Hello and welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Sunday afternoon Bible study. Today we are going to look at a question that has come up a lot recently. People have asked this question on Facebook and through e-mails to EBible Fellowship. It concerns Bible verses that says that God can do all things. And since this is a true statement, they ask, “Is it possible God could still save someone today?”
Let us look at some of these verses. First, let us go to Matthew 19:22-26:
But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. When his disciples heard *it,* they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld *them,* and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
We can see in this passage that the disciples are asking about salvation: “Who then can be saved?” When Jesus responded, “With men this is impossible,” so He is referring to their question about salvation. Then He said, “But with God all things are possible.” This is a Biblical truth that we have seen numerous times in the Bible. God has let it be known that salvation is impossible with mankind – no man can get himself saved. No man can believe on Jesus or be baptized or do any other work to get himself saved.
And, certainly, man cannot be saved through his own will, as it says in John 1, where it speaks of being” born again” in John 1:13:
Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Salvation is impossible through the “will of man,” and then it adds, “but of God.” That is where salvation is performed. God can save the sinner, but the sinner cannot save himself. That is a definite teaching here, but we cannot deny that in Matthew 19 it says, “But with God all things are possible.” It also says this in Mark 10:23-26:
And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom. And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men *it is* impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.
This was repeated for a third time in Luke 18 regarding the rich man that went away sorrowful. It says in Luke 18:16:26-27:
And they that heard *it* said, Who then can be saved? And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.
Here, it is also speaking of salvation, and it refers to it as “things which are impossible with men.” It does not say here that “all things are possible with God,” but it does help us to understand that “the things” referred to have to do with salvation.
But let us look at the idea these verses seem to present. And, certainly, some people want this to mean that God can still save someone. We would all want it to say that God was still saving, as we would think that would be a good thing if God were still saving people. God’s people only declare that God has stopped saving people because that is what the Bible says; it is not our preference or desire, but it is what the Bible teaches. We must be faithful to what the Bible teaches. So, let us look at the idea that since “all things are possible with God,” does that mean “everything and anything”? That is really what these people are trying to say.
God has all power. Without question, that is what the Bible declares. The Bible makes it clear. He spoke and brought the whole universe into being. He has tremendous power that is exhibited on the pages of the Bible. He destroyed entire armies. He divided the seas. He healed lepers. He raised the dead. These things are impossible with men. Today, we cannot (miraculously) heal people with deadly diseases, but God can still work through medicines or herbs if anyone is to be healed from a disease. But many people are not healed; they have a disease and they die from that disease. And when they die, we cannot raise them from the dead. It is an impossible thing with man. We cannot raise ourselves from the dead, but the Lord Jesus Christ did raise people from the dead. He walked on water. That is an impossible thing. Well, Peter did “walk on water,” and there is also a statement in the Bible that says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me.” So, if God can do all things and we can do all things through Christ, that is another interesting question.
This is something we want to seriously and carefully look at in the Bible, as we try to gain a better understanding of what the Bible means when it says that God can do all things. Again, He has the power to do so; He is Almighty God and He has the ability to do all things. But are there conditions placed upon this truth? This is something we see when the Lord Jesus Christ was in the Garden of Gethsemane. It says in Matthew 26:36-39:
Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou *wilt.*
Here, Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, and we know that it was at this point He began to suffer the wrath of God. The wrath of God was being poured out upon Him in a spiritual way, as God was “forsaking” Him as Jesus was demonstrating the atonement He performed at the foundation of the world. In this demonstration, He was not bearing sin, but He was still suffering the wrath of God to the point of death. Remember, Moses smote the rock twice, and the word “smote” can be translated as the word “killed.” Moses, representing the Law, killed the “rock,” who is Christ, twice. So, we cannot diminish the fact that Christ suffered and died by going to the cross. He was truly suffering, as we read that His soul was exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death. In another place it says He was in an agony. He was not just portraying these things, but He was experiencing them; He was grievously afflicted, and He experienced a tremendous burden of suffering. In His pain and anguish, He went to God and prayed, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.”
