Does this mean that ALL people will be saved eventually?
Let’s read the CONTEXT:
Philippians 2 “9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. 14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.”
Paul was warning the Philippians to work out their faith and be SAVED. Otherwise, he would have run in VAIN. This was because people were debating between LAW and GRACE. Some people were not believing but were actually trusting in the Law. He told them to “work out their salvation” – basically make sure you really believe in Jesus and not the Law.
Well where else do we see him taking about running in vain?It is related to the SALVATION of people.
1 Corinthians 9 “20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. 24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.“
Paul’s prize was to GAIN SOULS. That was his ministry – to preach the Gospel and get people SAVED.
So if he said that people didn’t believe then his RACE was IN VAIN. His mission would be a FAILURE.
So then it makes no sense for him to say that ALL ARE SAVED if his mission was a FAILURE.
We cannot have it both ways.
Now let us look at where Paul quotes this concept about “every knee bowing”….It is from here:
Isaiah 45 “This is what the Lord says to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold ofto subdue nations before him and to strip kings of their armor,to open doors before himTruly you are a God who has been hiding himself, the God and Savior of Israel.16 All the makers of idols will be put to shame and disgraced; they will go off into disgrace together.17 But Israel will be saved by the Lord with an everlasting salvation;you will never be put to shame or disgraced, to ages everlasting.“Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.23 By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked:Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear.24 They will say of me, ‘In the Lord alone are deliverance and strength.’”All who have raged against him will come to him and be put to shame.25 But all the descendants of Israel will find deliverance in the Lord and will make their boast in him.”
This is about the restoration of Israel back to her land after the exile in Babylon. This was accomplished by the Persian ruler Cyrus. God promised to judge the nations who had troubled Israel during that time. He would bring to shame all those idol-worshippers. BUT DELIVERANCE is ONLY FOR His PEOPLE – Israel. There is NO DELIVERANCE for the other nations in the Old Testament.
So when Paul is quoting Isaiah 45, he is saying this: Work out your salvation by fear and trembling – telling people to be SAVED by faith in Jesus and not the Law.
Look and see that only God’s people (Believers) will be saved.
Unbelievers will not be saved. If you trust in the Law and reject Christ then you will not be saved.
All who BELIEVE will be SAVED – every knee will bow because EVERY BELIEVER is SAVED by the GRACE of JESUS CHRIST.
But those who REJECT Christ – will also bow their knee acknowledging that JESUS is LORD who JUDGED them. They will finally realize the futility of their unbelief. Even the devil will bow his knee to Jesus on that last day. But that does not mean the devil is going to be saved.We know that the demons confessed Jesus as LORD in the Gospel of Matthew/Mark/Luke.They were trembling to see Jesus because they knew He was going to torment them in the lake of fire!
Matthew 8 “28 When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. 29 “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?””
The lake of fire is not purification but it is about torment and condemnation. There is no salvation for the devil or demons.
In the same way all unbelievers will end up in the lake of fire WITH the devil, will be eternally cursed.
Matthew 25 “41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
Every knee will bow even in the lake of fire when the demons, devils and unbelievers receive the judgment of the LORD Jesus. They will not be saved and that is why they remain there forever as a testimony of God’s wrath.
The believers are in heaven forever as a testimony of God’s faithful love.