Jerry C. Brewer
This may seem like an odd subject. How can one write an article on the little word all? In studying God’s word, we often overlook the significance of this little word. With that in mind, we will look at some passages of Scripture in which this word occurs and learn some lessons from it.
All Have Sinned
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Every person who has ever lived, or lives today, has sinned and fallen short of God’s mark. In fact, that is the definition of sin. According to Thayer, sin is “to miss the mark” like an arrow shot at a target, but failing to hit its intended mark. God has a standard by which He expects men to live, but all have missed its mark.
Not only have all sinned, but just three chapters later in the identical verse, Paul wrote, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). Death results from sin—that is its wages. Sin certainly brings carnal pleasure, but that pleasure never lasts. It is temporary and often leaves the sinner far worse than he was before engaging in it. It was said that,
By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward (Heb. 11:24-26).
The pleasures of sin last but “for a season.” They are temporary with no lasting good and the ultimate wages sin pays is eternal death—torment forever and ever. But, thankfully, God has provided what man could not—and cannot—provide for himself, a way of escape from sins guilt and consequences. John wrote, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin (1 John 1:17).
To “walk in the light” is to live in obedience to God’s will. David said, “The entrance of thy word giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (Psa. 119:130) and “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psa. 119:105). When one walks “in the light” he is living in obedience to God’s word. To walk darkness is to live in sin.
John said “all (there’s that little word again) unrighteousness is sin” (1 John 5:17) and unrighteousness is the opposite of God’s commandments. “My tongue shall speak of thy word; for all thy commandments are righteousness” (Psa. 119:172). James further declared that one does not have to violate every precept of God to be guilty of His entire law: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (Jas. 2:10).
All Must Repent
And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead (Acts 17:30-31).
Who are commanded to repent? All men. Why? Because the Judgment Day is coming. God has appointed that day and all will be judged by Jesus Christ Whom God raised from the dead. Moreover, the standard of His judgment will be His very words (John 12:48).
The word all means no person is exempt from the command to repent. Repentance is perhaps the most difficult command for one to obey. It involves personal warfare within the individual. The spirit of man must overcome his fleshly desires. Repentance is a change of the will (Matt. 21:28-29) that is preceded by godly sorrow (2 Cor. 7:10) and followed by a change of life—the fruits of repentance (Matt. 3:8).
All Spiritual Blessings are in Christ
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3). All spiritual blessings that are available to mankind can be found nowhere, except in Jesus Christ. Thayer says the word all expresses, “any and every of every kind” (p. 491). The “any and every kind” of which Paul writes in verse 3 are spiritual blessings, and that means that no spiritual blessing exists outside of the sphere of the Son of God. Among those spiritual blessings is the forgiveness of sins of which all are guilty. “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Eph. 1:7).
Notice the location of all spiritual blessings—in Christ. Contrary to what multitudes of people believe, that means in the church of Christ. No one can be in Christ who is not in His church, for the church is His body:
And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all” (Eph. 1:22-23).
And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence (Col. 1:18).
As God ordained all life for creatures with gills to be in water, so He ordained that all spiritual life for men to be in Jesus Christ and no one is in Him who has not been baptized. Baptism is the means of entrance into Christ and into His body. To be in Him is to be in His church: “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:26-27). “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?” (Rom. 6:3).
All are Invited to Salvation
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30).
The all of this passage includes every accountable human being on the face of the earth regardless of his color or race. Eternal salvation is available to all “For The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world (Titus 2:11-12 [emph JB]). By God’s grace all have the opportunity to be eternally saved, but not all will be saved. Only those of all who accept the Lord’s invitation to “come unto me” by obeying His word will be saved. “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21).
All are responsible for their own salvation.
“The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him” (Ezek. 18:20).
Every person who is lost eternally will be lost because he chose to spurn the Lord’s invitation for all to come to Him.
All Scripture is Given to Guide Man
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Those who would be complete in Christ lack nothing. The Scripture provides everything we need. It teaches (doctrine), it reproves (shows man his sins), it corrects (guides from sins into right living), and instructs in right living (righteousness).
The Bible is the revelation of God’s will to man for the good of man and nothing which will benefit man has been omitted from it:
According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust (2 Pet. 1:3-4).
All Persons will be Judged
The day will come when all will be arraigned before the Judgment Seat of Christ and give account for the lives they lived on earth. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10).
All must appear before the judgment seat of Christ.
All must give account to Him.
All will receive a reward.
All will spend eternity in heaven or hell (Matt. 25:31-46).
Where will you spend eternity? Your eternal destiny will not be decided by all. You are the only one who will decide that and all of that will be your decision.