Universal Reconciliation is not “Salvation” For All


For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. (Romans 5:10 KJV)

It may sound like a distinction without a difference, but those that are not born again when Christ returns are not saved, though they will be reconciled in the end. How can that be? Well, first it is important to realize that the Bible speaks of salvation in the past, present, and future tenses.

Been Saved in the Past Tense

And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:11 KJV) This is the legal aspect of being saved from the penalty of sin. The penalty of sin is death, but being justified, Christ having suffered the penalty for us, it is just-as-if-I’d never sinned.

Being Saved in the Present Tense

Having been filled by the Holy Spirit, we can now walk in it and live the way we should. However, the old nature is still in us too and we do not always live the way we should. This is where we are being saved from the power of the fallen nature in each of us, growing in Him and learning to continually walk in Him. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse [ongoing in the present tense] us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 KJV)

For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved… (2 Corinthians 2:15 NIV)

Will be Saved in the Future Tense

There is coming a day when we will be saved in every respect. At our conversion we were saved from the penalty of sin. As we live and walk with Christ, we are being saved from our old fallen nature. Upon Christ’s return, we will be changed, in the twinkling of an eye, from the corruptible to the incorruptible, from the mortal to immortality. Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? (1 Corinthians 15:54-55 KJV)

…for now is our salvation nearer than when we [first] believed. (Romans 13:11 KJV)

Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. (Romans 5:9 KJV)

Now that we understand the past, present and future tense of being saved I want to point out again that those that are not born again at Christ’s return are not saved in any one of the three tenses. As a matter of fact, they are NOT likely to be saved from any of the following 4 things:

Destruction During Jacob’s Trouble, the Great Tribulation
  1. As the world gets closer and closer to the end of this age, we are beginning to see some of the signs Jesus told His disciples to watch for – conflict both abroad and at home, earthquakes and natural disasters, pandemics, false teachers, and persecution. All of these, the Bible says, are the beginning of sorrows. (Matthew 24:3-8) All of us feel the time is getting closer, believer and unbeliever alike. But the believer, walking in the Holy Spirit, is comforted thereby saving us from the trepidation of what is coming. We know we will be gone. Those who are not Christian are not being saved from the dread of the time.
  2. Those who are not born again at His coming will not be saved from the seven-year period referred to as Jacob’s Trouble – the Great Tribulation. They will not be spared the wars that will cover the globe, the famines, natural disasters, and judgements that are coming upon all the earth that make up a time the likes of which no one has ever seen.
  3. At the final judgment, God will sit on His white throne and call the dead of all the ages to life from the grave, from the sea and from the dust.  All the dead, both small and great will stand before God and will not be spared the fear of Him who consults the books to see whose names are found written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. (Revelation 20:11-14)
  4. Finally, they will not be saved whom God deems worthy to be cast into the refiner’s lake of fire (Revelation 20:15) to spend some or all the coming age suffering the purification fires before the holy angels and before the Lamb. They will be tormented (tested) until the unrighteousness which kept them from believing and being converted is removed and they can say with a joyful heart that Jesus Christ is Lord. (Philippians 2:9-11)

A Christian receives a new and incorruptible body at the catching away of the church. I am not sure when, or if, those that suffer the lake of fire get one. Do they depend on the tree of life that is for the healing of the nations? Think about it – nations are man-made. We, as the church each have a new immortal body. Why would we need the tree of life?

It has been asked of those who believe in the universal reconciliation of all things why we should preach the gospel at all. If everyone is saved, what would be the point? I am hoping two things happened because of the reading of this post.

First, that we all now realized that everyone is not saved, but those who are not, are reconciled and that is not a distinction without a difference. Next, that the gospel needs to be preached because Jesus commanded it. Those that we and our Lord love dearly need to be saved from all that awaits the unbeliever.