The question of salvation is vital to Christian theology (even though there is good reason to suspect that it was invented by Paul and has no basis in Old Testament stories). But the big question is: who gets saved and why?
Most Christians believe that salvation is achieved somehow through the Grace of God. Conservative Evangelicals believe that this comes for those and only those who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Whatever the specifics of their theology, almost all Christians reject the idea that all people will be saved and there is some good reason for this.
However, there are passages in the Bible which do support the possibility of Universal Salvation. The arguments are strong enough to have convinced a few Christians through the ages. Unfortunately, this makes Christianity largely irrelevant, and so the appeal of this doctrine is understandably slight.
Often, apologists will simply deny that universalism has any biblical support whatsoever and will avoid discussing the matter. Because of this, it is important to be aware of the issue and some of the verses which lend strong support to the position. Here are just a few:
- Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.
- For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ.
- Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the Sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme.
- Therefore just as one mans trespass led to condemnation for all, so one mans act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all. Rom. 5:18
- For God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may be merciful to all.
- My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
1 John 2:1-2
- The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
Dennis McKinsey quotes at least a dozen more of varying degrees of relevance. It is true that none of these makes the case for universal salvation airtight but at the same time, the case for Christian-only salvation is also prevented from being airtight.
So the next time a Christian suggests to you that you need Jesus and Christianity in order to be saved, it might be worth bringing up a few passages like those above in response. Find out why they think Universalism is false.