Salutations. I’m reading through most of the New Testament, chapter by chapter, and logging some of my thoughts here in my journal. I continue this study, looking at the message of Salvation and John the Baptist’s Testamony.
I have a few friends who are universalists, believing that one way or another, all will eventually reach heaven. I know of a number of verses that cause my viewpoint to differ from theirs. Verse 40 says, For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” Note that it says that those who look and believe in the Son.
Jesus teaching about needed to eat ‘the bread of life’ was hard for them, as their disbelief seemed to have them take a more literal interpretation of a spiritual truth. Many of his disciples left because of it. You see that today when you sit down with “Christians” and you talk about some of the ‘harder truths’ of following God, such as repentance of sin, or counting the cost of the cross. There are a couple of verses in here that seem to support the Calvanist doctrine of unconditional election… the idea that God elects some in accordance with His will. He (Jesus) went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.” I’m not sure it really supports the Calvanist’s world view par se, but it IS clear that one cannot come to God unless He has enabled them to do so.
I believe the way Jesus spoke, and allowed the truth to ‘separate the wheat from the chaff,’ is important today. In today’s world, our ‘churches’ are mixed with believers and non-believers. We preach weaker messages with broader appeal, and we don’t disciples one on one. Most importantly, we don’t teach people the importance of counting the cost before signing up. (see Matthew 10:38 “Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” ) Jesus did not water down his message in any way. He told it straight, and allowed those who could not accept it to fall away. With those who stayed behind (including the 12), he spent the rest of His time discipline and training them. There’s a lesson to be learned, there.