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Is The Entire World Saved, They Just Don’t Know It Yet?
Published March 8, 2012 | By Cornel Marais (Charisma Ministries) John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! I have heard many people quote this verse recently. I love this verse. But what some have been interpreting it to mean is what I am not so sure of. So what does this verse mean? I believe it means exactly what it says. Jesus took the sin of the entire world away. Every person who has ever lived or will ever live, has had their sin taken away already. Forgiveness is a choice, but it was God‘s choice and He made it without your input. Now some people are drawing the conclusion that because everybody‘s sin has been taken away already, that Jesus has thus already saved all people, they just don‘t know it yet. This is called trinitarian inclusion theology, or historical reconciliation, and is one branch of the deceptive universal/ultimate reconciliation theology. They propose that since all people‘s sin has been taken away, that there is no longer anything separating people from God. Since sin caused the problem, its removal must obviously solve the problem, right? Logical yes, but true, I am not so sure for a number of reasons.

Reason 1: Righteousness
The historical inclusionist view proposes that since sin makes one unrighteous, that its removal makes one righteous. And because Jesus removed all the world‘s sin, that all the world is righteous. That still makes logical sense, but I believe there is huge difference between being righteous due a lack of sin, and being the righteousness of God in Christ. Mat 5:20 “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. What Jesus just said here is one of the reasons why I don‘t believe universal forgiveness = universal salvation. According to Jesus, to enter the Kingdom of

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Heaven, you need righteousness, and not just a little, more than that of the Pharisees actually. Now the Pharisees where a group of people who made it their life‘s purpose and their job to be as righteous as possible. It was what they were known for. According to the people of the day, the Pharisees were as righteous you can get. Now let‘s quickly get back to our no sin equation. Before the entire world‘s sin was taken away, they were fallen short, or in debt. Then Jesus came and took it all their sin away. That cleared their debt (sin), but cleared debt and credit (righteousness) are to different things. If you have credit card debt and I clear it on your behalf, I have only brought your balance to zero. You are no longer in debt, but you are also not in credit. You are still at zero. For you to be in credit, you need to be on the positive side of zero. You need to have loads of credit, more than that of the Pharisees, according to Jesus. Read more on this here and also here. So how does one go about getting more righteousness than that of the Pharisees? Do you work as hard as you can, trying to keep all 613 laws? Do read your Bible, pray, go to church, fast, worship, soak or evangelize enough people? Nope. You receive the free gift of His righteousness BY Grace THROUGH Faith. (Eph 2:8-9). Salvation comes by grace through faith. If Jesus already included all people in salvation, then faith would be totally useless.

Reason 2: Old vs New Creations.
When Jesus forgave the world‘s sin, all the world merely became forgiven old creations. Old creations aren‘t saved, it is only new creations that are part of the Divine family, included, adopted, and accepted. All old creations are at zero on the credit line. They used to be on the negative side, then the cross brought them to zero. The invitation is there for them to freely go over into credit, into true righteousness, to become born-again as new creations. But as long as they don‘t accept the invitation, they don‘t join in the inheritance of the saints. Gal 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.

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Only the new creation avails anything, and that happens only IN Christ. This is why Jesus spoke so often of being born-again. If all people have already been saved, it means all people had to have been born-again since birth. It would mean you were born with the Holy Spirit inside you already. If this were true, what was the point of Pentecost? If every single person were already saved after the cross, united with the Holy Spirit and sealed with Him, why did the disciples only receive the Spirit 50 days after the cross? Why is the book of Acts full of accounts of people being told to believe in order to be saved, to become new creations? For example: Act 16:30-25 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 2Cor 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. New creations are only found IN Christ. The entire world has been forgiven, but the entire world is not IN Christ. That happens by grace through faith.

