Is This the Only Day of Salvation, Part 1
Do you believe that God is trying to save the world at this time? Has there ever been a time that He set out to save the world in the past? Millions of people believe that Almighty God is in a titanic struggle with Satan the devil to save the world now, from an ever burning lake of fire. Some call it the great controversy.
If God is trying to save humanity from being lost and is in a desperate struggle and that struggle is going on right now with Satan the devil, then let’s face it, if that is the case, He is losing the battle. And of course, God never loses any battle. He always wins every single time. So how can this be explained?
Just take a look at the six billion plus people on this earth today. The vast majority are not Christians. They’ve never even heard of the name of Jesus Christ. Many, many, many millions and even billions do not even know anything about Him.
Evolutionists, agnostics, atheists, communists, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, and on and on and on, don’t know anything about Christ. Or if they do, many, many, many and even most of them disbelieve what they hear about the Son of God. And there are other millions on the face of this earth who do know about Him but yet are not obeying Him and therefore are not being saved at this time.
Now, how do we explain this? What does this all mean? We realize, of course, that God is love. God is fair. So if He is love and He is. And if He is fair and He is, why have some people been given the opportunity for salvation now, and most people have not been given that opportunity—have not even remotely had a chance for salvation—and through no fault of their own? How can this be square? How can this be possible?
Well, let’s start by turning to Acts 4:10. Please go get your Bible. Please don’t believe me or what anybody else says. Please don’t just accept what you are told without proof. So get your Bible and I have my Bible and let’s go through and see what God’s Word says. That’s where we can find the proof of the answer to these questions.
Let’s turn here to Acts 4:10.
10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him does this man stand here before you whole.
Now this is what Peter said.
11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which has become the head of the corner.
Now look at this key verse right here in Acts 4:12.
12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
No other name under heaven whereby anybody can be saved, except the name of Jesus Christ. And yet most people have never heard that name throughout history from the Garden of Eden. You just come right on through and take a look before the flood—that world that then was; after the flood—this present evil world now, and you will have to admit that the many billions upon billions upon billions of people who have existed over the last 6,000 years have never heard the name of Jesus Christ. And if they have, most of them have never understood. They have never heard the truth about the real Jesus Christ.
So are they lost? Just because they have never understood the truth and never heard the name of Jesus Christ, are they lost? Is God trying to save those people now in this particular present world. And was He trying to save them in the world before the flood? Is there a struggle going on between God and Satan and the forces of this world, regarding salvation of mankind? Is there a struggle pertaining to being lost or saved now as far as human beings? If that is true, then God is losing the battle. And therefore it is not true because God never loses anything. He always wins every time.
So there’s no other name under heaven whereby anyone can be saved, except for the name of Jesus Christ.
Now why are some given that opportunity to understand the Truth and others are not given that opportunity—through no fault of their own? It’s not their fault that they were a pygmy in the Ituri Forest. It’s not their fault that they were an aborigine in Australia. It’s not their fault that they were born in communist China, and therefore they are under a government that does not allow them to be taught the truth about God and Jesus Christ and their plan of salvation.
The typical Chinese baby had no choice about being born in China. The typical Hindu baby had no choice about being born into a Hindu family. And quite frankly, the typical baby that was born in the United States or the western world and therefore can hear about Jesus Christ and the truth of God—it’s not because they chose to do that.
In other words, people who are given the opportunity for salvation now, it’s not because of anything they’ve done that they were born in the geographic location they were born in. And people who are not given the opportunity for salvation right now, it’s not because of anything they have done and through no fault of their own, they have been born in the region of the earth where it’s just not available to them—the truth of God and the name of Jesus Christ. So how is that fair? How can that be?
Let’s notice here in Acts 10:34. Here is an explanation of the fairness of our Great God. It says here in Acts 10:34.
