Before time began Grace was in the wings, such is the Love of God that there was preparation for a wrong choice. God was prepared for the entrance of sin into this good world and redemption was in the wings. This is a continuation of our mini series in the book of Origins (Genesis) about our Dignity, Identity & Purpose.
So I set about today to tell a complex story in a simple fashion my hope being, that in this simple telling the truth be told. Now there will be some who will plead that this story is done a disservice by a simple telling, and then it must told by those trained in the language of the scholar. You be the judge I have always believed that the longer it takes to tell a story, the more we should view it with suspicion.
Once upon a time in a land far away there lived a Great Sovereign Father of All.There was absolutely nothing this Sovereign Father did not have control over in His Kingdom, whether evil or good. He was complete within Himself and nothing to be added to Him or taken away from Him.
Now this Father’s kingdom was populated by TOTALLY BLIND people, who were BLIND through no fault of their own, but that The Great Sovereign Father’s will and plan could be demonstrated.Although this Great Sovereign Father could give sight to all His subjects, He chose to show His Mercy and Love to only a Few. Because all were born Blind due to a family defect, He was under no obligation to give sight to anyone. But so that He might show His Sovereign rights as Creator Father, He chose a few leaving the rest with no recourse not even to question Him.
Further more in order show that no one effects His ways and plans, He made His choice of who would receive sight before any of His blind subjects where ever born. It did not matter if they where bad or Good for this Sovereign Father is no Santa Claus, but the unquestioned Sovereign all glory to His Name.The choice He made was UNCONDITIONAL in its application and IRRESISTIBLE in its unmerited grace, for those He chose for reasons beyond mortal knowing.
Because of the Family default in His subjects This Sovereign Father had to act in Time and Space, in order to Give sight to the LIMITED group He had PREDESTINED to see. Because of this Sovereign Fathers Faithfulness none he had chosen could ever loss their sight or be separated from His Sovereign love but will be PRESERVED to the end.
To show His justice and sovereignty over all thing in His kingdom, those who remained blind would be eternally punished for the rejection of sight they where not predestined to receive. No need to complain or question for nothing in the end is in your hands for all was determined in the FOREKNOWLEDGE of this Sovereign Father.
This Story has been told for 500 years as gospel but that alone doesn’t make it so, some stories are better told simply for truth’s sake.
A local Pastor asked a question on his face book page, if there is no hell then what are we saved from? The first thing I have to say is that the question itself assumes Hell is mankind’s destiny unless saved. Rather than seeing Hell at least the one made for the devil and his angels as a destiny for a very few wicked beings. Some mix the Augustinian view of Original Sin with a little Calvinism, Arminianism, Dante and that’s how Jesus saves you from the Hell we are all destined for.
The reason why this Pastor has this assumption has nothing to do with what Jesus or Paul taught, but rather what the Doctrines of Men teach. Jesus tells us why he came, “to seek and save that which is lost” not bound for Hell. Further He teaches in
Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, 19 and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.
Not to save us from Hell but to save us from the effects of the fall on Mankind and the Creation. Hell is for a very few and those that find themselves there walk in with eyes wide open, and a life committed to Evil. This kind of Hell focus though is a distraction away from the true reason for the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Or as Rob Bell calls it a “Goat Gospel” as he says “The Good News is much bigger than that.
Jesus saves us from sin and death, He saves us for a Future time and a Future world. His saving work is not even about Heaven but as my Catholic friends would say “worlds without end amen.” Jesus Christ paid the price for all who have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, which is everyone.No where that I am aware of does Jesus say I have come to save you from Hell, but rather I have come that you may have Life.You see Jesus has come to save us and the creation from the rule of Satan, whose future is Hell.
All will stand before The God who is love, justice and full of Mercy. God alone shall judge the quick and the dead, because Jesus Christ has saved us all from the Power of Death and the Grave (Hell).Jesus does not save us from Hell or from God, but rather from the Power of Sin, Death and the Grave.
“I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” ( Revelations 1:18 )
It is God who sent The Word in order to save the World He loved, to all who will believe. The when, where and how of that faith in Jesus, is to be determined by God and not some narrow man-made doctrines.
Jesus; John teaches is the price paid to ransom us from sin and death and not us alone but the whole world. 1 John 2:2Jesus as the Last Adam is now the head of all mankind as Adam was before Christ’s death and resurrection.God created Hell as an abode for the wicked, not your next store neighbor who happens not to believe in your version and interpretation of scattered verses.
Jesus did not come save us from Hell unless you mean the Grave, because scripture doesn’t teach I was born destined for the Devils Hell. It’s Men that teach that and they I believe are dead wrong, and have brought a lot of Hell where it doesn’t belong. I am quite sure however they are as forgiven and covered by the blood of Lamb as we all are.
