A gracEmail subscriber, having read in previous gracEmails that Jesus made peace between God and the entire world, asks whether anyone can reject God’s love and the reconciliation resulting from it.
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The gospel is the good news of our salvation (Eph. 1:13). It is the announcement that God has “made peace” with every human being who will ever live, through the blood of Jesus Christ (Col. 1:19-20). In the life and death of Jesus Christ, God was “reconciling the world to himself” (2 Cor. 5:19). From the work of Jesus Christ “there resulted life to all” (Rom. 5:18). The Creator has issued a general pardon to his rebellious creation. Because of Jesus Christ, the slate is clean for the entire world. Jesus “made purification of sins” and, having completed that assignment, “sat down at the right hand” of God in heaven (Heb. 1:3). God has made us his ambassadors — commissioned to tell the world about God’s forgiveness and to beg them to be reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:20).
Sadly, not everyone accepts this reconciliation. Not all receive God’s grace (2 Cor. 6:1). When Paul announced the good news in a synagogue in Antioch, people responded in two distinct ways. Some who heard were drawn to the message and Paul urged them to continue in the grace of God, knowing that God was working in their hearts (Acts 13:43, 48). Others argued with the gospel announcement and spoke evil of it (13:45). Paul told them that they had repudiated the word of God and judged themselves unworthy of eternal life (13:46).
To reject God’s grace and forgiveness is the ultimate sin, for which one can expect finally only God’s consuming fire of judgment (Heb. 10:26-27). The same principle also applies to those who never hear the good news of God’s forgiveness. God will judge them by the light they did have. Those who reject God’s love, however they have known it, also cut themselves off from eternal life (Rom. 2:8-12). God desires that all people be saved and that none perish (1 Tim. 2:4; 2 Pet. 3:9). Surely we should wish the same thing. Yet the mystery of evil is that some people reject even so great a salvation as this, and for them there will be no escape (Heb. 2:3)