34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
He does not show partiality. There’s no particular individual or group of people that are His favorites. Through time, He has never shown partiality to anyone. He loves everyone the same. He wants everyone to have the same opportunity. He’s totally fair. He is love. And it says right here:
34 — Of a truth —
34 — I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
35 But in every nation he that fears him, and works righteousness, is accepted with him.
But what if in every nation or in some nations or in some places in some nations, nobody has had the opportunity to know anything about Him? What then? When do they get their opportunity? He loves everyone the same. We are all His children, made in His image. He does not show partiality—no matter what race, creed, culture, geographic location or time frame might pertain to us or to anyone else, at any time in history.
Everyone gets the same full chance for salvation, without exception. Everyone. Everyone who has ever lived is going to be given the same full chance for salvation as anyone else.
Let’s notice John 3:16. Look at what Jesus Christ said here.
16 For God so loved the world, —
And that’s at anytime the world has existed. That’s people in the world.
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
It does not matter who they are. If they believe in Him, then they will not perish but they will have everlasting life. But what if they never had a chance to believe in Him? Do they then perish? Are they then sent to the lake of fire? It’s no fault of their own that they do not know anything about Him. So if they don’t know anything about Him, how could they believe in Him? And if they did not believe in Him because they never knew about Him—they are going to perish? That’s not a loving God. That’s not being fair.
But He is a loving God and He is fair.
16 — whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
It doesn’t matter who the person is, male, female, black, white, brown. It doesn’t matter—race, culture, geographic location, financial situation, mistakes made. Whatever and whoever, God gives everybody the same opportunity for salvation. But how? When? Where? What’s the answer?
Let’s turn to 2 Peter 3:9. See, we have to be consistent as we study God’s Word. We have to be consistent in our thinking. God is consistent. He does not contradict himself. And the Bible He inspired doesn’t contradict itself. There are no contradictions in the Bible.
There are apparent contradictions. But when you put all of the scriptures together on anyone subject and let the Bible interpret the Bible—here a little, there a little, line upon line. Then it opens up the understanding of the verse that seems like it’s difficult to understand. And it dissolves the contradiction that it looked like existed. Because the scripture cannot be broken. It is intertwined and consistent from Genesis to Revelation. And the same is true about this doctrine of salvation. We just have to understand what the scriptures have to say about it.
We just have to lay aside the prejudices and the preconceived notions and the errors that we have been taught and take a look, with an open mind, at what the Bible really says. And then we can really understand the answers to these questions about salvation, and about eternal life and eternal death, and the lake of fire.
Notice here in 2 Peter 3:9.
9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, —
Look at this.
9 — not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
He doesn’t want anyone to perish. He wants all to be brought to repentance. But to do that, they have to understand. They have to have an opportunity. They cannot be born, live out their life and die and never even have an opportunity to know about God and His Word and His way and Jesus Christ. And yet millions and even billions upon billions have lived and died and never had that opportunity to be brought to repentance, through no fault of their own. What about them?
And those who have that opportunity to understand and be brought to repentance—that’s not because they were so great. That’s because of God’s mercy and God’s plan of salvation. So we have to put all of these questions and then put all these answers to these questions together and back it up with scripture,and then we can understand this subject of salvation.
9 — not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
That’s God’s mind on this matter. Let’s see what He said over here in 1 Timothy 2:3.
3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior;
4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
That’s what He desires. You know that has not happened in the 6,000 years of human existence. It just hasn’t. It’s been impossible for millions and billions of people to ever come to the knowledge of the truth—they were never even given that opportunity. And yet some have been. How do we explain that? That seems unfair and yet God is fair. It says in verse 4, He desires to have all men to be saved.
4 — and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
But when? How? Where? Does He accept deathbed repentance? Can an individual live a life of rebellion and disobedience and immorality? Can he wallow around through life committing every sin known to man? Can he do anything he wants to and thumb his nose at God and what He says, and break every commandment in the book? And yet when he begins to wind down and ends up sick in bed and he’s on his deathbed, just before he dies he just gasps out some utterance to God, and God grants him deathbed repentance? Does that square with the scriptures?
Does that mean that we can just go do whatever we want to as long as right before we die we cry out to God? Whereas other people spend their life serving Him and then right before they die, they drift away. They don’t have eternal life. And this man over here or this woman, because they were able to utter Christ’s name just before they died, they are given eternal life. That’s not what the Bible teaches. And yet you know there are people who believe that.
Well, deathbed repentance is not going to work and does not work and it isn’t scriptural. Let’s notice here in James 2:18. Notice here, it talks about faith and works.
18 Yea, a man may say, you have faith, and I have works: show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
Notice verse 26.
26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
Just having faith is not enough. We have to do our part. Just doing our part is not enough. We have to have faith in God. And we even have to have help from God to do our part. Faith and works go together. It’s not faith or works. It’s faith AND works. It’s not grace or the law. It’s grace AND the law—a subject we will get into at another time.
So deathbed repentance, or last minute change of heart, is not acceptable to God. Salvation takes time. It takes obedience. It takes overcoming. We have free moral agency. We must choose right over wrong as a way of life. And as we do that, we begin to develop holy, righteous, Godly character.
But God places before us a choice. He’s not going to do it all for us. We have our part, and it’s over a period of time. And salvation involves that for everybody.
Let’s notice here in Deuteronomy 30:19. Look what He said here in Deuteronomy 30:19
19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both you and your seed may live.
He wants us to choose the right way. But He allows us to choose the wrong way. We are free moral agents, and that takes time. He judges us and judging takes time. What choices are we going to make on a day by day basis? He can begin to see which way we are going to go on a permanent basis by the choices we make on a daily basis.
And so deathbed repentance and just a quick utterance of the name of Jesus—that simply is not enough. Not the hearers of the law but the doers shall be justified. We have to endure to the end if we want to be saved. We have to overcome and grow in grace and knowledge if we are going to be given salvation. And yet we have to be given that opportunity to do all of that. What about those who have never been given that opportunity? And most have not.
Mankind is blinded and deceived today. Therefore, we human beings always seem to choose the wrong way over the right way in the long run every time. Why does that happen? Why is that the case?
Let’s turn here to 2 Corinthians 4:4.
There are many, many people who do not even believe God exists. Well, we can prove that God exists, and we will. We can prove it beyond any shadow of a doubt. We can prove beyond any shadow of a doubt that the Bible is God’s inspired Word.
There are also many, many people who don’t even believe that there is a real being called Satan the devil. They don’t think he exists. They think that’s just a myth or a figment of somebody’s imagination. They think he’s just a fantasy that people have about bad and evil.
And yet in actual fact, there is a literal powerful spirit being that has definite form and shape and is in one place at one time. And his name is Satan the devil. He’s perverted. He’s twisted. He’s rebellious. He is the personification of evil. And he wrecks and destroys and ruins everything he possibly can. This is his world, his society, and he runs it. The institutions and the values and the standards and the ethics that are rampant throughout this world flow from, to one degree or the other, Satan the devil and his perverted, twisted way of doing things.
He can’t do anything to anybody unless God allows it. And God will not allow it if we draw close to Him and look to Him and walk with God. But if we play footsie with Satan the devil and his demons and this world and we want to get involved and just be swallowed up by it, then he will use us and he will twist us and he will control us, if we let him. And he will lead us down the wrong path to destruction.
Oh, there’ll will be pleasure, twisted, perverted, Satanic pleasure. Our senses will be titillated. But the end result will be catastrophic and will be a tragedy. Now we don’t want that to happen, and it doesn’t have to happen. And yet this same powerful, twisted being called Satan the devil, who used to be a great archangel called Lucifer, is the god of this world. And he has blinded this world to the truth and blinded this world to Almighty God and Jesus Christ and the truth about God and Jesus Christ and His Word. And God has allowed it. But that is why people do not understand the truth about Jesus Christ and God and the Bible.Even if they are given that opportunity, on their own, they cannot understand it because they’re blinded. Those who are never given that opportunity are also blinded. So unless that veil is lifted from their eyes, they will never understand the truth about God and Christ and salvation.
