God's Purpose

Posted by triumphantloveinchrist.blogspot.com Labels: Saturday, June 14, 2014


God’s Purpose  

It is a sad fact that the vast majority of Christians are ignorant of God’s ultimate purpose for His creation. This is due mainly to Christendom’s leaders’ false teaching concerning the present evil in the world, and the future punishment of the lost. It is the failure to recognize God’s complete control over ALL circumstances in His universe that has led to a belief in “dualism”. This was the belief of an ancient Iranian religion founded in the 6th century BC, Zoroastrianism. Its founder, Zoroaster, imagined a universe in which an all good Spirit created the pleasant things in the world, while another powerful, all evil Spirit, created destructive counterparts, such as snakes, flies, and other noxious things to combat the good Spirit’s creation.
 
It is the concept of two “Gods” battling for control and victory over the created universe that Christian leaders have unwittingly portrayed to those in varied denominational assemblies worldwide. According to their dogmas, Satan is the evil god that has successfully overthrown the true God’s purpose of perfection for His creation. By ruining His original pristine universe, Satan has forced God to resort to a “Plan B”. In this scenario, an impotent creator, frustrated by the “free will” of mankind that follows Satan in his rebellion, is feverishly working to counteract Satan’s devices in order to convince mankind to follow Him. 

However, because Satan’s widespread Evil is more desirable than God’s Good, God will lose the vast majority of mankind to Satan, and must placate Himself with the rescue of a small minority of the billions of men and women created in His image. By Satan’s subtle intrigue, God, because He is holy, will be forced to banish most of mankind to eternal torture in Hell and then the Lake of Fire. God will ultimately neutralize Satan by imprisoning him for 1000 years, and finally confine him to the fiery Lake, at which time He will declare victory. But what a costly and hollow victory that will be! Satan will have claimed the lion’s share of souls that will remain forever hostile to their Creator. Evil will not only continue to exist, but will thrive and multiply as the realm of the damned is filled with curses for God eternally!
Thankfully, although the above scenario is the popular religious teaching today, it is completely contradicted by Scripture. A view of all world events gives the impression that the creation is a giant, slow-motion train wreck, having veered off the tracks of God’s purpose and headed for certain and final destruction. 

However, Satan is a created being, and as such, his power is limited to that invested to him by his Creator. The Adversary does not make policy for the universe, nor does he devise any plan of his own in order to thwart God’s purpose. He is merely God’s agent of evil, a pawn in the hands of the all-wise Creator. Although he certainly thinks he is free and autonomous, (just as men believe themselves to be free moral agents), all of his ways were known beforehand, and ordained by God to accomplish His mysterious purpose.

But, doesn’t this make God the Author of sin? No. God is the Author of evil. Evil is not sin. Sin is a mistake, an error, something God is incapable of. Evil is the counterpart of Good. God created Evil in order to reveal Good. Good would have no meaning without Evil, just as Darkness is essential to understand Light. Evil is a temporary tool of contrast being used by The Master Craftsman of the universe to reveal Himself to all His creatures. At the consummation, after God’s purpose is realized, evil will be discarded forever. 

The purpose for God planting the Tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil in Eden’s Garden is puzzling to many students of Scripture. Why would God deliberately place it centrally in His garden of perfection? Why would He not place cherubim to guard it from Adam as He did afterward for The Tree Of Life? Why was Satan given free access to God’s Garden to spread his rebellion and infect humanity? Why were there not two trees, one of Good and another of Evil, but conflicting things in one tree. 

The answer is that Adam did not know Evil before he ate of its fruit, but NEITHER DID HE KNOW GOOD! The Garden with all its wondrous delights, the delicious fruit, the perfect climate, the harmless animals, the daily walks with his Creator-Father was to Adam just “another day in Paradise”. He knew no other scenario. All these wonders were taken mundanely as a matter of normal life. The only way he could really appreciate Good, and therefore his Creator, was to be shown its opposite, Evil. The contents of the fruit did not infect Adam & Eve with sin; that came from their disobedience to the commandment to abstain from eating it. 

It is surprising to many that God knew Evil before Adam. He confirmed this fact after Adam sinned: “And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil.” {Gen. 3:22}

Man’s first sin, which Christendom teaches began the eternal doom of most of Adam’s progeny, was in fact the first essential lesson for an immature creature that his Creator was teaching him. This painful lesson was given in order to enlighten him to God’s essential Goodness. Adam now had the ability to compare Good with Evil, and therefore could enter the gateway of appreciation for his Father’s Goodness and Love. If this was not God’s purpose for Adam; if He created him with the determination of perpetual perfection, then God failed, He missed His mark, God sinned. This is our only recourse if we believe that God’s plans for Adam failed. If The Creator is reacting to man’s free will, and constantly adjusting His Plan in order to accomplish His purpose, then who is really in control? Free will makes man into God, and God into less than omnipotent.

But the Scriptures assure us that God is not adjusting to man’s decisions, and is in complete control. Neither are there two “Gods” battling for control of events.
“That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is none else.I form the light, and create darkness: I MAKE PEACE, AND CREATE EVIL: I THE LORD, DO ALL THESE THINGS.” {Isa. 45:6,7}

God has a reason for all events in His universe, a definite purpose toward accomplishment of His ultimate goal. This goal is the revelation of Himself, and afterward, taking up residence in ALL His creatures. He will realize that goal in due course, and cannot be thwarted. He is The Almighty!
“Remember this, keep it in mind, take it to heart, you rebels.
  Remember the former things, those of long ago;
I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me.
  I make known the end from the beginning,
from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say, ‘MY PURPOSE WILL STAND,
AND I WILL DO ALL THAT I PLEASE.’ {Isa. 46:8-10}

In order for man to exercise his “free will”, he would have to be totally free. But the Scriptures declare that man is not free at all, but is completely enslaved to sin, as is Satan. Satan and mankind make choices according to their limited knowledge and ability. They choose to do one thing or another only from what has been decreed concerning them or revealed to them.

 We have no “free will” options concerning our time or place of birth, our genetic make up, our family, our aging, inherited diseases, our involuntary bodily functions, etc. I cannot jump over my house or lift 10,000 pounds even if I freely choose to do so. Our choices are also limited by our lack of knowledge of the future. I cannot confidently “will” to be a millionaire or a professional athlete, for even if I have an iron will and determination to accomplish these goals, tomorrow may bring an unforeseen bankruptcy or a debilitating injury making such things impossible.

Only God has “free will”, for He alone is omnipotent. He alone is able to accomplish any and all goals He has determined. The creature not only does not fathom his Creator, he does not understand himself! A careful assessment of all known factors in a situation does not insure a man of the desired outcome of any decisive action. He cannot contemplate or make choices in things that he does not even comprehend! Scientific discovery is constantly amazing man about himself and his surroundings, things which his Creator determined and ordained to be there and function as He designed them according to His Free Will and Purpose.

Men are responsible only for God’s REVEALED WILL. Adam erred in his failure to obey his Father’s revealed will. This is the determining factor in God’s judgment of any person’s works. How faithful were we to the light we received? However, God had a SECRET WILL known only to Himself. His Secret Will determined that Adam’s disobedience would, instead of derailing God’s Plan for perfection, act as an essential step in revealing Himself to man. This is how God wields His tool of Evil in order to bring about His Good purpose. 

Take the example of Joseph in his trials. After his own brothers, because of their jealous hatred of him, sold him into slavery, we can only imagine the pain and despair of his broken spirit. However, through this great family tragedy, Joseph was eventually to rise to the position of ruler over all Egypt, under Pharaoh alone. God had a Secret Will concerning Joseph known only to Him. God ordained these circumstances in order to accomplish His purpose. Listen to Joseph’s assessment of all that befell him:
“His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said. But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? YOU INTENDED IT FOR EVIL, BUT GOD INTENDED IT FOR GOOD to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.” {Gen. 50:18-21}

The greatest Evil ever to occur was perpetrated on God’s own Son. When Satan entered Judas to betray The Savior, did he not think he was acting autonomously in devising this plan of evil? When the Jewish leaders had Jesus arrested and brought to trial, did they not think they were acting on their own? When the crowd, worked into a frenzy, screamed “Crucify Him!”, or Pilate condemned Him to an excruciating death on a cross, or the soldiers cast lots for His robe and mocked Him, and the scourging, and crucifixion. 