Reason 3: Faith
In my opinion, Trinitarian inclusion or historical reconciliation is merely attempting to remove faith from the salvation invitation as mentioned above. This means they are merely preaching the law in a very deep undercover operation. (The law is not of faith and whatever is not of faith is sin – Gal 3:12 & Rom 14:23). If faith is not necessary, then what is the point of Rom 10:17? What is the point of even preaching? What is the point of the Great Commission? If everybody was already saved, why didn‘t Jesus just take all mankind with Him when He ascended? What are we waiting for if all people are already saved? Why does He want us to proclaim His good news? Good news is not living out life in a fallen world telling people who are already saved they are already saved, but the have to live out life on this fallen world telling others they are already saved also. That is just dumb. If all are already

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included and saved, what is the point of it all? For this exact reason, faith was and still is an important part of the salvation invitation. Hebr 4:2-3 For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. 3 For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: “So I swore in My wrath, „They shall not enter My rest,‟ “although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.” Yes, Jesus said ‗It is finished‘ and meant it. Yes, His works were done. Yes, He forgave us all. But that good news does not profit you one single bit when not mixed with faith. And don‘t get worked up on faith either. The smallest amount removes the largest of obstacles. It is not a work to believe, it‘s a joy! To be continued… (But in the meantime, read my friend Paul Ellis‘ post on the same topic!)

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All Forgiven? All Saved?
(Paul Ellis) – Escape to Reality I recently had a few discussions with people because I said I believe every person, saved or unsaved has already had their sins forgiven. For some reason this seems to be a tender nerve. So I want expound on my views a little more. Imagine a scale going from -100 all the way to +100. -100 <————————- 0 ————————-> +100 Before you got saved, where on the scale would you find yourself? Your sins would place you in the negative part of the scale. Like with a credit card. If you owe money, you are in the red. Then Jesus came and this was His message: Jer 33:8 „I will cleanse them from all their iniquity by which they have sinned against Me, and I will pardon all their iniquities by which they have sinned and by which they have transgressed against Me. Now if Jesus came to pardon your debt, where on the scale would that put you? At 0 or at +100? If I pay off my debt on my credit card, it means I owe nothing but I also don‘t have extra because my balance is 0. Forgiveness also just places you at 0 on the scale. The debt of sin of the entire world was forgiven in Christ. The entire world sits at 0. Does that mean the entire world is saved? NO! Why not? Because 0 is not the requirement to enter a relationship with the Father. Mat 5:20 “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. To enter into relationship with the Father you need to be at +100 on the scale. You only get to +100 by grace through faith. All your debts have been cleared, but without faith you don‘t receive the gift of righteousness that puts you at +100. See Rom 1:16-17. Sin was the thing that stopped you from being able to have a relationship with the Father. Jesus came and dealt with sin, removing the obstacle to relationship. But just because there is no hindrance left doesn‘t mean you automatically have a relationship now. That requires faith.

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So what happens when an unbeliever dies with the forgiveness of their sins totally provided for? Well, they die at 0. They die without relationship with the Father. Mat 7:23 “And then I will declare to them, „I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!‟ Eternal life is not found at 0 on the scale. If my bank balance says 0 I cannot rest. I can only rest when my balance shows I have enough. Eternal life is to know God! (John 17:3). That is found way over on the opposite side of the scale in the positive end. Forgiveness, which was mercifully provided for thousands of years before I even sinned once, brought me to 0. Now through faith the gift of righteousness has brought me to +100 and a relationship with the Father. Is that not good news? Being on 0 is good news, but 0 is not the entire gospel. It‘s only the invitation to it! +100 however, is really good news! Realize you are not just at 0 on the scale, you are at +100! You are the righteousness of God in Christ! 0 doesn‘t sit at the right-hand of God in Christ (Eph 2:5-6). 0 doesn‘t have every spiritual blessings in heavenly places (Eph 1:3). 0 has not been provided with everything pertaining to life and godliness (2 Pet 1:3). 0 is not a heir of God and a joint-heir with Christ (Rom 8:17). +100 on the other hand, HAS! It‘s time you realize where on the scale you really are… Grace and peace be multiplied to you all! Cornel

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Is Jesus the Savior of the World?
Paul Ellis I know, it‘s a dumb question. And yet among Christians this question – Is Jesus the Savior of the world? – leads to two radically different answers: (1) (2) Yes – all can be saved Yes – all are now saved

Between these two answers lies one of biggest debates raging on Gracebook, sorry Facebook, today. It‘s a debate between those who believe in ultimate reconciliation, historical reconciliation, and, er, regular reconciliation. (I‘m not good with labels.) I normally steer clear of Facebook debates – my heart is simply to preach Jesus and Him crucified – but since many grace folk have been drawn in I thought it might help to frame the issues so people can see what they are getting into. In a series of short posts, I want to look at some of the scriptures used to support these and similar claims (e.g., all are righteous, all are in union with Christ). If you‘re not interested, no problem. Normal service will resume soon. But if you are interested and want to ask ―What about this scripture and that scripture?‖ then check out my detailed study notes. I don‘t normally publish my notes, but several people have been asking for my views so there they are.

