Category Archives: Grace

It is pretty sad if this life is the only chance to believe in God/Christ

My thinking was expanded by a recent writing I read that put life, learning, and belief in God in a bit of a different light.  Good?  Bad?  To me, extremely good, but I will let you judge as to how it affects you personally.  Rather than quote the writing, I want to summarize it and put it in my own words to see if I have truly grasped what was being said.  At the end, I will give you the link to the original article for your comparison.  Learning, I believe, requires this kind of understanding and attitude.  So, here goes.  Oh, if you could comment and let me know if I hit the mark or not, I would appreciate it!

We start out life, helpless, depending on others for everything, all of life’s sustenance.  I have been told that the most formative years are before a child reaches 4-5 years old.  They will learn a majority of all they learn (how to act, basics of life, etc) in these years.  We come to understand the world around us from personal experience, our parents, friends, and others who step into our lives and give us input.  And at some level, the environment around us helps shape us as well (growing up in warm vs. cold climates, growing up in the U.S. vs. the Middle East, etc).  And yet, the most formative years, with the most learning taking place, is learning at the hands of others who are broken and battered by life and environment. They have not arrived.  They are not perfect teachers giving us perfect information upon which we can base our own decisions on.  There was a saying I grew up with:  Practice makes perfect.  And later in life, that maxim was altered, thankfully, to this:  Perfect practice makes perfect!  This is my point.  We are created by a perfect God who thrusts us into imperfection to learn from imperfection and do something with it.

We are born immature, taught by immature young adults who are, in turn, still learning from immature older adults (oftentimes!).  I say these things because what we learn early on stays with us for years until it is changed through many trials and disappointments and struggles, and the like.  It is changed due to a change of attitude and philosophy of life and the world, and is played out, maybe, in actions before we pass from this life.

Two conclusions to draw from these things: 1.)  With such an impairment of our understanding of how things truly are, according to God and His will, we are no more competent than a 2 year-old to make competent choices even as adults, for the most part.  So regarding our eternal destiny, if you will, is this life truly the best way for God to measure us, to judge us, to hold us accountable for our beliefs (for you free-will-ers out there!), or to grant us belief (for you Calvinists out there!)?  Let me put the first point this way:  We are born in ignorance, we live in ignorance, and we die in ignorance, speaking of who God truly is.  Yes, granted some may learn considerably more about God than others, or maybe even live in Christ more than most, but overall, I believe this statement to a large extent is true regarding the person and work of God.  2.)  Is not God responsible for this ignorance and does He not share in at least some of the responsibility of our ignorance of Him?  As our caretaker, our Father, is He truly a success, or better said, a loving God who has our best interest at heart?  We are His workmanship, made to bear His image, right.

So, are we given all the resources we need during this life to understand who God is and what He has done for all mankind, or, is there more to follow in the ages to come?  Is 70-80 years of imperfect life the proving ground and the only possibility we have for life with God or will He truly, one day, one age, reveal to all people who He truly is and melt the cold hearts and win all people, becoming all in all?  Do we truly believe that God’s more abounding grace, a grace greater than sin, a grace more profound and empowering than any lie could thwart, any sin could confound, is so impotent as to not save ALL of God’s image-bearers?  Is God truly a merciful and gracious Father, the good News for the whole world, the world, all mankind that Jesus said He would lift up, if He was put to death on the cross (and He was!)?  In other words, if God will not save all of us imperfect people, His creation, does He not also bear the responsibility for that loss, making Him the only one who consigns people to eternal conscious torment in hell forever and ever (if that is what you believe according to the modern church and modern, traditional  Christianity), which I by the way, do not believe in?

Your thoughts are always coveted and your responses welcomed.  Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Craig

P.S. Almost forgot to give the link:  Why Think that God’s Grace is Sufficient for Apokatastasis?

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Grace: More Abundant Than Sin

God’s grace!  We are told that where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.  We, as believers in Christ, know that we cannot “earn” God’s grace.  It is given out to whom He chooses to give it out to.  The wonderful thing is that God gives grace to all people (in different measures of course).  We do nothing to merit the dawning of a new day. We do nothing to merit the birth of a newborn.  We do nothing to merit safety from much danger in our lives.  And yet, grace is there to bless us, to save us, to walk with us and uphold us in this world of much sin and evil.

