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Friday, November 23, 2018

The Ten Commandments Produce Criminals

Try keeping the law God gave to Moses and you will fail, and that's God's plan. He uses your failure to drive you to the One Who never fails, His Son, your Savior.

Another good video from Martin Zender.

I'm away from my computer most of the week, so I haven't been writing much. I hope these videos by Martin will teach you valuable truths, as they have me.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Saturday, September 22, 2018

"Just if I'd never sinned."

When we believe God, this is how He sees us through the work of His Son on the cross—"just if I'd never sinned"—justified.

Justification is usually misunderstood because of man-made traditional religious bunk. It's been muddy in my mind for a long time. But it's one of the greatest blessings of the Scriptures. My friend Martin Zender recently wrote a great article on this topic of justification.

This article removed some hard, caked-on mud from my eyes. The information in this article has the power to radically change your life this very day.

Here are a few tasty tidbits from the article:

"God only wants to be believed, even for the radical things that He says. When we believe what God says, then we bathe ourselves in it and live by it in spite of what we see. God wants us to enjoy it now even before it happens. Why wait until it happens in order to get a kick out of it?"

"For it is not the elimination of sin via struggle that delivers one from slavery to Sin, it is Christ on the cross and His six hours of suffering—this is what delivers from Sin."

"Since God is the One Who justified us, it is insane to think that He could possibly be the One Who could indict us. How could the One Who calls us “not guilty” then turn around and charge us with a fault or offense? What about Jesus? Will He condemn us? Again, this is an insane consideration, for Christ is the One Who worked out God’s justification of our sin at the cross.

"No, I’m afraid that the only entity that could indict us, is us. Unless we know the truth of Justification, we are our own worst enemy."

"What a difference between sitting around all day wringing one’s hands over one’s failures, and basking in the sunshine of God’s affection and thanking Him all day for not reckoning Sin. True and lasting peace can only come on the heels of Justification, for—

Being, then, justified by faith, we may be having peace toward God, through our Lord, Jesus Christ. — Romans 5:1

God would rather be thanked all day than begged all day for forgiveness."
Check it out.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Stuck in the 3 days

We're currently in the "valley of death." But we'll all come out.
A small example can help us see the big picture.

Jesus was alive and kicking ... kicking the intellectual crap out of the hypocritical religious leaders of His day. His followers saw His multiple powerful miracles, and knew for sure that He would soon deliver the kingdom to Israel, and the Jews would be on top of the world. The Romans would be done for, because the Messiah was in town, and He don't mess around. He gets work done.

Then ... the Romans and hypocritical religious leaders kicked the crap out of Jesus and mercilessly killed Him.

"Hmm," thought His followers, "didn't see that coming!" His band of believers were confused, sad, angry, probably hysterical: "What the unseen-underworld just happened? We were just about to see all of our hopes and dreams become reality! How could God let this happen? What are we supposed to do now? Crap, now we have to go back to our real jobs on Monday!"

Jesus was laid in the tomb. Day 1 ... nothing but continued despair, sadness, anger and fear. Day 2 ... more of the same, except it hurts a little bit more today as the shock wears off and reality digs in like a tick on a dog. Day 3 ... life goes on, you can't stop it.

Then ...

"He's alive!"
"No, we saw Him die. He's dead. Leave us alone!"
"Well I just saw Him and talked with Him. He's alive!"
"We'll just see about that."

And see they did.

He's now at His Father's right hand.

From the lowest of lows to the highest of highs. An excruciating ride with an (almost) unbelievable end. But it's in the books, or, rather the Book.

But the highs are meaningless without the contrast of the lows. Experiencing the lows prepares us to properly appreciate the highs. God made it this way, and He knows what He's doing.

"Enough with the lows already, God! We're ready for the highs!"

 He knows when we're ready.

"And this has to do with us how?"

Jesus' life, death, burial and resurrection is a condensed version of God's big-picture plan for all of us. The problem for us is this: we are currently stuck in the 3 days—the time that corresponds to His 3 days in the tomb. This is the time when the confusion, despair, sadness, anger and fear dominated His followers' lives. And these can dominate our lives also. This is their (and our) what-the-hell-just-happened? stage. His was 3 days. Ours will last as long as God has determined.

But His story, and our story, doesn't end in despair in the tomb. Death has no victory in the end (despite what you hear in most churches). 1 Corinthians 15, Concordant Literal New Testament,
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal put on immortality. 54 Now, whenever this corruptible should be putting on incorruption and this mortal should be putting on immortality, then shall come to pass the word which is written, Swallowed up was Death by Victory. 55 Where, O Death, is your victory? Where, O Death, is your sting? 56 Now the sting of Death is sin, yet the power of sin is the law. 57 Now thanks be to God, Who is giving us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Just as Jesus exited death, so too will all of humanity. Your loved one who died unexpectedly. Your loved one who died after a fight to the death with cancer and lost. Your loved one who never experienced life outside the womb. ALL OF OUR LOVED ONES, AND EVEN ONES WE DON'T KNOW AND LOVE!

"I can't wait for _____________ !" 

Usually when we start a sentence with these words we don't have any choice but to wait for the thing we can't wait for. "I can't wait for McDonald's to offer the McRib sandwich again!" But you must wait for the saucy deliciousness of pressed dead pig meat because McDonald's doesn't run by our schedule.

And God doesn't run by our schedule.

It would really be nice to only have to wait 3 days to receive our dead loved ones alive and well ... no ... alive and immortal. But we have no choice except to wait for God to give life and immortality to the dead. He will do it. He promised to do it. Our "3 days" will eventually come to a glorious end that will blow our minds, just as Jesus' followers' minds were no doubt blown when they hung out with Him after their 3 days.

Here's the end of the big-picture story from 1 Corinthians 15 from the Concordant Literal New Testament. Read it. Re-read it. Soak it in. Dream about it. Know it will happen!
(Yet now Christ has been roused from among the dead, the Firstfruit of those who are reposing. 21 For since, in fact, through a man came death, through a Man, also, comes the resurrection of the dead. 22 For even as, in Adam, all are dying, thus also, in Christ, shall all be vivified. 23 Yet each in his own class: the Firstfruit, Christ; thereupon those who are Christ's in His presence; 24 thereafter the consummation, whenever He may be giving up the kingdom to His God and Father, whenever He should be nullifying all sovereignty and all authority and power. 25 For He must be reigning until He should be placing all His enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy is being abolished: death. 27 For He subjects all under His feet. Now whenever He may be saying that all is subject, it is evident that it is outside of Him Who subjects all to Him. 28 Now, whenever all may be subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also shall be subjected to Him Who subjects all to Him, that God may be All in all.)
Imagine holding your loved ones in that day, never again in fear of death, which Jesus will render totally inoperative (v.26). NO MORE DEATH! LIFE FOR ALL! The glorious end to an excruciating ride.

"How long Lord?"

This is a recurring question in the Scriptures. It never hurts to ask. Maybe God will answer you. But don't hold your breath waiting for an answer from heaven. Just know that God has a plan and the ability to make it real (read 1 Corinthians 15 again). 

