Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bitter/Sweets: Some Choice

For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. {Romans 8:20-21 NIV}
No, none of us are given a choice of whether or not we want to be physically born into this world as we naturally are; and if what is of this world was all that there would ever be unto our existence: outrage would be most justified. For it truly is as it is written: The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem: "Meaningless! Meaningless!" says the Teacher. "Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless." What does man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises. The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again. All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing. What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one can say, "Look! This is something new"? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time. There is no remembrance of men of old, and even those who are yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow. I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. I devoted myself to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under heaven. What a heavy burden God has laid on men! I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind. What is twisted cannot be straightened; what is lacking cannot be counted. I thought to myself, "Look, I have grown and increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge." Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind. For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief{1}.

On the other hand: we are given a choice of whether or not we want to be one of our Heavenly Father’s children by faith; and with this comes a promise of much glory. For it truly is as it is also written: I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us{2}.

Therefore: let us not tarry. For unless it is personally revealed{3}: no one knows when their own end of this world will come to pass{4}—let alone: when it will be too late{5}.

Yes, this is a choice that is needed to be made. For only those who truly want to spend all of eternity with our Heavenly Father in His Kingdom of Heaven as an heir unto all that is His in glory will be welcome to do so after their own time as a part of this world has come unto an end{6}.

No, it is not good enough just to want to escape eternal damnation. For to think in such a way as this is (in effect) the same as to think that it would be better to be a member of a family (any family) than to be alone{7}.

In other words: the choice that we are given to make is personal—both for our Heavenly Father and ourselves. For it has always been His desire for as many as will to want to be one of His children by faith{8}.

No, this world has never been about giving us opportunities to prove ourselves as being worthy of our Heavenly Father’s favor. How could it be? For aside from being a work of His hands{9}: He has known everything that there will ever be to know about each and every one of us since before we even came into existence{10}.

It is, however, about giving our Heavenly Father opportunities to receive love that is freely given from us all. Hence: the real choice that we are all given to make{11}.

[{1}Ecclesiastes 1:1-18 NIV; {2}Romans 8:20 NIV; {3}Luke 2:25-35; {4}Ecclesiastes 8:7; {5}Matthew 25:1-13; {6}Revelation 20:11-15; {7}Romans 8:15-17; {8}John 1:12-13; {9}Philippians 2:13; {10}Jeremiah 1:5; {11}1 Timothy 1:5]

Bitter/Sweets: The Wrath Of God

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. {Romans 1:18-20 NIV}
Alas, is it not any wonder that our Heavenly Father would get so angry at those who do not want to even acknowledge His existence—let alone: accept Him as truly being their own Heavenly Father. For instead of just saying that He loves them enough to die for them: our Heavenly Father went ahead and actually did it by sending a full and equal part of Himself to suffer and die upon that cruel, cruel Roman cross at Calvary in order to pay the price in full that was required to redeem all of us from having the face the penalty of our sins{1}.

No, that is not something that is taken into account; and this is something that needs to change. For it would portray our Heavenly Father in a much better light if it was much more widely taught that the absolute truth of the matter truly is that the wrath that will poured-out upon the ungodly, come Judgment Day{2}, has so much more to do with the anguish of a broken heart (His heart: to be exact{3}) than it does with righteous indignation{4}.

Yes, from our own very limited ground-based points-of-view{5}: that sounds rather petty. For who from amongst has the right to think of another: “If I cannot have them, then no one else will”???

On the other hand: it is not the same with our Heavenly Father as it is with us. For even in the case of an earthly parent and their child: they do not have the right to do away with them because they actually belong unto Him{6}; and we are all the work of His hands{7}.

In other words: we were all created by Him for Him{8}. Therefore: our Heavenly Father has the right to do with us as He wills{9}.

Nonetheless: let us not dwell upon the threat of destruction{10}. For we were all created to spend all of eternity with our Heavenly Father in His Kingdom of Heaven as heirs unto all that is His in glory{11}!!!

[{1}Romans 5:6-11; {2}Revelation 20:11-15; {3}Jeremiah 3:12-13; {4}Genesis 6:5-7; {5}Isaiah 55:8-9; {6}Psalm 139:13-16; {7}Isaiah 64:8; {8}Colossians 1:16; {9}Isaiah 29:15-16; {10}1 John 4:16-19; {11}Romans 8:15-21]

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Bitter/Sweets: 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 unto the question proposed is a resounding yes unto 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}

Add Revelation 1:18 unto the mix; and there appears to be little that can be said unto the contrary. For how could Christ Jesus hold the keys of Hell and death{2} unless He went down there and got them???