Why preach “the whole world is saved”?
Those who say the whole world is already saved mainly stake their claim on the fact that Jesus was called the ―Savior of the world.‖ That was His title and job description. Since Jesus would not have returned to heaven leaving the job halfdone, the whole world must have been saved 2000 years ago. The connection between the title – ―Savior of the world‖ – and the conclusion – ―all are now saved‖ – is logical but flawed. When did Jesus save the world? It could only have happened on the cross. Yet Jesus was known as the Savior of the world long

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before He died. When He was born He was heralded as good news for all people – not just Jewish people (Lk 2:10); when He was presented in the temple Simeon recognized that He was holding the salvation of all people (Lk 2:30-31); and to a group of stunned Samaritans at a well He was revealed as ―the Savior of the world‖ (Joh 4:42). Before Jesus had saved anyone, He was known as the Savior of the world. In other words, Jesus was not just the Jewish Messiah, He was also the Gentile Messiah and your Messiah, just as Isaiah had prophesied: It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth. (Isa 49:6)

Good news of great joy for all people
If you‘re non-Jewish that‘s a cause for celebration right there! Thank God that He considered it too small a thing to save only Israel. Thank God that He sent His only begotten Son because He so loved the whole world. We take this for granted now but 2000 years ago this was big news. Paul, Peter, and John were all struck by it. Here‘s John writing about it in his first epistle: And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. (1 Joh 4:14) And what does it mean to be Savior of the world? This is how John explains it:

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He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 Joh 2:2) According to the Bible, ―Savior of the world‖ does not necessarily mean ―all are saved.‖ It means Jesus is the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. Of all those who physically laid eyes on Jesus, John the Baptist was the first to recognize this: The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (Joh 1:29) Again, this was big news. Jesus hadn‘t come to die solely for the Jews but for everyone. For Paul this revelation was a mystery revealed: “Through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel” (Eph 3:6). Does this mean that all are saved? Paul never says this. Instead he said that grace only comes through faith. Since not all have faith, not all are saved. This was Peter‘s understanding as well: Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. (Act 4:12) Jesus is the Savior of the world, as Peter declared to the Sanhedrin, but we still must be saved.

“Jesus came to save the entire world. Did He fail?”
Not at all. Jesus has provided for the salvation of the entire world. There is nothing more He can do. Since the Greek word for save (sozo) includes healing, one might just as easily ask, ―Jesus came to heal the entire world – did He fail?‖ The answer to the second question is the same as the answer to the first. Jesus has provided for the complete healing of every sick person, but not everyone is healed. Similarly, the Lamb of God who took away the sin of the world has provided for the salvation of every sinner, but not everyone is saved. Hence Peter‘s exhortation, we must be saved.

Is it a bad idea to tell a sinner that they are saved?

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You may say, ―Isn‘t this all just semantics? Does it really matter if we tell sinners they‘re saved or unsaved? Isn‘t the main thing that they turn to Jesus and realize what He provided for them 2000 years ago?‖ I think it does matter because when you tell an unsaved person that they are already saved, you‘re sending a very different message from the one they will hear from Jesus: The Son of Man must be lifted up so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life… whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life… Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God‘s one and only Son. (Joh 3:14-18) Those who preach historical reconciliation read these verses and say ―I agree – we must believe to experience eternal life.‖ But they will disagree with what Jesus says in verse 18. ―The unbeliever is not condemned already but saved already.‖ Since you can‘t be condemned and saved at the same time, you‘re going to have to choose who you would listen to. My money‘s on Jesus. If He‘s right then unbelievers are definitely not saved; they are condemned. Certainly Jesus is not the one condemning them; they condemn themselves by spurning God‘s grace. But in rejecting the Savior of the world they are rejecting the only name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. As we will see in the coming weeks, the gospel is really good news for lost people. But if the lost don‘t think they‘re lost, perhaps because some well-meaning believer told them that they are already saved, then the finished work of the cross isn‘t going to seem quite so appealing. If you think you‘re not drowning you won‘t see your need for a rescuer. Jesus and all the apostles exhorted sinners to put their faith in God and be saved. Those who refused to come to Jesus to receive life were considered condemned, wretched, and foolish. These are harsh words but some people need to hear the bad news before they will appreciate the good news. And what is the good news? That Jesus died for every condemned and wretched fool! Everyone who believes in Jesus – whether Jew or Gentile, foolish or wise – may have eternal life, for Jesus truly is the Savior of the world.

