God's Unconditional Guarantee
Commentary for April 7, 2006 — Is it “An Offer You Can’t Refuse?”
I want to examine two phrases from American popular culture. Examining these phrases and how they apply to God’s relationship with you and me may help us comprehend the nature of the reality which is your future salvation, the salvation of your loved ones, your neighbors, acquaintances, in fact every human being living now, every human being who has ever lived, and every human being who will live in the future.
I was viewing a humor website that parodies American evangelical Christianity. The site jokingly had an advertisement for “Salvation, unconditionally guaranteed.” That phrase of “Unconditional Guarantee” originated from an American advertising slogan. The phrase “unconditional guarantee” made me think that although the humor website intended to parody evangelical religion, they unknowingly struck upon an important truth about the Gospel of God.
God has indeed given a guarantee to save every human being unconditionally. That guarantee is so unconditional that there is nothing that you can do — or possibly could do — to ever contribute in any way to your own salvation or the salvation of anyone else. Your faith is meaningless to your salvation. This is because any faith you have is a gift from God (Romans 5:15–19; Ephesians 2:8–10). It is really faith from God, from Christ which is “gifted” or “graced” to us that saves you and all mankind. The faith that you express toward God is given to you by God.
Your faith, just like all other factors of your salvation, has an important part to play in your rewards in your spiritual resurrection, but your faith has no part to play in your salvation. (If it did then your faith to participate in your salvation would be “works” and not grace.) It is a simple black and white dichotomy. Any works that you do are an expression of God’s faith working through you. God’s grace is unconditional at this time. God’s grace, which is expressed in your faith, is 100% guaranteed. That is one portion of the Mystery given to the apostles Paul, John, Peter, and others around 63 C.E.
God has indeed given an “unconditional guarantee” to you with regard to your salvation. He has also given an “unconditional guarantee” to those who have not yet heard the Gospel of Christ, the Gospel of Messiah. Even those who have died in their sins have received an “unconditional guarantee” of salvation in Christ to be performed in them through their acceptance of Christ.
“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”An Offer You Can’t Refuse …
• 1 Timothy 2:5–6“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I [Paul] am chief.”
• 1 Timothy 1:15
I later thought about another phrase from American popular culture that has reference to God’s relationship with human beings. This phrase gives a false description of God’s salvation. It is a false description embraced by most of Christianity today.
The phrase is from the popular American movie The Godfather where Mafia leader Don Vito Corleone says to his son that his proposal to an enemy will be accepted because: “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.” That meant the offer was do as Don Corleone says or he’ll kill you.
Most of Christianity, and particularly evangelical Christianity, believes that God is like a great godfather, an all powerful don who has made an “offer” to save mankind which each human being must accept or reject. Rejection would mean being banished to hell. Mankind would be foolish to refuse.
That is a falsehood based on a gross misunderstanding of God’s progressive revelation of the Gospel of Christ, the Messiah. It also misunderstands the nature, purpose, and process of God’s grace. While it is true that everyone will receive salvation through Christ, and they will not refuse it (it is God’s “will,” not merely His “wish,” 1 Timothy 2:4, that all will be saved). There is never an “offer” of salvation.
The Gospel is not an “offer” of salvation from God to mankind. The Gospel is simply what the term means, the evangel, “good tidings,” or to simplify the term even further “good news.” It is an announcement about God’s salvation of mankind which has already been performed through Christ.
God the Father does not “offer” salvation through Jesus Christ to mankind. Jesus’ blood is offered to God the Father in payment for your sins and for your life (Hebrews 9:23–10:18). God began and completed the salvation of mankind before the foundation of the world, before mankind, before Adam and Eve were created (Ephesians 1:4; 1 Peter 1:19–21; Revelation 13:8). No false dichotemy exists regarding God’s sovereignty and human free will. God does not choose some to be saved and some to be damned. There is no eternal burning hell, no purgatory, no everlasting death. At the end there will only be salvation for everyone, without exception.
“The next day John sees Jesus coming unto him, and says, ‘Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.’”That belief “in him” will be given to those who have not yet heard the Gospel, or those who have, in their ignorance, rejected the Gospel. Christ is the Savior of the world:
• John 1:29“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting [age-lasting] life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”
• John 3:16–17
Notice that this last passage of Colossians begins with reference to all creation “by him,” in verse 16, and ends in verse 20 with reference to all creation being reconciled “by him,” meaning by Christ. The blood of the cross (“stake,” stauros in Greek), meaning Christ’s death, was the means (the payment) by which God “made peace” with all creation. It was not an offer. It was a unilateral action on the part of God and Christ.
“And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of your saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ [“the one,” the word “Christ” is not in the Greek], the Savior of the world.”
• John 4:42“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”
• Colossians 1:16–20
Furthermore, because this unilateral action was performed before all things were created, (without any reciprocal acts, faith, or thought on our part) the result and conclusion of God’s action is an all-inclusive, unconditional guarantee. The beneficiaries of this guarantee are you, me, all mankind, and even all creation. All will receive reconciliation to God the Father through Christ’s actions:
His works,and not by any actions, works, faith, or righteousness of yours or mine.
His resurrection from the dead (the only one thus far),
God is not making you or anyone else an “offer” of salvation. God is not making you “an offer you can’t refuse.” God is not offering anything to you. He has accomplished your salvation already. The purpose of God’s Gospel is simply to tell you about your salvation that you already have through Christ.
To cite another traditional American phrase “the fix is in.” Everyone is already saved. Our job (yours and mine) is to tell everyone that fact.
[ Note: See the articles “By Grace Are Ye Saved,” “God’s Reconciliation with Man,” and “The Death of Death.” ]
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