Ezekiel 18; The Soul Who Sins Will Die


#1

Today’s sermon was on this passage. I have frequently used it as evidence against the idea of penal substitution models of the Atonement; that is, against the idea that sin is a “thing” or entity that can be passed around.

However, the passage can also be used against the idea of Universal Reconciliation it seems to me. That is, sin somehow “earns” and/or “deserves” and/or “requires” death. Thus, The Soul Who Sins Will Die…

Have any of you ever faced this passage being used against UR?? And if so, how have you handled it??

TotalVictory
Bobx3


#2

It seems to me the place to start would be 2 Cor. 5:14-15: “For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.”

It seems to me like this is a more than adequate response. Death is necessary, because the wages of sin is death. But Christ died for all. The question is whether his death is efficacious for everyone or only for people who hear the Gospel in this life and believe it (or only for the elect). But Paul says that “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:22), and the “all” here can only mean all of humanity, not just all believers. Jesus’ death was “for all”, a point which I still don’t entirely grasp. But his resurrection was the triumph over death for all as well, a triumph which eventually all will partake of when death itself is completely destroyed.

The soul that sins will die, and that includes everyone. Christ died for all, therefore all died. That also includes everyone. In Christ all will be made alive. Also includes everyone. I guess that would summarize a possible universalist response (not that I’ve actually dealt with it before since I’m still a closet hopeful universalist :wink: .

Incidentally, I found some words of wisdom on the subject of “The end or consummation” from Origen. He writes, “These subjects, indeed, are treated by us with great solicitude and caution, in the manner rather of an investigation and discussion, than in that of fixed and certain decision. For we have pointed out in the preceding pages those questions which must be set forth in clear dogmatic propositions, as I think has been done to the best of my ability when speaking of the Trinity. But on the present occasion our exercise is to be conducted, as we best may, in the style of a disputation rather than of strict definition.”

I think we could all learn a lot from this “heretic”!


#3

Notice: “great solicitude and caution, in the manner rather of an investigation and discussion, than in that of fixed and certain decision.”
He sounds like a “hopeful universalist”, he isn’t certain. How did these matters of such great magnitude get jumbled in the church’s understanding? Did Jesus intend this to be mysterious versus clear? Perplexing stuff, Fraz!
Ro


#4

My understanding is that he was closer to a dogmatic universalist than a hopeful universalist, though I haven’t really gotten into his stuff much on my own yet. His universalism was one of the reasons he was branded a heretic by the later church from what I’ve read. His thought was quite influential. The context of his comment was in trying to figure out exactly what was going to happen in the next age and so forth, and speculations about eschatology. I was actually just looking for a good place to put that quote and couldn’t decide on one, so I included it here. It may not entirely fit with the context, but I thought it was a good quote!

At least it’s a good quote for anyone who thinks we can have a complete and fully worked-out system of what happens to us after death from the scattered references in Scripture, like who exactly goes where, when they go there and for how long, and what exactly it will be like. In some things we need to be comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty. But we can be certain that God is love, that whatever he does is right, and that the end result will be good. I think universalism fits with that much better than the traditional view.


#5

Thats a good response Frazman, to be sure. (and welcome to this gang, by the way!)

But the Ezekiel passage sets up with no apparent awareness of what you are talking about.
Here, we find a father who is wicked, and a son who is righteous. Seems the general thought was that the sins of the fathers are visited on the children to the 3rd and 4th generation – at least according to our Exodus 20 version of the Ten Commandments. Yet here we find a sort of repudiation of that idea… No, if the son is righteous he somehow “earns” or deserves his reward; it is “credited” to him.

This of course seems to blatantly contradict the idea that no, we deserve death – all are sinners. According to this telling, this son was not a sinner (though we now “know” in some other sense, that of course he IS a sinner…) but his right doing means he will live…
If ever there was a passage to suggest salvation by works, perhaps this is it…

But the opposite of this is what concerns me; the father who is the sinner will die. The way it’s set up the son will live, the father will die.
So it doesn’t quite fit this particular paradigm to just say “no, both die because both are sinners.” That’s precisely what the passage denies.

