Inclusionism and Universalism… Better Definitions

19 Jun

Recently Ben Kilen submitted the quote below on ‘New Day “Growing in Grace” Network Facebook page.   Man, when the big words inclusionism and universalism began to be bantered around, I didn’t even know what they meant, not to mention whether I believed in them.  But after some education, Steve McVey’s quote distills it to as briefly and as concisely as I believe it at this time.

Ben Kilen’s quote of Steve McVey  –  Jun 19

“Mankind’s inclusion in the finished work of Christ doesn’t mean that everybody has received it or is experiencing the benefits of it now or will necessarily experience the benefits of it when they die.  The gospel message, however, is that we all are included in Him and what He has done on our behalf.  Accept it and be blessed.  Reject it to your own peril.  The work of God in Jesus through the Spirit is what it is.  This gospel we proclaim isn’t a message of what can be but is the good news of what already is in Jesus Christ.  We don’t bring a sales pitch to the unbelieving world.  We are ambassadors for Christ, and we tell everybody, “God was in Christ reconciling you to Himself.  He does not count your sins against you.  You are forgiven, and He has received you.  Now, receive Him.”  These are the two sides to one coin.  One side has been settled in eternity, and the other side settles it experientially.  One side shows what has happened, and the other side shows what does happen as a person believes on Him.  Some Universalists will tell you that faith is a work, but that is nonsense.  Faith is the joyful acceptance of what is already true.  Faith isn’t something we do but is the spontaneous explosion of an enthusiastic embracing of Jesus and what He has given us in Himself.  Do I believe in the ultimate reconciliation of humanity to God?  Oh, no.  It’s better than that.  I believe in the historical reconciliation of humanity to our loving Creator, who is also our Father.  Without asking for so much as a nod of approval from us, before we were even born or could have an opinion on the matter, while we were yet helpless, sinners, enemies of God—He went and did it all.”  – by Steve McVey – from ‘Beyond An Angry God’

In short: we’re looking at better definitions of inclusionism and universalism… and our need to respond/receive… and realizing that there are consequences if we don’t receive.

The good news: everyone is/was forgiven at the cross (actually it was before the foundation of the world – Eph 1:4; Heb 4:3; Rev 13:8).  And it’s available to everyone… all we need to do is receive it.  That’s the Good News.

The part that is so good, is that if we can believe and receive it, not only are all the sins we ever committed forgiven… but the ones we will ever commit are/were already forgiven… AT THE CROSS.  WOW!  What about that declaration of freedom!!!  What about that liberty!!!   That is truly an ’emancipation proclamation’.  No wonder Heb 4:16 says to “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”  It’s already a done deal.  Of course, that doesn’t mean we take forgiveness lightly… and trample upon the goodness of God.  Rather because our hearts are so amazed at the Grace of God, His leading love for me eradicates fear (I Jn 4:18) and then His ongoing grace teaches my heart to not sin (Titus 2:12).

We must start at repenting (Greek word for repent – metanoia, which means “change your mind”) of wrong thinking.  We’ve had wrong thinking about God.  We thought He was hard, distant and resistant in love and forgiveness which made us unable to have confidence witRightBelievingLeadsToRightLivingh God.  But we’re coming to know Him as the better-than-we-thought-God.  And His loving kindness is leading me to repentance (a change of mind about who He is) so that my heart is instructed into right living.  You see, right believing leads to right living.

All this better understanding of who God is and His heart for us, will automatically lead us to a better understanding of who we are.  And who we are in God is staggering!  When we really see this, it will radically revolutionize our relationship with God and our relationship to our fellowman – saved and unsaved.  

From my perspective and from the signs already visible, I believe this revelation could radically change the face of Christianity in a single generation. 

— MLH

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