"And how is He Savior and Lord if not the Savior and Lord or all?
But He is the Savior of those who have believed, because of their wishing to know. And the Lord of those who have not believed, til, being enabled to confess Him."
Clement of Alexandria
"Life is not a test,
so God can discover what we would do.
Life is a test, so we would discover what God does do."
"God forbid that I should limit the time of acquiring faith to the present life.
In the depth of the Divine mercy there may be opportunity to win it in the future."
(Translated from a German - Martin Luther's letter to Hanseu Von Rechenberg, 1522)
"It's not about us inviting Jesus into our hearts.
It's about us coming to see that He's already included us in His."
After Fred Rogers died his wife found a piece of paper in his billfold with the following note:
"I never met a person
I couldn't love if I
heard their story."
Just think, who knows our stories better
than our omnipotent Creator?
Do You Know What The Word
(Read about it further down page)
"How many threads in a tapestry
are there by chance?"
The modern 'Gospel' presents a good opportunity.
Good for some, horrible for all others.
THAT'S NOT GOOD NEWS.
In fact, the bad news for most is such bad news, it taints the good news for the others.
Knowing your neighbors, friends and loved ones are burning in hell forever is such a horrible idea - how can we pretend that our lives in the new kingdom with our merciful God would not be contaminated and spoiled by this nightmarish reflection?
(If you've been taught that God's Justice and Holiness are the reason many will be eternally punished -
Our forgiveness is a gracious gift from God. It was 100% accomplished on the cross 2000 years ago by Jesus's amazing sacrifice.
1) If a man denies that he was created by God - Was he still created by God?
2) If a man denies that he is a sinner because of Adam's original sin - Is he still a sinner?
3) If someone does not acknowlege the second Adam, Jesus, and His finished work on the cross - Is that person denied the salvation which was successfully purchased for them?
"He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for the sins of the whole world." 1 John 2:2 (see many other verses here)
Jesus atoning sacrifice is for ALL - even if someone doesn't acknowlege
or understand what God has done for them -
He doesn't toss them into outer darkness for not seeing it.
Belief and repentance doesn't trigger God's mercy.
Our faith initiates our enjoyment of that fact!
The Grandest Exercise of Justice
John 3:16, 17
This seems to be the way the early church understood this portion of John's Gospel before the Latin Vulgate and 4th century transliteration, especially when read in context of Paul’s writings, Young's Literal Version and the Concordant Literal Versions of the New Testament.
"For God so loved the world
He gave His only Son
and those who are not perishing
are enjoying life in this age.
And He sent His Son not to judge the world
but to save the world."
"Afflictions are but the shadows of God's wings." George MacDonald
Am I a heretic?
If believing that God is all powerful,
wiser than His creation
and perfectly willing and capable
of saving all of His children -
If this makes me a heretic,
sign me up.
What's the difference?
The traditionalists and the Christian Universalists both believe in the resurrection of everyone. (Acts 24:15)
The traditionalists believe some will experience eternal life with God while all others will be kept alive forever in order to linger in an everlasting torment commended by their creator.
The Christian Universalist believes that God will judge, condemn, restore, and display His endless mercy. The transformation created in the hearts and minds of every individual will set the stage for Philipians 2:10, 11: Every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord.
Who Was Origen?
Origen of Alexandria (185-254 C.E.) was perhaps the most respected, loving and gentle of all the early Patristic fathers. He was active during a period of great intellectual confusion among Christians, when Gnosticism was the dominant intellectual force, and nascent orthodoxy was struggling to find a voice.
Origen held a firm conviction that not a single rational being will be lost to the darkness of ignorance and sin. Even the most recalcitrant sinner, he argued, will eventually attain salvation.
The fire of punishment is not an instrument of eternal torment, but of divine instruction and correction. Since the soul is essentially rational, it will eventually be convinced of the truth of the divine pedagogy.
The word used to describe this universal salvation was apokatastasis, "restoration of all things."
When you ascended on high, you led captives in your train; you received gifts from men, even from the rebellious--that you, O LORD God, might dwell there. NIV
When you ascended to the heights, you led a crowd of captives. You received gifts from the people, even from those who rebelled against you. Now the LORD God will live among us there. NLT
You ascended on high, leading a host of captives in your train and receiving gifts among men, even among the rebellious, that the LORD God may dwell there. ESV
Did Jesus Preach To The Dead?
