by Mike Ratliff
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (Romans 1:18-20 ESV)
It seems that the default theology of Man is “Justification by Death.” Justification is a legal term where a person is declared “not guilty” by a judge. No one seems to have a problem with the concept of all people being sinners. However, our culture says that all people will be sent to Heaven when they die regardless of how they lived their lives. Once there, they will receive rewards or lose rewards based on the quality of their character. This is why the Doctrine of Hell is seen as “judgmental” and “Pharisaical” by those of the “New Evangelism.”
Universalism says that everyone is saved and it is wrong to preach and teach the very words of our Lord Jesus Christ about that place called Hell. For example:
27 What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:27-28 ESV)
Is everyone saved? How about this one from our Lord:
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. ’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you? ’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me. ’ 41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me. ’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you? ’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me. ’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. (Matthew 25:31-46 ESV)
My brethren, this is judgment. Jesus is going to return in His glory. He is going to send the ungodly into eternal punishment. Universalism is a fallacy that may make people “feel good,” but it is deadly to peoples’ Souls.
What does the Bible tell us about God’s righteous judgment?
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. (Romans 1:18-32 ESV)
1 Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. 2 We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. 3 Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.
6 He will render to each one according to his works:7 to those who by patience in well- doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self- seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11 For God shows no partiality. (Romans 2:1-11 ESV)
That’s pretty clear isn’t it? Did Paul leave anything out? No one is free from the guilt of these things. He even lists self-will there. Those who reject Doctrine as being essential claiming that “God is Love” so he wouldn’t send anyone to Hell, are in darkness according the hardness of their unrepentant hearts. Paul says that they are treasuring up for themselves wrath in the day of wrath, revelation, and of the righteous judgment of God; who “will pay back to everyone according to their works.” Scary! Paul divides people here into two groups. The first group is made up of those who by patience in well doing, seek for glory and honor and incorruptibility. They have eternal life. The other group practices self-seeking, and don’t obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness. They do not have eternal life, but will inherit wrath and indignation, oppression and anguish. These are the ones who work evil. However, those who have eternal life will inherit glory and honor and peace.
False teachers who preach Universalism deny the necessity of the atonement through the shed blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. They are saying there was no need for the cross and we need to be teaching people to be good citizens instead of preaching Jesus to them. These will also deny the Doctrine of Imputation. To do this, they must also deny the Bible is our only source of God’s Truth as the rule of our lives. When we use scripture to show the fallacy of what they teach they simply ignore us, claiming we are legalistic, pharisaical, arrogant, and hypocritical. They tell us we don’t know the real Jesus and are actually driving people away from our churches by being divisive. They also claim that the doctrines we teach produce “Christians” who won’t work. Huh? Yes, their teachings call for those who follow them to come under the domination of some form of works righteousness. By doing this these false teachers are able to build man-made “church kingdoms” that have little to nothing to do with the real Church.
One of the rules for comments on this blog is that debate requires biblical proof. That is why debates with these folks never last very long online because they can’t or won’t do it. Therefore, they are working overtime to justify what they teach while denying what we teach by separating Jesus from the Bible. That’s right. They have their own but he is another Jesus. Theirs is Jesus the Universalist. He judges no one. He does not demand anything from us other than that we have unity despite our theological differences and that we work hard in obedience to these false leaders. Is this the Jesus we read of in the Bible? The Universalist Jesus would not separate the sheep from the goats nor ever mention that we are to fear God who can destroy Souls in Hell. However, the biblical Jesus says those very things.
My brethren, I would much rather write things about learning to be Spirit-filled or presenting the Gospel or teaching about the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. However, God will not let me get past this. Every time I prepare to move on, I receive an email or comment from someone condemning me for teaching things such as genuine disciples must deny themselves, take up their crosses and follow Jesus. (Matthew 16:24-27) Jesus Christ is Lord and those who are genuine Christians are surrendered to Him as their Lord. They have the Holy Spirit, have been regenerated or quickened by God and are New Creations. Universalists viciously attack these teachings. Why?
Soli Deo Gloria!