Spiritual blindness is the reason Jesus died on the Cross outside the walls of Jerusalem. No matter, the religious of His day did not recognize the Christ as their Messiah nor as the One who had come to shed light in the darkness of the world He created. The fact that Jesus died on a criminal’s cross gives us indication of the scorn mankind holds for God; period. I will encourage you to read John chapter 9 in order to gain some insight to this lasting sin of humanity.
“Then they summoned the man who used to be blind a second time and said to him, “Promise before God to tell the truth. We know that this man is a sinner.” He replied, “I do not know whether he is a sinner. I do know one thing—that although I was blind, now I can see.” Then they said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he cause you to see?” He answered, “I told you already and you didn’t listen. Why do you want to hear it again? You people don’t want to become his disciples too, do you?” They heaped insults on him, saying, “You are his disciple! We are disciples of Moses! We know that God has spoken to Moses! We do not know where this man comes from!” The man replied, “This is a remarkable thing that you don’t know where he comes from and yet he caused me to see! We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but if anyone is devout and does his will, God listens to him. Never before has anyone heard of someone causing a man born blind to see. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” They replied, “You were born completely in sinfulness, and yet you presume to teach us?” So they threw him out.” John 9:24-34 NET2.
Two very compelling questions are often asked,
1. “Do my prayers for someone’s salvation change God’s will if that person is saved or not?” and,
2.”Does praying for someone’s salvation and also sharing the gospel to them affect if they will be saved?”
Look closely at these words of Paul in Romans 9:1-5, “I am telling the truth in Christ (I am not lying!), for my conscience assures me in the Holy Spirit — I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed—cut off from Christ—for the sake of my people, my fellow countrymen, who are Israelites. To them belong the adoption as sons, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the temple worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from them, by human descent, came the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever! Amen.” Paul was, indeed, concerned for his fellow Jewish friends because they were ‘cut off from Christ.’ Jews will NOT go to Heaven, as we will not, without committing themselves to the Lord by grace through faith.
If God wants everyone to be saved, will not all be saved? The answer is “no” because His desire for absolute salvation of all mankind is not as strong as some other of His desires. This is a difficult admission on our part, but we know that God wishes for everyone have enough freedom to believe or disbelieve the gospel more strongly than He desires that everyone be saved, “For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him. The one who believes in him is not condemned. The one who does not believe has been condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God.” John 3:16-18. Otherwise everyone will NOT believe and this is a part of the human struggle for faith.
“And the King will answer them, ‘I assure you: Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.’ Then He will also say to those on the left, ‘Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels! For I was hungry and you gave Me nothing to eat;I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger and you didn’t take Me in;I was nakedand you didn’t clothe Me,sick and in prison and you didn’t take care of Me.’ “Then they too will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or without clothes, or sick, or in prison, and not help You?’ “Then He will answer them, ‘I assure you: Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me either.’ “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Matthew 25:41-46 HCSB. Somehow it will result in God’s greater glory for some to perish than for all to experience salvation. Nevertheless, God sincerely “desires” that every person come to salvation.
What can be determined from the Word of God is the will of God:
1. The Sovereign will of God will be completely fulfilled. “Remember this and be brave;take it to heart, you transgressors! Remember what happened long ago, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and no one is like Me. I declare the end from the beginning, and from long ago what is not yet done, saying: My plan will take place, and I will do all My will. I call a bird of prey from the east, a man for My purpose from a far country. Yes, I have spoken; so I will also bring it about. I have planned it; I will also do it. Listen to me, you hardhearted, far removed from justice: I am bringing My justice near; it is not far away, and My salvation will not delay. I will put salvation in Zion, My splendor in Israel.” Isaiah 46:8-13.
2. The Moral Will of God is disobeyed by everyone; “Now may the God of peace, who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus—the great Shepherd of the sheep—with the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 equip you with all that is good to do His will, working in us what is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ. Glory belongs to Him forever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21.
3. The Desires of God have foundation in His love, and are included in His sovereign will. “This is how we know that we remain in Him and He in us: He has given assurance to us from His Spirit. And we have seen and we testify that the Father has sent His Son as the world’s Savior. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God—God remains in him and he in God. And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him. In this, love is perfected with us so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, for we are as He is in this world. There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:13-19.
What we know is simple: God does not desire that any should perish, but it is clear that most will not be saved because of their denial of the Son. “Then the One seated on the throne said, “Look! I am making everything new.” He also said, “Write, because these words are faithful and true.” And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give water as a gift to the thirsty from the spring of life. The victor will inherit these things, and I will be his God, and he will be My son. But the cowards, unbelievers, vile, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars—their share will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” Revelation 21:5-8.
Finally, please know this, “I am NOT a Calvinist, but realize the completeness of God’s will found in Scripture cannot be denied and must NOT be neglected.” Yes, He desires salvation for everyone, but NOT all will come to Him by faith: this is the freedom of the will He has given to every person. Do my prayers change the hearts of those for whom I pray? This I do not know, but I pray anyway. Yes, the prayers of the faithful do affect the lives for whom I pray IF they respond to the will and call of God upon them. I am NOT responsible for their response to Him. AND YOU are NOT responsible for your friends, either. The weight of eternity is upon them, NOT you. As Believers we are instructed to remain faithful to our Lord in all things, “Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20.
Jesus is Lord.