On the other hand: is this not to look at things from a very limited point-of-view{3}? 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{4} came from the Lord Jesus Christ{5}: how could it be so hard to accept that He was the One who went and made proclamation unto those who are NOW in prison—albeit through His Holy Spirit in Noah???

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 anyway 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 unto{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 been in His hands all along{11}—albeit in the hands of our Heavenly Father? For it truly is as it is written: "I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him."{12}

[{1}1Peter 3:18-20 NAS; {2}Revelation 1:18; {3}1 Corinthians 2:6-16; {4}Exodus 17:1-7; {5}1 Corinthians 10:1-5; {6}Ezekiel 18:4; {7}Mark 9:43-48; {8}John 10:18; {9}Luke 22:42-44; {10}John 14:30; {11}Revelation 13:8; {12}Luke 12:4-5 NIV]

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Bitter/Sweets: 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 unto any of us. For when someone breaks a law it is said that they owe a debt unto society.

Be assured that it is the same with our Heavenly Father’s Law. For when it is broken: a debt is owed unto 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}.

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 truly is as 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.{5}

Therefore: any pretense of saving ourselves is pure folly. For if the price to be paid is spiritual death: then only spiritual death can pay the debt; and after you are dead: you are dead{6}!!!

Therefore: are we not all in need of a Savior; and do we not have One in our Heavenly Father’s only begotten Son{7}? For it truly is as it is also 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.{8}

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.”{14}

Yes, our Heavenly Father could have just issued a general pardon; 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 of the crime is set aside.

No, that was not something that our Heavenly Father was willing to do. For His Law is not meaningless{15}; and it is most certainly worth upholding{16}.

Nonetheless: let us not get caught-up in legalities{17}. 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.{18}

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 spiritually die; and for those few moments when He was truly separated from the love of our Heavenly Father: They{19} were all in absolute agony{20}.

[{1}Ezekiel 18:4; {2}Romans 13:1-7; {3}James 2:10; {4}Hebrews 10:4; {5}Psalm 51:14-17 AMP; {6}Psalm 49:7-9; {7}1 John 5:9-12; {8}Hebrews 10:1-18 AMP; {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}John 3:16-18 NAS; {15}1 Timothy 1:8-11; {16}Matthew 5:17-18; {17}Matthew 5:19-20; {18}Romans 5:6-11 NAS; {19}1 John 5:8; {20}Matthew 27:45-54]

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Bitter/Sweets: Law And Disorder

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one {point,} he has become guilty of all. {James 2:10 NAS}
No, it is not at all true that we are really nothing more than puppets on our Heavenly Father’s string. For how could we be found guilty of breaking His Law if it was not by our own actions that it was broken{1}?

Nonetheless: it would not be all that far-fetched to think of the reality of our situation in this world as having been given enough rope to hang ourselves{2}. That is: at least not from our own very limited ground-based points-of-view{3}. For our Heavenly Father could have created us just as invulnerable unto the temptations of sin as He absolutely is{4}.

On the other hand: it would be better if we did not, of course. For it is truly is as it is written: For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God {did:} sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and {as an offering} for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.{5}

Is this to say that our Heavenly Father’s Law failed to meet its objective? MAY IT NEVER BE!!! For it truly is as it is also written: So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.{6}

In other words: we (as in: all of mankind) have been in need of a Savior ever since sin entered into this world through the disobedience of Adam in the Garden of Eden{7}; but before the Law was given through Moses{8}: sin was not generally taken into account as being unlawful by mankind{9}. Therefore: the Law was given in order to make it easier for us to see just how desperately in need of a Savior we naturally are{10}.

Yes, much of that certainly appears to support the notion that we are all born into sin; but be assured that to believe in such a way as this is to miss the point. For being physically born into a world full of sin is not the same as to be born sinful{11}!!!

[{1}Colossians 3:25; {2}Romans 7:14-25; {3}Colossians 3:2; {4}James 1:13-15; {5}Romans 8:3-4 NAS; {6}Romans 5:18-21 NAS; {7}Genesis 3:1-15; {8}John 1:17; {9}Romans 5:12-14; {10}1 Timothy 1:8-11; {11}Ezekiel 18:20]

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Bitter/Sweets: Command And Control

For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all. {Romans 11:32 NIV}
I like to refer unto them as being “eye-poppers”. For when I “find”{1} such a verse: it feels like my eyes are about to pop out of their sockets.

