The Apostle Paul’s message emancipates us from the oppressive bondage of legalism and bigotry; it also champions the cause of freedom and catholicity. Paul’s gospel, which is all about the person and work of Christ, is emphatically the gospel of freedom and universalism. The Christ who died was raised again and ever lives as Lord and Savior. Christ has become “unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption; That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”
“A dead Christ would be the grave of all our hopes, and the gospel of a dead Saviour a wretched delusion.” Or, as Paul puts it, “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.”
The death of Christ only becomes effectual through His resurrection. These two facts are inseparable, for, as Paul says, He “was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.”
Paul was a “universalist,” for he teaches the universal need of salvation as well as God’s intention and provision for a universal salvation. Paul’s message “turns on the great antithesis of sin and grace. Before Christ and out of Christ is the reign of sin and death; after Christ and in Christ is the reign of righteousness and life.”
—-The Universal Need of Salvation
This need “arises from the fall of Adam and the whole human race, which was included in him as the tree is included in the seed, so that his one act of disobedience brought sin and death upon the whole posterity.”
—-The Divine Intention and Provision of Universal Salvation
“God sincerely wills that all men, even the greatest of sinners, should be saved, and come to the knowledge of truth through Christ, who gave himself a ransom for all. The extent of Christ’s righteousness and life is as universal as the extent of Adam’s sin and death, and its intensive power is even greater. The first and the second Adam are perfectly parallel by contrast in their representative character, but Christ is much stronger and remains victor of the field, having slain sin and death, and living for ever as the prince of life. Where sin abounds there grace super-abounds. As through the first Adam sin (as a pervading force) entered into the world, and death through sin, and thus death passed unto all men, inasmuch as they all sinned (in Adam generically and potentially, and by actual transgression individually); so much more through Christ, the second Adam, righteousness entered into the world and life through righteousness, and thus righteousness passed unto all men…” Jesus Christ is greater than Adam!
God wills that all men should be saved and Christ died to save all mankind. Thus God’s will and Christ’s work conspire to bring about the salvation of all mankind, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ!