Confronting the Traditionalist’s Doctrine of Eternal Conscious Torment

Eternal conscious torment is considered an orthodox Christian doctrine. Denominations, congregations, assemblies across the globe codify this doctrine in their creeds and mission statements. It is a doctrine that should be challenged and scrutinized.

“Yahweh Is Good to All: Confronting the Traditionalist’s Doctrine of Eternal Conscious Torment” is a book challenging the veracity of this critically flawed doctrine. God’s Holy Word declares He “is good to all men.” His goodness is impartial and it is evident in His creation. His goodness is immutable like His love is immutable. His mercies are fresh every day. His patience is beyond our reckoning.

Read the book online or download the ebook (pdf).

Impartial Grace: John 12

Jesus answered them, “The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Most certainly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life will lose it. He who hates his life in this world will keep it to eternal life. If anyone serves me, let him follow me. Where I am, there will my servant also be. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him. Now my soul is troubled. What shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this time?’ But for this cause I came to this time. Father, glorify your name!”

Then there came a voice out of the sky, saying, “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” The multitude therefore, who stood by and heard it, said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.”

Jesus answered, “This voice hasn’t come for my sake, but for your sakes. Now is the judgment of this world. Now the prince of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.

(John 12:23-32, emphasis added)

Lee Salisbury and many others ask, “Did Jesus tell a lie when He said, ‘And I, if I be lifted up from the earth will draw all men unto me.'”?

Our Christ uses an analogy to describe how He will die and bring all men into reconciliation with God. Through 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 sin 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; not His own, but His Father’s Name be glorified. The Father audibly answers that indeed He has honored His Name and 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. 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? He was 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” 1 can be viewed in its entirety at the Blue Letter Bible website. Dr. Spurgeon opens this sermon remarking, “It was an extraordinary occasion upon which the Saviour uttered these words.” Dr. Spurgeon’s words are 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!”

Dr. 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 declaring, “Now is the crisis of the world.” Dr. Spurgeon declares this to be the “great turning point of all the world’s history.” The sermon offered by Dr. 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.” We are reminded that Jesus took the vinegar and said, “It is finished.” Dr. Spurgeon says, “And, then it was finished.”

His work is accomplished. It is finished. It is complete, but only for believers. Dr. Spurgeon was convinced unbelievers are to be eternally consciously tormented for their failure to believe. He preaches Christ’s love for all, but cannot bring himself to accept that Christ does indeed love all. It is folly to try to discern Dr. Spurgeon’s heart. There is conflict though. On one side is the need to preach God’s all-consuming love. On the other is the need to preach the price to be paid for rejecting His Gospel.

Dr. Spurgeon teaches 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.”

It is Christ Jesus Who says, “And I…will draw all men to Myself.” Mr. Sprenger adds, “This is as clear a statement on the subject as any in scripture, a promise made by Christ Himself! These are the words of the Savior! He is describing the kind of death He will bear for the sake of the world. He is to be crucified. His blood is to be shed. This to ‘draw all men to…’ Himself.”

There are countless commentaries defining God’s Holy Word. Many men and institutions honorably strive to honestly treat interpretations of language and history. The “Pulpit Commentary” was produced in the late nineteenth century by renowned leaders of the Anglican Church. Their commentary describes this verse eloquently and passionately. They write, “He is ‘the greatest Person’ and influences the lives of all. He is the Son of God. He is the eternal Word. He is fully human and fully God.” 2 The Pulpit Commentary teaches that it is Christ Jesus Who is our means to the Father. It is Christ Jesus Who “makes the greatest sacrifice for all.” It is Christ Jesus Who “is the Incarnate Word Who lays down His life for our salvation.” Christ Jesus is proof that God is love. His “sacrifice is the greatest act of love by the greatest Person to have ever lived…. His sacrifice is the only sufficient way to reconciliation and it is the only efficient means to accomplish God’s plan for all.”

