Continued from Sweetser’s Universalism Explained, part nine
Nowhere in the Bible is there any intimation that opportunity for repentance and forgiveness and salvation is limited to the present life. If it were, then it would not be true that Jesus is the Savior of the world, for a large part of the world would not be saved by him; nor would may text be true, which distinctly says that God is the Saviour of all men. If God’s promises are to be fulfilled, if His infinite love is to be triumphant, if He is to subdue all things to Himself through Jesus Christ and finally be all in all, His redemptive work cannot cease at the mouth of the grave. It must go on into eternity, side by side with the need of it, until its end shall be accomplished. Universalists believe that it will thus continue, that not in this life only have we hope in Christ, but that also in the life to come his mission will be carried on till God shall be in fact what He now is in prospective, the Saviour of all men.
But, my friends, we need not wait for that future salvation; for God is especially the Saviour of them that believe. Just as soon as we believe in Him and begin to obey Him, according to the teaching and the example of Christ, we begin to be saved by Him; we begin to be released from the dreadful power of sin, and to have in our hearts eternal life, the righteousness and peace and joy which constitute the heavenly kingdom. We may be in His kingdom by having His kingdom in us on this side of the grave; and that is what we all should strive for — not merely to secure a future salvation, a far away salvation somewhere in eternity, but to be saved here and now, to be delivered, as the apostle says, “from this present evil world,” or, as the margin has it, from this present evil age, “according to the will of our God and Father” (Gal. 1:4). That was what Paul labored for, that was what he strove for mightily. He believed that God was the Saviour of all men and that therefore all men would be finally saved; but he wanted mankind to have that present salvation which he himself has received through the Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore it was that he labored and died.
That is why Universalists labor and strive. That is why they build churches. That is why the preach the gospel. That is why they support home missions and send missionaries to the heathen. It is because their hope is set on the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. They want all men to believe God’s goodness, to believe the love which He hath to them, to belive the truth as it is in His Son Jesus Christ, and so to be inspired to love Him in return, that they may be saved from their sins and their consequent miseries at the earliest possible day.
Thank God that such labor is not in vain in the Lord. Thank God that his great human world, with its millions of inhabitants, is rolling rapidly year by year, out of the darknes of heathenism and heathenish notions, into the light of the knowledge of the glory of God as it shines in the face of His Son Jesus Christ.