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It Is Finished, Or Is It?
Published March 16, 2012 | By Cornel It Is Finished. 3 short words of which volumes can be written about expounding on the finished work of cross. Yet, these 3 short words are not beyond context, and as such, if taken out of context, volumes can be written that no longer remain true. Unfortunately, I find the latter case in point becoming more prevalent recently. These 3 words form one of the starting blocks from which proponents of historical reconciliation or trinitarianism teach that all mankind was saved at the cross. Just recently I heard a video message from one such proponent saying exactly this: ‗Are all people saved? Yes. Some just don‘t know it yet.‘ Since I am usually accused of misunderstanding what they are saying, I highly doubt I misunderstood that line. They argue that because Jesus proclaimed ―It is finished‖, that as a result, salvation had already been accomplished completely, resulting in all mankind being saved whether they know about it or not. That sounds very nice, but is it true? I can‘t help but ask the question, what was actually finished? Was salvation a finished work at the time when Jesus said ‗It Is Finished‘? To answer that simply, I would have to say no, it wasn‘t. Salvation involves the unification of fallen man with Christ in his death, burial and resurrection (Rom 6:4, Col 2:12) through faith, resulting in the rebirth of a new creation, a redeemed man in right relationship with God. At the time when Jesus cried out ‗It is finished‘ he had not yet died, nor had He been buried and He certainly had not yet been resurrected. Since none of those essential provisions for salvation had been provided or accomplished completely at that time, I do not believe Jesus was taking about salvation when he made His declaration. So what was finished? To bring context to the whole matter, Jesus‘ declaration was signaling the end of the Old Covenant, the end of the old way God related to people through laws and regulations. Jesus even prophesied the fulfillment of the law in Matt 5:17, and Paul makes further reference to the law being nailed to the cross in Col 2:14. That is also why at the exact same time the curtain in the

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temple tore from top to bottom (John 19:30 & Matt 27:50-51), making the holy of holies, the presence of God Himself accessible to all people. Had Jesus cried out ‗It Is Finished‘ when He awoke in the tomb 3 days later, I might have been inclined to agree with the assumption that salvation was a finished work. Now I do believe 100% that salvation is a complete package, that man‘s effort can in no way improve upon it, add to it, or qualify him for it, (Eph 2:8-9), but as I see it, from that point on salvation started, not ended! When Jesus arose that glorious morning His whole existence and being shouted ‗It has begun!‘ The new way of life (Rom 6:4), a better covenant based on better blessings (Heb 8:6), adoption available to all who choose to be adopted into God‘s own family and household! Then He went to His disciples and told them to go tell all people everywhere that heaven has flung open its pearly gates and all who desire to enter are welcome. Not as mere visitors, but as fully-fledged residents with all the same rights as Christ Himself (Rom 8:17). All they need to do to enter is to believe in Jesus (John 6:40). Ah, the faith-catch. Some love to say that this makes it sound like salvation is dependant on human faith. If salvation was dependant on human faith, nobody would ever be saved in my opinion, and I believe God knew this too. For that reason He gave to each man the measure of faith (Rom 12:3), His own faith, in order that each man would have the necessary faith if they choose to use it. Now that is good news! Not only has your application to heavenly residency been preapproved, God has supplied you with the application fee too! All that remains is you answering the door (Rev 3:20) and to let heaven take up residency in you! Jesus isn‘t kicking doors down without our knowledge. He is knocking. Why? Because of choice. Choice, is also a greatly debated word. Choice to me is always better news than no choice. The historical reconciliation crowd argues strongly for no choice, which I don‘t think is good news. There is no freedom in not being able to choose. Democracy beats out communism simply because of choice. No choice means no freedom. When Adam sinned, we had no choice in the matter, we were automatically condemned because of his actions. Now some are saying that

