Category Archives: truth

A Major Problem With Believers in Reformed Theology

I was brought up as an adult in a Southern Baptist Church that was basically Arminian in belief.  In other words, the altar call was the usual weekly place where people would go during a church service to “give their hearts to the Lord.”  It was where they chose Christ as Savior and Lord.  Then as years went by, I slowly transitioned to the doctrines of grace, or Calvinism.  As I studied more and more, I began moving into New Covenant Theology which I believed was more accurate than the first two.  Since then I have obviously moved to becoming a believer in universal salvation, understanding this to be, in my mind, the closest and best understanding of God’s nature as He has revealed Himself to be.

During my years as a Calvinist, I read much and did what I could to understand the arguments and explanations of that belief system so I could argue or “apologize” for the system.  I wrote classes for my church.  I wrote papers and blog articles.  I bought many books on traditional reformed theology and Baptist reformed theology, Southern Baptist and Reformed Baptist.  During this time I also graduated from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) in Louisville, KY.  One thing I began to notice as time went by, time spent in the “reformed” or “Calvinist” camp, was how lacking in care for others was so prevalent.  Sure, the talk was about loving people, but it sure wasn’t shown when an Arminian walked in the door!  To be fair, many of the Calvinist church people I was around were loving to me and my family.  I found out they lied and cheated just like Arminians did.  I found out (and even fostered) that there was a largely antagonistic tone during almost all talks with those who opposed Calvinism.  The conversation would start out OK, but given enough time, it would typically devolve into a shouting match, with both sides anathematizing each other,and then going back to their churches regaling the victory!  Success wasn’t measured in loving others, but in how many times they stumped their opposition!  Having more answers than their detractors seemed to be the victory many Calvinists I was around were seeking.  How unfortunate, I was like them, too!  My demeanor changed from loving people to loving to be right.  The antidote?  A fuller understanding of God’s grace as espoused by Christian/Evangelical Universalism.

I am slowly evolving, moving away from what I used to be to what God has created me in His image to be; a lover of Him and others.  I admit it is hard to cast off the old ways and I understand what Paul suffered through, so entrenched in a philosophy that IT IS your identity!  But that brings me to the point of this article.

I recently read a couple tweets regarding Calvinism from a Calvinist.  This person wrote two tweets saying basically that people who come to embrace Reformed theology need to stay off social media with their beliefs until they have at least two years of delving into the belief system to ensure they are well grounded in that system and in a local church as well.  This, the person states, will help guard against being puffed up in that faith system.  Apparently this person sees a problem in reformed circles with this attitude.  I concur.  I have seen it first hand, since I was one of the people this person warns against.  I didn’t listen.  I was excited about these “new” beliefs.  I had to tell everyone what the Bible “really” said, so they to could understand it.  I was obnoxious, unbearable, unloving, and worse (if that’s possible!).

I remember distinctly trying to figure out how some theologians arrived at their conclusions on scripture texts, when I didn’t see it no matter which way I looked at the texts.  I found myself saying an awful  lot of “what Jesus really means is/what Paul really means is, what God really said is….  Why?  because my new belief system (reformed/Calvinist theology didn’t come together as easily as I had been led to believe.

One comment I want to make before I forget it is this.  If your belief system causes you to make statements like I just mentioned in the previous paragraph, I think you need to take a serious look at your system.  If plain readings of the text (of course in the NT context, not our 21st century context, first off) don’t make some sense, common sense, and you need to give strained explanations of the text, especially by having to re-define words, your system may not be as coherent as you think.  If God’s love is not at the center of all that takes place, biblically speaking, then I suggest you have a wrong understanding of the texts.  Do bad things happen in the bible?  Yes.  But, if there is no purpose to it and a purpose you assign to it does not lead to God’s ultimate good for all of His creation, then I suggest again that your system needs to be re-done or chucked out the window.