These passages seem to make it clear that He did.
But, why preach to the dead in Hades (Sheol)?
Certainly it was not to taunt them.
"Because The Messiah also died once for the sake of our sins, The Righteous One in the place of sinners, to bring you to God, and he died in body and lived in his Spirit. And he preached to those souls who were held in Sheol, These who from the first were not convinced in the days of Noah when the long-suffering of God commanded that there would be an ark, upon the hope of their repentance*, and only eight souls entered it and were kept alive by water." 1 Peter 3:18-20
"Those who give an account to God, who is going to judge the dead and living. For because of this, The Good News was proclaimed also to the dead that they would be judged as children of men in the flesh and they would live in God by The Spirit." 1 Peter 4:5,6
Reading John 3:17 it seems clear that Jesus was declaring His victory and welcoming the dead to forgiveness and life.
"Error in premise equals error in conclusion."
E.W. Bullinger on the study of Scripture
Most atheists are right!
A poll showed that most atheists reject "God" because they can't buy the idea that God only loves those who love Him.
"Why would God only love me IF I love him?
That's not love. That's bribery."
Atheists that feel that way are absolutely correct.
Unfortunately most people are taught that God's mercy and love are triggered ONLY for those who believe or have faith.
Our faith brings us something valuable and important, but it's not God's mercy. His salvation is relentless and it comes first. Our belief is the result of seeing His unconditional love. It's not the trigger that releases God's mercy.
Pilot Burned Alive!
Yet . . .
On February 3, 2015 the major TV news media of the United States depicted, with graphic commentary, one of the most horrific scenes I have ever witnessed. A captured Jordanian pilot was placed in a locked cage, soaked with fuel oil and burned to death by Islamic (ISIS) terrorists.
This unimaginable atrocity comes on the heels of other despicable and barbaric acts by the so-called Islamic State. So great was the shock and outrage, many stunned world leaders called for a conference to coordinate an appropriate response and united condemnation of the perpetrators.
Virtually all civilized peoples of the world are appalled that such
senseless cruelty could be executed upon a human being in the
name of a religion that claims to believe in the God of Abraham
and Jesus; especially now at the dawn of the twenty-first century.
But, of course, we should not be surprised at such fiendish treatment.
After all, the executors had been taught by their religious leaders that
enemies and/ or unbelievers are worthy of the worst forms of suffering and death.
Though it pains me to do so, I am compelled at this time to
call attention to the fact that many followers
of the gentle Christ have also
been taught to believe their God
is fully capable and intent on treating
even worse than ISIS treats its enemies.
They have been indoctrinated to believe that the God of Love will ultimately consign all those who fail to love him back to a caged-up so-called hell of eternal fire; refusing even to let them die so as to prolong their agony. (I feel a sense of revulsion even as I type this!) But how will we ever convince others to abandon their medieval sense of justice when, in fact, we teach that our God also sanctions excruciating punishment even worse than their own god?
So with a heavy heart for that poor martyred Jordanian pilot,
I am sincerely appealing to
all leaders of the Christian church and to all God-seekers everywhere
to pause and reconsider this horrible non-scriptural doctrine of eternal conscious
torture in a fiery place called hell.
It is, at once, a repugnant slander against the righteous character of the God of Love; not to mention, a gross violation of the spirit and words of Christ, who said of himself, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (Jn 3:17).
~ Ivan A. Rogers" from "Grace Nuggets Uncovered" by Ivan A. Rogers
The notion that a Creature born imperfect, nay, born with impulses to evil not of his own generating, and which he could not help having, a creature to whom the true face of God was never presented, and by whom it never could have been seen, should be thus condemned, is as loathsome a lie against God as could find place in a heart too undeveloped to understand what justice is.
George MacDonald (1824-1905)
Unspoken Sermons: Third Series, page 31 (1889)
ALL Things Really Work Together
(by John Newton - Author of "Amazing Grace")
“We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
My dear friend,
Certainly, if my ability was equal to my inclination – I would remove your tumor with a word or a touch – I would exempt you instantly and constantly from every inconvenience and pain!
But you are in the hands of One who could do all this and more, and who loves you infinitely better than I can do – and yet He is pleased to permit you to suffer.