Did not all these individuals believe they were doing exactly as they determined to do? And yet, they were only acting out what The Father had predetermined concerning His Son. The prophet Isaiah had foretold these things hundreds of years before any of these actors were born:
“Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. After he has suffered,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities (sins).” {Isa. 53:10,11}

A glaring error of men is to confuse God’s process with His goal. There used to be an artist that painted nature scenes on canvas on a weekly television program. With broad strokes of his brush he would spread paint on his blank canvas in a seemingly haphazard manner. Mixing colors on his hand held block, he continued smearing and blending colors without any apparent order or sense of urgency to finish his work. Just when I began to see some order, he would partially cover a recognizable object with more broad strokes of his brush. Only when the program was near its end, did the awe-inspiring scene emerge from the seeming chaos of colors. The master painter knew exactly what he was painting, I did not. In the end, I could appreciate the perfectly placed brush strokes and the beautiful scene they produced. 

It is this way with God. Although there seems to be raging chaos at work in our world, the universe’s Master is methodically bringing order out of the seeming disorder. In the end, He will reveal a masterpiece produced by His marvelous Love and Grace, made possible by Calvary’s Cross.
God’s purpose was to use man’s Evil hatred of His Son to pay the sin guilt of all creation! The Father’s love for all His creatures drove Him to it. Pure love knows no other way but self-giving sacrifice for the beloved. Jesus willingly yielded to His Father’s Will, knowing that man’s supreme Evil would result in The Father’s supreme Good, salvation and deliverance of His lost possession. Contrary to religion’s doctrines concerning damnation and eternal torment, The Cross of Christ accomplished God’s purpose and goal, to save each and every one of God’s beloved creatures. His suffering assured the ultimate rescue of all the lost. 

Although limited future punishment awaits much of mankind, it is for the purpose of discipline and restoration, not perpetual torment. Mankind’s alienation from his Creator was necessary for him to appreciate his reconciliation to Him. God’s message for mankind today is one of reconciliation. He implores us to accept His Son’s sacrifice on our behalf, and to abandon any prideful attempts to gain His acceptance through our own religious works. A gift cannot be earned, it can only be accepted. Any attempt to earn it nullifies it as a gift. Christ alone earned it for humanity. When God reveals Himself to His creatures, all will humbly worship Him and ultimately respond to His love that conquers even the hardest heart. Then God will take His place in each of His creatures and become ALL in All! 
“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.  And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy.  For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in Him,  and through Him TO RECONCILE TO HIMSELF ALL THINGS, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross.” {Col. 1:15-20}

Posted by triumphantloveinchrist.blogspot.com Friday, February 28, 2014



BIBLICAL "DESTRUCTION"

Many readers of the Bible are willing to admit that the scriptures present the teaching of mankind’s ultimate reconciliation to his Creator, but are disheartened to find so many seemingly contradictory statements concerning the "destruction" of all unbelievers by God.

That these verses exist cannot be denied. The pertinent question being: What is meant by the term "destruction", and how can men be both "destroyed" AND reconciled? To put it bluntly, does the Scripture contradict itself concerning the lost of mankind?

Plainly, both outcomes for unbelievers cannot be true, if we rely on the common English understanding of the words "Destroy" and "Destruction".

However, the "New Testament" was not penned in English, but in Greek. So what is the meaning of these original Greek words, translated consistently to give the reader the idea of a horrible outcome? It appears from these verses that the unbeliever will be subjected to an end from which there is no possibility of recovery, but of a perpetual hopeless condition. Let’s take some verses that employ these words to see if we can gain a better understanding of the original meaning and intent of these texts.

The best way to determine the meaning of a Greek word is to trace its use throughout the rest of the Scriptures. By far, the most common word rendered "destroy" is the Greek word ‘apollymi’. It is often translated by the old English word "perish". The most famous verse employing it, being {John 3:16}; " For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not PERISH, but have everlasting ( Gk. aionios, age-pertaining) life."

We understand this word to mean something that will decay and rot, such as food that is "perishable". Here, as in other passages, "perish" is perceived by the reader to indicate a state from which no return is possible; a permanent, irretrievable condition of destruction and separation from God. This deduction is due in large part to the teaching of "eternal punishment" which all of us have been exposed to in our varied church experiences.

However, when we see that "apollymi" is used in other passages that also clearly indicate the RESTORATION of the person or thing, it forces us to rethink our previous conclusions concerning the intent of the use of this word. For example, from Luke chapter 15, Jesus’ parable of the woman’s "LOST" (‘apollymi’) coin, we know that after a thorough search of her house, her previously lost or perished coin is found, and restored to her possession.

The same is true in the companion parables of the "LOST" (‘apollymi’) sheep, retrieved from it’s lost condition, and restored to safety within the shepherd’s fold. And most notably, the "LOST" (‘apollymi’) son, who, after living a foolish, self- indulgent life, and reaping its harvest, is ultimately restored to his rejoicing father, even after his father considered him DEAD, and lost to him permanently.

"For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was LOST (‘apollymi’), and is found. And they began to be merry." {Luke 15:24}

In Paul’s writings, we find "apollymi" being employed in the case of a believer’s behavior toward another believer with a weak conscience. Paul exhorts believers in Corinth not to "sin against your brothers" and "wound their weak consciences", and asks:

"And through thy knowledge, shall the weak brother PERISH (‘apollymi’), for whom Christ died?" Similarly, Paul addresses the Roman assembly with this same issue; "For if because of meat thy brother is grieved, thou walkest no longer in love. DESTROY (apollymi) not with thy meat him for whom Christ died." {Rom. 14:15}

Are we willing to believe that a brother in Christ can cause another brother to become eternally lost or destroyed? Can a believer "undo" the work of God in another believer’s life, and put him in danger of eternal punishment? Of course not! The "destruction" is in callously offending a brother weak in his faith, so as to send him "off course" in his walk with Christ and setting back his spiritual progress toward maturity.

Apollymi sometimes gives the idea of being marred or ruined. "And no man putteth new wine into old wine-skins; else the new wine will burst the skins, and it will be spilled, and the skins will PERISH (‘apollymi’)." {Luke 5:37} The danger in this verse is the loss of the wine through the ruination of the wine containers. The containers are not lost, destroyed, or annihilated, but simply flawed, marred to the point of no longer being suitable to function for which they were designed. It may be possible for them to be repaired so that they again could contain wine, but in their present condition, they are unfit for their intended purpose, they are useless to their owner.

Similarly, the idea of being ruined or useless is in the account of Jesus’ miraculous feeding of the multitude with only a boy’s lunch. We read: "When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be LOST (‘apollymi’)." If the leftover food was not gathered, it would spoil, therefore being ruined and being of use to no one. Only by collecting the leftovers could they be rescued from certain "destruction".

In many passages, ‘apollymi’ clearly refers to the death of an individual. An example is found in {Luke 13: 2-5}

"And Jesus answered and said to them, "Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? 3 I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise PERISH (‘apollymi’). 4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise PERISH (‘apollymi’)."

However, it is unwarranted to project these or any other "perished" persons into a state from which it is impossible for them to be recalled. They may be temporarily "ruined" by physical death, but this does not mean that they are irreparably destroyed or lost to God.

Would there be anyone who believes that Jesus Christ perished upon His death? Yet, that is exactly what the Scriptures aver:

"Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.’ 33 Nevertheless I must journey today, tomorrow, and the day following; for it cannot be that a prophet should PERISH (‘apollymi’) outside of Jerusalem." {Luke 13:32,33}

Does the death of any person create an insurmountable difficulty for their Creator? Does not the Scripture plainly state that ALL persons will be resurrected at some point in God’s future timetable? Far from being God’s purpose for never ending torment, each resurrected person will receive a just sentence which will conclude in his repentence and reconciliation to God.

Another Greek word always translated "destruction" is ‘olethros’. A passage that some point to, which seemingly supports their concept of eternal punishment is {2 Thes. 1:7-9} which says:

"Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;

7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,

In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

9 Who shall be punished with EVERLASTING (aionios) DESTRUCTION (‘olethros’) from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.

