You Shall Surely NOT Die.........seriously?
Many in the modern church have finally (they think) come up with a doctrine on sin and salvation that everybody can live with, literally. Carlton Pearson, who has become one of the key spokesmen for the “universalist” position is at least not afraid to say it right out loud. In his article “Jesus; the Saviour of the World” makes the following claims:
1. The death of Jesus Christ on the cross and His resurrection paid the price for all of humanity to have eternal life in heaven, without any requirement to repent of sins and receive salvation.
2. Belief in Jesus Christ is not necessary for a person to go to heaven. Salvation is unconditional, granted by the grace of God to every human being.
3. It is presumed that all of humanity will have its destination in heaven, whether they realize it or not.
4. All of humanity will go to heaven regardless of their religious affiliation, including those who believe in false religions or adopt any other form of religious persuasion, or who have no religious persuasion.
5. Only those who have ‘tasted the fruits’ of real intimacy with Christ and have ‘intentionally and conspicuously rejected’ the grace of God will spend eternity separated from God.
These are the kinds of things that Pearson, Rob Bell, Tony Jones and the like are propagating upon the church. The fact that these positions stand in direct opposition to the Word of God does not seem to be a problem for them, since the gospel (according to Tony Jones) is changing, it is evolving. He is even recorded as saying, “The Bible is a “f…king scary book.”
I have a number of friends who embrace what I would call the “hyper-grace” movement and I don’t believe, no I am sure that many of them do not embrace this kind of heresy. However, if we are not careful in how grace is presented, the pendulum of doctrine can swing to this type of extreme very easily. I remind everyone that in the Garden of Eden, Satan’s response to God’s severe warning regarding eating from the forbidden fruit was simply, “You shall surely NOT die.” This is the same lie that is being woven into church doctrine in this generation – you shall not die.
According to the belief’s outlined by most universalist teachers some pretty important Biblical truths are no longer important for salvation:
1. Godly Sorrow – “Now I rejoice not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted, but the sorrow of the world produces death. For observe this thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner. (2 Corinthians 7:9)
2. Confession of Sin – Blessed is the man whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom jehovah does not charge iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. I confessed my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, I will confess my transgression to Jehovah; and You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah. (Psalm 32:1, 2, 5)
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
3. Hatred of Sin – Then you will remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good; and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight, for your iniquities and your abominations. (Ezekiel 26:31)
4. Forsaking of and turning away from sin – He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy. (Proverbs 28:13)
The Bible clearly teaches us that the fundamental, most basic principle of the gospel message is the message of repentance from sin. John the Baptist message was “repentance”;(Matthew 3:1-8) The first message of Jesus was to repent (Matthew 4:17). The apostles preached repentance (Matthew 6:7-13). The message on the Day of Pentecost after the Holy Spirit came and baptized them in power was to repent (Acts 2:38) – the Apostle Paul’s first recorded message was a plea to repent (Acts 20:20-21). The message of repentance is resplendent throughout the New Testament and yet the message today is that the gospel has changed and even if unbeknownst to them, all men are saved.
Acts 17:30 says, “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the righteousness by the man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” All men are called to repent. Not all men will heed the call and respond to God’s offer of grace, but all are called.
The Bible clearly calls for repentance. The men of Jerusalem in Acts 2 cried out to Peter on the Day of Pentecost: “Men and brethren, what shall we do? And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit………save yourselves from this wicked generation.” (Acts 2:37-38, 40). But the universalists of our day respond, “You shall surely NOT die.” They call the Most High God a liar in the ultimate act of blasphemy and many will follow them into judgment.