Monday, January 7, 2008
Is God's Plan of Salvation Limited?
Many people have a very limited view of God's plan of salvation and when approached with questions, are unable to give an answer, or, unable to give a correct answer. This can be, first and foremost, attributed to lack of true Bible study. It can be caused by the bias of denominational beliefs, creeds, other individual interpretations, or from relying on other people to answer for them. But, what does the Bible have to say about the individual Christian being able to give an answer when questioned?
2 Timothy 2:15 says to:
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
They are told to "Study", or "be diligent", as some Bibles have it translated. Why? To be "approved unto God" and so as "not to be ashamed" when questions are asked. How and what are they told to study? By "rightly dividing the word of truth", which is the Bible.
Next, look at what the Apostle Peter says concerning questions and answers in 1 Peter 3:15.
"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:"
Within this short verse of Scripture, there are several thoughts that need to be mentioned. These are:
Be READY to give an Answer -- be prepared.
Be ready ALWAYS -- do not put off a Question.
Be ready always to give an answer -- evasion excites suspicion.
Give an answer to EVERY ONE that asks you.
A REASON is asked for -- not an assertion.
The answer should be a reason of THE HOPE [not the fear] that is in you.
The Question is to be answered [not in a passion, but] with MEEKNESS toward man, and FILIAL FEAR toward God. Below, is a list of 213 questions that will help to clarify God's plan of salvation as set forth in the Holy Bible, so that when questions are asked, correct answers can be given. To those holding a limited view of God's plan of salvation, they are truly Questions Without Answers, but, to those who rely on God's Word, the answers become apparent as His truth is revealed to them.
The questions were written by A. C. Thomas and appeared in a book by E. H. Lake, entitled "The Key to Truth".
Now the Questions:
1. As we are required to love our enemies, may we not safely infer that God loves His enemies? (Matt. 5:44)
2. If God loves His enemies, will He punish them more than will be for their good?
3. Would endless punishment be for the good of any being?
4. As God loves His friends, if He loves His enemies also, are not all mankind the objects of His love?
5. If God loves those only who love Him, what better is He than the sinner? (Luke 6:32-33)
6. As "love thinketh no evil," can God design the ultimate evil of a single soul? (1 Cor. 13:5)
7. As "love worketh no ill," can God inflict, or cause, or allow to be inflicted, an endless ill? (Rom. 13:10)
8. As we are forbidden to be overcome by evil, can we safely suppose that God will be overcome by evil? (Rom. 12:21)
9. Would not the infliction of endless punishment prove that God HAD been overcome by evil?
10. If man does wrong in returning evil for evil, would not God do wrong if He was to do the same?
11. Would not endless punishment be the return of evil for evil?
12. As we are commanded "to overcome evil with good," may we not safely infer that God will do the same? (Rom. 12:21)
13. Would the infliction of endless punishment be overcoming evil with good?
14. If God hates the sinner, does the sinner do wrong in hating Him?
15. Is God a changeable being? (James 1:17)
16. If God loves His enemies now, will he not always love them?
17. Is it just for God to be "kind to the evil and unthankful," in their present life? (Luke 6:35)
18.Would it be unjust for God to be kind to all men in a future state?
19. If all men justly deserve endless punishment, will not those who are saved, be saved unjustly?
20. If God "will by no means clear the guilty," by what means can just punishment be evaded? (Ex. 34:7)
21. As no man can measure endless punishment to his neighbor, will endless punishment be measured to him? (Luke 4:38)
22. Would it be merciful in God to inflict endless punishment? -- that is, merciful to the sufferer? 23. Can that be just which is not merciful?
24. Do not cruelty and injustice go hand in hand?
25. Can that be merciful which is not just?
26.Does divine justice demand the infliction of pain from which mercy recoils?
27. Does divine mercy require any thing that justice refuses to grant?
28. If the demands of divine justice are opposed to the requirements of mercy, is not God divided against Himself?
29. If the requirements of mercy are opposed to the demands of the justice of God, can His kingdom stand? -- (Mark 3:24)
30. If the justice and mercy of God are any way opposed, do they "keep the unity of the spirit in the bonds of peace?'
31. If justice and mercy are opposed to their requirements can Deity be a just God and a Savior? -- (Isaiah 14:21)
32.If "a God all mercy is a God unjust," would not a God all justice be a God unmerciful?
33. Is there any such thing in God as unjust mercy, or unmerciful justice?
34. Is there any such thing in God as just cruelty, or merciful injustice?
35. If you had sufficient power would you not deliver all men from sin?
36. Are you more merciful than the God Who made you?
37. 'Can a woman forget her sucking child?'
