I hope wherever you are you are living with the knowledge of God’s love for you shown in Jesus, and I pray His love for you will change the way you look at the world, change the way you look at your circumstances, change the way you look at those around you, and mostly importantly change the way you look at yourself. You are an important, valuable, special, worthwhile person because the God of the universe made you and loves you and has made the way for you to know Him.
Today we want to look at the most frequently asked question regarding the idea that ultimately God is going to save everyone. Many, if not most of the people I have visited with about Ultimate Redemption have asked this question.
It is this:
If God is going to save everyone eventually, then why bother following Him? If everyone goes to heaven eventually, then why should I not just go do whatever I want?
Great question. Thank you for asking it. It needs to be discussed.
Let me confess though that my answer to this question needs to be a little more gracious. I have not yet worked out a less antagonistic way to answer it, other than to include this confession at the beginning. Forgive me for that. At one point I too asked this question and it’s not necessarily my fault, or your fault that we have it. (Although both you and I have participated in the system of belief from which it comes, so I suppose we bear some responsibility.)
It is a great question, but it is so only because most everyone has it, not because it really should be asked. This question is the product of our system of belief and its view of God and salvation, a system that needs to be critically and graciously examined.
Here is my answer to the above question. To the one who says that if God is going to save everyone, then he is going to go do whatever he wants, I say this:
What you’re telling me is you don’t really believe in Jesus. You don’t really believe Jesus when He says that His way is better. The only reason you’re following Him is because He’s holding eternal conscious torment over your head. You don’t believe God has your best at heart. You think He is a killjoy who is out to ruin your life and keep you from having any fun. Following Him is a drag at best and if God wasn’t threatening to punish you for all eternity for not following Him, you’d prove to yourself and to God that the pleasures of sin are where life is found. You’re not really a follower of Jesus.
You and I have heard preachers says that salvation is not just getting your ticket out of hell. You can’t just “accept” Jesus to get your ticket punched, so that you can then live any way you want. Salvation involves repentance, a turning from sin to go in a new direction. Yet, you have just admitted to me that your only motivation to follow Jesus is to avoid going to hell. All you have gained in a relationship with God through Christ is hell-fire insurance that will be null and void unless you behave in a certain way, a way that is boring, you think, when compared with the pleasures of sin. You have gotten your ticket punched and nothing more.
Are you even saved?
(Okay, I think I’m done with the bulk of the antagonism. Forgive me.)
Since you don’t seem to know it, let me tell you that a relationship with God through Jesus is where life is found! Salvation is about realizing that Jesus has saved us from ourselves and has given us life the way it ought to be! Joy, hope, peace, forgiveness, grace, love, LIFE – these are the results of a relationship with God through Jesus!
If you want to go down the road of sin and selfishness, if you think that life is going to be found in the pursuit of your own selfish self-interest, I say: go ahead. What you are going to find down that road is loneliness and heartache and destruction and discouragement and despair and death. I’m telling you, sin promises but does not deliver. It offers life but results in death. It will give 2 weeks of self-centered pleasure, and a lifetime of regret. It is not worth it.
I have experienced the “pleasure” of sin and know the regret. I have been on that path, and I understand how people get there. But I have also been on the path to life; I have also been on the road Jesus tells me to walk, and I will say without hesitation that I would not trade for anything what I have gained in this life in a relationship with God through Jesus.
I wouldn’t trade it if ultimate redemption is true. Not even if atheism were true. Life is found in Jesus.
His is really good news, really.
There is more to say on this and some stories I would like to share but I’m going to have to share that on a video.
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Next time I want to ask and answer a question that is similar but deserves separate attention.