The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Saved from wrath

If I am understanding correctly, it is the position of the Christian Universalist that the work of Jesus Christ propitiates for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2), and thus all mankind will be saved by the work of Jesus Christ. Correct?

Romans 5:8,9 teaches that by the death of Christ, we are justified by his blood, and thus are saved from wrath. Verse 10 continues by saying that we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son.

My question: If the death of Christ saves those connected to him from wrath (Rom 5:9), and if all mankind are connected to him, then would it not follow that none of mankind will experience the wrath of Romans 5:9? Thus, if all mankind are connected to the death of Christ, then no one goes to hell. Yet it is evident that many do go to hell (Rev 20:12-15). Thus, should we not conclude that not everyone is connected to the death of Christ?

Any response would be appreciated.



I don’t hold this position, but I won’t speak on behalf of everyone else here (not sure they all agree on this either). I understand Christ died for the sins of the whole world, but not everyone will be saved from the wrath of God; only those who follow Christ.

I think we can be connected to Christ in different ways. I think we are connected to Christ in an eternal sense, but some experience Christ’s saving grace before judgment and avoid hell, and some experience Christ’s reconciling grace after judgment and purification.

Followers of Jesus are saved from wrath. Those who choose not to follow Him experience wrath. It doesn’t follow that the wrath goes on forever and ever amen. There are some universalists who believe no one will suffer wrath, but I’m not one of them. I do believe that God pours out His wrath on evil men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness. I also believe that when the wrath has done its regenerative work, the person whom God made and God loves (re: the Sermon on the Mount – love your enemies so that you’ll be LIKE your Father in heaven!) will be saved.

And how is it evident that many do go to hell? Have you seen them there? And if you have, I wonder if you weren’t likely semi-delusional from lack of oxygen due to not breathing and/or no heartbeat.

I realize that the parable of Lazarus and the rich man seems to us to teach that people who are rich do go directly to Hades when they die, whereas people who are poor go directly to Abraham’s bosom, but if you study the culture you’ll see that this parable isn’t really about the afterlife at all. What’s more, the rest of scripture tells us that the unregenerate dead are raised after the Millennial Reign and face judgment THEN, not immediately upon death. So I’m not sure how or where you get this evidence that many go to hell?

If Christ died for the sins of the world, then why do people suffer the wrath of God? Did not Christ pay for their sins? The result of the work of Christ in dying for man’s sins is salvation from the wrath to come:

Romans 5: 9 - Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we will be saved from God’s wrath through him.

1 Thes 1:10 - and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead-Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come.

1 Thes 5:9 - For God didn’t appoint us to wrath, but to the obtaining of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ

As per the above verses, the work of Christ accomplishes salvation from the wrath of God. If Christ died to save us from our sins and if we still experience the wrath of God for our sins, then that would be unjust. It would be double jeopardy. Either Christ expiates for my sins, or I do.

But if Christ stood in judgement for mankind, then how can they stand in judgement? Jesus Christ is the propitiation for sins (1 John 2:2). He was judged on their behalf and his work satisfies for sins. There is no more satisfaction for sins required if Christ satisfied for sins.

For me, “propitiation” is an unhelpful metaphor.

A certain king is so angry with his people that he demands an enormous offering to pacify his wrath. Because the people can find no offering that is great enough, he arranges to have his only son beaten to death instead. His wrath pacified, the king feels happy again. All the people sing of his great wisdom and great love. The few who refuse to praise him are boiled in oil.

Jesus was a ransom, a propitiation, a door, a vine, a drink of water, a shepherd, a woman, a hen, a treasure hunter, a meal, a sacrificial lamb, a scapegoat, a king, a servant, a curse. I think it unwise to make too much doctrine out of any given metaphor.

Also, the grammar of “propitiation” (and its cognates), and even more obviously reconcile (and its cognates), runs the other way around: no one atones or propitiates God, He atones and propitiates us (or acts as propitiation in regard to our sins).

(I have a couple of extensive analytical word studies on the forum somewhere about this. Mental note that now I have an author category I need to start consolidating these things so they’re easier to find… :wink: )

Be that as it may. Those who cooperate now are saved from wrath (or from a particular kind of wrath rather, as there may still be chastisement), those who cooperate later don’t have to worry about wrath anymore, but the main point isn’t to be saved from wrath anyway: the main point is to be saved from our sins.

Was the father of the prodigal son angry at his beloved son, or angry at the sin that had possessed him? What did the father long to destroy? The son, or the sin?

In what sense did the father punish an innocent victim in order to forgive his son? What offering did the father make?

The father took the financial and social loss, the insult, the pain of his son’s sins, and buried them in his own heart. He took it on the chin. The father suffered the loss in his son’s place. He bled for his son. The father was innocent, yet he was the one who paid the price, the one whose blood was shed. This was the offering the father made to the son. Had the father been unwilling to suffer this loss, had this offering, this sacrifice, not been made, forgiveness and reconciliation would have been impossible.