But, I think, that most Christians have no idea what God’s grace really is.  If they do know about it, they sure don’t act if they do.  God’s grace, to the one who truly acknowledges it and begins rightly to understand it, is like the runner who does not seem to labor in his marathon.  He seems to effortlessly glide along the path with no concern about the dangers along the way, the pain along the way, the struggles along the way.  Some would say he is “in the zone” or is experiencing the “runner’s high.”  God’s grace in the life of the believer is so much more than those chemical or mental experiences.  The runner in a sense “earns” those feelings and that state of mind through his activity.  For the believer this is not so!

If you step into most churches today you will hear a steady stream of moaning and bewailing of personal sin.   You will hear many people relaying their struggles with sin and the latest “remedy” they have found to combat their sin (the latest 12 step something, or avoidance technique, or meditation ritual, etc).  But at the end of the day, you will not hear much about the conquering of sin!  Where is the abundant grace that is more abundant than sin?  It seems, nowhere to be found in the modern church!  The modern day believer is so self-focused and sin-focused they couldn’t identify an act of God’s grace if it was handed to them on a silver platter with a sign attached to it!

The remedy though, I am finding out, is fairly simple and straight-forward.  You want to know what the remedy is? Sure you do!  Here it is, wait for it, wait for it, it is to  GIVE UP!   Give up trying to count and label your sin.  Give up giving it preeminence in your thoughts.  Give up trying to conquer it because in this fleshly body you will not conquer it (it needs no conquering!  Jesus conquered it for you on the cross!!!!!)  When you give up trying to eliminate sin from your life, grace is still there running on legs that never tire or ache.  Grace is there beside you, just waiting for you to accept powerlessness over sin and give yourself over to God’s love, mercy, His GRACE, and to carry you when you can no longer run!

Think about it for a minute.  If every time you thought about God’s grace when you sinned, about how your sin was wiped out by Jesus, about the love that God lavishes on you when you don’t deserve it, and many other like things, how long could sin keep you down?  How long would it take to realize that God is worth more thought and attention than the sin you daily espouse and bemoan?  How would your ministry to love others be affected by this new thought process and action plan?

I am on that journey of transformation.  I will arrive one day, at the end of the ages for sure, but during this earthly age, I am slowly learning that what we treasure in our heart (focus our lives on God’s grace, not our sin) will show us who deserves our time and attention.  Will you focus your attention on God and Christ or on sin and evil?  The choice is yours, my brothers and sisters, the choice is yours!  Make the right choice today!  (check out Paul’s letter to the Roman believers in the New Testament of the Bible, it will be a big help to you!)

Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Craig

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As Followers of Christ We Must Realize the Logic of Our Beliefs

The more I study the Christian belief system, the more I am amazed at the illogical stance of mainstream Christianity’s beliefs.  It is no wonder to me, anymore, why many of the world’s peoples look upon Christians as duped and ignorant, unwilling to see the logic of what they espouse.  Most of my former “Christian friends” in the reformed tradition (specifically Baptist) rail, as I did, against anything mystical, yet then support their whole belief system by mystical things.  For instance, I used to deny the validity of any Christian writer who claimed to be inspired by God to write things that were not spoken about in the Bible.  Yet, I had easily believed that the books written in the collection of 66 books we call the Bible today were not only inspired, but totally infallible and inerrant in every jot and tittle penned.  Logic tells us that God used more than just a few men to speak inspirationally to all mankind throughout all of history.  And, though I may not be understood in the last statement by all who read this, and my belief in God may be questioned, I would like you to seriously read the blog article in the following link, as this will hopefully open a few minds up to what I am driving at.

Gary Amirault has written an article the other day and posted it on his Tentmaker.org blog site.  I provide the link here called Spiritual Rape.  Think about the logic of what he says in this article.  Get your mind past an “offensive” statement he might make that cuts across your feelings.  It is a short 4 paragraphs long and will take you a couple minutes, at most, to read.  the implications are very stark and applicable to all who call themselves Christians.  Take off your denominational, or non-denominational denomination glasses, and THINK!

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When Is A Person Justified Righteous and No Longer Under Condemnation?

