<<Thanks for your reply. Where does John 3:16 fit into your belief?>>
First of all, I don't get Scripture to "fit into" my belief. My belief is formed by Scripture.
Secondly, I assume that your question has to do with the word "world" that God is said to love.
In John 3:16, Jesus was talking to Nicodemus, a self-righteous Pharisee who believed that God's love was confined to the Jews only. Jesus told him this astounding thing -- that God's love was not confined just to the Jews, but was also manifested toward the Gentiles. God so loved the world -- both Jews and Gentiles -- that He gave His only begotten son. The Jews knew exactly what this meant. The Jews knew that Jesus was not talking about every individual without exception. When the Jews talked about the "world" in contrast with "us," they meant "Jews and Gentiles." John again talks about this in 1 John 2:2. He says that Jesus is not the propitiation for the Jews only, but the whole world, including the Gentiles. This is the mystery about which Paul speaks in Ephesians 3: "that by that by revelation He made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief, by the reading of which you are able to realize my understanding in the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations, as now it was revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit, for the nations to be joint-heirs, and a joint-body and joint-sharers of His promise in Christ through the gospel" (Ephesians 3:3-6; also see Colossians 1:25-27). The mystery that was hidden from ages and generations that is now revealed is that Jesus saves the world -- both Jews and Gentiles.
To show you that "world" does not mean "every human being without exception," I'll give you some verses:
Joh 12:19 Then the Pharisees said to themselves, Observe that you gain nothing. Behold, the world has gone after Him.
Joh 15:19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. But because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.
1Co 11:32 But being judged, we are corrected by the Lord, that we not be condemned with the world.
1Jo 2:15 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him,
1Jo 3:1 See what manner of love the Father has given us, that we may be called children of God. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
1Jo 3:13 Do not marvel, my brothers, if the world hates you.
1Jo 4:5 They are of the world; because of this they speak of the world, and the world hears them.
1Jo 5:19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in the evil.
Obviously, "world" does not mean "every human being without exception" in any of these passages.
I have written some other things on the Scriptures that universal love advocates use to try to prove their position. I'll paste a few of them here.
2Pe 3:9 The Lord of the promise is not slow, as some deem slowness, but is long-suffering toward us, not having purposed any to
perish, but all to come to repentance.
The Lord "is longsuffering toward US." Who is the US? Is it every single human being without exception? Look at who the epistle is written to: "to those equally precious with us, having obtained faith in [the] righteousness of our God and our Savior, Jesus Christ" (2 Pet. 1:1). So when Peter says that the Lord is not willing that ANY should perish, he is talking about ANY of US.
Now if ANY meant everyone without exception, then this passage is saying that God is postponing judgment day because he wants everyone without exception to be saved. And since everyone without exception will not be saved, judgment day will be postponed indefinitely. Also, those who say that God is not willing that any without exception should perish believe in an eternally disappointed god who cannot carry out that which he wishes. The true and living God is one who does all that He pleases (Psalm 115:3).
1Ti 2:3 For this is good and acceptable before God our Savior,
1Ti 2:4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to a full knowledge of truth.
1Ti 2:5 For God is one, also there is one Mediator of God and of men, the Man Christ Jesus,
1Ti 2:6 the One having given Himself a ransom on behalf of all, the testimony to be given in its own time,
1 Timothy 2:1 uses the term "all men," and verse 2 explains who the "all men" are. They are all KINDS of men. They are not all men without exception; they are all men without distinction. Those who use this to try to prove Arminianism must believe in a god who cannot fulfill what he desires, since he desires that all men be saved, but he cannot actually do that which he desires. And if Christ gave Himself a ransom for everyone without exception, then everyone without exception would be ransomed! If Christ paid the ransom price for a possession so as to rescue or deliver that possession, then could it ever be that this possession would be lost? Not if the true Christ paid the ransom price. The false christ of universal atonement gives himself a ransom for everyone without exception, yet some for whom the ransom price was paid end up in hell. Of what value was the ransom price? It was of no value in the realm of the false christ.
Tit 2:11 For the saving grace of God has appeared to all men,
Again, it means all kinds of men.
1Jo 2:2 And He Himself is the propitiation relating to our sins, and not relating to ours only, but also relating to all the world.
As I mentioned above, "all the world" means both Jews and Gentiles. If Christ is the propitiation for the sins of everyone without exception, then God's wrath against everyone without exception would be appeased! To propitiate means to appease, to pacify, to assuage. If Christ propitiated, then could it ever be that those for whom He propitiated would be lost? Not if the true Christ propitiated. The false christ of universal atonement is the propitiation for everyone without exception, yet some for whom this christ propitiated end up in hell. What kind of propitiation is that? It is a false propitiation.
Joh 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all to Myself.
If "all" here means "everyone without exception," then why is everyone without exception not saved? It is because, in this scheme, the will of the sinner overrides the will of God. This raises the sinner to the place of God, which is utter blasphemy. The word for "draw" here (and in John 6:44) actually means "drag by force" (see John 21:11, Acts 16:19, Acts 21:30, James 2:6). Again, "all" means "all without distinction."
If you'd like to read an article on God's love, I encourage you to read "Christ Crucified: God's Love Manifested" at www.outsidethecamp.org/christcruc.htm .
By the way, there are now a bunch of sermon manuscripts online at www.outsidethecamp.org/sermons.htm that people might want to check out. I pray that they will be used for God's glory.
I hope this has been helpful.
Marc D. Carpenter
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