This is what Jesus is all about. He reveals the heart of the Father.

When we see Jesus on the cross, we shouldn’t say, “This death allows God to forgive me, or causes God to forgive me.”

Rather, we should say, “This death shows me what my sins do to God; how much I hurt him. It shows me what forgiving my sins actually costs him. It shows how much he is willing to lose in order to save me.”

This is the sense in which Jesus is the offering for our sins. ie. A Christian angle on the word, rather than pagan.

Those universalist who believe that would be consistent. If Christ delivers those who are connected to him from the wrath to come, and if all humanity are connected to him, then none of humanity will experience the wrath to come.

How is the wrath of God regenerative?
Regeneration is the work of the Holy Spirit of God by the means of the word of God (Eph 5:19, Titus 3:5, 1 Peter 1:23).

What is the Biblical basis of stating that the wrath of God is regenerative?

That is very kind of you to say. Thank you.

It is evident that many end up under the wrath of God per Revelation 20:12-15.

So we that we can have semantics out of the way:

Those who are raised at the Last Day, after the completion of the Millennium are judged and do enter into the wrath of God (call it hell, Lake of fire, the wrath of God, torment, whatever you like). I agree, the unregenerate dead face judgement on the Last Day, and are cast into the Lake of Fire.

This is the wrath from which Jesus Christ is said to deliver us per Romans 5:9 and 1 Thes 5:9. Therefore, unless the atoning work of Christ is limited in extent (i.e., the “elect” is smaller than all of humanity), there will be no one experiencing the wrath of God in the Lake of Fire. Yet Rev 20:12ff makes it clear that many will be experiencing that wrath, thus the work of Christ must be limited in extent, which goes against the Universalist position.

By the way, I just finished reading MacDonald’s “The Evangelical Universalist” and found it to be sound in much of what it argues. If God is love, then He must be loving to all of his creation. To torment mankind eternally in hell is inconsistent with God acting lovingly to all of humanity. I especially liked his discussion of Rev 21 and 22, and how saving mankind who are experiencing the Lake of Fire is consistent with a forgiving God (per Lamentation 3:31ff).

However, MacDonald did not cover this point of this thread in his book, so that is why I am asking y’all.

Thank you for your help.


Here is one instance of Gods wrath being purifying, to the goyim nonetheless.

Zeph 3

8"Therefore wait for Me," declares the LORD, "For the day when I rise up as a witness. Indeed, My decision is to gather nations, To assemble kingdoms, To pour out on them My indignation, All My burning anger; For all the earth will be devoured By the fire of My zeal.

9**"For then I will give to the peoples purified lips,** That all of them may call on the name of the LORD, To serve Him shoulder to shoulder.

Yes, but God isn’t who is being propitiated thereby. The combination of Rom 5 with Col 1 indicates the point in terms of reconciliation: God reconciles all things to Himself (which need reconciliation, i.e. which are in rebellion as Paul clarifies a few verses later) through the blood of the cross; and if (per Rom 5) we have been reconciled to God, how much more shall we be saved into His life.

The staggering difference of Christianity (whether trinitarian or otherwise) compared to historical worldwide religious expectation, is that we have to be propitiated and atoned/reconciled to God; no one has to reconcile God to us or propitiate Him before He will act to save us. Much of the point to 1 John is that the One Who judges (Christ/God) is also our advocate standing with us on the defense. His judgment seat is the “propitiation” or “propitiatory” seat because it’s the mercy-seat: He empowers us and calls us and leads us (and goads us if the other things don’t work) to lean toward Him, to reach out to Him. He convicts and convinces us, we don’t convince Him to do anything.

God inspires Isaiah to put this in amazing language in Isaiah 27:4-5: in the middle of many declarations about the coming destruction of evildoers in the day of YHWH, up to and including YHWH slaying Leviathan in punishment (v.1), YHWH reveals that He has no wrath in Him; only goes out to war against those who insist on warring with Him; and only destroys their ability to make war on Him (the thorns and thistles they are trying to fight Him with, which are hurting them); with the goal of leading them to rely on Him for protection and be at peace with Him. These statements are made in connection to His protection of the vineyard in verses 2 and 3: YHWH protects it by such a righteous war (seeking to bring down and make peace with even Leviathan). The offer of peace extends to Leviathan, i.e. Satan, too: the previous chapters indicate that being utterly slain and then imprisoned by YHWH is not the hopeless final end of the matter (including for heavenly rebel armies, of whom Leviathan is the chief).

Once we’re actually made fair/just people, once we’re actually righteous, there will be no more need for wrath. Until then there are still different kinds of wrath; we don’t have to worry about the second death/LoF wrath for example. But God from His eternal vantage point sees the end result and so (as in some other topics occasionally) speaks or inspires a view as though it is already accomplished (which from His perspective it is), as a way of emphasizing the certainty of what will happen historically with us.