Jesus does indeed get work done. The problem for us is that we don't always know what His current work is. His followers thought it was God's time for them to rule the world under King Jesus. Instead, God sacrificed His only Son for the entire world (which is far better for all in the long run). God refuses to email me concerning His present operations. This is where faith comes in. Faith in His love, mercy, power and purpose.

Jesus came out of His 3 days, and so will we. 

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Limited atonement is a doctrine of demons

What is a doctrine (or teaching) of demons?

1 Timothy 4:1 tells us the reality of these teachings,
Now the spirit is saying explicitly, that in subsequent eras some will be withdrawing from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and the teachings of demons
—Concordant Literal New Testament (CLNT)
We see some details in James 3,
15 This is not the wisdom coming down from above, but terrestrial, soulish, demoniacal. 17 Now the wisdom from above is first, indeed, pure, thereupon peaceable, lenient, compliant, bulging with mercy and good fruits, undiscriminating, unfeigned.
Demonic doctrines are not from above, but demon-inspired, man-made, and promoted as if they are from above and in line with the heart of God. They oftentimes contain enough truth to make them appealing to the masses.

Obviously the biggest thing about demonic doctrines is that they are not true. And we can get more details of what they are by contrasting them with what James 3:17 calls "wisdom from above." Demonic doctrines are the opposite of everything listed in verse 17.

One key attribute of wisdom from above is it is "bulging with mercy." One vital characteristic of many demonic doctrines is that they limit, twist, or altogether get rid of mercy. And in doing this, they distort the images of God and Jesus.

We've all been deceived at some point in our lives. I hypocritically limited Jesus for nearly 20 years, and I had no idea I was doing it. I was deceived and ignorantly believing demonic doctrines.

I didn't think in my mind or say out loud, "Hey, listen to me, I'm going to limit the almighty Son of God and give you a distorted image of Him!"

But I was limiting Him by what I believed, taught, and preached—eternal torment at first, then annihilation. Thank God these two limiting false doctrines can't actually stop God from accomplishing His will to save all (1 Timothy 2:4, 4:10).

But all who hear and believe these lies receive a limited and distorted version of Jesus, and this will have a negative effect on them. Lies bind people—mentally, emotionally and physically. The truth of Jesus they could know is hidden behind false demonic teachings.

But the truth does set us free.

When God opened my eyes to see how I was limiting Him, I was ashamed. But I am now free from these lies.  

When the subject of the salvation of all comes up, those who oppose God's plan to save all (eternal tormentists and annihilationists) immediately present Scriptures to limit Jesus' work. And they can find Scriptures that, on the surface, limit His work. But do these Scriptures really limit Jesus, or are they simply used to support false religious traditions? And are they properly seen in the entire context of the Scriptures by those who use them?

The purpose of this post

In this post I'm going to address a very important question that affects all of us: Did Jesus die to save all people?

I say "Yes, He did." Many who claim to follow Jesus say "No. He only died to save some, not all." Both sides claim the Scriptures as the source of their answer.

This is spiritual warfare. Punches will not be pulled. I'm not here to play nice with false teachers. I will expose their Savior-shrinking, mercy-limiting, demonic teaching. And I will use their own words against them.

I'm here to tell you how awesome our loving, merciful God and Savior are. This truth will set you free. Let's have a look at the evidence.

All Scripture quotes will be from the English Standard Version (ESV) unless noted.

Limited atonement

The teaching that Jesus did not die to save all people is called limited atonement. I may refer to this as LA throughout this post and to those who believe it as LA's (limited atonementists).

Limited atonement is one of the five points of Calvinism that come from the teachings of John Calvin—a French theologian who lived in the 1500's. But the teaching of LA can be traced back to Augustine in the 5th century AD.

Teachers of limited atonement would say their teaching predates Augustine and is actually found in the Scriptures. I would agree with this to a point—there are verses in the Scriptures that can be used to teach limited atonement. But many other parts of the Scriptures must be ignored or given less than adequate interpretations to shrink them down to fit into LA.

Not all Calvinists or LA's are the same. Some say Jesus didn't die for all. Others will admit that Jesus died for everyone in a general sense, but in the next breath will say that His death won't do most people one bit of good. The only ones to benefit will be a relatively small group of people called the elect or the chosen. So some LA's basically say Jesus died for all, but He didn't die to save all (makes perfect nonsense to me). Calvinists say the elect are chosen by God for salvation while the rest are chosen by God for eternal judgment (torment or annihilation).

The underlying faulty foundation of limited atonement

No single teaching stands on its own. It overlaps and is related to other teachings. Another demonic traditional teaching that is foundational to LA is this:
Jesus can (or will) only save people in this life, so if someone dies while not believing in Jesus, all hope for his salvation also dies
Here's the big problem: This teaching can't be found in the Scriptures!

Death is not the deadline for someone to be saved. This is a Savior-shrinking teaching that puts an artificial limit on the "Savior of the world" (1 John 4:14). Calvinist/annihilationist Chris Date admitted,
If people are given a post-mortem (after death) opportunity, I don't think they will be, but I also cannot marshal a persuasive, to me, biblical case against it.
(Pastor With No Answers podcast #63 - 1:12:20)
Chris is a smart guy, but he can't build a persuasive biblical case for his belief that Jesus can (or will) only save people in this life. Then I wonder why he believes it.

Jesus doesn't care how smart we are or aren't. He wants us to have faith. So He gives each person the faith required to believe in Him for salvation when He decides to give it (Philippians 1:29; Romans 12:3; Ephesians 2:8–9).

It requires additional God-given faith to believe Jesus died to save all people. And it requires this level of God-given faith to believe He will actually bring all to experience salvation (1 Timothy 2:4). Calvinists and LA's currently lack this level of faith because God has not yet given it to them. But they will all see in due time.

It's an observable fact that many people die not believing in Jesus. LA's who think these unbelievers' eternal destiny is sealed at death must now have a reason as to why they weren't saved, and will never be saved. The demonic doctrine of limited atonement is the solution to a problem that doesn't exist—a problem that was created by limiting Jesus to saving people in this life only.

Here is LA's reasoning as I see it,

  • People can only be saved in this life.
  • We see people die all the time who aren't saved.
  • They will never be saved.
  • Why weren't they saved?
  • Apparently Jesus didn't want to save them, because He could have.
  • So His death must not have been for their salvation.
  • He must have died to save only those who are saved in this life.
  • Therefore, His atonement is limited in scope.
  • He is not the Savior of the world.

    The statements in red are all false. Show me Scriptures to verify the red statements are true and I'll quickly recant. Would you hold a belief that is based on this many false components? Many do.

    This reasoning is based on what LA's see: people dying as unbelievers. It is not based on faith in what Jesus will accomplish in the future (1 Corinthians 15:20-28). He will do all of God's will (Greek- thelema), and God wills (Greek- thelo) all to be saved (Acts 13:22–23; 1 Timothy 2:4).

    If LA's admit that Jesus died to save all, but hold to their belief that He doesn't save all, then they must admit that He's a failure. They rightly squirm at this thought. So they believe and promote the lie that Jesus died only to save a relatively tiny portion of the world that "God so loved" (John 3:16).

