The Evangelical Universalist Forum

"You must do nothing to come to Jesus" vs "This is what you must do now"


That is the million dollar question. The Holy Grail of understanding. Look Don, you want a Utopia, as do most Christians, we’ve been told from the pulpits time and again that there will be mansions and streets of GOLD. Sorry Charlie, no such luck.

God gave us the gifts to figure this stuff out. Jesus put us in the right relationship with said God. It is kind of simple.:roll_eyes:


YEP! that’s the bottom line… for humanity to be in our present state of reconciliation Christ did it all — there is NOTHING to be added, i.e., “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself” — it is finished!

Though your favoured “enabling” doesn’t actually appear anywhere in the text, God’s grace, kindness and love as revealed in Christ (Tit 2:11; 3:4) does mean we can (as those among the greater whole) serve the greater whole in works of righteousness, NOT for or to it attain it, but as avenues for its blessing — “His own special people zealous for good works.” (2:14)


Preterists are very skilled in explaining away texts relating to the heart of the gospel or relegating the text’s application only to the disaster of A.D. 70.


-------------------------MR. PRETERIST


Well…do you see any enabling grace in the following text?

For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all people, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and to live sensible, righteous, and devout lives in the present age, expecting the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of the great God and of our Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good works. Declare these things; encourage and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you. (Titus 2:11-15)


Although a pantelist I presume, given the proximity of your post, you have at least me in mind… care to elaborate as to HOW what I’ve shared does what you claim above :question:


…training us…” is the closest to that, and I wonder why you don’t just use what’s in the text?

  • I disagree with you that good works are necessary for eternal life.
    Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
    (But even I recognize you were being tongue in cheek about Paul being wrong.)

  • Also, your cartoon above would seem to fairly capture criticism of preterism and hyper-preterism (pantelism), since it depicts the idea of no coming end-times world crisis. But I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Preterists explain away the heart of the gospel: the death of Jesus bringing reconciliation, and the offer of the free gift of salvation and abundant life through him.

  • And I accept your use of the widely recognized shorthand term “enabling grace” --even though that modifier “enabling” appears nowhere in front of “grace” in the Scriptures, as far as I can remember. But there are many other examples of enabling grace in the Scriptures, as we all well know—

-2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;

-1 Timothy 1:12-14 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. 13 Even though I was once a blasphemer… The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

-Ephesians 3:8-9 Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery,

Et al.


Hey Norm, the slippery slope is the understanding of ‘repentance, vs understanding’

My contention, is God, through Jesus has set things right. I also know in my heart that as we grow closer to God we realize that the gospel message is less about ‘having to repent’ and more about having to understand and forgive others and ourselves, like we would have The father forgive us.

Clearly the difference is in what do we have to do vs what has Christ already done.



‘And non preterists’ minds are always at a lost as to the huge volume of scriptural texts that pronounce a coming reckoning. Soon, in this generation, about to be…:roll_eyes: 2000 some years ago.


If someone is training a child to ride a bicycle, is he not enabling him?
The Cambridge dictionary’s primary meaning of “enable” is " to make someone able to do something,"


Well yeah… but you simply and typically just say you’re training them, as per the text <παιδεύουσα> paideuousa. You would rarely say you’re enabling them to ride as that by the nature of things is simply assumed — training, on the other hand, is a little more involved.


Semantics may be crux here, but I too perceive that Paul sees Jesus giving himself in death as what leads to the grace that can purify and train us to be those who do good works (e.g. Titus 2), and thus enable that “the righteous requirements of the law be met in us who do not live according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (e.g. Rom 8:4).


Yes, via his resurrection… for BELIEVERS.

Yes BUT… said “requirements” were duly met and set in Christ; that the fulfilment thereof and thereafter, i.e., life apart from the law righteousness, might be found by those in Christ (e.g. Rom 10:4). Being in Christ in this context refers to those serving God through their faith in Christ — such as were saved to serve.

Everybody is reconciled BUT not everybody knows salvation — and salvation doesn’t mean going to heaven — the goal of salvation is life in the service of God — there is a distinction to be found in Rom 5:10 — Christ’s cross wrought reconciliation for all… whereas Christ’s life (resurrection) brought salvation to some.


Thanks for delineating your understanding. When you say the righteous “requirements” were met in Christ, is the past tense signifying that they have already been met? To use your language that they are met “in Christ” (as we serve God through faith in him), I would interpret Romans 8:4 as implying that the righteous requirements are met in us in the present as we serve and live not according to the flesh.

I hear you to clarify again that even unbelievers and those who do not live according to the Spirit have full ‘reconciliation’ with God. Can you spell out again what you see that ensuring and what texts best spell out that the disobedient presently enjoy ‘reconciliation’ with God. As you probably know, my impression is that even post cross and AD 70, those who continue to rebel against God and his ways remain subject to God’s judgments and reaping the consequences of their sins.

But of course as a universalist, I see God as already ‘reconciled’ to them, and securely committed to their ultimate salvation. Thus our differing emphases may be a matter of timing and semantics?


Dear Bob and Davo,

Try as I might, my simple mind can’t identify any discernible difference in your understanding of what Paul is teaching. You may have to spell it out for me in words of one syllable. Love you both.


I like the way Tom Wright puts it… “what God was doing for the world He did first for Israel.” So the pattern is this… ALL Israel, they being… the good the bad and the ugly were as a collective whole REDEEMED FULLY out of Egypt. Those of faith however came to realise in life the richness of redemption in terms of the blessedness of the Land, i.e., peace.

What does it actually mean, as you put it… “to rebel against God:question:

Typically in biblical parlance “the rebellious” are God’s OWN people living in disobedience… and Paul informs us in kind that “what WE sow we reap” — I assume what that looks like might vary.


There is a different way…
To understand that God has indeed planted a road map for His creation. He has a plan bet your bottom dollar…


A plan? Yes, to sum up all things in Jesus Christ, the savior for those that believe, and the judge of all men at his coming. Easy-peasy.
The same Jesus Christ who now sits BODILY at the ‘right hand of God’ and who, according to Paul (and Tom Wright) is the now and future Lord of the world - against any so-called lords through history - and THAT is the heart of the gospel, not imputed righteousness.
If Paul is right, Jesus, sitting bodily at God’s side, is in charge of the world.
Enough of this “God and Jesus took care of it all” - certainly they are going to, and the work of Christ ‘back then’ was just the beginning of the work Jesus is doing now.
Is any of that somehow offensive?
Yes God has reconciled the world to Himself - a thing most wondrous - but we are, empirically, savaging ourselves, hating our parents, being deviant - just like the day before Christ died. Nothing has changed in that sense. We need to repent and turn to Jesus for our salvation, acknowledging that part of His work that is complete, give up our sins for forgiveness, and begin the walk.


David, it seems to me you are looking for a utopian explanation of Christ, and I agree, most of evangelicals are in the same place, but … What if God really saved all of humanity, What if the thing that Adam and Eve did was completely done away with at the cross, What if we and our children and Grandchildren are accepted?

We are savaging ourselves? How so, our political views may seem to be in constant turmoil, but the fact that the turmoil exists, seems to be a shining star… If we can divorce ourselves from politics, the understanding of Christ will work. And will work greatly!


Yes, I totally agree disobedience to God’s ways is what constitutes rebelling toward God, who indeed addresses it in his own people. I’m less sure Paul sees believers typically as the norm of such rebellion and disobedience. Indeed evangelicals may see rank rebellion as a clue that one does not experience salvation or reconciliation with God (often seen as inseparable). Though I observe that you define these such that even “God’s own people” may be said to be reconciled with God, but not saved.

I think my central confusion was my query about your response to my citation of Romans 8:4, " Yes BUT… said (righteous) ‘requirements’were duly met in Christ." As I said, I hear that verse as referring to God’s righteous requirement being met (not already in Christ, but) in the present as We do not live according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit." Thus I inquired whether your use of the past tense meant you see this as confirming that the “righteous requirements” were already met, whether they are practiced by us or not, or whether you only see the righteous requirements being met when we, as you put it, by faith in Christ actually “serving God”?