(I should however mention that some universalists do take these verses to mean there is no more wrath of God coming at all, and so interpret your RevJohn verses to apply to something else, like the wrath of God coming upon Jerusalem after the wrath of God was entirely satisfied by Jesus 40 years earlier so that there will be no more wrath to come. Or words to that effect – I don’t understand their position very well.)

The Holy Spirit (God the consuming fire) is, as you note, strongly involved in regeneration; and ontologically there can be only one eonian unquenchable fire (namely the HS). The Hebraist in Heb 12 talks about the goal of God’s wrath, which is to bring those He loves to discipline, and connects this with the removal of those things which can be shaken so that only the unshakable will remain. Jesus in Mark 9:49-50 directly explains the purpose of the unquenchable fire of Gehenna to be the salting of everyone so that we will be at peace with one another (once we accept it and so have salt in our hearts). John the Baptist (in the Synoptic accounts of his preaching before or just after the baptism of Jesus, Matt 3:10-12 being the most detailed) might not have understood what the point of the fiery wrath to come was, but he references Malachi 3 and 4 very strongly which are prophecies of YHWH using purgative wrath of fire to refine rebel priests in the Day of YHWH to come, and talks about how Christ comes to baptize with Spirit-even-with-fire. Isaiah 4 is a climactic center for explaining the purpose of the various Day of YHWH punishments being described throughout chapters 2-5, which is to convince God’s rebel sons and daughters to stop rebelling, reconcile with the survivors of the wrath (who are righteous and holy, unlike those who didn’t survive!), and so have their filth and bloodshed washed and rinsed (purged) away by the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning.

Quite a bit more could be said along this line, but that’s a good start. (RHM beat me to the Zeph 3 reference. :sunglasses: )

I didn’t make up the word “propitiation” it is the English translation of 1 John 2:2. Is it that you find the English translation unhelpful (if so, what is a better translation?) or is your argument against the Greek testament?

He propitiates (makes satisfaction) for sin.
He expiates sin.
He redeems us from the wages of sin.
We are justified on the basis of his active and passive obedience. (The satisfaction and expiation relate to the passive obedience).

I’m not making doctrines up from metaphors.

However, this is a red herring from the point I am trying to get at in this thread, which is:
If the work of Christ has satisfied the wrath of God for all connected to Him, then why are humans consigned to wrath of the Last Day?

I agree, the main point is to be saved from our sins (sanctification). However he not only provides what is need for our final sanctification, he provides for the full satisfaction as well. So why must men face the wrath of God if the wrath of God is satisfied in Christ?

Good. So, since the sacrifice is made, and God is satisfied, then why must there still be a wrath to come? For there to be a wrath to come either, 1. the work of Christ does not satisfy (which we know it does), or 2. the satisfaction is not for all… thus limited atonement (which makes Calvinism correct).

We better say that. It would be contrary to God’s holy justice to not demand a satisfaction for sin. Apart from the work of Christ, there is no forgiveness.

The work of Christ is not just an example. It literally satisfies. It literally expiates. It would be unjust for God to send his Son to suffer the wages of sin just to provide an example.

Thanks for the reply and the verses, which do point to the mercy of God in providing the offer of Grace after judgement (which is indeed applicable to the overall question as to whether there will be grace offered to those who experience the wrath of God in the Lake of Fire).

My question in this thread is why there must be a future judgement in which humanity will experience the wrath of God if Jesus Christ has satisfied the wrath of God already for us? Unless, Jesus Christ did not satisfy the wrath of God for all people (thus Limited Atonement).

Thank you Jason. You’ve given me something of substance to chew on. I don’t want to respond right away, but want to think about through it a bit first. Let me think about this, and I’ll be back.



I don’t see this happening as Satisfaction theory suggests. Christ did not take our place and suffer under God on our behalf; Christ was God’s provisional lamb that we sacrificed unknowingly. This works to be a sacrifice on our behalf once we recognize it; it saves us from God’s wrath (purification) because we are prepared in advance for glory by acknowledging Christ’s sacrifice. The difference is that we can walk in the kingdom now and live a righteous life of freedom instead of living an unconscious life of shame.

That’s just it, Christ did not satisfy the wrath of God. This idea isn’t supported in scripture.

I understand limited atonement being the idea that only the elect who become saved were ever died for. Unlimited atonement means that Jesus died for all people, even though not all will accept it.

Thanks for your response. If by rejecting the Satisfaction theory, you are either accepting the Moral Influence theory or the Ransom theory, then I understand why we will never see eye to eye on this.




I’m sorry I didn’t make myself clearer here:

It wasn’t my intent to insult you – I was referencing near death experiences, for which I admit I don’t have a lot of regard. I don’t deny they could happen; I just don’t think they’re very reliable or even consistent with one another. I can see how this looked to you – my only excuse: it was late and obviously I wasn’t thinking as clearly as I might.

Now I’ll go and read the rest of your response and the things others have said. I just wanted to be sure to explain myself. I wouldn’t want you to think I meant that the way it looked – very sorry.