Universalism teaches that all people will eventually be saved and that no one goes to the fiery-hell to suffer for their sins. It means that everyone is saved, whether or not they have accepted or openly rejected Jesus' atonement. Of course, this goes against Heb. 10:26-27 which says,
"For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27but a certain terrifying expectation of judgment, and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries," (NASB).
There is a danger in the Universalist position. It can weaken the need for someone to receive Jesus as Savior. To prove the point I provide this "exaggerated" illustration. But, the contrived universalist sermon below contains many quotes said by universalists to me. I've just blended them in:
There is this horrible, hateful man who abused all sorts of people in countless ways. He stole from them, was foul-mouthed, a habitual adulterer, and he openly mocked and blasphemed God. He repeatedly sought to destroy the Christian Church and did everything in his power to prevent the gospel from being preached. He was a wretched and evil man.
This man died and, out of social obligation, all his relatives were at his funeral. There were lots of impressionable children, sweet little old ladies, and many acquaintances from work who had been appalled at the atheists horrible lifestyle yet were there nevertheless. However, some of the people there were thinking of sin, salvation, God, judgment, and what death brings. This often happens at funerals.
A universalist pastor was giving the message.
"We know that this man was a wretched soul who did whatever he could to oppose God and blaspheme Christ. He habitually stole, lied, cheated, coveted, swore, drank, caroused, and injured. We know that he lived his life in wanton sin and rebellion and that many people feared and hated him.
"But, you know what? He's going to heaven. And do you know why? Because God is too good and loving to let even this wretched, evil soul go to an imaginary place like hell.
"I know. He hated God and rejected Jesus. He even cursed the cross and did everything he could to oppose Christianity. But, it doesn't matter because, ultimately, you will see him again. Only, he won't be mean and evil. He will be kind and gentle. Jesus will change him. Jesus loves him. Jesus loves him more than we can imagine. He also loves you more than you can possibly know. There is no need to fear Him at all.
"Some may preach that there is a hell, a place of fiery, eternal torment. But I tell you that it is a lie. It is a tool of Tormentists who cannot accept the love of God and how often enjoy the thought of people rotting in that awful place.
"The Bible says that Jesus is the Savior of all men. And that means even this awful, God hating, wretch of a man that has now gone on to meet his maker.
"I preach a message of peace, of reconciliation, of joy, and of God's redeeming power.
"I preach the truth."
After the service, two of the impressionable young kids are talking.
"I liked the sermon the universalist gave. Heck, I was worried about hell. But now I don't have to be worried about it. Now I know I'm going to heaven no matter what. I know I'm not that great a person, but if that horrible man in the coffin is going to heaven, then I am sure I will too. After all, I'm not as bad as he is."
His friend answers, "Yep, I don't have to give up my drugs, sleeping with my girlfriend, or stealing CD's from the music store. Life is great!"
"Well, I don't think it means we can go sin, though."
"I know. I was just kidding. But you are right. No worries. No problem."
The two walk off enjoying the new found freedom found in the love of God, but they now don't need to trust Jesus as their savior. They have no need to appeal to Jesus to save them, because there isn't anything to save them from. They walk away unredeemed.
And let's not forget about the co-worker who has been thinking of going to church. He has been committing adultery and he has been fearing the judgment of God. He thinks to himself....
"Whew! Am I glad to hear that message. That was great! I don't have to worry about anything. Man what a relief. No hell! I'm going to heaven! Man Oh Man! this is so cool.... Guess I don't have to go to church tomorrow and I can forget about reading what the Bible says about Jesus and sin.... no need. Okay, maybe I should stop the adultery. But, that sure was a good message from that universalist. I feel so much better about God's love. I feel so much better knowing there is no hell."
He walks away not having confessed his sins to Christ (1 John 1:9), not having been cleansed, not having received Christ (John 1:12), not having been justified by faith (Rom. 5:1).
....... an eon later..... heaven.....judgment seat.... God is there.... and if the universalist is wrong....
Two boys and a coworker are in hell. They never did trust in Jesus as their savior. They never did confess their sinfulness and ask Jesus to forgive them. But, at least they felt good while on earth and they didn't have to listen to those people who preached hell-fire.
Why is it that Jesus warned us to not go to the "fiery place" if it isn't real? Why did He speak more about hell than heaven? Why did He tell us to turn from sin and be SAVED! Saved from what? Saved from Damnation!
Universalism is a dangerous teaching. It weakens the need for a savior and that is a great risk to take for such a dubious teaching.