The drawing is complete. Its glory is overwhelming. The authors of this commentary conclude Christ’s sacrifice is “glorious triumph.” “The greatest sinners sunk in the deepest sin” are touched by Christ. These great sinners hold within them “the deadliest enmity against God and virtue.” These are sinners who are “backed up by the mightiest spiritual opponents of God….” Even so, Jesus says, “…I will draw all men….”

The Pulpit Commentary tells us that Christ’s act of love that draws all men to Himself is complete and whole. Men, including the most vile of men, are drawn “…unto faith in Him, unto his character and likeness, unto his position and society. The drawing will be most complete; hence the glory of the influence – his triumph.”

The commentary given by the Pulpit Commentary’s authors regarding John 12:32 is correct. It preaches all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. It preaches that the Christ’s sacrifice is perfect and in complete harmony with God’s infinite love. He is love. It is God’s will that no man perish. There is a judgment of fire, a refining fire. That fire is restorative not punitive. Christ’s sacrifice purposely draws all men to Himself. God, through Christ’s obedience, provides the Way to be saved and ultimately to be reconciled to Himself. This is God’s promise. His Son, Jesus, Whose Name means “God is salvation” will not lose even one of those given to Him by the Father.

Jesus was speaking to a crowd when God spoke for all to hear. Some heard God’s voice commending Jesus. Others heard thunder. Jesus explains that what the people heard was for their benefit. Then Jesus describes the manner of His death. He tells the people why. “And I, if I should be exalted out of the earth, shall be drawing all to Myself. (CLV)” There were no denominations then. No cries for reformation of the church are known to exist at the time Jesus said these words. There is nothing to contradict. When Jesus was lifted up on the Cross at Calvary He then drew all mankind to Himself. He didn’t draw just a few men who believed they were chosen. He didn’t draw just a few men who believed they had the foresight to choose to believe the Gospel. He “…will be drawing all to…” Himself. All men! This is Impartial Grace.

1 Charles H. Spurgeon. “A Sermon (No. 139).” Delivered on Sabbath Morning, July 5, 1857 Blue Letter Bible Web site. https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/spurgeon_charles/sermons/0139.cfm?a=1009032. Date accessed: 04/01/2018.

2The Pulpit Commentary: John 12.” By Anglican Church, Study Light website. Publication date unknown. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tpc/john-12.html. Date accessed: 04/01/2018.

Impartial Grace: John 8

Again, therefore, Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life.”

The Pharisees therefore said to him, “You testify about yourself. Your testimony is not valid.”

Jesus answered them, “Even if I testify about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from, and where I am going; but you don’t know where I came from, or where I am going. You judge according to the flesh.I judge no one. Even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent me. It’s also written in your law that the testimony of two people is valid. I am one who testifies about myself, and the Father who sent me testifies about me.”

They said therefore to him, “Where is your Father?”

Jesus answered, “You know neither me, nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” Jesus spoke these words in the treasury, as he taught in the temple. Yet no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come. Jesus said therefore again to them, “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sins. Where I go, you can’t come.”

The Jews therefore said, “Will he kill himself, that he says, ‘Where I am going, you can’t come’?”

He said to them, “You are from beneath. I am from above. You are of this world. I am not of this world. I said therefore to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am he, you will die in your sins.”

They said therefore to him, “Who are you?”

Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been saying to you from the beginning. I have many things to speak and to judge concerning you. However he who sent me is true; and the things which I heard from him, these I say to the world.

(John 8:12-26, emphasis added)

Jesus declares in terms certain that He “…is the light of the world.” His light is not a light for Jews only. His is a light for all. Christ Jesus is speaking to the leadership of the Jewish people. The Pharisees are a learned fellowship. They fancy themselves above the masses of Jews living at the time. In this exchange with the Pharisees Christ Jesus tells them they do not see the Light. The Pharisees are of the world. They rest in their flesh. They find comfort in what they believe they know. Christ Jesus tells them they will die in their sins because of Whom they do not know.

