Post-mortem Repentance and Faith


Aside from the relatively few Biblical passages that are understood by those of the more “mainstream” evangelical Christian community (among whom I would count you, BA :slight_smile: ) as providing positive evidence that some will never be saved, it would seem that one of the greatest obstacles to their considering UR as a possibility is the glaring absence of any verses or passages that teach or give examples of post-mortem repentance and faith. Of course, a common response from Biblical universalists is that all of the passages that appear to teach (and which, for the most part, I would agree do teach) universal reconciliation simply presuppose that all necessary conditions of salvation - i.e., repentance and faith - will ultimately be met by everyone. Thus, by implication, these passages would, in fact, teach post-mortem repentance and faith. However, what I think has not been seriously considered as a possibility is the idea that our salvation from sin and relational alienation from God may not always be conditioned on our faith and repentance.

Now, I grant that for those who think it impossible or unlikely that God could (or would) save anyone apart from their conscious choice to be saved, the idea that faith and repentance may not always be necessary for salvation is going to be hard to swallow. But consider the following: if faith is only possible in a context of some ambiguity and uncertainty, when certain aspects of reality yet remain “unseen” and certain hopes remain unrealized (Heb 11:1), then wouldn’t it follow that, when the ambiguity and uncertainty is removed and the hope is realized, faith would be both unnecessary and impossible? Paul seems to suggest that “faith” is only necessary for us prior to that time when mortality is “swallowed up by life” and we will be “with the Lord” (2 Cor 5:4-8). If so, then is it possible that faith might not be necessary for anyone’s salvation at this time? In other words, is it possible that some may never be saved by faith because they will be instantly granted “sight?” If this were the case, then the “knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4) could be made known to them in such an immediate and overwhelming way that it would be impossible for them to resist or suppress it. And assuming that God is able to raise us from death with bodies and brains that are no longer subject to the temptations which serve as the occasions for sin in this life, then this fact, in conjunction with the instant “sight” which will be received, would mean that those raised from the dead will be sinless in nature, and thus subjected to Christ and subjects of the kingdom of God (1 Cor 15:22-28). And if sinless, there would be no need for them to repent in order to be saved from sin. While a sense of grief and remorse for past sins may be possible (and even inevitable), a “change of mind” to cease from present sin would not be necessary. And if this is indeed the case, then it would certainly explain why Scripture can teach very clearly the ultimate reconciliation of all people to God without also having to affirm post-mortem repentance and faith.

I think the idea of faith ultimately becoming unnecessary as a condition for salvation may be supported by Paul’s words in 1 Timothy 4:10. There, the apostle declares, “To this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.” Now, one might want to be the savior of another person, but unless this desire is certain to be realized in the actual salvation of the person one wants to save, one cannot properly be called their “savior” without emptying language of all meaning and sense. God is the Savior of no more than he saves or will save. And since Paul is careful to single out believers as a subcategory of the “all people” of whom God is the Savior, then the only other category of people is, of course, “unbelievers.” Thus, Paul seems to be saying that God is the Savior of believers as well as unbelievers.

Before expanding on this point, it’s necessary to first understand how God can be called the Savior “especially” of those who believe. To do this we need only look to a similar statement made by Paul to the Galatians: “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Gal 6:10; cf. Titus 1:10; Philemon 16). Now, is Paul saying that we are to “do good” to those who are of “the household of faith” at the exclusion of all others? Or, is Paul saying we are to do good to all people, but that those who are of “the household of faith” should be our first priority (since the “household of faith” are with whom we are in community)? Obviously, the latter is the apostle’s intent. Those who are our brothers and sisters in Christ ought to come first, though we should make the best of the opportunities God gives us to help all people who are in need - even those people who dislike or hate us. Similarly, God may be called the Savior “especially of those who believe” since it is believers in the gospel of Christ who have presently been granted the repentance that leads to “a knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim 2:25), and have consequently begun to enjoy the salvation that God appointed Christ to ultimately bestow upon all people. But this salvation that believers presently enjoy by faith does not in any way diminish or subtract from the salvation that all people are certain to receive from God at a future time.