It is clear that these who will experience "destruction" at the 2nd advent of the Lord will be shut out from Christ’s presence when He returns in glory to establish His earthly righteous kingdom. Two words must be defined for the truth of this passage to become clear. The first is "everlasting". As many will recognize from our previous studies, this is the Greek word ‘aionios’. Although mis-translated consistently by the KJV translators as ‘eternal’ and ‘everlasting’, this is a TIME RELATED word meaning "age pertaining", which has both a beginning and an end, which is not the case for something truly ‘eternal’ or ‘everlasting’.

The second word which we must define in this passage is "destruction". Once again, we will get a clearer meaning of this Greek word by tracing its use in other passages. This word ‘olethros’ is used only 3 other times in the Bible. The first is in reference to a believer refusing to turn away from a disgraceful, public sin in the assembly at Corinth. Paul admonishes them:

"For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,

4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,

5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the DESTRUCTION (‘olethros’) of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." {1 Cor. 5: 3-5}

Whatever this "destruction" is, Paul is not threatening this believer with a bodily destruction that cannot be reversed, for we know from this same letter to the Corinthians, that all believers will receive a resurrected, vivified body at the Rapture {15: 50-55}. This fleshly "destruction" being threatened is therefore temporary, not permanent. It has no lasting effects on his future state of perfection or presence with Christ.

The next occurrence of ‘olethros’ is in Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonian assembly. "For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden DESTRUCTION (‘olethros’) cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape." {1 Thes. 5:2, 3}



It is interesting that Paul likens this "destruction" of unbelievers, to the labor of a pregnant woman. Once begun, there is no deliverance from the fear and pain UNTIL the child is born, then the woman finds relief for her mind and body. This gives us a strong indication that this "destruction" of these unprepared people is also of a temporal nature. Their destruction comes suddenly, without warning, and with no present escape to be found UNTIL God’s purpose for them has been accomplished.

The last occurrence of ‘olethros’ is found in {1 Tim. 6: 9}:

"But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in DESTRUCTION (‘olethros’) and PERDITION (‘apoleia’)."

It should be noted that the word ‘perdition’ in this verse, is the noun form of ‘apollymi’, which we discussed previously. We learn from this verse that it is due to the desire to become rich in material things, that leads a believer into this "destruction" and "perdition". We refer to certain individuals that partake in "destructive behavior". We are not intimating that they are being annihilated, or destroyed beyond the realm of hope, but only that their actions are RUINING their lives!

Is it not plain to see, after our consideration of all these passages with ‘olethros’, that Paul is speaking of RUIN, MARRING, and a general CHAOS enveloping foolish individuals to their harm? But in none of these cases must we deduce that their condition is beyond remedy. Even the passage which seems so ominous, translated as "everlasting destruction" by the KJV translators, it is simply "age-related ruin".

Does not Paul clearly teach that every knee will bow before Christ, and every tongue give praise to Him {Phil. 2: 10, 11}? Does Paul not teach by the Spirit of God that it pleased The Father to unite all beings in heaven and earth in His Son, and to reconcile all to Himself through Christ’s Cross sacrifice? Are we not told specifically that although, at present, God has taken up residence in the hearts of only believers, a time is coming at the consummation of His Plan when He will become All in all His creatures? {1 Cor. 15: 22-28} Yes, He is able to elicit the heart-felt devotion of every one of His creatures, so that none remains ruined, useless, and lost, but all are restored, blessed, and found, by the omnipotent Lover of souls, and Seeker of the destroyed.

It is high time that church leaders put an end to the false teaching of eternal torment. Letting go of vain tradition is difficult for all of us. However, we must allow the pure sunlight of God’s truth to illuminate our hearts to the true character of our Creator and Savior. Let us rejoice together in His overwhelming and perpetual Love for ALL His creatures. Then, we will be enabled to jettison man’s false and devilish doctrines of hate, and to grow in the grace of our Lord of Love, and be conformed to His image.

 

Life from Death

Posted by triumphantloveinchrist.blogspot.com Wednesday, December 25, 2013

 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” {Gen. 1:1,2}

We see in this primordial account of creation, a stark picture of death. None of the figures of life are present in these opening verses of the Bible. Yet it is from this cold,... dark, formless emptiness, that The Spirit of God begins His transformative work to produce life in its fullness. This is always God’s modus operandi, first Death, then Life. We are inclined to think the opposite order is true, Life begets Death. But as we study the Scriptures, we are confronted with the inescapable principle that Life proceeds out of Death. Death is not the end, but the beginning of God’s ways. As a matter of fact, Death is the essential element in order for Life to emerge! It is impossible to enter the realm of Life, without first having passed through the corridor of Death. Death is God’s mandated pathway that is dark and fearful indeed, the result of Adam’s sin, but by faith we can be assured that it leads to a better and higher resurrected Life.

This is seen in figures of the everyday world around us. It is from the end of the individual lives of both sperm and egg when united, that a new life emerges from both in the form of a fetus. From the dark “grave” of the womb, the fetus evolves into a more complex and higher form to prepare it for the new and better world it must enter at the end of the appointed stay in darkness.
A caterpillar enters the sarcophagus it builds for itself, and must “die” there in order to be resurrected as a new creature, to soar to new heights in the heavens. As an annual reminder of The Creator’s way, the stark and barren tree of winter without a sign of life, transforms into the lush and thriving shade tree of summer. The dry and shriveled corn seed, lying buried in the cold, dark earth, when the appointed season beckons, bursts forth in newness of life, rising high above the soil which held it, and bearing no resemblance of its former self.

Our Savior used this very example to express the certainty of His resurrection from Death to Life:

“Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and DIES, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it PRODUCES MANY SEEDS. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates (loves less) their life in this world will keep it for eternal (eonian) LIFE.” {John 12:23-25}

There is a great truth in this passage for those that have eyes to see, and ears to hear. The death of an individual life brings life to many. While this is preeminently true of our wonderful Lord’s death and resurrection, there is truth here applicable to all. None of us “lives or dies to himself”, but we who have received Christ’s Spirit through faith in Him, are all vessels of blessing and life to others. It is when we die to self, that as members of His Body, we, by His Spirit, become channels of life to many!

Even that which we call ‘Life’ is really ‘Death’ in its various stages. We are born into this world dying, our bodies producing new cells to replace those that have reached their terminus. Even the replacement cells are themselves dying, and will need to be replaced if the body is to remain ‘Living’. If this process would stop at any point, our real state would become quickly apparent to all!

We are all existing in the realm of Death, which will finally claim each of us, some sooner, some later. Thankfully, The Son of God entered into our Death in order to impart His Life to us! Through faith, we enter into His Death and resurrected Life, believing that His death delivered mankind from a bondage we could never break free from ourselves, we receive His Spirit of grace, and are transformed incrementally into His likeness, as we focus on Him. We receive His Life BEFORE we finally die! In this way we are united to Him in spirit and need not fear our coming death, knowing that we will be resurrected by Christ’s power over Death to live with Him always and bask in His Love and Grace!
“Now if we DIED with Christ, we believe that we will also LIVE with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin ONCE FOR ALL; but the life he lives, he lives to God.11 In the same way, count yourselves DEAD to sin but ALIVE to God in Christ Jesus.” {Rom. 6:8-11}
“For the wages of sin is DEATH, but the gift of God is eternal LIFE in Christ Jesus our Lord.” {Rom. 6:23}
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For YOU DIED, and your LIFE is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, WHO IS YOUR LIFE, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” {Col. 3:1-4}
“But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as IN ADAM ALL DIE, so IN CHRIST ALL WILL BE MADE ALIVE. 23 But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.” {1 Cor. 15:20-23}
“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who SLEEP IN DEATH, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus DIED and ROSE again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have FALLEN ASLEEP in him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have FALLEN ASLEEP. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and THE DEAD in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still ALIVE AND ARE LEFT will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.” {1 Thes. 4:13-18}

God's Forgiveness

Posted by triumphantloveinchrist.blogspot.com

“Who is a God like you,
who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever
but delight to show mercy.
19 You will again have compassion on us;
you will tread our sins underfoot
and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
20 You will be faithful to Jacob,
and show love to Abraham,...
as you pledged on oath to our ancestors
in days long ago.” {Micah 7:18-20}

Why are Christians so willing to believe that the God they worship will one day forgive the nation Israel her many heinous sins against Him, but refuse to believe that He will extend that same forgiveness to the rest of humanity?