As for your comment that

it is interesting to note Phillips translation here; “Sin pays it’s wage; that wage is death. But the gift of GOD is eternal life etc”
This suggests to me that death is not particularly “necessary” but rather is something like “inevitable” when one departs from God (perhaps a useful definition of sin).

So it seems this is a good example of how badly we conflate the ideas of “death” that we find in scripture; yes, all must die the death to self and sin. But this passage seems utterly unaware of that sort of distinction. One gets the sense (at least I do) that the death this wicked father deserves is something like annihilation.

Which all leads of course to the difficult task of how to put together ideas and passages which seem to have such different assumptions and backgrounds and premises… ie how did PAUL read this passage? Or, how might Ezekiel read Paul!!!

TotalVictory
Bobx3


#6

Fraz’s answer is quite good, I think: in point of fact, all sin and all die, yet all in Christ (who has died for all) are made alive.

In context of Ezekiel, though, the better question is: to what extent do the Prophets (including Ezekiel) teach that God seeks the restoration of those He has wholly ruined and sent to the pit?–keeping in mind that the notion of survival and restoration even of the righteous after death was pretty vague and spotty back then.

As to Roofus: how many times before the NT, or even during its narrative portions, has God tried to get His chosen representatives to pick up and run with some fairly simple notion–but they still only half-succeed or even utterly fail? (The excerpt today from Ez 18 being only one of very many examples that come to my mind.) UR looks as clear to me in the NT, and the OT, as trinitarian orthodoxy does: i.e., there are some tantalizingly obvious statements scattered here and there, as well as some apparently contravening testimony all over the place, but in the end it comes down to collating and slotting together very large amounts of evidence, nuance, implication and thematic linkages, as well as learning what kind of things to be looking and listening for. The methodology and careful study for arriving at both doctrinal sets, impresses me with their similarity.

Even so, I would say scriptural testimony is more ‘blatant’ about universalism more often, than about trinitarianism; probably because the former doctrinal set is simpler. But Jesus Himself, in the Synoptics, teaches in parables precisely so that His meaning will be obscured to those who harden their hearts in regard to justice: people who, at the time (and obviously for a long time thereafter) were willing to murder their own kinsman, whom they had been previously willing to accept as a teacher and a prophet in honor of themselves, once He challengedthem on the scope and character of God’s salvation.

Maybe it’s because I consider myself rather a Pharisee; or maybe it’s because I have a recognized tendency to enjoy being merely oppositional at times. But I had to come to terms with the fact that Jesus was mostly preaching against me, the “faithful” scholar. So, was I squinting my eyes and plugging my ears, and hardening my heart, so that I would not hear what God was saying?

The key turning point came when I sat down to parse out what it could mean, that if I did not forgive those who have sinned against me, God would not forgive me of my sins. Looking for limits to that, so that I could have a firm oppositional line where I could safely hate without having to forgive–I simply realized that I was trying to get around the injunction. It didn’t matter how far I extended it–even to Satan. If I was not willing to forgive Satan, then…

But if God was requiring me in principle to forgive and love and hope for the salvation of even Satan (whether or not I still had to oppose and fight him), then–how could it be that God would be less merciful than He was requring of me to be?

Also, at this time, I had just gotten finished working out my progressing synthetic metaphysic; which provided me with my first solid rationale, unexpectedly, for universal reconciliation–as a direct corollary of trinitarian theism. Plus, I think I had finally gotten around to reading George MacDonald’s Unspoken Sermons and The Hope of the Gospel. On top of which, I was in the throes of having to come to terms–which I very much did NOT WANT to do–with the evident fact that God was going to require me to sacrifice myself for the sake not only of someone I loved, but also for someone who from a purely natural standpoint I would be tempted to compete against in what amounted to impersonal hatred: nothing against him personally, just that he was in my way and… ARGH!! No, I was quite aware that that couldn’t be right; but neither did I want to endure the pain that God was pointing me toward. It took me another year or so for that to come to an almost-literal crux; but from the convergence of all these factors I was already philosophically speaking a quiet universalist. It took me a few more years before I had really studied the scriptures thoroughly enough to tell just how much of that sort of thing was in there or not.

