Christ is “the Savior of the world” but not all the world will be saved

Some want to say that because Christ is said to be the savior of all men and savior of the world, that everyone must be saved eventually.

1 Timothy 4:10

For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers

John 4:42

and they were saying to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.”

1 John 4:14

We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.

The problem with this idea is that the term “all” is most often used with a limited scope. In Scripture “all” is used in a few ways: meaning “all without exception” (occurring infrequently); “all without distinction” (its general significance), that is, all classes and kinds—old and young, men and women, rich and poor, educated and illiterate, and in many instances Jews and Gentiles, men of all nations; and finally, all within a specific group of people. Very frequently the “all” has reference to all believers, all in Christ.

Mark 1:5

And all the country of Judea was going out to him, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.

Luke 3:15

Now while the people were in a state of expectation and all were wondering in their hearts about John, as to whether he was the Christ,

John 3:26

And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified, behold, He is baptizing and all are coming to Him.”

John 8:2

Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them.

Acts 22:15

For you will be a witness for Him to all men of what you have seen and heard.

2 Corinthians 3:2

You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men;

In none of the above passages does “all,” mean everyone (across all time and space). In each of the above passages, the general terms “all”, “all men,” “all the people,” have only a relative meaning.

We can see more of this in scripture with “all things” and “everything”:
Romans 14:2

One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only.

Romans 14:20

Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food All things indeed are clean, but they are evil for the man who eats and gives offense.

1 Corinthians 9:22

To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some.

1 Corinthians 10:23

All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable All things are lawful, but not all things edify.

Ephesians 6:21

But that you also may know about my circumstances, how I am doing, Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make everything known to you.

Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Some would do a similar thing with the term ‘world,’ saying that Jesus is the savior of the world – meaning the entire world will be saved. But we find plenty of references where the world means not the entire world nor the entire population but an indefinite group.

Here, we see ‘the world’ meaning show yourself publically, not to everyone in the world: John 7:4

4″For no one does anything in secret when he himself seeks to be known publicly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.”

Here it is obvious the Pharisees did not mean everyone in the world, but merely a lot of people: John 12:19

19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are not doing any good; look, the world has gone after Him.”

Here it is obvious that Paul was not saying that the faith of the people was not spoken of in the entire world (such as in India or South America), but that a lot of people spoke of it – but that wouldn’t even include one out of a thousand in Rome, probably: Romans 1:8

8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world.

It is obvious that “all the world” does not mean that everyone had heard the gospel, the word of truth. It had gone out from Christ to many places and people, but certainly not everyone had heard it (there are still people groups today who have not heard the gospel) Colossians 1:5-6:

because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth;

So yes, Christ Is the savior of all men and the savior of the world, but taking scripture in context, It means that He is the only savior available trough whom people may be saved. But this does not mean everyone will be saved, but that only some will be saved and those who ARE saved must be saved through faith in Him.

Matthew 25:46

“These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

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2 Responses

  1. Why is it that I get the impression that the dispute about the Bible and The Truth on WBMoore’s Weblog is more between Christians of various persuasions than any threat from Islam, which is literally getting away with murder? Look how these Christians hate each other!

    • I tell the truth from Scripture regardless of whether someone is Muslim, atheist, Christian, agnostic, or any thing else.

      And I have no idea what you think hate is, but I have yet to see it here.

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