Israel is but a microcosm of all the nations of humanity. God purposely separated Israel out from all the other nations on earth, not because they were better than the rest, but because He wanted to reveal His abundant grace to all mankind, through the MOST rebellious of all Adam’s descendants!

In fact, Jesus declared that the residents of Sodom would have believed and repented of their wickedness had they seen His miracles.

“Then Jesus began to denounce the towns in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades. For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day.” {Matt.11:20-23}

If the residents of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum will ultimately be rescued from Hades (The Grave), and given their inheritance among the redeemed of Israel, then we can be confident that God will do the same for all His wayward sons of mankind. He chose Israel as the greatest example of His longsuffering grace, so that all men would be assured of their ultimate rescue from sin and death.

Even those of Sodom will one day repent before God’s awesome presence and be forgiven their perversion. This is not God OVERLOOKING sin, but the forgiveness of all based upon the death of His Son upon Calvary’s Cross. The price for their sins was paid. Sodomites will take their place among all those of Adam’s race, to declare the glory and redeeming love of their Creator.

Does this statement offend the reader? Read the following verses slowly and deliberately, and allow The Spirit of God to reveal their truth to your heart.

“Your (Israel’s) older sister was Samaria, who lived to the north of you with her daughters; and your younger sister, who lived to the south of you with her daughters, was Sodom. 47 You not only followed their ways and copied their detestable practices, but in all your ways you soon became more depraved than they. 48 As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, your sister Sodom and her daughters never did what you and your daughters have done.
“Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.
51 Samaria did not commit half the sins you did. You have done more detestable things than they, and have made your sisters seem righteous by all these things you have done. 52 Bear your disgrace, for you have furnished some justification for your sisters.
Because your sins were more vile than theirs, they appear more righteous than you. So then, be ashamed and bear your disgrace, for you have made your sisters appear righteous.
53 HOWEVER, I will restore the fortunes of Sodom and her daughters and of Samaria and her daughters, and your fortunes along with them, 54 so that you may bear your disgrace and be ashamed of all you have done in giving them comfort. 55 And your sisters, Sodom with her daughters and Samaria with her daughters, will return to what they were before; and you and your daughters will return to what you were before.” {Eze. 16:46-55}
Restoration is always God’s purpose. It was the self-sacrificing love of God for His creatures that brought The Son of God to earth. The same spirit of superiority that infected Israel because of their special access to God, has sadly taken up residence in the hearts of Christians today. God has given us clear statements from Paul’s pen, that He will save every child of Adam in the end. May we be delivered from the unforgiving spirit of the Older Brother of the Prodigal Son.

“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him ALL THINGS were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; ALL THINGS have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before ALL THINGS, and in him ALL THINGS hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in EVERY THING he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to RECONCILE TO HIMSELF ALL THINGS, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace THROUGH HIS BLOOD, shed on the cross.” {Col. 1:15-20}

What is Love?

Posted by triumphantloveinchrist.blogspot.com

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as ...an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” {1 John 4:7-10}

What is love? The Scripture answers this question simply and profoundly, God is Love. Apart from Him, love does not exist. The horrendous scene of Calvary’s Cross was the sacrifice of Love. Love always gives, not because it expects to receive in return, but simply because that is the essence of Love. It is what Love does. There is no such thing as “conditional love”, for these words are mutually exclusive. Love has no “conditions” for its existence or display, even when it is unwarranted or rebuffed.

Jesus Christ was the embodiment of God’s Love. He came to earth to reveal Love to humanity. Religion views God’s Love through the distorted lense of man’s conditional “love”. In order to justify this perverted view of Love, they affirm that God’s Love was only really meant for the obedient among His creatures, those that embrace His Love. They conclude that God’s “unreceived love” is transformed into distain and hatred for those that ignore, reject, or simply fail to respond to God’s Love, resulting in “eternal torment” for all those once “loved” by God.

So, as long as an unbelieving person is breathing, he is loved by God. But when that person takes his last breath, does God no longer loves him? Does He annull His Love? “Oh”, some say, “God loves all, and Jesus came to save all, but if God’s love is spurned, there will be hell to pay!” So The Savior, according to this doctrine, is not really The Savior of the world, as the Scripture affirms, but The potential Savior of all. This is a fleeting love indeed! Does this teaching accord with real Love? Is God’s incomparable Love erased by unbelief, and replaced with a torturous hatred more intense and overwhelming than His original Love?

Man’s religion has put God in a box. Men have limited the omnipotent Master of the universe by their small and heartless creeds. Christendom’s doctrine of Eternal Torment supposes that God’s Love is limited to a man’s lifetime, whether short or long. It is the failure to understand Love that declares an end of God’s work at the grave. John The Baptizer, filled with The Spirit of God declared: “ Behold! The Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world!” Was he mistaken? Christendom declares that most of the world’s sin will remain FOREVER, unforgiven, in a fiery “Hell”, with “The Savior” outside, locking the red-hot gates and holding it’s keys.

Hell is a myth, a word not found in the original languages of the Bible, a cruel sword of hate, invented by the clergy to instill fear, and to maintain psychological shackles on the people. Christendom has created an eternal torture chamber of fearful agony to elicit the mindless obedience of the masses of the ignorant. The mere thought of such endless torture overwhelms the sane mind. It presents the very opposite to the true character of The Father; that of endless, limitless love and tenderness.

It is undeniable that God punishes the disobedient, the question is: “How, and for what PURPOSE?” For what purpose do we punish OUR children? Is it not with the goal of correction and reformation? Is this out of our HATRED for our children, or our LOVE for them? Do we suppose that The Almighty is UNABLE, or worse, UNWILLING to accomplish the same for His created and beloved foolish children?

We need only to read the parable of the selfish prodigal son to get a glimpse of how God is able to restore even the most insolent of His children. It was only the humbling of his proud heart that restored him to his father’s bosom. Does the grave create an impassable chasm that His Love can never bridge? Would the fires of a literal furnace melt the cold hearts of those created in His image? Will not rather, the revelation of Himself to the lost child have the desired effect on the rebellious or the simply uninformed? As Job exclaimed when confronted by The Almighty: “My ears had heard of You but now my eyes have seen You. 6 Therefore I despise myself
and repent in dust and ashes.”

Were we left with no clear statements from Scripture as to the goal of The Creator for His creatures, we might be justified in believing in “eternal” punishment. It is a refusal to believe Paul’s gospel of what Christ came to accomplish at Calvary, that has led to such a sinister doctrine. Paul penned half of the “N.T”, yet never once mentions “hell”, much less threatens anyone with its torments. To him was given the secret blueprints for the consummation of The Father’s Plan for His creation. He reveals in his writings that mankind was ALIENATED from God, Christ’s Cross RECONCILED them; mankind stood CONDEMNED, The Cross JUSTIFIED them; in Adam, mankind was LOST, in Christ, they are SAVED.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.8 Love never fails. {1 Cor. 13:4-8}

“For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him(Jesus), 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” {Col. 1:19,20}

From Death to LIfe

Posted by triumphantloveinchrist.blogspot.com


Death is essential for new and higher life. This principle can be seen all around us. Nature gives testimony to this all-encompassing truth. A small, dry, seed, with the God-appointed germ of life within its hull, when b...uried in soil, gives birth to a new, and much greater entity, its roots expanding outward and ever deeper, established in the earth, and reaching upward toward the life sustaining rays of the sun.

The lowly caterpillar, drab and unnoticed, confined to the ground, and venturing not much beyond the locality of its birth, when it emerges in vibrant life from its spun sarcophagus of death, has no resemblance of its former self, and soars with graceful ease through the heavens above, its beautiful, higher form evident, observed and admired by all.

The seasons themselves speak of resurrection from death. Deciduous trees, with their lush, green leaves of summer, in the autumn, morph into new, colorful versions of themselves. Their life seemingly ebbs away and finally succumbs to the cold and barrenness of winter’s death. All seems lost, until at last, the warmth of the spring resurrects their life and begins the annual cycle once again.