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because Jesus‘ work is greater than that of Adam‘s that we are, as a result, also saved without choice and therefore all men are saved already, whether they know it or not. To some that might sound like good news, but it really isn‘t. Salvation is not merely an event in time. Salvation is a living relationship with the Father through Jesus. Relationship is a 2 way street. If eternal life is knowing God (John 17:3), then not knowing Him is not eternal life. So if you‘re apparently saved but you don‘t know it, you really aren‘t saved because salvation involves experientially knowing God. God gave all mankind the option of choosing to get to know Him (Tit 2:11). His grace appeared to all, but it has not been received by all. To me, choice is actually what makes Jesus‘ work even better than first Adam‘s. In first Adam we had no choice. Jesus, second Adam, is the one who brought us choice, the option to choose to end our former state of having no choice. To a man without choice, the option to choose is a game changer! Choice is always great news! Grace and Peace! Cornel

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Forgiven, Reconciled, and Saved?
Paul The world sure is a strange place. Just when you think you‘ve seen everything, something new hits you on the side of the head. When I was growing up, the number one theological question was this one: ―Once saved, always saved?‖ People who asked this question wanted to know whether it is possible for a Christian to lose their salvation. Well if bullfrogs and butterflies can turn back into tad-poles and caterpillars, then I guess it‘s possible. But now there‘s a whole new question being asked, which is this: Is everybody saved? Many are saying yes: ―Jesus is the Savior of the world. Therefore everyone is already saved, they just don‘t know it.‖ Now before you write this off as universalist heresy, let me add that those who preach this brand of historical reconciliation do not believe everyone is going to heaven. It‘s just that everyone is in until unbelief kicks them out. Since this is a popular teaching today, I think it would be good for us to take a closer look. Let‘s start with an oft-heard statement:

“All are forgiven, reconciled, and saved.”
To these three points I respond: (1) it‘s true (we are forgiven), (2) it‘s sort of true (God has reconciled the world but you still need to be reconciled), and (3) it‘s not true (not all are saved).

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You are forgiven
The reason why forgiveness is a done deal and salvation is not, is because forgiveness is a game that requires only one player. God doesn‘t need your permission to forgive you. In our puny human minds we find this hard to grasp because we are not natural forgivers. We keep long records of wrong done to us. But God is not like us. He loves us with an unconditional love. He forgives us without any regard for our behavior and in accordance with the riches of His grace (Eph 1:7). Agape-love keeps no record of wrongs which is why God can choose to remember our sins no more. This is wonderful news! When you know His forgiveness, you are empowered to forgive yourself and others. I have written more about forgiveness than just about any other aspect of God‘s grace, so if you need further convincing that you are eternally forgiven, start with this post.

You are reconciled; be reconciled
Reconciliation, unlike forgiveness, is a two-player game. Both sides need to play. Consider the husband who wishes to be reconciled with his estranged wife. He loves her with an unconditional love that keeps no record of wrongs. In his mind there is no hurt or offense that has not been forgiven and forgotten. So in his love

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he has come to the table of reconciliation declaring that all is well from his side. Would you say they have been reconciled? Well that depends on the wife. Unless she chooses to be reconciled, there is no reconciliation. Now let‘s imagine that the wife is so damaged by an unhappy childhood that she unfairly projects her brokenness onto him. Even though he is a perfect gentleman and beyond reproach, in her mind her husband is an angry and violent man. This is how fallen humanity relates to our loving Father in heaven. Even though God has been unfailingly good to us, in our fallen state we think the worst of Him. We imagine Him to be angry and violent. For as long as we are separated from the life and love of God by our imagined offenses, are we reconciled? Of course not. If the man in our story went around telling others that he and his wife were reconciled – even as she continued living with another man – they would think he was nuts. Yet this is exactly the message that many are preaching. Has the world been reconciled to God? Paul‘s answer was ―Yes and no.‖ From God‘s side, reconciliation is an historical event. ―All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ…‖ (2 Cor 5:18). God has come to us with open arms. He holds nothing against us – not our sins, not our past, not anything. “While we were still sinners Christ died for us (Rom 5:8). Glory to God! However, there is no reconciliation in fact unless we respond to His overtures. Hence Paul‘s exhortation, ―We implore you on Christ‘s behalf: Be reconciled to God‖ (2 Cor 5:20). God loves the world so much that He came and died for us. His heart yearns for the lost and broken. He does not want an historical reconciliation that is not presently true. He wants His kids! Those who preach historical reconciliation argue that fallen man‘s estrangement is based on a lie. Men fear God needlessly and I agree. God is not angry with us. He really does love us. And it is certainly not wrong to preach that God has reconciled us to Himself through Christ since this is what Paul preached. But with equal passion we must also preach the other side, as Paul also did: We implore you – be reconciled to God.

