The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Post-mortem correction for believers

I’m trying to get this issue resolved.
Do URers believe that there will be post-mortem correction for believers?
For asking this question, I have been charged with over-concern with minutiae or ‘wanting a precise time-line’.
I see it as a crucial question.
If URers believe that ‘hell’ is post-mortem correction, and that believers will also require post-mortem correction then we have a massive issue.
Any thoughts?

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I find that most passages regarding judgment and the punishment of sin are addressed to believers, followers of God, those in covenant relationship with Him, those who should know better. Also, notice that most passages of scripture regarding judgment and the punishment of sin have to do with how we actually live, what we do with what we’ve recieved, how we treat others especially those less fortunate, how we administer any authority we’re given, etc. The sense I get is that we are chosen, we’ve been privaledged to have been given a revelation of the love, grace, forgiveness, and mercy of God towards us and thus we are responsible to live in it. And some day, if not today, we’ll face the Judgment of God and it will burn the hell out of us! We’ll face the unshaded truth concerning how we’ve lived our lives. The evil and worthless we’ve done will be burnt up, consumed by the fiery presence of God; and even the gold and silver will be refined. I’ve come to realize, accept that everything about me is polluted by my selfish nature, even my loving acts towards my family. This is very punishing.

Concerning the fate of unbelievers, I believe that because of the sin of Adam, all of humanity is born under the dominion of sin, in the kingdom of darkness, oppressed and influenced by evil on every side, from within and without. When an unbeliever dies, he comes into the full reality of this evil, this present evil age, this kingdom of darkness. In the present, people are shielded by our physical bodies from the full reality of this present evil age. But one day that covering will be removed and people will experience the full reality of evil. But I trust that the Lord ultimately delivers and saves them.

Frankly, I don’t believe in “Hell” for it speaks of an endless kingdom of darkness, but I believe that one day the kingdom of darkness will come to an end. I believe there is a present kingdom of darkness, what Paul calls this present evil age, with Rulers and Powers and Authorities that are arrayed against God. One day though, this kingdom of darkness will be conquered and all its subjects will delivered. Jesus saves us from “this present evil age”. He translates us from “the kingdom of darkness” to His kingdom of light, and people will continue in the bondage, under the oppression of evil until they are delivered from slavery in that kingdom.

Those are some good points, Sherman. :smiley:

One passage that appears to apply to this is Mark 9:

Not really sure how to understand this, but here’s what it appears to say. If we lose saltiness, it’s impossible to gain it back naturally, but we can be “re-salted” with fire. This will be necessary for “everyone” at some point. Of course God doesn’t like things that bring us pain, so it would be more comfortable for us to lose parts of our body than to go through it, but he will put us through pain in order to teach us things we won’t otherwise learn. In fact, there is no way for us to be “salty” and holy other than for our Father to discipline us like sons (Heb 12:7-11). Because of the affect that our sins have on our lives, we must be purified. I do not think this is apart from Christ–it is in fact his presence, and our being “in Him,” which allows us to be purified. We can’t get around the fact that our God is a consuming fire, but because we’re in Christ, it’s our sins and evil that is consumed, and not our very beings. Because of Christ, we are purified and not vaporized.

Because he is our perfectly loving Father, whatever discipline he decides to bestow in this life or the next doesn’t really cause me much concern. I trust him.

(at least, this is how I see it now) :wink:

Those who have put away the old man, put him to death, crucified him, died with Christ, walk no more after the flesh, have partaken of the divine nature (2 Pet 1:4, Gal 5:22ff, Romans 6-8, etc) are already baptized by fire.

Those who haven’t, whether they sit in pews or not, will need to be baptized in the lake of fire(Rev 21:8) that the antichrists may go out from among them (1 John 2:18-19)). I expect to be baptized there :sunglasses:

I don’t see the lake of fire as “hell”. It’s a form of baptism (which will involve some pain- along the lines of Eustace’ dragon skin being removed in Lewis’ “The Dawn Treader”). I believe “hell” is here on earth and I’ve lived there. This passage out of Peter Hiett’s book expresses “hell on earth” well IMO:

i may need to have a paradigm shift, i was thinking those in Christ would already have the price paid, and therefore we see our mistakes, but we’re forgiven, etc. and rewarded for any good…though i’m with Sherman on this, my righteousness is as filthy rags. nearly everything i do starts from a selfish position.

interesting thing about salt, just as an aside, is that its nature is to be salty. so God is acting to restore our very nature…
which is lovely on chips with some vinegar, evidently :laughing:

corpselight, it is a paradigm shift for I see all of humanity “in Christ”. All of our sins, all of humanities sins have been forgiven because of the grace and love of God as revealed in the sacrifice of Christ! In Christ we all have been crucified and are seated with Him in heavenly places. It’s a done deal, it is finished! I see myself in Christ, as I see all of humanity in Christ, and therefore I act accordingly. Many are still in darkness though, not having yet seen the light of Christ’s love. Does this in any way lessen the reality of them being “in Christ”. I don’t believe so, from an eternal (time-transcending spiritual) perspective. From a temporal earthly perspective, many people are not living in Christ, understanding the reality that they are in Christ, redeemed from slavery to sin, still living like slaves - though in reality they are redeemed, justified, free from that slavery. The war has been won, but there are still many prisoners of war that need to be released.

isn’t there a distinction, though, in Scripture, between those “in Christ” and those not “in Christ”? i was under the impression those who believed were “in” and those who don’t are not yet “in”.
yes i can see how we can hope (maybe know, once i’m convinced lol) that they will one day be in Christ too, but i thought there was a difference until that point?

also, what’s the point of being a Christian if you have a choice to avoid the responsibility of it lol…
i mean, if being a Christian means i’ll be more harshly judged/purified/re-salted…why not just give it up and face it at the end?

don’t get me wrong, abiding in Christ through faith gets us through life without the emptiness…gives us hope, etc. there are definitely benefits from enjoying His fellowship NOW. i’m just throwing that out there… as judgement appears to be a big deal at the end, even if we’re all saved afterwards.

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My view:

The filthy rags are those things not done IN LOVE.

An atheist who out of the compassion and love for a fellow human being gives aid, that act is most definitely NOT a filthy rag. A christian who out of a selfish desire to “look good” or to “gain rewards in heaven” gives aid to a fellow human being, (not out of compassion, but out of a selfish motive) that act IS a filthy rag.

Many will say “When Lord when did we do these things???!!!” Imagine atheists, buddhists, hindus, agnostics as being some persons in that group. Those who followed LOVE.

Many will say “Lord, did I NOT do all of these things?!” Imagine christians thinking they are following God by “believe in Jesus” yet all of their motives are selfish ones…

I believe we will all go through more learning as we pass from this life. It’s not about people being punished, it’s about people coming to the knowledge of truth. That God is love, and that love conquers all. Perhaps we will all go through something where we see what love accomplished in our lives, and in the lives of others and also what non-love destroyed in our lives and in the lives of others. We are here to learn. Not to be terrified of making a wrong step lest God stomp on us. We are God’s children. All of us.

There are some who follow the path of love yet do not believe in God. But God is LOVE. They are following God without realizing it. And won’t it be beautiful one day when they come “face to face” with God and they RECOGNIZE Him? OH! You mean I was actually following YOU all this time??!!

While yet others think they are following God, but do not follow the path of love at all…and when they come “face to face” with Him, they very well may NOT recognize Him. But they will come to… in time.

It makes perfect sense to me that it is this way.
Because truth cannot be put in a box with a label,
Truth marches on.
Truth is REAL.
and it doesn’t care what label you slap on yourself or what you SAY you believe.

I believe it depends on the particular scripture and the perspective. If the scripture is speaking of what Christ did for or as a representation of all humanity, then all humanity are “in Christ”. If the scripture is speaking of those who have embraced in faith what Jesus has done for all humanity, then “in Christ” speaks specifically of them and draws a distinction between those “in Christ” and those not “in Christ”.

First, I believe that it is God that saves us; by His Spirit we are born. We choose Him, because He first choose us. We are not freed from darkness until He turns on the light. And many of us have and are resisting His calling, but ultimately His love wins us over. I mean, one can only fight gravity so long and then one must rest and lay down.

Second, the reason we embrace the Lord is because of our innate need for love, forgiveness, and mercy. We have a God-sized hole in our hearts that only God can fill. In deception (self and otherwise) we seek other things to fill that void; but ultimately only a relationship with God can fill that need deep in our souls.

So if we’re going to be judged more harshly, then why not just give it up? Because hiding one’s talent only incurs more wrath and is frankly, stupid and selfish. If you’ve been privaledged in this life to be freed from slavery to sin, it’s stupid to submit to that slavery once again. It’s worse than a dog eating its own vomit! And of course, there is shame and sorrow of disappointing our Father, and the fear of any punishment our loving Father might deem necessary to teach us to not be so selfish and twisted in our thinking! And on the positive side, we’ll miss out on all the rewards that God desires to lavish on us.

I really see salvation in this life as a blessing from God, a gift, a “talent” we’re given, not something we choose, but something the Lord chooses to give us. I was blessed to have been raised in a Christian family, came to have faith in Christ and a love for God when I was only 6 years old. Blessed to have parents that loved me, family that loved me, church family that loved me - and thus I am all the more responsible to be loving towards others. “To whom much is given, much is expected!” If the 10 talent man had come back to the master and said, “Here’s the 10 you gave me and one talent more.” would it have been acceptable? Well, he’d have been commended some, but the master would have likely also showed him how he could have done better.

Frankly, I’ve encountered the judgment of the Lord. As I was reading the parable of the talents, when I was reading the judgment of the wicked servant, the Lord said to me, “That’s the way you are, except I’ve given you 10 talents.” Talk about conviction, weeping in repentance and grinding my teeth in angry frustration at myself, I was overwhelmed. His voice carried such a sense of disappointment that it broke my heart. I cried for two weeks. That was 25 years ago and to this day I get tears in my eyes whenever I recall it. But it changed me. I repented and worked on becoming diligent, not selfish and lazy, but steady, earnest, and energetic in everything I did. And the Lord began revealing how my beliefs about God, religion, and myself was twisted, wicked, and began teaching me the truth, delivering me from fear (that came from wrong beliefs), and filling my heart with more love for Him and others.

I believe that Judgment is an eternal, time-transcending, spiritual reality that we can tap into even in this life! And it is TERRIBLE - but it a tremendously good medicine for our souls, life-changing!

Why do people put their faith in God? Because of a revelation of the goodness of God, His grace, love, and forgiveness. What amazes me is that the Good News of God’s love, forgiveness, and acceptance is so powerful for salvation, that even though it is shaded, to a greater or lesser degree, by the false teaching of “Hell”, that people still get saved!

I too see this as very important. So far, none of the responses have really been definitive. Is there no-one out there who has a firm conviction on this, either yes or no?

I agree too, it’s important. I just want to let you know I’m not ignoring the question. I’m working on a reply, but have been very busy and it’s taking me awhile to get it formulated right. So, maybe later today or tonight. I don’t know if my reply will be considered definitive, convincing or satisfying to anyone, but, anyway, I’ll tell you what I think and why as soon as I can figure out how to say it clearly. :wink:


I think there will be. Like I said I think it will be more of a knowledge of what love accomplished in your life and in the life of others, and what non-love destroyed in your life and in the life of others. It isn’t punishment… it is knowledge being gained, understanding being gained. Personally, I have no idea how this is going to take place, but I think regret and sorrow are going to be part of it,but eventually joy will take it’s place. I think we all see just a small little picture, our own lives, but eventually, I believe we will all see the big picture… How love conquered all in everyone’s life. And this knowledge wil last for eternity. Never again will non-love darken the hearts of anyone.

This all has to be seen through the eyes of love.
Only that which will benefit and help a person come to the knowledge of truth. Love.

Perhaps those who had very little remorse for how their actions, their non-love negatively affected others, the fire (God’s love) will feel “hotter” to the skin, if you know what I mean. (talking symbolically here.)

Let me just add to that… I don’t believe in separate groups of people “Those who believe in Jesus versus those who don’t”
I see it as each individual person being seaparated into two groups within himself.
The love within a person = believer.
The non-love within a person = nonbeliever.

I don’t see it as one group of people on the wide road and one group of people on the narrow road to life…
I see myself as having one foot (That within me which is NON-love) on the wide road that leads to destruction - (Love conquers all. All that non-love within is being destroyed, hallelujah.)
I see myself as having one foot (That within me which is LOVE) is on the narrow road that leads to life. (God is the SOURCE of love.) Love never ends.


