Back in the day when I was licensed and ordained as a Southern Baptist Minister of the Gospel, one of the main doctrines I was taught to embrace was “Once Saved Always Saved” which is short-hand for “You cannot lose your salvation once you’ve accepted Christ as Lord and Savior.”
But fast-forward a few decades and that doctrine has been replaced by what I might call “All Saved Always Saved” which is what the earliest Christians believed and taught as “Patristic Universalism,” also known as the idea that Christ has saved everyone and the entire human race is forgiven, accepted and reconciled to God forever.
So, instead of believing that people need to move from a state of being lost to a new state of being saved and that only a handful of people will be redeemed while the rest burn in hell forever, the early Christians believed that Christ redeemed everyone and declared all of humanity to be saved.
Where do we get these ideas from? From the Gospels and the New Testament writings of Paul, mainly:
“The Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.” (1 John 4:14)
“Jesus is “the Christ, the Savior of the world.” (John 4:42)
“Jesus “is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” (1 John 2:2)
“Jesus “did not come to judge the world but to save the world.” (John 12:47)
“Jesus, was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.” (Heb.2:9) “
This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, Who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. These things command and teach.” (1 Tim. 4:9-11)
“At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should gladly confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil. 2:10:11)
“God was pleased to have all fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things on earth or in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation.” (Col. 1:19, 21, 22)
[In Jesus Christ is] “the restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.” (Acts 3:21)
[The Gospel is] “good tidings of great joy will be to all people.” (Luke 2:10)
“And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw (literally “drag” in the Greek, helkuo) all mankind unto Myself.” (John 12:32)
“Just as the result of one trespass was condemnation of all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.” (Rom. 5:18)
“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering towards us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
“God was Christ reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” (2 Cor. 5:19, 20)
“Since by man came death, by man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all died, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.” (1 Cor. 15:22)
NOTE: These are only a few of the verses we could reference along these lines. My book Jesus Undefeated: Condemning the False Doctrine of Eternal Torment includes an Appendix with 76 verses]
So, I no longer believe in the doctrine expressed as “Once Saved Always Saved” but now fully embrace the Biblical doctrine of “All Saved Always Saved” which has set me free to see myself and everyone else as beloved children who are made in the image of a God who is Love and who are themselves beloved of God and forever reconciled, forgiven and accepted.
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** Keith Giles and his wife, Wendy, work with Peace Catalyst International to help build relationships between Christians and Muslims in El Paso, TX. Keith was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church over a decade ago to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community. Today he is the author of the best-selling “Jesus Un” series of books, including “Jesus Unexpected: Ending The End Times To Become The Second Coming” which is available now on Amazon.