son, and God gave His Son for these people of His orderly arrangement.  Eventually every individual in God’s kosmos, in God’s orderly arrangement, in the Father’s world, even all that the Father had chosen to be with Him in His world, will end up with Him in the world on high.  Now that world is not made up of all that have ever lived in this world, and it is for sure not the world that is ruled by Satan.  It is the world of people that the Father chose to be in the world He rules.  God so loved this world that He gave His only begotten Son.

Now you might claim that I am twisting the scriptures to make them say what I want them to say.  No, I am taking an isolated verse and fitting it into the whole scheme of scriptures.  I am starting with a foundation that fits the truths of the whole of the Bible together, and I am adding blocks to that building of truth.  If you start with God loving every individual that has ever existed, nothing fits together. The Bible remains a huge puzzle.  However, if you put the big pieces of the puzzle in their right places, then the rest can be fitted in.  If you get total depravity, unconditional election, particular redemption, Holy Spirit unassisted regeneration, and certain final preservation of the saints in their right places, they will perfectly fit together without any cracks or without having to trim and reshape any of the pieces.  Then from that foundation you can sort out the little pieces of the puzzle and properly connect them with the big pieces.  That is the method for rightly dividing the word of truth.  If you start with a foundation of truth, then you can end with a building of truth that will fit together and stand.

Now let us go a step further.  Sometimes the Bible says the whole world.  So let us look at a whole world verse.

1Jn 2:1  My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

1Jn 2:2  And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

Now you may say, “Okay, that says the whole world.  Surely, the whole world has to be everybody.  So Jesus is everybody’s advocate.  Jesus is everybody’s lawyer.  Jesus takes everybody’s case.  Jesus is the propitiation, the atonement, for the sins of the whole world.”  Then you conclude your argument by saying, “This verse, by itself, proves universal redemption.”  Well, again I say that if universal redemption is the truth, then you have to throw out a ton of Bible.  So does this verse declare that Jesus died for the sins of every individual in the whole world?  It is certain that this verse is the  truth, but does the Bible phrase whole world mean every individual in the world?

Listen to Paul’s words:

Rom 1:8  First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.

I wonder how many native American Indians were speaking of the faith of the Romans?  Well if the words whole world mean every individual in the world, then we have caught the Bible in a lie.

Let us look at the words of Luke.  He plainly said that Caesar taxed all the world.

Luk 2:1  And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.

I wonder if there are some Siberians that still have delinquent taxes?  You see, it is easy to prove that phrases like all the world and whole world do not refer to every individual in the world.

Well what did John mean by the words whole world?  Let us see if we can answer that question.  We find that John was writing to God’s children—My little children.  John first cautioned them against committing sins—these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. Then John comforted them about having Jesus as their advocate, (but notice that at this point he switches to first person)—if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.  (Staying in the first person), John further comforted himself, and them, that Jesus is the propitiation for our sins.  Now since John was talking in the first person to the Jews, we as Gentiles can rejoice in John’s next words—and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole worldNot for our sins only, not for the sins of the Jews only, but also for the sins of the whole world, even the sins of the Gentiles of all nations.  John was not saying that Jesus was the propitiation for the sins of every individual in the whole world.  Instead, of Jesus being the propitiation for the sins of every individual in the whole world, Jesus is the propitiation for the sins of His people from all the nations in the whole world.

How do I know that this is what the verse means?  This interpretation fits the whole of the teachings of the whole of the Bible.  This interpretation allows us to put this piece of the puzzle into the well fitted foundation.  Truth and truth can be fitted together, but truth and error will not mix.

Now let us look at the word, all.

1Ti 2:1  I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

1Ti 2:2  For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

1Ti 2:3  For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;

1Ti 2:4  Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

1Ti 2:5  For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

1Ti 2:6  Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

Now these words are true words.  They are in God’s word, and thy word is truth.  I do not deny these words.  I do not deny these statements.  I just know that these words must in some way fit into the entirety of the word of truth.  So again we need to see that all men does not necessarily mean every individual that has ever lived, and to do that we can look at the following verse.

Joh 3:26  And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him.