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Are you saved?
I‘ve heard some claim that the whole world is saved as if this declaration would somehow cause the unsaved to come to their senses and start acting saved. So far I haven‘t seen that happen. The Father loved the prodigal at all points in the story, but he never chased his son into the city telling him ―You‘re mine! Come home.‖ If he had, his cries would have fallen on deaf ears. Now the son was the son for the entire story, but separated from his dad he was very much a lost son. He wasn‘t ―saved‖ until he turned back and found himself in his father‘s embrace. So is the whole world saved or isn‘t it? Well if the answer is yes, then why are there so many scriptures indicating that God wants us to be saved (1 Tim 2:4) and that He now commands people everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30) and believe in the name of His Son (1 Joh 3:23) in order to be saved (Mk 16:16), etc. By my count there more than two dozen scriptures specifically exhorting people to be saved and literally hundreds more exhorting them to repent, believe, receive, have faith, trust in God, etc. As far as I can tell, there is not one verse in the Bible that categorically says all humanity was saved at the cross. Certainly, Jesus has provided for our salvation – His is a finished work. Certainly it is the Father‘s will that all should be saved and that none should perish. But His is not the only will in the equation. It takes two people to make a relationship and this is why the New Testament writers repeatedly say that all are not saved. I don‘t have time to delve deeper here, but if you‘re interested or are wondering about a particular scripture, I encourage you to check out my easy-to-read study notes.

So what?
Does it really matter if we tell unbelievers that they were reconciled and saved 2000 years ago? It surely does! I have heard those who preach historical reconciliation say, ―Jesus has established a relationship with all of us.‖ This is simply not true. Although He surely desires it, Jesus has no relationship with those who are ―darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God‖ (Eph

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4:18). The light of men has come into the world but some men prefer the darkness. If Jesus had a relationship with everyone, why would Paul exhort us to preach the message of reconciliation? Why would John proclaim ―what we have seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us and the Father and the Son‖? What kind of husband are we portraying when we tell sinners that Jesus married them without their knowledge or permission? Tell a sinner that they are saved and already in a relationship with Jesus and they will look at you sideways. As far as they are concerned, Jesus is not a part of their life. So don‘t tell them that He is. Instead tell them that the Lover of their Souls is standing outside their door holding a big bunch of flowers, knocking, and waiting to be invited it. They may hesitate in the belief that God is angry with them or wants them to get their lives sorted out before they come home, but it‘s not true! Their heavenly Father longs for them with unconditional love and eternal forgiveness in His heart. He has already shown us His love through the cross and countless other ways. Now He waits to see how we will respond. Will we stay in the pig pen? Will we come to Him looking for a job? Or will we lose ourselves only to find our true selves in His wonderful embrace?

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Did All Die with Christ? (And what does it matter?)
Paul Ellis

One of the most profound revelations of the gospel is that ―I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me‖ (Gal 2:20). Watchman Nee called it the Gospel for Christians: ―The self you loathe is there on the Cross in Christ.‖ If the average believer could grasp hold of this truth – I died – half of our church programs would end immediately. We would stop trying to reform the old man because the old man is dead. He no longer lives! Instead of coming together to work on our flesh or improve our lives, we would be free to go tell our neighbors about the One who offers usHis life. Instead of praying for revival, we would be revival. And if all of us did that, who knows what might happen. Sadly, though, since most Christians don‘t know they have died, they waste their lives trying to nail themselves to crosses. Jesus died once for all but they die daily. Instead of reckoning themselves dead to sin, they are trying to throttle the sin in them and it‘s a flesh trip. Whether you indulge the flesh or whip the flesh you are walking in the flesh. It profits nothing.

