Who Will Have All Men to be Saved

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  • Who Will Have All Men to be Saved

    In 1 Timothy 2:3-6, it appears as though man has a free will to choose salvation because God is willing to have all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. I know from Scriptures that He has predestined who is saved and who goes to the lake of fire, so how do we look at this verse? I have some answers, but am not totally satisfied with what I think. At the same time I know that the Bible does not contradict itself. I am looking for understanding as to what this verse means with respect to the rest of Scripture, which teaches predestination. It is also true of 2 Peter 3:9. My response is that He is addressing His own, and not those of the Devil, but He says all men to be saved. I have other responses too, but I am curious to see what might be more solid in what these verses are really teaching.

  • #2
    Here you go Strat. There are actually many articles in our database concerning these Scriptures. Consider these commentaries:

    By the way I disagree with you having said, "I know from Scriptures that He has predestined who is saved and who goes to the lake of fire." Perhaps you can elaborate after considering:

    In the Reformed view God from all eternity decrees some to election and positively intervenes in their lives to work regeneration and faith by a monergistic work of grace. To the non-elect God withholds this monergistic work of grace, passing them by and leaving them to themselves. He does not monergistically work sin or unbelief in their lives. Even in the case of the "hardening" of the sinners' already recalcitrant hearts, God does not, as Luther stated, "work evil in us (for hardening is working evil) by creating fresh evil in us."

    Luther continued:

    When men hear us say that God works both good and evil in us, and that we are subject to God's working by mere passive necessity, they seem to imagine a man who is in himself good, and not evil, having an evil work wrought in him by God; for they do not sufficiently bear in mind how incessantly active God is in all His creatures, allowing none of them to keep holiday. He who would understand these matters, however, should think thus: God works evil in us (that is, by means of us) not through God's own fault, but by reason of our own defect. We being evil by nature, and God being good, when He impels us to act by His own acting upon us according to the nature of His omnipotence, good though He is in Himself, He cannot but do evil by our evil instrumentality; although, according to His wisdom, He makes good use of this evil for His own glory and for our salvation.
    Thus, the mode of operation in the lives of the elect is not parallel with that operation in the lives of the reprobate. God works regeneration monergistically but never sin.

    R.C. Sproul

    Foreordination to Reprobation

    In spite of the distinction of positive-negative with respect to the mode of God's activity toward the elect and the reprobate, we are left with the thorny question of God predestinating the reprobate. If God in any sense predestines or foreordains reprobation, doesn't this make the rejection of Christ by the reprobate absolutely certain and inevitable? And if the reprobate's reprobation is certain in light of predestination, doesn't this make God responsible for the sin of the reprobate? We must answer the first question in the affirmative, and the second in the negative.

    If God foreordains anything, it is absolutely certain that what He foreordains will come to pass. The purpose of God can never be frustrated. Even God's foreknowledge or prescience makes future events certain with respect to time. That is to say, if God knows on Tuesday that I will drive to Pittsburgh on Friday, then there is no doubt that, come Friday, I will drive to Pittsburgh. Otherwise God's knowledge would have been in error. Yet, there is a significant difference between God's knowing that I would drive to Pittsburgh and God's ordaining that I would do so. Theoretically He could know of a future act without ordaining it, but He could not ordain it without knowing what it is that He is ordaining. But in either case, the future event would be certain with respect to time and the knowledge of God.

    Luther, in discussing the traitorous act of Judas, says:

    Have I not put on record in many books that I am talking about necessity of immutability? I know that the Father begets willingly, and that Judas betrayed Christ willingly. My point is that this act of the will in Judas was certainly and infallibly bound to take place, if God foreknew it. That is to say (if my meaning is not yet grasped), I distinguish two necessities: one I call necessity of force (necessitatem violentam), referring to action; the other I call necessity of infallibility (necessitatem infallibilem), referring to time. Let him who hears me understand that I am speaking of the latter, not the former; that is, I am not discussing whether Judas became a traitor willingly or unwillingly, but whether it was infallibly bound to come to pass that Judas should willingly betray Christ at a time predetermined by God.

    We see then, that what God knows in advance comes to pass by necessity or infallibly or necessity of immutability. But what about His foreordaining or predestinating what comes to pass? If God foreordains reprobation does this not obliterate the distinction between positive-negative and involve a necessity of force? If God foreordains reprobation does this not mean that God forces, compels, or coerces the reprobate to sin? Again the answer must be negative.

    If God, when He is decreeing reprobation, does so in consideration of the reprobate's being already fallen, then He does not coerce him to sin. To be reprobate is to be left in sin, not pushed or forced to sin. If the decree of reprobation were made without a view to the fall, then the objection to double predestination would be valid and God would be properly charged with being the author of sin. But Reformed theologians have been careful to avoid such a blasphemous notion.

