The second article in Grace For All is written by Vernon C. Grounds, the former president of Denver Seminary (cf. Olson’s tribute). In his essay, Grounds explores God’s universal grace that offers salvation to all.
For in that corpus of writings we call the Holy Scriptures and which we hold to be God’s medium of self-revelation, [God-the ultimate reality] … defines himself as love. … [and is] the embodiment of unending beatitude.
We believe, moreover, that because he is love, God freely chooses to expand the orbit of beatitude by creating persons who are centers of consciousness and choice whom he wills to share his own eternal fellowship of love through the convicting, drawing, and salvation of God’s grace.
After listing a series of passages, describing God’s desire that none should perish and his saving provision for the world (John 1:29; 3:16; Rom 5:17-21; 11:32; 1 Tim 2:6; Heb 2:9;2 Pet 3:9; 1 John 2:2), Grounds writes that “it takes an exegetical ingenuity verging on sophistry to deny their explicit universality” and “all-inclusiveness of grace”.
Universal grace does not mean that all will be saved.
The universality of grace … means merely that God is at work in Jesus Christ and by his Holy Spirit sovereignly and sincerely … providing the potential of salvation for every human being.
Salvation is potentially available to all.
But that potential depends for its actualization on a believing response.
What more could God do to save people? Nothing, Grounds explains, except “force man’s will, compel his consent”. However,
Grace that left no option whatever
That is if grace were efficacious and irresistible then it
would not be grace, it would be something else. We should have to say by force were ye saved, and not of ourselves.