My previous two posts which got very little air time (maybe due to poor titling on my part!) ask this very important question.  When is a person free from sin?  When is a person justified?  Does the Bible say that people are free from sin when Jesus died on the cross and paid the death penalty for sin (all of mankind’s sin) or when a person believes in Jesus for his/her justification?  The previous posts were pretty short but got to the same point.  I will reiterate my perspective based on what Paul says in Romans.  Throughout Paul’s writing to the Romans, from 3:20-at least chapter 6, where I am studying, Paul’s sole argument is that Adam brought condemnation on the human race and Jesus’ death paid the redemption price for that condemnation (sin).  The wages of sin is death.  Jesus paid the death penalty for humanities’ sin problem.  One man, Adam, sinned, and that sin was laid to the account of the human race.  Adam withdrew all the grace from mankind’s account by sinning and all who have access to that account (requirement is being born into this life) are born with that deficit.  Before you jump on the analogy, I know all analogies break down, but I am trying to keep this  in easy terms to follow, using a banking system that we are all familiar with.  I know that God’s grace has never been removed from humanity, but it is God’s to give when He chooses.  In a sense, Adam’s account was full, and He never had to ask for God’s grace because it was always around Him and available to withdraw whenever he wanted to.  So, bear with me as I finish this analogy.  SO, when Adam sinned, he withdrew all the grace and emptied the account because what Adam did was a clear violation of God’s intent for him and Eve.  So, rather than kill Adam and Eve immediately, God withdrew all of the grace from Adam’s account which still was not enough to cover the sin.  So, God’s promissory note of full payment, Jesus Christ, would eventually come and complete the full payment God required and when that happened, mankind was set free from the payment (wages) of sin.  Jesus paid the full price required for ALL mankind.  Now, since all who are born in this life share that same account with Adam, all who share that same account with Adam have been justified in Christ.  In other words, all mankind is free from sin and the account of God’s grace is full again.

What we need to do is realize that our account is full by virtue of Christ’s sacrifice, and be always acting upon the reality that we have been set free from sin by Jesus.  There is therefore now no more condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  Those in Christ are the ones who realize their account is full and paid up/off.  The ones who don’t realize it, still have a full account, they just need to check their balance (believe in Jesus) and then act upon what they see (a full account of God’s grace).  In a nutshell, you are not saved by works, or anything you do that would cause God to “owe” you salvation, whether that is faith, believing, choosing Christ, saying a prayer, NOTHING.  You are saved NOW, whether you lived before this time, are living in this time, or you will live centuries from now.  All those, especially those who came after Jesus’ time, are already saved by virtue only and solely by what Jesus did on the cross back in the early first century.  If you find offense in this, could it be because you want to do something to “earn” your salvation or merit it in some way?  Maybe, it is because you cannot fathom that ALL people will be saved and that cuts into your uniqueness, being chosen by God as His elect or by your own free will choice?  I would like to hear what you think or have to say about this situation.  It is, after all, one of the most, if not the most, important thing to understand, is it not?

 

 

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Don’t Let Sin Reign in Your Mortal Body

Here is my provocative question for this post.  When you read what Paul wrote in Romans 6:12, “Let not Sin, then, be reigning in your mortal body, for you to be obeying its lusts.” (CLV, Concordant Literal Version), do you:

A. Believe this to mean “stop sinning” and refers to the “acts of sin” OR

B.  I will never stop sinning in my mortal body but thankfully as a new creation in Christ my sins have been removed and sin no longer tells me what to do, I tell it what to do! (get lost!)

If you choose A., then you are in league with the whole modern church today.  You believe just as most every other believer today because you believe that Paul is telling you to quit committing acts of sin, like adultery, swearing, lying, cheating, stealing, etc.  It also means you will probably seek to remove all appearances of evil and sin from your life.  Example:  We don’t believe it is a sin to drink alcohol, but we require our leaders to abstain from drinking alcohol because we do not even want to give the appearance of sin, or cause even the least of our brothers to stumble.  Or, I have been “saved” by God and in my past have struggled with pornography, therefore, when I want to rent a movie from Netflix, I search only G-rated movies because I do not even want to be tempted to sin.  Or, I know overeating is a sin, but I have a lust for pizza so, as a believer, I will never go down the pizza aisle at the grocery store, nor will I go to parties where pizza is being served.