Let us place ourselves in Jesus’ position for a minute. Can you imagine that you are Almighty God that has already done this before? You bore the sins of your people before the world was, and the Law of God struck you dead for those sins. In your death, you were atoning for those sins, because “the wages of sin is death,” and the Law’s demand for justice was satisfied. Because you are eternal God, the Father resurrected you and you rose from the dead, washed from all iniquity. That was the baptism and you rose to be declared the Son of God at the foundation of the world. You have had that experience and you have the intimate knowledge of what a terrible thing it was to have been separated from the Father in eternity past, but now the Father has determined that He wants you to show forth the things you had done before the world existed. The fulness of the Godhead had determined to do this, and you entered into the world and performed His will perfectly, but now comes the point of this unbearable suffering. You, as one Person of the Trinity, must be forsaken as God forsook God. As this began to happen a second time and as you begin to suffer anew and to be in such agony, you know you are not paying for sin and it is not going to impact the salvation of the elect because you already purchased them. In such a situation, you can see that this idea would come to your mind: “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” He is asking, “if it be possible,” and we cannot help but remember the verse that says, “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” Is this one of the things that would be possible with God?
In the parallel passage in Mark 14, it says in Mark 14:33-35:
And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy; And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch. And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him.
So far, it is very similar to what we read in Matthew 26, but let us read what comes next in Mark 14:36:
And he said, Abba, Father, all things *are* possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.
Here it is. Both ideas are in view, including whether it be possible and the fact that all things are possible with God. When we are in our sins, the wrath of God abides upon us, so the deliverance of salvation means we come out from under the wrath of God and, therefore, we could say that Christ is really praying for salvation for Himself in this situation: “May I come out from under the wrath of God? May this cup of the wrath of God pass from me, so I will no longer be under the wrath of God?” Again, He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.”
So, this passage really brings up this idea where some people think there may still be a possibility (since all things are possible with God) that one can come out from under the wrath of God and become saved. But, you see, now we have a big problem because the Bible teaches that the door (of salvation) is shut, and Christ is that “door.” It says in John 10:9:
I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
When the Bible says the door is shut, it means that the possibility of going in and being saved has come to an end. If the door is shut, you cannot go in. If you cannot go in, you cannot be saved. The Bible very powerfully locked in the day of May 21, 2011 as the day that the door was shut, and salvation ended. Many Scriptures support and back that doctrine up. And, yet, can we say, “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible”?
After all, we are not saying that men cannot get himself saved since May 21 because man could not get himself saved even before May 21. That has not changed. That is consistent. The possibility of man attaining salvation based on his own work has never been possible. It has always been an impossible thing with man since the fall of man. The Bible lays out the methodology in that case, which is to keep the Law perfectly in all points; and, yet, if you failed in one point of the Law, you would be guilty of all. Therefore, it is impossible with man, so when the Bible emphasizes that Judgment Day is a time when God will have “judgment without mercy” and when God has shut the door and put out the lights of the Gospel, these things are not based on man’s perspective, but the perspective of God. That is the reason there is no more salvation. It is not something man has done.
You know, as God’s people share these things, some people look at us as if we devised these things and they say we are cruel in ending salvation. But we did not end anything; we do not have the power to do these things. This is a great and mighty thing that only God can do. He is the One who has brought the final judgment of mankind to pass, and He is in the process of carrying out all things related to that day. He is executing wrath upon the sinners. It is all according to His perfect will.