Did any of the Australian Aborigines come to Jesus’ baptism?  Did even all the Pharisee’s consent to Jesus’ baptism?  Well then, common sense reasoning tells us that the phrase all men does not necessarily mean every individual in the world.  And common sense reasoning about the whole of the scriptures tells us that all men in our passage does not mean every individual in the world.  By reasoning in the scriptures, it makes about as much sense to think that the Aborigines came to Jesus’ baptism, as it does to think that Jesus died for every individual in the world.  In the context of the passage the all men means all sorts of men—Gentile Kings and Jewish servants—Romans in authority and barbarians under their authority.  Salvation is of the Jews, in that Jesus was a Jew, but salvation is not limited to the Jews.  Salvation is for all sorts of men—Jews and Gentiles—kings and paupers.  Salvation is for men from all nations, all families, all tribes and all tongues under heaven, indeed all sorts of men. Again I am not trying to distort the scriptures.  I am just trying to fit little isolated pieces of the puzzle into the huge foundational truths that perfectly fit together.

Finally let us look at the word, every.

Heb 2:9  But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

Now by itself, this verse sure sounds like universal redemption.  By itself, so does John 3:16.  That is the difficult challenge before us, the challenge not to look at a verse by itself.  If all we had were these two statements, the statement that God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, and the statement that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man, then I would be on the bandwagon.  I would firmly believe in universal redemption.  Now you may be on that bandwagon, because John 3:16 may be all the Bible that you know.  But let us not look at a verse out of the context of all the truths of the entire Bible, and let us not look at this verse in Hebrews, even out of its immediate context.

Again the bulk of the teachings from the whole Bible will not allow this phrase every man to mean every individual that has ever lived.  Yet even the context of the passage limits the every man that Jesus tasted death for.  So let us continue reading.

Heb 2:9  But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

Heb 2:10  For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

Now surely the words, many sons, restrict the meaning of the words, every man.  The verse is not talking about every man imaginable, but every man that is in the group described as, many sons who will be brought to glory.  And whose salvation is under consideration?  Their salvation—The many sons’ salvation.  The captain will not bring every man in history to glory.  The salvation is not for every man in history.  The captain will bring many sons to glory, and the salvation is their salvation.

Let us continue in the context.

Heb 2:10  For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

Heb 2:11  For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified 

The word sanctified means to set apart to be holy.  Now He that santifieth is God, but who are the ones who are sanctified to be holy?  They are the ones that the sanctifier set apart.  Again every man does not mean every individual that has ever lived, but every man that God chose and set apart to eventually be holy.

Let us continue further in the context.

Heb 2:11  For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren

Here we find something else about every man.  The words every man describe the group of men that  Jesus calls His brethren.  It might even be noted that they are the ones that Jesus calls to be His brothers.  Whom He predestinated, them He also called, and whom he called, He called to eternal life.  Moreover, it seems that the familial words, many sons and brethren,  limit the words every man to mean every man that is in the family of God?

Let us continue even further in the context:

Heb 2:12  Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.

Heb 2:13  And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.  

The words, the children which God hath given me, take us all the way back to the Covenant of Grace before the foundation of the world, even the Covenant of Grace when God gave His elect to Christ.  Moreover, every man that God hath given to Christ from before the foundation of the world is the every man in this passage, and will be the every man that will finally be saved by Christ in eternity.

 

 

Final Closing Thoughts

So we have tried to explain a few of the worlds, alls and everys found in the Bible.  I admit that we have not covered all the alls.  Nor have we covered every every, or the whole of the worlds of the Bible.  But perhaps I have given you a pattern for fitting the alls, the everys, and the worlds into the Biblical foundation of salvation totally by the sovereign grace of God.  If you fit the words into this foundation, and into their context, then you can find the truth.

Again I say that I am not trying to misrepresent the truth.  I am trying to find the truth that is in God’s word of truth.  I am not just trying to prove that I am right.  I am trying to prove the truths of the scriptures.  I am not trying to be offensive, but neither am I trying to please men.  I am trying to please my God.

I do not claim that I have the whole of truth figured out.  I admit that there is much in God’s word that I do not understand.  Yet I believe the key to best understanding God’s word is to have the right foundation, and I believe the right foundation is the foundation based upon the sovereign God who saves His people totally by grace.  Any proposed plan of salvation that is based on the works or cooperation of fallen man will not hold up when compared to the bulk of the Bible’s teachings.  Moreover, God’s plan of salvation by grace not only passes the test when compared to scriptures; it also passes the test of reason, the test of fitting the pieces together, the test of time as men through the ages examine God’s word, and the test of eternity that God will be satisfied in the end that His will was done.

He that worships, must worship in truth.  God’s word is truth.  Satan is the father of lies.  Truth and lies will not mix.  May God bless us to find the perfectly fitting foundation of truth, and then to fit the little pieces into the mosaic of God-honoring truth.

May God bless you always and in all ways.  Grace and peace to you.  Amen.

 

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