So, no, it wasn’t easy for me, despite a sort of softness toward universalism in my heart from early times. What I came to realize, when I (self-critically) had to ask why I hadn’t been seeing this before, was that in my heart I was too selfishly hateful (even if not so much by other people’s standards) to have been able to hear it before.

The one that I love the most, sent by God Above, was instrumental (though she could hardly have realized this) in helping God to save me, and to save other people, from my sin. I didn’t learn universalism from her (although I know that she approves), and I certainly didn’t learn orthodoxy from her (of which she has no particular concern); but I learned true love from being given to her–both as a gift from God and as a crucifixion of my self that I had to willingly undergo, or else be found to be striving against the One Who loves her most.

And that had to have made more difference than anything. :slight_smile:

(Anyone willing to pray for me, is certainly welcome. God knows I need it. I hope that God will be finished with killing me someday… :unamused: :frowning: :slight_smile: For once I have finished dying, then I can live. But dying to my self is very very very very hard.)

(Also, as I try to warn anyone thinking of becoming a Christian: count the cost. There’s a pretty good chance that God will require you to be scourged and crucified. :wink: )


#7

Jason,
Not having scripture in front,but wondering: when Jesus lays down the conditions for being a disciple, doesn’t it seem that He lays down standards impossible to immediately reach, but only through a process of time and maturation? Perhaps nobody is truly a disciple until sin is totally gone (at the end). And all sin still…I know I still fall.

The Conditions of Discipleship

If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also . . . . And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me . . . . So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple —Luke 14:26-27, 33

?


#8

True, but one hardly needs appeal to the hyperbolic lengths of certain sayings. We fail at doing even the simple things, too. :slight_smile: I suspect that if we became proficient at doing the small things, we would quickly (immediately?) afterward be proficient at doing the outsized things as well. (In fact, I recall a couple of parables to exactly that effect. :laughing: )

But, my point, in regard to your previous question (which I was answering at the time, before digressing into a personal testimony about how hard it was for me to become a universalist even when I was already partially in favor of it), was that we should not be surprised if disciples (then or now, ‘them’ or ‘us’) misunderstand things and continue to fail at things He was rather warning them about continuing to fail at. Israel was notorious for this; I don’t know why we should consider ourselves to be surely any better about it than they.

Is it that Jesus intended things to be mysterious versus clear? No; and yes. The Gospels show Him intentionally obscuring things sometimes–things that we would consider to be of utmost importance and so that we would expect (if anything) to be taught as clearly and directly as possible. But He chose other ways.

Anyway, if we wish to learn to keep the hyperbolically difficult commands, and so would start with the simpler ones and work up, we could try starting with the fairly simple command to not deny the name of “Jesus”. :wink:

(And yet, the church has been endemically failing at even that simple command, across most of its membership throughout history.)


#9

So, does that mean that one is not a disciple, then, until they reach this level of abandonment that Jesus seems to be “recommending”. We tend to think of ourselves as disciples at present, yet by such standards we are not. Do you see the problem?


#10

Well, there is the fact that “disciple” is closely connected to the word “discipline”. :slight_smile: Are we even trying? Then we’re disciples: students under discipline. Is someone who only has a white or orange belt a student of her teacher if she isn’t an nth-degree black belt yet? Of course she is.

On the other hand, Jesus’ criteria for acknowledging disciples is wider in some regards, and narrow in other regards, than we may be expecting. The sheep are not even expecting to be judged by Him, yet “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord’ (an OT divinity title), yet are not even doing what I say? Depart from Me, you doers of injustice! I never knew you!” says the Lord–to those who are even doing miracles and exorcisms in His name!

So there is a paradox, well-exemplified by St. Paul, who while averring and insisting upon his status of an apostle, also insisted that he was the least of apostles and even unworthy to be called an apostle. So long as we are sinners, we are not yet fully disciples of Christ–but we may still be disciples of Christ without even knowing Him (yet) as Lord.

