Tag 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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“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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Did You Choose To Be In Adam?

One question I remember being asked many years ago when I was a pastor was this:  If I didn’t choose to be in Adam, why am I guilty of his sin?  Well, most of that question is valid.  Let me dispel the false part of that question.  I know this goes against everything I was taught in seminary and the local church business I was brought up in, but here goes.  No one but Adam is guilty of his sin!  Now, I know that makes perfect sense to the majority of people because it is only reasonable.  We don’t punish one of our children for the sins of the other, do we?  No, we don’t!  Most Christians would agree that throughout the Old Testament (most all of it, especially from Moses forward) the Law spelled out an eye for an eye, justice and restitution.  No more, no less.  You steal a lamb, you give up a lamb and possibly some interest, money lost because they couldn’t use that lamb that was stolen.  But, it wasn’t, “You stole my lamb, now you die.”  Certainly, though I am not spelling out every law here, but the law would never indict an innocent for the sins of another.  That would not be fair.

So, what about the rest of the question?Am I indeed in Adam?  Or, if I am not guilty of Adam’s sin, what am I guilty of?  What is it I inherit from Adam?  Well, first off, the first and last question just posed are answered the same way.  Yes we are “in Adam,” meaning we inherit something from him because we are human like him.  What we did inherit is death.  If you are born into this life you will surely, one day, die.  Adam’s sin was Adam’s sin and he was expelled from the Garden, promised he would work the ground with his hands until he died, and lost immortality after his sin.  We believe that if Adam hadn’t sinned he would still be alive today, in the physical sense. Though we are not told specifically that people would have immortality if there was no original sin, we do know that death was specifically given because of that first sin.  It is possible that God never planned or made people immortal from the beginning, at least as we are told from the record of the beginning, Genesis.

So why is this a deep and important subject?  For this reason, among others; if we never chose to be in Adam, then we also never choose to be in Christ!  WHA-A-A-T?!  Human free will has nothing to do with either situation, meaning we have no choice whether to be born and die, nor do we have any choice whether we will have immortality (typically assumed to be from belief in Christ, a free choice or a choice of God for only an elect few).  To keep this short and on point, without straying any further than I should, Adam sinned and everyone after him inherited death.  Likewise, Christ died and paid sin’s penalty and everyone will inherit immortality (life with God).  1 Corinthians 15:22 says, “As in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.”  You have to twist the clear meaning of the Greek text to get anything but this!  The parallelism in this verse is exactly the same as that we find in Romans 5, my new favorite passages in the New Testament (Bible).  Why else would Paul compare Adam and Jesus?  One brought death to humanity, ALL HUMANITY, and the other brought life to humanity, ALL HUMANITY!  Period, exclamation point.

Dwell richly in these thoughts my friends and see if the joy of Jesus’ birth isn’t magnified in your mind and life!  God bless you!

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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Is God’s True End For Sinners Punishment?

Here is a thought for those of you who continue to believe in eternal conscious torment for sinners.  Is punishment the goal of God for the sinner?  Is punishment, mainly meaning eternal punishment, the true end of the wicked (sinners)?  Paul called himself the chief of sinners.  He reveled in persecuting Christians, those of “the Way,” and sought them out at every opportunity.  He killed Christians and saw that they were killed.  And so, I could go on about what a great Pharisee Paul was and how he was respected by so many Jews.  But, my point is this:  when Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus, did God punish Paul for his sins against God’s people, the people of “the Way?”

God did not merely punish Paul for his sins against Christians.  He didn’t merely keep Paul from persecuting Christians and send him on his way.  He didn’t miraculously wipe out Paul’s memory and make him something wholly different with no recollection of what he used to be.  No, God did much more than that.  God took the heart of stone out of Paul and put in a heart of flesh, so transforming Paul that Paul became the so-called model for Christians on how to emulate Christ!

Yes, God will go beyond mere punishment of the unrepentant sinner and love them to the point of making them His friend.  Abe Lincoln is said to have made this statement:  “The best way to destroy an enemy is to make them your friend.”  Is this not the mark of a God of super-abundant grace?  Does this not show the wisdom of God versus the folly of man?  Man is fixated on punishment and retribution.  God is focused on loving sinners and making them friends, rather than allowing them  to remain enemies.  This is the real God of the Bible.  Is this the God you love and serve or is your God not powerful enough to make friends out of enemies?

Craig

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