If you chose B., you look back at my last paragraph and say, “Wow, I am glad I am not like those sinners over there!”  No, I am only kidding!  But seriously, you probably realize that Paul’s whole case in Romans is not some theological treatise for the seminary classroom, nor for the making of super saints!  It is for everyone, saved and unsaved alike.  It is especially for believers who understand that they will never be NOT sinning in this mortal body but thankfully Jesus paid it all, paid for every sin, past, present, and future, on the cross and in his resurrection.  You realize that you are not defined by your sin but by your identity with and in Christ.  When you realize you sin, and you realize it is an anomaly, that because you treasure His grace, you stop and say, “No more,” and you continue on reveling in the grace that super-exceeds the sin you just committed.  Then, rather than being sad over your sin, and letting sin ruin your disposition, you push it aside and focus on the grace of Christ, His ever and over-abundant love for ALL OF HIS CREATION, and go about praising Him the rest of the day!

Which kind of person are you?  Which kind of person do you want to be?  Think about it!  Send me your comments and let’s dialog about it.  Questions?  Me, too.  Let’s help one another find answers! As always,

Love in Christ,

Craig

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“New creation” Christians should never ask what Jesus would do!

No new thoughts here today from myself, but stunning truth from Martin Zender, who I am seeming to relate to more and more.  Here are some comments from him that totally resonated with me and make sense out of the Scriptures.  Martin talked about a passage from Paul’s writings, 2 Cor 5:14-17.

 

14 For the love of Christ is constraining us, judging this, that, if One died for the sake of all, consequently *all died.
15 And He died for the sake of all that *those who are living should by no means still be living to themselves, but to the One dying and being roused for their sakes.
16 So that we’, from *now on, are acquainted with not one according to flesh. Yet even if we have known Christ according to flesh, but nevertheless now we know Him so not longer.
17 So that, if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: the primitive passed by. Lo! there has become new!

We are no longer living for ourselves.  We have been made completely new and compare more to Jesus’ resurrected state than we do to the world’s state, flesh, what we used to be.  Verse 17 says the old has passed away (the primitive).  What is the old?  The old is the world’s system, the Israelite system, everything Old Testament and everything pertaining to Jesus’ instructions to the Jews that He came predominantly to instruct.  Think about it.  We are so self-absorbed.  And no, I am not talking mainly about the unsaved in this life. I am mainly talking about those who should know better, believers in Christ.  We Christians are so self-absorbed that all we seem to think about is how much we sin, how badly we sin, how much more we need to be like Christ in our actions, how much better we are than other believers, how much less we are than other believers, and on and on, gag me!  The more we talk about, as Martin puts it, “surrendering the self”, the more we find ourselves having to dig out our old creation from the grave it was buried in with Christ and propping it up, and then abusing the old man (who is dead) and trying to make that corpse understand how bad it is, how much it is not following Christ, etc.  News flash!:  the old man is dead and CANNOT do anything  for he is dead.  He doesn’t hear nor understand your constant instructions to do better!

If we are no longer supposed to live to ourselves, and we are not, vs. 15,  we are also not to know Christ any longer according to the flesh.  Craig, what do you mean?  I mean, we live to Christ, not self.  We live to Christ not in the flesh but in the Spirit.  Analyzing self all the time, like we are told to do in the traditional church today, is against what Paul said we should be doing.The pre-occupation with flesh goes back to the age-old problem the church has had.  The church believes that unless people’s sins (flesh and fleshly living in particular) are kept ever before the average church members’ eyes, they will forget how awful they are and simply do whatever they want to do and begin to think the church irrelevant.  They will leave the church for other things.  Then the church will not have money to pay for pastors’ salaries and buildings and you name it.  So, pastors must always preach sin rather than grace.  In all the churches I have been a part of, sin was always more prevalent than grace.  So, instead of Romans 5 and 6 ruling the day (especially “where sin abounds, grace does much more abound!), it is Satan’s stain of sin, Adam’s downfall casting all of mankind into sin and eventually eternal conscious torment in hell (which I don’t believe is true!), and then all the guilt we should feel about the fact that we are filthy sinners deserving of hell and torment, rather than new creations in Christ, enjoying the abundant grace that surrounds us at every moment.