Can we be a disciple of Christ while denying we even know Him? Yes; by the grace of God, as Peter did not stop being Christ’s disciple, by Christ’s choice, despite Peter even violently cursing in order to be free of the claim of discipleship. Nevertheless, Peter was clearly sinning and needed repentance. (One can hardly say that the first “pope” never erred in matters of doctrine or ethics! :laughing: )

I am reasonably sure that love is the resolving criteria in all this; and not only our love for God and for our neighbor (which, insofar as we lack this, we are not being disciples of God in Christ), but God’s love for us (without which we would not exist at all to be disciples or rebels against Him!) Or, if a woman has only an orange belt, does she “know” her martial art yet? Yes–and no. Yet she may be being the best disciple she can currently be, walking according to as much of the light as she can see and looking for more light thereby; giving more of what little she has than, by proportion, a teacher giving of his wealth.

In God’s eyes, such a woman is far ahead of such a teacher in the kingdom, even if by any criteria of mere measurements she seems to be far inferior as a “disciple”. (Which the teacher had better damned well be prepared to acknowledge, so to speak. :laughing: :mrgreen: But true love can easily see this, and bow at the feet of such a woman in admiration.)


#11

Thanks for the reply Jason. I always have wondered (and still do) about the absoluteness of the demand or the conditions of discipleship. So you wouldnt take Luke 14:26-27, 33 literally (in the sense of these high demands as conditions for being in covenant with God, which seem to me to be the end of the process vs. the beginning)?
I’ve seen a few interpretations:

  1. Special class: It is possible to meet the high demand of the passages but is not required for salvation which is a free gift. Kind of a special class of committed believers.
  2. Destination: As you said “so long as we are sinners, we are not yet fully disciples of Christ”. This is looking at Luke as “destination”. Sin always made me wonder about any “total commitment”. Direction, not perfection.
  3. Total Commitment: necessary for salvation is a 100% complete abandonment. Ouch! Have I ever been in such a state? What about sin :astonished: ?
    There are probably more!
    Ro

#12

Not as initial conditions, no. (As MacDonald will say, in horror at the idea, “So, in order to be righteous, all you have to do is set your foot on top of that mountain peak up there!” Not very helpful when we’re down here in the valley!) Consider, was Israel ever covenanted with God, or not? Certainly God is reported as thinking they are!–and He with them. Otherwise, He couldn’t be legitimately angry at Israel for being covenant breakers. Yet they were practically never perfect at keeping their covenant, and often very much worse than what we would now consider (or even might still have considered back then) averagely decent. (… … … um… I declare “averagely” to be a real word. :mrgreen: )

Are these conditions required of us? Yes–always keeping in mind that the forsaking can only be relative to the objects. The God Who is intrinsically love, cannot actually be expecting us to hate our relatives, spouses and friends. But we must be prepared to choose God over them; in fact we must choose God over them. God first, anything else is secondary at best.

Yet the first thing that God will say to us as His servants will be: go and love everyone else in cooperation with Him. Thus, as the Synoptic saying also goes, he who gives up everything for God shall have it back a hundred fold. God wants to give us everything, and does give us everything–all that isn’t sinful. But we have to seek everything from their Source, otherwise we’re in rebellion. And, just as importantly, we mustn’t try to take–this is the hardest thing of all to learn, I suspect. (It is for me, anyway. :slight_smile: ) We must learn to receive, instead of taking. And then, to give.

Are these conditions required of us for salvation? Well, salvation from what? From our sins? Yes, certainly: unless we are perfectly righteous, then we are still being sinful in some way! (Always keeping in mind, however, that someone may be perfectly righteous within the limits that he or she has. A baby, even though cursed with original sin-effect, is perfectly righteous to God. But a baby doesn’t have anywhere near the abilities of, let’s say, a two-year old: who may easily already be sinning, according to her capabilities. A heartbreaking thing to see, as terrible as it is wondrous to see her growing in being righteous, too.)

