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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).
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"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).

Sunday, February 18, 2018

"What are the foundational truths of Jesus we must believe to realize our salvation?"

Image result for shut up imageI'm going to shut up and let the Scriptures speak for themselves. Maybe I/we should do this more often.

The apostle Paul tells us the truths he first accepted about Jesus, and that we must accept in order to realize the salvation Jesus has already bought for us. He reminds a group of believers what Jesus did for them (and us, and the world) that is at the heart of their faith in Him. 1 Corinthians 15:1–4 (words in italics 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
It's perfectly fine (and recommended) to reread these powerful words—maybe several times—to really sink them into your heart.

1. Christ died
2. Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures
3. He was entombed
4. He has been roused the third day according to the scriptures

Believe in Him.


P.S. I can't stay quiet for long. If you'd like to read a much more in depth treatment of the good news where I don't shut up, read The good news of Jesus and how it benefits you

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Recent Reads:

"God used this small book
to change my life. After
fifteen years in the pulpit,
I finally understand what hell is.
Better late than never." 
-J. Marcus Oglesby, M. Div.

Martin Zender Goes to Hell

My most recent read is by "the World's Most Outspoken Bible Scholar," Martin Zender.

I was not disappointed.

In Martin Zender Goes to Hell, the critically acclaimed writer, bible scholar, humorist, essayist, radio personality, conference speaker, and former Catholic sheds heavenly light on one of the most feared, misunderstood and mistranslated subjects in the Bible—hell.

In this book you'll gain non-traditional insights into:
  • the myth of eternal torment
  • God's reasons for causing mistranslations of His words
  • the salvation of all
  • the lake of fire
  • the Rich Man and Lazarus
  • the sheep-and-goats judgment of Matthew 25
  • the limitations of Jesus' earthly teachings
  • the progressive revelation of Jesus' post-resurrection teachings through the apostle Paul

This short book (95 pages) is sprinkled with helpful and humorous illustrations. Included among these is the soon-to-be-classic original song Sons of Jacob.

Martin teaches those serious about their faith how to dig deeper into God's words to find the truth. I laughed out loud while I learned valuable, faith-building facts about our amazing Savior.

Click on the book to get your copy today.