This post will wander a bit. Bear with me.

The children’s hide and seek game, where you are tagged ‘it’ if the one who is already it finds you, has the option of calling everyone back in ‘free’… no tagging. We would call out, “Allee allee outs in free!” Somehow this got transliterated into “Olly olly outs in free” which makes no sense. But then, it’s a children’s game and doesn’t have to make sense.

I used the title because it pretty much explains where I am on the matter of grace and Christian belief. Calling everyone in free is often referred to as universal salvation (or universal recreation – which I do NOT agree with) and if you want to start a firestorm, try telling another Christian you believe it. Or at least a version of it.

Here is what I see. Jesus did indeed reconcile all things to himself when he died. That, to me, says universal reconciliation, and is what I beleive to be true. It is NOT universal salvation. Salvation means to be made whole, to have the life of Christ, now, in this life, in this age. To be a new creation, born from above (or born again) through faith in Jesus.

We are saved by faith, to be able to know Him, and for the purpose of preaching the good news, making more disciples to do the same thing. Why? Well, I’d rather live in this life, free of religion and knowing Jesus, than to have to wait until that last day. Wouldn’t you? It was imprtant enough that Jesus died to bring us into it, and the apostles died to spread the news. That is good enough for me.

Age-long is what the word that has been translated “eternal” means. In scripture, only God is truly eternal, and presumalby that is how the translators came up with eternal life. It is a descriptor of the giver, not of the duration of the life we are given. What we are told by the apostle Paul is that we will be changed at the resurrection, and have incorruptable bodies…. which would make us immortal. Currently, Jesus is the only one with immortality.

Jesus came to take away the sins of the world, as the lamb of God. He did not fail. He did away with the law, by which sin is known. Even the law that is known by instinct in the hearts of the pagan, the doing good to gain favor, is wiped away. It is over. That is the good news.

We now live by faith, which is trust in God and persuasion of the gospel.

We who believe have God’s influence in our hearts, a free gift that we didn’t earn. It is called grace. Grace is what teaches us godliness. Paul adamantly says that grace and law don’t mix. If you try to add law to grace, you loose the benefit of grace. He calls it falling from grace. Not losing salvation, but losing your ability to live in the full freedom of grace.

So, to revive the law, or the idea of good and evil, and apply it to others is to put yourself under that law as well. You will be into a legal mindset, and not a mindset of grace and freedom. You will not be able to bring grace into anyone’s life if you judge good or evil regarding them. This is important. We are daily among ‘outsiders’ and we have the ministry of reconciliation. We are to tell them they are included in the work of Christ. From the drunk to the criminal, all are included.

If any do not know their heavenly Father, they will at some point. There is no alternative. There is no law and no sin to judge. Sin itself was judged and is defeated. Therefore, no punishment is due anyone. There is only God, and there is no place that God is not. He is in Sheol, the scriptures says. If He is in the place of the dead, that is not a place of torment, but waiting. If there is such a place at all……

Universal or ultimate reconciliation says that one day each one will see the Father and recognize Him. Even the atheist. When they do, the light of his goodness will burn off all the ‘dross’ and they will be just as we were when we met Him and were saved. Or, as scripture says, every knee will bow and every tongue will say Jesus is Lord. Or, you could see it as the prodigal son in his father’s embrace.

The concept of hell as a place of punishment and torment is pagan. There is nothing to punish. There is only inclusion and reconciliation. Sin is dead. Law is dead. By Christ, we are also dead to sin and to the law. It truly is finished. Take the words sin, and law, and hell, and punishment, and most definitely torment, out of your vocabulary. It will begin to change how you respond to others.

Olly olly outs in free!

Romans 14…And in Adam we have a type of Him whose coming was still future. 15 But God’s free gift immeasurably outweighs the transgression. For if through the transgression of the one individual the mass of mankind have died, infinitely greater is the generosity with which God’s grace, and the gift given in His grace which found expression in the one man Jesus Christ, have been bestowed on the mass of mankind. 18 It follows then that just as the result of a single transgression is a condemnation which extends to the whole race, so also the result of a single decree of righteousness is a life-giving acquittal which extends to the whole race. 19 For as through the disobedience of the one individual the mass of mankind were constituted sinners, so also through the obedience of the One the mass of mankind will be constituted righteous. (Rom 5:14,15,18,19 Weymouth Translation)