Sin-->death;Grace-->Life;Grace trumps sin:thereforeUR


Sin --> death; Grace --> Life; Grace trumps sin: therefore UR.

Boy did I step into it today. At church this morning, (being a Sabbatarian, today is my church day) we discovered that our usual study class (what we call Sabbath School) had been moved/cancelled/other because of a Mothers day brunch being held where we usually meet. The teacher had been told it was cancelled so had not prepared. Plus he was frying pancakes for the brunch. So we decided, about 6 or 8 of us – to meet kind of impromptu – in the mothers room. The weeks lesson was titled “Sin” and, while this was NOT my week to teach, I found myself questioning how the lesson study guide was using the weeks memory text; Romans 5:18.

To date, I have not shared, explicitly, my UR convictions publicly. Just best not to label oneself that way and risk charges of heresy. Today, unplanned and unrehearsed, all that changed. I found myself formulating this thought out loud; We know that sin and death are linked. Sin leads to death; sin pays it’s wage, that wage is death. (That’s Phillips rendering of Romans 6:23) However, just as sin and death are linked, so too are Grace and Life; this is seen, among many places, in Ephesians 2:8. So, in a manner of speaking, Grace and Sin are in tension – in conflict. Then we come to Romans 5:20 and hear that where sin increases, Grace abounds all the more. So it seems obvious that Grace trumps Sin. And the obvious, logical results of this dynamic are simply stated right there in Romans 5:18. Sin comes to all (and thus death comes to all) through the one man, Adam. But likewise, and not only counter to but TRUMPING this is that so too does LIFE come from one Man; the Christ – through the Grace of God.

From that point, it deteriorated (from the perspective of my friends listening and countering) but from my perspective soared! I brought up many of the classic UR passages: 1 Cor 15, the notion of God’s TOTAL Victory through Christ in Colosians; the idea that for death to HAVE no sting OR victories, it could NOT been seen as retaining those held in death forever. Those blessed open gates in the New Jerusalem! It all just sort of tumbled out.

Now, in the weeks to come, I’m going to have to live with the fallout (if there is any) of my impulsive articulation of the sensibility of UR. (which was roundly rejected – as you might imagine)

In the meantime, I need to ask you all about the validity of my admittedly simplistic formulation of sin and grace in tension and the fact that grace always prevails over sin. Sin kills; Grace brings life. And Paul says Grace always abounds more than does Sin. That should mean – shouldn’t it? – that logically, Sin is defeated by Grace and UR must therefore be the eventual result. Thus it would be difficult to find a text more affirming of UR than Romans 5:20…




Not much time (or energy) today for a comment; other than “yay!” :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

Even though it does sound “simplistic”, your fusing of this with other scriptural evidence should show well enough (even if the attempt is rejected) that you aren’t being merely “simplistic” about it. Please have no worries in this regard.

But if there is anywhere that the matter may be “simplistically” stated, this portion of Romans is certainly one such place. What else does hope against sin amount to, what else can it amount to, except that where sin exceeds, grace hyper-exceeds?!–because not as the sin is the grace.

Anyway. Will be praying for good seed to be a result of any fallout from this. :slight_smile: (amen.)


Now if I were a man of faith (which of course you know full well I 'aint :wink: ) I might be tempted to say you weren’t the one wholly in control of the circumstances or your outburst.

But then I’m not - so I wouldn’t - but it would be nice if it were so. :mrgreen:


Yep, absolute and simple right there. Sometimes you just can’t help yourself. Outbursts and outpourings happen…


UR too funny dude. There is so much Jesus in you it’s ridiculous. :wink:

I would almost go KJV on you and ask “who toldest thee thou wast faithless-eth?” :mrgreen:


I agree with the poster above me.

I also agree with Jason in that it does seem rather simplistic, but that’s because it is! People twist scripture so much to fit their viewpoint of course they’re going to think this is too simple. They have to justify their outlook by using contorted concepts and proof-texting. I say, way-to-go.

I was going to post about how I brought this whole topic up in my small group a couple weeks ago. We meet together in the home like the early christians did simply worshipping God and letting him direct the meetings. However, sadly to say as progressive as the group is I feel as though there are still some old concepts clinging on stubbornly.

I didn’t really mean to say anything brushing the topic, as I usually don’t like to implicate myself :laughing:, but the topic drifted to a vision of hell that a certain woman saw in which Jesus was not only agreeing with the punishments but encouraging them. The unofficial leader said he didn’t feel like that was what Jesus was like at all and that if anything, we choose hell because separation from God is hell (basically everything C.S. Lewis would’ve said). And that God’s presence doesn’t punish, it’s separation from him that causes torture.

Somehow my mind quickly sorted through all of this and it just sort of tumbled out that the verse in Thessalonians that I believe Tom Talbott expounded on (though I can’t find it right now) where they recieve destruction from the presence of the Lord means that it’s the sin in them which is being tortured and thus purified out of them (I wasn’t very eloquent with it though, heh). And he said, “Like purgatory?” To which I paused to think about how to respond before the conversation moved on. He then talked about how it would be like those who had rejected God would be relegated to another part of the universe separate from what God was building behind his back as it were; and that they might be sent somewhere, like in a black hole that can’t be escaped. To which I said, “But we don’t really know where black holes lead,” to which he gave a somewhat surprised/frustrated look.