What is the plain lesson? Certainly, that at the present juncture, He, to Whom all events and their consequences are present in one view – sees it better for you to have this tumor than to be without it. There is a cause, a need-be for it.
The promise is express, and literally true – that “all things,” universally and without exception, shall work together for good … The smallest as well as the greatest events have their place and use – like the movement of a watch, where, though some pieces have a greater comparative importance than others – yet the smallest pieces have their place and use, and are so far equally important, that the whole design of the machine would be obstructed for lack of them.
Some workings and turns of Divine Providence have a
more visible, sensible, and determining influence upon
the whole tenor of our lives, but the more ordinary
occurrences of every day are adjusted, timed and suited
with equal accuracy – by the hand of the same great Artist
who planned and executes the whole.
We are sometimes surprised to see how much more depends
and turns upon these minor events, than we were aware of.
Then we admire His skill, and say, “He does all things well!”
Such thoughts as these, when I am enabled to realize them,
in some measure reconcile me to whatever He allots for myself or my friends; and convinces me of the propriety of that verse, which speaks the language of love, as well as authority, “Be still – and know that I am God!”(Psalms 46:10).
John Newton (1725-1807)
(Author of the Hymn, Amazing Grace)
John Newton’s Letters
September 28, 1774
"LOST" - It's a Declaration of Ownership
“The Earth is the LORD'S, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it” (Psalm 24:1)
This verse declares that all the people on this planet are His!
We should not fall into the trap of thinking that "believers" are the only ones who are HIS.
Consider the term “lost" - it is a declaration of ownership. If something, or someone is lost, that means they are in some way separated from their owner.
When “Christians” refer to the lost, they should realize that that is an acknowledgment of God’s ownership!
To receive the title “Lost” is a great assurance of ownership by our creator! - Clyde Pilkington
Wrath = Orge
Wrath = Intense Emotion
Wrath = Straining To Possess
In fact, the Greek word for “wrath” in the New Testament is the word “orge.” Unfortunately, the way this word has been translated has been shaped greatly by our pre-existing concepts of God as being angry, temperamental, and hell-bent on punishing.
The word “orge” actually means “any intense emotion.”
It’s from where we get words like “orgy” and “orgasm.” At its core, “wrath” has to do with a very strong passion—not even associated to anger. In fact, the root of “orge” actually means “to reach out in a straining fashion for something that you long to possess.”
What if the wrath of God is not Him pouring out anger, vengeance, or retaliation, but rather His furious love—grasping, reaching, shaking to possess every person that they might experience His Grace?
Imperfections, problems, flaws, defects, blunders, and difficult conditions hound us all. Yet, God is sovereign - fully aware and completely able to alter any of these situations. Therefore, these must be perfect imperfections.
These may result in disasters, cancer, tsunamis, misery and death - but the resurrection of all (Acts 24:15) and the restoration of all things (Acts 3:21) will result in our ability to recognize and appreciate God's relentless love and mercy forever.
Perhaps it could be - the ONLY WAY for us to really see these amazing and beautiful attributes of our creator was for us to experience these perfectly orchestrated imperfections for ourselves. Temporary discomforts and even horrible tragedies are choreographed to set the backdrop for us to clearly see Him when we enter the resurrected life.
Lamentations 3:38 - "Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that
both good and ill goes forth?"
Isaiah 45:7 - "I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and
create calamity; I am the LORD, who does all these things."
Pope Paul VI
on December 7, 1965 speaking "ex cathedra," supposedly "infallible."
"...the Church has a single intention: that God's kingdom may come, and that the salvation of the whole human race may come to pass. For every benefit which the People of God during its earthly pilgrimage can offer to the human family stems from the fact that the Church is "the universal sacrament of salvation", simultaneously manifesting and exercising the mystery of God's love.
For God's Word, by whom all things were made, was Himself made flesh so that as perfect man He might save all men and sum up all things in Himself. The Lord is the goal of human history, the focal point of the longings of history and of civilization, the center of the human race, the joy of every heart and the answer to all its yearnings. He it is Whom the Father raised from the dead, lifted on high and stationed at His right hand, making Him judge of the living and the dead. Enlivened and united in His Spirit, we journey toward the consummation of human history, one which fully accords with the counsel of God's love: "To reestablish (anakephalaio) all things in Christ, both those in the heavens and those on the earth"
- GAUDIUM ET SPES
PROMULGATED BY HIS HOLINESS, POPE PAUL VI ON DECEMBER 7, 1965
Romans 3:3 -
For what if some disbelieve? Will not their unbelief nullify the faithfulness of God? Certainly it is not coming to that!
