It is not universalism to say that Jesus is the atoning sacrifice for all sins. It means that the price has been paid at the cross for all sin, that no sin can now stand in the way of anyone’s salvation.
The sacrifice opened the way to eternity for those who receive Him. “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” (John 3:6)
In other words, salvation comes to those who believe. “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
As repeated the other day, an illustration a past freeper friend used to use: I can buy you a ticket to Hawaii, can tell you about it, can tell you it’s waiting for you at the ticket desk at the airport, but if you don’t believe me, then you’re not going to get on that flight. Nevertheless, that ticket has been purchased whether you avail yourself of it or not.
You cant stop with John 1:12, you must go on to the next verse.
12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Those born again (saved eternally) are not born of their own will (their choice to receive Him), but through the will of God.
Take a look at Acts 13:48
And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.
Notice it says And as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. Those who were ordained to eternal life were the ones who believed.
Notice also it does not say that all who believed received eternal life. That would make salvation by choice, or will of man, but we know salvation is by grace.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
You said: In other words, salvation comes to those who believe. Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Of course I too believe that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved, I just dont believe men who are dead in trespasses and sins will ever choose to call upon His name. The Bible makes it clear, rebellious sinners dont want God. They may want religion, a salve for their conscience, but they don’t really want God, they don’t want the truth of Christ. Apart from a work in the heart performed by God (being born again), no man would ever believe.
For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to Gods law; indeed, it cannot. (Romans 8:7)
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9)
Genesis 6:5 & 8:21 The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually... from youth.
From Romans 3:
10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:
14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
15 Their feet are swift to shed blood:
16 Destruction and misery are in their ways:
17 And the way of peace have they not known:
18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.
John 3:20 - “For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.”
Psalm 10:4 - In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him
Isaiah 65:1 - “I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me; I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me.
Isaiah 64:7 - There is no one who calls upon your name, who rouses himself to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities.
Can the natural man comprehend the gospel or come to saving knowledge of God on his own?
1 Corinthians 2:14 - The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
2 Corinthians 4:3-4 - our gospel is veiled... to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
1 Corinthians 1:18,21-24 - For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles
Matthew 11:27 - “no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
Can men of themselves accept God’s gift of salvation? Do men choose God or come to Him on their own?
John 3:27 - John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven.”
John 14:16-17 - “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him.”
John 1:12-13 - But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
John 6:44,65 - “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.” And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.
Romans 9:16 - So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.
Who supplies faith/belief/repentance?
Acts 16:14 - One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.
1 Corinthians 3:6 - I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.
Acts 5:31 - “God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.”
Acts 11:18 - When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”
Philippians 1:29 - For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should... believe in him
Acts 18:27 - When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed
Ephesians 2:8-9 - For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Romans 12:3 - For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.
2 Timothy 2:24-25 - And the Lords servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, [etc.]... God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth
1 Corinthians 12:3 - no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.
2 Peter 1:3 - His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence
Can men do anything to help themselves?
Colossians 2:13 - And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses
Ephesians 2:1-2, 4-5 - And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked... But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christby grace you have been saved
God bless, FRiend!