    The immortal Savior

    So is Jesus limited to saving people in this life only? Hebrews 7:23–25 tells how Jesus' immortality is a key component in God's plan to save all.
    And [Levitical priests] indeed, are more than one, having become priests because death prevents them from abiding; 24 yet that One, because of His remaining for the eon, has an inviolate priesthood. 25 Whence, also, He is able to save to the uttermost those coming to God through Him, always being alive to be pleading for their sake.
    Verse 24 tells us Jesus is "remaining for the eon." This is speaking of the 1000-year reign of Christ on the earth. Jesus doesn't die at the end of the thousand years; He's immortal (John 5:26). Verse 25 above expands on verse 24 and tells us "He is able to save to the uttermost those coming to God through Him, always being alive to be pleading for their sake." There it is, "always being alive." When does He stop being the "Savior of the world" (1 John 4:14)? Never. Even after He brings all to experience salvation, this title will still apply to Him in a completed sense.

    Since LA's, eternal tormentists and annihilationists think Jesus is limited to saving people in this life only, to them, time is a huge limiting factor in God's salvation plan.

    But the Savior of the world is "always being alive," and is able to resurrect any and all from the dead to save them and give them immortality when He renders death completely inoperative (1 Corinthians 15:26). And this is exactly what He'll do according to 1 Corinthians 15:20-28.

    So, time and death are not limiting factors in God's plan to save all. They are not the great hindrances to God that Christianity makes them out to be. There are no deadlines for Jesus to meet. God will be "All in all" in His perfect timing (1 Corinthians 15:28).

    Limited atonement equals limited love

    Dean Hough of the Concordant Publishing Concern wrote,
    If we limit the work of redemption we must limit the love. And when we limit the love of Christ a coldness will creep into our hearts which cripples our testimony and our usefulness to Him. Yet how fervent is our joy and genuine our concern for others when we realize that Christ died for all. This is what presses out hatred and envy and prejudice, for if our Lord is so genuinely concerned with everyone that He endured the cross for the sake of all, indiscriminately, so will our love for all grow more truly (cf 1 Tim.2:1-7).
    -Unsearchable Riches Vol.65, p.219
    I've found Dean's words to be true in my life. As I grew in my understanding of God's plans for all mankind, the grace and love I felt for other people grew. Growing out of eternal tormentism to annihilationism then to the salvation of all through Christ, my joy also grew as I comprehended more and more of the enormity of God's love.

    "But Wes, God still loves people He'll torment forever in hell!"

    LA's try so hard to put a good spin on their Savior-shrinking doctrine. And they fail miserably. But  popular Calvinist/eternal tormentist John Piper tries his best,
    [Definite atonement] is important. Sometimes it is called “limited” atonement, which is an unfortunate designation, because it seems to minimize or diminish the work of the atonement. In fact, what we are arguing for is not something less than others believe but for something more. This what I mean: The Bible speaks about God loving the world (John 3:16). And he speaks about Christ being “the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe” (1 Timothy 4:10).

    And I think in that little phrase what I want to say is: in a sense, Christ dies for all but not in the same sense for all. In the sense that he dies for all, we mean that he dies in such a way that you can offer his death to all without exception and say to them without no qualm, “Here is Christ. I offer Christ to you. If you will believe in Christ, it is yours. Everything he bought from the Father for eternal life he bought for you if you will have it.” So, “if you will have it” enables us to preach the gospel indiscriminately to every single person on the planet and say, “This death will cover your sins if you will believe it.”
    Here are a couple of practical implications. One is that I want the Church to feel loved by Christ in the covenant way that he really loves his bride. He loved his bride and went after her, and he purchased her and brought her home to himself. So we don’t just feel ourselves loved generically, like we are loved in the same way as people who are in hell or going to hell. We are loved in a covenant way in which God is going to pursue us. He is going to overcome all our rebellion. He is going to make us his own. He is going to beautify us for his Son, and he has fixed his heart on us. And we know that because he has put the faith in our hearts to embrace it.
    (What Is Definite Atonement, and Why Does It Matter?)
    I hope you see the weaknesses of his attempt to beautify this hideous teaching. I don't have time to comment on all of it, but this one disturbing statement really stood out to me,

    "So we don’t just feel ourselves loved generically, like we are loved in the same way as people who are in hell or going to hell."

    It takes a supernatural (Satanic) blinding to the truth to make a statement like this. LA's misuse and abuse the tremendous word love in order to squeeze it into their teeny-tiny theology. And what does this statement say to the world about God—the very One Who the Scriptures teach is love (1 John 4:8,16)? While LA's try to shine their shitty doctrine, they tarnish the name of God. "For because of you the name of God is being blasphemed among the nations ..." (Romans 2:24 CLNT).

    Because of the blasphemous lies told about our Creator, the world rightly questions His character as is evidenced by the lyrics in the currently popular song The Violence by the rock band Rise Against, "is the violence in our nature just the image of our Maker?"

    Coupled with his belief in LA is Piper's belief in another demonic doctrine: hell is eternal. That's right, according to Piper, God's generic love lands people in an eternal hell. "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!" (Isaiah 5:20).

    The lie of LA is like any other lie in this way: when you tell one lie you have to keep producing more lies to keep the first lie going strong. "Jesus can save only in this life" is propped up by "the atonement is limited" and "hell is eternal"—the three demonic amigos.

    (See an excerpt from Duration of Destruction that sheds light on the demonic teaching of eternal hell.)

    More juicy niblets from John Piper

    I'm sorry for overloading you with John Piper, but I think words from a leading Calvinist/LAist are important. He says,
    One of the clearest passages on God’s particular intention in the death of Christ is Ephesians 5:25–27.
    Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
    Here Paul says that the intended beneficiary of the death of Christ is the church, the bride of Christ. One of the reasons I am jealous for this doctrine of limited atonement or particular redemption is that I want the bride of Christ to be properly moved by the particular love that Christ had for her when he died. This was not only a world-embracing love; it was a bride-purchasing love. God knew those who were his. And he sent his Son to obtain this bride for this Son.
    There is a particular love for the bride in this sacrifice that the church misses when she only thinks that God did not have any particular people in mind when he bought the church with his Son’s blood. I used to say to the church I served, “I love all the women of this church, but I love my wife in a very special way.” I would not want Noël to think that she is loved just because I love all women and she happens to be a woman. So it is with God and all the people of the world. There is a universal love for all, but there is a particular love that he has for the bride. And when Christ died, there was a particular aim in that death for her. He knew her from the foundation of the world, and he died to obtain her.
    God does not mean for the bride of his Son to only feel loved with general, world-embracing love. He means for her to feel ravished with the specificity of his affection that he set on her before the world existed. He means for us to feel a focused: “I chose you. And I send my Son to die to have you.” This is what we offer the world. We don’t horde it for ourselves. And we don’t abandon it by saying, all we have to offer the world is God’s general love for all people.
    I'd like to finish Piper's analogy. He says, "I love all the women of this church, but I love my wife in a very special way." Here's my version of the rest of the story that makes his analogy line up completely with his teaching of LA and eternal torment,
    "Ladies, ladies, please, can I have your attention? Thank you for attending this fine get-together that I have prepared especially for you. After our meal today, Noel and I will be going home to our beautiful estate to enjoy well-deserved naps. As we leave, I will be locking you inside the church building. Then I will set it on fire. It's going to be a spectacular blaze! There will be no escape, so please, conserve your energy. And try not to scream too loudly, we do have neighbors. And, miraculously, you will not die in the fire. How's that for a cool trick? You will be tormented forever. But, please, remember as you suffer forever, that I truly love you with a general, world-embracing kind of love. I hope this gives you a measure of comfort in your never-ending agony. Well, enough of that, eat up ladies! This is your last meal. And don't forget to grab a piece of Noël's famous cherry pie."
    I have to assume some of the sharp women in Piper's congregation fully understood the unspoken end of his ridiculous analogy.

    God's "general love"

    Piper speaks of God's love for all mankind as "general love," as if it's a bad thing in comparison to His real love that is limited to His chosen. Let's not forget, Mr. Piper, it's God's "general love" for the world that moved Him to give His only begotten Son (John 3:16). That level of "general love" makes every kind of human love seem shallow. I'm getting angry as I think about Piper's and LA's gigantic distortions of our God and Savior.

    I believe the reason Piper has such a low view of God's "general love" is that, according to his false teaching, God's "general love" for the non-elect lands them in an eternity of torment. One of Piper's mistakes is equating eternal torment with any kind of love. It makes his reasoning absurd, and puts a massive hole in his defense of LA.

    If eternal torment is true, I'd like to survey those in hell 200 billion years after they are cast there (yes, Ethel, eternity really is that long, and much, much, much longer). I would ask the inhabitants if God loves them in any way. Remember, according to Calvinism and LA, these hellions will be there because of God's choice, not theirs. Love? Really?

    A few words from Martin Zender

    My friend Martin Zender has been a great mentor to me. His words fit well here.
    I want the distinction made between those I love dearly and those I love especially dearly. Think about it. We love everyone, but especially our families. Even within families, we love our children more than aunts and uncles. We want no one in this world to suffer, but we want our children to be especially comfortable. (It doesn’t mean that we give our children electric blankets while electrocuting strangers.) We love our parents more than our cousins, without hating our cousins. Paul said in Galatians 6:10—
    Consequently, then, as we have occasion, we are working for the good of all, yet specially for the family of faith.
    Is this not the same principle? Is not God at least this good?
    Even among the twelve disciples, Jesus’ favorites were Peter, James and John. Only these three witnessed the Master’s transformation on the mount (Matthew 17:1-2). Even among these, John was called, “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23). See? “Playing favorites” is a God thing. Screwing the rest is not.
    (Greater Than Adam, Part 5: p.8-9)
    And this,
    We must not fall into the Calvinist trap of thinking that God chooses the elect in order to damn the rest. No. God chooses the elect so that He can use them later to reach the rest.
    (Vessels of indignation: p.5)

    God uses the few to reach the rest

    One Savior dying to save all mankind is the most obvious example of God using one person, or a relatively small number of selected people, to work with Him to accomplish His will.

    He chose Abraham to reach the world,
    And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.”
    —Galatians 3:8
    The elect saints will judge with Jesus,
    Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels?
    —1 Corinthians 6:2–3
    And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, 10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”
    —Revelation 5:9–10
    The elect will reign with Jesus over the non-elect to achieve God's good goals for all. Please don't see this in any way resembling the selfish human judging and reigning we now experience on the earth. Remember, Jesus will be King.

    We must see that there is a good goal to all of Jesus' judging and reigning with His saints. He says in John 5:22–23 what the purpose of all judgment is,
    For the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.
    There's God's purpose for all judgment—"that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father."

    And it's going to happen because Jesus is in charge of it.

    I'm not sure what LA's, eternal tormentists or annihilationists would say is God's ultimate purpose in judgment. But I'm pretty sure it's not beneficial for God or those who are judged.

    And, believe it or not, Jesus and His band of believers will attain all the goals of their ruling and reigning. And the results of their work will be enduring.

    Do the Scriptures really limit Jesus' work?

    Here are two options for discovering in the Scriptures who Jesus actually died to save.
    1. We can start with the Jesus-died-for-all verses and whittle them down as we find other verses that seem to shrink the group of people He died for until the group's size is acceptable to us.
    2. We can start with the LA verses and enlarge the number of people Jesus died to save with the Jesus-died-for-all verses.
    If you use another method, you must still take into account all the verses that are relevant. There are no second-class Scriptures. But how you prioritize all these verses will affect the conclusion you come to. If you give more weight to the LA verses, you're going to lean towards LA. The same is true if you give priority to the Jesus-died-to-save-all verses. And we must all check our motive and reasoning for our prioritizing.

    I've done my best to list LA's most persuasive verses.

    Verses supporting limited atonement/limited love

    As you read through these verses, try to find evidence that the atonement is only for the elect.

    In John 10 Jesus says in verse 11, "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." Continuing in John 10,
    15 according as the Father knows Me, and I know the Father. And My soul am I laying down for the sake of the sheep. 16 "And other sheep have I which are not of this fold. Those also I must be leading, and they will be hearing My voice, and there will be one flock, one Shepherd. ... 26 But you are not believing, seeing that you are not of My sheep, according as I said to you. 27 "My sheep are hearing My voice, and I know them, and they are following Me. 28 And I am giving them life eonian, and they should by no means be perishing for the eon, and no one shall be snatching them out of My hand. 29 My Father, Who has given them to Me, is greater than all, and no one is able to be snatching them out of My Father's hand.
    Jesus is talking here about the elect—those who "should by no means be perishing for the eon" (v. 28). The eon He's talking about is the 1000-year period after He returns to earth. The elect will be immortal at this time. And in many of the verses LA's use to limit Jesus' work, He is talking about the elect. He does have unique plans for them. But these in no way cancel His plans for the rest.

    Jesus says in John 17:6,9,19,
    I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. ... 9 I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. ... 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.
    John 11:48–52,
    "If we [chief priests, Pharisees] let [Jesus] go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” 49 But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. 50 Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” 51 He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52 and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.
    Revelation 5:9–10,
    And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you [Christ] to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, 10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”
    Verse 10 is speaking of the elect. Who will the elect reign over?

    Jesus says in Mark 10:45,
    For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
    He says in Matthew 26:28,
    for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
    Hebrews 9:28,
    so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
    Isaiah 53:12,
    Therefore I will divide [Christ] a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.
    Ephesians 5:25–27,
    Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
    Romans 8:29–33,
    For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies.
    Acts 20:28,
    Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.
    John 15:13,
    Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
    Matthew 1:21,
    She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. 
    You can read John Piper's explanation of limited atonement verses.

    I believe all of these Scriptures are true. But none of them explicitly limit the number of people Jesus died to save. And if someone's going to say He died to save only a portion of humanity, he better have rock-solid Scriptural proof that He died only for some and not all. I see nowhere in the Scriptures this kind of limitation placed on Jesus' loving work.

    Verses supporting unlimited atonement/unlimited love

    I also believe the following verses are true. They in no way contradict the previous verses.

    Here's where the Christ-limiters fail: They don't believe the Jesus-died-to-save-all verses as written, so they must batter them with their seminary degrees until they fit into their dinky demonic doctrinal systems. And they think their arguments are so convincing because the masses swallow it. It's sometimes comical to see how LA's explain these verses. Who knew theology could be so much fun? But you don't have to buy what they're attempting to sell you.

    Jesus said in John 12:32–33,
    And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die.
    This is a direct promise from the Savior of the world. Why would anyone doubt Him?

    1 Timothy 2:4–6,
    [our Saviour, God] wills that all mankind be saved and come into a realization of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one Mediator of God and mankind, a Man, Christ Jesus, 6 Who is giving Himself a correspondent Ransom for all (the testimony in its own eras)

    1 John 2:2,
    He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
    Could this be any clearer? Yes, Ethel, the apostle John said, "not for ours only."

    Romans 5:18,
    Therefore, as one trespass [Adam's sin] led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness [Jesus' death] leads to justification and life for all men.
    Here it is folks, the heart of the good news of Jesus—"life for all men."

    Romans 5:6–8,
    For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
    Romans 11:32,
    For God locks up all together in stubbornness, that He should be merciful to all.

    The worst sinner, Saul/Paul, wrote this in 1 Timothy 1:15,
    Faithful is the saying, and worthy of all welcome, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, foremost of whom am I.
    2 Cor 5:14–15, 19,
    For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. ... 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
    John 1:29,
    The next day [John the Baptist] saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! ..."
    If limited atonement is true, this pie represents God's plan.
    1 John 3:8,
    Yet he who is doing sin is of the Adversary, for from the beginning is the Adversary sinning. For this was the Son of God manifested, that He should be annulling the acts of the Adversary. —CLNT
    Jesus will undo the works of Satan. There's no good reason I see that it will be only some of his works. No, it will be all of his works. Think about the full impact of this for all of humanity.

    1 John 4:14,
    And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.
    John 3:17,
    For God does not dispatch His Son into the world that He should be judging the world, but that the world may be saved through Him.

    John 4:42,
    They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world."
    Jesus said in John 6:33, 51,
    ... but My Father is giving you Bread out of heaven, the true, for the Bread of God is He Who is descending out of heaven and giving life to the world. ... 51 I am the living Bread which descends out of heaven. If anyone should be eating of this Bread, he shall be living for the eon. Now the Bread also, which I shall be giving for the sake of the life of the world, is My flesh.

    John 12:47,
    If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.
    Luke 19:10,
    For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
    Jesus doesn't state the quantity of the lost He came to save. Does He have to? Or can we trust, based on the rest of these verses, that He meant all the lost?

    Hebrews 2:9,
    But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
    2 Peter 2:1,
    But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.
    Jesus bought all people on the cross. We see here that this includes false teachers who secretly bring in destructive heresies, deny Jesus, and bring swift destruction on themselves. These are not the elect. But He loves them and bought them and has goals for them beyond judgment.

    1 Peter 3:18,
    For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit
    Isaiah 53:4–6,
    Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
    Luke 15:1–7,
    Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” 3 So he told them this parable: 4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
    "What man of you ... ?" Jesus poses this question to the false religious Pharisees. And I think we can ask it of ourselves. So I ask you, "What would you do for sinful humanity if you had the power to save all? Would you save all, or not?" Unfortunately, the hypocritical Pharisees would not save all people (but real sheep, now that's a different story). I've met a lot of Christians who think that God saving all just isn't fair to those who've believed throughout their lives. Are there some LA's who just don't like the idea of Jesus saving all people? I assume so, but they'd never admit it.

    Jesus prayed to His Father in John 17:20–23,
    I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.
    Jesus works with the elect to reach the rest of the world in John 17 "so that the world may believe that you have sent me" (v.21, 23). This is the same world that hates Jesus and the elect (John 15:18, 17:14), and does not know the Father (17:25). But the Father has good plans for a hateful world. God not only truly loves His enemies, but also does good to them (Luke 6:27–36).

    So we look at all these verses and see that the Bible says Jesus died for the church and that He died for the whole world (Ephesians 5:25; 1 John 2:2). Which one cancels out the other? Neither. They are both true. And I can believe both are true as written. LA's can't, and won't, believe all of these Scriptures as written because some of them are too big to fit into their small system. They honor their demonic doctrine above the Savior Who bought them at such a great price.

    Do these verses limit God and Jesus even more?

    To me, LA's are like a bunch of shady lawyers trying to find loopholes in the Scriptures to prop up their traditional teaching.

    But I say they don't go far enough. We can limit God so much more! Why stop at the elect?

    I'm betting that LA's wouldn't swallow my ridiculous limiting applications of the following verses.

    In Exodus 3:6, God tells Moses, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” So He is God of only the four men mentioned.

    Jesus said to the Pharisees in Luke 6:5, “The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.” Jesus only gets one day? Who gets the rest? 

    The apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 2:20, " ... the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Wow, Paul really is special! Jesus died only for him.

    Jesus said in Matthew 15:24, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Well, if you're not an Israelite, sucks to be you.

    Jesus said in Luke 13:28,"In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out." That's gonna be a very small party—Abe, Zac, Jake and the prophets (and no women!).

    And Luke 22:20, "And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, 'This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.'" Jesus' blood was poured out only for those lucky enough to be at the last supper.

    Luke 1:33, "and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." Lucky Jacobites!

    Revelation 14:3–5,
    and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. 4 It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins. It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These have been redeemed from mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb, 5 and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are blameless.
    Jehovah's Witnesses truly believe that only the blameless 144,000 will be in heaven because of this passage. Who's to say they're wrong?

    Please don't swallow my playful limitations here, and don't swallow LA.

    Do you really want to limit God?

    There's an interesting story in the Scriptures about limiting God. In 1 Kings 20 we read about a couple of butt-kickins.

    Ben-hadad, the king of Syria, wanted stuff that belonged to Israel's king Ahab. Ben-hadad's huge army was set to put the beat-down on Ahab's tiny army. The tiny army struck first and easily won. Ben-hadad escaped with an "I'll be back!"

    Before Ben-hadad tried again to defeat Israel, his servants told him why he got whooped in the first round. They said in 1 Kings 20:23,
    Their gods are gods of the hills, and so they were stronger than we. But let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they.
    Ben-hadad saw the brilliance of their advice, so he prepared for another takeover of Israel. But the Syrians didn't realize they'd done themselves in before the second round even started. Ben-hadad again brought his massive army against Israel's tiny group of defenders.

    1 Kings 20:28 tells us,
    And a man of God came near and said to the king of Israel, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Because the Syrians have said, “The Lord is a god of the hills but he is not a god of the valleys,” therefore I will give all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the Lord.’”
    Uh-oh. The Syrians thought Israel's God was small and limited to the hills. They diminished His authority, His power, and quite frankly just pissed Him off.

    The moral of the story: don't limit God.

    Those who attempt to limit the Almighty loving God to saving only the elect better think hard about what they are actually believing and teaching. Attempting to confine God's love and mercy, and Jesus' loving work on the cross, to a small theological box isn't wise.

