What Does the Bible Really Say About Salvation?

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Edward D. Andrews
EDWARD D. ANDREWS (AS in Criminal Justice, BS in Religion, MA in Biblical Studies, and MDiv in Theology) is CEO and President of Christian Publishing House. He has authored ninety-two books. Andrews is the Chief Translator of the Updated American Standard Version (UASV).

In Summary

The Bible teaches that salvation is a gift from God that is available to all people through faith in Jesus Christ. In the New Testament, the concept of salvation is closely tied to the death and resurrection of Jesus. According to the Bible, Jesus came to earth as the Son of God to save people from their sins. Through his death on the cross, he paid the penalty for our sin and reconciled us to God.

In the book of Ephesians, it says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). This passage teaches that salvation is not earned through good works or human effort, but is a free gift given by God through faith in Jesus.

In order to receive this gift of salvation, the Bible says that we must repent of our sins and turn to God. This means acknowledging our wrongdoing and turning away from a life of sin in order to follow Jesus and live a life that is pleasing to God.

The Bible also teaches that salvation is not just a one-time event but is an ongoing process of transformation. Through faith in Jesus, we are made new creations and begin a journey of growing in our relationship with God. As we walk with Jesus and seek to follow him, we are increasingly conformed to his image and become more like him.

In summary, the Bible teaches that salvation is a gift from God that is available to all people through faith in Jesus Christ. It is not earned through good works or human effort but is a free gift given by God to those who repent of their sins and turn to him. Salvation is an ongoing process of transformation as we seek to follow Jesus and grow in our relationship with God.

A Deeper Look

A price paid to buy back or to bring about a release from some obligation or undesirable circumstance. A ransom is a sum of money or a price demanded or paid to secure the freedom of a slave. The basic idea of “ransom” is the act of saving somebody from an oppressed condition or dangerous situation through self-sacrifice, such as a price that covers or satisfies justice, while the term “redemption” is the deliverance that results from the ransom. In the biblical instance, “redemption” would be the deliverance from Adamic sin (the sins of humanity) by the ransom death of Jesus Christ for many.

Below we will consider various Hebrew terms (kāpar, koperpādâgāʾal), as well as a number of Greek terms (lytronantilytronlytrooagorazo), which are translated “ransom and “redeem.” They all carry the idea of a price being given or paid to result in a ransom or redemption. As we will see below, there is the sense of an equal or corresponding, that is, a substitution is common in all of these terms. In other words, the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ, for example, was given for Adam, which satisfied justice and set matters straight between God and man.

For our Hebrew terms, we will use the Theological Word Book of the Old Testament (TWOT) extensively. “(kāparI, make an atonement, make reconciliation, purge. (Denominative verb.) This root should probably be distinguished from kāpar II “to smear with pitch.” … The root kāpar is used some 150 times. It has been much discussed. There is an equivalent Arabic root meaning “cover,” or “conceal.” On the strength of this connection, it has been supposed that the Hebrew word means, “to cover over sin” and thus pacify the deity, making an atonement (so BDB). It has been suggested that the OT ritual symbolized a covering over of sin until it was dealt with in fact by the atonement of Christ. There is, however, very little evidence for this view. The connection of the Arabic word is weak and the Hebrew root is not used to mean, “cover.” The Hebrew verb is never used in the simple or Qal stem, but only in the derived intensive stems. These intensive stems often indicate not emphasis, but merely that the verb is derived from a noun whose meaning is more basic to the root idea.”[1]


The TWOT helps us to appreciate that “from the meaning of kōper “ransom,” the meaning of kāpar can be better understood. It means, “to atone by offering a substitute.” The great majority of the usages concern the priestly ritual of sprinkling of the sacrificial blood thus “making an atonement” for the worshipper. There are forty-nine instances of this usage in Leviticus alone and no other meaning is there witnessed. The verb is always used in connection with the removal of sin or defilement, except for Gen 32:20; Prov. 16:14; and Isa 28:18 where the related meaning of “appease by a gift” may be observed. It seems clear that this word aptly illustrates the theology of reconciliation in the OT. The life of the sacrificial animal specifically symbolized by its blood was required in exchange for the life of the worshipper. Sacrifice of animals in OT theology was not merely an expression of thanks to the deity by a cattle raising people. It was the symbolic expression of innocent life given for guilty life. This symbolism is further clarified by the action of the worshipper in placing his hands on the head of the sacrifice and confessing his sins over the animal (cf. Lev 16:21; 1:4; 4:4, etc.) which was then killed or sent out as a scapegoat.” (Harris, Archer and Waltke 1999, c1980, p. 453; TWOT Number 1023a)

Kāpar is used is used virtually in every case to describe the satisfying of justice through atoning for sins. The noun kōper refers to what is given to satisfy justice, i.e., the ransom price. For example, the Psalmist writes, “When iniquities [great injustices] prevail against me, you atone for our transgressions.” (Psa. 65:3) The greatest blessing for which David offered praise was God’s willingness, actually, eagerness to forgive. (Psa. 65:1) Pondering over past Israelite disobedience, David speaks of when they were overcome with sin; God forgave or atoned for their transgressions. David was referring to Israel’s moral rebellion against God’s Law. Undeservedly, God atoned for their sinfulness, which set aside the consequences.

Later, the Psalmist writes, “Yet he [God], being compassionate, atoned for their iniquity [great injustices] and did not destroy them; he turned away his anger often and did not stir up all his wrath.” (Psa. 78:38) Regardless of the Israelites history of unfaithfulness, God showed them mercy when he did not have to, atoning for their iniquity [great injustices]. Repeatedly he restrained his wrath from a full expression, making allowances for human imperfection.

The Psalmist also wrote, “Do not remember against us the iniquities of our forefathers let your compassion come speedily to meet us, for we are brought very low. Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and atone for our sins, for your name’s sake!” (Psa. 79:8-9) Many in Israel had suffered much for the sins of their forefathers. Therefore, the psalmist is praying that God would no longer call to mind the sin of their forefathers, namely, that God would no longer hold these previous sins against them. The psalmist pleads desperately that God comes speedily before all of God’s chosen people were no more.


If we are to maintain any kind of integrity, we must appreciate the connection between forgiveness and the honor of God’s name. He pled that God might help them from the subjugation and persecution of these invading nations. “Atone for our sins,” he begged earnestly, asking God to forgive the transgressions of Israel’s past. This plea was based on the glory of God’s name. In other words, an act of mercy on the part of God would bring glory to his name.

