"Giving thanks to the Father,
Who makes you competent
for a part of the allotment of
The one question that is the mother of all questions that Christians ask when they are told that God will, through Christ, draw all mankind to Him, and God will be All in all is;
"If everybody is going to be saved what's the point of being a Christian now?"
For some reason, when I hear that question; "What's the point of being a Christian now," from those who claim to be believers, my first thought is;
"If you have to ask that question maybe you're not a believer."
Then I think;
That's an honest question, considering centuries of systematizing of the deception. (Ephesians 4:14)
The short answer is; you had no choice but to be a believer. God had chosen you from the disruption of the world (Ephesians 1:4); the choice was already made for you, as well as for the unbeliever, who has no choice but to not believe at this time.
We don't come to God in our time; we come to Him in His time, He draws us.
"Now the Lord added those being saved, whoever were set for life eonian
... seeing that God prefers you from the beginning for salvation." (Act 2:47, 13:48, 2 Thessalonians 2:13.)
God at this time has destroyed the unbelief in the believer. He has caused us to believe, not because we are special, or have done something worthy of His grace, you only have to be honest with yourself to realize you aren't deserving of anything from God, and that God drew you toward Him, Jesus said;
"No one can come to Me if ever the Father Who sends Me should not be drawing him."
On the flip side, the unbelievers haven't done anything that will stop God from eventually saving them; if they have, there unbelief is more powerful then Jesus' word's;
"And I, if I should be exalted out of the earth, shall be drawing all to Myself." (John 12:32)
There are two drawings; one now; those who are set for eonian life, and those later; all of this is accomplished because of Christ's finished work on the cross and His resurrection. None have now, and no one later will draw themselves toward God, it is all Gods doing.
For some reason most Christians become resentful when they hear that God will draw all to Himself and be All in all, this is what causes them to ask;
"What's the point in believing now?"
Instead of being resentful, believers should first be thankful that we have been chosen to be believers in this age. We are the ones who should be the most grateful for everything; we are the ones who should have inner peace when all seems to be chaos. We are the ones who should understand the purpose for why the world, as well as ourselves, are going through the pains we all go through, and with this knowledge in us we should be reminded daily that it is God Who is in control, not only with our destiny, but with the destiny of all mankind, and that in His time He will draw all to Himself, so with this knowledge we should be thankful.
Paul says in 2 Thessalonians 2:13;
"Now we ought to be thanking God always concerning you, brethren, beloved by the Lord, seeing that God prefers you from the beginning for salvation."
Paul was thankful for this salvation, not only for himself, but also for all who were chosen to be believers in this age, he knew what it was like to be without Christ, and he knew what it meant to be chosen.
Paul could be thankful for all, because he knew what was in store for all of mankind, as well as all of God's creation;
"On this behalf am I bowing my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, after Whom every kindred in the heavens and on the earth is being named." (Ephesians 3:14-15)
Paul tells us he was snatched away to the third heaven and earth in 2 Corinthians 12; there he saw the All coming into the all. What he saw, he wasn't at that time allowed to speak of; he would later in the books of Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians write of these things he saw, not by describing them in picture, but revealing them in truth. In those three books he would write of the heavenly realm of the believer, the absolute grace of God, the reconciling of all mankind to God, and all of this is to be done for the glory of God, not man or religion.
In Paul's writings, from Romans to Philemon, we have the certainty of God becoming All in all.
Paul a Pattern.
"But therefore was I shown mercy, that in me,
the foremost, Jesus Christ should be displaying
all His patience, for a pattern of those who are about
to be believing on Him for life eonian."
1 Timothy 1:16
Paul calls himself a pattern for all who are about to be believing. Paul is a type of those who believe now in grace through faith, as well as a type of those who will believe in grace by sight.
Paul was present at the stoning of Stephen. Paul stood by as Stephen gave the testimony of Christ. He heard every word, and after Stephen's sermon Paul endorsed his stoning, then stood by and watched the others stone him.
Stephen's message didn't soften Paul's heart, or make him stop and ponder the greater things of God, or his need for a Saviour; Stephen's message outraged him.
Paul rejected the message and the Christ that Stephen proclaimed.
Paul, in Philippians 3:4-6 and 1 Timothy 1:13-16 reflects on that time in his life when he was at the top of his religion, as well as his self-righteousness, and his being the one who spearheaded the persecution against the followers of Christ, as well as to stop, even by death, those who would preach in His name. He then recalls the mercy and grace that was bestowed upon him the foremost of sinners.
"And am even I having confidence in flesh, also? If any other one is presuming to have confidence in flesh, I rather: in circumcision the eighth day, of the race of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews, in relation to law, a Pharisee, in relation to zeal, persecuting the ecclesia, in relation to righteousness which is in law, becoming blameless ... I, who formerly was a calumniator and a persecutor and an outrager: but I was shown mercy, seeing that I do it being ignorant, in unbelief. Yet the grace of our Lord overwhelms, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Faithful is the saying, and worthy of all welcome, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, foremost of whom am I. But therefore was I shown mercy, that in me, the foremost, Jesus Christ should be displaying all His patience, for a pattern of those who are about to be believing on Him for life eonian."
