Scriptures that say not all are saved


Universalists believe all people will be saved.  They often complain against the contrary teaching that people go to hell by posing questions such as:

  • "Do you really believe that God is going to lose most of mankind in hell and that only a few are going to be saved?"
  • "If most go to hell, doesn't that mean that Satan wins since God only gets a few compared to the majority who are lost?"

Of course, these kinds of questions are the wrong ones to ask.  What they are doing is using emotionalism to sway someone's beliefs.  What they should be asking are questions like these:

  • "What does the Bible teach about damnation?"
  • "Does the Bible tell us if most will be lost or saved?"
  • "Does it tell us that all will be saved?"

The means to good biblical theology is to examine the whole of scriptures without bias so that proper and correct doctrines can be determined.  Of course, no one is without bias.  But, that does not mean that we should give up trying to be objective.  We must endeavor to let God's word lead us rather than our emotionalism and personal preferences make decisions for us, especially about doctrine.  At least, that should be the goal.

What matters is what God has revealed in His word.  So, are there scriptures in the Bible that plainly state that not all are saved?  Yes, there are.

  • "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. 14"For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it," (Matt. 7:13-14).
  • "For many are called, but few are chosen," (Matt. 22:14).
  • "And He was passing through from one city and village to another, teaching, and proceeding on His way to Jerusalem. 23And someone said to Him, "Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?" And He said to them, 24"Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25"Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open up to us!’ then He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from.’ 26"Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets’; 27and He will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you are from; depart from Me, all you evildoers,'" (Luke 13:22-27).
  • "And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, "Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, it is the remnant that will be saved; 28for the Lord will execute His word upon the earth, thoroughly and quickly," (Rom. 9:27).

These verses are plain and clear.  Not all are saved; in fact, few are.  Whether or not we think this makes God a failure, or that it makes us sad, or upsets us, isn't really that important.  If the Bible says it, that settles it.  What is left is to make adjustments in our understanding and feelings in order to bring our thinking more in line with what God has stated.

After all, we do not know the mind of God.  His ways are higher than our ways.  I prefer to accept what it says than feel my way through theology.


About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.