W. E. Vine writes, “lutron (μήτε, 3383), lit., ‘a means of loosing’ (from luo, ‘to loose’), occurs frequently in the Sept., where it is always used to signify ‘equivalence.’ Thus, it is used of the ‘ransom’ for a life, e.g., Exod. 21:30, of the redemption price of a slave, e.g., Lev. 19:20, of land, 25:24, of the price of a captive, Isa. 45:13. In the NT, it occurs in Matt. 20:28 and Mark 10:45, where it is used of Christ’s gift of Himself as ‘a ransom for many.’ Some interpreters have regarded the “ransom” price as being paid to Satan; others, to an impersonal power such as death, or evil, or ‘that ultimate necessity which has made the whole course of things what it has been.’ Such ideas are largely conjectural, the result of an attempt to press the details of certain Old Testament illustrations beyond the actual statements of New Testament doctrines.

Vine’s dictionary goes onto say, “That Christ gave up His life in expiatory sacrifice under God’s judgment upon sin and thus provided a ‘ransom’ whereby those who receive Him on this ground obtain deliverance from the penalty due to sin, is what Scripture teaches. What the Lord states in the two passages mentioned involves this essential character of His death. In these passages, the preposition is anti, which has a vicarious significance, indicating that the “ransom” holds good for those who, accepting it as such, no longer remain in death since Christ suffered death in their stead. The change of preposition in 1 Tim. 2:6, where the word antilutron. a substitutionarv ‘ransom,’ is used, is significant. There the preposition is huper, “on behalf of,” and the statement is made that He “gave Himself a ransom for all,” indicating that the ‘ransom’ was provisionally universal, while being of a vicarious character. Thus the three passages consistently show that while the provision was universal, for Christ died for all men, yet it is actual for those only who accept God’s conditions, and who are described in the Gospel statements as ‘the many.’ The giving of His life was the giving of His entire person, and while His death under divine judgment was alone expiatory, it cannot be dissociated from the character of His life which, being sinless, gave virtue to His death and was a testimony to the fact that His death must be of a vicarious nature.”[2]

As to original languages words for salvation, W. E. Vine write, “soteria … denotes ‘deliverance, preservation, salvation.’ “Salvation” is used in the NT (a) of material and temporal deliverance from danger and apprehension, (1) national, Luke 1:69, 71; Acts 7:25, RV marg., ‘salvation’ (text, “deliverance”); (2) personal, as from the sea, Acts 27:34; RV, ‘safety’ (KJV, ‘health’); prison, Phil. 1:19; the flood, Heb. 11:7; (b) of the spiritual and eternal deliverance granted immediately by God to those who accept His conditions of repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus, in whom alone it is to be obtained, Acts 4:12, and upon confession of Him as Lord, Rom. 10:10; for this purpose the gospel is the saving instrument, Rom. 1:16; Eph. 1:13 (see further under save); (c) of the present experience of God’s power to deliver from the bondage of sin, e.g., Phil. 2:12, where the special, though not the entire, reference is to the maintenance of peace and harmony; 1 Pet. 1:9; this present experience on the part of believers is virtually equivalent to sanctification; for this purpose, God is able to make them wise, 2 Tim. 3:15; they are not to neglect it, Heb. 2:3; (d) of the future deliverance of believers at the Parousia of Christ for His saints, a salvation which is the object of their confident hope, e.g., Rom. 13:11; 1 Thess. 5:8, and v. 9, where ‘salvation’ is assured to them, as being deliverance from the wrath of God destined to be executed upon the ungodly at the end of this age (see 1 Thess. 1:10); 2 Thess. 2:13; Heb. 1:14; 9:28; 1 Pet. 1:5; 2 Pet. 3:15; (e) of the deliverance of the nation of Israel at the second advent of Christ at the time of ‘the epiphany (or shining forth) of His Parousia [presence]’ (2 Thess. 2:8); Luke 1:71; Rev. 12:10; (f) inclusively, to sum up all the blessings bestowed by God on men in Christ through the Holy Spirit, e.g., 2 Cor. 6:2; Heb. 5:9; 1 Pet. 1:9, 10; Jude 3; (g) occasionally, as standing virtually for the Savior, e.g., Luke 19:9; cf. John 4:22 (see savior); (h) in ascriptions of praise to God, Rev. 7:10, and as that which it is His prerogative to bestow, 19:1 (RV).”[3]

Redemption and Redeemer

The Hebrew verb pādâ means, “ransom, rescue, and deliver” and the derivative pidyôn means “ransom money,”[4] or “ransom price,” “redemption money,” or “price of redemption.”[5] (Ex. 21:30) The Hebrew root (pādâ) has the basic meaning to exchange the ownership of someone or something from one to another through the payment of a (ransom) price, i.e., a corresponding or equivalent substitute.

These terms clearly stress the releasing accomplished by the ransom price or redemption money, i.e., an equivalent or corresponding substitute. In addition, kāpar also stresses on the quality or content of the price of redemption and its effectiveness in balancing the scales of justice. A “ransom,” “rescue” or “deliverance” (pādâ) can be from slavery (Lev. 19:20; Deut. 7:8), from troubling times or overbearing situations (2 Sam 4:9; Job 6:23; Psa. 55:18), or from death and the grave. (Job 33:28; Psa. 49:15) God had redeemed the Israelites, bringing them up out of Egypt with a mighty hand (Deut. 9:26; Psa. 78:42) and later he would ransom and redeem the Israelites from both Assyrian and Babylonian exile seven hundred and nine hundred years later respectively. (Isa 35:10; 51:11; Jer. 31:11-12; Zech. 10:8-10) This redeeming required a “ransom price,” an exchange. When God redeemed Israel from Egypt, the price was the firstborn of Pharaoh and all of Egypt, as well the animals, because Pharaoh had hardened his heart against the release of Israel, the “firstborn” of God. – Exodus 4:21-23; 11:4-8.

In the eighth century B.C.E., the prophet Isaiah wrote, “But now thus says Jehovah, your Creator, O Jacob, and he who formed you, O Israel: ‘do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine. … For I am Jehovah your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I have given Egypt as your ransom [form of kōper], Cush and Seba in exchange for you.’” (Isa. 43:3) All of these exchanges satisfy justice as laid out in Proverbs 21:18, “The wicked is a ransom for the righteous, and the treacherous in the place of the upright.”


