LAWTON CHURCH OF GOD, LAWTON OKLAHOMA

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Lesson 1 All Men May Be Saved

 

Devotional Reading:   Psalm 98

 

Memory Verse:           1 John 2:2

 

And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

 

LESSON TEXT

 

Mark 16:15. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

 

John 3:16–17. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

 

Romans 5:18. Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

 

2 Corinthians 5:14–15. For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 15And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

 

1 Timothy 2:3–6. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 5For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

 

Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

 

COMMENTS ON THE LESSON TEXT

 

Mark 16:15. The gospel is for all the world—every creature, hence, not for a select few. V16. Salvation is conditional. The man who is saved must believe; the man who is lost is himself to blame.

John 3:16–17. The world and whosoever show the universal extent of salvation as provided by the love of god. Again salvation is made conditional.

Romans 5:18. Christ and Adam are compared. No one will deny the universlity of sin. The free gift of salvation is likewise for all men.

2 Corinthians 5:14–15. The universality of spiritual death is again compared with atonement of Christ. He died for all.

1 Timothy 2:3–6. It is God’s desire that all men be saved. Therefore it cannot be that he has chosen to save only a select few of that one soul shall be lost because of God’s decree. Again we are told Christ’s death was for all.

Hebrews 2:9. The purpose of Christ’s incarnation was to taste death for every man. These scriptures are so explicit that no possible room is left for a limited atonement.

 

LESSON TOPIC: ALL MEN MAY BE SAVED

 

The principle views of the extent of the atonement are 1) Universalism, which teaches that all men shall be saved; 2) Calvinism, or Predestination, which holds that God has chosen to save a select few; and, 3) Arminianism, or the doctrine that salvation is provided for all who will accept. We now discuss these views.

 

I. UNIVERSALISM

 

A) Universalism holds that all men may be saved, for Christ’s atonement includes the whole world. In this it is correct as the lesson texts will show. B) It also holds that salvation is unconditional, hence, the entire world shall be saved. The idea of unconditional salvation is also held by Calvinism under which head it will be discussed further. The lesson text offers evidence against this idea. C) The fact that some shall be finally and irrecoverably lost, suffering eternal punishment disproves universalism Le the student search proof texts of this fact.

 

II. CALVINISM

 

This doctrine is named after John Calvin who was its great advocate at the time of the Reformation. It is now held by several large Protestant sects.

 

1. The tenets of Calvinism.

 

A) God has predestined some to be saved and some to be lost. B) Christ died for the elect only. C) God has chosen who shall be saved, hence, man has no choice as to his own salvation or damnation. D) The grace of God is irresistible. Gad saves whom he will, and it is useless for man to resist his will. E) The ones whom God has called cannot be lost.

The tenets are consistent with each other. To holds one requires that we hold the rest. The lesson text refutes them, but further notice of some is required.

 

2. The doctrine of election.

 

A) Predestination is based on the doctrine of election. The Calvinist’s view is that God has foreordained certain ones to be saved regardless of the character or faith of the person. B) God’s sovereign right to save whom he will must be admitted. We need not suppose that this right is exercised after mere caprice but we should rather think of it in the light of universal love. He wills that all be saved. C) God has elected certain persons for certain purposes, for example, Jacob and Esau. Jacob rather Esau was foreordained of God to be the father of the holy nation and of Christ. But this does not make it that Jacob must be saved and Esau must be lost. The choice was not that Jacob should obtain eternal salvation but that he should be the father of a nation. Other examples may be found as Cyrus and Nebuchadnezzar. D) God has chosen the Jewish nation for a special purpose. This does not mean that every Jew is saved. Paul denies this. The choice of the Jews has been superseded by the acceptance of the body of Christian believers as God’s special people. E) God might have elected to save a certain class as Jews, the rich or the educated, or certain individuals regardless of the character or will of the person, but he did not. He has elected to save those that believe. F) God has elected to save certain individuals. Paul seems to count himself among the chosen vessels of the Lord. He sets forth the doctrine in his Epistle to the Romans. Romans 8:29–30 is a statement of the doctrine. This is highly prized by advocates of Calvinism. But the predestination of Paul is not that of Calvin. God’s election is not without regard to the character of the person, based on caprice but is according to God’s foreknowledge of what the person will choose and do. This is not inconsistent with perfect freedom in the individual. In this sense only has God elected individual to salvation. G) Election is not without regard to character. God chose Jacob rather than Esau because Jacob was better fitted for the place. So with other choices God has made. There is no hint in the Scriptures that God’s choices are not based on the fitness and will of the person.

 

3. Unconditional Salvation.

 

A) The Calvinistic idea makes salvation an act of God’s free grace bestowed unconditionally upon the recipient. Whatever the individual does in this regard is but the grace of God operating in him. B) Certain things connected with salvation do come unconditionally, but the acceptance of salvation is clearly taught to be on conditions. C) The power of choice, clearly taught and always inferred in the Scriptures, makes salvation conditional. “Whosoever will,” “whosoever believeth.” We are required to choose whether we will serve God or not. D) The bible states that conclusive proof that salvation is conditional. E) The unsaved are represented in the Bible as being responsible for their condition and conscious of that responsibility.

 

4. The preservation of saints.

 

A) This tenet, commonly called “once in grace, always in grace,” holds that those saved can never fall. B) The true Scripture teaching is that God’s grace is sufficient for those who remain in a state of grace. C) The possibility of apostasy is clearly established by the warnings against falling and examples of those who have fallen.

 

III. THE BIBLE POSITION

 

1. Christ died for all men.

 

This is clearly established by the lesson text.

 

2. Salvation is for all men.

 

In addition to the text, notice 1 Timothy 4:10. Here God is represented as the savior of all men but in a special sense of the believers. This is to be understood that all men have the privilege of salvation, while only believers actually receive the benefits of it.

 

3. God desires the salvation of all.

 

See Ezekiel 18:32; 33:11; 2 Peter 3:9. The blame for failure on man’ not being saved is placed on himself, not on God. See Matthew 23:27; John 5:40.

 

4. The gospel message is to all.

 

Hence all are invited to be saved. Romans 1:16.