But, does God require us to do such things, before He saves us from sin? Or, in doing such things, do we save our selves from sin? No, no, no, no. I deny it. The latter is a rank impossibility; the first is just the same impossibility to which is added a contradiction: if God required us to save ourselves from sin before saving us from sin Himself, there would be nothing for God to save us from! But it is ontologically and in every other way impossible for us to save ourselves from sin apart from the One Who is love and fair-togetherness. It would be trying to set ourselves up as an equal and competing ultimate standard: we who are not even a (much less the) interpersonal self-existent unity of fair-together-ing action at the heart and the ground of all dependent reality. God sends Himself as the Holy Spirit into our hearts, leading us to righteousness, bringing us into common union together with each other, and bringing us into communion with the overarching reality of the Father and the Son.

(Even the Eastern Orthodox, who deny the “filioque” doctrine, agree in principle with this doctrine, as far as I can tell. There’s a technical reason for this, I think, having to do with persons interacting with one another either as or else within an overarching field of reality. In order to go much further with this, though, I would have to discuss my metaphyiscal rationale for accepting the filioque doctrine: that the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son in a relationship to the Father that isn’t at all the same as the relationship of the Son to the Father–the Spirit proceeds and is not being-begotten; the Son is being begotten, different from proceeding. Even though the EOx agree there must be some real distinction of action, they stumble badly trying to make it out to be anything other than a polysyllabic variation of one or the other, or so I have found. But I am going too far off topic, now. Sorry. :mrgreen: )

So, no: God does not require us to be perfectly righteous, before He will save us from anything–especially from our sins! This is love, that while we yet were sinners, God loved us, and acted to save us from our sins. In saving us from our sins, we become righteous, not only growing in righteousness (we would have done that anyway as unfallen persons), but doing justice instead of injustice, which is rather a different kind of growth. God sends Himself as the Holy Spirit into our hearts (and specially so for Christians, or so we are told in scripture–but also for everyone else as well, not to exclude them but to include them, grafting them into the promises to Abraham and even to our earliest rational ancestors); the Spirit acts to bring forth the fruits of the Spirit in us (peace, love, joy, faithfulness, etc.); we either, as responsibly rational creatures, cooperate with the Spirit or not; when we do, the Spirit succeeds in growing the fruits of righteousness in us to be given to one another and also back to God; when we do not cooperate, we’re sinning (at least against God, and probably also against a creation of God’s); when we sin, the Spirit convicts us of sin, through our conscience (which can be a messy and very imprecise business) with the goal of leading us home again to righteousness–also with the goal of curing any effects of sin in our lives (whether we or some other sinner introduced those effects). This is the everlasting fire (“our God”, the Holy Spirit, is often described as fire, and blatantly in Hebrews as “a consuming fire”): the exact same pura eonian operating in the “Gehenna” of condemnation. “For everyone shall be salted with fire! And salt is ideal… Have salt in yourselves, therefore, and be at peace with one another.” (Mk 9:49-50)

Or anyway, this is what I have found. Opinions differ, obviously. :wink:

So, in sum, I would answer: “yes”. :mrgreen: It is possible to meet the high demand of the passages, but meeting that high demand is not required before God will save us–salvation being a freely given gift of God.

Those high demands are also our destination. Direction first, then perfection. To hit a target smaller than the tip of your sword, first we must be thrusting, then thrusting in the correct direction, then thrusting with some accuracy in the correct direction, then we must be able to hit the target reliably every time we thrust. If we never start to thrust, or insist on thrusting somewhere other than even the basic direction… First we resolve to walk; then we orient ourselves toward the mountain; then we move in that direction; then we find the stairs; then we begin to climb the stairs, starting at the bottom; then we climb the stairs; then we climb the final stair–and then we grow wings and fly. :smiley: (“We will only perish in the fatal cold and unbreathable air at the top of the mountain,” MacD says. “We must grow wings and learn to fly, if we are to live.” And that takes a miracle.)