Screwtape writes again
If you wanted to keep Christians ineffective in their witness, there are two lies you could preach: (1) Make them believe that they haven‘t died with Christ, or (2) make them believe that everyone has died – believer and unbeliever alike. Fifty years ago, in the time of Watchman Nee, the first lie was prominent. But look at the discussions lighting up Facebook today and you will see plenty of evidence of the second: Humanity died with Christ. Humanity has been raised with Christ. Not everyone knows it, but humanity is now in union with Christ. This is a faith-killing message that does nothing to draw the unbeliever into a relationship with the Author of Life. It extinguishes fires that God has lit in the

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souls of the restless by preaching false peace and it mocks repentance as a dirty work. This seductive message is turning young firebrands and dear friends into candy-floss sellers and I hate that. If you have no idea what I‘m talking about and you‘re thinking, My old man is dead? Really? He no longer lives? then go read this post from last year. It‘ll bless your socks off. But if, like me, you are questioning the idea that humanity is now in union with Christ, I encourage you to examine the scriptures. To assist you, I have just uploaded Part 2 of my study series on the Doctrine of Inclusion, entitled ―Was Humanity Raised with Christ?‖ You may not agree with my conclusions, but in my notes you will find most of the scriptures that figure in this debate. In today‘s post, I want to look at just one: For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. (2 Cor 5:14-15, NKJV)

Who died?
Some interpret Paul‘s words – all died – as universally true, meaning the entire Adamic race died on the cross in Christ. They note that the word ―all‖ is used three times in this passage and on two of those occasions it literally means ―all people.‖ So it makes sense to interpret the third ―all‖ in the same way. All means all. Or does it? Paul‘s point is that Jesus died as our representative, the righteous for the unrighteous. Three times in two verses he highlights the vicarious nature of Christ‘s death: ―One died for all… He died for all…. Him who died for them.‖ So who died? Jesus died – just one person. Paul says so three times. But the redemptive benefits of this one death are for all: 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. (Heb 2:9)

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Jesus tasted death for everyone. He died so that all of us might be set free from sin and death and raised to new life.

So why does Paul say all died?
The benefits of Christ‘s representative death are freely available to all but not everyone experiences those benefits. What are the benefits? …anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Rom 6:7-11) The benefits of Christ‘s representative death are not experienced in the lives of unbelievers. Unbelievers are not free from sin and living with Jesus. Neither are they dead to sin and alive to God. Paul is saying that Christ‘s representative death applies to those who have faith in His representation, meaning all believers. All of you died. I died, you died, we died. None of us need wrestle with the old man any longer. This interpretation is the only one that is consistent with Paul‘s other letters: All of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death. (Rom 6:3) Water baptism is a burial service. When we go under we‘re not drowning the old man – he already died with Christ – we are expressing our faith in the finished work of the cross. We are saying, ―I trust Jesus. He died for me. His death is my death too.‖ These are not the sorts of things you will hear an unbeliever say. And that‘s the one limitation of a representative death: it only applies to those who wish to be represented.

The wisdom of idol-worshippers
I lived in Asia for 15 years. In many Asian countries, if you give your life to Jesus and start attending church, it‘s no big deal. Your superstitious, idol-worshipping

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parents probably won‘t have a problem with it. But the moment you start making plans to get water baptized, watch out! Now you‘re crossing a line. In the East, faith without deeds is considered dead. So by all means preach universal salvation and write on Facebook that all died and are now in union with Christ. There‘s plenty of room for passive ideology in the Buddhist/Taoist pantheon. But the moment you start to act on your faith, say, by getting water baptized, you will run hard into opposition. Many of the Chinese believers that I baptized went into the water against their family‘s wishes. Do you see the point? As far as the idol-worshippers are concerned, something that happened 2000 years ago is of no consequence unless you identify with it today. They seem to understand better than we do that grace unmixed with faith is worthless (Heb 4:2).

Preachin’ for a verdict
If Jesus had not challenged people to repent and believe the gospel, He would not have been tortured and killed. If He had preached, ―It‘s all cool, God loves you, hang loose – wait for Paul, He‘ll explain it better than I can,‖ then the Pharisees would not have opposed Him with such violence. But Jesus preached for a verdict. ―Who do you say I am?‖ Jesus wanted people to trust Him because those who don‘t are condemned (Joh 3:18). Unbelievers have not crossed over from death to life (Joh 5:24). In 2 Corinthians, Paul compared two kinds of people: (1) those who have died and now live and (2) those who are perishing. We who have died and now live with Christ have a wonderful message for those who are perishing: Now is the time of God‘s favor, today is the day of salvation – not yesterday, not 2000 years ago, but today.