I didn’t broach the topic after that. I’m usually pretty good at defending my beliefs in this regard but I treasure this group so much that I don’t want it to turn into a debate about this or cause them to treat me in a different light, although I’m probably underestimating them. Oh well.


Isn’t Grace a gift that must be received?

This is the hump that I can’t seem to get over. I’m on top but the nudge that will send me flying down the slippery slope that is UR hasn’t hit yet.


Brief reply before I go back to editing:

Yes. Freely given joy (the word we typically translate as “grace”) is a gift to be received.

But it exists to be received. (Received, to be given and to be received again, in the mystical action of unity. :slight_smile: )

That isn’t the relevant question, though, for universalism compared with other theories. Every nominally orthodox theologian (and even a lot of overtly non-orthodox ones :slight_smile: ), when they stop to think about it, agrees that grace exists to be received, and that grace doesn’t wait for reception before existing to be received. (God doesn’t wait until we are no longer sinners to love us–especially into no longer being sinners! If God didn’t first love us, we would have no hope at all.)

The relevant question, is whether God ever gives up in acting toward giving grace to sinners eventually (or maybe never bothers to act at all in the case of some sinners. Arm or Calv options, respectively.)

If God continues to act toward saving every sinner from sin, then universalism is true. Whether every sinner will ever act to receive the grace is a whole other question–one I now would say is answered ‘yes’ in revelation. But even if the sinner never did, universalism is not dependent as a doctrine on sinners, but on the intention and action of God toward sinners.

The question is not whether sinners will be faithful. We’re sinners. We’re already unfaithful. (Duh. :wink: )

The question is: will God be faithful to save us from sin? Or, will He not?

That is the basic question–and that is the basic difference between universalism and not. Universalists, in various ways (some of which I wouldn’t agree with), answer yes. Non-universalists, in various ways and qualifications, answer no. “Eventually not” or “Not for them”, at bottom, “because of this or that.” Whatever. Even if it’s true it’s still a ‘no’: the Lord doesn’t save; the Lord is not salvation.

Putting it very over-simply, I go with the option that doesn’t require my denial of the name of “Jesus”: “The Lord Saves”, or “The Lord is Salvation” (depending on what the original Aramaic was. :slight_smile: ) He was named “Jesus” because He would save His people from their sins. Not because these or those people will never be saved by God from sin.

After that, the only question is who in final analysis are His people? Does everyone belong to God? Or not?

Being trenchently orthodox, and not a dualist or something like that, I answer “everyone”, whether or not they’re trying not to belong to God. Even some counter-‘orthodox’ party Christians answer yes to that. But, not everyone does–even among the Christians who ought, for coherency sake, to be affirming that everyone and everything belongs to God.

Back to editing now. :slight_smile:


That is a great response Jason; will read and reread it mult times.
Much much is contained therein.
We have far far too often tied response to grace and confused it with the grace itself!
No, grace is NOT diminished just because OUR response is weak and frail and flawed. Grace remains the lighthouse no matter if we are flailing on the reefs. (But THIS lighthouse keeper WILL see us safely to harbor!!!)

As I’ve pondered all this, I’m astonished to realize that, in some measure, I AM a Calvinist! – in that I’m beginning to see that God DOES arrange circumstances (or allows them to evolve in such a way) so that eventually, NO ONE will be able to resist the ultimate reality that is His Love. We are, in short, predestined to be saved.

And why on earth, given the drama and reality of the cross, should this surprise us??
Good News: God NEVER gives up on us…



For the record I’m not trying to prove a point but simply trying to work through this.


I haven’t got time this morning to read the article (although I want to); but allow me to point out quickly that what I wrote about before does involve a notion of “resistible grace” (as per Arminianism).

It also involves a notion of “persistent grace” (as per Calvinism).

There is a subtle but crucial distinction, however, between the question of whether grace is resistible (even Calvs usually admit that it can be resisted in the short-term, unless the Calv has gone completely deterministic denying free will altogether) and the question of whether grace is ultimately fallible: whether it can or does ultimately fail in saving this or that person from sin.

When Calvs are talking about “irresistible grace”, they may or may not be talking about whether the grace is really resistible (depending on how deterministic the Calv theologian is); but they’re certainly talking about grace being infallible: we can trust that the grace of God will not fail in achieving the object of grace.

(Thus, in order to keep a doctrine of hopeless hell, the Calvinist must logically hold to another doctrine, too: that God never even intended, much less ever started, to give anything other than incidental grace (of the type of the wheat and the tares) to some souls.)

That all being said, I’ll make a note to read the article and then comment on it later. (Possibly much later… really really really super busy right now elsewhere… :mrgreen: )