Will All Be Saved?

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This is one of my favorite Sundays because it always gives rise to the speculative, hopeful side of me. The workers in the vinyard are all paid the same wage regardless of when they come to work. It is this that gives me hope that all of humanity decides to accept that wage. The "I" of TULIP is what I would invoke, were I inclined to flowery theology. As I'm not, I know that grace is a gift, and as with any gift, we can refuse it.

But I'll share something from the Gulley and Mulholland reading I've been doing:

from If Grace Is True
Philip Gulley and James Mulholland

Holiness and love are not competing commitments. God is love. His love endures forever. This enduring love is what makes God holy. . . .

Jesus said, "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly father is perfect" (Matthew 5:48). If this verse was [sic] a command for moral perfection, our cause is hopeless. Fortunately, this admonition follows a command to "love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew 5:44). Perfection is demonstrated not by moral purity, but by extravagant love. We are like God not when we are pure but when we are loving and gracious. . . .

The Holy One will never come in wrath.

The Holy One always comes in love.

I love elsewhere their concept of what holiness is. By their definition, and I don't know how well it fits with classical definitions, Holiness is God's ability to confront evil without being defiled. More they say that true holiness delights in restoring the impure. When I think of the great saints of the Catholic Church, they all had largely the same focus, though it may have been expressed differently. Every one of them wanted to save souls, to win souls to God, to confront the impure and to bring it to purity.

It is when I think about this--the holiness of God and yet His tender interaction with me, the greatest sinner I know--that I am most overjoyed. Talk about mercy. Talk about love. Talk about patient endurance. Talk about the shepherd going out looking for the lost sheep. Here I am and I don't seem to be in hurry to move closer. He comes to me. The father of the prodigal, the good shepherd, the Lord, the keeper of the Vinyard--all of these, He comes to me. He condescends to come to me, and most glorious of all, He doesn't even remind me of or think about condescension at all. He does not constantly remind me of who I am and who He is. What could be greater love? He is still the eternal servant. And very honestly, sometimes I treat Him as such. And still, He comes to me. Oh, what a gracious, loving Lord. Surely such a Lord would not allow one to escape His grace. So I hope, so I pray, so I believe is possible. But I stay firmly with the Church saying that we cannot know it to be so with anything other than hope inspired by the Holy Spirit. I will not be a universalist--but I'll get as close as possible, because it is in this image of God among His children that I most rejoice. And I want to be in that crowd of children.

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I like it because here it is Catechetical Sunday and we get blessed for the year. I hope Linda and you have this opportunity.



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on September 18, 2005 8:57 PM.

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