Adullams Cave

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Christ came to save!

How can we tell people that God loves them unconditionally and in the same breath tell them they must believe or they are going to eternal torment?

It is the greatest oxy-moron in Christendom: People are condemned to the fiery tortures of hell forever unless they believe in the FREE GIFT of Christ and his death and resurrection. It does not make any sense. That God so freely offers the life of his son as the redemption price for the life of the world but then puts a price tag on the appropriation of that free gift; namely, the person's ability to believe it. It is the same as offering someone a free service but then charging them for the trouble of giving it to them freely. You see the problem don't you? According to the bible, faith to believe unto salvation is also a gift. Therefore it cannot be this God whom we have come to know as one of infinite love has given the gift of eternal life to some and condemned others to suffer excruciating torment forever. The God that I have come to know so dearly is not like this. "God is love." It is not in his character to behave this way. Even if there is a stipulation to believe then surely it is given to all men at the moment of death or even afterward. Otherwise the scripture that speaks of Jesus coming to SAVE the world and that he is the savior of ALL men cannot be true. I wonder too at Pauls message to the Corinthians when he says, "do you not know that you will judge the world?" It may be that we who have received mercy upon mercy for our sins are one day given the opportunity to show that same mercy to all those who have not known it in this life.

Do not think the world is not aware of this stark contradiction that perpetually emanates from the visible church. At every level of the traditional church system the stench of this deception permeates its every word and action because it packages God's unconditional love in a box made of conditions. Conditions that the church itself has wrongfully prescribed and that are impossible for the majority of people to fulfill. The world smells this stench much more clearly than we do and they are kept at a distance because of it. I mean it simply is not logical to say to someone "Jesus loves you and died for you - all you have to do is believe." Such a statement robs the true cross of its saving power. It corrupts the pure good news of the gospel and turns it into just another religion where individuals must earn their way to God and his heaven. Blahhhhhhh!

I mean, when we sow the seeds of the gospel in a manner which is in any way conditional we actually disempower the hearer from being able to believe. It is the same as creating a spiritual law and trying to enforce people to obey it. It always has the opposite effect because the law, according to Paul the Apostle, is what empowers sin in the first place. When we say to others "oh you just have to say the sinners prayer, you just have to put your hand up, you just have to go up to the altar, you just have to repent, you just have to be baptised, you just have to jump through these hoops, you just have to walk over glass and wrestle a bear while reciting psalm 119,"... all we do is enable them to stay in darkness. Many will not hear a false voice, they are waiting for the true voice of Jesus whose yoke is easy and whose burden is light, the voice of the Good Shepard who lays down his life for the sheep.

"Freely you have received, freely give" is both the WAY and the WHAT of the message that our good Shepard speaks.

If we treat others in accordance with the truth as though they have been saved already then we are able to also love them freely. The message given to them through our REAL unconditional love (because we are not trying to "GET them saved.") in word and deed echoes the one truth that Christ has paid the price for the redemption of all. This enables and empowers people to believe because we are simply witnessing to what has already taken place - with no "musts", "ifs" and "buts." Just a simple and beautiful message of love and redemption. Thank you father for the peace and the rest we have now in Christ. Help others to see and understand it too. Amen.

24 Comments:

At 10:09 PM, Blogger SteveW said...

Beaytiful Simon, just beautiful. The world needs to hear the truth of what you are saying here and the false gospel of the church needs to give way to it and it will.

 
At 4:15 AM, Blogger Geo said...

Now that is GOOD NEWS!
Great post Simon! This is the message that will set people free to believe!

Peace
Grogee Hellow

 
At 4:47 AM, Blogger Kansas Bob said...

Faith is of the heart and not the head ... I say it all of the time ... believing is a heart issue not a head issue. If I am hearing you right, the logical conclusion is that:

1) all men have a good heart and Jesus didn't need to die OR

2) all men have a bad heart ... Jesus died to give them a good heart ... some get a good heart when they receive Jesus in this life but if they don't believe and get a good heart before they die then they will get a good heart after they die.

As you can see this is somewhat confusing to me ... maybe you can post some time about why we need a new regenerate heart.

 
At 6:10 AM, Blogger BruceD said...

...or maybe "all men have a good heart, but just don't believe it." Maybe that's what the cross was all about -- to reveal what was true... that you are who God created you to be, and as He left of piece of Himself in you when He made you, then He is always with you... or hidden away in you, waiting to be discovered. Either way, coming to an understanding that God is not mad at us, changes us... incredibly.

 
At 9:04 AM, Blogger Geo said...

Kansas Bob

* Gender: male
* Industry: Religion

Hi Bob,
How is your industry doing these days?

Peace
Grogee Hellow

 
At 1:28 PM, Blogger Simon said...

For me it is no longer about whether I am good or bad (evil). As the knowledge of good and evil is what got the whole world in the shit in the first place. It began with Adam taking from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and resulted in us all being well...just plain confused as we continually struggle in-between these two extreme poles. For me now, it is about the righteousness that is by faith in Christ. Gods righteousness is a gift to me from the cross. True spirituality and goodness of heart and mind is simply about living in the reality of his unbroken forgiveness. Any goodness that is based on what I do or do not do is a deception and the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. This is why Christ told us we needed to become like children again. Children are not good by nature, the just do what they want to do. They have not aquired the knowledge of good and evil. They simply are.

