Would you marry a complete stranger and commit yourself to spend the rest of your life partnered with someone that does not know you, does not have a desire to be with you, and ultimately has no respect or love for you?
Yesterday, I almost performed a wedding in Sunday School. I asked for two volunteers (one male and one female) and had them come to the front of the class. The man stood to my left, and the woman stood to my right just as a typical marriage would be set up. With the three of us standing at the front of the class, I opened my Minister's Bible to the page outlining A Contemporary Wedding Ceremony. I mentioned to the class that as an ordained minister of the gospel, we were well on our way to amost having a legal and binding covenant marriage!
The woman commented, "But I don't even know his name yet!"
Our illustration stopped short of performing the wedding. Because, who would want to marry someone they don't know??
But isn't that just what we expect of Jesus when someone argues for Universalism? Initially universalism seems like a noble thought, where if God is a loving God then wouldn't He want to save all of those people that rejected Him on earth?
Free will exists from the beginning to allow us to fully love God. If free will did not exist, then man's relationship with God would be comparable to an arranged marriage. A spouse is required to love their partner. Though there are cases of this type of marriage growing in to a true love relationship, it does not do justice to the type of relationship explained in Scripture between Christ and the Church. Because this freedom to choose 'God' or 'not God' exists, unfortunately some will choose 'not God.'
But how can a loving God allow someone that does not choose to love Him condemn that person to hell for eternity?
God is love, but we must remember that love is not our God. God being the fullness of our understanding of love can not define love in a way that excludes all of God's other qualities. He is love, but He is also just, and righteous, and perfect, and holy, and...
Therefore, the only way that someone can enter in to the presence of a Holy, just, and righteous God is to be free from sin. Jesus is clear that there is only one way to do that:
"I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." - John 14:6
So let's say that a sinful person that rejects God is brought in to heaven. Would that person be able to fully love God? Would that person even want to fully love God?
Do you consider it just to give a perfect God an imperfect bride for eternity?
If you answered yes:
Are you willing to back that answer up by going outside and marrying for the rest of your life the first person you see?
I find it quite interesting that some are willing to assign to God a relationship for eternity that many people would not even be willing to commit to for their lifetime.
As stated in John's Gospel, Jesus is the only way to heaven. He died on the cross taking on the punishment for our sins and has allowed us to repent of our sins and be viewed by God as pure and holy. We are then added into the body of Christ, also known as the Church. Jesus is the only way for us to enter this relationship.
Allowing for any other way in to heaven creates a scenario where God is brought into the presence of someone unholy and thus brought into the presence of sin.
Why does the institution of marriage exist? It exists to show us the relationship between Christ and the Church. It exists to show us that there is only one way for that process to work effectively to fulfill the purpose God intended.
Dear friend, I beg you. Do not wait until your death to decide to introduce yourself to our Creator. Lest He say to you and the wedding ceremony, "But I don't even know your name!"