Some people that just do not like that idea go to the Bible and they say, “You see, here it says that God can do all things, so He can save someone even when it appears to be impossible.” In the Gospel of Mark Jesus prayed, “Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee,” but we must remember that He had said earlier in Mark 14:35: “And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him,” which is similar to what He said in Matthew 24 in the context of the Great Tribulation, in Matthew 24:22-24:
And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened. Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here *is* Christ, or there; believe *it* not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if *it were* possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
This term, “if it were possible” is like Christ said, “if it were possible,” in Mark 14. Here, the word “it were” is in italics, so it is saying “if possible.” It says the same thing in Mark 13:22:
For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if *it were* possible, even the elect.
Even though it uses the exact phrase, “if possible,” is it possible for the elect to be seduced and deceived? The implication is that it is not possible, because God will not allow it. Of course, it is possible for a child of God to misunderstand a doctrine and to go down the wrong road for a short time, but not to the point of spiritual destruction. That is not impossible. So, even though the idea is put forth that “if it were possible,” the reality is that God is speaking of something that is impossible. There are “impossible” things.
Again, some would say, “That is not the question. The question has to do with all things being possible with God and, therefore, it is possible for God to save someone today.” OK, let us put this idea to the test.
First, let us ask the question: “Is ‘anything and everything’ possible with God?” For example, “Is it possible for God to break the barrier of the supernatural and reveal Himself today? First, we must ask, “Does God possess that ability?” The answer is, “Yes.” He has demonstrated this in the Bible again, and again. God spoke to prophets and gave divine revelation, dreams, tongues and visions. He performed miracles of healing by giving legs to the lame, eyes to the blind, ears to the deaf, a mouth to the dumb, life to the dead and cleansing to the leper. He did all these things that are impossible with man. He walked on water. He turned water to wine. You know, the Bible is an incredibly wonderful book as we read of God coming to the rescue of His people throughout history by performing the impossible. He caused the 300 men of Gideon to destroy a huge host of an enemy army. We read of God doing all kinds of things to show His glory and to bring honor to Him, like parting the Red Sea and then collapsing it upon the army of the Egyptians. Yes – we know He has the ability and the might, but once He had completed the Bible, He said in Revelation 22:18:
For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
This statement is made near the end of the last chapter of the book of Revelation and end of the Bible. God is indicating the Bible is complete and we are to add nothing further to it. And He will add nothing further.
So, as we look at the time after the first century until now, does God perform miracles in the way the Lord Jesus Christ had done? No – He does not. You will find false prophets that claim God will (miraculously) heal someone, and they are drawing on verses that say, “With God all things are possible with thee.” They give false hopes to people with deadly diseases and serious physical conditions like being blind or deaf or lame. They say, “We can do this because it says in Philippians, ‘I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me,’ and God is channeling His power through me.” Then they touch a person and claim that person is healed, but it is all a big lie.
God can heal an individual through certain medical or natural means, according to His pleasure. They may take a treatment of some kind and their deadly disease may be healed, but even in these exceptional cases, the person eventually dies. So, God has not been breaking the barrier of the supernatural to perform miraculous works of healing since the Bible was completed, nor has He done mighty miracles of any kind. If God wanted the world to see His power in these days, would it not have been a good idea to do it in the days leading up to May 21, 2011? He could have broken the barrier of the supernatural and spoken from heaven with a voice like thunder that the whole world would hear, warning that this was the time to seek God. But He did not do it that way. Instead, it was the “still small voice” of the Scriptures that was sent out into all the world.
And, yet, today we have scores of millions in the churches that claim that God is breaking the barrier of the supernatural, saying, “God spoke to me in a tongue,” or “God came to me in a night vision,” or “God has given me a dream.” And, again, they will say, “Well, all things are possible with God. You cannot limit God.”
But we are not the ones to limit God. God limited Himself, as he said in Revelation 22:18 that He would not break the barrier of the supernatural by bringing additional revelation outside the Bible. He is not performing miraculous acts of any kind.
