In the Bible, there are many verses that indicate that one day God will reconcile the whole cosmos and that he will be Lord over everything and everyone. Here is a small selection of such Bible passages. Some verses can certainly be understood differently, but others are very clear in their message. The highlights are from me and serve only the faster overview.
Some of the key verses:
Romans 5:18-19 (NET):
5:18 Consequently, just as condemnation for all people came through one transgression, so too through the one righteous act came righteousness leading to life for all people. 5:19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of one man many will be made righteous.
Remark: The whole idea of Romans 5:12-21 is that ALL came under condemnation through Adam and that ALL are made righteous through Christ. The “many” in verse 19 is only a synonym for “all”. Grace triumphed over sin. What Christ accomplished triumphed over what Adam did. Claiming that Adam led ALL people to condemnation but Christ saved A FEW means to contradict the whole idea of this paragraph.
1 Corinthians 15: 21-22 (NET):
15:21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also came through a man. 15:22 For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.
Remark: This idea of Christ reversing what Adam had done was central in Paul’s theology. He purposefully placed this idea at the center of his argument in the letter to the Romans and to the Corinthians.
1 Timothy 2:3-6 (NET):
2:3 Such prayer for all is good and welcomed before God our Savior, 2:4 since he wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 2:5 For there is one God and one intermediary between God and humanity, Christ Jesus, himself human, 2:6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, revealing God’s purpose at his appointed time.
Remark: God’s will is that everyone will be saved. Ultimately, God’s will be accomplished. He wants to save everyone and he will.
2 Corinthians 5:19 (NET):
5:19 In other words, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting people’s trespasses against them, and he has given us the message of reconciliation.
Remark: The Greek word that is translated as “world” literally means “cosmos”. God reconciled the whole cosmos to himself.
Colossians 1:19-20 (NET):
1:19For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in the Son 1:20 and through him to reconcile all things to himself by making peace through the blood of his cross—through him, whether things on earth or things in heaven.
Remark: These verses are part of a creed of faith of the very first believers. It shows that they understood the work of Christ in universal terms.
Romans 11:32 (NET):
11:32 For God has consigned all people to disobedience so that he may show mercy to them all.
Remark: Paul concludes his whole argument from Romans 1-11 with this verse! God will show mercy to all. That’s the central message of Paul’s letter to the Romans. God’s mercy will triumph over man’s disobedience.
Acts 3:21 (NET):
3:21 This one heaven must receive until the time all things are restored, which God declared from times long ago through his holy prophets.
Matthew 26:27-28 (NET):
26:27 And after taking the cup and giving thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you, 26:28 for this is my blood, the blood of the covenant, that is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
Remark: “The adjective many is not restrictive in the sense of excluding some; rather it is all-inclusive, as it frequently is in the Hebrew of the Old Testament, and many translations have “all people” (Newman, 1992:805).
John constantly portrayed Jesus as the savior of the whole world:
The next day Jesus came to John. When he saw him coming, he cried, “Look, here is the sacrificial Lamb of God who takes away sin from the whole world!
“We have now heard him with our own ears and know that he really is the savior of the world.“
But I will be exalted above the earth, and then I will draw everyone to me.
1 John 2:1-2
He, who never did wrong, became an atonement for our sins through his death, and not just for our sins, but for those of the whole world
1 John 4:14
Another reason we are certain is that: ‘We have seen and can testify that the Father sent his Son to us as the Savior of the world;
More NT verses that point toward a universal reconciliation:
1 Timothy 4:10
for we have put our hope in the living God, and he is the helper and savior of all people – in a special way of those who believe in him.
Phil 2: 10-11
And because Jesus bears this name, everyone will one day throw themselves on their knees before him, everyone who is in heaven, on earth and under earth. 11 Everyone will acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord and will thereby give glory to God the Father.
Remark: We know that this confession will not be forced but will be from a sincere heart because only the Holy Spirit can bring forth this confession (1 Corinthians 12:3).
Ephesians 1:9-10 (NET):
1:9 He did this when he revealed to us the secret of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, 1:10 toward the administration of the fullness of the times, to head up all things in Christ—the things in heaven and the things on earth.
2 Peter 3:9 (NET):
The Lord is not slow concerning his promise, as some regard slowness, but is being patient toward you, because he does not wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
Titus 2:11 (NET):
2:11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people.
