I read Rob Bell’s book, Love Wins, a few months ago. Then I read it again about a month later. And now I’m reading parts of it again. I think the main question Rob raises in this book for me is,
“Will all people be saved, or will God not get what God wants?”
Paul writes in 1Timothy,
“First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be made for everyone, for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1Timothy 2:1-4)
The bible clearly states, as Rob also states in his book, that God is able to accomplish His will. I personally believe that the God that I believe can even accomplish his will in spite of the fact that He will not violate a man or woman’s will. And personally, I wouldn’t mind if God violates my “free will.” I wouldn’t want to miss out because God was willing to let me have my own way.
Let me say right here that Rob Bell does not conclude in the book, that all will be saved. He simply says, “Love Wins.” I do not believe he is a universalist. I don’t know if I am one either.
There are places in the bible also that seem to indicate that some will not be saved. Such as revelation 14 in which an angel declares,
“If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he will also drink the wine of God’s wrath, which is mixed full strength in the cup of His anger. He will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the sight of the holy angels and in the sight of the Lamb,…” (Revelation 14:9-10)
And there are those who reject the love and mercy that the Lord offers in His Son, Jesus. I could not begin to pretend to understand this.
I personally want to believe that God is able to reach everyone. I just don’t know how in my limited understanding.
Rob also tells the story of a 17-year-old kid, who claims to be an atheist, who also happens to die in a car accident. The question Rob ask is, will God punish, for billions of years, a kid who only lived a finite 17-year life? What does a 17-year-old kid know? And if this is true, what kind of God do we serve? Is this the loving act of a loving God?
Frankly, I was caught off guard by the questions. At the same time, it gave me hope because I have many cousins, uncles, and other ancestors who have died without ever making a commitment to the Lord per se. Some of them have lived, and are living some pretty wild lives.
Is God, the Lord, more merciful than we Christians know? Do we not really understand the scriptures we claim to live by? Just a note to anyone who might read this, I believe He might be. I hope that he is. I know that there is great controversy over the subject of, “will everyone be saved?” It is these kinds of sharp disagreements that have divided the church into so many denominations.
And to the Lord I just want to say, I want to know you. The Bible indicates that as a believer the Spirit of the Lord lives in me, that I have been made one Spirit with Him, that the life I have in this body is Christ himself. Being one in Spirit indicates an extremely intimate relationship. Since we are that close, I want to know you. You are the only one who knows the answers to all of these questions.
We are so busy going about church business, trying to figure out if we should give the pastor a raise or not, or just fire him. We are busy doing Sunday school, bible studies, and all the other church stuff. How many of us are actually getting to know the Lord? The scriptures say He now lives in within us. Do you know him? This should be every Christian’s desire. It is certainly my desire of late.