And these will go away into eternal punishment,
but the righteous into eternal life.
I am sure to ruffle a few feathers today with my choice of Scripture, but I strongly feel that this has been a discussion avoided for far too long. There is a virulent deception that has crept into our culture and the modern Church, and it must be confronted.
The notion of "Universalism", I believe, is the result of our obsession with political correctness. In case you're unfamiliar with the term, Universalism, in short, is the belief that everyone will be saved. There are many people today who hold to universal salvation and believe that all people eventually end up in heaven. It's not just the unchurched or the unbelievers who need to see the hope in this eventuality, but many people in the church .... who should know their Scripture .... just can't quite conceive of their loving, grace-filled, merciful God passing such a horrific judgment on humanity.
For these people (which includes many Pastors!) it is simply this over-emphasis on the love and compassion of God—and the neglect of the righteousness and justice of God—that leads them to believe God will have mercy on every living soul. But the Scriptures do teach that some people will spend eternity in hell.
It is a popular myth among many people that all roads—all religions and beliefs—lead to heaven, or that God is so full of love and mercy that He will allow all people into heaven. God is certainly full of love and mercy; it was these qualities that led Him to send His Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to die on the cross for us. Jesus Christ is the exclusive door that leads to an eternity in heaven. And that sentiment alone, will cause many debates and much ridicule in today's Emerging Church movement.
But Acts 4:12 says, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” “There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). In John 14:6, Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” If we choose to reject God’s Son, we do not meet the requirements for salvation (John 3:16, 18, 36). It is very clear from these passages what it means to be a Christian --- there are no exceptions and no "escape clauses".
For me, these verses make it quite it clear that Universalism and Universal Salvation are unbiblical beliefs. Universalism directly contradicts what Scripture teaches. There will be those who accuse me of being intolerant and “exclusive." It is to be expected in these times. But I would like to point out that the Scripture I chose for today are the words of Christ Himself. I did not develop these ideas on my own; and I know this stance is quite unpopular among many of my fellow Christians. In fact, this thought process has expanded to include the position that hell, itself, doesn't exist! I once attended a church where the Senior Pastor admitted that he doubted the existence of hell.
But whether it is the secular world, or the misguided Church, I believe that people choose to reject Jesus's message of different destinations for the saved and unsaved because they do not want to face up to their sin and admit that they need the Lord to save them. To say that those who reject God’s provision of salvation through His Son will be saved is to belittle the holiness and justice of God and negate the need of Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf. Unfortunately, there are far too many people who have not given sufficient thought to what happens the moment after they die. For starters, I would recommend they read the entire Chapter of Matthew 25. Listen to what Jesus says!