Thursday, March 07, 2013

All Will Be Saved

Thursday, March 7, 2013 -- Week of Lent 3 (Year One)
Perpetua and her Companions, Martyrs at Carthage, 202

[Go to for an online version of the Daily Office including today's scripture readings.]

Today's Readings for the Daily Office

     (Book of Common Prayer, p. 954)
Psalms        [83] or 42, 43 (morning)     //       85, 86 (evening)
Jeremiah 10:11-24
Romans 5:12-21
John 8:21-32

It is abundantly obvious from today's reading that St. Paul believed in the universal triumph of God through Christ.  All will be saved.  God intends not to lose anything that God has made.  Salvation will be complete.

The analogy he uses comes from Adam.  Human death is the consequence of Adam's sin.  It is a universal death sentence.  Every human being dies.  Even before the Law was established to define blame -- even through the sin of humanity from Adam to Moses "wasn't taken into account" because they had no definition of sin through the gift of the law -- nevertheless they all died too.  Adam sinned; all die.

"If many people died through what one person did wrong, God's grace is multiplied even more for many people with the gift -- of the one person Jesus Christ -- that comes from grace."  (Romans 5:15b)  Christ's act of faithfulness is so much more significant and universal that it makes Adam's mere failure pale by comparison.  "So not the righteous requirements necessary for life are met for everyone through the righteous act of one person, just as judgment fell on everyone through the failure of one person."  (5:18)

Adam sinned, bringing a universal sentence of death to the whole human race.  The Law came and magnified our sense sin by making us fully conscious of our failure.  But now, life reigns because of Christ.  "The result is that grace will rule through God's righteousness, leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord, just as sin ruled in death."  (5:21)

Life, salvation, justification, grace, resurrection, eternal life -- all of it is given to everyone.  Just as certainly as the sin of Adam condemned all humanity to physical death, so the faithfulness of Jesus grants to all humanity eternal life -- here and now in our earthly existence, as grace, forgiveness, love, and spirit; but also forever as resurrection and eternal life.  For all.  

Paul's teaching, his theology is a doctrine of universal salvation.  The wise will start living "in Christ" now, and enjoy the gifts that are ours immediately.  The foolish merely postpone what is humanity's universal gift.  It's all because of Christ.  His obedience and faithfulness frees all.  Forever.

P.S.  The Baptists are wrong.  Thanks be to God!

Audio podcast:  Listen to an audio podcast of the most recent Morning Reflections from today and the past week.  Go to:

About Morning Reflections
"Morning Reflections" is a brief thought about the scripture readings from the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer according to the practice found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.

Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117
An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at

Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site at this location

The Mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church
is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.

See our Web site at

Our Rule of Life: 
We aspire to...
    worship weekly
    pray daily
    learn constantly
    serve joyfully 
    live generously.

Lowell Grisham, Rector
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, Arkansas



At 12:25 PM, Anonymous Barry Chitwood said...

Lowell, I agree with you but I am always troubled by Biblical references to hell. Can you shed any light on this?

At 4:40 PM, Blogger The Underground Pewster said...

The universalist Paul you create must suffer from a split theology.

"If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha."

1 Corinthians 16:22 (KJV)

At 9:57 PM, Blogger Lowell said...

Ah, U.P.,

Good to hear back from you, Doc, even if it is to throw out a curse.

Same book, chapter 5 gives us a picture of the kind of situation that Paul has in mind. He writes of one of those accursed. "You are to hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord." Anathema -- let the body be cursed. Maranatha -- come Lord Jesus for the salvation of all.

Paul speaks of judgement like a purging fire, which tests the quality of each person's work. "If it is burnt up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flame." (1 Cor. 2:15) The escape is to eternal life.

"The creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God." Rom 8:21

"As in Adam, all die, so in Christ all will be made alive." (1 Cor. 15:22)

All means all. God's victory will be total.

Or do you have a category for those who will be damned forever. Pray tell, who would they be? Who will God condemn forever? If you wish to curse, who are the cursed?



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