Another Hebrew term associated with redemption is (gāʾal), and this conveys primarily the thought of “redeem, avenge, revenge, ransom, do the part of a kinsman.” (Jer. 32:7-8) The derivatives of the root are (gĕʾûlay) redemption (Isa 63:4 only), (gĕʾūllâ) redemption, and right of redemption, price of redemption, kindred and (gōʾēl) redeemer. On this the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament writes, “The primary meaning of this root is to do the part of a kinsman and thus to redeem his kin from difficulty or danger. It is used with its derivatives 118 times. One difference between this root and the very similar root pādâ “redeem,” is that there is usually an emphasis ingāʾal on the redemption being the privilege or duty of a near relative. The participial form of the Qal stem has indeed been translated by some as ‘kinsman-redeemer’ or as in KJV merely “kinsman.”[6] Nevertheless, the similarity of (gāʾal) to (pādâ) is seen by its being used alongside (pādâ) at Hosea 13:14): Shall I ransom [form of pādâ] them from the hand of Sheol? Shall I redeem [form of gāʾal] them from Death? O Death, where are your destruction? O Sheol, where is your sting? Compassion will be hidden from my eyes.”

Again, Hebrew uses the verb (gāʾal) to speak of redemption and a derivative form of the verb (gōʾēl) for redeemer. The basic meaning and application of the verb is the thought of reclaiming, recovering, or repurchasing, i.e., buying something back. The right of redemption can be for a house (Lev. 25:33) the selling of a person to pay his debts (Lev. 25:48–49) a sacrificial animal (Lev. 27:13), or a field or other property (27:19–26). The Psalmist asks God to defend, redeem, and preserve him because he keeps his word. (Psa. 119:153-54) Under the Mosaic Law, if a husband died, leaving his wife childless, there was a custom and law whereby a man would marry the deceased’s widow (closest relative first, namely, the brother), who was sonless, to produce offspring, to carry on the name of his relative. (Gen. 30:1; 38:8; Deut. 25:5-7; Ruth 4:4-7) The man carrying out what was known as “brother-in-law marriage” was called the redeemer (gōʾēl).

Anders and Butler observe, “in criminal law, a person who committed a crime against another person was responsible for paying back the cost of his crime. If the injured party for some reason was not available to receive restitution, then the nearest relative was to receive it and was called the goel (Num. 5:8). In capital punishment cases, the closest relative was responsible for avenging the death of his relative. This avenger was called a goel of blood, but to prohibit such a custom from getting out of hand and becoming an uncontrolled vendetta, the cities of refuge were set up to protect the person accused of murder (Num. 35:12; Josh. 20:3–9; cp. 1 Kgs. 16:11). Thus in Israel’s law redemption was “to redeem that which belongs to the family from outside jurisdiction” (Stamm, TLOT, 1, p. 291).”[7]

The Mosaic Law had a provision for the Israelites who became victim to poverty (Redemption of Property), wherein he was forced to sell his hereditary lands, his house in the city, or even to sell himself into servitude. It reads, “If your brother becomes poor and sells part of his property, then his nearest redeemer (gōʾēl) shall come and redeem [gāʾal] what his brother has sold.” (Lev. 25:25, ESV) What if the man had no relative to redeem it? Then, if he “himself becomes prosperous and finds sufficient means to redeem it, let him calculate the years since he sold it and pay back the balance to the man to whom he sold it, and then return to his property.” (Lev. 25:26-27) First, it should be noted that this man was not to be taken advantage of, nor dealt with in a ruthless way. If he had to sell himself into slavery, he is respected and viewed as hired servant (employee), who can be redeemed or released on the Year of Jubilee. The fact that a poor Israelite could become wealthy while in servitude is evidence that he was treated very well, and this served as a perfect protection against a lifetime of poverty.

In the case of a murder, while he could not seek sanctuary in the six cities of refuge (Num. 35:6-32; Josh. 20:2-9); however, he could receive a judicial hearing, if found guilty, “the avenger [gōʾēl] of blood shall himself put the murderer to death.” The avenger of blood would be a near relative of the victim. Moreover, there was no ransom [kōper] for the life of a murderer, who is guilty of death, so he was to be put to death. In addition, no near relative who had the right of redeemer could reclaim the life of his dead relative; therefore, he justly claimed the life of the one who had murdered his relative. – Numbers 35:9-32; Deuteronomy 19:1-13.

Mosaic Authorship HOW RELIABLE ARE THE GOSPELS Young Christians

The Redemption or Releasing

Again, Vine helps us with the original language words. He writes, “Exagorazo … [is] a strengthened form of agorazo, “to buy,” denotes “to buy out” (ex for ek), especially of purchasing a slave with a view to his freedom. It is used metaphorically (a) in Gal. 3:13 and 4:5, of the deliverance by Christ of Christian Jews from the Law and its curse; what is said of lutron is true of this verb and of agorazo, as to the death of Christ, that Scripture does not say to whom the price was paid; the various suggestions made are purely speculative; (b) in the middle voice, ‘to buy up for oneself,’ Eph. 5:16 and Col. 4:5, of ‘buying up the opportunity’ (RSV marg.; text, “redeeming the time,” where ‘time’ is kairos, ‘a season,’ a time in which something is seasonable), i.e., making the most of every opportunity, turning each to the best advantage since none can be recalled if missed.”

Note: In Rev. 5:9; 14:3, 4, KJV, agorazo, “to purchase” (rv) is translated “redeemed.”

lutroo, ‘to release on receipt of ransom’ (akin to lutron, ‘a ransom’), is used in the middle voice, signifying ‘to release by paying a ransom price, to redeem’ (a) in the natural sense of delivering, Luke 24:21, of setting Israel free from the Roman yoke; (b) in a spiritual sense, Titus 2:14, of the work of Christ in ‘redeeming’ men ‘from all iniquity’ (anomia, “lawlessness,” the bondage of self-will which rejects the will of God); 1 Pet. 1:18 (passive voice), “ye were redeemed,” from a vain manner of life, i.e., from bondage to tradition. In both instances the death of Christ is stated as the means of ‘redemption.’”

