Everlasting?: Reviewing Lee Salisbury’s Eternal Punishment – Is It Really of God?: Exaltation of the Devil Continued

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For our soul is bowed down to the dust; our belly clings to the ground.
Rise up; come to our help! Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love.  (Psalm 44:25-26)

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Reviewing Lee Salisbury’s Eternal Punishment – Is It Really of God?:

Exaltation of the Devil

Mr. Salisbury’s article continues with this question

Did Jesus tell a lie when He said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth will draw all men unto me.”?

John 12:23-32
23 And Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. 26 If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him. 27 Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came out of heaven: “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29 So the crowd of people who stood by and heard it were saying that it had thundered; others were saying, “An angel has spoken to Him.”

30 Jesus answered and said, “This voice has not come for My sake, but for your sakes. 31 Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. 32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.”

Our Christ uses an analogy to describe how He will die and bring many into reconciliation with God. With Christ’s death and His resurrection God makes the way to reconciliation with Him complete. Christ’s obedience to death on the Cross saves all. He said He came to absolve the sins of the world.

We read in these verses Christ’s admonition to set aside personal desires for the sake of meeting the needs of others. By our selfless service to others we bring glory to the Son. Serving others with a selfless heart brings heavenly blessings.

Jesus tells us His “soul is troubled.” He knows that soon He will be taken captive, persecuted, mocked, humiliated, beaten and convicted of crimes based in false testimonies from those He loves. Our Christ calls out to the Father. The Son acknowledges His purpose. Christ asks that the Father’s Name be glorified; note not His own, but His Father’s Name be glorified.

The Father physically answers that indeed He has honored His Name will do so again. Others with Jesus heard God’s response. Some tried to rationalize the voice of God as thunder or as the voice of an angel. Jesus sets them straight telling them that the Father spoke aloud for their benefit.

Christ goes on to declare that the Father’s judgment on the world is at hand. Even though we have been given over 2000 years waiting for His judgment it will indeed come. The Ruler of this world is not Satan as some suggest. The Ruler of this world is Christ Jesus and it is Christ Jesus being cast out. Men are rejecting Him and He is soon to be crucified and placed in a grave.

It is important to allow yourself to be a critical thinker. Do not be quick to follow the traditions of current and predominant theologies. Jesus says, “…if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.”

Does He say anything more than that? We can agree that He was indeed lifted up from the earth when He was hung on the cross to die. That part of the equation is satisfied. The second part of the promise is that He “will draw all men to Myself.” He does not say He will draw only a few. He does not say, “I will draw Augustinians / Calvinists to Myself.” He does not say, “I will draw Arminians to Myself.” He does not say, “I will draw only believers to Myself.”

Charles Spurgeon is known as a great preacher and his sermons are highly respected. A sermon message entitled “Christ Lifted Up” can viewed in its entirety at the Blue Letter Bible website.

Mr. Spurgeon opens this sermon remarking that “it was an extraordinary occasion upon which the Saviour uttered these words.” It seems to be an understatement considering what is soon to transpire. Jesus is soon to be falsely accused. He is soon to be ridiculed and mocked. He is soon to suffer unimaginable indignities. Those who profess to love Him on one day will express their disgust of Him on another. Some will heap “Hosanna upon Hosanna” and in a few days will shout “Crucify Him!”

Mr. Spurgeon points us to verse 31 (John 12:31). “Now is the judgment of the world.” He points out that the Greek word for “judgment” here is better translated “crisis.” Jesus is pointing out to those who are listening to Him, “Now is the crisis of the world.” It is in Mr. Spurgeon’s words the “great turning point of all the world’s history.”

The sermon offered by Mr. Spurgeon exposes the truth of scripture and he teaches about Christ’s crucifixion. Christ is glorified in the crucifixion. The Father is glorified in the crucifixion. “Christ looked upon His crucifixion as the completion of all His work, and therefore looked upon it as an exaltation.” And then it was finished.

John 19:30
When, then, Jesus took the vinegar, He said, “It is accomplished!” And reclining His head, He gives up the spirit. (Concordant Literal Version; (CLT))

His work is accomplished. It is finished. It is complete.

I cannot stand up to Mr. Spurgeon’s scholarship. I am dross compared to his refined scholarship. That being said though Mr. Spurgeon seems to be adding something to this verse.

