Matthew 7:15 – “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” ESV
2 John 1:9 – “Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.”
Some wonder why I would spend any time on the heresy that I will address in this post. Let me answer that in a brief declaration. It is because of the destructiveness of this demon-inspired doctrine that negates the value of the Cross, accountability, repentance, and the Great Commission. It places people in jeopardy of spending eternity separated from God, therefore, as a believer, I feel I must address it even briefly.
What is the heresy that I am referring to? It is Universalism or as it is called Christian Universalism. This is a doctrine that has surfaced from time to time over the past 1800 years or so and has been resoundingly rejected every time. However, in today’s WOKE and Entitlement World it has gained some traction. That is disturbing.
The doctrine of universalism has some varied definitions but, it is the doctrine that ALL Human beings and perhaps all intelligent and volitional beings will come to final salvation and spend eternity in heaven with God. The universalists do not all agree on how that works out, but they all agree that end the end EVERYONE Gets In.
One group of universalists believes that everyone goes immediately to heaven upon death (ultra-universalism). Others believe that many or most people first undergo postmortem suffering (purgationism). This was fiercely debated among universalists in the 19th century, and they have never been able to resolve the differences.
The overriding argument of the universalists is that God’s purpose for creating the world would be a total failure if even one intelligent creature should finally be separated from God. This line of reasoning implies if not outright declares that not only humans but also fallen angels will finally be saved. That is heretical and is a slap in God’s face.
Rob Bell published his book in 2011 entitled Love Wins as his proof of the universalist doctrine. The book is incredibly sad, but the fact that it was responded to with mostly yawns by the Christian community is troubling.
It began with Origen and has been rejected by Orthodox Christianity throughout the ages. Western esotericists, outside the traditional church and hovered around the fringes embraced this doctrine from around 1700 to the mid-1900s. No, it was not the accepted view of the apostles or the church fathers in the beginning. It came into being through Origen.
This doctrine is not just a theological mistake it is heretical. It speaks of a much deeper problem including moralistic therapeutic deism. It is the way the mind of man who is insecure in his relationship with God and seeking to avoid accountability and responsibility to live in obedience to God’s commands and be holy as He is holy created a god to their liking rather than being transformed by Him. It is one thing to wish something was reality and another to expect or receive it. Just because I would like for everyone to go to heaven does not mean that everyone does. The Bible makes that clear in so many places, that it would take a book to list all the references. I am not avoiding them and will gladly cite them.
Dr. Michael McClymond authored the book “The Devil’s Redemption” in which he traces the entire history of Universalism. He took it from its first appearance in Gnostic heresies within one hundred years of the birth of the Christian Church up to the modern heretical offerings. He contends that universalism is the world the way man would want it to be, not reality but man-made.
Jesus was the epitome of Love exemplified and demonstrated that in His death on the Cross. His death for sin was the offering of Love from the Father for mankind to open the door to salvation for WHOSOEVER will come. It is whosoever will not everyone will. The argument is that God is less than the Almighty God if He created man knowing man would fall away and some would ultimately spend eternity in an everlasting hell. If that logic is pursued to its conclusion, then why did God create the devil and the third of the angels that fell?
If everyone is going to be saved regardless, then why did Jesus issue the Great Commission? Why is there a call for repentance in the Bible? Why did Jesus say, “You must be born again?” If everyone gets in regardless of their condition, then heaven would be no different from our present earth with all the vile things existing. There will be no rape in heaven. There will be no theft, murder, lies, abuse, pedophilia, etc. There will be no enemies to evict.
The theory of the universalists takes only the attribute of Love in the Father and makes it the whole of who He is missing the totality of God. He is also Holy and Just. Even Origen, because of the Bible’s call to self-denial and godly living could not thrive in a Universalist environment suggested that universalism should be kept secret from the masses and disseminated among only a select few.
If I truly believed that everyone gets in regardless, I would no longer feel the urgency to preach the gospel, tell others about Jesus, and warn of the wrath to come. When I read Psalm 1, I immediately reject Universalism. When I read passages such as Matthew 10:28, I immediately reject Universalism. When I read the parable of the wheat and the tares in which the tares are bound and burned in the fire, I reject Universalism. When I read the parable of the catch of fish with the good kept and the bad thrown away, I reject Universalism. When I read John 3:16, I see the call to God and the promise of salvation for coming to Him, but being lost if I refuse, I reject Universalism.
I have, in an extremely limited measure, addressed the heresy and danger of Universalism. In order to embrace Universalism, one must ignore the myriad of scripture, seek to accuse the translators of error, twist or cherry-pick passages, and slant their meaning. Every verse in the Bible must be interpreted in light of every other verse in the Bible. To argue that the Greek says this or that is to forget that Aramaic was the language spoken in the days of Jesus. The Dead Sea Scrolls have brought the revelation that there were Hebrews before the birth of Jesus who believed in what became the gospel message. None of them embraced the idea of Universalism.
I have said to some Universalists, “If you are right and I am wrong, then I have lost nothing in believing the Bible and seeking to walk in purity with accountability, spreading the message to evangelize the lost. When I die, I get in. However, if you are wrong and I am right, then you could lose everything.” I know that is not enough to sway anyone, but it is a thought. I stand with what Jesus and the apostles taught as well as the plethora of Old Testaments references to eternity, the Love, Holiness, and Justice of the Father.
Not to continue longer, let me insert a simple observation. It would be wonderful to believe that no one is ever separated from God eternally. We know from Scripture that God does not desire that anyone perish, but the apostolic teaching clearly reveals that all are not automatically justified in Christ. The Scripture does not teach that those who do not accept Jesus in this life will suffer for a time and then be saved. That would require importing all manner of categories foreign to scripture to make that even a remote possibility.
God desires obedience but if everyone gets in, even the most diabolical including the devil, why be concerned with obedience? If it feels good, do it and do it and do it until you tire of doing it. We live and we die and after we die then comes the judgment. I do not want to try to explain to God why I did not repent.
God bless you and I hope this long devotional provides some benefit. The Christian life is not designed to be hard. It is hard when we try to do it ourselves rather than allowing Jesus to live His life through us. His yoke is easy and His burden light.
Have a Great Day!