“Note: While both [exagorazo] and [lutroo] are translated “to redeem,” exagorazo does not signify the actual ‘redemption,’ but the price paid with a view to it, lutroo signifies the actual “deliverance,” the setting at liberty.”[8]

Ransom Not Always a Tangible Price

As was stated in the above, God “redeemed” (pādâ) or ‘reclaimed’ (gāʾal) Israel from Egypt. (Ex 6:6; Isa 51:10-11) However, more times than can be counted, the Israelites “sold themselves to do that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah, to provoke him to anger.” (2 Ki 17:16-17) Therefore, repeatedly, God sold them into the hands of their enemies. (Deut. 32:30; Judges 2:14; 3:8; 10:7; 1 Sam 12:9) Nevertheless, they would eventually repent and God would ransom and redeem them back (buy them back), reclaiming them from subjugation by their neighboring enemies or exile. (Psa. 107:2-3; Isa. 35:9, 10; Micah 4:10) In this, God was carrying out the work of a redeemer (gōʾēl), for the Sons of Israel belonged to him. (Isa. 43:1, 14; 48:20; 49:26; 50:1-2; 54:5-7) God takes no pleasure in gold, silver, or land because it all belongs to him anyway, so this is not what the pagan nations paid him. Rather, his payment came in the satisfying of justice and the carrying out his will and purposes, correcting their rebellious spirit and their lack of respect for the Creator of the heavens and the earth.

Isaiah 48:17-18 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

17 Thus says Jehovah,
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“I am Jehovah your God,
who teaches you to profit,
who leads you in the way you should go.
18 Oh that you had paid attention to my commandments!
Then your peace would have been like a river,
and your righteousness like the waves of the sea;

Again, in the case of God, his redeeming does not necessarily need to involve something physical like property, land, gold and silver. When God redeemed the Israelites, who had been in exile in Babylon, Cyrus the Great of Persia was used to liberate them from captivity. Nevertheless, when God redeemed Israel from Nations that had acted with malevolence and hatred against Israel, he demanded a price from the persecutors themselves, in that they paid with their very lives. (Psa. 106:10-11; Isa. 41:11-14; 49:26) When God sold his people to the pagan nations, the Israelites received nothing in return (benefits or relief), meaning that God received nothing, nor was anything given to the captors to balance out the scales. Rather, by the power of his arm, God redeemed his people, the sons of Jacob. – Psalm 77:14-15.

Isaiah 52:3-10 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

3 For thus says Jehovah, “You were sold for nothing, and you shall be redeemed without money.” For thus says Jehovah God, “My people went down at the first into Egypt to sojourn there, and the Assyrian oppressed them without cause. Now therefore, what do I have here,” declares Jehovah, “seeing that my people are taken away without cause? Their rulers wail,” declares Jehovah, “and continually all the day my name is despised. Therefore my people shall know my name. Therefore in that day they shall know that it is I who speak; here I am.”

How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of him who brings good news,
who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness,
who proclaims  salvation,
who says to Zion, “Your God has become king!”[9]
Listen! your watchmen lift up their voices;
together they sing for joy;
for eye to eye they see
when Jehovah returns to Zion.
Break forth, sing for joy together,
you waste places of Jerusalem,
for Jehovah has comforted his people;
he has redeemed Jerusalem.
10 Jehovah has bared his holy arm
before the eyes of all the nations,
and all the ends of the earth shall see
the salvation of our God.

Therefore, the Father in his role as the gōʾēl included the punishing of wrongs done to his servants, ending with his sanctifying, and defending his personal name against those who used Israel’s suffering as a justification to reproach him. (Psa. 78:35; Isa 59:15-20; 63:3-6, 9) As the Great Kinsman (NASB) and Redeemer of both the nation of Israel as a whole and each individual making up that nation, he pled for their cause, to satisfy justice. – Psalm 119:153-154; Jeremiah 50:33-34; Lamentations 3:58-60; See also Proverbs 23:10-11.

The man of great faith, the disease-stricken Job said, “As for me, I know that my Kinsman[10] lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth.[11] King David sang, “Draw near to my soul, redeem me; ransom me because of my enemies!” (Psa. 69:18) He also sung at Psalm 103:4, “Who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with lovingkindness and mercy”? King Saul sought to kill David many times, the Philistines wanted David dead as well, as was true of others. However, God showed David loving kindness by redeeming him from the pit, i.e., the grave. – 1 Samuel 18:9-29; 19:10; 21:10-15; 23:6-29.

How to Interpret the Bible-1

The Ransom of Christ Jesus

The Hebrew Old Testament Scriptures are what help us appreciate the ransom that was offered by the Son of God, Jesus Christ. It was Adam’s siding with Eve in the rebellion against God’s sovereignty (right to rule) that brought about the need of a ransom. Adam evidenced more love for Eve than he did for his Creator, who had given him live. Therefore, he sold his soul (life) so that he could join Eve in her transgression, sharing in her condemnation as well, losing his righteous standing before God. Therefore, he also sold any future descendants into slavery to sin and to death, as God had commanded, “from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat,[12] for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die.”[13] As Adam was a perfect human, who would never have become sick, or grown old, nor ever died, he sold these things for his own selfish desire of being with Eve, and he sold them for all of his progeny.


Romans 5:12-19 Updated American Standard Version (ASV)

12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned, 13 or until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the likeness of Adam’s transgression, who is a type of the one who is to come.

15 But the free gift is not like the trespass.[14] For if by the trespass of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. 16 And it is not the same with the free gift as with the way things worked through the one man who sinned. For the judgment after one trespass was condemnation, but the gift after many trespasses was justification.[15] 17 For if by the trespass of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the one, Jesus Christ.

18 So, then, as through one trespass there was condemnation to all men, so too through one act of righteousness there was justification of life to all men. 19 For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one the many will be made righteous.

Paul, later in the same letter to the Romans, speaks on the conflict of the two natures.

Romans 7:14-25 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. 16 But if what I am not willing to do, this I am doing, I agree that the law is good. 17 So now I am no longer the one doing it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the desire is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. 19 For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. 20 But if what I do not want to do, this I am doing, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.

21 I find then the law in me that when I want to do right, that evil is present in me. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inner man, 23 but I see a different law in my members, warring against the law of my mind and taking me captive in the law of sin which is in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh, I serve the law of sin.

The law was but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, as it atoned in a limited way by offering a substitute, i.e., animal sacrifices. “For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” (Heb. 10:1-4) The animal sacrifices were pictorial in yet another way, as ‘when anyone offered a sacrifice of peace offerings to Jehovah to fulfill a vow or as a freewill offering from the herd or from the flock, to be accepted it must have been perfect; there was to be no blemish in it.’ (Lev. 22:21) The animal sacrifices, therefore, picture, the human sacrifice that was to come, in that, he too would have to be perfect and without blemish. In this, he would actually be an equivalent, a corresponding ransom, as Adam was a perfect human, so too, the ransom to remove sin would have to be a perfect human. This enabled that human sacrifice to pay the price of redemption that would remove Adamic sin, inherited imperfection, from any human placing their trust in the human, who had made such a sacrifice.