    But thank God no amount of limiting unbelief or demonically-inspired doctrines can change the fact that Jesus has already died and rose from the dead, securing the salvation of all mankind (Romans 5:18 - see "Mommy, why do people die?").


    Saturday, March 24, 2018

    "It's all in the perspective."

    This issue of Martin Zender's Clanging Gong News will help you understand seemingly contradictory statements in the Scriptures. And it will also help you see Who's really running this show we call "life."

    Monday, March 5, 2018

    "Mommy, why do people die?"

    This question from a curious child may come out of the blue from the mind of a small human trying to figure out the world he lives in.

    It's a question we've all probably asked at some point in our lives, whether silently or out loud.

    But as we grow older and realize that death is simply a fact that we can't change, we accept it, try to ignore it, and seek to make the most of our breathing hours.

    But why we die is a vital question.

    I'm not talking about the mode of death—disease, impaling, accident, beheading. We may be able to dodge the occasional shark attack or suicide bomb, but we can't evade death forever.

    If we squeeze 100 years out of this life it's considered a minor miracle. The Amplified Bible describes us like this, "You are merely a vapor [like a puff of smoke or a wisp of steam from a cooking pot] that is visible for a little while and then vanishes [into thin air]" (James 4:14). That's depressing.

    What gives Death the right to crash our party when it's just starting to pop? 

    Why are we mortal when we're made in the image of an immortal Creator?

    Act I: Adam enters stage from below

    The first man, Adam, was the first global trendsetter, way before Al Gore's internet even existed. Sin ("missing the mark," or falling short of God's standard of righteousness) entered the world through Adam. And through his sin death entered mankind.

    We read in Romans 5:12,
    Therefore, even as through one man sin entered into the world, and through sin death, and thus death passed through into all mankind, on which all sinned --
    Concordant Literal New Testament (CLNT)
    The moment a human is conceived, their destiny is death. Innumerable millions don't even make it out of the womb. We all suffer from the hereditary "disease" of mortality—"death passed through into all mankind ... ."

    We die because we are related to Adam. His one sin affected us all, resulting in death. Our mortality was set in stone by Adam long before any of us were even born.

    None of us asked to be born. None of us asked to be mortal. But we are all affected negatively by no choice or action of our own. We are completely passive in this, and we can't stop Death from snuffing us out. 

    There are many ends in our lives: the end of childhood, the end of our teenage years, the end of high school, the end of singleness, the end of marriage, etc. Death will end your current life. However, your death will be an end for you but not thē end of you.

    The fact that one man brought death to the whole human race with one sinful act is, in one aspect, good news.

    Act II: Jesus enters stage from above

    You may ask, "How the hell is all of us dying because of Adam in any way good news, you idiot?" Thanks for asking. It's good news because it shows us the power of one act.

    There's another act, already accomplished in human history, that is good and benefits all the same people that Adam brought death to.

    The apostle Paul shows us the amazing results of this beneficial act contrasted with Adam's detrimental act.

    Romans 5:18,
    so then as [it was] by one offence towards all men to condemnation, so by one righteousness towards all men for justification of life.
    Darby Translation
    Just as Adam's one offense brought condemnation to all men, Jesus' one act of righteousness (His death) justifies life for all. God includes us all in Adam's sin, and He includes us all in Christ's death and resurrection. Just as we all follow Adam into death, we will all follow Jesus into immortality via resurrection.

    1 Corinthians 15:21–22,
    For since, in fact, through a man came death, through a Man, also, comes the resurrection of the dead. 22 For even as, in Adam, all are dying, thus also, in Christ, shall all be vivified.
    Being "vivified" is being made immortal.

    Just as we all die because we're related to Adam by birth, all of us will live because we're related to Jesus as our Creator, "for in Him is all created ... all is created through Him and for Him" (Colossians 1:16 - CLNT). We are all created for Him. Do not minimize this amazing fact!

    None of us asked Jesus to come to earth as a man. None of us asked Him to die for us. He was resurrected from the dead with no help from us. This is God's work for us.

    We will all be affected positively by no choice or action of our own. We are completely passive in this, and we can't stop Jesus from making us immortal (why would we?).

    I believe part of God's reason for contrasting Jesus with Adam is so we can understand the scope of Jesus' work. We don't need faith to see the universal results of Adam's sin. But we do need faith to see the future universal results of Jesus' work.

    Sadly, Christianity sees the obvious magnitude of Adam's sin but diminishes the impact of Jesus' work. They teach that He saves only a small percent of people condemned in Adam. What a slap in the face to the One the Father put on stage "to be the Savior of the world" (1 John 4:14).

    Related image
    "Sir, Jared refuses to die. ... Yes, of course, the shark tank!"
    But you don't have to believe what Christianity tells you, especially when they contradict the Scriptures.

    Act III: Death exits stage left

    We are all on the stage in God's grand production, and He's directing it toward His desired end.

    Jesus' death and resurrection give Him the right to finish all of God's future goals. His Father has given Him "all authority in heaven and on the earth" (Matthew 28:18). One of these great goals is the complete defeat of Death (which He already overcame in His resurrection).

    1 Corinthians 15,
    25 For [Jesus] must be reigning until He should be placing all His enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy is being abolished: death. ... 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal put on immortality. 54 Now, whenever this corruptible should be putting on incorruption and this mortal should be putting on immortality, then shall come to pass the word which is written, Swallowed up was Death by Victory. 55 Where, O Death, is your victory? Where, O Death, is your sting?

    Related imageSuck it, Death, you will lose.

    But the fat lady has not yet sung. Jesus is still working. The score is lopsided right now. Death does have a temporary hold on us.

    But Jesus is famous for His comebacks.

    In the end Death will have no victory. When Jesus makes all people immortal, they will be beyond the reach of Death, and our enemy will be rendered completely inoperative.

    It's like Jesus takes Death by the feet, holds it upside down and shakes it stupid until it releases all of its captives. Jesus does for us what we can't do for ourselves—He conquers Death.

    We all belong to our Creator Jesus, not Death. He made us for Himself.

    Jesus truly is greater than Adam.


    P.S. Read Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15 to get a fuller view of the contrast between Adam and Jesus.

    P.P.S. And if you don't yet know Jesus, read "What are the foundational truths of Jesus we must believe to realize our salvation?"

    Tuesday, February 27, 2018

    The good news of Jesus and how it benefits you

    Image result for good news images
    The salvation of all is good news. But it's not thē good news of Jesus. Thē good news of Jesus causes the salvation of all. Someone can believe in the salvation of all while at the same time not believing thē good news of Jesus. So what is thē good news?

    Jesus' foundational work

    Let's face it, the true Jesus is awesome. But there are many knockoff versions of Jesus available on the open market. And these non-Jesuses are gladly received by religious people, "For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough" (2 Corinthians 11:4 - English Standard Version - ESV).

    For centuries the Christian religion has been peddling the hottest versions of Jesus that look great on t-shirts and get butts in the pews (with their checkbooks, of course). All of us have probably had a very distorted image of Jesus at some point in our lives, and some of us have paid a lot of money for a knockoff Jesus. None of us see Him perfectly yet. But the clearer you see Him, the more impressed your are with Who the true Jesus really is.

