There is an objective truth that all of humanity are loved, included and are reconciled in and through Jesus Christ. Through the union of divinity and humanity (hypostatic union) in the person of Jesus Christ, all humanity has been implicated and included and are now reconciled with God.
God loves all of humanity and all of his creation. This is the heart, mind and will of God. This is objectively or universally true whether one believes it or not. Christ has already died for us some 2,000 years ago without asking for our permission. He was and is the atoning sacrifice for our sins. The apostle Paul said, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). “It is finished” (John 19:30). Christ said so. It’s been accomplished. It’s a done deal. And this applies to all. According to the apostle John: “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). Christ’s atonement is for all.
Personal Response to the Truth
God in his infinite wisdom has also given each man the freedom whether to accept and believe this objective reality or not. Man is free to accept or reject this free gift of reconciliation which God has already provided for us through Jesus Christ. This is the subjective or personal experience of an individual. This applies specifically to each person or individual.
Joy or Misery: Your Choice Matters
One has to accept this free gift of salvation, receive it and believe it in order to enjoy it and experience one’s inclusion in Jesus Christ. Each person needs to voluntarily open his hand wide open—so to speak—in order for him to receive, experience and enjoy this gift of reconciliation. He may decide to reject it as well. This is the personal or subjective experience of each individual.
Repent (Change Your Mind) and Believe!
This is the reason why God through the apostle Peter urged everyone to repent (Greek, metanoia)—which simply means “change your mind” (Acts 2:38) and believe this objective reality—the good news. Objectively, Christ has already reconciled all of humanity to God. Subjectively and personally, one has to accept it to experience and enjoy it. God loves the whole world (John 3:16). But he will not force you to accept his love. Love cannot be forced nor coerced—otherwise it is not love at all. If you reject God’s love, it’s like you’re going against the wood’s grain and you will have splinters in your hands—experience pain and misery. You will experience alienation from God—what a miserable life that would be! If you embrace God’s love, believe it and accept it, you will enjoy life and love with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in this life right now and in the age that is to come.
Both Aspects Important
Both the objective and subjective aspects of our salvation are important so we could understand God’s overall plan of salvation. Both the objective truth and subjective experience of each individual are important keys to understanding what Incarnational, Trinitarian Theology is all about. It is not an “either-or” proposition where you can select one and disregard the other. It is “both/and”. As Pastor Ted Johnston would put it, this is the “upper story” and the “lower story” referring to the universal (objective) and particular (subjective) aspects of our salvation.
God’s Love: Accept it and Believe it!
God loves you unconditionally—whether you like it or not! Same with me. I love my kids whether they like it or not! I love my kids unconditionally—regardless of whether they are “good” or “bad.” My love for my kids is not dependent on their “performance” or good deeds. I love them unconditionally and they are part of my family. But I cannot force them to love me. It’s has to be a personal, subjective decision on their part to love me in return. If they accept my fatherly love, then they will enjoy life and love with me as my beloved kids. But if they reject my love, they will experience the misery—that they will bring upon themselves—by cutting themselves off from their dad and his fatherly love. Same with God and even more so. His love for all of humanity is greater than my human love for my kids. Love comes from God. He wants to include you and me into his life and love. You can accept it or reject it. It’s stupid to reject it isn’t it? That’s going to be “hell”—living a miserable life alienated from God if you do so. I’m sure you will accept it. Who wouldn’t? That’s why it’s called the good news!