Adam had sold his descendants into enslavement to their fallen flesh, as everyone who came after Adam is human imperfection and a slave to sin. (Rom. 7:25) By the human offering paying the price of redemption, he released Adam’s offspring from sin and death. The apostle Paul wrote, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.” (Eph. 1:7, ESV) The apostle Paul even said of himself, “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin.” (Rom. 7:14) David sang, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,[16] and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Therefore, God’s perfect justice had to be satisfied, the one that called for a like for like, as in a “life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, and foot for foot.” – Exodus 21:23-25; Deuteronomy 19:21.

God’s perfect justice does not allow humankind to provide their own redeemer. “Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life, for the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice.” (Psa. 49:6-9, ESV) ‘God showed his love for us in that while we were still sinners, he offered his Son for us.’ (Rom. 5:6-8) This required the Son coming to earth, to be born as a perfect human, to be the equivalent of Adam, a corresponding ransom. Therefore, the Father, in a way we will never fully understand, placed the Son’s life in the womb of Mary, a young Jewish virgin girl. (Lu 1:26-37; John 1:14) Jesus did not have a human father from which imperfection could be carried over into him. Moreover, while Mary was imperfect and could pass on sin to any offspring, in this instance, the Holy Spirit came upon her, and the power of the Most High overshadow her, protecting the baby in her womb.

Therefore, Jesus was born holy and could be called the Son of God. It is “the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot,” which redeemed humanity from sin and death. (Lu 1:35; John 1:29; 1 Pet 1:18-19) While David was born into sin (as all of humanity has been), this was not true of Jesus. However, Jesus was fully human, so he could ‘sympathize with our weaknesses, and one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.’ (Heb. 4:15) Yes, Jesus’ entire human life was as a perfect human, just as Adam’s had been prior to eating from the forbidden tree. Jesus’ human life was ‘holy, innocent, unstained, and separated from sinners.’ (Heb. 7:26) Humanity had been under another Father, Satan the Devil, after Adam rejected God in the Garden of Eden. (Gen 3:1-6; John 8:44) However, through his ransom ‘death Jesus destroyed the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and had delivered all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.’ (Heb. 2:14-15) This is why Isaiah could refer to him prophetically as “Eternal Father.” – Isaiah 9:6.

The New Testament makes it all too clear that Jesus’ perfect human life was given as a price to satisfy justice and redeem humankind from sin and death. Paul tells us that we “were bought with a price.” (1 Cor. 6:20; 7:23) Paul often begins his letters “Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus,” as Jesus bought us from Satan the Devil, from condemnation and death, as Peter states, Jesus is the “the Master who bought” us. (Rom. 1:1; 2 Pet. 2.1) Jesus was ‘slain, and by his blood he ransomed [bought] people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.’ (Rev. 5:9, ESV) In the above texts, we find the Greek word agorazo, which means “literally buy, purchase, do business in the marketplace (MT 13.44); figuratively, as being no longer controlled by sin set free; from the analogy of buying a slave’s freedom for a price paid by a benefactor redeem (1C 6.20).”[17] The related exagorazo (to release by purchase) means, “To buy up, i.e., ransom, fig. to rescue from loss.”[18] Paul said that Jesus ‘redeemed [exagorazo][19] those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.’ Paul speaks of the curse that the Jews and all of humanity was under, when he says, “Christ redeemed [exagorazo][20] us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.” (Gal. 4:5; 3:13) However, the Greek word more often used for redemption and ransoming is lytron, which more fully expresses the intended meaning as well.

Lytron is “the means or instrument by which release or deliverance is made possible–‘means of release, ransom.”[21] The Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament says of lytron, “as a price paid for release from slavery or captivity ransom; figuratively, of the cost to Christ in providing deliverance from sin price of release, ransom, means of setting free.”[22] (See Heb. 11:35) Lytron describes Christ as “the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his soul as a ransom [lytron] for many.” (Matt 20:28; Mark 10:45) The related word antilytron appears at 1 Timothy 2:6.

If we look at 1 Timothy 2:5-6, it says in part, “the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom [antilytron] for all.” The Greek wordantilytron appears nowhere else in the Bible. It is related to the word that Jesus used for ransom (lytron) at Mark 10:45. The Greekantilytron broken down from anti means “against; in correspondence to; “instead of;” “in place of,” and lytron means “ransom [i.e., price paid]”) “The Greek implies not merely ransom, but a substituted or equivalent ransom: the Greek preposition, ‘anti,’ implying reciprocity and vicarious substitution.”[23] The Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible in volume 4 states: that of antilytron “The word “ransom” (lutron and antilutron) occurs only three times (Matt. 20:28=Mark 10:45; 1 Tim.2:6), but its occurrence in the first two of these passages is nevertheless of fundamental importance for understanding Jesus’ own conception of his death as a redemptive act. He gives a new depth to the concept of redemption by associating with it the idea – derived from Isa. 53:5 – 6, 10 – of a substitutionary sacrifice.”[24] The reason this is the case is that we are talking about the equivalent price of one perfect human for another perfect human. Thus, this was a means for God’s principal attribute justice to be satisfied.

Another related word is lytroomai to release or set free, with the implied analogy to the process of freeing a slave—‘to set free, to liberate, to deliver, liberation, deliverance.’[25] Paul wrote to Titus that Jesus “gave himself for us to redeem [lytroomai] us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” (Tit 2:14, ESV) Peter states that we can know that we were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from our forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” (1 Pet. 1:18-19) Another related word is apolytrosis, which means, “‘buying back’ a slave or captive, i.e. ‘making free’ by payment of a ransom.”[26] Paul writes of Jesus, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.” (Eph. 1:7, 14; Col. 1:14) The basic fact of bot the Hebrew and Greek terms are (1) a redeeming or ransoming, i.e., deliverance, (2) brought about by a payment, (3) consisting of a corresponding equivalency.

