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Pamphlets
by Andrew Lansdown
One for All
A Son to the war
Becoming a Christian
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Sons Laid Down Their Lives
An Accurate Diagnosis
Starting again
Following hard after God
Starving our children
The first duty of fatherhood
The origin of fatherhood
An Easter Song
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For This Purpose
In royal David's city
God's Placard
Believing the Bible: the issue of inerrancy
Marriage according to scripture
A biblical perspective on prostitution
Prostitution and social justice
Abortion: A biblical perspective
If people were dogs & other false arguments for euthanasia
How porn harms us
How Green is God?
Evolution?
Christians and Politics
When Christians Take Their Lives
The High Kings Watchmen
One for All

 

by Andrew Lansdown

Christianity is an inclusive religion. In the fundamental matters of origin, nature, worth, sin and judgment, the Christian faith includes everyone in the same category. It maintains that: all people have been created by God; all people bear the image of God; all people are precious to God; all people have done things that are wrong in God’s eyes; and all people face God’s judgment because of their wrongdoing. In all these matters, Christianity makes no distinction or exclusion on the basis of ethnicity, gender, class or colour.

The Christian faith is particularly concerned with the universal predicament of mankind. And the predicament is not only that all people are sinners and consequently under threat of judgment—it is also that all people are helpless and consequently in need of a Saviour.

The Christian solution to the human predicament is called the “gospel”, the “good news”. And the gospel can be summarised in this way: God desires all people to be saved, and so he sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world, so that everyone who believes in him will be saved. Each part of this summary accords with God’s word, the Bible, and is worthy of further consideration.

God’s inclusive desire

The first part of Christianity’s good news involves God’s yearning for the eternal welfare of all people. Many passages in the Bible highlight God’s all-inclusive desire:

  • God himself urges, “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth” (Isaiah 45:22).*
  • God also declares, “I take no pleasure in the death of anyone … Repent and live!” (Ezekiel 18:32).
  • Again God declares, “I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways!” (Ezekiel 33:11).
  • The apostle Paul states, “God our Saviour … wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4).
  • The apostle Peter states, “The Lord … is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

No one is excluded from God’s desire to save sinners. He wants all people to turn to him so that they might enjoy eternal life.

God’s inclusive provision

God loves all people and desires their salvation. But this is not where the matter ends. God did not merely desire our eternal welfare and then do nothing about it. On the contrary, he sent his own Son, Jesus, to make amends for our sins by his death on the cross.

The second part of the Christian good news, then, is that in Jesus God has provided a Saviour for all people everywhere. Again, many passages in the Bible highlight God’s all-inclusive provision:

  • The prophet Isaiah says of Jesus, “the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).
  • John the Baptist says of Jesus, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).
  • Paul says of Jesus, “we are convinced that one died for all … he died for all” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).
  • Paul also says that Jesus “gave himself as a ransom for all men” (1 Timothy 2:6).
  • Again Paul says that Jesus became a man “so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone” (Hebrews 2:9).
  • The apostle John says, “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2).
  • John also says, “the Father has sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world” (1 John 4:14).

No one is excluded from God’s provision for sinners. He sent Jesus to die for the sins of everyone.

God’s inclusive invitation

God desires all to be saved, and to that end he sent his Son to be the Saviour of all. Yet salvation is not automatically given to anyone, but must be personally accepted by faith. To encourage this, God extends an invitation to all people to have faith in his Son.

The third part of the Christian good news, then, is that God invites everyone to come to Jesus to be saved. Again, many passages in the Bible highlight God’s all-inclusive invitation:

  • The Lord Jesus himself declares, “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
  • Jesus invites, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
  • Peter says, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Acts 2:21).
  • Peter also says, “everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name” (Acts 10:43).
  • Paul says, “if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. … As the Scripture says, ‘Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.’ For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’” (Romans 10:9-13).
  • John says, “Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life” (Revelation 22:17).

No one is excluded from God’s invitation to come to Jesus as Saviour. Everyone is invited, and those who respond in repentance and faith are assured of forgiveness of sins, rest for their souls and eternal life.

God’s exclusive way

God invites all people to trust in his Son as their Saviour. Those who accept God’s invitation will be saved. Those who reject his invitation will not be saved. The inclusiveness of Christianity unavoidably turns to exclusiveness at this point.

Jesus is unique. He alone has done all that God requires for our salvation, so he alone can save us. Many passages in the Bible highlight the uniqueness of Jesus as Saviour and reveal him to be the exclusive way to God:

  • Jesus himself declares, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
  • Jesus also says, “he who rejects me rejects him who sent me” (Luke 10:16).
  • Peter says, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
  • Paul says, “there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).
  • John says, “No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also” (1 John 2:23).
  • John also says, “God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:11-12).

According to the plain teaching of the Bible, only Jesus can save us from judgment and reconcile us to God. In all the earth there is no other name to call upon for salvation.

Some people take offence at the Christian claim that Jesus is the only one. But why should they, since he is the only one for everyone? None are excluded—none except those who exclude themselves by refusing to come to Jesus that they might have life.

Since God sent Jesus to be the Saviour of all people, it is perfectly reasonable that he requires all people to trust in Jesus to be saved. One for all is God’s provision: all for one is his proviso.

Conclusion

God desires all people to be saved, and so he sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world, so that everyone who believes in him will be saved. This is the good news, the gospel of hope at the heart of the Christian faith.

And it is good news for everyone. God has no favourites. He sent one for all. And that one is Jesus.


Copyright Andrew Lansdown 2005
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