AMNESTIC SOVEREIGNTY OF THE UNIVERSAL KINGDOM
A. Central to understanding the present universal kingdom of God is understanding the way that it presently functions. God presently offers forgiveness of sin to all who repent and believe in the atonement which He provided.
21 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, (between Jew and Gentile) 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (i.e. the glory of the Kingdom and the resurrection) 24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— – (Rom 3:21-25 NIV)
B. Governmentally, this is referred to as amnesty. Often applied at the inception of a new government, amnesty is the period of time in which punishment is suspended and pardon offered. The condition upon which it is offered is repentance from allegiance to another government or governor
19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20 and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you–even Jesus. 21 He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. … 26 When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.” (Act 3:19-21, 26 NIV)
C. God, functioning within this context as the Governor has offered ultimate pardon during this present time to all who repent and believe. Moreover, salvation is simply pardon—applied after the period of amnesty is over. Thus, we are saved from the second death at the end of the age by accepting the offer for pardon now.
6 Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection (); over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years. (Rev 20:6 NASB)
22 “You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved. (Mat 10:22 NASB)
5 I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. (1Cr 5:5 NASB)
D. The day of the Lord is the day in which the wicked are punished, ending the period of amnesty. It is not only the hour of punishment for the wicked, but of reward for the righteous also. The reward of the righteous comes with Jesus on the day of the Lord. Thus, Jesus always commanded the righteous to store up treasures in heaven, waiting until the day of the Lord to claim their reward.
5 Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed, And all flesh will see it together; For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” … 9 Get yourself up on a high mountain, O Zion, bearer of good news (LXX ‘euongellizo’), Lift up your voice mightily, O Jerusalem, bearer of good news (LXX ‘euongellizo’); Lift it up, do not fear. Say to the cities of Judah, “Here is your God!” 10 Behold, the Lord GOD will come with might, With His arm ruling for Him. Behold, His reward (for the righteous) is with Him And His recompense (for the wicked) before Him. (Isa 40:5, 9-10 NASB)
- 12 “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. (Rev 22:12 NASB)
- 1 Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. (Mat 6:1 NASB)
- 23 Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets. (Luk 6:23 NASB)
- 18 “And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth.” (Rev 11:18 NASB)
E. Historically, there have been countless attempts to explain the presence of evil (i.e. bad things happen to good people, and good things happen to bad people) on the earth. John Calvin proposed that God causatively orchestrates evil for His own purposes. Jacob Armenius argued that God is too kind to orchestrate evil without consent for humans, and that it only exists because God honors the free will of humans. Thus, most of the Protestant movement spends most of it’s time arguing if God is sovereign or if God is loving.
F. The Scripture explains this apparent dichotomy with the term patience. God has absolute sovereignty over the heavens and the earth, AND He loves the inhabitants of the earth—both the righteous and the wicked. He is exercising His sovereignty in accordance with His love for the wicked.
9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. (2Pe 3:9 NASB)
G. The truth is that He has established a real day in which He will reward the righteous and punish the wicked. In light of this day, the wicked are called to repent, and the righteous are called to persevere until that day.
12 For the LORD of hosts will have a day of reckoning Against everyone who is proud and lofty And against everyone who is lifted up, That he may be abased. (Isa 2:12 NASB)
30 “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, 31 because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.” (Act 17:30-31 NASB)
33 The LORD said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book. (cf. Rev. 20:15) 34 “But go now, lead the people where I told you. Behold, My angel shall go before you; nevertheless in the day when I punish, I will punish them for their sin.” (Exd 32:33-34 NASB)
 The early split and current divide within Protestantism (Calvinism/reformed and Lutheran or later Armenian) is due largely to Platonic assumptions about the Kingdom. Within this context the word ‘sovereign’ or ‘sovereignty’ in the Scripture is interpreted as referencing God’s causation of all events. The words in both Hebrew and Greek simply mean ‘king’ or ‘kingdom’, and are simply a reference to the fact that He rules on a throne over the heavens and the earth. Thus, the argument is actually like saying, “Do you believe that God is the King ruling over the heavens and the earth, or do you believe that you have free will?”