Even though the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ is made available to anyone who wishes to avail himself or herself to it, not all respond to the invitation. Jesus himself said, “The one trusting[27] in the Son has eternal life, but the one who disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” (John 3:36) The point here is that Jesus’ ransom covers the Adamic inherited sin of every person and all that it entails. Everyone has the opportunity of choosing life over death, the ransom is made available, but it can be rejected. Moreover, it can be accepted and later rejected as well. “As sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” – Romans 5:21.

Hebrews 10:26-29 Updated American Standard Version (USV)

26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?

Contrasted with,

Romans 5:9-10 Updated American Standard Version (ASV)

9 Much more then, having now been justified by his blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

Just as one could not ransom a willful murderer under the Mosaic Law, Adam willfully murdered humanity with his rejection of God’s sovereignty. (Rom. 5:12) Under this Scriptural point, it would seem that Adam could not be ransomed by the sacrificed life of Jesus. Nevertheless, we can be thankful that every descendant of Adam has an opportunity to be ransomed by Jesus sacrifice. Paul wrote, “So, then, as through one trespass there was condemnation to all men, so too through one act of righteousness there was justification of life to all men. For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one the many will be made righteous.” (Rom 5:18-19) Thus, it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. (1 Cor. 15:45) This arrangement evidences the wisdom of God and his righteously satisfying justice while at the same time showing mercy and grace, in his forgiving our sins.

Romans 3:21-26 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by his grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in his blood through faith. This was to demonstrate his righteousness, because in the forbearance of God he passed over the sins previously committed; 26 it was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.


Universal Salvation

Universal Salvation, Christian Universalism, or simply Universalism is the doctrine that all sinful persons, who are alienated from God, because of God’s great divine love and mercy, will eventually be reconciled to God. Bible Scholar Richard Bauckham outlines the history of universal salvation,

The history of the doctrine of universal salvation (or apokatastasis) is a remarkable one. Until the nineteenth century, almost all Christian theologians taught the reality of eternal torment in hell. Here and there, outside the theological mainstream, were some who believed that the wicked would be finally annihilated (in its commonest form, this is the doctrine of ‘conditional immortality’).[28] Even fewer were the advocates of universal salvation, though these few included some major theologians of the early church. Eternal punishment was firmly asserted in official creeds and confessions of the churches. It must have seemed as indispensable a part of universal Christian belief as the doctrines of the Trinity and the incarnation. Since 1800 this situation has entirely changed, and no traditional Christian doctrine has been so widely abandoned as that of eternal punishment. Its advocates among theologians today must be fewer than ever before. The alternative interpretation of hell as annihilation seems to have prevailed even among many of the more conservative theologians. Among the less conservative, universal salvation, either as hope or as dogma, is now so widely accepted that many theologians assume it virtually without argument.[29]

“Modern Universalists claim that this doctrine is contained in the New Testament in the teachings of Jesus, and conforms to the laws of nature as taught by science and sanctioned by reason and philosophy.”[30] One reason behind the Universalist mindset is, there dislike of the hellfire doctrine,[31] where the sinner is punished, i.e., tormented for an eternity. For the Universalist, eternal torment for one, who is born imperfect, with a natural desire toward sin, which Genesis argues is mentally bent toward wickedness, and has a heart, which is treacherous and unknowable, would be a sign of injustice, and an unloving God.

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The Salvation Debate

 1 Corinthians 15:25, 28 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to him, so that God may be all in all.

The Good News Translations renders that last clause and prepositional phrase, “God will rule completely over all.” The Universalist would say that if God were going to “be all in all or if “God will rule completely over all” he would need to reconcile all humans to himself eventually. Another text often used by the Universalist.

Philippians 2:10-11 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Here the Universalist would argue that if “every knee should to bow” “and every tongue confess,” it must follow that every human that has lived up unto the time of Christ’s return will be reconciled to God in the end.

They would also point to,

Romans 5:18 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

18 So, then, as through one trespass there was condemnation to all men, so too through one act of righteousness there was justification of life to all men.

“One trespass”–“One act of righteousness”


“All men [in Adam]”–“All men [in Christ]”

It would seem at first that this text is a perfect balance, in that Adam’s one sinful act contributed to all of humanity inheriting sin and imperfection, and Christ’s one act as a ransom sacrifice would contribute to all of humanity receiving life. Before delving into a response for these verses, let us see what the Bible teaches. First, though, just know that, when we have a few Scriptures that appear to be in opposition to many Scriptures, we likely do not understand the few correctly.

The Bible Teaches

 The Scriptures, which make all too clear that some will not be receiving salvation, are so abundant from Genesis to Revelation. Adam committed the most egregious sin of any human alive, as he, in essence, murdered billions of humans, by his rebellion. For this reason, Adam was told, “for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” (Gen. 3:19) Revelation 21:8 says, “But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” There is not one verse in the Bible that speaks of redemption or a resurrection from “the second death.”

Matthew 25:46 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

46 And these will go away into eternal punishment,[32] but the righteous into eternal life.”

Kolasin “akin to kolazoo[33] “This means ‘to cut short,’ ‘to lop,’ ‘to trim,’ and figuratively a. ‘to impede,’ ‘restrain,’ and b. ‘to punish,’ and in the passive ‘to suffer loss.’[34] The first part of the sentence is only in harmony with the second part of the sentence, if the eternal punishment is eternal death. The wicked receive eternal death and the righteous eternal life. We might note that Matthews Gospel was primarily for the Jewish Christians, and under the Mosaic Law, God would punish those who violated the law, saying they “shall be cut off [penalty of death] from Israel.” (Ex 12:15; Lev 20:2-3) We need further to consider,

2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These ones will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, from before the Lord[35] and from the glory of his strength,

Notice that Paul says, the punishment for the wicked is “eternal destruction.” Many times in talking with those that support the position of eternal torment in some hellfire, they will add a word to Matthew 25:46 in their paraphrase of the verse, ‘conscious eternal punishment.’ However, Jesus does not tell us what the eternal punishment is, just that it is a punishment and it is eternal. Therefore, those who support eternal conscious fiery torment will read the verse to mean just that, while those, who hold to the position of eternal destruction, will take Matthew 25:46 to mean that. Considering that Jesus does not define what the eternal punishment is, this verse is not a proof text for either side of the hellfire argument.