Paul would later write that God had chosen him for the service of an evangelist from his mother's womb (Galatians 1:15), but the time of his conversion didn't come for many years later. Paul had to go down the road he was ordained to go down, he had to experience the error of self-righteousness, as well as unbelief and ignorance of the True God, before he would believe.
Paul, in First Timothy, calls himself a pattern for those who are about to be believing. It should be remembered although Paul suffered much for his belief in Christ; he never came to Christ willingly.
It should also be remembered that Paul heard no sermon at his conversion, and he made no decision.
So how could Paul call himself a pattern for those about to be believing?
Yes, Paul was saved by grace, but for Paul the unbeliever, like his contemporary Thomas, belief in Christ would only come one way;
That is how Paul came to be a believer, by sight.
His soulish mind would not allow him to see the greater Way of God; it would only drag him deeper into the ignorance and unbelief he was serving. Paul had to come face to face with the One he denied and persecuted, before he believed.
This teaching about Paul is lost to most.
The common teaching now is if you reject the message you will be rejected.
When did any who believe now see the risen Christ, and after seeing Him accepted Him as their Saviour!
Is that the pattern any of us followed who believes now?
It is true that God is calling those who are now set for salvation by faith not by sight;
Jesus calls them the;
Happy (blessed) are those who are not seeing and believe. (John 20:21)
Paul calls us, who believe now, the ones;
"That rely on the living God, Who is the Saviour of all mankind, especially of believers."
1 Timothy 4:9-10
The majority of mankind does not now believe by faith, and they don't rely on the living God, they will follow Paul's pattern later, when they see Christ they will believe, at that time God's patience, mercy, love and grace will overwhelm their unbelief.
Thank God for Paul's example.
Through Paul we have a picture of how God will deal with mankind at the consummation.
They will see Christ and ask the question that Paul asked;
"Who art Thou, Lord?"
God will remember their back-ground, where they are from (their heritage); He will remember who they are (their character), what they are (humans) and why they were left in unbelief.
Why will He remember?
God, in His sovereignty, created all, and caused all.
"For Thou dost create all, and because of Thy will they were, and are created." (Revelation 4:11)
Paul reminds us of this, and God sovereignty in Romans;
"I shall be merciful (in this eon) to whomever I may be merciful, and I shall be pitying whomever I may be pitying (in this eon). Consequently, then, to whom He will, He is merciful (in this eon), yet to Whom He will, He is hardening (in this eon). For God locks up all together in stubbornness (all of us), that He should be merciful to all (all of us; some now in this eon, most later at the consummation of the eons).
Traditional teaching says that irreverent mankind will shake their fists and curse Christ when they stand before Him Face to face.
You only have to look at "The Pattern" to get a deeper understanding of what the consummation will really be like.
Before Paul's conversion he called himself ignorant and in unbelief.
Paul was an adversary who fought against the Christ; he was an unbeliever who had no desire to follow this Messiah, to Paul this Messiah was a false Messiah, yet, God in His grace and mercy draws Paul into His presence. Paul would write;
"But I was shown mercy, seeing that I do it being ignorant, in unbelief. Yet the grace of our Lord overwhelms, with faith and love in Christ Jesus." (1 Timothy 2:14)
God's grace overwhelmed all the ignorance, hatred and unbelief that Paul had toward Christ.
Paul knew firsthand about the superexceeding grace of God.
Paul could write with all honesty;
"The grace of our Lord overwhelms."
Many may not have hatred toward Christ, but all of us have at one time, and many still are in ignorance and unbelief about Christ and God.
If God allowed us to see the unseeable dimension around us, none would disbelieve. Yet, His ways are not our ways; He is working all things in His way, in His time, and in His manner.
We insult the revelation that was given to Paul when we lesson "The Pattern" of grace and mercy that God had shown to Paul, and us, and when we deny the truth that God will show the same grace and mercy to the rest of mankind who are now just as ignorant and in unbelief as we, the believers, once were.
We, who are now experiencing this grace and mercy from God, should never ask the question;
"If everyone is going to be saved, what's the point of being a Christian now?"
We should look to Paul's example; he is the pattern of all who are now believing by grace and faith, and the pattern of those who are about to be believing by grace and sight. We should always be thanking God for His grace and mercy that we have now, and be thanking Him for His grace and mercy that will be extended to all His creation in the oncoming eons.
Here is another pattern that we should take from Paul, always be praying for, and giving thanks for all mankind.
"I am entreating, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, pleadings, thanksgivings be made for all mankind ... for this is ideal and welcome in the sight of our Saviour, God, Who wills that all mankind be saved and come into a realization of the truth, the testimony in its own eras."
(1 Timothy 2:1-6)