38. Is the Creator of human sympathy less benevolent than the creature?
39. If God WOULD save all men, but CANNOT, is He infinite in power?
40. If God CAN save all men, but WILL NOT, is He infinite in goodness?
41. Does God DESIRE the salvation of all men? (1 Tim. 2:3-4)
42. As God is righteous, must not the desire for universal salvation be a RIGHTEOUS desire?
43. Is it true, that "the desire of the righteous shall be granted?" -- (Prov. 10:24)
44. Did God design universal salvation when He created man?
45. Will God carry His original design into execution?
46. Can finite man frustrate the purposes of the Almighty?
47. Is every individual under obligation to be thankful for his existence?
48. Will this obligation eternally continue?
49. Can any one be thankful for that which, on the whole, is not a blessing?
50. If any one be rendered endlessly miserable, will he be still under obligation to thank God for existence?
51. Would endless misery benefit the Almighty, as the INFLICTOR?
52. Would endless misery benefit the saints, as SPECTATORS?
53. Would endless misery benefit the sinner, as the SUFFERER?
54. If endless punishment be the "wages of sin," could the sinner ever receive payment in full? (Rom. 6:23)
55. As man is a finite being, can he commit an infinite sin?
56. If man cannot commit an infinite sin, can he deserve endless punishment?
57. If one sin be infinite, can a million be any more?
58. If ONE sin be NOT infinite, can a million of sins amount to an infinite sin?
59. If sin be infinite, can one sin be greater than the other?
60. If sin be infinite, can it be true that, "where sin abounded grace did MUCH MORE abound?" --(Rom. 5:20)
61. If sin be infinite, can it ever be finished or brought to an end?
62. If ONE sin deserves an eternity of punishment, how much punishment will TEN sins deserve?
63. Do you ardently DESIRE the salvation of all men?
64. Is it true that God "openeth his hand and satisfieth the desire of every living thing?" -- (Ps. 145:16)
65. Do you fervently PRAY for the salvation of all men? (1 Tim. 2:1)
66. Do you pray in FAITH, nothing doubting? (James 1:6)
67. Are you aware, "that whatsoever is not of faith is sin?" -- (Rom 14:23)
68. Would God require us to pray for all men, and to pray in faith, unless He intends all men should be saved?
69. If you believe endless misery to be the truth of God, why should you desire and pray that it may prove false?
70. Can the pleasure of the Almighty be contrary to his determinate will?
71. Would the infliction of endless misery afford pleasure to the Deity?
72. Can God be glorified by that which gives Him no pleasure?
73. As Jesus "tasted death for every man," can it be true that "the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hands," if a part are never saved? (Heb. 2:9)
74. If God "declares the end from the beginning," can the final destiny of mankind be contrary to His will?
75. Can endless misery be brought about contrary to the GOOD PLEASURE of the Almighty?
76. Can God WILL anything contrary to His knowledge?
77. Did God know when He created man, that a part of His creatures would be endlessly miserable?
78. If God, when He created, did not know the result of creation, is He infinite in knowledge?
79. Power is the ability to do: is knowledge simply the ability to know?
80. If God knew when He created man, that some would be eternally wretched, did He not will this to be their doom?
81. If God willed the endless misery of a part of His creatures, why is it said that "he will have all men to be saved?" -- (1 Tim. 2:4)
82. If the Scriptures should testify, that God "will have all men to be damned," could we safely infer that a part might be saved?
83. If the Scriptures testify, that God "will have all men to be saved," can we safely infer that a part may be damned?
84. If God made an endless hell before He created man, did He know there would be any use for it?
85. If God knew there would be use for an endless hell, must He not have created some men for endless misery?
86. If God made an endless hell, was it included in the works which He pronounced "very good?" -- (Gen. 1:31)
87. If there be an endless hell, and it was not made before the creation of men, when was it made?
88. If there be a personal devil, who made him?
89. Can there be any such thing as sin in heaven?
90. If there was sin in heaven, many not sin be committed there again?
91. If an angel of light became a devil, was not Paul in error, when he said Satan is transformed into an angel of light? -- (2 Cor 11:14)
92. As sin presupposes temptation of some sort, who tempted a holy angel to sin?
93. If an angel could sin without a devil to tempt him, may we not sin without a devil to tempt us?
94. If a holy angel was tempted to sin by surrounding evil, is heaven a holy place?
95. If an angel was tempted by evil passions, could he have been holy?
96. If an angel became a devil by sinning, was Adam's the original sin?
97. If Adam became mortal (that is, subject to death,) by sinning, must he not have been created immortal?
98. If Adam had been created immortal, could he ever have died?
99. If Adam sinned without inheriting total depravity, why should inborn depravity be assigned as the cause of our sins?
100.Would there be any more impropriety in imputing MY sins to Adam, than in imputing HIS sins to ME?
