What is Christianity? What is essential Christianity? Is it a particular belief in how things will turn out, or is it a belief in the only Name under heaven given among men by which we MUST be saved? Is it a belief in a particular view of Bible prophecy, or is it an acknowledgement of Who is the Only genuine Saviour from anything any of us ever have or ever will need saving from? Is belief in the virgin born Son of God, the Blood of the Cross, the Resurrection of the Saviour, faith in His power to Save, and commitment to live both a holy and a loving life all of the orthodoxy that you or anyone could ever need?
What are we to do with those who have more faith in the results of the first Adam than of the last Adam?
Must we all repent of our sins and embrace the Lordship of Jesus Christ? Absolutely and without a doubt. Must we command everyone everywhere to repent, entrust their souls to the Son of God, Jesus Christ, and prove their repentance by their sexual purity, compassion, generosity, and pointing other people to the Lord that's so powerfully saved them? Absolutely! Genuine salvation is by grace through faith. And it's a Biblical principle that real Christianity takes up it's cross daily and follows Christ. It might even be said, based on some Scriptures, that Christ is more concerned by what you're doing with your life than by what you're claiming about your religious life.
People are saved by the Saviour from their sins and from their infirmities, from their poor self-image and from their filthy habits. Faith is faith in the Blood that came from the holy Son of God, His power to keep them forever, and faith in His ability to empower them to reach every sinner on earth with the saving message of His cleansing Blood and saving compassions. Faith is in the broken Bread and overflowing Cup of His Testament. Faith is faith in His power, His provision, His wisdom, His love, His faithfulness, His chastening power, and His pleasures which He's prepared for those who obey Him. He's given His holy Spirit to those who obey Him, but He is the Ransom for all that's to be testified in due time by all Christians. All Christians will testify - at the appointed hour - that He's the Saviour of all, especially of those who believe.
It is enough for me to find a brother who believes that Jesus Christ came in the flesh, born of the flesh of the virgin Mary by the power, presence, activity, purpose, and destiny of the Holy Spirit. That a brother would believe this, along with the sincerity, singularity, and power of the Words of our Lord Jesus and the sufficiency of His Blood shed at the cross for the recreation of every life are what matter most to me. If one believes in the literal bodily resurrection and literal bodily ascension of Jesus Christ to God's right hand, then my joy is full in my brother.
If he (and obviously my sisters are equally embraced) believe in the commandment of Jesus to believe and confess His Name and His Lordship over all, along with believing and taking to heart and his daily life the commandment of Jesus Christ to love all men without hypocrisy, then how can any say that such a one is not my brother, or that such a daughter of the commandments isn't my sister?
Christ came to not only give life to each of us, but to truly teach each of us how to live in obedience to God. Christ came to teach us the meaning and the practice of sincere integrity, compassion, and moderation with each of our brothers and sisters in the world.
(Humbleness, sobriety, joy, gentleness, and zeal are not excluded from Biblically and Christ centered Christianity.)
Love for life begins with love for God, together with hope in His promises. These three things: devotion, integrity, and hope without hypocrisy are what anchor lives and truly create a society, or a local community worth living in.
You cannot ignore the brotherhood and fellowship of those who believe in the purity and sanctity of the cross and Blood of Christ for the atonement of the whole world merely on eschatological or semantical conflicts.
Is Jesus Christ Lord of all? Do His Blood and Spirit continually reclaim lives from the graves of despair, enmity, and filth?
If you can answer yes to the previous two questions, then no one has a right to claim that you and I are not brothers in the finished work of Jesus Christ and joint-heirs of the heathen and of all of the rest of creation.