I thought I had answered the questions pretty plainly; but here you go in a more direct form. One can reference my previous post for a lengthier reply.

I, a UR, believe that there will be post-mortem correction for believers. I believe that this will come at the judgment when we face the Truth concerning ourselves, the good, the bad, and the ugly in our lives. And I believe it can be very terrible, very terrible - weeping and gnashing of teeth terrible!

I don’t know why people would say this. Though I do believe that the biblical language concerning the afterlife is often hyperbolic and metaphoric and thus by nature not precise, exact. I believe that heaven is going to be better and judgment and any needed chastisement worse than we can understand in our present understanding. Paul speaks of some being saved as through fire, of a brother being turned over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh so that his spirit might be saved. Jesus warned of Gehenna, God’s judgment of rebellion, fire, maggots, shame, outer darkness, etc. Such hellish metaphors are meant to illicit from the believer a healthy understanding of the evil of sin, repentance from sin, and spur us on towards righteousness. And such chastizement, the rod, is administered by our loving Father as is needed for the correction of our souls. And such correction, rightly so, should be feared - just like my children fear the rod.

As I noted, I do not believe that “Hell” is post-mortem correction; I don’t believe in “Hell”. I believe that people continue in “this present evil age”, “the kingdom of darkness”, under the increasing oppression of evil until they are saved from it. This is the closest thing to “Hell” that scripture speaks of; but it is a present reality, a reality that people are currently in bondage to, a reality that only becomes absolutely clear and evident after one is physically dead, after one has shed this skin, this flesh we’ve been clothed with since the Fall. The reality of this “present evil age” is “hellish”, evil with no remediation at all, but I do not call it “Hell” because that speaks of a future ECT punishment that one is consigned to “after” judgment; whereas “thes present evil age” (though hellish) is not endless, and usually people in it do not even know they are in such bondage in the present until after death.

I agree with Sherman’s answer.

But with your statement above, I’m not sure what you are asking for. What is the “massive issue” that you see? Please elaborate.

I think the “massive issue” is equating the remedial chastizement/correction that believers receive in judgment with “Hell”, as if believers are to go to Hell for a season as punishment for their sins after having faith in Christ for salvation. It’s a mixing of what I see as separate issues. Such is a "muddled mess that could be a “massive issue” hindering people from trusting in Jesus as really being the Savior of all humanity.

In Gal. 1:4 Paul says that Jesus gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from “this present evil age”. And I believe that the traditional doctrine of Hell and salvation by faith alone, which I do not believe is biblical, serves as a lense that distorts what scripture actually says concerning “this present evil age”, “aionian chastizement”, “aionian judgment”, and “salvation by grace”. The doctrine of Hell twists together “this present evil age” and “aionian chastizement”. It wrongly says that “aionian judgment” is based on “faith” when it is actually based on works (how we actually lived, treated others, what we did with what God gave us, etc.). It allots “aionian chastizement” to unbelievers and gives believers a “free pass”. And it fails to recognize that salvation is by grace as revealed in the Atonement; by making it based on faith, not grace, then what one believes becomes more important than how one actually lives. Faith is a gift, a blessing that some receive in this life and others do not; it is not something we work up or “choose”, but something God does in us when we are privaledged to hear His Word (assuming the word falls on the good ground of our hearts and not the ground hardened by tradition, or rocky ground hardened by evil, or thorny ground consumed by fear).

Anyhow, so I can see why equating “post-mortem correction” with “Hell” would be a “massive issue” for those who do so, or more accurately, for those who are considering UR and have not worked through the issues for themselves already.

But of course, I could be absolutely wrong!

I have a firm conviction on it which I thought I conveyed. I believe hell is on earth, not in the afterlife. But there is post mortem correction/“baptism” by fire. The whole process of dying may even be part of that “baptism” which delivers us from the carnal man.

BUT, I can’t speak for anyone else except me. The featured UR rep of the site (Parry) seems to believe in post mortem hell which will endure for sinners until they reach repentance:

Sherman did a nice job. Ditto.