101. If men are totally depraved by nature, must not children be so likewise?
102. If children be totally depraved, is it true, that "of such is the kingdom of heaven?" -- (Mark 10:14)
103. Men are to be washed from their sins. If they are totally depraved, what is there to wash?
104. If evil men and seducers "wax worse and worse," (2 Tim. 3:13), can they be totally depraved at first?
105. If human reason be "carnal and delusive," why did Jehovah say, "come now and let us REASON together?" -- (Isa. 1:18)
106. If reason be delusive, why should some folks reason against the use of reason?
107. Can an effect exist without a cause sufficiently powerful to produce it?
108. If "we love God because he first loved us," is it true that we must first love HIM before He will love us?
109. If "we love God because he first loved us," is it not plain that He loved US when we did not love HIM?
110. If God loved US when we did not love HIM, is not our love to Him the EFFECT (and not the CAUSE) of His love to US?
111. Was it consistent with divine justice, to love us, when we did not love Him?
112. If God once loved us, will not that love eternally continue?
113. If the love of God is the cause which produces love in man, can anger and wrath produce the same effect?
114. Is it the revealed will of God that all men should be saved?
115. Can God will all men to be saved, knowing that a part will be forever lost?
116. If God has two wills, why is double-mindedness condemned in the Scriptures?
117. If God has two wills, why does the Bible say, "He is of one mind?"
118. If God has a secret will, how did you gain a knowledge of it?
119. Can that be a secret which has been revealed?
120. If God revealed His secret will to "the saints," why should they reveal it to "the wicked?"
121. If God under any circumstances, wills the endless misery of a human soul, in what does He differ from Satan?
122. Can Jesus Christ be the Savior of any more than He actually saves?
123. Can Jesus be "the Savior of the world," (1 John 4:14), if the world is not saved by him?
124. Is Christ, in any sense, the Savior of unbelievers?
125. If Christ be in no sense the Savior of unbelievers, why are unbelievers called upon to believe in Christ as their Savior?
126. If unbelievers are not called upon to believe in Christ as their Savior, what are they to believe?
127. Must not the thing to be believed, be true before it is believed?
128. Must not the thing to be believed continue to be true, whether it be believed or disbelieved?
129. "What if some did not believe? Shall their unbelief make the faith, [or faithfulness] of God of none effect?" -- (Rom. 3:3)
130. Is it true that "God hath concluded all in unbelief that he might have mercy on all?" -- (Rom 9:32)
131. Can God be "especially the Savior of them who believe," unless He be actually the Savior of all? -- (1 Tim. 4:10)
132. If belief and good works in this life, be essential to eternal salvation in the next, can infants be saved?
133. Can the good actions of finite man merit an infinite reward?
134. Can the evil actions of finite man merit infinite punishment?
135. If men are saved by works, is salvation of grace?
136. If one man is saved by grace, why should not all be saved in like manner?
137. Is God a partial being?
138. Can the faith of the Partialists be based in the wisdom that is "full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality?" -- (James 3:17)
139. Can sufficient provision be made for the salvation of all men, if some men are never saved?
140. Must not sufficient provision be sufficient to subdue the will of the creature?
141. Is there any other way to determine the sufficiency of the means employed, than by the accomplishment of the end designed?
142. Does not the law of God require all men to love him supremely, and their neighbors as themselves?
143. Is it true, that "not one jot or tittle of this law shall pass till all be fulfilled?" -- (Matt. 5:18)
144. Does not justice require of us the fulfilment of the law of God?
145. Will not justice be eternally violated, if the law of God be not universally fulfilled?
146. Can they fulfil the law of love who are rendered eternally miserable?
147. Can justice require the obedience of the sinner, and at the same time require his eternal disobedience?
148. If whoso "offereth praise glorifieth God," (Ps. 1:23), can He be glorified by those who have no cause to praise Him?
149. If any one be rendered eternally miserable, can he have any cause to praise His Maker?
Will God ever place some of his creatures in such a situation they cannot praise him?
150. Do you believe that endless punishment would manifest the glory of God?
151. Can you rejoice in the hope of the glory of God?
152. Would not the salvation of half of mankind glorify God more than the salvation of one-fourth?
153. Would not the salvation of nine-tenths of mankind glorify God more than the salvation of one-half?
154. Can we give "glory to God in the highest," without believing in the salvation of all men?
155. If "all have sinned, and (thus) come short of the glory of God," (Rom. 3:23), would eternal sinning mend the matter?
