When does all not mean all? When does whoever not mean whoever? When does world mean part of the world?
Do you take the Bible for what it says? BELIEVE on pages 121 through 123 shows that “Jesus’ offer of forgiveness and restoration to God for eternity is for everyone.” Yet some do not believe that all means all, whoever means whoever means whoever and world means the world.
All will not believe, but the Bible does say that all might believe, meaning they could believe. Many have questioned how could God create people that He foreknew would not believe. What about those enemies of Israel whom God commanded Israel to kill, including the babies?
Last week, we read in Gen. 15:16 that Abraham was told that “in the fourth generation (Israel) shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.” God was patient with the Amorites, even sending His chosen people to Egypt for 400 years until the sin of the Amorites was complete. By the time Israel returned to the Promised Land, the residents there were completely evil.
God created hell for the “devil and his angels,” obviously the fallen angels (see Matt. 25:41). And yet, the nations will be separated to inherit the kingdom prepare for you from the foundation of the world (Matt. 25:35), and others will be cast into the everlasting fire prepared for the Satan and his demons. Ephesians 1:4 says we were chosen by God before the foundation of the world. Hebrews 4:3 says that only those who believe enter into the rest and that the works were already finished before the foundation of the world.
God knows from the beginning who would and would not be written in the Book of Life (Rev. 13:8, 17:8). Furthermore, God knows from the beginning not only what would happen but what could happen. A righteous God can render a righteous verdict and sentence on the guilty and still love the convicted, just as a truly righteous judge in the criminal system would have to do, even if the convicted person was his own flesh and blood.
Finally, what righteous and loving father would NOT defend his child from an enemy, even if that enemy was someone whom he loved, such as a family friend or relative? How much more would God command Saul in 1 Sam. 15:3 to kill all those who according to God’s perfect foreknowledge most certainly would and actually did afflict and attack His own children, the nation of Israel. We do not have the right to commit genocide, and God has not sanctioned that same act for today. But we also do not have the right to reject God from being God and from doing what was perfectly righteous at that time.
Does God love all people? Indeed He does, and He has prepared a kingdom for those who believe in Christ.
What if they do not believe? If you have ever read the story of the rich man in hell and Lazarus in the bosom of Abraham, notice two things. Even though the rich man was in hell, he did not want to be in paradise, but only that his tongue be cooled in his torment (Luke 16:24). And the rich man’s brothers had enough in Abraham and the Prophets to believe.
We are empowered enough to tell people God’s good news of salvation. With God’s Word and the power of the Holy Spirit and the commissioning of Christ’s commands for us to go and proclaim, we have all that we need let all in the world know that whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved!