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If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him. So what is the problem? Is this a bad thing? Many very sincere believers get tripped up when they read words in Scripture that, on the surface, sound universal, terms such as we see in this sentence, “all men will believe on him.” But notice the very next sentence from the mouth of these unbelievers, “…the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.” Are the Romans “men”? If “all men” was as universal a term in the Jews’ thoughts as some folks try to make it, would not “all men” include Romans as well as Jews? And, if the Romans believe on Him, again, what is the problem? First century Jews imbedded their religious thinking into a myopic perspective that included Jews and only Jews. If they thought or spoke in terms that included more than just Jews, they might logically use such terms as “all men,” intending Jews and Gentiles, people of all race, culture, and background, not just Jews. Let’s see if Scripture supports this idea.
And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. (1 John 5:19)
John identifies two groups or classes of people in this verse, “we,” and “the whole world.” Are believers real human beings? Do they literally live in this world? Or are they mere phantoms who appear to live in this world, but they really don’t? Obviously, in this case, the universal sounding term “whole world” refers to a specific class of wicked unbelievers, not to every person in the “whole world” of our created universe, or, for that matter, to the whole of the created material universe. John draws a clear contrast. In his mind, “we” and “the whole world” are mutually exclusive. No one can be part of both the “we” and part of the “whole world.” Ah, then “whole world” refers to some group of people, by definition, less inclusive than all humanity. It cannot include the “we” whom John defines as being of God. A careful study of these broad sounding terms in Scripture will consistently show in the context that the term refers to a defined class of people, not to all humanity. This fact becomes central to our belief when we study passages dealing with the big question, “For whom did Jesus die”? And Scripture consistently teaches that Jesus did not die to give all humanity the opportunity to consider whether they desire to be born again or not. It teaches that all for whom Jesus died shall surely and effectually be born again by the work of God alone, not by any human instrumentality. “…so is every one that is
Directory: Gospel Gleanings


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