Think more about it.  We say we stand condemned before God because we are sinners, and when we are saved do we feel any less condemned based on what you hear in church every Sunday?  Hell no!  Paul says in Romans 8:34 that Jesus is our condemner, yet He died for us, and He was resurrected for us, and He is pleading our case to the Father, and so, are we still condemned?  Hell no!  We are no longer acquainted with Christ in His flesh but in His Spirit and in His resurrection and we stand no longer condemned.  We are free in Christ to love Him more abundantly than ever.  It no longer is the desire of the Christian to align himself with the shoulds (i.e. I should follow the 10 commandments, I should go to church more, I should give more, etc.) but aligned with wants (I want to love God more because I am no longer under condemnation, and I want to love His creation more, and I want to show my love to others in Christ, and I want…).  Let me sum it all up this way.  No matter how much I may sin (though my desire to sin diminishes and really should not even be a concern), God’s grace is covering over that in such a greater way that it obliterates the sin and focuses my desire more and more on His grace and love rather than wrath that I will not experience!  Christian, quit analyzing your every behavior, which is self-focused, and focus on God’s abundant grace that comes in measures that would blow your mind!

Sorry for rambling on, and I hope this makes some semblance of sense (it sure does in my mind!).  But, as always, my comment box is open and I would sure love to hear what you have to say, questions, comments, etc., especially the newer ones coming to my blog.  Grace and peace to you!

In Christ’s love,

Craig

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Part 2 – What do you say when…

OK, back to the issue at hand.  Remember Romans 5:20, “Yet law came in by the way, that the offense should be increasing.  Yet where sin increases, grace superexceeds.”  In other versions, you may have read this verse to say where sin abounds, grace does much more abound, or something to that effect.  Let me now ask a series of questions for those who have been raised in the church and still defend the modern church business as it is.

1.  What was the purpose of the law?  (A. To increase sin Romans 5:20)

2.  Can we merit grace from God?  If so, what must we do to merit God’s grace?  (A. No, no answer because we cannot merit grace from God, meaning we cannot earn God’s grace by anything we do)

3.  Since we cannot earn God’s grace,  can we do something against people or God that would nullify God giving His grace?  What would that be?  (A.  No, we cannot nullify God’s grace.  Why?  Because where sin increases, and Paul does not say sin against whom, God’s grace superexceeds that sin.)

4.  Why does the modern church and its leaders continuously teach that we can sin against people or God and miss out on God’s grace, as if Romans 5:20 does not exist?

I think you are getting the point.  Here is what I think about NOW, versus what I used to think, which is that even the horrible sinners like Hitler and Stalin and others in recent history will receive God’s grace at a point in God’s history.  I even believe that the chief of sinners will receive God’s grace and will even tell us stories of how bad he was (oh, wait, that story has already been told by Paul in 1 Tim 1:15) that we would understand more fully how deep and wide and high God’s love and grace are!  Even if Paul does not tell this story, we will ALL find out one day how abundant God’s love and grace really are!

You see, the modern church is still hung up on the law rather than grace.  It is still about works and not grace.  No matter what any of them say, they all still rely on works (if they believe in an eternal conscious torment in hell) to keep them from hell and position them in heaven.  If they truly believed that sin isn’t the issue, but grace is (I believe Paul is trying to explain that we should not be focused on sin, ours, your, mine, whatever!), they wouldn’t try to scare people into heaven by thoughts of “hell.”  After all, what is scary about grace?  Nothing!  So many Christian leaders in the modern church MUST keep people scared and threaten them with eternal torment or else they wouldn’t do the things the modern church needs done (paying for buildings, pastor salaries, trips around the world, etc.).  If every Christian was hung up on grace, meaning they were given over to God’s grace and living in it, then there would be true unity in the Body of Christ and no need for all the materialism of the modern church.  We could simply get together with our neighbors next door and around the block and have grace-filled fellowship with them!  Wow, how cool would that be?

Anyway, I will close this now and save a little for the next article, possibly even finishing out my thoughts on Paul’s teaching of God’s grace .  Until then, may God’s grace be your focus and may your sin fade into the past, to the back of your mind and thoughts.  Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Craig

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What Do You Say When…

What do you say when someone quotes Romans 5:21, “Yet law came in by the way, that the offense should be increasing.  Yet, where since increases, grace superexceeds.”?  Do you truly believe what Paul wrote there?  If you say you believe it, does the belief only exist in your mind, or does it actually come out in your life actions?

