The Salvation of All - Part 3
1 Corinthians 15:22-26 (NKJV)
22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming. 24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.
The Strong’s Concordance defines our word “all” in verse 22 as, “All, any, every, the whole.” Should we doubt that “all” means “all,” then consider that this word is translated as “all” 748 times in the King James New Testament, “all things” 170 times, “every” 117 times, “all men” 41 times, and “everyone” 28 times.
So what did Paul say? “For as in Adam ALL die, EVEN SO in Christ, ALL SHALL BE MADE ALIVE.” Can we really argue with this because our finite minds cannot grasp how it might be accomplished? Why would we limit the Father and Son as though they do not have the power to do what Paul has stated? My friend, it is nothing but arrogance for us to think that we have it all figured out, for when it comes to God’s wisdom, we’re speaking of the Spirit and Mind of the CREATOR OF ALL THINGS, both visible and invisible! I don’t know about you, but I feel woefully ignorant whenever I take time to consider HOW MUCH I DON’T KNOW about this world in which I live, let alone the spiritual realities that exist outside this physical realm!
As Paul made clear, there is an “order” in which all that God has determined will take place. “Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. THEN COMES THE END, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father.” The end of the world? No, my friend, the end of the age.
“When He puts an END to ALL RULE and ALL AUTHORITY and POWER.” “All” is the same word as that used in verse 22, so I must stay with the idea that it means what it says, all, with no exceptions. After all, isn’t that the real problem today, that is, those who are running the show at this present time? Hasn’t this tired old world been beaten to pieces by the cunning craftiness of the countless secular and religious leaders who have had nothing more than their own selfish agendas in mind?
Folks, I will be the first to admit that it’s hard to swallow that salvation incorporates the Hitler’s and the Jeffrey Dahmer’s of the world, but I cannot argue with scripture. Paul did not say that “even so in Christ” some would be consigned to “eternal torment” while the rest would be “made alive.” No, he said, “ALL shall be made alive.” Again, this may be difficult to wrap our minds around, but God’s love for His creation far exceeds our ability to comprehend it.
“For as in Adam ALL DIE.” And what does it mean to “die”? First of all, it means to live our lives “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1), and despite how we would like to put one sin above another, we cannot, for there are no degrees of sin. Sin is sin, period, whether it’s cheating on our taxes or committing the atrocious acts which are broadcast in the media every day.
Despite the increase in knowledge and technology, we are still quite far from understanding the complexities of the human psyche. We might well read and write about the spirit, mind, and soul of humankind, but when it comes down to where the rubber meets the road, we don’t really get it! How does any child of its mother and father end up on such destructive paths? How is so much hate generated through one person toward another? Well, take two steps back and think about the last time you “blew up” or became extremely angry toward something or someone. Is it at all possible that the anger you felt might be capable of causing you to react in a much worse way?
We live in a world mixed with light and darkness, love and hate, sweet and bitter, and all of it is here for a reason. Might this be one reason why we are so confused? Again, I don’t know about you, but my greatest battle is not with others, rather, it’s with my own Self, whom I am convinced is my greatest “enemy.”
The simple fact of the matter is that the Lord’s death took away the “sin of the world” (John 1:29; KJV), yet, we are inclined to think otherwise because all of us still struggle with it. But God is God, and Christ is His “express image” (Heb. 1:3; KJV), so if they wish to operate from the realm of unconditional love, who am I to claim it cannot be so?
Years ago, I was pondering the idea of how much destruction goes on in this world and how many lives are lost every second of every day. It goes without saying that I was greatly perplexed by these thoughts, but then it dawned on me! We are FLESH (Gen. 6:3), and because we are, we are prone to put paramount importance on it, and this even though none of us are guaranteed the next breath! Ah, but our heavenly Father is the “Father of spirits” (Heb. 12:9), not FLESH, and so it is that all that transpires in this world of form is directed toward our spirit and not these temporary bodies in which we reside at the moment! No wonder James wrote, “For what is your life? It is even a VAPOR that APPEARS FOR A LITTLE TIME and THEN VANISHES AWAY” (James 4:14; NKJV). For some, this “little time” doesn’t even appear outside the womb!
“For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.” What powerful words, for if the “last enemy” to be destroyed is “death,” then does that not mean that the power of sin will be eradicated? How? How can that be? Might it be due to the following?
Romans 13:8-10 (NKJV)
8 Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, "You shall not commit adultery," "You shall not murder," "You shall not steal," "You shall not bear false witness," "You shall not covet," and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
Ah, here we go! “Love is the fulfillment of the law” because the law is the basis for sin, for as John wrote, “Sin is lawlessness” (1st John 3:4; NKJV). In a word, sin is the behavior that brings “harm” to our “neighbor” due to the pride and deceptive reasoning of the Self.
Because we have known the devastating effects of sin for so long, it is hard for us to imagine a world where unconditional love rules, but Paul was clear. Christ will put an end to all rule and authority and power. He will destroy death, not from without, but from within, by means of His Spirit of life.
1 Timothy 2:1-6 (ESV)
1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.