Rather than go off on a lot of different tangents right now, let me just say this again.  When I read of people saying things like this person mentioned, not being out in public explaining or reasoning the belief system of reformed theology for years because there is too many un-Christian attitudes and beliefs being espoused / lived-out, that is a HUGE RED FLAG to me that something is wrong.  If a system says, God chose you, you didn’t choose Him (which BTW I believe) and people in that system project the attitude “I got mine, maybe you’ll get yours (maybe not, it’s all up to God anyway and who can know who the saved are going to be!), I am better than you” there is a huge problem.  If that same system goes further and says that God created all things, said they were good, then decides not to choose some of that creation to be reconciled to Himself, saved, and restored, then there is a huge problem with your system.  I could go on, but I think I have made my point.  They will know we are Christians by our love for each other (all humanity).  They will know we are following God when they see that love for each other.  If your system says it is like that or believes that, but it doesn’t work out that way most oftentimes, then there is a HUGE problem with your belief system.

I need to move on with my day so my thoughts need to stop for now.  As always, comments are appreciated and will be responded to the best I can.  I appreciate all my regular readers from all over the world (all continents except Antarctica, so far!) and hope that as you read here, you will grow in faith and hope in the living God and that you will continue to love others as God also loves you!

Blessings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Craig

 

 

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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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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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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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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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If Hell Is Eternal Separation From God, Then…

God cannot be omnipresent.  The modern church believes that God is everywhere and there is no place where God is not.  David supported this teaching when he said,

“(Psa 139:7) Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?

(Psa 139:8) If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!”

(NOTE:  The whole chapter is worthy of your time and meditation!)

Yet, the modern church also believes that eternal conscious torment in hell is away from God’s presence.  They say, as I did for many years, that hell is eternal separation from God.  How can this be?  This is an oxymoron.  The term oxymoron is an oxymoron (composed of two words meaning sharp and dull, implied that one thing is both sharp and dull at the same time).  So, my question to the modern church is this; how can God be omnipresent yet be eternally separate from hell?  Is there anything God created outside His presence and control?  If you wrestle with these things let me  assure you that God is not a liar, nor is there anything He created outside His presence nor is the modern concept of hell as eternal separation from God true.  It is false and that itself should give you hope, and the knowledge that God is not  a monster but a lover of His creation who only has the best in store for it (them).

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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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My new most favorite Bible passage – Rom 5:15-19

Here is the way it is, and I can unequivocally state it cannot be any other.  Either ALL inherit death and sin through Adam, or MANY don’t.  There is no other way it can be.  And if you come to me and say it can be some third way you are a liar and the truth is not in you!  How can I be SO dogmatic (and offensive to some people by this statement) about this topic?  I can because Paul makes some extremely clear statements in my new favorite Bible passages, Romans 5:15-19.  Here are those verses for you in several different translations:

 

“much rather the grace of God and the gratuity in grace, which is of the One Man, Jesus Christ, to the many superabounds.”

(Rom 5:16) And not as through one act of sinning is the gratuity. For, indeed, the judgment is out of one into condemnation, yet the grace is out of many offenses into a just award.”

(Rom 5:17) For if, by the offense of the one, death reigns through the one, much rather, those obtaining the superabundance of grace and the gratuity of righteousness shall be reigning in life through the One, Jesus Christ.”

(Rom 5:18) Consequently, then, as it was through one offense for all mankind for condemnation, thus also it is through one just award for all mankind for life’s justifying.”

(Rom 5:19) For even as, through the disobedience of the one man, the many were constituted sinners, thus also, through the obedience of the One, the many shall be constituted just.”   (THE Concordant Literal Version, CLV)”

 

“(Rom 5:15) [But the gift is not like the trespass], for if by the trespass of the one, the many died, by much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, multiply to the many.

(Rom 5:16) And the gift is not as through the one who sinned, for on the one hand, judgment from the one sin led to condemnation, but the gift, from many trespasses, led to justification.

(Rom 5:17) For if by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through the one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one, Jesus Christ.

(Rom 5:18) Consequently therefore, as through one trespass came condemnation to all people, so also through one righteous deed came justification of life to all people.

(Rom 5:19) For just as through the disobedience of the one man, the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one, the many will be made righteous.”   The Lexham English Bible, LEB

 

 

“(Rom 5:15) But, not as the offence so also is the free gift; for if by the offence of the one the many did die, much more did the grace of God, and the free gift in grace of the one man Jesus Christ, abound to the many;

(Rom 5:16) and not as through one who did sin is the free gift, for the judgment indeed is of one to condemnation, but the gift is of many offences to a declaration of `Righteous,’

(Rom 5:17) for if by the offence of the one the death did reign through the one, much more those, who the abundance of the grace and of the free gift of the righteousness are receiving, in life shall reign through the one–Jesus Christ.