 Hebrews 2:14 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

14 Therefore, since the children share in blood and flesh, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he could destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,

Yes, Jesus’ ransom sacrifice will cause the destruction of Satan the Devil. The unrighteous, also known as the wicked within the Bible are “vessels of wrath prepared for destruction.” (Rom 9:22) Yes, “the years of the wicked are cut short.” (Pro 10:27) According to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, olothreuo means “‘to destroy,’ especially in the sense of slaying, while “katargeo” means, “to reduce to inactivity.” In addition, apollumi signifies “to destroy utterly.”

The Universalist likes to stress one quality of God, taking it beyond its balanced limits, that is mercy. However, they ignore the other quality that mercy is balanced with, namely justice. God had clearly told Adam, “of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Gen. 2:17) The apostle Paul tells us, “The wages of sin is death.” (Rom. 6:23) The prophet Ezekiel recorded God as saying, “the soul [person] who sins shall die.” (Eze. 18:4, 20) God is selective in his mercy/justice, as he said, “I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.” (Ex 33:19) God has provide the ransom sacrifice of his Son (Matt 20:28), to cover over Adamic sin, not the willful unrepentant practicing of sin. – Hebrews 6:4; 10:26; 2 Peter 2:21.

 Where did the Universalist go wrong? As they overplayed the mercy, while downplaying justice, they also overemphasize the God of love. (1 John 4:8) They are unable to wrap their mind around the God of love, who also possess the quality of justice, and even seeks vengeance on behalf of the righteous, which were treated wickedly.

However, it is also the unbiblical doctrine of hellfire and eternal torment, which moved them emotionally into another unbiblical doctrine, universal salvation. They would have been wiser to set aside the eternal torment in a burning hell as being unbiblical; recognizing that punishment for one’s actions that fit the offense is biblical. The position of the Annihilationist is that of eternal destruction as a punishment, which does not involve an eternal conscious torment, as it would not be compatible with the God of love, nor his justice.[36]

Exodus 21:24 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,

Another possibility as to why they hold to the position of universal salvation is the other unbiblical doctrine of the immortality of all souls. This belief is that once God created a human being, bring him or her into existence, they must live forever in some fashion (physical or spiritual body), and in some place (earth, heaven, or hell). Since the Universalist arrived at the correct conclusion that God would not torture an imperfect human, who sinned for 70-80 years, by burning him forever, they just removed the place of hell (wrongly thought of as a place of eternal torment) from the equation, and accepted that all would eventually be reconciled to God. They could have simply looked at the original language words, and rightly concluded that the Hebrew sheol and Greek hades are not places of eternal torment, but rather the gravedom of mankind, with the punishment being eternal death.

Athanasia lit., “deathlessness” (a, negative, thanatos, “death”), is rendered “immortality” in 1 Cor. 15:53, 54, of the glorified body of the believer.” (Vine 1996, Volume 2, Page 321) There are no verses within the Bible, which say that every human has an inherent quality of immortality. Rather, as we have already seen, Adam was sentenced to death for rebelling against God, as well as God himself said by way of his authors, “The soul that sins shall die” and “the wages of sin is death.”

 Romans 6:23 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift[37] of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

If every human were created with absolute eternal life within him or her; then, there would be no gift for God to give. God has given humanity free will and the right to choose. He said to the Israelites, who wanted to be his people, “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live” (Deut. 30:19) In other words, man can choose to live by the righteous laws of his Creator, or he can choose to lose his life in a rebellion against his Creator. God’s justice does not allow him to have wicked persons living forever among the righteous. Adam and Eve did not fully appreciate what God had done for them, such as the eternal life he set before them, a paradise garden that they were to grow until it encompassed the entire earth, and filling the earth with perfect descendants; therefore, they returned to the dust that they came from. The same exact choice is before each of us.

What about Philippians 2:10-11, “so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” A day is coming when all of the wicked will receive their punishment of everlasting destruction. Therefore, all who are alive on earth and in heaven will be submitting themselves to the sovereignty of God. Then, the verse will hold true, ‘every knee will bow,’ ‘and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.’ Thus, the knees and the tongues of the unrighteous, rebellious ones will no longer be in existence, as they will have been destroyed.

What about the argument of Romans 5:18 that Adam’s one sinful act contributed to all of humanity inheriting sin and imperfection, and Christ one act as a ransom sacrifice would contribute to all of humanity receiving life. As was stated earlier, when you have a couple verses that seem to be in conflict with many verses from Genesis to Revelation, it means that you are likely misunderstanding the couple of verses. The Scripters clearly show that only the righteous receive life. Adam was not forced to received eternal life; it was a gift from God, which was based upon his remaining faithful. Therefore, when he rejected that gift and was unfaithful, the gift of life was taken away. Thus, the same would hold true for Adam’s descendants as well. – Ezekiel 18:31-32.

 As you will see, “all” in Greek does not necessarily mean “all.” The Greek word behind “all” is pan, which comes in various forms. 1 John 2:2 says that Jesus is a covering “for the sins of the whole world.”[38] Paul says at 1 Timothy 2:6 that Jesus “gave himself as a ransom for all [pantōn, all (ones)].” Romans 5:18 says, ‘Christ’s one act as a ransom sacrifice would contribute to all [pantas] of humanity receiving life.’ Titus 2:10 says, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all [pasin] men.” While this seems quite clear on the surface, it is not really so. What do we do with the other verses that say only redeemable humankind will receive salvation, that is, those that repent and turnaround from their former course. (Acts 17:30, John 3:16, 1 Jn. 5:12)

Yes, not all is so black and white, once the interpreter looks beneath the surface. Many times the Greek word (panta) rendered “all” is often used in a hyperbolic sense. For example, at Luke 21:29, in speaking of a parable, it is said, “Look at the fig tree (suke), and all the trees. (panta ta dendra)” While the literal translation seems nonsensical, this is what pushes the reader to look deeper. The Good News Translation gives us the meaning in “Think of the fig tree and all the other trees.” “Other” is not in the Greek, but English translations add words to complete the sense in the English. Regardless, the “all” in many verses, including these, is being used hyperbolically.

In Acts 2:17, Peter at Pentecost speaks of the prophecy in the Old Testament book of Joel, saying, “And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all [pasan] flesh.” Was the Spirit poured out literally on all flesh at Pentecost? No, it was only 120 initially, and eventually a few thousand, out of millions then alive. Repeatedly when the term “all” is used in the Greek New Testament, “all” is not literally meant as “all,” but rather hyperbolically to emphasize. It can have the sense of “all others,” “all sorts, “all kinds,” and so on. Keep in mind that God did pour his Spirit out on ‘sons and daughters, young men and old men, even on my male slaves and on my female slaves.’