Now, as stated earlier, the assumption inherent in the views of many who are opposed to UR is that, in order for those who die in their sins to be saved after they die, they would have to repent and believe. And since there isn’t any verse or passage that explicitly states that those who die in unbelief will in fact repent and believe after death, it is assumed that those who don’t repent and believe before they die will never be saved (though, it should be pointed out, Scripture never states this). But if God is the Savior of both believers and unbelievers (as seems to be implied in 1 Tim 4:10), then this assumption is shown to be invalid. If everyone must believe in order to be saved by God, then it would not be true that God is “the Savior of all people, especially of believers.” He would be the Savior exclusively of believers. Thus, it would seem from this statement that faith will not be necessary for everyone to be saved by God; it is only necessary now.

I should also add that, at the end of 1 Cor 15, Paul seems to imply that sin (which he identifies as “the sting of death”) will be absent from all who are to be raised immortal by Christ (1 Cor 15:54-57). If this is the case, and if all are to be raised immortal by Christ, then it follows that all are to be raised in a sinless condition. Consequently, repentance and faith would no longer be necessary conditions for salvation, for those resurrected will already have been saved from everything they need to be saved from.

Who believes that God doesn't punish people?
Joe: "why EU can't use 1Tim 4:10"

Great article Aaron!

As an advocate of the prophetic nature of the OT law of Jubilee I would see its shadow or type being appropriate here. The law is outlined in Leviticus 25:8-13.

And Leviticus 25:23-28 continues

Leviticus 25:47-54

Quite simply if a man sold into bondage had a kinsman redeemer or could find the means he could buy back his land. However. if no redemption was found then he could not lose his inheritance permanently because in the year of Jubilee all debts were cancelled and property rights reverted back to the original owners.

If this was the shadow and type of how redemption works - even including for those who were not redeemed how much better must the fulfillment of the role of redeemer be; including for those who do not take advantage of that redeemer. Could the Jubilee be the Age of the ages - the best age when God is all in all?

Better to have a Kinsman Redeemer than to have to toil for 50 years for no benefit to yourself for the kinsman redeemer was expected to treat the man well (he was still a bond slave just to a kindlier master). This ties in directly with how Paul envisaged redemption by Christ in Romans 6 after posing the question should we continue to sin that grace may abound…

This concept does most for me in answering doctrines of endless punishment - Jesus doesn’t need to talk about post-mortem redemption because he was fulfilling a type that has that built right into it.


A hearty “Amen” to everything in your post, Jeff :smiley:



I know UR’s love to show you 50 different scripture references that show all people eventually getting saved. That is fine. I ask just for one scripture reference that supports people coming to faith after they die in their sins. That would really do it for me. That is where the rubber meets the road for UR in my mind. I will believe in UR if you can do that for me. :unamused:



I’m assuming you’ve read my post, or you wouldn’t be responding to it. :slight_smile: If you have, then you should know that I don’t actually believe people come to faith after death, since it is my understanding that faith will then no longer be necessary. “Now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” Not even you will be exercising faith when you finally see “face to face,” BA. Faith will have become sight. It will be no different for anyone else. Is is my understanding that faith is only a condition for salvation before we die, not after. God is the Savior of believers now, and unbelievers later.


BA, this the last time I will repeat this, but I am tired of you asking a question and ignoring the answer over and over again.

When a person believes in their heart and confesses Christ with their lips - they are said to be saved. That applies on this side of the veil and well as the other. It’s the same confession with the difference being that the confession is universal amongst the resurrected.

We see dimly here - at the resurrection, we will all see clearly. With that clarity that only resurrected eyes can provide - we find EVERYONE confesses Christ as their Lord. Faith actually fades away with the clarity of seeing Him as He is - there’s no need for ‘faith’ since it is replaced ‘sight’. Faith being imperfect sight to begin with.

I used to think that Christ was being naive in proclaiming that we will All be of one faith - I understand now that He meant the resurrection. So I say to you, let Him be the Savior and Lord of all men - it is, after all, not YOUR grace or even your understanding of Grace by which men are saved.

So loosen your grip on your own precious faith enough to embrace the author of so Great a Salvation. Let your heart be still long enough to understand that you are saved by GRACE - before whittling that Grace down to what YOU think it ought be.

The maddening fact is that you are not ‘wrong’ in your faith - but you have not let it mature to the point that you can agree with Paul that God is not counting men’s sins against them (and believe! which you do not now) - and, of course, a great many other scriptural truths.