Jesus said: “Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” {John 12:24, 25} This is the spiritual principle and counterpart to that which is visible to us in nature. Jesus often used parables concerning the natural world to introduce higher spiritual truth.

In the same way that a single buried wheat seed produces a stalk with dozens of life-giving seeds, a life lived out of loving sacrifice, and to the glory of God, results in death to the desires of self, and produces a cornucopia of spiritual abundance. This was the path chosen by our Savior, His selfless life and death securing mankind’s redemption through His resurrection, in the abundant power of a vivified life.

However, a seed never planted, that is, a life lived to the gratification of self, and a refusal to die to self-will, generates great shame, and future remorse when summoned before the judgment throne of The One Who sacrificed His all out of His great love for mankind. The self-willed unbeliever struggles blindly through his days, refusing God’s treasures as he holds tenaciously to that which has no lasting value. The SECOND DEATH will provide the only means of remedy for such a person, a necessary cleansing of ethereal fire, provided by The God of Love, to prepare the lost child to receive His resurrection Life.

Fire is used by man for the purification of any unburnable substance, and the elimination of that which is impure. Metals of all types are subjected to the furnace in order to purify, and eliminate any dross from the crucible. The Lake of Fire will not be God’s eternal torture chamber as Christendom teaches, or the means for the annihilation of those entering its spiritual inferno. It is rather the Master Craftsman’s REMEDY of reconciliation for those who entered physical death, not having died to self-will. This burning lake represents His Flames of Purification, fanned by His infinite Love, to prepare those He created and redeemed, through the death of His Son, for their spiritual cleansing, and a new, resurrected life with Him.

Those yielding to the Spirit of God in their lifetime on earth, are joined to, and united in the Death and Resurrection of Christ now. It is this spiritual life that produces love and joy in the believer, and teaches him to discard the empty hull of his dead former Adamic self, and seek after those higher spiritual treasures secured for him by his Savior’s blood. It is the triumph of Love producing a harvest of grace within him. This God-required and God-supplied faith, transfers the believer into the very life of Christ experientially through the in-dwelling of His Spirit.

It is the privilege of the believer to suffer the rejection and distain of those around us. In doing so, we join in our Lord’s heartaches experienced during His days on earth from those He loved and ministered to. Let us suffer now with Him, without bitterness or regret. Let us keep our eyes focused on Him, and pray that we may be conformed to His Image as we gaze on His perfection, so that we can say with our apostle Paul:

“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” {Phil. 3:7-14}


Knowing God

Posted by triumphantloveinchrist.blogspot.com


We have a common phrase in society to describe a beloved figure that goes as follows; “To know him is to love him”. When we really get to know a person through our constant interaction with them, varied nuances of their char...acter is revealed to us. “Love at first sight” is an impossibility. One may be attracted to another at first, but it requires much more time together to cause that attraction to grow into love. Often, that initial feeling of fondness, is completely reversed after a more intimate relationship reveals serious character flaws in that person that cause the initial infatuation to be changed into revulsion.
 
The goal of any relationship is to become more and more of one mind. In order for this to be possible, self interest must be set aside in the more noble quest to enter into the beloved’s realm of interest. It is only when we pour our energies and interest into the life of another that a new appreciation for that person takes form, and love is deepened to a greater degree.

Our Creator desires to have a fulfilling love relationship with each and every one of His created sons and daughters. The astounding thing is that God would love any one of us. We are all hopelessly flawed, with no capacity within, to perfect ourselves. Yet, the scriptures declare that, having complete knowledge of us, God loves us anyhow, and proved it by giving the best He could offer, His Son.

“For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” {Rom. 5:6-8}

Did Christ Succeed or Fail?

Posted by triumphantloveinchrist.blogspot.com


At first glance, this seems to be a ridiculous question. Of course Christ succeeded! He is The Son of God! He was and is incapable of failure! He asked the question of His accusers while on earth, “Who of you co...nvicts Me of sin?” We have the testimony of Christ Himself, “I always do that which pleases The Father.” At the beginning of His ministry, we hear The Savior say, “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. At the close of His earthly ministry, Jesus triumphantly declared, “I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.”

So, if Christ never missed the mark of perfection, but always accomplished the task for which He was sent, why does Christendom claim that He failed in His objective to save humanity? Jesus testified, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” And who are “The Lost”? Is it not every descendant of Adam’s race? And what was the means by which Christ saved the Lost? THE CROSS! The testimony of Scripture as to The Son of God’s success by way of His suffering at Calvary is overwhelming. Here are a few passages proclaiming this glorious message:

“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, WHO TAKES AWAY THE SIN OF THE WORLD!” {John 1: 29}

“They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is THE SAVIOR OF THE WORLD.” {John 4:42}

“I will keep on driving out demons and healing people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I WILL REACH MY GOAL” (Crucifixion). {Luke 13:32}

“When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “IT IS FINISHED!” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” {John 19:30}

“And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be THE SAVIOR OF THE WORLD” {1 John 4:14}

“That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, WHO IS THE SAVIOR OF ALL PEOPLE, and especially of those who believe. 11 Command and teach these things.” {1 Tim 4:10,11}

“His purpose was to create in Himself one new humanity out of the two (Jews & Gentiles), thus making peace, 16 and in one body to RECONCILE BOTH OF THEM TO GOD THROUGH THE CROSS.. {Eph. 2:15,16}

Consequently, just as one trespass (Adam’s disobedience) resulted in condemnation FOR ALL PEOPLE, so also one righteous act (Christ’s obedience) resulted in and JUSTIFICATION AND LIFE FOR ALL PEOPLE. {Rom. 5:18}

“For as IN ADAM ALL DIE, so IN CHRIST ALL WILL BE MADE ALIVE.” {1Cor. 15:22}

“For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him (Christ), 20 and through Him to RECONCILE TO HIMSELF ALL THINGS, whether things on earth or things in heaven, BY MAKING PEACE THROUGH HIS BLOOD, SHED ON THE CROSS.” {Col. 1:19,20}

Dare we say with apostate Christendom that Jesus failed in His objective? Are we to honestly believe that it is orthodox to hold to the idea that not only was He unable to rescue just a few of the worst of obstinate men, but that the vast majority of humanity, Hindus, Muslims, and apostate Christianity, BILLIONS UPON BILLIONS of humanity for whom Christ died and was resurrected, will finally be lost to the flames of “hell”? Such a dogmatic creed of religion reveals the blindness and unbelief of those that claim to wear the mantle of the Church’s “clergy”, and are eager to damn all other fellow sinners, in total disregard of the contrary message of the Scripture’s “Good News” for all.

I was also guilty of blindly swallowing this poison pill of religious pride for the first 52 years of my life, believing this destructive doctrine of eternal punishment. The sheer multitude of trained theologians attesting to the reality of “hell” and “eternal damnation”, suppressed the testimony of my heart and conscience. I somehow was able to ignore the evidence of The Spirit’s words of Christ’s total triumph over sin and death. I foolishly and arrogantly declared that man’s iron will would prevail over God’s, and that in spite of The Savior’s work of redemption, Christ would fail in His goal to save all.

A real danger in believing Christendom’s common creed concerning “eternal punishment” is the necessity of the EXISTENCE OF SIN FOREVER. For, if unredeemed men remain forever lost to the fires of “hell”, then their sins will remain upon them, and indeed multiply by their cursing their Creator for eternity. Instead of the elimination of sin, “hell” would only serve to multiply its growth and strengthen its grip on those desperately needing release from sin’s strangle hold. Then, Christ would be found to have fallen woefully short of His goal to save mankind. His title “Savior” would prove to be a misnomer, and would be a mockery and a title of shame that He would bear throughout eternity.

Therefore, when the Scripture declares that Christ indeed came to earth to eliminate sin from His creation, and not just transfer them to another place, namely, “hell”, we have a very real conflict of Church doctrine. But then, what do these verses mean?