 
At 2:37 PM, Blogger Kenneth said...

simon,i enjoyed your post,
kenneth

 
At 5:42 PM, Blogger Bar Bar A said...

Simon, Your post made me want to sit down under a tree and cry. Why? Beacuse I love being outdoors in nature and I the tears come from hearing words that seem "too good to be true". What you wrote here is what I have FELT in my heart all my life. It's what I THINK a loving God is all about. It's what I WANT to be TRUTH. But at every turn I have been told something else. I finally gave up listening and don't allow myself to believe what your post says it true, because it's too perfect, too loving.

But God is perfect and loving.

 
At 6:22 PM, Blogger Simon said...

It makes me cry sometimes too Barb. Tears of relief because like you, I was also told something else all my life. I was told a lie that kept me in bondage to fear. Fear for myself and fear for others.

 
At 4:31 AM, Blogger SteveW said...

As per Phillipians 4:6-9, there is no need for anxiety but to think on the best things possible...only things that bring praise to this awesome God, the lover of us all.

 
At 6:44 AM, Blogger Karen said...

Thank you for posting this Simon.
I cringe when people tell me "..when I was saved." or, "when were you saved?" and the kicker: "Sadly, he's not yet saved."
It makes me crazy.

 
At 7:12 AM, Blogger Kansas Bob said...

Hi Simon,

I resonate with much of what you are saying but really don't understand the heart of what you are saying. Are you saying that repentance is not needed?

Thanks, Bob

 
At 7:42 AM, Blogger Christine said...

I would think it would be about us, and our free will to choose to accept or to reject, rather than God's choice.
I'm sure He wants us to accept what He offers, but He isn't going to force us~ we're free to reject Him completely.
And existence without our Center, God, is Hell.

Simon, I've noticed myself how unimportant goodness or badness becomes, at the feet of God. All that ends up mattering, when I'm there, is God.

 
At 8:13 AM, Blogger Lori said...

Simon.. that was passionate. Love it..

Kansas and Bruce...

I don't know if you guys have seen the lion King..one of my favorite disney movies.

Anyway there is Simba who is the boy lion born from the King. His father dies and he thinks it is his fault but it was the evil brother that killed his father. He loses way and gets off track. He forgets who is .. and along comes the monkey.. a type of the Holy Spirit and reminds Simba who he is. My favorite part is when the monkey takes him through the forest as Simba thinks he is going to see his father. The monkey tells him to look into the water. Simba the boy lion says I can't see. The monkey says look harder and then he sees the reflection of his dad. His dad lived in Him...

Christ lives in us.. Praise God.

For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

Christ died for all and the goodnews is that with the leading of the Holy Spirit we can remind each other of who we are.

Karen.. I love yah.. you crack me up..ha ha ..

In Him
Lori

 
At 7:21 AM, Blogger Simon said...

Hey Bob, I see repentance as a result of true salvation and in particular repentence from dead works. This means that we repent (turn away) from any false belief that we can earn or perform our way to God and his salvation. For the world who do not know Christ their salvation already rests upon what Christ has done and not anything they do or do not do.

Ty Karen and Lori - Lion King is a cool movie!

 
At 8:31 AM, Blogger Karen said...

Yes, Simon,
Galatians 6 talks basically about coming alongside the Word...and doing the right thing is a natural side effect of being right with the Word and in Christ. What matters is the new creation! :-)

 
At 7:49 AM, Anonymous mountainash said...

Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."

What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses,
"I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,
and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: "I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

One of you will say to me: "Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?" But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?' " Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?

What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory—even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?

Romans 9:13-24

 
At 5:09 PM, Blogger Lori said...

Gee Simon

I got thinkin on your post again. I remember when I was 8 and the Sunday school teacher said to me do you want to ask Jesus in your heart. Anyway she basically said if I do this I am guaranteed not to go to hell. Wow.. who wouldn't do that deal.

Today I just encourage others to go to Him and have a relationship with God. Once they do this.. the goodness of God overwhelms them and they are encouraged to walk the journey and lightened in heart.

Sittin in the Mercy seat my favorite place yahoo

Lori

 
At 5:38 PM, Blogger Simon said...

Hey Lori...cool...I like that seat too!

Thanks for sharing Mountain Ash. Interesting scripture and precepts from Paul's ponderings. I think the most interesting part of it is that Paul is not stating truth but his own thoughts. He is asking questions in the same style anyone would who didn't feel strongly enough about their conviction to make a firm statement. Also interesting is that hell is not mentioned at all and the possible "destruction" for the vessels of wrath could just as easily mean, in this life only.

 
At 9:21 AM, Blogger SteveW said...

Hey guy, I just made a comment on my last post and thought of you. I only have one thing to say to you.........yippeeeeee!!!!

 
At 12:14 PM, Blogger Godzheart said...

Wow!!! Ver nice thought. I just hope all hear. Yeah we act like bound more than free...yeah I am like that to some extent but am learning.

God Bless

 
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