The Bible says to "test yourselves to see if you are in the faith" (2 Cor. 13:5). This is something that we must do. We must not carelessly assume that we know all the truths of the Bible. If universalism is true, fine. But if it is not, then the eternal consequence of damnation is of utter importance. Therefore, I issue this challenge to any who claim to be Universalists. Are you a Christian?
Of course, some of you will claim that you are, and it is not my place to judge you. God is the Judge, and He has revealed what His will is in the Bible about what false doctrines disqualify someone from being a Christian. Therefore, it is from God's word that I challenge you. This challenge is not about the truth or error of universalism. It is about who Jesus is. Do you believe He is God, the creator of the universe, worthy of all worship and honor, equal to the person of the Father? If yes, good. If not, then you desperately need to examine yourself to see if you are in the faith because to deny this means you are not a Christian.
Jesus said, "I said therefore to you, that you shall die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins," (John 8:24, NASB). The word "He" is not in the Greek. It literally says, "for unless you believe that I am, you shall die in your sins." Later in this same chapter, in verse 58, Jesus said, "before Abraham was, I AM." He was alluding to Exodus 3:14, where God told Moses that His name was "I am that I am."
Likewise, 1 John 4:2-3 says, "This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world." Very few people deny that Jesus lived; that is, that Jesus came in flesh. When John wrote this, he was not saying that you must believe that Jesus lived, but that Jesus was God in flesh.
The time of the writing of First John is important. The Gnostic heresy was prominent. It taught that God was too pure to have anything to do with sinful flesh. Therefore, Gnosticism taught that Jesus could not be God in flesh. It was in this context and against this error that John was writing. Jesus is God in flesh and to deny it is the Spirit of Antichrist.
Furthermore, the above verse needs to be cross-referenced with John 1:1,14 (also written by John) where he states that the Word was God and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. In 1 John 4, the apostle knew what he was writing when he spoke of Jesus being in the flesh.
The Bible states that there is only one God (Isaiah 43:10; 44:6; 44:8). It states that Jesus created all that exists: "For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created by Him and for Him. 17And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together," (Col. 1:16-17). Jesus is the creator.
In Isaiah 44:24, it says, "Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb, "I, the Lord, am the maker of all things, Stretching out the heavens by Myself, and spreading out the earth all alone." This verse shows us that the Lord God created the universe - alone. If God created the universe alone and if Jesus created all things, then Jesus is God. Jesus is fully and completely God in flesh, the second person of the Trinity. Col. 2:9, "For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form."
And again, in John 5:22-23, Jesus said, "For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, 23 in order that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him."
Why is all this so important? Because it is Jesus who reveals the Father (Matt. 11:27; Luke 10:22), who sends the Holy Spirit of truth (John 15:26), and who opens the mind to understand scripture (Luke 24:45). If you do not have the true Jesus, you will not know the true God. You will not know the true Holy Spirit. You will not have your mind opened to understand God's word. If you do not have the true Christ, then you simply are not a Christian.
So I challenge you, do you believe Jesus is God in flesh, worthy of the same honor as the Father, the creator of all, the risen Lord? If you cannot say yes, then I suggest to you that you are not a Christian and need to re-examine your beliefs, regardless of whether or not universalism is true.
Furthermore, if you deny that Jesus is God in flesh and just if universalism is false, then you would be in deep trouble come judgment day. Don't put your hope in universalism. Put it in Jesus who is God in flesh.