    Berkouwer states the boundaries of the discussion clearly:

    On the one hand, we want to maintain the freedom of God in election, and on the other hand, we want to avoid any conclusion which would make God the cause of sin and unbelief.

    God's decree of reprobation, given in light of the fall, is a decree to justice, not injustice. In this view the biblical a priori that God is neither the cause nor the author of sin is safeguarded. Turrettini says, "We have proved the object of predestination to be man considered as fallen, sin ought necessarily to be supposed as the condition in him who is reprobated, no less than him who is elected." He writes elsewhere:

    The negative act includes two, both preterition, by which in the election of some as well to glory as to grace, he neglected and slighted others, which is evident from the event of election, and negative desertion, by which he left them in the corrupt mass and in their misery; which, however, is as to be understood, 1. That they are not excepted from the laws of common providence, but remain subject to them, nor are immediately deprived of all God's favor, but only of the saving and vivifying which is the fruit of election, 2. That preterition and desertion; not indeed from the nature of preterition and desertion itself, and the force of the denied grace itself, but from the nature of the corrupt free will, and the force of corruption in it; as he who does not cure the disease of a sick man, is not the cause per se of the disease, nor of the results flowing from it; so sins are the consequents, rather than the effects of reprobation, necessarily bringing about the futurition of the event, but yet not infusing nor producing the wickedness.

    The importance of viewing the decree of reprobation in light of the fall is seen in the on-going discussions between Reformed theologians concerning infra- and supra-lapsarianism. Both viewpoints include the fall in God's decree. Both view the decree of preterition in terms of divine permission. The real issue between the positions concerns the logical order of the decrees. In the supralapsarian view the decree of election and reprobation is logically prior to the decree to permit the fall. In the infralapsarian view the decree to permit the fall is logically prior to the decree to election and reprobation.

    Though this writer favors the infralapsarian view along the lines developed by Turrettini, it is important to note that both views see election and reprobation in light of the fall and avoid the awful conclusion that God is the author of sin. Both views protect the boundaries Berkouwer mentions.

    Only in a positive-positive schema of predestination does double-predestination leave us with a capricious deity whose sovereign decrees manifest a divine tyranny. Reformed theology has consistently eschewed such a hyper-supralapsarianism. Opponents of Calvinism, however, persistently caricature the straw man of hyper-supralapsarianism, doing violence to the Reformed faith and assaulting the dignity of God's sovereignty.

    We rejoice in the biblical clarity which reveals God's sovereignty in majestic terms. We rejoice in the knowledge of divine mercy and grace that go to such extremes to redeem the elect. We rejoice that God's glory and honor are manifested both in His mercy and in His justice.
    God bless,
    William
    Comment>

    • #3
      Originally posted by William View Post
      In the Reformed view God from all eternity decrees some to election and positively intervenes in their lives to work regeneration and faith by a monergistic work of grace. To the non-elect God withholds this monergistic work of grace, passing them by and leaving them to themselves. He does not monergistically work sin or unbelief in their lives. Even in the case of the "hardening" of the sinners' already recalcitrant hearts, God does not, as Luther stated, "work evil in us (for hardening is working evil) by creating fresh evil in us."
      I agree with this quote, as this is my belief also. How I stated it was just misunderstood.

      Now as for being foreordained to damnation, yes, at this point in time I must believe it based on Revelation 13:8, regarding "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." Here we see the foreordination of Jesus having to die for the sins of man before man was even created yet, or the world for that matter. It was foreordained that Adam and Eve would sin, thus putting all of mankind in a state of condemnation and the only way out being by the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, or Jesus as He is later known by name. God created the sinner in a clean state, but not incoruptible. He defined sin through the law and His commandments. God does the righteous things, but man does the sinning, from the foundation of the world. So, I disagree that God does not predestine who goes to perdition. By process of elimination, for one reason and as I reported regarding Revelation 13:8 for another. God knows all things, who is saved and who is damned. He can only have foreknowledge by being in total control of His creation, which He is. God is all-powerful, yet does not save everyone, though He could. But by leaving man in an already condemned state as opposed to forcing them to sin, God does not sin; he merely doesn't stop the sin of the non-elect.
      Last edited by Stratcat; 08-09-2015, 04:44 AM.
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      • #4
        1 Timothy 2:3-6 refers to all kinds of men, such as kings and commoners. It doesn't mean each and every man.

