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One of the most prevalent arguments against Universal Salvation is that man is a free will agent and therefore must respond to the free gift of Salvation with his own faith (or belief).  Consider the next several passages that clearly show us that faith is not necessary to be reconciled to God (even though faith may be necessary to see and perceive that we have been reconciled to God).

What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision?  Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God.  FOR WHAT IF SOME DID NOT BELIEVE? WILL THEIR UNBELIEF MAKE THE FAITHFULNESS OF GOD WITHOUT EFFECT?  CERTAINLY NOT! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar.
Romans 3:1-4 - NKJV

Here it is shown that man's lack of faith cannot thwart the plan of God or tamper with God's faithfulness.  Then what is the advantage of believing and practicing faith?  The advantage is that those who have faith and follow God will be trusted with the oracles or mysteries or the Word of God.

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this NOT FROM YOURSELVES, IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD - not by works, so that no one can boast. FOR WE ARE GOD'S WORKMANSHIP, CREATED IN CHRIST JESUS TO DO GOOD WORKS, WHICH GOD PREPARED IN ADVANCE FOR US TO DO.
Ephesians 2:4-10 NKJV

Let us consider the phrase by grace you have been saved, through faith.  Many would argue that we have been saved by the grace of God, but to really be saved we must respond in faith.  Consider the very next statement and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.    Some would argue, yes, grace is a free gift but faith is required to receive the free gift.  If something is free then there is no payment demanded or action required.  Allow me to point out here that grace does not come from us, and neither does faith initially come from us.  Grace and Faith are gifts from God - lest any of us should try to boast in our grace or in our faith.  Faith is not required for us to be reconciled to God.  Faith is, however, required to fully realize that we have been reconciled to God through Christ.  So, faith does not save us.  Faith only connects our minds to the truth that we have already been saved!  Finally, we notice at the end of this particular passage that we are God's workmanship, created IN CHRIST Jesus to do good works (when?) which God prepared IN ADAVANCE for us to do.  We were predestined to do good works and prepared for them in advance.  We are the workmanship and handiwork of God.  Jesus comes to uncover what has always been in us.  As we continue to ponder these mysteries of faith let us be reminded that we did not choose Christ...he chose us - John 15:16.

Until next week, remember... Truth is a Journey - Not a Destination!
D.E. Paulk
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