    He's done amazing things on our behalf. Things that cost Him comfort, energy, time ... even His life. The real Jesus is a doer, not a hoper. Why would He, the One having all authority in heaven and earth, have to hope for anything when He can simply do it (Matthew 28:18)?

    At the heart of God's relationship with mankind are Jesus' death, burial and resurrection. God's dealings with mankind spring from these actions Jesus accomplished nearly 2000 years ago.

    The former chief sinner, the apostle Paul, tells us the simple truths that he first believed (and are necessary for anyone to believe) to experience salvation. 1 Corinthians 15:1–4 (italics and bold are mine),
    Now I am making known to you, brethren, the evangel (good news) which I bring to you, which also you accepted, in which also you stand, 2 through which also you are saved, if you are retaining what I said in bringing the evangel to you, outside and except you believe feignedly (not truly; fake belief). 3 For I give over to you among the first what also I accepted, that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, 4 and that He was entombed, and that He has been roused the third day according to the scriptures ...
    —Concordant Literal New Testament (CLNT)

    Due to false religious tradition's distortions of Jesus through the centuries, the three bold statements above should be broken into four parts.
    1. Christ died
    2. Christ died for our sins
    3. Christ was entombed
    4. Christ was roused
    1. Christ died: Jesus literally died on the cross. He was not alive in some other form for three days floating around in heaven or hell.

    2. Christ died for our sins: "Lo! the Lamb of God Which is taking away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29 - CLNT). Jesus took the world's sin to the grave and rose triumphantly without it. "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" (1 Timothy 1:15 - CLNT). He took care of mankind's sin problem on the cross. He took the totality of the world's sin upon Himself. He dealt with our sin on the cross so that we don't have to deal with it. Mankind has always been powerless against sin, He conquered it for us.

    3. Christ was entombed: He was simply laid in a tomb, dead. Believe it.

    4. Christ was roused: You've probably heard this so much that it doesn't even phase you anymore. Be phased by it. Jesus rose from the dead! If this would happen at a funeral you were attending, you'd lose your shit (this would constitute "being phased"). He is now alive at the right hand of His Father: Acts 2:32–33, 5:31, 7:55–56. The living, post-resurrection Jesus said to the apostle John, "Do not fear! I am the First and the Last, 18 and the Living One: and I became dead, and lo! living am I for the eons of the eons. (Amen!) And I have the keys of death and of the unseen ... ." (Revelation 1:17–18 - CLNT).

    This is thē good news!

    If the events contained in thē good news didn't happen, our future is death with no resurrection.

    As I said earlier, it's quite possible to believe in the salvation of all while at the same time not believing these foundational truths about Jesus. Some believe God will save all because man is too good or too worthy to be eternally tormented or annihilated. Some believe all will be saved because God is too kind to deal with sin and He'll just ignore it with a toothy smile. Both are wrong and ignore the Scriptures. Those who don't believe thē good news will not experience the salvation Jesus has already accomplished for them. All will be saved only because of Jesus' work for us described here by the apostle Paul.

    Jesus' mission couldn't be any clearer. He said in Luke 19:10, "For the Son of Mankind came to seek and to save the lost" (CLNT). And the apostle Paul said in 1 Timothy 1:15, "... Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners ..." (CLNT).
    Related image
    "Did I hear you say 'five billion'?"
    His death and resurrection really did accomplish these glorious goals. He has already saved all people through His work nearly 2000 years ago.

    It's like Jesus has deposited a gift of five billion dollars into everyone's personal bank account. So everyone is currently a billionaire because of Him. But only those who are told they are billionaires, and believe it, can then experience the billionaire life by tapping into their fat account. If you're not told, or don't believe it when you are told, you won't even attempt to access your money. But those who don't hear or believe will someday experience the billionaire life when they believe, whether in this life or the next. Death doesn't remove the five billion dollars from anyone's bank account. It will remain there so that when Jesus does grant a person belief 1, they can then enjoy the billionaire life that He bought for them by His death and resurrection.

    Some spectacular benefits of Jesus' work

    Jesus' work on the cross has so many great benefits, for Him, His Father, and us. Read the Scriptures to discover all of them. We'll look at some here.

    Jesus overcomes the results Adam's sin

    There are two historic events that tangibly affect all of humanity—one negatively, one positively. Adam's one sin in the garden condemned all people to death and made all people God's sinful enemies. Jesus' one act on the cross caused God to have peace toward the world and delivered all people from sin and death. Adam's one act brought the whole human race down. Jesus' one act lifted the whole human race up. Adam passed death/mortality on to all. Jesus brings immortality for all. Adam = death; Jesus = life (I like simple math). Romans 5:18–19 from the Darby Translation,
    so then as [it was] by one offence towards all men to condemnation, so by one righteousness towards all men for justification of life. 19 For as indeed by the disobedience of the one man the many have been constituted sinners, so also by the obedience of the one the many will be constituted righteous.
    And a little extra flavor on these same verses from The Message,
    Here it is in a nutshell: Just as one person did it wrong and got us in all this trouble with sin and death, another person did it right and got us out of it. But more than just getting us out of trouble, he got us into life! One man said no to God and put many people in the wrong; one man said yes to God and put many in the right.
    Jesus is indeed greater than Adam.

    The common traditional Christian teaching that Adam condemns all to death and Jesus saves only a small percent of the "all" is a loud lie shouted by Christianity with megawatt amplifiers. And religious people gladly hear it (2 Corinthians 11:4 - see above). Do not believe this Christ-diminishing lie!

    God is at peace with the world

    2 Corinthians 5:18–21,
    Yet all is of God, Who conciliates* us to Himself through Christ, and is giving us the dispensation of the conciliation, 19 how that God was in Christ, conciliating the world to Himself, not reckoning their offenses to them, and placing in us the word of the conciliation. 20 For Christ, then, are we ambassadors, as of God entreating through us. We are beseeching for Christ's sake, "Be conciliated to God!" 21 For the One not knowing sin, He makes to be a sin offering for our sakes that we may be becoming God's righteousness in Him. (CLNT)
    * God is conciliated to the world, meaning He is now at peace toward the world because of Jesus' death and resurrection. God's peace is toward us before our peace is toward Him. He is the Initiator of the peace. When both parties are at peace with each other, we have reconciliation.
    God's peace is toward the world through the completed work of Jesus. And this is true whether you believe it or not. Jesus said in Matthew 5:43–45,
    You hear that it was declared, 'You shall be loving your associate' and you shall be hating your enemy. 44 Yet I am saying to you, Love your enemies, and pray for those who are persecuting you, 45 so that you may become sons of your Father Who is in the heavens, for He causes His sun to rise on the wicked and the good, and makes it rain on the just and the unjust.
    Related imageJust as God causes the sun to rise and the rain to fall, God's peace is toward all men—the wicked and the good, the just and the unjust. And it's completely God's doing. Does He need your help to cause the sun to rise or the rain to fall? All these blessings are from the heart of God for all of us. He truly does love His enemies.