What constitutes heresy? What is the nature of that which truly divides Christianity from all of the other religions of the world? Is it our end-times doctrines? Is it our views of the creation of the universe? What separates us from all of the other peoples of the earth? While a lot of people will choose to bring up this doctrine or that one, there are a few bottomlines that are nonnegotiable:
The Lordship of Jesus Christ over all;
Recognition of His finished atoning work;
Belief in His literal Blood for the taking away of our sins and our restoration to God's practical favor;
Belief in Christ's command to all nations to repent and to live as living sacrifices before Him;
Belief that actively engaged compassion is what genuinely makes the world go around;
Belief that personal purity and genuine worship are both the bottomlines and a work in progress;
Belief that consistency of righteous character, that's yeilded to the daily work of the Holy Spirit, is the goal of all publicly practiced Christianity;
Belief that Home is where the Christ is, and that in the light of His "ever-Presence," that we should do all things as if we were doing them for Him;
Belief that Christians are not only called to love one another, but to also fellowship with one another for the growth of the common good;
Belief that it's the Church's mandate to equip the individual believers for reaching those who've been blinded by their sins and by cultural darkness from the reign of Christ.
This is what the Church is about, whether the views of individual denominations or congregations reflect end-times views that are Augustinian-Calvinist, Arminian, or Universalist.
These constitute the Christian fundamentals and not the endless minutia of Church practice, or how we make Christ known to others. Our obligations to the God of purity, the purifying power of the Blood of Jesus Christ, our wholehearted devotion to the Scriptures and to one another in the reverence and awe of God are bottomline essentials. The purifying of our conscience, prior to the purifying of our plans and pursuits is paramount.
While it's true that no one can stay static and inactive until their conscience is fully purified, God accounts one as pure whose conscience, plans, means, and pursuits are ever distilling through faith and fellowship with Him in the Blood of the atoning sacrifice of the world, Jesus Christ.
Our love for God, our love for the divine, and our love for what that divinity has called each of us to are what constitute the unshakable fundamentals of the Christian faith and what distinguishes us from all of the other families of the earth. Our obligations to cherish the sacred Blood of Christ in our deeds, more than just in our words and creeds, and to offer up our every relationship with our bodies and with this present world, to God and in a godly Scriptural fashion, are what constitute godliness in this present, dark world.
Receive the Blood of Jesus Christ and all of the divine consequences of that. Take His broken body and feed it to our soul sick world. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, and cast out the demons that each of us faces in our attitudes and in our cultural expressions. Receive His Bread and Cup, purify your double-minded consciences, and nurture this widowed, orphaned world until it grows beyond the realm of it's childhood and embraces the hope of holiness and obedience, along with righteousness and praise.
Crucify your own flesh rather than your brother's or your sister's. Don't let your raising of the dead become a resurrection unto condemnation, but to simplicity, generosity, and devotion to Christ and to one another in the fear of God. Abandon your sins and not your brothers. Receive with meekness the holy Scriptures to the purifying of your consciences. Realize that what hardens the heart against dying the death that Christ died for the recovery of all of the world is what itself is inherently false doctrine and nothing else.
You'll not partake of life and that more abundantly by ignoring your brothers and sisters in the world in the daily distribution of the mercies, graces, and healing touches of the Lamb of God. The first great heresy in the Garden of Eden was the attempt at caring for one's own soul at the expense of the rest of the Creation around Adam and Eve. That murdered brotherhood from the very womb. How will it produce different results in your life, your legacy, and your posterity today and tomorrow?
A lot of people will try to reach for some area of despair, or for some reason for non-involvement with a theology like ours. If Christ is more successful in having His way with mankind many Christians readily make themselves enemies of the cross by asserting that it then becomes pointless, by such a theology, to win people to Christ, to convince people of living morally sound lives, to warn against spiritual abuses and counterfeit revivals, and to do a million other things that make for a more practical "here and now" than we would otherwise have via non-involvement.
I started this presentation by talking about the necessity of distinguishing this message from a thousand other side issues that people all too often try to lump in with this message, such as preterism, anti-Charismatic rants, home church vs. public church, nondenominationalism vs. denominationalism, etc. Each person must ultimately determine in their own minds how much they would involve themselves with furthering the cause of Jesus Christ, of moral soundness in society, of social blessing and benefit in the midst of a hurting world, of whether or not they'll abide by Biblical principles regarding evangelism, discipleship, general education, political responsibilities, and a million other subjects.