My first question when I read this text years ago was this:  If grace increases when we sin, why not go out and sin a lot so we could see the grace of God in huge measure?  Under it all, I knew from my being raised in the church for a number of years, that sin was bad and there has to be something to deny this text, something to refute it.  And then I read into Romans 6 and was relieved to find the refutation for this dilemma.  In Romans 6:1-2 Paul says, “What, then, shall we declare?  that we may be persisting in sin that grace should be increasing?  May it not be coming to that!”

Have you ever had anyone ask the question from Romans 6:1?  I haven’t.  If anyone would, they would certainly be swiftly brought through the rest of the text without thinking, to stomp out the thought that we should sin that grace increase.  We would (and I have with some!) immediately scare them with the thought of what the wages of sin are (death) and that death includes eternal torment in hell forever if you don’t accept Jesus as your personal Savior and give up sinning as much as you possibly can!

But, the fact of the matter is still, where there is much sin, there is much, much, much more grace than we could imagine from God!  If I would have ever told my parents that Iwas sinning so grace could superexceed or super abound over that sin, I would have been shown what more sin really brings (pain in the backside!).  The problem for Christians is this; Romans 6:1-2 does not negate the FACT of Romans 5:21.  Does Romans 6:1-2 actually say that where sin excels, grace does not exceed it abundantly?  NO!

Since I want to split my thoughts on this topic into several posts, I will leave it to you the reader:  How do you answer these texts?  Does Romans 6 cancel Romans 5?  For Christians, should we sin for grace to abound?  Why or why not?  Does Paul go on in the succeeding texts promote legalism or grace?  Let’s talk about this over the next few posts.  I look forward to your thoughts.  There is an understanding of this text that is both biblical and stunning and I will reveal my thoughts and beliefs on these texts soon.  My view will shock the average Christian, but, I caution you to take it very slow and think before you jump to using the H-word (heretic)!  Until next time, keep the comments flowing as we dialog to find the truth.

In Christ’s love,

Craig

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Most Christians Deny the Power of God

4 I solemnly charge you before God and Christ Jesus, who is going to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom, 2 preach the word, be ready in season and out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all patience and instruction. 3 For there will be a time when they will not put up with sound teaching, but in accordance with their own desires, they will accumulate for themselves teachers, ⌊because they have an insatiable curiosity⌋, 4 and they will turn away from the hearing of the truth, but will turn to myths.  (2 Tim 4:1-4, LEB)

I have preached this text a number of times over 15 years of pastoring churches and preaching sermons.  In the beginning it was more toward those who spoke of a call to the preaching ministry (being a pastor as they call it).  I exhorted those men to always be ready to preach, never turn down an opportunity.  I also taught those same men to preach the whole counsel of God (the whole Bible, not just pet doctrines or passages) and not only the easy passages.  In these “last days”, I taught, people won’t want to hear the truth and will only follow after those they agree with.  They will even try to get rid of you as a pastor if you don’t preach what the congregation wants to hear (boy, did I verify the truth of that statement in my own ministry!!!).  The people in church, you know, the Christians, will even begin following after the likes of Joel Osteen, and Joyce Meyers, the feel good preachers of health and wealth.  The only way to combat this was to keep preaching the truth and God will change their minds when He is ready.  But, we pastors should not “go easy” on them but keep telling the Christians the hard truths, like turn from your sin and false teaching or burn in hell forever.

Well, here is my truth statement:  Most Christians deny the power of God!

Listen to what Paul says in 2 Tim 3:1-5:

3 But know this, that in the last days difficult times will come, 2 for people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, arrogant, slanderers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 hardhearted, irreconcilable, slanderous, without self-control, savage, with no interest for what is good, 4 traitors, reckless, conceited, loving pleasure rather than loving God, 5 maintaining a form of godliness, but denying its power.  (2 Tim 3:1-5, LEB)

As I have been misled and deceived by one church leader after another , this list of Paul’s truly showed me that this is an apt description of many Christians today, not just people outside the church.  As I have been thinking lately, something struck me hard, right between the eyes, as they say.  Most Christians deny the power of God.  How, you ask?  Most Christians are trying to maintain a form of godliness, following the laws laid down before them (the 10 commandments, the by-laws of the church they are members of, membership rules, any other legalistic do’s and don’t’s church leaders can come up with).  And, on the outside they look and feel like godly people.  They look good, smell good, but they still deny God’s power.  Again, how, you ask?