        2 Peter 3:9 has an even narrower meaning. It means Jewish believers of the Old Covenant before the destruction of Jerusalem.
        Comment>

        • #5
          Not that I doubt what you conclude, Cornelius, but could you elaborate a little on how you came to know what you say is true about each verse, from Scripture? I am not being skeptical, just looking for a clearer picture of what you started out with. I'm trying to learn something thorough enough to keep the free will people from being able to use these verses to justify their belief. Thanks. Also, I am going to look into the commentaries that William sent as well, as they are liable to open my eyes to things I never thought of before.
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          • #6
            Consider two points, all men are not saved and God can do anything he desires. If you'll accept these, then I'll skip supplying verses to support them.

            Given our two points, what must the Bible mean by God desires all men to be saved? First, the word translated "desires" really means will, as in "will do"): God "will have all men to be saved" (the KJV generally is the most literal of popular translations). But, we've already rejected universalism. I think translations use watered-down language, like "desires" because the translators don't want people to think the Bible teaches universalism, unfortunately this imprecise, watered-down language promotes another false doctrine, Arminianism.

            Let's look at the word "all". It is used many times in the NT without meaning each and every. Mat 1:17 refers to "all the generations", but appears to leave some generations out to achieve blocks of 14. Matthew just lists the names necessary for his purposes. Mat 2:3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Every person in Jerusalem was troubled by the news that the Christ child was born? Of course not. In this verse, it really just means Herod wasn't alone in being troubled. Many more examples here. We see that "all" doesn't necessarily, and probably doesn't ever really, mean each and every person.

            Look at the context o f 1 Timothy 2:3-6, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. Paul is speaking of differing positions in society, therefore for God will save men from all positions. Pray for kings and men in high positions because these men are not excluded by their position from salvation (and, even if they're not saved, pray that they don't persecute Christians).


            Regarding 2 Peter 3:9, you'll disagree with my amill interpretation. But, not it doesn't say "all men" but "any" (any who). And, it doesn't mention "salvation" but perishing (from what). My interpretation is that God doesn't want any of his people to perish in the destruction of Jerusalem, specifically without coming to recognize Jesus as Christ and so heeding his warning to flee when the see armies surrounding Jerusalem.





            Comment>

            • #7
              Originally posted by Cornelius View Post
              Consider two points, all men are not saved and God can do anything he desires. If you'll accept these, then I'll skip supplying verses to support them.
              I accept these as truth. Except for the amillennial position at the end of your post, I am in agreement. I take these verses as relating to just God's people, not to everybody, as, those who are not God's their father is Satan - Matthew 13, Parable of the wheat and the tares, John 8:44 and 47 and John 10:26-27.

              So only the elect are God's children, not as the world says that all are God's children. Those not of the elect of God are the children of the Devil (tares). God is not willing that any should perish, but creates some to honor (saved) and some fitted to destruction (unsaved) in order to show His wrath, and He is willing to do that too. Romans 9:15, 18, 22-23. Yes, I prayed for the understanding and the Lord gave me answers, and through Cornelius and William, gave me more answers. Praise be to the Holy Spirit, our teacher through His word. I can put the "free will" verses to rest now.
              Comment>

              • #8
                Originally posted by Cornelius View Post
                1 Timothy 2:3-6 refers to all kinds of men, such as kings and commoners. It doesn't mean each and every man.

                2 Peter 3:9 has an even narrower meaning. It means Jewish believers of the Old Covenant before the destruction of Jerusalem.

                I agree with your interpretation on 1 Timothy 2:3-6,, but I do not agree with your view on 2 Peter 3:9. How so? Because Jesus commissioned the disciples to preach the gospel unto all nations. God wants to save everyone. God sending Jonah to the city of Nineveh proves that God is concerned with the salvation of men who are not Jewish (even before the Incarnation of Christ). Just read Genesis 4:7 again. God is saying to Cain that he has a choice to do good or bad. God desires all people to repent and to be saved. To suggest otherwise would mean God created people to sin as their only option. But that would make God the direct author of sin and evil. That is just not possible because God is good and there is no darkness within Him. God gave man free will to choose the good and to refuse evil. God desires that man always does the right thing because God is Holy and righteous and He desires to have a relationship with all of mankind.
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Jason0047 View Post
                  God desires all people to repent and to be saved. To suggest otherwise would mean God created people to sin as their only option. But that would make God the direct author of sin and evil.
                  If we were all dying of thirst, which is better: For someone to let you choose cup A or B, with only one having water, and leaving it up to you to choose, without you knowing which is which? Or, Someone giving you cup of water, leaving no choice to make in ignorance? You believe the former, concerning God. I believe the latter.

                  Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?


                  Yes, for some, sin is their only option. They're still the only ones guilty, not God.

                  Comment>

                  • #10
                    The "all" in 1 Timothy 2.4 corresponds to the Greek word πας, which has a number of possible translations. The two of relevance here are "all" and "all kinds of".
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