I answered your claim that no has explained to you how unbelievers can come to ‘faith’ (sight) postmortem. Your and my ‘faith’ gives way to sight - actual sight - and that makes ‘believers’ (see-ers) of everyone. The same confession that saved you will save them. Forgive as you have been forgiven.

There ya go - you’re a universalist now! Welcome to THE Gospel.



You said a whole lot without doing what I asked for…scripture support of people coming to faith after they die in their sins. :wink:


Might I humbly offer the following? (I believe these have been already referenced in other threads, but thought I would include them here…)

*Philippians 2:9-11 (New International Version)

9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
When every knee bows, and every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord, it brings glory to God the Father. The more glory He receives, the better.

Also, I believe there is a big difference between the Bride and those who are reconciled. The Bride is saved from God’s wrath, all others are not. But somehow, somewhere, all eventually bow the knee and confess Jesus is Lord:

*Colossians 1:19-20 (New International Version)
19For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.


Hey HSmom.

Thank you for sharing those scriptures, but where does it say that people get saved after they die in their sins? :wink:


I love this one too…

*Revelation 1:17-18 (New International Version)

17When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.



I like that scripture too, but where does it say that people get saved after they die in their sins? :unamused:


Again, I differentiate between being saved and being reconciled. Those who die in their sins are not saved from God’s wrath. But they are eventually reconciled (see verses I referenced prior… esp. Colossians passage). Why? The limitless love and mercy of God (Psalm 136). God gets even greater glory, isn’t that what the believer desires above all things?



You can’t be saved unless you are reconciled…people who are saved are reconciled back to God because they got born again. :unamused:

I don’t know where you learned to differentiate the two because you cant have one without the other. :unamused:

Again, I understand, but show scripture support people getting saved after they have died in their sins. :unamused:


I showed you, she showed you. Blind fool! God’s Grace saved you - not your errant 30 some thousand denomination ‘faith’ which will only be corrected at your resurrection. You think you are being clever here. Who do you think you are fooling? Will you resent those who confess Christ at their resurrection, you paltry little man?

How long will you continue to hinder the advance of Christ’s Kingdom when you think exactly like a Muslim? You want incontestable exclusion with no recourse? Alla is your guy. You’d be at home there. Enjoy.

You’re still playing at ‘religion’ - trust me, that approach is going to come back and bite your ass.


Yes, you are right… as a believer in this age of grace, by His blood, I am reconciled and saved from God’s wrath in the age to come. We are His Bride. All others are not saved from the wrath to come. But according to the Colossians passage, at some point, all things are reconciled.

This is a mystery in many ways, but what else should we do with the Scriptures I referenced above, namely Philippians 2: 9-11 and Colossians 1:19-20? Does every not mean every? Does all not meant all? How it all fits together, I wouldn’t even venture to guess. But this is God’s Word. I have to believe what it says.

*Romans 11:33-36 (New International Version)

33Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and[a] knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
34"Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?"
35"Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay him?"[c]
36For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.*


BA, please share your understanding of Philippians 2: 9-11. :slight_smile:


I can see that that is a very important point for you. :sunglasses:

Does it say anywhere in scripture that they do not?

Here’s the UR reasoning (I’m sure you’re familiar with by now): Scriptrue clearly states that every knee will bow, and every tounge confess that Jesus is Lord. It clearly states that it is God’s intention and good pleasure to reconcile the world to Himself in Christ. It clearly states that Jesus comes to take away the sins of the world. Obviously we do not see this happening in this lifetime, therefore it must conclude at a later time.

This reasoning works well with the symbolism of the OT rituals that God instituted for the Israelites. It also fits well with passages such as “…all things have been subjected to Him … but now we do not yet see the all things subjected…”

Your reasoning seems to run along these lines: Yes, it sounds like God wants to save everyone in those passages, but since we do not see it now, and it does not explicity state that “people who die in their sins will be saved later” then it must not really mean what it sounds like. Therefore we must find some way to make those verses mean something else.

Physical death is no barrier to God, our Lord teaches us that it is only ‘sleep’ to Him. God is the same: yesterday, today, and forever. He is, and always has been, and always will be “a righteous God, and a Saviour.” He will always be seeking to reconcile his enemies–because He is the one who said “Love your enemies.” He will always be the shepherd seeking the lost sheep, the woman rejoicing when she finds the coin she lost, the Father celebrating the return of his prodigal.

