For the love of Christ constrains us; because we judge thus, that one died for all, therefore all died. He died for all, that those who live should no longer live to themselves, but to him who for their sakes died and rose again. Therefore we know no one after the flesh from now on. Even though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now we know him so no more. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new. But all things are of God, who reconciled us to himself through Jesus Christ, and gave to us the ministry of reconciliation; namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not reckoning to them their trespasses, and having committed to us the word of reconciliation.(2 Corinthians 5:14-19, emphasis added)
This is indeed good news. The Pharisees who denied Christ in previous verses are reconciled to God through Christ Jesus. Universal reconciliation is the primary precept in these verses. Other doctrines of its type require us to believe that only we and fellow believers are saved. Those who believe alternative doctrines believe they (and they only) are reconciled to God. Those doctrines require something other than the plain meaning of scripture. “One has died for all.” Christ Jesus’s sacrifice is for the whole world; for the whole of humanity. He did not die only for those who believe in Him, but for all flesh; for the whole world.
We are wonderfully blessed when we come to know Him. When we profess our belief in Him we are a new creation. The old self dies and a new self is born. It is a self that sees He is love and practices what is seen. “Behold the old has passed away. The new has come.”
Universal reconciliation declares only what the scriptures do. Other doctrines require these verses be construed the old has passed away, the new has come, but only for those who believe. Christ died for us and He does not count our sins against us. He died for all even those who rebel against Him? Doctrines like eternal conscious torment conclude Christ did not “reconcile the whole world to himself.” He reconciled only a few.
Albert Barnes is a world famous Presbyterian Theologian. He wrote “Notes on the Whole Bible” which are referenced earlier. He writes that some believe only the elect are saved. He believed universal reconciliation is the special view and eternal conscious torment is the general view. Using Dr. Barnes example both doctrines “are found in scripture.” The need to explain the consistency or the contradictions between the two is unnecessary he says. It is unimportant to understand the differences between the two doctrines even if we could. Dr. Barnes teaches God’s grace is “…intended to secure the salvation of His chosen people.” What is believed is secondary to being chosen or not.
“In Christ” and “through Christ” we have been reconciled to God. These verses are consistent with God’s love, His limitless mercy. Mr. Sprenger advises us, “According to Paul, then, preaching the reconciliation of all is in fact preaching the gospel.” This is Impartial Grace.