Another example would be at Luke 11:42, which reads, “But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every [pan] herb, and neglect justice and the love of God.” It should be noted that both the mint and the rue are herbs. Thus, the GNT[39] renders it, “all the other herbs.” While this author accepts the literal translations as being closest to the Word of God in English,[40] they can infer that that the mint and rue are not herbs, while the dynamic equivalent translations clear it up.

Unbiblical Teaching

The universal salvation position that all humans will eventually be reconciled to God, receiving salvation, is unbiblical. God has given humanity free will, and as free moral persons, they have the ability to reject his sovereignty. Moreover, if universal salvation were true, it would be at odds with the very reason God allowed humanity to go on after the sin of Adam, as opposed to just starting over. Satan had challenged the sovereignty of God and the integrity of humans, saying that they would not remain faithful to God, if they faced adversity. If all, were to be saved anyway (including Satan), why would God have bothered to direct Satan’s attention to the integrity of Job, pointing out that humans can choose to be faithful in adverse times?

Universal salvation is a feel-good unbiblical doctrine that our imperfect flesh wants to be true, and Satan wants us to accept as true. It allows us to not be concerned about our actions or deeds, as one will receive salvation regardless. What they are doing is removing integrity and faithfulness from the equation. However, Like Adam, who betrayed God, Like Judas Iscariot, who betrayed the Son of God, and all the rest, who have rejected God,

Hebrews 6:4-6 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put him to public shame.

Jesus, in speaking to the Father about his disciples, said,

John 17:12 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition,[41] so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.

The apostle Paul made it all too clear, as to the outcome of willful unrepentant sinners,

Hebrews 10:26-31 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the accurate knowledge[42] of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.”[43] And again, “The Lord will judge his people.”[44] 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

There have been many goodhearted self-declared Christians from the second to the twenty-first century, who have held to the unbiblical position of universal salvation. Again, this is not a biblical teaching. While it is true that “God is love” (1 John 4:8), it is just as true that he is a God of “justice” (Isa. 33:22; Ps 33:5; Job 37:23) As a God of love, he gives us free moral agents the choice between life and death, if we choose to live under his sovereignty, we receive eternal life. As a God of Justice, if we choose to reject his sovereignty, he rejects us, and we receive eternal destruction.

Review Questions

  • What are the various Hebrew and Greek words that deal with ransom and redeem?
  • Explain the Law of Atonement.
  • Explain Redemption and Redeemer.
  • How is the ransom not always a tangible price?
  • Explain the Ransom of Jesus Christ.
  • Explain the related word antilytron at 1 Timothy 2:6.
  • Explain how it is possible that one can reject the ransom and one that has accepted it can reject it thereafter.
  • Explain Universal Salvation
  • Explain the salvation debate



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[1] R. Laird Harris, “1023 כָפַר,” ed. R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999), 452-3.

[2] W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996), 506–507.

[3] W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996), 545.

[4] William B. Coker, “1734 פָּדָה,” ed. R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999), 716.

[5] Ludwig Koehler et al., The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (Leiden; New York: E.J. Brill, 1999), 913.

[6] (Harris, Archer and Waltke 1999, c1980, TWOT Number 300a, page 145)

[7] Anders, Max; Butler, Trent (2002-04-01). Holman Old Testament Commentary – Isaiah (pp. 351-352). B&H Publishing. Kindle Edition.

[8] W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996), 515.

[9] Or “Your God Reigns!”

[10] I.e., Redeemer

[11] Lit dust

[12] Lit eat from it

[13] Lit., dying you [singular] shall die. Heb., moth tamuth; the first reference to death in the Scriptures

[14] Lit not as the trespass, so also the free gift

[15] Lit a declaring of righteous

[16] Iniquity (awon) “signifies an offense, intentional or not, against God’s law.” This meaning is also most basic to the word [chattat], “sin,” in the Old Testament, and for this reason the words [chattat] and [awon] are virtually synonymous.” (VCEDONTW, Volume 1, Page 122) Iniquity is anything not in harmony with God’s personality, standards, ways, and will, which mars one’s relationship with God.

[17] Timothy Friberg, Barbara Friberg, and Neva F. Miller, Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament, Baker’s Greek New Testament Library (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2000), 33.

[18] Robert L. Thomas, New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries : Updated Edition (Anaheim: Foundation Publications, Inc., 1998).

[19] Lit he might by out

[20] Lit bought out

[21] Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 487.

[22] Timothy Friberg, Barbara Friberg, and Neva F. Miller, Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament, Baker’s Greek New Testament Library (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2000), 249.

[23] Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown, Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, vol. 2 (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 408.

[24] Dentan, R. C. The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible. Edited by George Arthur Butrick. Vol. 4. 4 vols. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1962, Volume 4, page 22.

[25] Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 487.

[26] William Arndt, Frederick W. Danker, and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 117.

[27] The grammatical construction of pisteuo “believe” followed by eis “into” plus the accusative causing a different shade of meaning, having faith into Jesus.

[28] For details see L. E. Froom, The Conditionalist Faith of Our Fathers (Washington, DC: Review and Herald, 1965–1966).

[29] Richard Bauckham, “Universalism: a historical survey”, Themelios 4.2 (September 1978): 47–54.

[30] Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2006. © 1993-2005 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

[31] Please see Volume 1 of this series, Basic Teachings of the Bible, article titled, Is Hell a Place of eternal Torment.

[32] That is eternal cutting off, from life. Lit., “lopping off; pruning.”

[33] W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996), 498.

[34] Gerhard Kittel, Gerhard Friedrich, and Geoffrey William Bromiley, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 1985), 451.

[35] Lit from before the face of the Lord

[36] http://bible-translation.net/page/is-hell-a-place-of-eternal-torment

[37] Lit gracious gift; Gr kharisma

[38] This verse is included because it convey the same message, but it does not contain the Greek pan. Rather, it has holos, meaning “whole, complete, entirely.”

[39] Good News Translation (GNT)

[40] The literal translations are the best for both Bible reading and personal Bible study, and the ambiguity of this text would be cleared up for those who research.

[41] Or son of destruction

[42] Epignosis is a strengthened or intensified form of gnosis (epi, meaning “additional”), meaning, “true,” “real,” “full,” “complete” or “accurate,” depending upon the context. Paul and Peter alone use epignosis.

[43] Quote from Deut. 32:35

[44] Quote from Deut. 32:36

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