Or, as I once saw a stage magician eloquently put it: first we scare the watermelon (throwing a playing card and missing); then we wound the watermelon (throwing a playing card, and nicking a notch in the rind); and then… (launching several more cards into the soft spot left behind by the second card. Though frankly this is more like what the Holy Spirit does to us! :laughing: )

And until we are totally committed to the covenant God has made with us (and being the living and acting standard of righteousness Himself, to which covenant He Himself is totally committed), then we have not yet been saved. We are not perfect yet, as our heavenly Father is perfect. Until the Bride is faithful to her ever-faithful Husband, the marriage has not been saved, has it? Until then, whenever we sin, we are being adulterers: the marriage relationship is still on the rocks.

So, with qualifications, I would agree with all three of the interpretations that you have reported. :smiley: I only reject the versions of 1 and 3 which involve the teaching of many rabbis (before and to some extent after the final Diaspora): “if only we of Israel would keep the commandments perfectly, for even one single day, God would have mercy on us and send the Messiah to save us.”

But God loved Israel vastly more than they were expecting. And everyone else as well.

(So, of course, they killed Him for it. In effect, we do the same thing: God loves all of us more than we are expecting, or even are able to recognize; and we abuse His grace, murdering God insofar as we can when we sin.)

11:00pm! Time for bed! Work tomorrow. :slight_smile:


#13

The soul that sinneth, it shall die… because the wages of sin is death.

I think where so much misunderstanding is to be had is in what this “death” is that is “the wages of sin”. It seems like it’s always connected to physical death in some as, as if it is the physical grave and some sort of “eternal death” that one needs to be redeemed from.

The natural man is not “going to die” (after a carnal truth) due to his sin; that happens because man IS MORTAL - DYING physically from the very day of his natural birth.

But God said, that in the day that Adam sinned… DYING, he would DIE.

Not only are we already “dying” physically, we are born into a world in which we are subject to “the things of the world” and “the lust of the flesh”, subject to “vanity” and IN THE DAY that a man is “drawn away of his own lusts and enticed” sin is brought forth and “sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death”.

Jam 1:13-15 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

We ARE DEAD (spiritually speaking) WHILE WE LIVE (carnally speaking).

And it takes THE SPIRIT OF GOD (the breath of life seen being breathed into Adam’s nostril in Gen) to make this earthen vessel (DEAD in sin) A LIVING SOUL.

Adam was FIRST FORMED out of the dust of the ground before God ever breathed the breath of life into Him and made him A LIVING SOUL We seem to miss the spiritual significance of this and we miss the “process” by which God IS CREATING man in His image and after His likeness. We overlook the fact that there is a progression that takes place in Genesis from that which is FIRST FORMED, to that which is MADE, to that which is CREATED in His image (and BLESSED).

And man is not “created” in the image and likeness of God ~UNTIL~ God sends forth HIS SPIRIT and RENEWEST the face of the earth.

Psa 104:30 Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth.

The physical grave, filled with physical corpses of rotting flesh, is but A SHADOW (or ‘type’) of “the body of this death” of which Paul spoke and from which men need to be redeemed. It is “full of dead men’s bones”, it’s THROAT is “an open sepulcher” and its TONGUE “a world of iniquity… set on fire of hell”.

And while Adam (the FIRST MAN) was made A LIVING SOUL, the Last Adam was made A QUICKENING SPIRIT and the SECOND MAN (gathered together by one spirit into ONE BODY, with ONE HEAD) ~is~ THE LORD FROM HEAVEN.

It is by being found “in Adam” that all men ARE DEAD and by being found “in Christ” (by being baptized into HIS DEATH, THE SECOND DEATH) that death is destroyed and LIFE AND IMMORTALITY are brought to light. For it is by being raised WITH HIM, who has the keys of death and of hell (by knowing the power of HIS RESURRECTION) that we overcome the world… death and sin.

It is THIS MORTAL that must “put on” immortality and it not about being UNCLOTHED (taking off this earthly tabernacle) but about being CLOTHED UPON. And having been clothed we will not be found naked. That life that IS HID within us is just waiting to be MADE MANIFEST and when He who is our life is made manifest WE SHALL APPEAR WITH HIM in glory (Christ in you, THE HOPE OF GLORY).