The Pharisees, at least those who are attending this exchange, will die and be placed in their graves. They will die and many traditionalists believe these Pharisees will forever suffer in a place their orthodoxy calls hell. Christ Jesus is the authority preaching to these Pharisees on this day. He says nothing to them about eternal conscious torment. He says only that they will die in their sins. Those dying or dead in their sins are not excluded or cast-off. Sinful men will “bend their knee” to the Lord. The unrepentant will “confess Jesus is Lord” and the Father will be glorified. God is love. God is truth. God is immutable. “Yahweh is good to all men.” This is Impartial Grace.

Impartial Grace: John 4

They said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of your speaking; for we have heard for ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.

(John 4:42, emphasis added)

These words from the mouths of Samaritans. The Samaritans are a people group particularly disdained by Jews. After a few days with Christ they realize He is the Savior of the Jews and the Savior of the Samaritans. He is “the Savior of the world.”

The Pharisees during the time of Christ cannot see Christ as their Savior AND as the Savior of the world. The Pharisees hated Jesus. They did all they could to convince others that Jesus is a criminal and a blasphemer. Their belief is God is their Savior and only they are saved by God. It is an unpleasant correlation to make, but the advocates of eternal conscious torment have this in common with the Pharisees. They do not see Christ as their Savior AND as the Savior of the world. This verse confirms universal reconciliation. This is Impartial Grace.

Impartial Grace: John 3

And, according as Moses exalts the serpent in the wilderness, thus must the Son of Mankind be exalted, that everyone believing on Him should not be perishing, but may be having life eonian. For thus God loves the world, so that He gives His only-begotten Son, that everyone who is believing in Him should not be perishing, but may be having life eonian. For God does not dispatch His Son into the world that He should be judging the world, but that the world may be saved through Him. He who is believing in Him is not being judged, yet he who is not believing has been judged already, for he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.

Now this is the judging: that the light has come into the world, and men love the darkness rather than the light, for their acts were wicked. For everyone who is committing bad things is hating the light and is not coming to the light, lest his acts may be exposed. Now he who is doing the truth is coming to the light that his acts may be made manifest, for they have been wrought in God.

(John 3:14-21 (Concordant Literal Version), emphasis added)

All of the world is loved. He creates all the world and He loves His creation. Jesus is the Light and men who believe in the Light are drawn to Him. Those men who choose to remain in darkness avoid the Light and are not drawn to Him. Believers believe and their reward is age enduring life even while in this temporal world. A man who believes is living with the Lord even as the Lord sits at the right hand of the Father. A man who does not believe does not have the desire to come out of the darkness.

God did not send His Son to condemn the world. His Son came to save it. He was not sent to save some as God saves all. What is the judgment?

The world loves to live in the darkness. The world wants the darkness so as to keep secrets hidden from the light. The Light exposes the darkness of the world. The evil of men is seen clearly because the Light of Christ shines on all men. The Light of the world is the Judgment! Christ is Judgment.

Christ Jesus is given by the Father to suffer a horrendous death by crucifixion. Christ Jesus is obedient to His Father. It is God Who gives salvation to the world through the gift of His Son’s shed blood. Christ did not come to judge, but to save. Believers and unbelievers, all men, fall short of the glory of God. An act of true unfettered, unconditional love is necessary for the reconciliation of all to the Father. That act is in the life, the ministry, the death, the burial, and ultimately the resurrection of Christ Jesus. He is Judgment!

All that we do is known by the Father and is worked out in us through His Son. Good is exposed in the Light. Evil seeks to stay in the darkness so as not to be exposed. That is the judging. All sin is committed in darkness. The judging is in the exposing.

This is the Good News; Christ Jesus sacrifices Himself for the sin of the world; even those sins hidden in darkness. Christ Jesus is God’s Judgment!