    Most of humanity, however, are not yet at peace with Him. For the vast majority, peace is currently flowing only one way—from God toward man. Except for those who've been granted belief(the elect), man's peace is not flowing toward God. This is because most have not yet been granted belief and are still locked in stubbornness. All will someday be released from stubbornness and shown mercy 2.

    "Haters gonna hate."

    Most of the world hates Jesus and His Father. Jesus says to His followers in John 15 (italics are mine),
    18 If the world is hating you, know that it has hated Me first before you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would be fond of its own. Now, seeing that you are not of the world, but I choose you out of the world, therefore the world is hating you. 20 Remember the word which I said to you, "A slave is not greater than his lord." If Me they persecute, you they will be persecuting also. If My word they keep, yours also will they be keeping. 21 But all these things will they be doing to you because of My name, seeing that they are not acquainted with Him Who sends Me. 22 If I came not and speak to them, they had no sin. Yet now they have no pretense concerning their sin. 23 He who is hating Me is hating My Father also. 24 If I do not the works among them which no other one does, they had no sin. Yet now they have seen also, and they have hated Me as well as My Father, 25 but it is that the word written in their law may be fulfilled, that they hate Me gratuitously (for no reason). (CLNT)
    Jesus tells us in John 3:19–20 one reason why the world hates Him and His Father,
    Image result for man in the dark imageNow this is the judging: that the light has come into the world, and men love the darkness rather than the light, for their acts were wicked. 20 For everyone who is committing bad things is hating the light and is not coming to the light, lest his acts may be exposed. (CLNT)
    Mankind loves the darkness and hates the light. He tries to hide from God like Adam did in the garden after he sinned.

    In addition to man loving darkness, another reason I believe man hates God and Jesus is because they're being presented damaging, distorted images of Them. The Christian religion teaches that the God of love will either eternally torment or annihilate His enemies when He could very easily save them from sin and death. This makes God out to be a monster to be feared, not a Father to be loved. And it presents Jesus as a failed Savior of the world (1 John 4:14). They teach (often without even being aware they're doing it) that His work on the cross didn't overcome all the results of Adam's sin. The unbelieving world hates these versions of God and His Son. They are disgusted that a God of love would eternally torment or annihilate billions of people that He brought into existence.

    False representations of God and Jesus damage Their good names in the eyes of those whom God loves and whom Jesus died for. The Israelites have misrepresented God for thousands of years, and Christianity joined them centuries ago. This ongoing, damaging distortion of God's good name affects the rest of the world negatively, "For because of you the name of God is being blasphemed among the nations" (Romans 2:24 - CLNT). Unbelievers blaspheme God (speak ill of Him, slander Him and take Him lightly) because they don't take seriously the distorted version of God that religion (Jewish or Christian) proclaims to them. They think, "If God is like Christians say He is, we want nothing to do with Him." And they remain in darkness, living like poor men, unaware of their billionaire status.

    There's nothing in the true God or the true Jesus that deserves the world's hatred and blasphemy. Just as Jesus says in John 15:25 (see above), "they hate me (for no reason)."

    God will eventually remove man's love for the darkness, and the distorted images of Himself and Jesus. His will will be done: "[God our Savior] wills that all mankind be saved and come into a realization of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:4 - CLNT). Don't skip over the "come into a realization of the truth" part. Then peace will not only flow from God to all men (the current state), but from all men to God—full reconciliation (the future state).

    Our call to the unbelieving world is this from 2 Corinthians 5:20, "For Christ, then, are we ambassadors, as of God entreating through us. We are beseeching for Christ's sake, 'Be conciliated to God!'" In other words, "Be at peace with God because He is at peace with you."

    God is currently applying the benefits of Jesus' work to those chosen to believe in this age (the elect). He will do it later in the coming ages for the rest of humanity. Those chosen by God to believe in this age aren't the only ones that will believe and enjoy salvation, they are the first ones to believe and enjoy salvation.

    ♩♪♫ "The future's so bright ... " ♬♭♪

    Image result for politicians congratulating each other imagesWe won't see and experience the full results of Jesus' death and resurrection until He returns to the earth to reign in the coming ages (Luke 1:33; Ephesians 2:7). Then we will know for sure that the results are caused by Him, not us.

    If we saw the full results of His work right now, while He is out of our sight in heaven, man would take the all the credit for himself. Donald Trump would probably be first in line to pat himself on the back. The rest of the world would be right behind him, ignoring God and His Son, and glorifying man for all of his great accomplishments. Modern medicine would steal the credit for man becoming immortal.

    Even though we don't yet see it, the full results of Jesus' work will be fully realized. The apostle Paul writes in Romans 4:17, "... the God Who is vivifying the dead and calling what is not as if it were" (CLNT). And we see in Hebrews 2:8, "'All dost Thou subject underneath his feet.' For in the subjection of all to him, He leaves nothing unsubject to him. Yet now we are not as yet seeing all subject to him" (CLNT).

    God knows the full results of what happened on the cross. And the end (yet to be fully realized by His entire creation) is as good as done to Him. He knows it will happen because He and His Son are going to do it. The completion of His plans depends only on Him and His Son. It does not depend one bit on man's input or effort. When man tries to help God in these things, failure is the result.

    God knows that the future reign of Jesus will be so successful that it will one day come to an end—He will finish the job: "For [Jesus] must be reigning until He should be placing all His enemies under His feet" (1 Corinthians 15:25 - CLNT). We need to see, by faith, this end reality that God is working toward, and not be deceived by the distorted false reality that spews from the mind of man—especially religious man.

    The Big Result

    The following shows us the end goal of God's work through the ages. It will be done. 1 Corinthians 15:20–28,
    Yet now Christ has been roused from among the dead, the Firstfruit of those who are reposing. 21 For since, in fact, through a man came death, through a Man, also, comes the resurrection of the dead. 22 For even as, in Adam, all are dying, thus also, in Christ, shall all be vivified. 23 Yet each in his own class: the Firstfruit, Christ; thereupon those who are Christ's in His presence; 24 thereafter the consummation, whenever He may be giving up the kingdom to His God and Father, whenever He should be nullifying all sovereignty and all authority and power. 25 For He must be reigning until He should be placing all His enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy is being abolished: death. 27 For He subjects all under His feet. Now whenever He may be saying that all is subject, it is evident that it is outside of Him Who subjects all to Him. 28 Now, whenever all may be subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also shall be subjected to Him Who subjects all to Him, that God may be All in all. (CLNT)
    God will be All in all. And the all really is all, see verse 27.

    "So what do I do now?"

    "Believe in Jesus and the finished work that He did for you. And enjoy your five billion dollars!"



    P.S. This post was inspired by some videos by my friend Martin Zender. You can watch them on YouTube. If you're in a hurry, you can watch them at 1.25 or 1.5 speed.

    1 "for to you it is graciously granted, for Christ's sake, not only to be believing on Him, but to be suffering for His sake also" (Philippians 1:29 - CLNT).

    2 "For God locks up all together in stubbornness, that He should be merciful to all" (Romans 11:32 - CLNT).