John 12:32
And I, if I should be exalted out of the earth, shall be drawing all to Myself.

Mr. Spurgeon pleads, “Christ should be most prominent, not hell and damnation. God’s ministers must preach God’s terrors as well as God’s mercies; we are to preach the thunder of God’s law. If men will sin, we are to tell them that they must be punished for it. If they transgress, woe unto the watchman who is ashamed to say, “The Lord cometh and taketh vengeance.”

Recall Mr. Spurgeon’s sermon is in regard to John 12:32 in which Christ Jesus says, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself. (ESV)” He then preaches this:
We should be unfaithful to the solemn charge which God has given us if we were wickedly to stifle all the threatenings of God’s word.

Does God say, “The wicked shall be cast into hell, with all the nations that forget God?” It is our business to say so.

Did the loving Saviour talk of the pit that burneth, of the worm that never dieth, and of the fire that can never be extinguished? It is ours to speak as he spake, and not to mince the matter.

It is no mercy to men to hide their doom. But, my brethren, terrors never ought to be the prominent feature of a minister’s preaching. Many old divines thought they would do a great deal of good by preaching this. I do not believe it.

Some souls are awakened and terrified by such preaching; they however, are but few.

Sometimes, right solemnly, the sacred mysteries of eternal wrath must be preached, but far oftener let us preach the wondrous love of God. There are more souls won by wooing than by threatening. It is not hell, but Christ, we desire to preach.

O sinners, we are not afraid to tell you of your doom, but we do not choose to be for ever dwelling on that doleful theme. We rather love to tell you of Christ, and him crucified. We want to have our preaching rather full of the frankincense of the merits of Christ than of the smoke, and fire, and terrors of Mount Sinai, we are not come unto Mount Sinai, but unto Mount Zion-where milder words declare the will of God, and rivers of salvation are abundantly flowing.

I am of the opinion Mr. Spurgeon is conflicted. He believes unbelievers are to be eternally consciously tormented for their failure to believe. He wants to preach Christ’s love for all, but cannot bring himself to accept it. It is folly on my part to try to discern Mr. Spurgeon’s heart and I ask your tolerance in that regard. I am only struck by the spectrum he is trying to cover in his words he spoke. It’s as if the conflict is on the one hand let me preach God’s all consuming love and on the other let me tell you about His anger because you reject Him.

Mr. Spurgeon’s sermon message then moves to Christ’s words that by His crucifixion He “will draw all men unto Himself.” He preaches, “Now, I will show the attracting power of Christ in three or four ways. Christ draws like a trumpet attracting men to hear the proclamation. Christ draws like a net bringing men out of the sea of sin. Christ draws, also, with bonds of love. In the next place, Christ attracts like a standard, bringing all the soldiers round him, and, in the last place, Christ draws like a chariot. “I, if I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me.” Now I will try if I can show these points.

According to Mr. Spurgeon Christ will draw men to Himself as a trumpet call. A call to alert. A call to come to hear the proclamation to be read aloud. “Now, my brethren, part of the attractive power of the gospel lies in the attracting people to hear it. You cannot expect people to be blessed by the preaching of the gospel if they do not hear it.”

Mr. Spurgeon takes much time in this sermon to extol the virtues of Christ-like unity in the several denominations of his day. His sermon closes, but without a significant distinction between what he labels “the people of the Lord” and those people who are not “people of the Lord.” He preaches to believers and encourages them to step away from backsliding ways. Mr. Spurgeon does not preach that “all men will be drawn to Himself,” but only those who believe.

Mr. Spurgeon, the man of God that he was, limits the power of Christ to only a few. The scripture is clear.

John 12:32
And I, if I should be exalted out of the earth, shall be drawing all to Myself.

This sermon by Mr. Spurgeon captures the essence of current Christian orthodoxy as it relates to “hell.” “All” does not mean all persons created. “All” means only those that meet a standard developed by preachers or certain standard bearers of what they conceive truth to be. Their truth and the truth they teach is that “all” are only those agreeing with them. In their view Christ’s crucifixion does not apply to “all,” but to only some.

About Jim Barnes

A man seeking to please the Lord. A man striving to abide in Christ Jesus. A man whose hope is to see just one more come into the fold.
This entry was posted in Lee Salisbury - Eternal Punishment: Is It Really Of God, Reconciliation Of All. Bookmark the permalink.

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