Men who choose to stay in the darkness are condemned, to what? Jesus does not say any man is ever condemned to eternal conscious torment. In fact, the Holy Word of God leads us to believe that every tongue will confess Jesus is Lord to the Glory of the Father. The Judgment loves relentlessly and endlessly. This is Impartial Grace.

Impartial Grace: John 1

All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

(John 1:3, emphasis added)

The Son is The Father’s grace. Grace made us and grace saves us. Christ Jesus is Grace. God is merciful to all because of the Father’s Grace. The doctrine of Impartial Grace demonstrates God’s capacity for mercy. This doctrine demands we believe God’s mercy is “over all.” We are all wonderfully made. We are all His creation. We will be reconciled to Him. This is “The Blessed Hope.” This is Impartial Grace.

The true light that enlightens everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, and the world didn’t recognize him.

(John 1:9-10, emphasis added)

Jesus Christ is the Light. He “…gives light to everyone….” His Light isn’t given only to this group or that; this nation or that; this man or that man. His light is in everyone. Everything created is created by Him. His Spirit is given to everyone. When we die our spirit returns to Him Who gave it. “The true light that enlightens everyone was coming into the world.” God’s love is for everyone and He puts His Spirit into everyone. It is God’s will that all be saved. God is Sovereign!

Lee Salisbury posits the thought, “If the doctrine of ‘eternal punishment’ is true, then…” scriptures like these we have been discussing “cannot be accepted at face value.” If the doctrine of eternal conscious torment is true, then “God’s ability to regenerate the spirit of man and to fulfill His own word is limited by the heartbeat of man.” That is a profound statement. The verses stand alone. They do not require any references to other scriptures to support them. They are true and reliable on their face.

Pride has led us to this place. We have denied God’s power when we say He is unable to reconcile and to restore a man’s (mankind, Adam) spirit. We have denied God’s promise when we say He is unable or unwilling to keep His promise. Pride has led us to this place. Lord help me to shed my pride. Help us all to see You in a Light that is all-consuming fire, love, mercy. Lead us to preach. Amen.

The next day he [John the Baptist] saw Jesus coming to him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

(John 1:29, emphasis added)

Mr. Sprenger tells us, “‘The ‘sin’ is in the singular, indicating the complete removal of the ‘sin principle’, or sin itself with all of its consequences, not just the individual acts of sin.” Sin is removed from the world. All sin over all time over the whole of His creation is taken away from the world. There is not a sin that is not forgiven except one and that is to withhold forgiveness from another. The unforgiving will not be forgiven. Who when standing before Him will be able to withhold forgiveness? I dare say no one.

John describes Him as the Lamb of God. It will be this Lamb that will shed blood to take away the sin of the world. The blood of this Lamb is God’s plan for the salvation of the world. It is His will that all be saved. Is there any other way to understand this scripture? Jesus is the Lamb of God. He “takes away the sin of the world!” He does not take away sin because a prayer was said. He does not take away sin because of any ritual. He came to take away the sin of the world.

These verses simply understood declare that all sin is a matter of the past. All sin of the world is taken away. The blood shed is saving grace. The blood shed is mercy without limits. The blood shed is love. The blood shed is God’s blood. His Son’s blood shed for the forgiveness of sin. All sins are forgiven. God is love in this Light. Jesus died for the sin of all. It was ordained before the foundations of the earth. His love is infinite and completely merciful. Not one of His sheep will be lost.

John the Baptist fulfills the prophecy regarding Christ Jesus by this declaration. “Behold! THE LAMB OF GOD takes away the sin of the world.” No confession, no conditions, nothing other than the Lamb of God takes away the sin of the world. This is Impartial Grace.

Impartial Grace: Luke 23

Jesus said,“Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.

