The bad news is that universalism is an erroneous belief. Everyone is not going to heaven when they die. Heartbreakingly, sin separates people from God, (Isaiah 59:1-2) and the penalty of sin is death. (Romans 6:23) Jesus spoke often about the reality of hell–and never with delight about it. (Matthew 10:28; Matthew 23:33; Luke 16:23)
I had to get that point out of the way–and it’s a HUGE point–lest anyone misunderstand this message that God really is FOR us.
So How Can I Say That God Really Is For Us?
God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. He would rather that we turn and live. (Ezekiel 33:11) We are assured that as many people as put their faith in Jesus and receive Him, to them, God gives the right to be called children of God. (John 1:12)
God Initiated the Process of Obtaining the Very Best for Us
It is God’s desire that every human being achieves and receives the very best. God is love, and that is the nature of love–to desire the highest good of the one who is loved. (1 John 4:16) It’s just that there is no “very best” without God. He is the Source of all good. The absence of God means the absence of good. (Psalm 16:2) And the absence of good, by definition, is evil. Everything without God is less that the best. In fact, anything without God is downright destructive and deadly.
If you disagree with that last statement, the fact is that the hand of God is present for good in the world even when and where people don’t recognize or acknowledge the presence of God. (James 1:17) And just because catastrophe doesn’t strike immediately when people engage in godless activity doesn’t mean that damage and destruction have not occurred. Remember, a house eaten by termites does not collapse overnight.
So when I say that God is for us, it is certainly clear to God that for us to achieve and receive the very best, we must be restored to Him. That’s why He sent His own Son–to bridge the gap between us and God–a gap that we could never close or vault through our own effort. He sent His Son to tear down the wall of sin that separates us from Him–a wall that we could never get through, over, or around by our own efforts. (Isaiah 64:6; Galatians 2:16)
God initiated this work of restoration. He came to us. That’s why Jesus is called the Author of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2) God taking the initiative in the process of restoration between humans and Himself is proof that He is for us. (Romans 5:8) The faith that is required for us to be restored to God and to gain eternal life is itself a gift and a provision of God for us. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
God Himself Will Finish the Process of Obtaining the Best for Us
But there is so much more! In the very place that Jesus is called the Author of our salvation, He is also called the Perfecter of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2) God doesn’t just get us started and then leave us to see if we can slug it out on our own. God finishes that which He starts in the believer. (Philippians 1:6) He is at work in us, for us to desire what He desires and to do what is required. (Philippians 2:13). He doesn’t just give us pardon. He gives us His presence and His power as well!
God Is Active Every Day in the Process of Obtaining the Very Best for Us
God Himself unleashes His power within believers to overcome the strongholds that would otherwise keep us earthbound. Do you realize that Jesus Christ Himself constantly stands before the Heavenly Father appealing and interceding on behalf of each and every believer? (Hebrews 7:25) Did you know, that when we try to pray and find ourselves totally inept at the task of prayer, God’s own Holy Spirit is making intercession to the Heavenly Father for us with groanings too deep for us to understand? (Romans 8:26-27)
Night and day … 24/7 … 365 days a year, the Son of God and the Spirit of God are calling on God the Father on behalf of each and every Christian. How amazing is that?
With Eternity in Mind
It wouldn’t be fair to make the declaration that God really is FOR us without couching this declaration in an eternal perspective. Surgeries hurt for a while, but they are designed to bring long-term good. Road construction is a pain to commuters until the work is finished and there are twice as many smooth lanes. So it is with God’s work on our behalf. This life may seem like one string of sorrows after another. But how little do eighty years matter in light of millions and millions of years of eternity?
God really is FOR us–for eternity and not just for the moment. Trust Him. Believe Him. Worship and follow Him.