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Do you want all men to be saved?
Bible study on our attitude toward unbelievers.

It's easy to want our family and friends to be saved. But when it comes to people we don't like or our enemies, it can be difficult to want them to be saved.

God Wants Everyone To Be Saved
Jesus tells us that few people will be saved. He commands us to "enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it" (Matt. 7:13-14).

Although few will be saved, God wants everyone to obey Jesus and be saved (Heb. 5:9).

Paul tells us that God "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim. 2:4). And Peter tells us that God is "patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance" (2 Pet. 3:9).

Man Thinks Differently Than God
The story of Jonah demonstrates the fact that man doesn't always think like God when it comes to other people's salvation.

God commanded Jonah to preach to the Ninevites. But since he didn't want them to be saved, Jonah ran away rather than obeying God and preaching to his enemies.

As a result of his sin, God caused a great fish to swallow him. While he was in the fish's stomach for three days, Jonah called out to the Lord and God saved him by commanding the fish to vomit him on the shore.

Then the Lord commanded Jonah to preach to the Ninevites a second time. This time he obeyed, resulting in the Ninevites repenting after they heard God's word. So God "relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them" (Jonah 3:10).

When Jonah saw God's kindness toward the Ninevites, he was "greatly displeased" "and he became angry" (Jonah 4:1). Although he obeyed God and preached to them, he still didn't want them to be saved.

We must be careful not to have the same thoughts as Jonah. As Christians, we must be like our heavenly father who truly desires all people to be saved.

What did God do?
God established a plan to save us through Jesus Christ according to His eternal purpose (Eph. 3:10-11). God knew man would sin, even before He created the world. Therefore, He established a plan whereby we can be saved through obedience to Jesus (Heb. 5:9) because He's gracious, merciful, and loving (Eph. 2:4-9).

Because God loves us, "He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life" (Jn. 3:16). "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him" (Jn. 3:36).

Since God loves us and has done so much to save us, we should want everyone else to be saved.

What did Jesus do?
Jesus came to earth to save us. He "did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant" (Phil. 2:6-7).

After He preached the gospel, "He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Phil. 2:8).

Now, Jesus is in heaven serving as our high priest. "Since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession" (Heb. 4:14).

As Christians we want everyone to be saved, because Jesus paid an incredible price to redeem us with His blood (1 Pet. 1:18-19).

What did the apostles do?
Paul is a good example of the personal sacrifices the apostles made to preach the gospel. He says "we endure all things so that we will cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ" (1 Cor. 9:12).

Paul was an effective preacher because he made himself "a slave to all" so he could "win more" (1 Cor. 9:19). He did "all things for the sake of the gospel", so he could "become a fellow partaker of it" (1 Cor. 9:23).

Paul looked at himself as an athlete who completely devoted himself to winning. He teaches us to do the same thing, saying, "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the? Run in such a way that you may win" (1 Cor. 9:24-25).

Like an athlete, Paul disciplined his body. Using himself as an example, he says, "I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified" (1 Cor. 9:27).

Since we imitate the apostles (1 Cor. 4:16), we want everyone to be saved. So, we do everything we can to share the gospel with others.

What should we do?
Paul tells us to pray for all men, "lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension" (1 Tim. 2:8). One reason to pray for all men is because God "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim. 2:4). To pray as God commands, we must desire all men to be saved.

As holy people who want everyone to be saved, we work hard to be a shining light to the world. We redeem the time, graciously speaking the truth in love, as we pray for all men.

Do you want all men to be saved?