Look, the Lamb of God, WHO TAKES AWAY THE SIN OF THE WORLD!” {John 1: 29}

“But He has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages TO DO AWAY WITH SIN BY THE SACRIFICE OF HIMSELF. {Heb. 9:26}

“He (Jesus) is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for THE SINS OF THE WHOLE WORLD.” {1 John 2:2}

The Church hierarchy have made this blunder in their doctrine of an impotent savior. Multitudes have suffered emotional torment at the thoughts of their lost loved ones experiencing unspeakable torture in “hell” at the hands of “The Savior”, for remember, Jesus is The One Who stated: “I have the keys of death and hell.” (Gk. Hades – Grave). Instead of giving our Lord His rightful title of ‘Victor’ over the grave and Savior of His creatures, they have portrayed The Lover of mankind as “Hell’s Gatekeeper”!!

Our leaders have mistakenly taught that all opportunities for salvation end at the grave, a teaching nowhere found in Scripture. On the contrary, we have direct, clear statements assuring us that God will reconcile ALL CREATION unto Himself. They confuse the spiritual enlightenment of believers before death, with an eternally exclusive “Salvation Club”, where only members will enjoy the accomplishments of The Savior’s victory over sin and death, they alone receiving His love and mercy, all others being hated and tortured for eternity. They mistake the gathering of God’s firstfruits with His full harvest of humanity. Eternal damnation is a narrow, evil, self-serving doctrine that must be repudiated if we are to make any progress in the love and service for our Lord, The Savior of The World.
 

The Beauty of Christian Universalism

Posted by triumphantloveinchrist.blogspot.com

 Christian Universalism appears to me very simple, consistent, and beautiful. It regards this world as God's, and the whole human family as His children. It accepts without distrust the fundamental fact of the gospel, that God, out of his great love to mankind, now alienated from him by sin, sent his only begotten Son to seek and to save that which was lost, and... by redeeming men from sin, to restore them to their right relations with God, and thus fit them to glorify and enjoy Him forever.

It teaches that whatever mystery or difficulty there may be in the work of redeeming and saving souls, it is precisely the same in one and all. The truth, the grace, the love, the spiritual power, that can seize and transform one sinful soul, yours or mine, a Peter's or a Paul's is able to seize and transform all souls, for it can accommodate itself to all possible diversities of character and all conditions of life.

It is in virtue of this comprehensive power and fitness for the work it has in hand, that the gospel of Christ is qualified to be, and is to become, in fact, a universal religion. If there is one human soul in the universe that Christ cannot subdue and bring into willing subjection to his law, he is not "the Savior of the world," as inspiration proclaims him, and not the Savior the world needs.

Yet this redemptive work, let me add, is always carried on in perfect accordance with man's moral nature. Transcendent and divine as the power is, it operates in harmony with all human powers, so that, while Christ subdues our hearts to his will and brings them in subjection to his holy law, there is no violence done to our personality or our own will. We never act more freely than when we recognize the divine love, and sweetly yield our wills, ourselves, to its all-conquering power.

It was his prophecy and promise, as he stood in the immediate presence of the cross, that if he were lifted up from the earth, thus signifying by what death he was to die, he would draw all men unto himself (John 7:32). And this word "draw" expresses admirably the attractive forces of the Christian religion and Christ's method of accomplishing his work. Men are not driven to goodness and heaven, but are drawn thither. And we cannot properly consider the power of the divine love, as exhibited in the mission of Christ, without feeling convinced that it is sufficient to do all that Christ undertook. Prophecy assures us that he will not fail nor be discouraged in his work, but bring it at last to a glorious consummation.

As there is one God, who will have all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, so there is one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time (I Tim. 2:3-6). And that Christian seems to me weak in the faith who does not see in his Lord and Master a will, a love, a patience, a persistence, equal to the great work he came to do.

Nor do the various punishments which necessarily befall the sinner, whether here or hereafter, in any manner interfere with Christ's redeeming purpose, or interrupt the processes of his grace. On the contrary, they may always be, as we know they often are, the means of breaking the stubborn will, and so preparing the heart for the readier reception of the divine love and law. And as Christ in his history has experienced all the states of human existence, having sojourned and suffered in this world, descended into Hades, and ascended into heaven, that as the Apostle says, "he might fill all things," so he embraces in the arms of his redeeming power and love the whole human family in all their possible states of being, whether alive upon earth, or whether they lived before the flood, or are to live in the ages to come. He tasted death for every man, and is therefore to be the Savior of the world.

In the language of the Apostle we say, "Wherefore, God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name, that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father" (Phil. 2:9-11). And it needs no argument to show that universal homage to Christ and this confession of him as Lord can be nothing else than a personal and individual act. No man can make this confession for his neighbor and the Apostle elsewhere assures us that these acts of homage and allegiance can be performed in no other temper than that of profound sincerity. "No man speaking by the spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed; and no man can say that Jesus is Lord but by the Holy Ghost" (I Cor. 7:3).

In the realm of the spiritual, forms and ceremonies count little, and unmeaning or forced confessions, in which the heart does not utter its own feelings and convictions, count nothing at all. The Apostle, in declaring that every knee is to bow in the name of Christ, and every tongue to confess him Lord to the glory of God the Father, was surely not speaking of any mere outward service or any hypocritical homage, and quite as little of that confession which orthodoxy madly dreams will be extorted from the damned in hell.

The salvation of the whole human race is what God proposed in the creation. It is what Christ came into the world to effect, and for the accomplishment of which he was given all needed power in heaven and earth. To this end he died the death of the cross, and thus tasted death for every man; and I submit that such self-sacrificing love cannot suddenly cool, or readily give over to endless torment souls for which it thus willingly suffered.

I should be ashamed of myself, if, believing in God and in Christ, I still feared their ultimate failure in this great work of redemption, whose history fills the Bible. God never fails. I cannot associate failure with him even in thought. It is for him who inhabits eternity, and who is at once omniscient and omnipotent, to say, "My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure" (Isa. 46:10). And I beg those of the contrary part to reflect that the final issue of the divine government, whether it be in harmony with our theology or theirs, must be what God saw it from the beginning, and what, in his infinite wisdom and goodness, he himself proposed.

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The above article was adapted, with slight editing, from the book "Endless Punishment In the Very Words of Its Advocates" by Thomas J. Sawyer, S.T.D., 1880

The Salvation of the Unbeliever

Posted by triumphantloveinchrist.blogspot.com

The following is a brief excerpt from the book "All in All", by A. E. Knock, pp. 89-97, entitled, "The Salvation of the Unbeliever".

Those who believe are saved by His grace (Rom 4:16). Those who do not believe are saved through His judgments. In both, however, it is He alone Who is Savior. Faith is but the channel of grace; it plays no efficient part in salvation. Judgment is but a means which God uses. It does not remove man's guilt or cleanse a single sin. That is done wholly and solely by the blood of Christ. Every effort to bring about the ultimate salvation of all through the purgatorial or penitential sufferings of the sinner is a denial of this great truth. Judgments do not save, but the God Who Judges is also the Savior, and all His dealings with mankind are governed by the grand goal that He has set before Him -- to become All in All His creatures.

The judgment of unbelievers takes place in the interval between the passing of this present earth and the creation of the new. Every tie that bound them to earth has been burned up. They are the subjects of the most astounding miracle ever wrought, having been raised from the dead. They are in the presence of the Divine Majesty. Their secrets are bared to His awful gaze. The character of their judgment, being adjusted to their acts, not simply as to severity but so as to correct them, will reveal God's purpose to save and reconcile them to Himself. This, followed by their death in the lake of fire and subsequent vivification at the consummation, becomes a means for their acceptance of Christ.

The salvation of the unbeliever will be by sight, not by faith. Otherwise, it is effected in the same way as that of the believer, by the word and power and presence of God. In the judgment day God will judge the hidden things of humanity (Rom 2:16). We are prone to consider this a mere exhibition of His omniscience to facilitate the trial of the sinner and to insure his condemnation. More than this, it can't avoid having a very powerful effect on the unbeliever's attitude toward Christ. The change that occurs in the ultimate salvation of the unbeliever is wrought, not only by his resurrection, but by the august judgment session, when he stands in the presence of Christ, with all his unbelief swept away by the awful realization of His power and the justice of His throne. We are asked, "Is it possible for them to repent?" Rather, we would like to know, "Is it possible for them NOT to repent, or change their minds?" We cannot conceive an unrepentant sinner before the great white throne.