(Luke 23:34, emphasis added)

Mr. Sprenger reminds us, “This incredible request by Jesus, together with His suffering and death on the cross for the sins of the world, becomes the ultimate picture and the eternal symbol of the heart and intention of God toward lost humanity.” Let us also be reminded Christ’s obedience to death on a cross was determined before the foundation of the world.

Christ Jesus suffered humiliating and torturous punishment at the hands of His people and of the government. A few days earlier a crowd greeted Him as He entered into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey’s colt. The crowd cheered and sang “Hosanna” to Him and made His path into the city a path of victory on palm fronds. The Temple leaders; that is the Sanhedrin; the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Zealots and other factions, turned away from their Messiah and whipped the crowd into hating their King. Trickery and false testimony were used to persuade the people to convict Him of blasphemy. Pontius Pilate was a weak Governor over Israel and of Jerusalem. His interests were self serving. He wanted to keep his position and status. He judged the King and found no crime to punish, but he listened instead to the voices of the Sanhedrin and those voices of the people chanting, “Crucify Him, Crucify Him!” Christ stood convicted and sentenced. Christ Jesus carried a cross to Calvary. The people He loved spit at Him and cursed Him. He was mercilessly mocked. All of this abuse laid on Him over a few hours time. “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.”

Sing praise to heaven and give honor to Christ the King. He forgives those who hate Him. He forgives those who follow corrupted men. He forgives corrupted men. He forgives all men. Jesus came into the world to forgive the sin of the world, all of the sins of the world. The men and women who championed His betrayal and those who exercised their hatred of Him upon His body are forgiven. Can we say the Father of the Son refused to give to His Son what His Son seeks? “Father forgive them…!” This is Impartial Grace.

Impartial Grace: Luke 2

There were shepherds in the same country staying in the field, and keeping watch by night over their flock. Behold, an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. The angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be to all the people. For there is born to you, this day, in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

(Luke 2:8-11, emphasis added)

Shepherds in a field are blessed by an up close and personal birth announcement. It’s a beautiful story and it is Truth revealed to us. Shepherds were in a field tending their flock. An angel appeared and the glory of the Lord was all around them. The shepherds were frightened, not just shaken, but “filled with great fear.” The angel spoke to the shepherds saying, “a Savior, Who is Christ the Lord” is born. The Truth is the “good news of great joy will be for all the people.” This great news of a savior born is not for just a few who choose Him or for only those chosen by Him. This great news of a savior born is “for all the people.” Our free will does not trump the “good news of great joy that will be for all people.” What is the “good news?” It is that a Savior is born? What is the great joy? It is that a Savior is born. “Good news” and “great joy” are for “all the people.” Who is excluded from this “great joy?” Who is excluded from the “good news?” No one.

Adam Clarke is a 19th Century theologian. He took forty years to complete a commentary on the Bible. He was Methodist and was opposed to Calvinism. He did not believe in predestination, but in the free will of a man to choose to believe. Dr. Clarke writes these verses are applied “to the Jews first and then to the human race.”1 It is a blessing to the whole world. He says, “The good news is to you, – and not to yourselves exclusively, for it is to all people, to all the inhabitants of this land, and to the inhabitants of the whole earth.

John Calvin preaches predestination. According to Calvin’s doctrine God has determined before the foundations of the earth who will and who will not be saved. Those not saved are not chosen and consequently will endure eternal torment. Parenthetically a theology exists that is centered on Dr. Calvin’s teaching; Calvinism. Dr. Calvin describes this verse “which will be to all people.” 2 The angel is speaking directly to the shepherds in the field. “The message of salvation he brings is of wider extent.” Dr. Calvin assures his audience the blessing given by the angel is joy “common to all people, because it was indiscriminately offered to all.” He then goes on to explain, “God invites all indiscriminately to salvation through the Gospel, but the ingratitude of the world is the reason why this grace, which is equally offered to all, is enjoyed by few.”