It would also be appropriate to refer unto them as being Scriptural grenades. For they appear to be of little consequence at first glance; but in the right hands: they have the potential to blow-up venerated traditions{2}.

Romans 11:32 is such a verse. For it serves as written confirmation of the absolute truth of the matter truly being that we are not nearly as free to do as we like as what we have been so strongly encouraged to believe{3}.

Alas, is it not any wonder that seldom is a sermon heard that is based upon this verse. For hearing it preached that it has been put into writing that none of us can really be good (in, and of, ourselves) is not something that far too many want to hear{4}.

Yes, many would argue that the main reason why there are not that many sermons based upon Romans 11:32 is because is represents old news. For it is already well established that all are born into sin{5}.

Ah, but for that to be true: Ezekiel 18:20 would have to be false. For it is written: The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him.{6}

No, this is not to deny that all have sinned. For it truly is as it is also written: There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins.{7}

Nonetheless: let it be widely known and well understood that what Romans 11:32 is really addressing is something much more personal. For it is the same today as it was during the days of the Prophet Ezekiel: For every living soul belongs to me, the father as well as the son--both alike belong to me. The soul who sins is the one who will die.{8}

Yes, since none of us would purposely subject ourselves unto all that our Heavenly Father truly has{9}: it is naturally inconceivable that the Creator of us all would. For who from amongst us would allow something that they had created for their own good pleasure{10} to continue to fail to meet their expectations if there was anything that they could do about it? After all: would it not be preferable to just destroy it and start all over rather than leave it as a reminder of a miserable failure? That is: unless it did not mean all that much unto them in the first-place, of course.

No, that is not something that applies unto our Heavenly Father. For it truly is as it is written: “Therefore, O house of Israel, I will judge you, each one according to his ways, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!”{11}

Neither should it be assumed that it must be that there is nothing that He can do about our inherent unrighteousness. For it truly is as it is also written: “If he snatches away, who can stop him? Who can say to him, ‘What are you doing?’”{12}

Yes, there are many who would point unto a discussion between our Heavenly Father and Moses as being an indication of why we are still around. For it is written: "I have seen these people," the LORD said to Moses, "and they are a stiff-necked people. Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation." But Moses sought the favor of the LORD his God. "O LORD," he said, "why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, `It was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth'? Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people. Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: `I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.' " Then the LORD relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.{13}

Be assured that they do have a point. For it is because of the promise given unto us all that we have hope{14}.

Nonetheless: do not take too much stock in the premise that it is because of our Heavenly Father not wanting to appear unrighteous in the eyes of His enemies that is the real reason for why we still exist. For both the deceiver and the deceived are His to do with as He likes{15}.

Yes, that leaves us with only one conclusion to accept. For unless we are willing to believe that our Heavenly Father must not be all that He actually says that He absolutely is: it must be accepted that even our sinfulness is by design{16}. For who could do anything against His will if He truly is all-powerful{17}? Moreover: would He not know all about the deed to be done even before it came to mind if He is truly all-knowing{18}; and would He not actually be there at the very moment that it came to pass if He is truly always-present{19}?

No, this is not to say that we were created to sin. For the absolute truth of the matter truly is that we were created without the ability not to sin{20}.

Yes, there is a big difference between the two; but of what significance is it if it cannot be accepted that our Heavenly Father truly is perfect in all of His most awesome ways{21}? For it may very well be that the Apostle Paul really was out of his mind{22} to place into writing the rest of the story unto Romans 11:32: Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! "Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?" "Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?" For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.{23}

[{1}Isaiah 65:1-2; {2}Matthew 10:19-20; {3}Proverbs 16:33; {4}2 Timothy 4:2-4; {5}Romans 3:23; {6}Ezekiel 18:20 NIV; {7}Ecclesiastes 7:20 NIV; {8}Ezekiel 18:4 NIV; {9}Romans 8:20; {10}Philippians 2:13; {11}Ezekiel 18:30-32 NIV; {12}Job 9:12 NIV; {13}Exodus 32:9-14 NIV; {14}Galatians 3:26-29; {15}Job 12:16; {16}Colossians 1:16-17; {17}Psalm 33:6-11; {18}Psalm 94:11; {19}Psalm 139:1-16; {20}Proverbs 20:9; {21}Psalm 18:30-32; {22}2 Corinthians 11:16-29; {23}Romans 11:33-36 NIV]

Monday, October 8, 2007

Bitter/Sweets: The Freedom To Choose

And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. {Joshua 24:15 AMP}
Yes, we do have a certain amount of what is commonly referred unto as being “freewill”. For we could not be of any true and lasting value unto our Heavenly Father without it{1}.