Nothing I've said here has been meant to imply that anyone is automatically heaven bound once they breathe their last in this world. If anything, this doctrine allows me to be stricter and to see far fewer reaching those pearly gates immediately after death. I see far more chastisement involved than the average person who believes in endless misery, because the person who believes in eternal sin and eternal nonsubjection to the moral, spiritual government of God is all too often inclined to think that their system of punishments would apply to everyone else but themselves. I share no such delusions and readily admit that in many things that I personally fall short, and in any area where I habitually cling to sin and to self, our heavenly Father will not hesitate to use His whip upon me until He's broken me to the last degree of my being from any illusions of sin, or for any passions for it. It has not been our heavenly Father's intent to lay upon sin the greatest possible restraint, but to show it's enormity and the sufficiency of His holiness and wisdom to all prior to totally eradicating it from His Creation.
Life is still full of challenges, necessities, pains, loneliness, agony, suffering, filth, reprobation, blasphemy, and everything else that must be addressed by the godly counsel of the holy Bible. There are still emotional and spiritual abuses that occur on a daily basis that must be addressed. Many things are still on their way towards hitting a very massive brick wall at very high velocity. Nothing that I've said has put any pillows between the people and their rapidly approaching brick wall. To affirm God's faithfulness to destroy sin out of His universe and to restore all to obedience by any and every means placed within the hands of Christ by no means softens His mandates to every individual in all of Creation. You must repent, have faith, and do what is right, otherwise you will continue to die systematically and emphatically until you have renounced all ungodliness and embraced Christ, the Holy Bible, and the fullness of His Holy Spirit with all of your might, in total defiance to anything that would try to separate you from the practical daily favor of God in Christ Jesus your Lord.
People are only finally restored to God through Jesus Christ when they're actually restored to God through Jesus Christ and the testimony of the cup of His testament. You can't ignore your neighbors and the current condition of either the Church or the world and consider yourself faithfully His, whatever you believe about eschatology (i.e., the doctrines of last things), and whether a few, a great many, or all will be saved. His commandments to those who've obeyed Him are still emphatic, without any considerations of eternal Hell. Would you genuinely turn totally treacherous if the fear of His eternal abandonment were genuinely removed from you - after all that He's done for you? There is no "eternal security" in the way that doctrines along those lines are generally held. He'll cast you or I away from Himself for our rebellion as readily as He cast Lucifer out of heaven, and don't you ever forget it! But, after His punishments and reasonings with your soul have done their deep, mysterious work of making your heart ready for righteousness, His Blood will transform you, free you from your filth, and guaranty your place at His table. The Scriptures say that the love of God is that you obey His commandments. It doesn't allow of a sentimentality or a general philosophy of the divine love. It simply says that the love of God at work in your life is manifested in that it brings you to the eventual place of obedience. The Scriptures teach that He has not put the age to come into subjection under angels. Were the eternal punishment lie a genuine truth in any of the various forms in which it is generally held, then how would you escape the consequence that there would be some portion of the world to come that He would have put into subjection to angels, and fallen ones at that?
There are too many questions that come to the surface in investigating these prophetic matters, that until they are actually fulfilled, or at a more advanced stage into their fulfillment that must suffer the fate of being regarded with some degree of abstraction to many curious inquirers - even in their most satisfying forms of presentations and explanations of divinity. Therefore, this may not be an appropriate message for all circumstances and for all audiences, if there isn't sufficient opportunity to expand upon the many fields of currently accepted norms in religious circles that contradict this plain message of the Scriptures. Thankfully, through the advent of today's advancing technologies many of these difficulties are rapidly being wiped away. Two questions of special import to my readers are:
Have you ever come up with an answer to those who base the doctrine of endless punishment upon the idea of the infinity of sin - sin being infinite because of being against an infinite God?