They deny God’s power by saying or believing that God is not able to save all mankind (all people who have ever lived, past, present, and future).  They say that God is loving yet most of mankind will be consigned to an “eternal hell!”  They say that God is omnipotent (all-powerful) yet He can’t stop people from going to an “eternal hell,” forever separated from God and His loving presence.  My God is capable of saving all mankind and in fact will save all mankind because His Word says so.  Take a look at 1 Tim 4:10 for yourself (10 For to this end we labor and suffer reproach, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of believers.)  This is one of many verses supporting my claim, that God will save all His creation, including all His people, you know, His image-bearers.  Your challenge today, is to comment and ask me to supply you with further evidence of my claim.  Should you  accept my challenge, you may come to an understanding that the reason my theology changed was due to overwhelming evidence contrary to what I had been taught for so many years.

Let me know your thoughts on this statement and the supporting verses!

God’s blessings to you and His peace to you as well!

Craig

 

 

 

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Filed under "All" Passages, God's Love, Grace, Hell, truth, Understanding the Bible, Universal salvation

If Evil Were Eternal God Would Be An Inexcusable Monster

I have been reading a series by Martin Zender on Romans 5 that I have found very interesting.  In this series, I have picked up little nuggets of truth that I have not heard before and they blow my mind (I know, small explosion, but still!).  I read the most recent article and wanted to comment on something he said that struck me hard.

“If evil were eternal, then its entry into the universe via God’s hand – Isaiah 45:7 – would be inexcusable.”

[My insert for the benefit of the reader] (Isa 45:7) Forming light, and preparing darkness, Making peace, and preparing evil, I am Jehovah, doing all these things.’ YLT – Young’s Literal Translation

“But evil is not eternal, it’s temporary.  The eternality of evil is the worst teaching imaginable…Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:26 that, “the last enemy is being abolished, death.”…If death is the last enemy abolished, then every other enemy – every other evil – will have gone before.  This is pure logic.  God created evil to do its nasty but necessary work of revealing all things good.  When all things goodare finally and fully bloomed, God dismantles forever the scaffolding – evil – used to produce them. 1 Corinthians 15:26 proves it.  Christianity knows nothing of this joy. They love evil too much.  The prospect of evil being forever abolished makes them sad.  They want their enemies to be eternally tormented.  They want to watch.”

Zender goes on and gives an example saying, “God’s use of evil can be likened to a human using fire to purify gold.  When the gold is purified, the fire is abolished.”  In other words, the fire (hell, evil) has a purpose.  If it had no purpose other than for retribution, it would deny its being formed and the form-er, God, the creator of all things, would be nothing more than a monster, a maniac, a murderer, a being worse than any terrorist walking the earth today.

Thankfully, the Bible denies that God is anything but a loving Creator with a purpose that defies our own logic and reason.  Paul explains that we see through a dim glass, an opaque glass, that only yields, at best, shadows of great things to come.  What greater thing than the salvation of all people could there be that is yet to come?  Friend, do you still want to cling to your traditional, anemic view of God that has Him saving less people than Satan brings destruction upon?  Is Satan greater than Jesus?  Did Jesus ‘ coming into this world truly lead to the destruction of death through His own death on the cross?  Was this good news of great joy for all people really so-so news for some people?

No, and thankfully no my friend.  Jesus defeated death and now we have nothing left to fear.  All people are in Christ, or will be in Christ, and because of Jesus’ own words, about saving all mankind in John’s writings especially, we can truly celebrate His birth as GOOD NEWS OF GREAT JOY WHICH WILL BE FOR ALL THE PEOPLE!  Blessings to you all on the Christmas eve.  Let me know what you think about Zender’s comments.  I agree with him, maybe you don’t  If not let us dialog lovingly about it.  Until then, be at peace in the joy of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Craig

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Filed under God's Love, Grace, Hell, truth, Universal salvation