156. Shall "every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father?" -- (Philippians 2:11)
157. Is endless misery "good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people?"
158. Could man be endlessly miserable without being endlessly a sinner?
159. If sin exist eternally, can it be true that Christ was to finish the transgression, and to make and end of sin? -- (Dan. 9:34)
160. As Jesus gave himself a ransom for all men, can he ever "see the travail of his soul and be satisfied," if endless misery be true?
161. Do you hope that endless misery is true?
162. Is "faith the substance (or foundation) of things hoped for?" -- (Heb. 11:1)
163. If endless misery be not a thing hoped for, can it be a part of the Christian faith?
164. Is it certain that one soul will be eternally lost?
165. Is it certain that one soul will be saved?
166. Is it certain that all will not be damned?
167. Is it certain that all will not be saved?
168. Can that be certain which is not decreed?
169. If it be certain that one soul will be saved, must there not be a decree concerning the salvation of a definite number?
170. If the number of the saved be definitely fixed, must not the number of the damned be equally definite?
171. If there be no certainty in relation to the final destiny of man, is not salvation a work of chance?
172. What better is chance than Atheism?
173. If God knew, when he created, what the end of each soul would be, is not that end as certain as if it was decreed?
174. Is not the merciful man always merciful to his beast?
175. Will not the merciful God be always as merciful to His creatures, as the merciful man is to his beast?
176. Is it true that the "tender mercies of the Lord are over all his works?" -- (Ps. 145:9)
177. Is it true that the Almighty is without variableness, or the shadow of turning?
178. Would there be any tender mercy in the infliction of endless misery?
179. Are the tender mercies of the Lord like unto the tender mercies of the wicked which are cruel?
180. If God is not the Father of sinners, why should sinners pray, saying, "Our Father, forgive us our trespasses?"
181. "Have we not all one Father? Hath not one God created us?" -- (Mal. 2:10)
182. If God be the Father of all men, will He do less for His children than earthly parents would do for theirs?
183. Is it true that God punishes us "for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness?" -- (Heb. 12:11)
184. Would endless punishment be for our profit?
185. Would endless punishment "yield the peaceable fruits of righteousness unto them who are exercised thereby?"
186. Is there an afterward to eternity? -- (Heb. 7:14)
187. Can any doctrine be too good to be true?
188. Will God contend forever and be always wroth? -- (Isa. 62:16)
189. Will the Lord cast off forever? -- (Lam. 3:31-33)
190. Can he be a Christian who worships the Lord through fear of the devil?
191. Can he be a Christian who affirms that if he believed in the salvation of all men, he would not worship God?
192. Can he be a Christian who inquires, "if all men are to be saved, what use is there in being virtuous?"
193. Some persons say, that if they did not believe in endless punishment, they would take their fill of sin.
[193b] How much sin would it take to fill a Christian?
194. If "the goodness of God leadeth to repentance," why should His eternal wrath be preached to sinners?
195. If "the goodness of God leadeth to repentance," why should it not be supposed that repentance leadeth to the goodness of God?
196. If "the goodness of God leadeth to repentance," are not the impenitent the objects of His goodness?
197. Is not the goodness of God co-extensive and co-eternal with His wisdom and power?
198. As the wisdom of God can never change to folly, nor His power to weakness, will His goodness ever change to hatred?
199. Can Deity be universally and eternally good, if endless misery be true for a single soul?
200.If all men deserve endless punishment, would it not be right for God to inflict it?
201. "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?"
202. If it would be right for God to punish all men eternally, would it not be wrong for Him hot to do it?
203. As the infliction of endless misery would be returning evil for evil, would it be right for Deity to inflict it?
204. If the return of evil for evil be right in Deity, would it not be equally right in man?
205. As "fear hath torment," and true religion is happiness, can fear produce true religion?
206. As "perfect love casteth out fear," will not fear cast out perfect love?
207. Can fear imbue the soul with perfect love?
208. Must not they who "believe and tremble," be possessed of the faith of devils?
209. Does the belief of endless misery cause the believer to "rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory?" -- (1 Pet. 1:8)
210. Can a belief of any thing short of universal salvation, fill the soul with "joy and peace?"
211. Will not the devil and all his works be destroyed? -- (Heb. 2:14; 1 John 3:8)
212. Will not death, the last enemy, be swallowed up in victory and destroyed? -- (Isa. 25:6-8; 1 Cor. 15:26-54)