It is, however, extremely limited. In fact: it is only in regards unto the choice that we are given to make about wanting to truly accept our Heavenly Father as truly being our own Heavenly Father that we can be confident of there not being any divine intervention involved{2}.

No, this is not to say that we are all on our own in this. For no one can come unto our Heavenly Father except through His only begotten Son{3}; and no one can come unto His only begotten Son unless our Heavenly Father draw them{4}.

Yes, it would appear that not all are given a choice in the matter. That is, of course, unless you are of the opinion that all who fail to reach their own age of accountability before their own time as a part of this world never counted in the first place.

No, it has not been revealed unto me just exactly how it will work in our Heavenly Father’s Kingdom Of Heaven. For that is on a strictly need to know basis{5}; and I obviously do not need to know—albeit only at this time{6}. For if I did need to know: it would have been already revealed unto me{7}.

Anyway: what I do know is that it will be as it should be in the end. For no one will be forced to spend all of eternity with our Heavenly Father in His Kingdom Of Heaven as an heir unto all that is His in glory against their own desires not to do so{8}.

Alas, there is another thing that needs to be addressed before proceeding further. For there are some who have become convinced that none of us are given any choice in the matter at all.

This is, of course, a result of unbridled Calvinism in the extreme; but in all fairness: they do have some Scriptures to point unto. For it truly is as it is written: The Lord has made everything [to accommodate itself and contribute] to its own end {and} His own purpose--even the wicked [are fitted for their role] for the day of calamity {and} evil.{9}

The ninth chapter of Romans appears to make it all the more clear that our Heavenly Father creates some for glory and all of the rest for destruction; but I would think that most (if not: all) would want to believe that the passage is meant to be rhetorical in nature. For who in their right-mind{10} would want to spend all of eternity with someone so cruel? After all: what would there be to prevent Him from changing His mind about even the elect{11} somewhere down the line{12}???

[{1}Ephesians 5:22-32; {2}John 1:12-13; {3}John 14:6; {4}John 6:44; {5}2 Corinthians 12:4; {6}John 20:29; {7}2 Peter 1:3; {8}John 6:66-67; {9}Proverbs 16:4 AMP; {10}1 Corinthians 2:6-16; {11}Matthew 24:21-31; {12}Job 34:12-15]

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Bitter/Sweets: Contractual Obligations

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one.”
{John 10: 27-30 NIV}

No, there is no reason to worry about being stolen from our Heavenly Father’s pen; but this is not to say that the gate is kept closed{1}. For it would not fulfill our Heavenly Father’s purposes to force anyone to spend all of eternity with Him in His Kingdom of Heaven as an heir unto all that is His in glory against their own desires not to do so{2}.

Therefore: let us want to guard against taking too much for granted. For this is surely a path that leads unto destruction{3}.

A good example of this involves something that I was allowed and enabled to experience first-hand. For I was raised to believe that once a person is saved from eternal damnation through the acceptance of Christ Jesus as truly being their own personal Lord and Savior{4} that they will remain saved—no matter what{5}.

Then I was changed; and it all came into focus for me{6}. For instead of it being like a contract that cannot be altered in any way by either party involved: the absolute truth of the matter truly is that a child of our Heavenly Father’s family remains a member of His family forever{7}.

In other words: it is all about being wanted; and this is something that we can all have faith in. For it truly is as it is written: “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”{8}

No, it does not help matters much that it has been so widely taught that the love of God is nothing personal. For that promotes an image of our Heavenly Father not wanting anyone to perish{9} as being more about keeping score than anything else.

Alas, what a dreadful thing to look forward unto. For who would want to spend all of eternity with someone who could not care less about whether "they" (as in: a unique individual) are really there or not.

Yes, it would be better than being cast into the Lake of Fire{10}; but if you would ask someone who is spending their life in a loveless marriage: I am quite sure that they would be of the opinion that it would not be all that much better. For if spending only twenty years in such a situation can feel like forever: just think what FOREVER AND EVER is going to feel like if the love that our Heavenly Father has for us truly is completely devoid of passion.

[{1}John 10:9; {2}John 1:12-13; {3}Matthew 15:13-14; {4}John 3:16; {5}Psalm 25:3; {6}2Corinthians 5:14-21; {7}John 8:35; {8}John 6:37-40 NIV; {9}Ezekiel 18:32; {10}Revelation 20:10-15]