I believe God will save every person, although I’m not sure about how we respond to this in relation to our free will.
Some of the questions that came to mind as I pondered this:
• If God saves everyone, is hell necessary, or actually does it exist?
• If salvation through Jesus was not necessary, why die at all?
Rom 8:28-30 and Eph 1:4 speak about God loving us from the beginning of time and us being acceptable through Jesus Christ.
These texts indicate that we would all be in an eternal relationship with him.
Maybe our understanding of salvation, is all about our need for exclusivity, right, wrong, compartmentalization and leads to our theology of ‘not all are saved’. Perhaps all will be with Christ in eternity. In charismatic circles, we have a specific view of what salvation is, but actually what does belief in Jesus Christ mean? Maybe Sally believed in Jesus Christ.
Part of the problem is how we come to Christ – frequently arm wrestled into making a decision “in case you die tonight where will you go?” A loving, gracious God who suffered a brutal death on the cross doesn’t need to threaten us into a relationship with him.
How sad that charismatic Christianity has chrystalised our Christian faith into a 20 second decision and episode, rather than a lifetime of transformation. So maybe in charismatic thinking, we need to be bullied into making a decision because “narrow is the road to salvation”.
Do we struggle with the phrase that ‘God accepted me’ because we don’t accept ourselves, so how could God?
Fifty years ago, prior to the charismatic movement, did believers think they would be excluded from eternal life? Growing up in a traditional church, I don’t ever remember anyone telling me that I was excluded from being in a relationship with God.
Salvation wasn’t a moment of saying yes at a rally or crusade. I resonate with the comment on p 114 “God’s love will be the reason, not the reward, for our repentance”.
In summary, my thoughts are that the issues of salvation (exclusion and inclusion) are modern and related to charismatic or evangelical belief. Although if pressed, more traditional churches might also take a stance of exclusion. I believe in an all loving God, who wants to be in relationship with mankind and I can’t imagine how he would want anyone excluded.