The apostle Paul's case is of surpassing significance in its bearing on the salvation of unbelievers. He was the foremost of sinners, and it cannot be denied that, among men, there was no case quite as desperate as his. All question as to God's ability to save vanishes in the light of his call on the Damascus road. The miraculous means employed in his case surely would suffice for every one of God's enemies. Who will deny, on sober reflection, that the appalling power and glory of the august judgment session into which the unbeliever is ushered by his resurrection will be unutterably more impressive? The apostle's vision passed. He came back to a scene where all was as before. He alone had changed. The unbeliever sees the power and presence of God not only in his own deliverance from death, but in all around him. The vision does not vanish. The Divine Presence bides.

God's thoughts and man's imaginations are nowhere more at variance than on the subject of judgment, or punishment. God is love, man is hate. Jonah went through the streets of Nineveh, crying, "Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown!" God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way, and God repented concerning the evil that He said He would do unto them, and He did it not (Jonah 3). What did Jonah do? Was he not pleased at the success of his mission? Did he not glory in the character of his God? Alas! He was like the majority of the Lord's people today. Like Jonah, they imagined that God has a streak of hate in His character, and that He wanted to destroy Nineveh to give it exercise. He had an object, though, in threatening its destruction. Now that they repented and the object was attained, why should He belie His character and destroy them from sheer vindictiveness?? Jonah thought He ought, and so think those today whose prototype he was.

Is it not unfortunate that Jonah's God was a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenting of the evil that He had threatened? (Jonah 4:2). What did Jonah care for Nineveh? What pains had it cost him? What comfort did it bring to him? God, however, looked at it from His standpoint. In it there were sixty thousand souls more in tune with Him than sulky Jonah. He was their Creator, and He had not created them for naught. This is God's way with the unbeliever.

Resurrection vs. Vivification

Posted by triumphantloveinchrist.blogspot.com

Vivification is different from resurrection. The dead that are RESURRECTED to face the sentence of the second death, are not yet VIVIFIED, but will be after their sentence is complete. Although they are resurr...ected to stand before God, they are not yet immortal. This is evidenced by their “SECOND DEATH”.

But as final as this appears, with God, DEATH ALWAYS PRECEDES LIFE! Far from being a finality, Death is merely the necessary preliminary state in anticipation of the Life to come!

This is God’s final ultimate purpose and unwavering goal, to VIVIFY ALL His creatures. God saves humanity, not FROM death, but OUT OF death, that they might know and worship Him eternally, out of grateful hearts of love.

“I am charging you in the sight of God, Who is VIVIFYING ALL”.. {1 Tim. 6:13}

Most of us have been so programmed by our various religious backgrounds, to believe that God will ETERNALLY punish those that reject His Love in their short lifetime on earth. This belief and teaching runs deep throughout Christendom.

Our hearts simply cannot believe that God’s love could go beyond the grave to save ALL Adam’s progeny created in His image. Or, even if we believe that He WANTS to save them from their suffering, we imagine that His holiness will NOT ALLOW Him to do so.

So, we have imagined a hopelessly contraverted, bi-polar god, who struggles against himself. His ‘LOVE NATURE’ desires to do good to his “children of disobedience”, but is prohibited from doing so by his never-forgiving ‘HOLINESS NATURE’. How we have limited The Omnipotent God of the universe by our superstitious religion! God is Love, and Love never fails!

“because we hope on the living God, who is THE SAVIOR OF ALL MEN --especially of those believing.” {1 Tim. 4:10}


Our Bibles begin with these words: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”

The Creator made both realms, and therefore owns both, and all life that He made to dwell in them.

The eons were created by Him in order that He could put on display for His creatures man’s utter weakness and depravity apart from Him; but also, that which counteracts man’s doom, His redemptive Love and Grace. It is His goal that both realms, heaven and earth, be filled with creatures from His creative hand, to respond instantly to His Heart of Love. The Cross of Christ made this goal a sure reality.

The First Man was made from the soil, made in the image of God, and as such was God’s representative over the Earth. This first ADAM failed in his commission to administer righteous rule and dominion over it. Instead, he brought chaos and destruction to himself and God’s planet.

And so, due to the failure of the First Man, a Second Man was needed to correct the failure of the First, and save him and his descendants from destruction. Christ is The Second Man, as if there were no other men between ADAM and Himself. These two men alone bore the unsullied image of The Father. The First Man had lost that image by disobedience.

The Second Man was The Son of The Father, Who came out of the heavens, with the mission to reconcile all that was ruined back to The Father. Through Christ’s obedience to the Death of The Cross, He accomplished deliverance for all of those The First Man had lost.

In His resurrection to Life, He brought ALL of The First Man’s children with Him. Their Life is in Him, even as it was in Adam. All of The Father’s creation is safely back in His possession forever, because of The Cross of Christ.

“For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in Him (Jesus), 20 and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross.” {Col.1:19,20}

Let’s rejoice together in the VICTORY of The “LAST ADAM” and revel in His accomplishment of rescuing and reconciling ALL HIS CREATION!

This is our message to our unbelieving family and friends: “God is conciliated toward you, not counting your sins against you. He placed all your sins on His Son at Calvary’s Cross. Believe today that He has accepted His Son’s blood sacrifice for your complete deliverence from sin. By your faith in this good news, you are reconciled to God and delivered from any future separation from your Father, The all-powerful Master of the universe.”

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made Him (Jesus), Who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” {2 Cor. 5:17-21}

Posted by triumphantloveinchrist.blogspot.com Wednesday, October 2, 2013


God’s Purpose 

 

It is a sad fact that the vast majority of Christians are ignorant of God’s ultimate purpose for His creation. This is due mainly to Christendom’s leaders’ false teaching concerning the present evil in the world, and the future punishment of the lost. It is the failure to recognize God’s complete control over ALL circumstances in His universe that has led to a belief in “dualism”. This was the belief of an ancient Iranian religion founded in the 6th century BC, Zoroastrianism. Its founder, Zoroaster, imagined a universe in which an all good Spirit created the pleasant things in the world, while another powerful, all evil Spirit, created destructive counterparts, such as snakes, flies, and other noxious things to combat the good Spirit’s creation. 

 

It is the concept of two “Gods” battling for control and victory over the created universe that Christian leaders have unwittingly portrayed to those in varied denominational assemblies worldwide. According to their dogmas, Satan is the evil god that has successfully overthrown the true God’s purpose of perfection for His creation. By ruining His original pristine universe, Satan has forced God to resort to a “Plan B”. In this scenario, an impotent creator, frustrated by the “free will” of mankind that follows Satan in his rebellion, is feverishly working to counteract Satan’s devices in order to convince mankind to follow Him. However, because Satan’s widespread Evil is more desirable than God’s Good, God will lose the vast majority of mankind to Satan, and must placate Himself with the rescue of a small minority of the billions of men and women created in His image. By Satan’s subtle intrigue, God, because He is holy, will be forced to banish most of mankind to eternal torture in Hell and then the Lake of Fire. God will ultimately neutralize Satan by imprisoning him for 1000 years, and finally confine him to the fiery Lake, at which time He will declare victory. But what a costly and hollow victory that will be! Satan will have claimed the lion’s share of souls that will remain forever hostile to their Creator. Evil will not only continue to exist, but will thrive and multiply as the realm of the damned is filled with curses for God eternally!

 

Thankfully, although the above scenario is the popular religious teaching today, it is completely contradicted by Scripture. A view of all world events gives the impression that the creation is a giant, slow-motion train wreck, having veered off the tracks of God’s purpose and headed for certain and final destruction. However, Satan is a created being, and as such, his power is limited to that invested to him by his Creator. The Adversary does not make policy for the universe, nor does he devise any plan of his own in order to thwart God’s purpose. He is merely God’s agent of evil, a pawn in the hands of the all-wise Creator. Although he certainly thinks he is free and autonomous, (just as men believe themselves to be free moral agents), all of his ways were known beforehand, and ordained by God to accomplish His mysterious purpose.