It is unfortunate Dr. Calvin adds, “When the angel says that this joy shall be to all the people, he (Luke) speaks of the chosen people only.” Dr. Calvin is adding to the scriptural text. The offer of joy is “common” to all. He declares the Jews deprived themselves of the joy of knowing Christ because of “their unbelief.” Dr. Calvin also states that Gentiles are not grateful for the gift of saving grace and therefore God’s gift of grace will be “…enjoyed by few.” Dr. Calvin writes, “When the angel says that this joy shall be to all the people, he speaks of the chosen people only.”

Albert Barnes is a Presbyterian Pastor, Preacher, Author and Scholar. He is widely held in high regard. He prepared a commentary entitled “Albert Barnes Notes On The New Testament.” 3 His sermons have been published and many can be read online. In one sermon he spoke to the serious condition of the world. He says, “When I look on a world of sinners and sufferers-upon death-beds and graveyards – upon the world of woe filled with hosts to suffer for ever: when I see my friends, my family, my people, my fellow citizens when I look upon a whole race, all involved in this sin and danger-and when I see the great mass of them wholly unconcerned, and when I feel that God only can save them, and yet he does not do so, I am struck dumb. It is all dark, dark, dark to my soul, and I cannot disguise it.”

Dr. Barnes may have been conflicted and thoroughly sorrowful for what he believed was to be the fate of many people he loved. About these verses he tells us “the gospel will bring peace.” All of the chaos and confusion, strife and violence will be brought to end. “Jesus came to make peace.” Dr. Barnes tells us Christ accomplished His work. He brings peace “by reconciling the world to God by His atonement.” Second, Christ gives the mind of the sinner peace in the freedom and comfort of knowing his place in Christ is secure. Third, Christ brings peace “by diffusing the principles of universal peace among nations.” Christ causes mankind to see each other not as enemies, but as brothers. He leads us to see our neighbors in need and striving to help them. There is an absence of self. Lastly, Christ brings peace as “all nations will be brought under the influence of the gospel…and the world will be filled with peace.” Dr. Barnes is seemingly advocating universal reconciliation in this commentary.

Take only the plain meaning of the text, “I bring you good news of great joy which will be to all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Take nothing from these words and add nothing to them. Drs. Clarke, Calvin and Barnes are notable men. They are strong and eminently educated. Their knowledge is grand compared to my own and many others in the world. However, their interpretations and commentaries do not seem to be in agreement with the plain meaning of these scriptures.

Allow this reiteration of these verses. This is the testimony of the birth of Christ Jesus. Shepherds tending their flocks at night are overtaken by the glory and light of the Angel of the Lord. The shepherds, I think naturally so, are deeply frightened. The Angel of the Lord calms their fear and declares the Gospel to the lowly shepherds. The Gospel is “for all people.” The whole world, all of creation, is impacted by the Good News. “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” A Savior of the whole world is born. The Christ is born. His Name is Jesus which means “God Saves.” There are no distinctions in this Gospel between those who believe He is the Christ and those who do not. There are no distinctions in these verses about the Gospel between those who heard the Good News and those who have not. It is the will of God that none be lost that all are saved.

These verses build a sermon leading to hope for all who have ever been created or who will be created. The doctrine of universal reconciliation teaches we have a King. He is Christ. The most heinous man will be reconciled to Him Who created him. This is Impartial Grace.

1 Adam Clarke. “Adam Clarke Commentary (Luke 2).Study Light website. Publication date unknown. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/luke-2.html. Date accessed: 04/01/2018.

2 John Calvin. “Calvin’s Commentary on the Bible, Luke 2.” Study Light web site. Publication date unknown. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/luke-2.html. Date accessed: 04/01/2018.

3 Albert Barnes. “Albert Barnes Notes on the Whole Bible.Study Light website. Publication date unknown. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb.html. Date accessed: 04/01/2018.

Impartial Grace: Mark 16

He said to them, “Go into all the world, and preach the Good News to the whole creation.”