So, when we read a verse that says, “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible,” it is conditioned upon the will and Word of God. God has issued the decree and commanded us not to add or subtract from His Word, and God is under His own Law and keeping that commandment. Therefore, someone can pray very earnestly for a loved one that has passed away, saying, “O, God, I see in the Bible that you can raise the dead. You raised the young girl of 12 years old. You raised the widow’s son. You raised Lazarus from the dead after he had been dead for four days already. The Bible says, ‘all things are possible with thee,’ and so I pray that you would raise my loved one from the dead.”
Is there any way that prayer can be heard by God? No – there is no way. God will not perform that kind of miracle today. To take a verse from the Bible that says that all things are possible with God, and to tell people they can be healed is false encouragement. It would be like a balm of ointment. Can you imagine having a severe affliction like being blind? You can hear, and you know the Bible declares that Christ healed blind Bartimaeus. Or, if you cannot walk, you read in the Bible that the lame rise and walk and leap for joy. Then you hear the pastors that say, “All things are possible with God if you believe.”
Remember the father whose son was a lunatic? Let us turn there and read Mark 9:20-24:
And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child. And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things *are* possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
We see these verses, and then these evil men capitalize on them and they use it like a piece of merchandise to prey upon the poor, needy and sickly in society that are desperate because of their ailments. They bring up these verses and apply them in a wrong way. You know, the Word of God is good and lawful, but it must be used lawfully. The problem is that most preachers and teachers use the Bible unlawfully. They misapply and misstate the Word of God and they are not careful with the truth. They do not harmonize their conclusions with everything the Bible says and, therefore, they give false hope to the afflicted. That is not a good thing – it is a horrible thing.
If you do not think giving someone false hope is a horrible thing, put yourself in the place of someone suffering from one of these unalterable ailments, like being blind and deaf, and so forth. You hear a preacher and you believe him because he is using the Bible. You begin to hope: “Maybe if I have enough faith I can be healed because all things are possible for him that believes.” These preachers put it all on the individual: “If you have enough faith, it will be done.” It gives them a ready-made excuse when it fails to happen. Then they say, “You just keep believing and trusting, and maybe some day you will have enough faith to be healed of your blindness.” What a lie! What a filthy lie! What an ugly thing. Is there any love in giving people false hopes? Is that a good or nice thing to do? No – we recognize it for the despicable thing it is to lie to people that are in such conditions. It is about as bad as anything can be.
Or, maybe there is something worse. Since God has ended salvation by shutting the door to heaven, is it not even more horrible to lie to people in an unsaved spiritual condition, which is worse than any physical ailment? And they say, “For those of you that are dead in sin, there is hope. You can become saved. It is still the day of salvation and God is still working to save people.” Then they lay out their gospel presentation. At this point, it does not matter what gospel presentation it is, because all these other gospels are false, and they give people false hope. Only because it is in the spiritual realm, we may not see it as the horrible thing it is.
But is it falsehood? Have we proven that from the Bible, just because we know that God has said He will not add to His Word, and we know He will not break the barrier of the supernatural? Is that sufficient proof to let us know that there are conditions on the statement that says that all things are possible with God. God has the ability to do all things, but He will not do things contrary to what He has declared in His Word or in His commandments. That is something else we need to consider. Does the statement that all things are possible with God include “anything and everything”? No – it does not. Let us go to Titus 1:2:
In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
God cannot lie. If you cannot do something, it means it is an impossible thing. If I cannot jump across the Canyon, it is impossible for me. But someone might say, “Yes – but you are a man and what is impossible with man, is possible with God. It is possible for man to lie, but it is not possible for God to lie.” He is Truth. The Word of God is truth. He is Holy God. Holiness and truth go hand in hand. He cannot lie. He cannot say something false. It is not in His nature, let alone in His character. We know it is impossible for Him to lie because the Bible makes a point of telling us in Hebrews 6:16:
For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation *is* to them an end of all strife. Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed *it* by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which *it was* impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:
The term “immutable” means it be cannot changed. It is impossible for God to lie. That would seem to contradict the statement where the Bible said, “All things are possible with God.” Whenever we see what seems to be an apparent contradiction in the Bible, it helps us to understand that our original understanding of one of the statements was incorrect. In this case, our misunderstanding was regarding that “all things” must refer to “anything and everything.” We cannot define the Biblical declaration that all things are possible to God to mean “anything and everything.” We saw earlier that God will not break the barrier of the supernatural today – it is impossible. Here, the Bible says it is impossible for God to lie. If there is one thing that is impossible for God to do, then our understanding and idea that God can do “anything and everything” is incorrect. But, more than that, we know that God cannot lie any more than He can do any evil (sinful) thing; He cannot commit any sin. It is impossible for Him to lie because it is a transgression of His Law to lie. He must speak the truth. He is God and He keeps His own Law – He maintains it with perfection: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” He is perfect because He perfectly keeps the Law of God, which is the standard of perfection. If you fail to keep that standard on even one point, then you are guilty of all, so that would make God guilty of telling a lie and everything else, if He failed on one point.
