Blogging through Grace for All: Universal Grace

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.

415xXkjORGLThe universal offer of salvation is rooted in our Creator being a God of love who “desires the salvation of everyone” and “redemptively acts” to make that possible.

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.

4 thoughts on “Blogging through Grace for All: Universal Grace

    • I was not familiar with Vernon Grounds until picking up this book (well Kindle anyway). His essay connects the ideas that God in Trinity, which is about relationships expressed in love, with the revealed will that God wants none to perish.Good stuff.

      I see you are blogging thru the Bible so I imagine you are quite busy, but if/when you have time you should pick up a copy and give it a read.

      BTW: do you know if Jim (Not for Itching Ears) is on sabbatical? Haven’t seen him post much, though he has joined in some interesting blog discussions.

  1. I loved this essay by Grounds. I would argue that the Atonement is the most central in the Calvinism/Arminianism debate and I loved how Grounds laid out all of the supporting verses that clearly show a universal atonement.

    Further, I love how he states, “it takes an exegetical ingenuity verging on sophistry to deny their explicit universality” and “all-inclusiveness of grace” (as you mentioned above in your blog). That line really resonates because it states how one must go to great lengths to attempt to disprove the universality of the atonement.

    Grounds has clearly shown the problems with limited atonement and, to me, made a mockery of it.

    • Thanks for swinging by DHDS and sharing Steve.

      Grounds essay definitely has some memorable quotes that make his points.
      For me the Calvinism/Arminianism debate centers on the how one understands and views sovereignty. If your view of God can’t accept that he can limit how he exercises his power & control so that people can make actual contrary choices and respond to his grace then everything else (ULIP) starts to flow from there.

      Not that I want to argue that point. 🙂

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