Romans 5:18 Therefore, as through one man’s (Adam’s) offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s (Jesus’) righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.
2 Kings 14:6, But the children of the murderers he slew not: according unto that which is written in the book of the law of Moses, wherein the LORD commanded, saying, The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, nor the children be put to death for the fathers; but every man shall be put to death for his own sin.“
I was reading the Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda, a very interesting book about some of the great sages of India. My belief has always been that if you want to learn about another culture and its faith, then you should read books written by people born into that culture. In the very beginning of this book Yogananda is reflecting upon the first great sage that influenced his life and in describing this sage he uses the word Christlike. “My own path led me to a Christlike sage whose beautiful life was chiseled for the ages”
Interesting that this man would choose a non-Indian Spiritual Teacher to describe an Indian Holy Man, I find this very interesting indeed. You must remember that India was just freeing itself from many years of being a colony of The British Crown, a “christian nation.” Yet Yogananda does not call this sage (Lahiri Mahasaya) a christian like sage but rather a Christlike sage.
Christlike is a word that stands apart and has not be tainted like christian has, Christlike speaks of Love, Patience, Wisdom, Forgiveness, Mercy and Very Deep Spirituality. It has a transcendent quality that speaks of heaven and the angels, of a connection with God the Father beyond the bounds of time and matter. Christlike is the perfect word to describe someone who lives in two worlds, heaven and earth seamlessly and seeks to unite them. Christlike is a word that has stood the passage of time even as christian has lost its original meaning of being Christlike.
Jesus was the most Christlike person who ever walked the earth, more than that he was sent from God to show what the future of Humanity through Him will look like some day. We are told in the holy book of Hebrews that Jesus (The Christ) was only first of many divine son’s and daughters of The Living God. What if the whole world secretly desired to be Christlike and live in a Christlike world? Then indeed The Kingdom of God would have come among us and Christ would be king among christs.* *(see 1 John 3:2-3)
Funny it takes someone from a foreign land a “non-christian” to remind us what being christian is all about, it’s about Being Christlike.Maybe its time to drop the word christian and all its baggage, and fully embrace the word that says it all “Christlike.”
I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ. Mohandas Gandhi
Most conflicts over God whether they be Nations, Churches, or Individuals come down to the god of our UNDERSTANDING. How many disputes come down to a dispute over your Understanding of god, the God mind you who says quite clearly is Beyond Understanding.
un·der·stand·ing Noun: a mental process of a person who comprehends; comprehension; personal interpretation: My understanding of the word does not agree with yours.* *(see Webster)
I understand the desire to learn about God I have a great passion for study, and rare is the day you do not see a new book in my kindle or on my coffee table. What I am talking about is how we take what we have learned, god as we Understand god to be. Then make it something to be defended and debated, or worse the basis for judgment of others who have a different God of their Understanding.
In the time of Christ every city had at least one Temple to The god of Their Understanding. They had much invested in these gods of their Understanding and spared no experience to show their devotion.
What I believe made Jesus Christ and His disciples unique is that they shared The God of Their Experience, and brought that experience with God’s presence and words where ever they went. They literally challenged the gods of people’s Understanding not with a competing a Temple and Priesthood, but rather a movement based in Spirit.* *(see Book of Acts)
A very wise Pastor* *(see Bob) once told me that a man’s spirit always desires that which is higher spiritually, that spirit always takes you higher and deeper. So these people who merely had a god or gods of their Understanding where spiritually starving to death. The One True God looked upon this with understanding and mercy,* *(see Romans 2) also seeing that His Temple and Priests did no better with the god of their Understanding.* *(see Acts 15)
Ok so lets fast forward to the state of this movement of the Spirit of God today, and what do we see? We see a Church divided not by how much we love and care, but rather divisions over the dod of our UNDERSTANDING, UNDERSTANDING has become our god, little g intended.
So in an age where information can’t be controlled and the capacity to understand is available to more and more people.* *(see Google et all) In fact this age has made all mere Understandings of god equal players on the field of the mind, and followers of Jesus just another debate team.
Drive around any town in America and you see Temples again built for the god of their Understanding. I will add though that this is far superior to many places around the world where only one god of Understanding is allowed. * *(see Saudi Arabia et all)
We must move beyond the god of our Understanding if we are going to move beyond the place where Rome was, before it was conquered Spiritually by The God of Jesus , where the experience of Love ruled and God was known Beyond mere Understanding.
We are starving, I am starving, and the god of our UNDERSTANDING will no longer do. The next move of the One True God’s Spirit must and has to be BEYOND Mere UNDERSTANDING!