 

But, doesn’t this make God the Author of sin? No. God is the Author of evil. Evil is not sin. Sin is a mistake, an error, something God is incapable of. Evil is the counterpart of Good. God created Evil in order to reveal Good. Good would have no meaning without Evil, just as Darkness is essential to understand Light. Evil is a temporary tool of contrast being used by The Master Craftsman of the universe to reveal Himself to all His creatures. At the consummation, after God’s purpose is realized, evil will be discarded forever. The purpose for God planting the Tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil in Eden’s Garden is puzzling to many students of Scripture. Why would God deliberately place it centrally in His garden of perfection? Why would He not place cherubim to guard it from Adam as He did afterward for The Tree Of Life? Why was Satan given free access to God’s Garden to spread his rebellion and infect humanity? Why were there not two trees, one of Good and another of Evil, but conflicting things in one tree.

 

The answer is that Adam did not know Evil before he ate of its fruit, but NEITHER DID HE KNOW GOOD! The Garden with all its wondrous delights, the delicious fruit, the perfect climate, the harmless animals, the daily walks with his Creator-Father was to Adam just “another day in Paradise”. He knew no other scenario. All these wonders were taken mundanely as a matter of normal life. The only way he could really appreciate Good, and therefore his Creator, was to be shown its opposite, Evil. The contents of the fruit did not infect Adam & Eve with sin; that came from their disobedience to the commandment to abstain from eating it.

 

It is surprising to many that God knew Evil before Adam. He confirmed this fact after Adam sinned: “And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil.” {Gen. 3:22}

Man’s first sin, which Christendom teaches began the eternal doom of most of Adam’s progeny, was in fact the first essential lesson for an immature creature that his Creator was teaching him. This painful lesson was given in order to enlighten him to God’s essential Goodness. Adam now had the ability to compare Good with Evil, and therefore could enter the gateway of appreciation for his Father’s Goodness and Love. If this was not God’s purpose for Adam; if He created him with the determination of perpetual perfection, then God failed, He missed His mark, God sinned. This is our only recourse if we believe that God’s plans for Adam failed. If The Creator is reacting to man’s free will, and constantly adjusting His Plan in order to accomplish His purpose, then who is really in control? Free will makes man into God, and God into less than omnipotent.

 

 

But the Scriptures assure us that God is not adjusting to man’s decisions, and is in complete control. Neither are there two “Gods” battling for control of events.

 

“That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is none else.

7 I form the light, and create darkness: I MAKE PEACE, AND CREATE EVIL: I THE LORD, DO ALL THESE THINGS.” {Isa. 45:6,7}

 

God has a reason for all events in His universe, a definite purpose toward accomplishment of His ultimate goal. This goal is the revelation of Himself, and afterward, taking up residence in ALL His creatures. He will realize that goal in due course, and cannot be thwarted. He is The Almighty!

 

“Remember this, keep it in mind, take it to heart, you rebels.
9 Remember the former things, those of long ago;
I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me.
10 I make known the end from the beginning,
from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say, ‘MY PURPOSE WILL STAND,
AND I WILL DO ALL THAT I PLEASE.’ {Isa. 46:8-10}

 

In order for man to exercise his “free will”, he would have to be totally free. But the Scriptures declare that man is not free at all, but is completely enslaved to sin, as is Satan. Satan and mankind make choices according to their limited knowledge and ability. They choose to do one thing or another only from what has been decreed concerning them or revealed to them. We have no “free will” options concerning our time or place of birth, our genetic make up, our family, our aging, inherited diseases, our involuntary bodily functions, etc. I cannot jump over my house or lift 10,000 pounds even if I freely choose to do so. Our choices are also limited by our lack of knowledge of the future. I cannot confidently “will” to be a millionaire or a professional athlete, for even if I have an iron will and determination to accomplish these goals, tomorrow may bring an unforeseen bankruptcy or a debilitating injury making such things impossible.

 

Only God has “free will”, for He alone is omnipotent. He alone is able to accomplish any and all goals He has determined. The creature not only does not fathom his Creator, he does not understand himself! A careful assessment of all known factors in a situation does not insure a man of the desired outcome of any decisive action. He cannot contemplate or make choices in things that he does not even comprehend! Scientific discovery is constantly amazing man about himself and his surroundings, things which his Creator determined and ordained to be there and function as He designed them according to His Free Will and Purpose.

 

Men are responsible only for God’s REVEALED WILL. Adam erred in his failure to obey his Father’s revealed will. This is the determining factor in God’s judgment of any person’s works. How faithful were we to the light we received? However, God had a SECRET WILL known only to Himself. His Secret Will determined that Adam’s disobedience would, instead of derailing God’s Plan for perfection, act as an essential step in revealing Himself to man. This is how God wields His tool of Evil in order to bring about His Good purpose.

 

Take the example of Joseph in his trials. After his own brothers, because of their jealous hatred of him, sold him into slavery, we can only imagine the pain and despair of his broken spirit. However, through this great family tragedy, Joseph was eventually to rise to the position of ruler over all Egypt, under Pharaoh alone. God had a Secret Will concerning Joseph known only to Him. God ordained these circumstances in order to accomplish His purpose. Listen to Joseph’s assessment of all that befell him:

 

“His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said.

19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 YOU INTENDED IT FOR EVIL, BUT GOD INTENDED IT FOR GOOD to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.” {Gen. 50:18-21}

 

The greatest Evil ever to occur was perpetrated on God’s own Son. When Satan entered Judas to betray The Savior, did he not think he was acting autonomously in devising this plan of evil? When the Jewish leaders had Jesus arrested and brought to trial, did they not think they were acting on their own? When the crowd, worked into a frenzy, screamed “Crucify Him!”, or Pilate condemned Him to an excruciating death on a cross, or the soldiers cast lots for His robe and mocked Him, and the scourging, and crucifixion. Did not all these individuals believe they were doing exactly as they determined to do? And yet, they were only acting out what The Father had predetermined concerning His Son. The prophet Isaiah had foretold these things hundreds of years before any of these actors were born:

 

“Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
11 After he has suffered,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities (sins).” {Isa. 53:10,11}

 

A glaring error of men is to confuse God’s process with His goal. There used to be an artist that painted nature scenes on canvas on a weekly television program. With broad strokes of his brush he would spread paint on his blank canvas in a seemingly haphazard manner. Mixing colors on his hand held block, he continued smearing and blending colors without any apparent order or sense of urgency to finish his work. Just when I began to see some order, he would partially cover a recognizable object with more broad strokes of his brush. Only when the program was near its end, did the awe-inspiring scene emerge from the seeming chaos of colors. The master painter knew exactly what he was painting, I did not. In the end, I could appreciate the perfectly placed brush strokes and the beautiful scene they produced.

 

It is this way with God. Although there seems to be raging chaos at work in our world, the universe’s Master is methodically bringing order out of the seeming disorder. In the end, He will reveal a masterpiece produced by His marvelous Love and Grace, made possible by Calvary’s Cross.

 

God’s purpose was to use man’s Evil hatred of His Son to pay the sin guilt of all creation! The Father’s love for all His creatures drove Him to it. Pure love knows no other way but self-giving sacrifice for the beloved. Jesus willingly yielded to His Father’s Will, knowing that man’s supreme Evil would result in The Father’s supreme Good, salvation and deliverance of His lost possession. Contrary to religion’s doctrines concerning damnation and eternal torment, The Cross of Christ accomplished God’s purpose and goal, to save each and every one of God’s beloved creatures. His suffering assured the ultimate rescue of all the lost.

 

Although limited future punishment awaits much of mankind, it is for the purpose of discipline and restoration, not perpetual torment. Mankind’s alienation from his Creator was necessary for him to appreciate his reconciliation to Him. God’s message for mankind today is one of reconciliation. He implores us to accept His Son’s sacrifice on our behalf, and to abandon any prideful attempts to gain His acceptance through our own religious works. A gift cannot be earned, it can only be accepted. Any attempt to earn it nullifies it as a gift. Christ alone earned it for humanity. When God reveals Himself to His creatures, all will humbly worship Him and ultimately respond to His love that conquers even the hardest heart. Then God will take His place in each of His creatures and become ALL in All! 

 

“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in Him, 20 and through Him TO RECONCILE TO HIMSELF ALL THINGS, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross.” {Col. 1:15-20}

 

http://triumphantloveinchrist.blogspot.com/p/the-good-in-evil_5344.html

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