What about the favorite lie of the eternal punishment crowd that though anything pertaining to this present world may necessitate, logically, that most of the aion terms associated be understood with some limitation, but that those things associated with another world need not be understood in that way, but must necessarily imply eternal when applied to the torments of the wicked?
To me, those are the two most used arguments by the eternal punishment crowd, or by those of the eternal punishment crowd that know anything about our line of reasoning on the Scriptures. Yet I've not seen any Christian Universalist websites with an argument refuting those two.
Elhanan Winchester brought up a passage out of the Psalms where in one of the Davidic Psalms he was saying that his goodness didn't extend to God, so that whether it was David speaking himself, or speaking in the person of Christ, if their good works didn't extend to God, then how much less the behaviour of a worm (i.e., the sinner). I'll try to find the passage, because that was a beauty to keep under one's belt. He found one passage, I think in Job, where the infinity of sin was spoken of but said that that word was used in the same way that Josephus used it in speaking of a great multitude.
And then, Christ is said to be in "eternity" by being at the right hand of God, so certainly His seating at the right hand of God makes at least that reference to eonian times in the book of Hebrews an evident "forever," right? Wrong! What does Acts say? ...Whom the heavens must retain UNTIL the times of the restitution of all things....
What does 1Corinthians 15 say? Then cometh the end (or the completion in the Amplified Bible) when He delivers up the Kingdom to the Father after He's put an end to all rule, authority, and power....so that God will be all in all.
If our righteousness doesn't extend to God, how much less our sin; if righteous deeds on our part aren't "infinite," then neither are sinful acts. If the apex of Old Testament promise - the reign of Christ - shall see an end, then obviously all of the sin can't be eternal either. There's every reason to believe that what the Scriptures claim will end the reign of Christ - the reduction of every created being to obedience - will be accomplished.
In Psalm 16 David either speaking as himself or as Christ said that his goodness didn't extend to God. There's something similar in Job about a person's goodness only benefiting them and the sons of men but not really doing anything for the Lord one way or the other. (This is also a great argument for those who claim that there are two ways of salvation, the keeping of the law and grace. I hadn't heard that one in years, but I recently heard Ed Young Jr. mention that one on T.B.N. These two passages assert in the Old Testament that keeping the law - or performance based religion - was always meaningless where that was concerned. It's a misreading of Paul at best.) So, the simple logic is that if goodness which comes closer to being infinite, if that doesn't extend to God, then sin is never infinite, being infinitely hateful against an infinite God and therefore deserving infinite punishment, etc., etc. And in Job, though the word "infinite" is applied to sin once, in the King James, it's very obvious from the context that it's using the term in the secondary sense of the term for a great multitude, as it's used in English and other languages with actually a little more regularity than the really strict idea of endless. Josephus used the word "infinite" in the same sense. And then we're judged for the deeds committed in the body, according to Paul, and never for any sins we'd commit posthumously. Sin is very simply the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Ecclesiastes and other passages assert that there's no knowledge in the grave.
No knowledge = no spooks commiting sin while they're in "Hell."
Where the tree falls, that's where it lies until the Master craftsman decides to do something with it for noble or common use. So, if there's no knowledge in the grave, then nobody's running around in all kinds of orgies, blasphemies, and every other type of sin against God, the temple of the Holy Spirit, etc., etc.
The state of rewards and punishments predates the making of all things new and the absorbing of the Kingdom of Christ into the greater Kingdom of the boundless love of God, or what St. Paul would seem to liken or indicate as an abdication in 1Corinthians 15:28. Well, if the Kingdom of Christ is to be dissolved once it's acheived it's purposes - MUCH MORE the kingdom of Satan will have ended long ago by that time! Are Christians genuinely so vain as to think that Hell must be eternal because they'll be opening Christmas presents forever?