I, like Sonia, am working on a reply, but I have to say that I believe there is a real hell (or if you prefer, because there is no Greek word for hell, a place of punishment/Lake of fire/outer darkness, etc) different from any “hell” we might experience in this life. I believe that hell is clearly spoken of in the scriptures as being the place that the unrighteous dead go for rejecting Christ. I don’t know what it will be like beyond what Jesus, John, and others said about it metaphorically, but it will be a terrible place. Those who believe in Christ, who are reconciled in this life will be changed/perfected, but they won’t go to the lake of fire. It is not for them. I believe that God will use the Lake of fire as a place of punishment to draw those who are yet not reconciled to Christ. It is God’s tough love at its toughest. I think that Robin Parry gives an excellent explanation in The Evangelical Universalist in his section on Revelation (and in a few other places, though I think that Parry downplays God’s active participation of punishment, in my opinion). When I get the chance, I’ll draw up a response with scriptures, but I think that the scriptures are fairly clear on this, although those who accept ECT won’t agree with me about the redemption of the lost dead.

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First, I’m sorry to those ( mainly gem and sherman) who felt they had replied clearly when I said there were no clear replies. It’s probably me, but I found your followup replies very clear (as opposed to the initial ones).

Also, I didn’t start the thread, so pilgrim, please chime in if you want and tell me to go find my own thread. :wink:

Sonia and dirtboy, I’m certainly looking forward to your responses. I know how time is always an issue for these things.

That’s an interesting analogy, it just seems to be completely opposite from what Jesus said. “Make sure you enter the narrow gate”, “Wide is the road to destruction”. It seems like he was warning people (whole people, not parts of people) to choose one road not the other.

To me, at least, it’s this: (but pilgrim should correct me if I’m wrong)

If there is post-mortem correction for believers and post-mortem correction for unbelievers, what’s the difference? What was the cross for? When Peter refers to “into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice” there seems to be no thought of “all that, of course, comes after your post-mortem correction”. When Paul speaks of dying, he says he’s going “to be with the Lord”. He doesn’t speak of “to be with the Lord once I go through my post-mortem correction”. I guess it’s this: if there’s no ultimate difference, if both believers and unbelievers have post-mortem correction and both ultimately are reconciled to God, why is there so much emphasis in the Bible on salvation? I’m not explaining myself well, but it is a pretty big issue in my mind.

I personally don’t think that’s what pilgrim meant, but again, he’ll correct me if I’m wrong.

Yes, I thoroughly agree. I think to say there’s only “hell on earth” simply doesn’t fit with the full biblical witness.

Absolutely agreed. This is where I am currently. My only “issue” with it is this: given that it’s true, that still seems like believers receive a get-out-of-jail-free card and in fact don’t have to make any kind of amends for their sins and consequences, which seems to run against other parts of scripture, and our own experiences of “what is right”.

Hi there :slight_smile: ,

I don’t see how it is “opposite”? There is so much that is on the wide path to destruction. There is so much that is being destroyed… envy, greed, jealousy, selfishness, pride, lust, unkindness, guilt, shame, all that stems from non-love.
Yes, definitely Jesus is saying to “Choose one road and not the other”!! Choose the path of LOVE. The path of non-love (in whatever interaction you have with others, with whatever is happening, your thoughts, everything… seek to choose the path of love. Seek out that narrow road.

So many people think there is a wide road that all these people are walking on and headed for hell…while the few little narrow-road walkers are going to just waltz into some pearly gates… :confused:

What does “believe in Jesus” mean…? So many “believe in Jesus” yet, some of these folks are unkind, condemning, judgmental, and hard hearted. Yet they said some prayer and “Asked Jesus into their heart”. It’s about more than saying some little prayer, it’s about learning what Jesus pointed to… the example he was… how he layed down his life for us… it’s about studying and pondering and focusing on LOVE. God is love. The narrow road, to me, is walking the path of love.

Do I always walk the path of love? No. There is carnal and spiritual within me, just like within everyone.
No-one is PURE 100% carnal (wide road) or PURE 100% spiritual (narrow road). We’re both simultaenously, that is what this life IS. The carnal is walking the wide road leading to it’s inevitable DESTRUCTION, while the spiritual stays on that narrow road that leads to LIFE.

The wide road is wide, because in this life, there is MUCH to learn… there is much that needs to be conquered! :slight_smile:

Jesus warning is a warning to focus on that beautiful road of love, that leads to life.

Well, this is just my perspective. It’s right for me.
I know others disagree. That’s cool.

thanks for letting me voice what is in my heart…