NOT ALL WITHOUT EXCEPTION, BUT ALL WITHOUT DISTINCTION!
Most who call themselves ‘Christians’ in our day neither know nor worship the Sovereign Almighty God of the Scriptures! What they do worship and contend for is a miserable IDOL!
“An anxious and pleading God, whose power is limited, and whose hands may be tied by the proud and stubborn sinner, who is less than dust of the balance, is no God, but a miserable idol!” (Herman Hoeksema; 1886-1965)
The God of the Scriptures is a Sovereign discriminating God, who is likened unto a ‘potter’ who has power over the clay to make one vessel unto honor and another unto dishonor! A Sovereign who is answerable to NONE but Himself! A God who doeth according to HIS WILL in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and NONE can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest THOU? [Dan 4:35]A Sovereign who hath mercy on whom He will and hardens whom He will! [Rom 9:18] A Sovereign who knows the end from the beginning, and calleth those things that are not as though they were and makes His people willing in the day of His power! A Sovereign who hath created ALL THINGS for Himself, yea even the wicked for the day of evil, and causes the wrath of man to praise Him! [Prov 16:4; Psalm 76:10]
Few who claim to be Christians know THIS God! The God THEY believe in is a frustrated idol who keeps hoping and wishing and wringing his hands helplessly as MAN AND DEVIL RULE BY THEIR ‘FREE WILL’.
Now this God has told us plainly in His book that He hath mercy on whom He will and whom He will He hardeneth! [Rom 9:18] From amongst the children of Adam, He hath unconditionally chosen SOME to be saved from the wrath to come! [1Thes 1:10] And in order that He might be just and the justifier of these chosen ones (Rom 3:26), He sent His Son to atone on the Cross for their sins, and in time He doth irresistibly draw each and everyone for whom His Son atoned, making them ‘willing’ in the day of His power and saving them with an everlasting salvation! [Psalm 110:3]
This Almighty Sovereign God of the Bible cannot be known by ‘walking an aisle’, ‘saying a little prayer’, signing a ‘decision card’ or getting baptized when you are old enough etc, but only by REVELATION!
“I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast HID THESE THINGS from the wise and prudent, and hast REVEALED THEM unto babes”. [Matt 11:25]
Again – “Unto YOU (His elect) it is GIVEN to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: [WHY?] That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them”. [Mark 4:11,12]
A mere mention of this God and His sovereign discriminating ways to those who are unsaved or nominally ‘Christian’ is like waving the proverbial ‘red-flag’ in the face of a mad bull!
They immediately retort with the few scriptures which they have failed to ‘rightly divide’ and which to their darkened minds make this Sovereign God of the Bible appear nothing short of a Monster!
They retort – “Oh but does not the Bible say – “God desires ALL MEN to be saved”? [1Tim 2:4] and did not Christ Himself say, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw ALL MEN unto Me”?! [John 12:32]
Come now, if by “ALL MEN” is meant every single member of the human race; we have no option but to embrace the heresy of Universalism which teaches that by and by either in this life or in the life to come GOD WILL SAVE ALL MEN!
But we know that the Bible plainly teaches that there is no salvation beyond the grave! “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this THE JUDGMENT”! [Heb 9:27]
Whoever Christ ‘draws’ to Himself, He does so NOW! In time! And those who reject Him and go into a Christ-less grave . . . go to an eternal Hell!
“If by “ALL MEN” is meant ‘the entire human race’ including all mankind from Adam till the close of earth’s history: it reaches backward as well as forward! Consider, then, the history of mankind before Christ was born. Unnumbered millions lived and died before the Savior came to the earth, lived here ‘having no hope and without God in the world,’ and therefore passed out into an eternity of woe. If God ‘loved’ them, and ‘desired’ to save them, then where is the slightest proof thereof?
Scripture declares ‘Who (God) in times past (from the tower of Babel till after Pentecost) suffered all nations to walk in their own ways’ (Acts 14:16). Scripture again declares that ‘And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient’ (Rom. 1:28). To Israel God said, ‘You ONLY have I known of all the families of the earth’ (Amos 3:2). In view of these plain passages who will be so foolish as to insist that God in the past loved all mankind and desired ALL MEN to be saved! The same applies with equal force to the future . . .” [A.W. Pink]
Look around your own little circle – your family, your friends, or even your work-place. If you’ve lived long enough, you would have surely witnessed many who have died without Christ and some who have even died with a oath on their lips! Are you still going to contend that the “ALL MEN” whom Christ said He would draw, are ALL without EXCEPTION?!
To say that Christ wanted to draw them but they would not let Him is ‘begging the question’! To say that Christ was all along ‘knocking’ on the door of their hearts, pleading to be let in, but they would not, is to show your ignorance and greatly err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God! (Matt 22:29) For even if the human heart HAD such a ‘door’ which needs to be ‘opened’ to let Christ in, the Bible leaves us with no doubts as to WHO it is that opens that door!
Speaking of Lydia the seller of purple who responded to Paul’s preaching and was saved, it is written, “THE LORD OPENED her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul” [Acts 16:14].
“Hence by ALL MEN, whom God would have saved, cannot be meant EVERY INDIVIDUAL of mankind, since it is not His will that all men, in this large sense, should be saved, unless there are two contrary wills in God; for there are some who were before ordained by him unto condemnation, and are vessels of wrath fitted for destruction; and it is His will concerning some, that they should believe a lie, that they all might be damned; nor is it fact that all are saved, as they would be, if it was His will they should; for who hath resisted His will? But there is a world of ungodly men that will be condemned, and who will go into everlasting punishment: rather therefore ALL SORTS OF MEN, agreeably to the use of the phrase in 1Ti_2:1 are here intended, – kings and peasants, rich and poor, bond and free, male and female, young and old, greater and lesser sinners; and therefore all are to be prayed for, even all sorts of men, because God will have all men, or all sorts of men, saved”. [John Gill]
God wills that sinners from all walks of life and every part of the globe be saved [not every person who ever lived] – this is the ‘all men’ Paul was referring to in the text.
Not ALL without EXCEPTION, but ALL without DISTINCTION!