Grace before anything

Lewis Smedes, who taught theology at Fuller Sem­inary, studied with Karl Barth and once asked the great theologian if he was a universalist. Barth put his face close to Smedes, poked a finger in his chest and said, “Ich bin kein universalist [I am not a universalist].” Barth then asked Smedes, “You believe the Bible? Fine, then believe this too,” and Barth quoted Paul’s words, “Christ died not for our sins only but for the sins of the whole world,” and added, “If you are worried about universalism, you had better begin worrying about the Bible.” Smedes realized that he needed to quit worrying about whether he was acceptable to God, “to quit stewing about it and just rest in the fact that I was loved and accepted by God, no strings attached.”

 

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