Alternative 1: The entire world
Here are some Bible verses that say that Jesus is the Savior of the whole world.
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (Jhn 1:29).
It is he who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the whole world’s. (1 Jhn 2:2)
who desires [θέλω thelō Strong’s 2309 1. to be resolved or determined, to purpose] all men to be delivered and to come to a full knowledge of truth. (1Tim. 2:4).
1 Tim 4:10 To this end we work hard and struggle because we have set our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, that is, of those who believe.
According to verse 4:10 God is the Savior of all men, especially of believers. Does Jesus indeed save ALL MEN, however sinners they may be? The verse can also be interpreted so that the believers will naturally get salvation and all people in the world have the same chance (if only they believe).
God is the Savior of believers, it is clear. Is God REALLY the savior of ALL PEOPLE? Everyone? OK, God says this way, but could it be possible for all, just every person, to get rid of their sins – whether they want or not? 1 Cor speaks of the cleansing fire that brings purification of sins. Not for everyone, but for those who have built their ‘house’ at least to some extent on the foundation of Christ.
Tit 1:10 For there are many people who are rebellious, especially those who are converts from Judaism [Lit. those of the circumcision]. They speak utter nonsense and deceive people.
Rebellious men can be found among all kinds of people, but especially … If this is compared to 1 Tim 4: 9-10, which speaks of the salvation of God, and especially whether it concerns all (every one of us), or it concerns especially believers, but also others. There are three possible interpretations: 1) Salvation applies only to believers 2) Salvation applies especially to believers, but equally to others 3) Salvation is without any doubt for the believers but also for others “under certain conditions”.
In fact, I am inclined to the third option. I think it means this: Salvation applies to all people who at least, at some stage of their lives have built their faith in Christ, but especially for the true believers. This is on the condition that the content of the gospel has been comprehensively communicated to those people. Then the responsibility for salvation is transferred to the listener. He can believe or not.
Such a person can be saved who has never even heard of Christ, as long as the acts of the law are in his heart. Rom 2:14 For whenever Gentiles, who do not possess the law, do instinctively what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that what the law requires is written in their hearts, a fact to which their own consciences testify, and their thoughts will either accuse or excuse 16 on that day when God, through Jesus Christ, will judge people’s secrets according to my gospel.
What if people do not believe that God wants to have them saved? What if they have never heard of God Jehovah? God could, if he wanted to, bring himself and his will know to all people! But only a small part of the large crowd of billions of people even knows the God Jehovah. Even those who know God, few know his will.
But people do not obey God’s will! If a person believes his sins can be forgiven on the basis of Jesus’ redemption sacrifice, and repents his evil deeds, he will be saved and will not suffer the second death in the final judgment. What if people do not even realize that they have committed sin? For humans, both for the theologians and word listeners, it is clear that an sinner not repenting will be subject to eternal pain in the lake of fire, that is, to experience the so-called second death. This is perfectly clear in the Bible and is told many times. Or is it?
You must want the salvation. Rev 22:17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” Let everyone who hears this say, “Come!” Let everyone who is thirsty come! Let anyone who wants the water of life take it as a gift!
Jer 29:13 says: And you shall seek and find me when you search for me with all your heart. Heb 11:6 without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards [with eternal life] those who diligently search for him. Jhn 12:32 As for me, if I am lifted up from the earth [after resurrection], I will draw all people to myself.
The verse above shows that everyone is offered salvation. Salvation does not require much, but something important; man will be saved IF he only wants to take the free ‘water of life’ or ‘step by the door’, which is Christ. You need to want to become saved. Jer 29:13 promises that you will find Christ when you search for him with all your heart. You have to do something to achieve it. The matter can be turned the other way; if you do not do so – step in the door of Christ or drink water for free – you will not be saved. Heb 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for he who comes to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder [with eternal life] of those who seek him. It is easy to find Christ because he is drawing all men to himself (Jhn 12:32).
Alternative 2: All the believers in the world
Jhn 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
Instead of Jesus taking away the sins of men throughout the world and bringing them to salvation, John 3:16 explaining God’s promise says: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life. When the above verses stated that the whole world might be saved (universalistic interpretation: the whole world and all its people), then according to John 3:16 salvation requires that a person believes in Jesus!
If there are verses that interpret the people of the whole world to become saved and received eternal life, then there are verses in the Bible which testify that salvation is conditional. Such is one of the most famous verses in the Bible, John 3:16: Everyone who believes in Jesus Christ will be saved. I checked what Strong’s say: πιστεύω pisteúō; from G4102 to have faith (in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing), i.e. credit; by implication, to entrust (especially one’s spiritual well-being to Christ): —believe(-r), commit (to trust), put in trust with.
Could it be possible that there is a contradiction in the Bible, verses that are against each other? The starting point is that the Bible cannot be contradictory to itself. So if there are verses that seem to be opposing, how do we resolve the interpretation problem? Which one is the right one? In this case, does Christ really save all people in the world, or only those who believe in Him and call on his name for help? This is what I have to think about and study with the progress of my writing. Now I would like to say from the example above that the solution could be this: All people in the world are saved, but punishment for ungodly sinners is long and harsh, but not endless.
It is said in Jhn 3:16: … “whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”. Here is a definite condition and requirement. Salvation and the enjoyment of eternal life requires faith. According to this, not everyone will be saved. What about 1 Jhn 2:2, which says: he who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and he himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. – This could also be interpreted so that Jesus has reconciled the sins of human beings all over the world, and so they all are saved. However, the verse can be interpreted so that Christ has reconciled all sins and all can be saved if they only believe that Christ has done so for them.
According to another example of the Bible, “God wants all people to be saved”. Does not God’s will happen if only part of the people are saved? This is not the question of God being able to rescue every human being, though by force as Paul was converted. I believe that God makes salvation to all people as easy as possible. The world is tempted by the scourges of heaven and every person has many opportunities to shout for the one word needed to be saved – Jesus (or Jehovah) on the day of the wrath of the Lord.
To get to the bottom of which one interpretation is correct, I will examine what is the word used when the Bible speaks of God’s will.
The word is θέλω (THELÒ) Strong’s G2309 and it occurs 212 times in NT. Strong’s describes it: to be resolved or determined, to purpose, but also; to desire, to wish. The difficulty of translating is illustrated by how differently, for example, 1 Tim 2:4 has been translated. Is the salvation of all mankind the true will of God or should it be translated “God says It would be nice if all people were saved”? When studying the 200 plus verses where θέλω is used, most of them are about real intent.
Another example: Luke 18:41, where the blind man asked Jesus for help, and Jesus answered: What do you want me to do for you? And he [the blind] said: Lord, I want to regain my sight! – Who doubts the blind man’s will to get his sight back?
What happens when God wants to? Isaiah answers: 46:10-11 “… My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure; … I have spoken, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it. – If God assures that he will do according to his will, i.e. to save ALL PEOPLE, then the question is: how can it happen when the Bible requires faith to achieve salvation? Well, the people who believe will be saved because of their faith (they are cleansed by the fire of God) and the unbelievers will be saved, because God will force them to know their sinful deeds and repent (as happened to Saul, later called Paul). The fire of the latter group may be much stricter and longer than the first group. I can imagine how A. Hitler and J. Stalin hold each other by their hands and howl, praying for mercy in the fire of God, when they are being scorched SPIRITUALLY.
Salvation is the people with regard to the main event, even if very few people think about it during their lifetime. This issue has been central to God ever since the creation of man, so it is not the same whether God wants or just “desires”.
According to the Bible, in the final judgment people are divided into two groups; those whose names are written in the Book of Life will receive LIFE, while others whose names are not in the book, shall be condemned. There may be a variety of judgments, punishments of varying lengths in “lake of fire”. In the last chapter I will study this punishment more closely. Is it just a perpetual punishment and whether a fiery lake is a concrete or figurative expression. Has the salvation been lost forever for those who are thrown in the lake?
Rom 8:20-21 because the creation was subjected to frustration, though not by its own choice. The one who subjected it did so in the hope that also the creation will be freed from the slavery of corruption to the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
God is here to announce that [the whole] creation is against its will subjected to futility, but will be delivered from the bondage of corruption, ie sin to the glory of the children of God. But, most of humanity should be condemned for their sins and to be punished and suffer forever in the fiery lake forever? The Letter to the Romans promises hope to the mankind, but in many places of the Bible, it is instead promised damnation, gnashing of the teeth, eternal separation from the glory of God, etc.
So, God created men, and he subjugated them under ‘corruption’. Older English translations such as the KJV use the word vanity, which could be described as not only vanity, also seeking only their own interests and walking according to the course of this world. God also ensured that among the people there are righteous people who are his chosen ones.
Now I come to this important conclusion: For some, he gave plenty of faith and for others less, to each one according to His own discretion. This means that God made in his wisdom an important dichotomy in His creation. For the sake of salvation, people go from a different starting point to compete for the prize of eternal life. However, I am that God corrects the situation with the final judgment and provides an opportunity for easy salvation. We know from the Bible that to reach salvation it is enough to shout just one word: Jesus!