Saturday, May 16, 2009

Bittersweet Refinements: XXII-XXIII

Bittersweet Refinements is another book that I have been given to publish. If it gets to sounding an awfully lot like a broken player stuck on repeating the same old wrong song over and over again that is because it is to a fairly great extent. For most of it contains rewritten parts of the Bitter/Sweets that were published here before. Hopefully, it will get to sounding a lot better to you very soon, and for the benefit of those who do not have access to multiple versions of our Heavenly Father's Holy Bible, numbered Scripture references in the text (for example, [1]) provide links to such through Bible Gateway this time around. The same also applies to verses included in the text.

Chapter XXII
The Price

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. [Romans 6:23 NAS]

It is a principle that should not be foreign to any of us. For when someone breaks a law, it is said that they owe a debt to society.

Be assured that it is the same with our Heavenly Father’s Law. For when it is broken, a debt is owed to Him[1].

In fact, it is for this reason that the laws of this world were established. For they were given to prepare us for judgment[2].

Some judgment—huh? For even the slightest indiscretion carries with it the penalty of spiritual death[3].

By the way, do you really understand what a slight indiscreation is in our Heavenly Father’s sight? For it is written: “You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” [Matthew 5:27-28 NIV]

Yes, it was established in our Heavenly Father’s Law that a sacrificial offering for the atonement of sins could be made, but even during those days, it was understood that it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to wash away sins[4]. For it is written: Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation; {Then} my tongue will joyfully sing of Your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, That my mouth may declare Your praise. For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise. [Psalms 51:14-17 AMP]

Therefore, any pretense of saving ourselves is pure folly[5]. For if the price to be paid is spiritual death, then only spiritual death can pay the debt[6].

Therefore, are we not all in need of a Savior[7], and do we not have One in our Heavenly Father’s only begotten Son[8]? For it is written: For the Law, since it has {only} a shadow of the good things to come {and} not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins? But in those {sacrifices} there is a reminder of sins year by year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says, "SACRIFICE AND OFFERING YOU HAVE NOT DESIRED, BUT A BODY YOU HAVE PREPARED FOR ME; IN WHOLE BURNT OFFERINGS AND {sacrifices} FOR SIN YOU HAVE TAKEN NO PLEASURE. "THEN I SAID, 'BEHOLD, I HAVE COME (IN THE SCROLL OF THE BOOK IT IS WRITTEN OF ME) TO DO YOUR WILL, O GOD.'" After saying above, "SACRIFICES AND OFFERINGS AND WHOLE BURNT OFFERINGS AND {sacrifices} FOR SIN YOU HAVE NOT DESIRED, NOR HAVE YOU TAKEN PLEASURE {in them}" (which are offered according to the Law), then He said, "BEHOLD, I HAVE COME TO DO YOUR WILL." He takes away the first in order to establish the second. By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD, waiting from that time onward UNTIL HIS ENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET. For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying, "THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THEM AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD: I WILL PUT MY LAWS UPON THEIR HEART, AND ON THEIR MIND I WILL WRITE THEM," {He then says,} "AND THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE." Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer {any} offering for sin. [Hebrews 10:1-18 AMP]

In other words, our Heavenly Father’s only begotten Son, who truly is the Lord Jesus Christ[9], paid the price in full that was required under His Law by offering Himself up to be crucified[10] upon that cruel, cruel[11] Roman cross at Calvary[12], and all who will place their hope in Him shall never be put to shame[13]. For nothing has ever been truer than what is written: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” [John 3:16-18 NAS]

Yes, our Heavenly Father could have just issued a general pardon of sorts, but in doing so, He would have been (in effect) declaring that His Law was meaningless and not worth upholding. For in the case of a pardon, the penalty for the crime is set aside.

No, that was not something that our Heavenly Father was willing to do. For His Law is most certainly not meaningless[14], and it is most certainly worth upholding[15].

Nonetheless, let us not get caught-up in legalities[16]. For it was in order to prove just how much our Heavenly Father truly loves us that His Law was fulfilled instead of merely being set aside: For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath {of God} through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. [Romans 5:6-11 NAS]

Yes, it would be different if it was all for show, but it was not— be assured. For in order for the Lord Jesus Christ to truly pay the price that was required, He had to actually spiritually die, and for those few moments when He was truly separated from the love of our Heavenly Father and His Holy Spirit, They[17] were all in absolute agony[18].

{1}Ezekiel 18:4; {2}Romans 13:1-7; {3}James 2:10; {4}Hebrews 10:4; {5}Psalms 49:7-9; {6}Ezekiel 18:4; {7}Romans 3:23; {8}1 John 5:9-12; {9}Matthew 3:13-17; {10}Hebrews 9:11-15; {11}Isaiah 52:13-53:12; {12}John 19:16-30; {13}Isaiah 45:17; {14}1 Timothy 1:8-11; {15}Matthew 5:17-18; {16}Matthew 5:19-20; {17}1 John 5:8; {18}Matthew 27:45-54.

Chapter XXIII
The Descent?

Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) [Ephesians 4:8-10 KJV]

The answer to the proposed question is a resounding yes to many. For they have been led to believe that the Lord Jesus Christ did indeed descend into Hell during the time between His crucifixion and resurrection in order to set all of His children by faith free from shackles of death.

This is a doctrine that is based upon 1 Peter 3:18-20. For it is written: For Christ also died for sins once for all, {the} just for {the} unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits {now} in prison, who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through {the} water. [1 Peter 3:18-20 NAS]

Add to the mix the fact of Christ Jesus now holding the keys to Hell and death[1], and there appears be little that can be said to the contrary. For He would have had to have gone down there and get them—right?

On the other hand, is this not to look at things from a very limited point-of-view[2]? For if it can be accepted that the water that flowed from the rock in the desert for the children of Israel during their exodus from Egypt[3] came from the Lord Jesus Christ[4], how could it be so hard to accept that He was the One who went and made proclamation to those who are NOW in prison because of refusing to accept He told them back then—albeit through His Holy Spirit in Noah[5]?

No, it is not the intent of what I have been given to say (nor that of my own personal desires) to unfairly demean, embarrass, nor insult anyone in any way for whatever they may have come to accept as being the truth about anything, but did He not suffer enough[6] without having to also go down into the pit of Hell[7]? For the anguish that He subjected Himself to[8] was more than what any of us can even start to naturally comprehend—be assured[9].

Yes, it can be argued that it was surely a joy for Him to display His power over the forces of darkness[10] by taking the keys of Hell and death from Satan, but have they not always been in His hands[11]? For it is written: For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. [Hebrews 4:12-13 NIV]

{1}Revelation 1:18; {2}1 Corinthians 2:6-16; {3}Exodus 17:1-7; {4}1 Corinthians 10:1-5; {5}2 Peter 1:20-21; {6}Ezekiel 18:4; {7}Mark 9:43-48; {8}John 10:18; {9}Luke 22:42-44; {10}John 14:30; {11}Hebrews 13:8.

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