Short Story I Received From Rich Koster
(Great Analogy of The Power of Mercy)
A boy killed his father and the judge did the only thing he could do, sent him to prison. But still the judge was curious, why did this boy do such a terrible thing, and he started asking questions. Then he went to see the young man in prison. And he kept going, as often as he could. Seems the son's father had been a very strict parent and one who believed God had charged him to "not spare the rod". The abuse was verbal as well as physical, and it started when the boy was still very young. Year after year he suffered unmerited punishment - torment really.
When the son came before his first parole board they immediately granted it to him, based on the judge's recommendation. He was released, and there was the judge waiting for him. He took him into his home and treated him like a human being, a loved and lovable human being.
The father in this case was a physician, and one day the son declared that he too wanted to be a physician. The judge paid his way, all the way through college and medical school. The son became a pediatrician! Eventually he got married and had children of his own, and he loved them just the way the judge had loved him. A true story.
From DTS - Dallas Theological Seminary
Here's an interesting comment made by the well-known and respected, Dr. Daniel Wallace of Dallas Theological Seminary, about Philippians 2:9-11. I thought I should pass it along to you for future use and reference.
Therefore, God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and those on earth, and those under the earth, that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
On page 474 of his book, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, Wallace makes the following comments about the structure of these verses:
Paul here is not declaring only God's intention in exalting Christ. Much more than that. The apostle is indicating that what God intends, He will carry out. The evidence for this is that he is quoting Isa. 45:23 here, though weaving into his text in such a way that he alters it by turning it into a purpose-result clause*. . . Paul quotes this text in Romans 14:11 . . . If both Isa. 45:23 and in Rom 14:11 the future indicative is a predictive future, then Paul seems to be using the Isaiah passage to declare that Jesus Christ is the one who will fulfill the prophecy made about Yahweh.
*A purpose-result clause "indicates both the intention and its sure accomplishment" according to Wallace. And in these three scriptures referenced, we find both purpose and accomplishment:
Purpose: God commanding "all ends of the earth" to turn to Him and be saved. (Isa 45:22)
Accomplishment: Every knee bows (Isa 45:23.)
Accomplishment: Every tongue swears an oath - their righteousness and strength is in Him (Isa 45:24.)
Accomplishments in Romans 14:11 and Philippians 2: 9-11: God's words in Isaiah - come all ends of the earth and be saved - are reaffirmed by "everyone on earth, under the earth, and in heaven" shall (not should) confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
In these verses we find our Father's pure intentions for the world and His assurances to us that He will accomplish them - His Kingdom will come, and His will, will be done.
One would have one hell-of-a-time arguing the "bowing down" is not an act of worship, or the swearing of the oath, or the confession that Jesus is Lord to the glory of the Father, or the shame felt by those who are incensed against Him now (Isa 45:24), are somehow disingenuous acts or forced confessions, based on the context of these scriptures.
Grace is NOT Grace if it Requires Acceptance
Grace cannot incur a debt.
An act is not gracious if it, under any circumstances, incurs a debt. Grace is the unrecompensed favor of God.
That includes any past, present or future repayment. Salvation is a gift, and a benefit cannot rightfully be called a gift if it must be paid for before, at the time of, or after (Romans 6:23).
No service is to be given, on the part of the believer, with the thought of repayment. Any such attitude would only cause “distress” to the Giver. These attempts only “frustrate” His grace (Galatians 2:21). How faithfully we should serve Him, as an expression of love and thankfulness for what He's already done on our behalf - but never as a repayment.
Grace is not exercised as a payment of a debt (Romans 4:4; 11:6).
Grace could never be the payment of a debt (i.e., deserving). All worthiness on man’s part has been disposed of absolutely and permanently (Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5-7).
Pure grace is neither treating a person as he deserves, nor treating a person better than he deserves, but treating a person without the slightest reference to what he deserves.
“To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He has made us accepted in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:6).