No, I know of no verse that says, “After a person dies, they can still repent and be saved.” But I know that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. He will never stop being faithful and righteous toward anyone who repents, and I believe He knows how to bring each of His children to repentance–as we see him do with people like Nebuchadnezzar and Saul of Tarsus–whether now or later through judgment.

You are not going to get a verse that explicitly states that people are saved after resurrection–no one has one. (So you may as well stop asking! :wink: ) I know of passages that seem to me to indicate such, but it’s not explicit. (Yet when Jesus explicitly says that He will draw all men to Himself, you deny the plain meaning of the words! :frowning: )

Anyway, that turned into a rant, didn’t it? :laughing: (I have time–the little kiddos are watching a movie with dad, and the bigs are off at a slumber party! :smiley: )

For me, the sticking point in coming to believe in the ultimate restoration of all things was “aionios.” I spent a lot of time looking at that word. I don’t think I ever really thought about your issue when I was wrestling with the idea of UR-- I never considered it a limiting factor for God, then or now. Especially since there’s no verse I know of that explicitly says God won’t save people after they die in their sins. :wink:



I suppose that they could say “show me a verse that shows that man does not have free will to repent after death”.
They sometimes bring up 1 Peter 3, which seems to show a possible preaching and response in the “other world”.
So it comes down to exegesis. I don’t have certainty in the matter, so what do you do with a Christ-follower who is agnostic concerning after death punishment/hell, etc.!


Do these passages describe how God expects redemption to work or not?

be careful I don’t start up my annoying ‘but show me where Jesus says the word trinity and I’ll believe it’ pettiness in reply to your own. Start debating the actual texts people are showing you by showing how they actually support eternal damnation.


BA: I ask just for one scripture reference that supports people coming to faith after they die in their sins…

…where does it say that people get saved after they die in their sins?
…where does it say that people get saved after they die in their sins?
…where does it say that people get saved after they die in their sins?
…where does it say that people get saved after they die in their sins?
…where does it say that people get saved after they die in their sins?
…where does it say that people get saved after they die in their sins?
…where does it say that people get saved after they die in their sins?
…where does it say that people get saved after they die in their sins?
…where does it say that people get saved after they die in their sins?

Tom: Arghghghgh! Dude, stop the insanity and let me off this ride.

Ya’ll, I’m SO done with BA. Any glimmer of hope for a sane conversation with him just expired.

Ya’ll, I’m done with BA.
Ya’ll, I’m done with BA.
Ya’ll, I’m done with BA.
Ya’ll, I’m done with BA.
Ya’ll, I’m done with BA.
Ya’ll, I’m done with BA.
Ya’ll, I’m done with BA.
Ya’ll, I’m done with BA.

But to Aaron…

Hey Bro. I’m a bit confused why issues of faith and epistemic distance would matter at all to you when it comes to people believing. You’re a determinist, right? Everything that occurs follows by causal necessity from antecedent states. There’s only one possible course history can take. So once you posit that kind of world, why is it important to you to discuss postmortem factors and contexts at all? Whether pre- or postmortem, our choices are determined by antecedent states, so the question of whether or not faith/trust is necessary would be pretty academic wouldn’t it? I mean, God’s determining everything about a person’s coming to him anyhow. That’s the same on both sides. Our choices for Christ now aren’t any less determined by God (or any more free) than those in the postmortem context you’re describing. ‘Essentially’ the same thing is occurring. God’s just determining people in relation to himself via some ambiguity now, no ambiguity later. Why’s the level of ambiguity matter if what occurs is equally determined by God?

Secondly, I don’t think passages like 1Cor 13’s “Now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known” provide an example of someone coming to Christ sans faith/trust. “Knowing as we’re known” IS the eschatological conclusion or ‘telos’ of our relationship with God. How is it also then the ‘context’ (or means) for achieving that end? In other words, if the ultimately glorified and finally redeemed (who have come to Christ via faith and an exercise of their wills) will have come to have no need of ‘faith’ (because, let’s grant, there’s no epistemic distance and so unbelief is psychologically impossible) how’s that evidence that people can be brought into redemption and glorification without having ever believed/trusted and exercised their will?


And BA, later dude. Much later.

Much later.
Much later.
Much later.
Much later.
Much later.
Much later.
Much later.
Much later.