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What was Last Adam‘s Greater Work?
Paul Ellis @ 8:57 am

The history of the world, as told by some people, runs like this: Adam disobeyed God and as a result brought death to all mankind, but Jesus came and put everything back the way it was. This sort of thinking puts Adam and his everyday sin on the same level of Christ and His incomparable gift. What was Jesus‘ greater work? In my last post I argued that the common answer to this question – Jesus made everyone alive – is dead wrong. I provided a few reasons as to why this is so but if you need more, I encourage you to look at my study notes on Romans 5:12-21. I don‘t normally publish my notes, but since this passage of scripture is such an important and misread set of verses, I have made an exception. Much of what follows comes straight from these notes. Jesus did not come from heaven to earth simply to resurrect the corpse of humanity and repair Adam‘s sin. Certainly, Jesus did right Adam‘s wrong, but if that was all He did, then His wouldn‘t be a greater work and Jesus wouldn‘t be the Great Redeemer. He would just be a cosmic Mr. Fix-It. So in what sense did Jesus do a greater work than Adam? For the sake of convenience, I shall reduce the splendor and majesty of His finished work to three words beginning with R. I appreciate that much wonder will be lost in doing so but I trust you will see past my clumsiness, be inspired, and then ask the Holy Spirit to fill in the rest of the picture.

What did Jesus accomplish on our behalf?
1. Redemption: The guilty verdict has been over-turned. In Adam we were branded sinners but in Christ we are declared righteous. We are no longer counted with the condemned but are numbered with the justified. Satan has nothing to accuse us of and God remembers our sins no more. Happy is the man whose sin the Lord never counts against him (Ps 32:2). If you would know how much better the gift is than the trespass, then go ask someone on death row whether they would prefer freedom to captivity.

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How did He do it? When you put your trust in Christ, He gave you a glorious new past – His past. You were included in His death on the cross severing all ties with your old man (Rom 6:6). The person you used to be is dead and gone along with your sin and any relationship you had with the law (Ps 103:12, Rom 7:6). The world as you knew it is no more (Gal 6:14). Your old sources of identity and security have been replaced with something infinitely better and your past has never looked so good! 2. Resurrection: You have been raised to new life. This is not more of the same; it is brand new zoe-life. Now Christ is your life (Col 3:4). How did He do it? If we died with Him we shall live with Him. He has given us His life which includes His acceptance (Eph 1:6), His faith (Gal 2:20), His Spirit (Rom 8:11), His righteousness (Rms 1:17), His holiness (1 Cor 1:3), indeed, His eternal perfection (Heb 10:4). As He is so are you in this world (1 Jn 4:17), so obviously you do not have a sinful nature. You are not one person on Sunday and another on Monday. Sure, you can still walk after the flesh and reap what you sow, but you are not defined by what you do. And when you do sin, you have a mighty Advocate who speaks to the Father on your behalf (1 Jn 2:1). 3. Reigning: The grace cure is greater than the disease. One sin cell infected the human race with the fatal condition of sinfulness; grace not only cures us it inoculates us against re-infection. We have been made new. We have been rewired to resist sin and please the Father. Grace doesn‘t just remove all traces of past sins, it empowers us to sin no more! Grace is both favor and divine influence through the Holy Spirit. We are not just freed captives; we are kings and priests called to reign with Him. This is not some reference to the hereafter for Paul says we will ―reign in life‖ (Rom 5:17) meaning here and now. Through the power of the Spirit we can reign over forms of death such as sickness and all the things that lead to sickness (e.g., bitterness, unforgiveness). We are no longer victims; we are more than conquerors through Him who called us. How did He do it? Jesus has not returned us to the Garden, He has taken us to Heaven (Eph 2:6)! From the position of rest we rule and reign with Him here on Earth.

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Happy Easter!
Jesus did a complete number on us. His act of obedience dealt with our past (redemption), our present (resurrection life) and our future (reigning with Him). If anyone is in Christ, he is a completely new creature. The old Adamic way of life has gone. Since redemption always leaves you better than you started, the brand new zoe-life we now have in Christ is infinitely superior to the lonely and unaided life experienced by unfallen Adam. This is the greater work Jesus has done. Unfallen Adam tried to rule alone and failed. We get to reign with Christ forever and ever.

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