Will Everybody Be Saved? #175
Hello friends and happy weekend to you! Our episodes for Saturday and Sunday are usually short and hopefully sweet, so let’s jump right in, shall we? Today’s Bible readings include Deuteronomy 25, Psalms 116, Isaiah 52 and Revelation 22. At the end of today’s reading, we will have COMPLETED THE WHOLE NEW TESTAMENT together! If you’ve been here from the beginning, say a quiet hallelujah and contemplate this amazing accomplishment!
Now, back to business. Today’s big question is from Revelation 22, and it’s a theological one that we have sort of touched on before, when we discussed whether Jesus is the ONLY way to Heaven. (He is!) Today’s discussion is similar: Will all people be saved in the end? Let’s read Revelation 22 and discuss.
In case you missed it, here’s the pertinent passage:
14 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates.15 Outside are the dogs, the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to attest these things to you for the churches. I am the Root and descendant of David, the bright morning star.”
Some are in the City of God and some are outside and excluded from the City of God. This has already been stated clearly in Revelation 21, the chapter we read yesterday:
7 Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. 8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
Other Bible passages say the same thing, using slightly different words:
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11
And finally, because some need to hear it from the mouth of Jesus Himself, we should consider the sobering warning of the Son of God in Matthew 7:
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
There is indeed an INSIDE and an OUTSIDE in the Kingdom of God – quite literally. Those on the outside are consigned to an eternity separated from God, while those on the inside are blessed beyond measure and beyond anything they could have possibly earned, saved by grace. And that is one of the most important considerations here. We might struggle with the fact that some – many actually – will spurn the offer of eternal life from Jesus. But we should note this, lest you consider such a thing unjust: unlike almost EVERY human institution – insider status isn’t granted only to the elite, the rich, the beautiful, the uber-talented, etc. The invitation is open to all, and especially the poor, powerless, marginalized and oppressed….but you must come.
Note the DOUBLE invitation of life – FREE ETERNAL LIFE – from Jesus in Revelation 21 and 22.
6 He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.
17 Both the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” Let anyone who hears, say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come. Let the one who desires take the water of life freely.
Let’s close out with some great words from Piper, commenting on the beautiful truth of Romans 8:1-2, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus, 2 because the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death.”
If you want to be able to say now and at the last judgment, “There is no condemnation for me, because Jesus endured it for me,” then you must be “in Jesus.” If you are in him, what happened to him, happened to you. If you are “separated from him,” you have no warrant for saying that what happened to him happened to you.
If you say, “Ah, but he died for the whole world. He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” Yes, indeed. And what that means is that there is infinite room in Jesus. Christ is not a small hotel. There is room for everyone. And everyone is invited and commanded, “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden.… Let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.… The one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out” (Matthew 11:28; Revelation 22:17; John 6:37).
But what if you don’t come? What if you don’t believe? What if you don’t receive the free gift? Jesus tells us in John 3:36, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” The wrath of God—the condemnation of God is taken away in Christ. Not outside Christ.
So where are you? In Christ? Or outside Christ? Free from condemnation? Or under condemnation? You don’t have to stay under condemnation. There is room in Christ. There is always room in Christ. And Christ’s word to every sinner is, “Come! Trust me! Enter! I will be your life, your righteousness, your pardon, because I have been your condemnation.”
… What difference does “no condemnation” make now? Even if you said to me, “It’s of no help now whatsoever in my practical problems,” I might answer, “Even so, it is 10,000 times more valuable than any other help you might receive. Because eternity is so long and life here is so short.” Even total misery here for 85 years, and no condemnation in the presence of the All-satisfying God for 85 million ages of years would not be a bad exchange.
John Piper, Sermons from John Piper (2000–2014) (Minneapolis, MN: Desiring God, 2014).