(Mark 16:15, emphasis added)

“Go into all the world.” Gather yourselves and prepare to carry the gospel “into all the world.” Jesus commands the gospel be presented “to the whole creation.” Jesus intends the “whole creation” hear His Gospel. There are many who have died and did not hear the Gospel while alive. Missionaries have worked diligently since the time of Paul’s journeys spreading the Gospel, yet not everyone in Jerusalem heard the gospel. There are remote places on the earth today that have not heard the Word of God or His Gospel. There are some alive today that will die and not hear the Gospel of Christ. Even so, Jesus intends the “whole creation” to hear the Gospel including those who died before hearing it.

“Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess Jesus Christ is Lord.” Everyone will know Jesus. Everyone will repent and acknowledge Him. The commandment to “…proclaim the Gospel to the whole creation…” is a Christian work in progress. God is love and He will reconcile all to Himself. This is Impartial Grace.

Impartial Grace: Mark 9

For everyone will be salted with fire, and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt.

(Mark 9:49, emphasis added)

These words from Christ Jesus. When He says everyone will be salted with fire He means to say “everyone will be salted with fire.” No one can escape this Holy Judgment. “Everyone will be salted with fire.” The good, the evil, everyone. The baptized, the heathens, the God fearing and the atheist; all will be salted with fire. To be salted is to be preserved. God is fire; an all-consuming fire. His is a fire of renewal. His is the fire that cuts away sin. His is the fire that circumcises the hearts of all men. His is the fire that burns away dross.

I rather think it an honor to be called so as to be salted by fire; Holy fire and preserved for a holy ministry. The doctrine of eternal conscious torment requires that only a few are “salted with fire.” That doctrine requires that most will suffer a different kind of fire; a punishing, tormenting fire. The fire that cleans and heals is a holy fire. The fire that burns away sin is a holy fire.

“Everyone will be salted with fire.” That is Good News. It is “The Blessed Hope.” This is Impartial Grace.

Impartial Grace: Matthew 18

What do you think? If a man has one hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine, go to the mountains, and seek that which has gone astray? If he finds it, most certainly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

(Matthew 18:12-14, emphasis added)

We find the same account of Christ’s words in Luke 15. The shepherd seeks the lost until he finds them. The shepherd puts the lost one on his shoulders and rejoices. The account in Luke states, “I have found my sheep which was lost.”

The Twelve Disciples were concerned about the status of people in the Kingdom. Their motivation was self serving. They ask Jesus, “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?” Our Lord draws a child close to Himself and speaks of the child’s place in the Kingdom. The child is innocent and has not yet been corrupted by the ways of the flesh. The child is loved unconditionally by the Father Who created him. Then Jesus speaks to the love of the Father and of the Shepherd. Jesus gives us insight to the measure of God’s love for His people. Jesus declares the Shepherd will leave 99 of His flock unprotected, but safe to seek out the one member of His flock which is lost.

In our Heavenly Father’s eyes His creation is loved. His love is not withheld from some, it is love for all. God’s perfect love is not overwhelmed by His wrath. In fact, His eternal and Divine love overwhelms all wrath. His wrath and His anger are satisfied when Christ was crucified for the sin of the world?

The Shepherd does not stop searching for the “lost one.” Mr. Sprenger points out in his editorial comments that Jesus does find the lost one as Scripture says. “When” the Shepherd finds the lost one He carries him home. The lost one is the subject of great rejoicing at the Shepherd’s home. “There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”

His mercy is fresh every day. He loves us and then we love Him. He created us in His image and He loves His creation. His love for His creation does not change because His creation hates its Creator. He loves the rebellious and His patience is immeasurable. “Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is the Christ to the glory of God the Father.” We are all His “little ones” and “…it is not His will that any of these little ones perish.” It is good to give glory to God Who gives life abundantly. We are all His sheep and He will lose none of His flock. This is “The Blessed Hope.” This is Impartial Grace.