(Rom 5:18) So, then, as through one offence to all men it is to condemnation, so also through one declaration of `Righteous’ it is to all men to justification of life;

(Rom 5:19) for as through the disobedience of the one man, the many were constituted sinners: so also through the obedience of the one, shall the many be constituted righteous.”  Young’s Literal Translation, YLT

AND LASTLY,

 

(Rom 5:15) But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.

(Rom 5:16) And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification.

(Rom 5:17) For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

(Rom 5:18) Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.

(Rom 5:19) For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.  English Standard Version, ESV

 

Here then is my dogmatism, just as Paul writes, substantiated.  In verse 18 we read that because of the one man Adam, condemnation came to ALL men.  So, either Paul is speaking the truth or Paul is a liar and worthy of an awful death for deceiving so many for thousands of years!  But, going even further with the strength of Paul’s beliefs about sin and death versus salvation (reconciliation, restoration, etc. ), Paul adds the statement in verse 19 that through the one man Adam many were made sinners, yet through the one man, Jesus, many will be made righteous.

Now, immediately most average church-going, bible-believing Christians will point out that in verse 19 Paul states”many” and “many.” They will say that “all” cannot mean “many!” Well, evidently it can  because Paul states it to be so and I stand dogmatically firm with him in what he says.  But, I am curious.  Why does that same average Christian ignore verse 18?  Paul there says the exact same thing as he does in verse 19, does he not?  Absolutely he does!  And, this is why I am so fascinated with this portion of Scripture.  When you read the words Paul writes here and really let them sink in, they are truly joyous words!  You cannot believe what Paul says in all of his writings unless you also believe that Paul was a universalist, meaning, he believed in the salvation of all mankind!  Hint for you skeptics:  you either honestly believe what Paul writes (and therefore must become a believer in the salvation of all mankind, Christian universalism, if you will, willing to give up your currently held beliefs) or you believe he is a liar and you yourself are at best a hypocrite (believing one thing but advocating something opposite) and at worst a liar of the worst kind (saying you believe in Christ but willingly lying about what He taught and the Spirit led Paul to write).

My exhortation to you, dear reader, is this:  Toss off the restraint of what really boils down to being a belief in legalism and embrace the Good News that was of great joy to all the people.  Believe today that God’s grace and mercy super abounds over any sin and error we could commit.  Isn’t it a true blessing to know that God truly is victorious over sin and death by covering our frailties and sins with His abundant grace?  To me it surely is and I hope one day it will be for you too!  Do your long held beliefs restrain you from this grace of God or will you change your understanding of God and believe He cannot be the loser over His creation?  I love you, dear reader, with the love that comes from knowing my Sovereign and Loving God will redeem ALL of His creatures and creation will be restored to what He originally created it to be!  Will you rejoice with me and praise our God or will you try to keep God small and boxed in by your thoughts of who He is?  Join me in praising the Almighty by letting your mind be blown away by His vast love for everything He created, especially YOU, the express image-bearer of God!

 

Love in Christ to you!

Craig

 

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We Are Not Born Sinners, But Rather Mortal

I was reading some teachings on Romans 5 recently and these few statements I will share jumped out at me and I wanted to get your thoughts.  Here is the first:

 

“We are not born sinners, but rather mortal.”

 

This statement does not intimate that mankind does not sin, but merely that Adam was born sinless, sinned, and brought with his sin, death upon the rest of mankind. In other words, his sin wrought mortality on all the rest of mankind.  It is not sin that is passed on but death (mortality) through Adam to us.

 

“If death is temporary (and it is), then so is sin.  So, if God eliminates death, sin automatically disappears.”

 

God eliminated death by raising Christ from the dead.  I would really love to hear your thoughts on these teachings I read by Martin Zender in his recent ZWTF Volume 3, Issue 43.  It sounds OK to me, but I value the thoughts (counsel) of multiple believers to keep things on track.  Let me know what you believe and why.  Blessings to you!

 

Craig

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Filed under Mercy, truth, Understanding the Bible, Universal salvation