We read in the Old Testament in Habakkuk 1:12-13:
*Art* thou not from everlasting, O JEHOVAH my God, mine Holy One? we shall not die. O JEHOVAH, thou hast ordained them for judgment; and, O mighty God, thou hast established them for correction. *Thou art* of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously…
God is of “purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity.” He abhors it. He will never commit sin. Remember what it says of our new heart and new spirit that God gives to us when we are born again in 1John 3:9:
Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
There is an inability to sin. If the sinner redeemed and made new by God after His likeness and image cannot sin, then, certainly, God that delivered Him out of sin cannot sin. It is an impossibility for God to sin. He cannot commit adultery. He cannot murder. Of course, He can take life, but that is not murder because He is just to do so. He cannot steal. He cannot lie. He cannot do anything contrary to the Law of God. He cannot transgress His Law on any point which means that when we read that “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible,” it is conditioned by the Bible. It is conditioned by the commandments of God. In other words, God can do all things lawful. He can do all things in accord with His divine will. You know, sometimes the will of God is mentioned in the Bible and, yet, it has an outworking in the world because God is bound by His perfect, divine will. That is where the Lord Jesus Christ comes in, because He was carrying out the will of God when He said, “If it be possible.” Remember when we looked at the similar statement “if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect,” we saw that it was not possible. Yes – all things are possible with God, but they must be all things lawful, in accord with divine perfection and the perfect will of God. That is why after the Lord made that prayer, He added, “nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.” It goes right to the will of God. All things must be according to the will of God. Is it possible for God to save anyone today? No – because it is not according to His will.
I forgot to mention that often the word “all” in the Bible is conditional, like when the Bible says that God “is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” We must define what the word “all” means in that verse. And it means “all the elect.” The proof verse regarding the word “all” can be found in Luke 2:1 where it said that “all the world” was to be taxed under Caesar, but we realize that the North Americans, South Americans or the Aborigines in Australia would not be taxed. It was all the world that was under the power and authority of Caesar. The word “all” was conditioned by its context and, in this case, the word “all” is conditioned upon the entire Bible. And if the Bible has determined that Judgment Day has come, and God has shut the door and ended His salvation program, it is just like when God determined that no one could add to the Words of the book. It meant that God could no longer do some of the things He had done when the Bible was in the process of being written. Then He had to limit Himself because He must follow His own Word.
Yes – God could save during the day of salvation as He saved His elect, but when He completed the salvation of all His elect, is it possible for God to save a non-elect person? It would not be possible. It would go contrary to His will and not be just because their sins had not been paid for, but it is safe to say that when God shut the door of heaven He would constrain Himself and He would no longer do any work of salvation. So we should not give false hope to people by encouraging them to pray that God would save them, just as we would not encourage anyone to pray for (miraculous) physical healing or for God to raise the dead.
You can read EBF transcripts once you join this group: