Does God Desire All to Be Saved?

By: John Piper

Does God Desire All to Be Saved? The answer to this question clearly yes.  It is in the Bible (1 Timothy 2:4) and therefore it is true. But after preaching John 6:44 which says, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day”, I received a very important question from a Godly Christian who was struggling, (as most of us do) to understand the issue of God’s election.  How is it that God “chose us in him before the foundation of the world” and how is it that he “predestined us” (Ephesians 1:4,5 cf. Romans 9) yet did not “choose” those who perish  How does this fit with the truth that God “desires that all people would be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth”? (1 Timothy 2:4 cf. 2 Peter 3:9, Ezekiel 18:23, Matthew 23:37)  If God desires that all people would be saved, why are there so many who are still resistant to the good news of Christ?

This is the great question that John Piper seeks to address in this book. He states, “My purpose in this book has simply been to show that God’s will for all people to be saved is not at odds with the sovereignty of his grace in election.” (54) The book is free and is only 55 pages (you could read it in one sitting) yet is packed full of scripture and clear biblical truth.  I must warn you though not to be fooled by the shortness of the book.  This book is not a picture book and will require some careful reading and some real contemplation.  As John Piper says in the introduction, “I admit that some of the paths in this book are steep. And some of the steepest places are through the thickest clouds. The climb is not for everyone. We all have different gifts, and not everyone is called to this kind of intellectual climb. Nevertheless, some of us are wired to make this climb.” (9)

I am thankful for Piper’s clarity and emphasis on the reality that all who come to Jesus are saved and will be raised to be with Christ.  He says “God’s plan from all eternity was to magnify his glory in creation and redemption. He aimed to make the glory of his grace the highest revelation of himself (Eph. 1:6). To that end, he sent his Son into this creation and made Christ—crucified for sinners and conquering death—the climax of the display of the glory of his grace…Christ invites everyone to come. And everyone who comes is saved. Everyone who receives Christ has been chosen from the foundation of the world and is an heir of an infinite inheritance.” (52)

Piper closes the book by saying this: “I affirm with John 3:16 and 1 Timothy 2:4 that God loves the world with a real and sincere compassion that desires the salvation of all men. Yet I also affirm that God has chosen from before the foundation of the world those whom he will save from sin [Eph 1:3]. Since not all people are saved, we must choose whether we believe (with the Arminians) that God’s will to save all people is restrained by his commitment to ultimate human self-determination or whether we believe (with the Reformed) that God’s will to save all people is restrained by his commitment to the glorification of the full range of his perfections in exalting his sovereign grace (Eph. 1:6, 12, 14; Rom. 9:22–23).This decision should not be made on the basis of philosophical assumptions about what we think human accountability requires. It should be made on the basis of what the Scriptures teach.” (53)

I pray that this is book helpful for you in your mission to understand the Glory’s of God and your desire to be faithful to God’s word.

Book Review by Pastor Jonathan Ahlgren

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