1 Tim 2:3-6
3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

This post was precipitated by some conversations I’ve had recently on twitter; having had a couple of discussions with Calvinists who were attempting to convince me that God saves only those who He wills to save, and that the rest are condemned.

For those unfamiliar with Calvinism, this comes from their principal precepts of teaching called the five points of Calvinism, which is defined in the acronym TULIP:
T: Total Depravity (this means that all men are 100% evil, and cannot do anything but sin)
U: Unconditional Election (this means that God selects certain people to be saved wholly on the basis of His own will and preference; it is ‘unconditional’)
L: Limited Atonement (this means that the atonement of Christ’s death on the cross is limited to only the elect – there is a not enough atonement to go around for anyone who is elected under the ‘unconditional election)
I: Irresistible Grace (this means that God’s grace is irresistible, those whom He elects cannot reject salvation but kind of have salvation done TO them, I guess)
P: Perseverance of the Saints (this means that once saved, a person can never lose their salvation; which also means that those who seem to be saved and walking with the Lord who might later reject salvation, they were never actually saved to begin with… it also means we have to throw out several scriptures, but so do well… all of the other four points)

Today though, I want to look at this concept that God always saves those whom it is His will to save, and that all others who are not elected to salvation, God does not actually will them to be saved.

The first thing I generally point to when broaching this point are two verses of scripture, the first I’ve already quoted above, and I quoted a bit more of the context (because it all is relevant) than simply the verse most relevant to this topic:

1 Tim 2:3b & 4
…God our Saviour;
4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

The second verse I point out is quite like the first and says, essentially the same thing, but from a little different angle:

2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

A lot of fundamentalist Christians claim that if God’s word says something they just believe it and that’s that, but you’d be surprised how despite the fact that these two verses clearly state that God desires all men to be saved, yet Calvinists ALL Calvinists reject that idea and try to manipulate these verses by interpretation so that they only apply to the ‘elect’ and not actually ALL MEN as they plainly say.

So, having addressed these two, I will move on to a different point… well, not entirely a different point, but a point which exists in the context of 1 Timothy 2:3-6.

4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

This passage is more my segue than the centrality of my point; but notice Jesus Christ gave Himself as a ransom for all. God paid the ultimate price for the salvation of sinners.

Now let’s move to my main point.

Luke 19:10
For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

According to Jesus, the central purpose of His ministry was to seek and save that which was lost. He specifically came down to earth so that He could seek out the lost and save them. Jesus tells many parables about this such as the famous parable of the shepherd who leaves the 99 sheep to find the one. In fact that very parable, interestingly enough begins with a quote which is nearly identical to the verse I just quoted from Luke:

Matt 18:11(-13)
11 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.

The same parable is told again in Luke, along with another parable of a woman who has lost her coin, and having lost it, she is veritably OBSESSED with finding her lost coin, and will stop at nothing until she has found and retrieved it.

These parables in Luke are punctuated with statements like these:

Luke 15:7
I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

Luke 15:10
Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

So according to these parables, the lost are of the utmost importance to God. Like the woman who lost her coin, God would stop at nothing until He saves us.

What’s more EVERYONE is of this value to Him. The parable of the shepherd leaving the 99 sheep to find the one demonstrates that God is more concerned about saving even one lost sinner than He is with the ‘elect’ who are following Him.

God then proves His tenacity and obsession with saving the lost in that He shed His own blood in order to do so. He not only told these parables, but He invested Himself unto death in saving that which is lost.

The premise of the Calvinist perspective which declares that God saves all those He wills to save, and allows the rest to perish (or expressly elects them to damnation – as some, though not all Calvinists believe) is an express affront to what God has revealed His will to be regarding the lost.

Some object that in allowing the lost to perish God is working out the greater good of His will which we cannot see. I.e. allowing certain lost to perish actually works out for the advancement of the greater good of His will.

My question to Calvinists, then, is: what is more important to God than that for which He died?

If God’s sole purpose for committing Himself unto death in order to save that which was lost, and reconcile man to Himself; if He reveals this to be His utmost will, then is it not a complete affront to, and abasement of the Gospel to declare that God saves only whom He wills to save and that the rest of the lost perish according to God’s will?

And if, somehow, God has a greater will that is being fulfilled through the damnation of the lost, then what is it? What could God possibly desire above that which He died for? What greater good is there than that for which He gave His life?

If you are lost, know that Christ died to save you. He is desperately searching for you, like a woman who has lost a great deal of money, or a shepherd who has lost a sheep. He will stop at nothing to save you soul.

I implore you: repent of your sins and believe the Gospel, God wants you so much that He died to find you, you are not excluded for not fitting in to someone’s perspective of an elite election.