That's the genuine depth of the Matthew 25:46 argument that many evangelicals cling to with such pride as if it answered anything but to their carnality and lack of attention to the Scriptures about the everlasting ways of God being in the same context as the everlasting mountains which did get shaken in the same passage in the Old Testament. What can we say for the state of Christendom when they'll assert that they won't get all that they feel that they deserve if God's attention is still divided between them and visiting those in prison, bringing forth the prisoners from the pit where there is no water by the Blood of the Covenant, and fulfilling all of His promises? They wouldn't get to thank and praise God for all of eternity that they weren't like other men, but they tithed, fasted twice a week, etc., etc.!
The nature of things is determined by their source and their inherent natures rather than from the adjectives used to describe them, such as "eternal," "everlasting," etc. When the wicked perish, their hope ceases. Hope for them doesn't cease, but THEIR hope ceases. Perhaps they hoped to live long and prosper in their wickedness, to see many generations of their children, or to have escaped facing God, but death ends these hopes and introduces a better one. Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, hallelujah!
Another thing on the supposed infinity of sin: what about lesser vs. greater sins; sins of malice, omission, ignorance, etc. And what are we to make of Scriptures that speak of those who were recompensed double for all of their sins? What about those who wouldn't be purged from their iniquities until they died? The passages are there. The Bible teaches proportions between sins and proportions between their punishments.
And if sin were supposed to be infinite, just for the sake of argument: is Christ's Blood not more infinite? Is sin to be thought superior to the work of Christ?
I've been thinking of those two arguments against the final salvation of all for the last couple of days, and how they were answered (as they were answered above) in Elhanan Winchester's "Dialogues on the Universal Restoration." There's less than a handful of arguments against the final Restoration that genuinely hold any Biblical water, without very obvious mistranslations.
In the place where the tree falls, there is shall lie, from Ecclesiastes is another one that is often appealed to. But Elhanan even in his day was able to clearly discern from the context that it was a reference to the state of everything HERE and to nowhere else, i.e., bodies in the grave, etc. But also, trees that fall don't often or usually just lay there very long without immediately being put to some good use by craftsmen.
There's two different thousand year periods that Revelation 20 is pointing to. A thousand years during which Satan is bound, and a thousand years during which the second death has no power over the righteous!
I'd heard a critic of Origen's say that Origen had taught that the Lake of Fire was only a thousand years. I knew he wouldn't have made an irresponsible statement like that, and that the proof of that was either in the Scriptures as we had them today, or that perhaps that was info pertaining to some set of early documents that no longer exist.
Remember, as you read through Revelation 20 how the Hebrew and Greek can sometimes be inverted? I'm not sure if it's an inversion of the subject and predicate or if they sometimes introduce a new subject without telling you that they've done so, until you start noticing them jumping back and forth in what they're talking about. That's never been perfectly explained to me, though I'm aware of examples of it in the Scriptures where you kind of need to sometimes read the very next verse before the verse that's previous to it in the logical way that the text is translated in English, example: the demons cried out wondering whether or not Jesus was tormenting them before the time, for He had said to them come out of him. There's a like instance in the story of David and Goliath, in the Gospel of John chapter 1, and in other sections of Scripture.
(Even though there are Davidic Psalms which seem to assert the final annihilation or eternal punishment of the wicked, are we to make nothing of St. Paul's comments about the uniqueness of what St. Paul was entrusted with from Christ?
What was unique about St. Paul's Gospel, or Good News?
No, the Old Testament promised an ultimate - once for all time - atonement that would come through the Messiah.
So then, is the uniqueness of Paul's message that those Gentiles who embraced Christ would likewise find cleansing and righteousness with the believing segment of Israelites?
No, St. Paul himself repeatedly cited the Psalms and the Old Testament Prophets in proof that the Bible of the Jews always foretold an era of blessing towards believing, repentant, and obedient Gentiles.
Then what is the unique message St. Paul said that he was personally entrusted with? Let my readership be the judges of that, now!