James 2:13 (NET):
2:13 For judgment is merciless for the one who has shown no mercy. But mercy triumphs over judgment.
Remark: Judgment is important and has its place. But in the end, mercy will triumph over judgment.
1 Corinthians 3:15 (NET):
3:15 If someone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss. He himself will be saved, but only as through fire.
Ephesians 4:10 (NET):
4:10 He, the very one who descended, is also the one who ascended above all the heavens, in order to fill all things.
Matthew 25:46 (YLT):
And these shall go away to punishment age-during, but the righteous to life age-during.
Remark: Read more about this parable and its meaning HERE.
Matthew 13:33 (NRSV):
The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.
Luke 2:10-11 (NET):
2:10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid! Listen carefully, for I proclaim to you good news that brings great joy to all the people: 2:11 Today your Savior is born in the city of David.
Remark: If eternal torment would be real in what way would that be good news to all people?
Matthew 18:34-35 (NET):
18:34 And in anger his lord turned him over to the prison guards to torture him until he repaid all he owed. 18:35 So also my heavenly Father will do to you, if each of you does not forgive your brother from your heart.
Rev 21: 25-22:2 (NET):
21:25 Its gates will never be closed during the day (and there will be no night there). 21:26 They will bring the grandeur and the wealth of the nations into it, 21:27 but nothing ritually unclean will ever enter into it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or practices falsehood, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. 22:1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life—water as clear as crystal—pouring out from the throne of God and of the Lamb, 22:2 flowing down the middle of the city’s main street. On each side of the river is the tree of life producing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month of the year. Its leaves are for the healing of the nations.
Remark: Outside of New Jerusalem are the ones that didn’t repent yet (Rev 22:15), those who were thrown in the lake of fire (according to Rev 21:1-8). The gates of New Jerusalem will never be shut. God’s mercy will never come to an end. The leaves in the city are for the healing of the nations. Revelation ends with God’s invitation: “And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say: “Come!” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wants it take the water of life free of charge” (Rev 22:17 NET). God’s loyal love endures forever. The father always waits with open arms, just as Jesus taught us (Luke 15:20).
Verses from the OT:
1 Chronicles 16:34 (NET):
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good and his loyal love endures.
Remark: The phrase that “God’s loyal love will endure (forever)” is the most repeated description of God in the OT! God’s loyal love will never come to an end. This is certain.
Lamentations 3:31-33 (NET):
3:31For the Lord will not reject us forever. 3:32 Though he causes us grief, he then has compassion on us according to the abundance of his loyal kindness. 3:33 For he is not predisposed to afflict or to grieve people.
Remark: Yes, God judges, he corrects and he causes us grief but all of that is for a restorative purpose, to lead us toward repentance.
Isaiah 25:6-8 (NET):
25:6 The Lord who commands armies will hold a banquet for all the nations on this mountain. At this banquet there will be plenty of meat and aged wine— tender meat and choicest wine. 25:7 On this mountain he will swallow up the shroud that is over all the peoples, the woven covering that is over all the nations; 25:8 he will swallow up death permanently. The sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from every face, and remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth.
Genesis 12:3 (NRSV):
…and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
Psalm 30:5 (NET):
30:5 For his anger lasts only a brief moment, and his good favor restores one’s life. One may experience sorrow during the night, but joy arrives in the morning.
Psalm 103:8 (NET):
103:8 The Lord is compassionate and merciful; he is patient and demonstrates great loyal love. 103:9 He does not always accuse, and does not stay angry.103:10 He does not deal with us as our sins deserve; he does not repay us as our misdeeds deserve.
Isaiah 53:6 (NRSV):
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way, and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
More important than isolated verses in the Bible is the entire testimony of the Bible. The entire Bible reveals a good and merciful God who is in the process of redeeming His rebellious creation and drawing it back to Himself. His will is to redeem and renew His entire creation. His love will not fail.
Ultimately, His desire to save all will be fulfilled and He will reconcile the entire cosmos to Himself. This message is truly good news for every human being.
Biblical Studies Press. (2005). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Mt 26:27–28). Biblical Studies Press.
Newman, B. M., & Stine, P. C. (1992). A handbook on the Gospel of Matthew (p. 805). New York: United Bible Societies.