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Will ALL people be saved?

There is an interesting teaching out there that uses John 12:32 to teach that ALL people will be saved. And that makes sense because God loves everyone, so it stands to reason that God would want them all in Heaven. The question is: is it true?

Let's take a look at the verse in question:

John 12:32 "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all [peoples] to Myself."

At first, this seems like a no-brainer. There's a clear condition, and a direct result if that condition is true: "If" Jesus is lifted up (and He was), then He will "draw all peoples to Himself." The condition is met, so the result must be so. And "all peoples" means "all peoples," right?

There are two things about this "proof" that we'll take a look at. First is the "local context." Let's see what the verse immediately above it says:

John 12:31-32 "Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all [peoples] to Myself."

The first item of business is the word "peoples." Did you notice anything unusual about it? It's in square brackets, which this version of the Bible uses to indicate that the text within the brackets does not appear in the original text, but was inserted by the translators. Taking that word out leaves a vacuum that we can easily fill by looking at the verse above it.

The context of John 12:31 is "the judgment of this world." So what will Jesus draw to Himself?

Judgment—If Jesus is lifted up, He will draw all of the righteous judgment of God to Himself. Jesus took the judgment that we deserve for us so that we might become the righteousness of God in Christ.

In Ephesians, it tells us that at the cross, Jesus abolished the enmity in His flesh, making peace between us and God:

Ephesians 2:15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, [that is], the law of commandments [contained] in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man [from] the two, [thus] making peace,

John tells us that it's by Jesus being "lifted up" that believers avoid judgment:

John 5:24 "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.

In Romans, Paul tells us that "one Man's righteous act" at the cross is a free gift to all believers resulting in justification because He took our judgment:

Romans 5:18 Therefore, as through one man's offense [judgment came] to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act [the free gift came] to all men, resulting in justification of life.

Finally, we know that John wrote to us that on judgment day, we believers may have boldness, because in this world we believers are "as He is." And it's all because Jesus drew all judgment to Himself:

1 John 4:17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.

Now the argument back would certainly be based on this verse:

Ezekiel 33:11 "Say to them: '[As] I live,' says the Lord GOD, 'I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?'

See? God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked—more evidence that all will be saved.

Yet even in that same verse is a warning to "turn." "Repent." "Change your mind." Just because God does not have any pleasure in it does not mean that He won't allow it to happen. Fortunately, Jesus' sacrifice allows us to "turn from our evil ways"—we can turn to Him and be justified.

So when you dig into the text and the context, it shows that it's Jesus drawing judgment to Himself that makes believers righteous and justified, making peace between us and God, which is far from supporting that all people will go to Heaven. All people can go to Heaven, however, but they need to accept the free gift first.

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