What is the "mystery hid from ages and generations" that St. Paul said was only revealed through his own prophetic and apostolic ministry? Let me give you a hint:
"As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in His own order..." 1Corinthians 15
Some may try to rebut that what was instead rather "unique" was the mystery of the Ecclesia, or "Church" but remember that the book of Acts applies the same term to the Israelites in the wilderness! Israel was called the "Son of God" in the Old Testament, so it's not a mystery related to "sonship." Others may try to say that what's unique to Paul's message is the indepth revelation of "Christ within the believer, the hope of glory," but when you pay attention to how that's connected with "first born" language, then you're immediately faced with the implication of a latter fruits redemption, which ultimately concedes the force of my arguments. Others may try to say that Paul's unique message is merely the revelation of "imputed righteousness," but according to Paul that's something clearly taught by Abraham and King David. So again, you're faced with the puzzle of what the "uniqueness" of Paul's message consists of, if you deny his clear systematic teaching of the ages through which the ultimate salvation of all of Creation is being worked out.)
I'd love to pin down the exact quote that I read someone refer to online where they were talking about Origen, but they didn't cite the exact work of his where he's supposed to have said that the lake of fire judgment would last a thousand years. I know that he said at times that it really wasn't knowable when the wicked would come out, that that knowledge was with the Father alone. But I'm wondering that if there is such a quote where he said that the lake of fire would be a thousand years, if he was simply saying the other in the context of not being able to tell his audience in his way as to when the final ax would fall on the wicked.
As I was preaching that again earlier, it seemed to me as though the book of Revelation were pointing to a thousand year millennial whatever that Satan is bound during, then a thousand year time period where the Second Death has no power over us, and then later you read of us reigning with Christ "for the ages of ages." You can either make the ages of the ages out to be two thousand years, or perhaps Chauncy was right about those who come out of the lake of fire judgment taking their place as our younger brothers in the restoration of the rest of creation, assuming other planets, or at the very least those other demons and fallen angels who might not have accompanied Satan, the Beast, and the False Prophet into the lake of fire.
Sonship's not a total impossiblility to me for the latter born, it was just something that has had me deeply concerned, because of how the Holy Spirit chose to word it in the book of Revelation, about those who overcome will have God for a Father and they'll be His Sons and Daughters. I've always tended to read that into one of St. Peter's comments in 1Peter chapter 1 as well: "If you call Him Father....". But every argument that I was making for the final Restoration earlier today in a Bible study that I shared with a small group was equally pointing to the necessity of their Restoration to Sonship, because "otherwise the Serpent would have won in his initial objectives in the Garden of Eden." But it is something that I'm cautious about asserting without more Scripture to answer this partialist sonship Scripture that I found in Revelation that doesn't seem to want to leave me alone. Were I 10,000,000,000% right about Sonship being an absolute and eternal impossibility for those who are latter fruits, there's still the passage in the book of Isaiah about the eunuchs being given a name better than that of Sons, that may be a part of some latter dispensation of grace that as yet no one has ever foreseen or remotely hinted at in their teachings. If God genuinely never changes, rather than simply having never changed in this one grand purpose of the ages that He's kept in view with us in getting us out of Hell, then He's going to be swearing all new covenants with each of us in about another million or so years about doing this or that to us, in us, and through us, right?
Some people will no doubt try to affirm that this message will delay the sanctification of some people and perhaps their salvation as well, and should therefore be regarded as a dangerous heresy. But God has promised to shake the heavens and the earth until the only thing that remains standing is that which cannot be shaken. If evangelistic ministry, as we know it today, would be so easily overthrown by a more indepth knowledge of God's Scriptural intent for the ages, then is what we have going on today in modern evangelism really from God's mind and intent for His Creation? And is it really what Jesus shed His Blood for?
There's no doubt that His intent was to rehead all of Creation through Jesus Christ, but good fruit at the expense of truth isn't acceptable to God according to Jesus' very teachings to the Pharisees, and vice versa. God's House can't be filled to God's satisfaction upon a foundation of misleading advertisements about His purpose, provision, plan, power, love, wisdom, and faithfulness. The chemistry of God's Creation, even in a fallen state will not produce favorable results upon faulty equations supposedly brought forth from Holy Writ. The Scriptures have often been charged with inaccuracy and self-contradiction by infidels. This is primarily due to faulty translations and traditional systems of interpretation that rather than being rooted in genuine humility before God have been rooted in human agendas at the expense of God's precise living Words in the Scriptures. The contradictions are in all of the other systems of interpretation and not in the Scriptures themselves. A defined parameter isn't a contradiction, but a preconceived idea will often find a brick wall when trying to harmonize itself with the Holy Writ where the heart doesn't tremble for righteousness and the manna that will genuinely satisfy.
In trying to come up with a series of concluding thoughts on this book, the areas that I could touch upon are a very vast ocean still. Critics are always concerned that Universalists consider the question that goes something like, "but what if you were wrong?" This is often asked as if the Universalist were the only one in all of God's creation that's ever been in danger of being wrong about anything, or even about everything. The question turned upon the Calvinist or the Arminian and asked of them, "but what if you were wrong?" often invites at least a glance of contempt or ridicule. And that would be rightfully so, because that's a very tacky question to pose to anyone. Obviously, whoever winds up being wrong about any particular matter winds up "eating a lot of crow," as some have colorfully [and disgustingly] phrased it in the past. Fortunately for all, our salvation is based upon nothing less than Jesus's Blood and His righteousness, the wisdom and love of God, and His eternal purposes! For some people, unfortunately, that will never suffice as an answer.
Then there's the temptation to add a concluding monologue or two to this book at this time that would offer stronger and stricter proofs from history, word studies, and exhaustive concordance studies. But, I've chosen to keep this presentation on a simpler note for the time being, trusting God to direct people to the more apologetically focused websites like tentmaker.org and others out there that are devoted to focusing on the minutia that is very very important, indeed, for the person that's first coming to terms with these issues and being persuaded of these fuller truths. Often during the process of renewing of your mind it's helpful to have both the Scriptures and other forms of proofs, like historical sketches and word studies readily available, so that one can rejoice both in their spirits and in their minds in the depths of the Gospel that they've been led into by the Holy Spirit Who is the grand teacher of us all.
I feel like this presentation in it's present form is a really needed presentation within the Christian Universalist community from the standpoint of it's style. Many Universalist sites wander from the very technical to what sounds to unsanctified, uncircumcised hearts as occultic teachings - with no middle ground being sought at all for the average everyday Christian to be able to find a center of gravity for even trying to follow the logic and the Scriptural basis for these teachings. Frankly, to the regular Joe Christian on the street, most Christian Universalist websites sound WEIRD and not even remotely Christian; not even remotely trying to reference the Bible with any reverence and submission to Jesus Christ. And the exclusivity that many Christian Universalists in the baby stages of their newfound joy slip into only seems to compound the popular belief that Christian Universalists are not only not Biblically centered, but not even remotely Christian. None of these statements are meant to cause any strife with my fellow Christian Universalists. It's merely an observation that "appearances" DO matter if you're hoping to convey to the religious world that this is the true Christianity of our spiritual forefathers!
While some may question how far we should go in "relevance" in order to be "understood," that is a question that surrounds all Christian issues, or any issue, in fact, where the place of style in the conveyance of a message either threatens accepted norms of delivery or creates initial questions about the purity and centrality of what's being shared. It is not a fair criticism that if Universalism sounds too mainstream that it's being baptized in needless religious minutia that'll ultimately compromise the power of it. Style and content are two different things. 90% of delivery is a matter of style. To share something in "English" from another language isn't to inherently corrupt it, because not all "English" is the same and not all "English" speaking peoples are the same in knowledge, temperament, or prejudices. And though there are various English dialects to choose from in sharing something from another language, the choice of any one dialect isn't going to reflect on the nature of what's being shared. What's being shared from another language will stand or fall on it's own integrity and on whether or not the one doing the sharing is able to adequately use the form of English that's his or her chosen vehicle for sharing this or that, that they've chosen to take from another language and put into English. So, with sharing Christian Universalism in the religious dialects of the peoples, the message will stand and fall on it's own merits and on whether or not it's fully conveyed with power in the chosen cultural dialect of mainstream Christianity.