1Th 4:13-18 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and THE DEAD IN CHRIST SHALL RISE FIRST: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

As I see it, Paul is not talking here about the dead corpses of believers in physical graves.

Those “who sleep”, those who are “dead in Christ”, are among THOSE WHO REMAIN and it is “the dead” (THE TARES) who shall rise first when Christ comes to gather ALL THOSE WHO REMAIN, both “the living” and “the dead” as He is LORD AND SAVIOR of both.

Mat 13:30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together FIRST THE TARES, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

We can’t seem to reconcile the fact that THE TARES ARE GATHERED FIRST with BLESSED AND HOLY IS HE THAT HATH PART IN THE FIRST RESURRECTION… because we fail to see that NONE ARE RIGHTEOUS apart from HIM and HE ~IS~ THE RESURRECTION.

Hope that makes sense and sorry it’s so long. :blush:


#14

Jason.

We are perfect, sinless, holy and righteous in our reborn spirits. ( Eph 4:25) That is where God looks at us, in our perfect spirits.


#15

Amen!

But I take it (from what I have read so far, unless I am misunderstanding?) that you do not believe that God has (or will) quicken/save the spirits of all men? that we are ALL “members one of another”?


#16

athisfeet.

Of course not. Jesus did not teach everyone will be saved…in fact he preached the opposite. Matt 7:13-14; Jn 3:19 etc.


#17

Not all have eternal life. Many (even most) die in their sins, never knowing God and Jesus Christ whom He sent. True!

That doesn’t negate the fact that all men have been reconciled to God through Jesus Christ.


#18

athisfeet.

you said: That doesn’t negate the fact that all men have been reconciled to God through Jesus Christ.

Aaron37: God has reconciled all men to himself through Jesus Christ… meaning there is no longer enmity between man and God. Sin separated man from God. Not anymore. The wrath of God due to men was laid upon Jesus. We are forgiven for are sins because Jesus was judged for them. That is grace. God has done his part. Now Man must accept this free gift of grace to apply it to thier life.


#19

How can something be “free” when there are strings attached? Nowhere does the word of God say that one must “accept” salvation in order to be saved, yet almost the entire Christian world parrots this claim, adding to the word of God. From where does it come? This makes Christ only the POTENTIAL Savior of the world. It’s like saying that God just throws us a life-raft and leaves it up to us to have the strength, will, desire, ability to grab it. Did God stand on the sidelines (remain on the boat or the shore) and just throw us a life-preserver? Or did He jump into the water (with us) and drag us back to safety (kicking and screaming if necessary)?

Christ is not our “potential” Savior, He is THE SAVIOR OF THE WORLD. He is our savior because He saved us; you cannot be the savior of something not saved. We might not believe it, but our lack of faith does not make void the word or the will of God. Christ remains faithful, He cannot deny Himself (1 Tim 2:13) We are HIS BODY!!

Neither did God pour out His wrath on Christ “instead of” us, if that is what you are saying?

Christ is not a “substitute” for us. Christ paid the penalty for sin so that we, through him, might be saved OUT OF sin and death. He didn’t ‘take our place’, HE JOINED US where we are… that we might join Him where He is! And just as ALL “died in Adam” so shall ALL be “made alive in Christ”… every man IN HIS OWN ORDER… a truth to be made manifest IN DUE TIME.

In the meantime, we are to know NO MAN according to the flesh, as we are ALL children of the Most High God!! ONE NEW MAN created IN CHRIST.


#20

athisfeet.

you said : How can something be “free” when there are strings attached? Nowhere does the word of God say that one must “accept” salvation in order to be saved, yet almost the entire Christian world parrots this claim, adding to the word of God. From where does it come.

Aaron37:No strings attached. Free, meaning you can’t purchase it, but with any gift you must recieve it in order to make it yours. Biblical faith is responding to God’s grace with faith in order to recieve it. The reason you struggle with this is because you are out of balance when it comes to grace and faith. Grace alone will not save you…in fact it will kill you. Faith alone will not save you…it will also kill you…It takes the balance of grace and faith to be saved…