Notice here in 2 Corinthians 4:4.
4 In whom the god of this world —
That’s right, this is his world. That’s why you see the violence and the mayhem and the hatred and the confusion and the turmoil and the strife and the suffering and the pain and the unbelievable tragedy that goes on on a daily basis on this earth. He is the god of this world. He is a destroyer. This is his doing.
4 In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
So they are blinded. It’s like they have a blindfold on. We were all blinded at one time or the other until Almighty God takes the blinders off. And He’s the only one who can. And those who are no longer blinded, it’s not because of any good that they possess. It is only because of God’s mercy and God’s calling—lifting the veil off their eyes.
Let’s notice Revelation 12:9. Speaking of this being called Satan the devil who walks about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. It says here in Revelation 12:9.
9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, —
Notice what it says here. See, the Bible says what it means and it means what it says. So we know that God inspired this Book and we know God inspired these words. And therefore we can prove it is true and therefore we can believe it. Here’s what it says.
9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him
Which deceives the whole world! That’s why the world from the Garden of Eden forward has chosen to go the wrong way. That’s why they do not understand the true God. They do not understand the truth about the name of Jesus Christ and about Jesus Christ. They do not understand the plan of salvation. They do not understand the truth in the Bible about salvation. They are blinded. They are deceived. We would all be blinded. We would all be deceived except for the mercy of God.
Now, those who are blinded and deceived and have been, all through the eons of time, they’re not going to be condemned to the lake of fire. They’ve never had their chance. They’ve never had their opportunity. God is fair. He is love. If he gives one person a full opportunity for salvation, He’s going to give every human being who has ever lived, throughout thousands of years, that same full opportunity for salvation. He’s going to do that.
But how is He going to do it? Well, He’s going to have to lift the veil off the eyes of all human beings who are now blinded and who have ever been blinded to the truth. He has a tremendous plan of salvation to do just that. Everyone will have the same opportunity for salvation, but at different times. This all needs to be explained. It all needs to be gone into. It all needs to be thoroughly put together, so that those who are really seeking the truth can begin to understand the right answer to this question of: Is today the only day of salvation? Is God trying to save this world now?
We are going to go into God’s word in part 2 of this series and we are going to show the truth about this question and the answer to this question. Those who are really open-minded and those who really prove things can understand this fantastic, wonderful truth of God once and for all.
God has a plan that will offer everyone an opportunity for salvation—but at different times.
I just want to turn to one more scripture as kind of an introductory scripture to part 2 of this series, which we will go into next time.
Let’s turn over here to John 6:44. Look what Jesus Christ said here.
44 No man can come to me, —
Remember what we said before, the Bible says what it means and it means what it says. We don’t have to twist it, spin it, ignore it, or adjust it. We just have to read it and understand it. It says what it means. It means what it says. God inspired every word. And look what it says here in John 6:44.
44 No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
So everyone has to be drawn by the Father to Christ and has to have their mind open up by the Father to understand the truth. Now, when are they going to have that opportunity? Every human being who has ever lived is going to be given that opportunity—to be drawn by the Father to Jesus Christ and have their mind opened to the truth.
Let’s just notice verse John 6:65.
65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.
It can’t be earned. It is a gift and it has to be given from the Father. And it will be given to every human being who has ever lived, but it’ll be given at different times. And the Bible lays those times out. And it is a beautiful, wonderful, thrilling plan of salvation that God has designed in order to bring that about.
We are going to go into that great plan next time as we continue this series on salvation.
’Til then, this is Charles Bryce with the Enduring Church of God.
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