Obviously, anyone who holds to this view of God's grand design of mercy that'll unfold over the course of many ages is going to come under similar criticism as St. Paul. Some have already tried to claim that this means, "let us do [more] evil that [more] good may come of it." This they say in ignorance and disbelief, not realizing that it's for them that Hell has enlarged itself. It's a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews chapt. 10). God is not mocked. Whatever a person sows is exactly what they're going to reap, according to Galatians chapter 6. Nothing I've said in the course of these writings has in any way been meant to nullify that, but merely to bring clarity to that universal principle. The loving Father of spirits Who has taught us to reap what we sow has Himself been sowing seeds towards having a holy and complete family in Creation since times prior to Genesis chapter 1, verse 1. Weaker crops always bow before the stronger ones. Weaker wills always invariably submit to the stronger. The crops of the Father will lovingly strangle our sinful crops in the fullness of time and leave only that which is incorruptible in His sight to continue indefinitely. And what we've done from a sincere and devotional heart to Christ and His Gospel will endure forever and ever! Jesus taught that even a cup of water to the faint of this world won't be ignored by our heavenly Father. Believe it or not, it's actually easier and more preferable to do good than to do evil. Believe it or not, there's actually more [loving] pressure to do good than to do evil.
Eternal Love will never end.
It is not logical that someone can be in eternal opposition to the will of God. Weaker wills always inevitably submit to stronger wills. How can two wills be in eternal opposition where one is obviously the stronger will? It doesn't make sense, though it's the dogma of mainstream Christianity regarding an eternal duality in the universe.
It's also not consistent that any segment of really Biblically based and Christ centered Christianity would eventually fail to seek Christ's one lost sheep until they find it! [see: Luke chapt. 15 and 1John chapt. 2] Since God has given to us all things through Jesus Christ that pertain to our immediate healing and maturing with the intent of giving us everything else besides, is there anything that any of us wouldn't do for Him? - particularly once that healing power is working in our lives?
A lot of people, when they hear the doctrine of the final justification, holiness, and happiness of all of Creation because they don't hear an initial comment about repentance, then they immediately assume that a salvation distinct from the doctrines and mediation of Christ is suggested or implied. But there can be no universal recovery, universal reconciliation, and universal restoration without a universal repentance. The book of Isaiah says that the Day is coming when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that in the Lord alone they have righteousness and strength. That will spring from repentance from former sins, former idolatry, former fears and torments, and all former disregard for the Word of God.
Failure to mention repentance, the Blood of Christ, sanctification, and the coming judgments as immutably and indissolubly connected with the grace, love, passion, and reign of Jesus Christ is a failure of the minister alone. It is not a reflection upon the everlasting Gospel. That is something for which any minister, be they Universalist, Arminian, or Calvinist, will bare the severest judgment, because the Scriptures say that ministers of the Word along with being worthy of double honor will also be judged doubly! [cf. Matthew 23, 1 Timothy 5:17-21, James 3:1, 2Peter, 3John, and Jude]
Punishment on sin will be unrelenting and torments against all iniquities will not cease until the strangle hold of sin and iniquity is pryed from the human condition. Christ mediates the wooing cry of the Spirit upon each of our lives. Christ mediates the unending punishments upon the ungodly to the degree that is necessary to teach them to deny ungodliness and selfish lusts and to live soberly in humble obedience and receptivity to the Father of Spirits.
Repentance, according to Paul in Acts 17, is mandatory. Therefore, repentance will be universal! No one can escape their Day of departure from sin. Christ has paid the price to initiate all into His ever-expanding Kingdom. As no one can escape death for their sins, no one can escape an eventual and final death to their sins. Free will is immaterial from the standpoint that death to sin is mandatory. Death because of sin is mandatory. And the death of death will be mandatory, once pride has been purged from the human consciousness as torment and fear run their full course. Sin doesn't lead to righteousness. Jesus Christ leads/drags to righteousness.