Tag Archives: Cross

Why I Don’t Believe in Eternal Hell, pt. 3: The Gospel of the Kingdom


In two recent posts, I have outlined several reasons I don’t believe in the idea of “eternal conscious torment.”  The two most prominent ones I discussed are: first, because I find “eternal torment” to be starkly contradictory to the teachings and practices of Jesus (who we are told is the exact representation of the Father), and second, because the Bible’s uses of the word “hell” NEVER meant an afterlife destination of torment in the first place – in fact, the Greek word consistently translated “hell” actually means a valley near Jerusalem which many believe was used to burn trash and dead bodies.  In this third post, I’d like to look at the issue from another angle: if there is no eternal hell, then why did Jesus die?  What are we saved from?  What is the gospel?

I doubt you’ll be shocked to learn I do NOT think the gospel of Christ has anything to do with believing in Jesus to avoid hell or gain entrance into heaven when we die, and I don’t  think the scriptures, interpreted properly and looked at fully, support that idea at all.  I believe the “gospel” is all about the establishment of the KINGDOM of God – that is, the heart and way of God, based on love and unity, being recognized and received among the “elect,” then declared and ministered until in the ages to come it spreads over the earth.  That is true “good news” for ALL men, as the angels proclaimed at Jesus’ birth!  

Here is the first use of the word “gospel” in the New Testament: 

  • Matthew 4:23 ESV: “And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.” 

Do you see that?  In healing diseases and afflictions, in ministering Life and giving hope to the downtrodden, Jesus was embodying the Kingdom.  That is, he was making manifest the heart of God – the love and restorative justice and kindness that are at the core of who God is (and which is the opposite of what the law was).  Prior to this, most people in Israel (which are the ones Jesus was sent to, by the way), were totally immersed in the law of Moses, and were hindered from experiencing God on a deeper level by the “religious leaders” who used the law for their own status and profit.  The law was harsh and unbending, and these religious leaders, often referred to in the Bible as “pharisees” and “lawyers,” were blind and corrupt.  The Good News that Jesus came declaring and ministering had to do with being freed from this law and those who tried to selfishly enforce it, and to begin instead to commune with God in spirit and truth and freedom.  Glory!

It’s also interesting that Jesus and the apostles proclaimed the gospel BEFORE Jesus died on the cross.  How?  Because the gospel isn’t what so many of us were taught in western Christianity!  Here’s one of a few passages that shows this:  

  • Luke 9:1-6 ESV: “And he (Jesus) called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. And he said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics.  And whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart.  And wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them.”  And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.”

Just what do you think this “gospel” was that the disciples were preaching while Jesus was still with them?  One thing is for sure: they weren’t preaching anything about Jesus’ death as an atonement for sin enabling us to go to heaven, because scripture records they found out Jesus was going to die on a Roman cross much later, and they were horrified and dismayed by the news!  Peter actually tried to prevent Jesus from going to the cross and was rebuked by Jesus himself, who called him satan (see Matthew 16:21-23)!  No, it seems clear to me that what they were proclaiming was exactly what they had seen and heard Jesus proclaiming: “the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!”  The miracles and healings were both confirmation and manifestation of the Kingdom itself – proof that God was FOR men, not against them like the law often was.  Repentance has to do with seeing God as Father rather than “Judge” and accepting one’s sonship, letting go of contradictory mindsets and behaviors formed from fear and self-preservation. 

If you read some of the apostles’ messages in the book of Acts, you can see them declaring that through the messiah Jesus Christ, there was no need to go to temples built by human hands to worship God, and there was no need to look to priests to minister to God on one’s behalf (see 1 John 2:27 to see this declared plainly).  There was also no need (and never really had been) for animal sacrifices, because one perfect sacrifice had been made for all.  The gospel was (and is) that rather than reaching out to God through outward observances, God has come to us in His son to show us what He is like.  For the Jews, they were also told that soon the entire law-and-temple system would be taken away, once and for all (which happened when the curtain in the temple ripped from top to bottom and the Romans tore down the temple to the last stone).  

The apostle Paul, who wrote most of the New Testament and whose writings are read all over the world each Sunday, was not among the initial twelve disciples, yet he also understood the Kingdom (again, the heart of God expressed on earth) as the central component of the gospel.  He wrote, among other things: “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking (outward observances) but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”  I’m not meaning to minimize the cross of Christ.  Paul had a greater view of the cross than any other author of scripture, and wrote about its meaning in tremendous depth and mystical truth in several places, such as Romans 6.  Yet even Paul seems to have understood that the cross was part of the larger purpose of the Kingdom of God. 

I see the cross more as a demonstration and result of the gospel, rather than the gospel itself.  Assuming this is true, and the “gospel” is about the Kingdom/rule/way of the Spirit of God being received inwardly and lived out on the earth, the question still remains of why Jesus “had” to suffer and die, and what it is we are “saved” from.  I think I will save those questions for my next post, so I hope you’ll check back.  God bless you!


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Posted by on February 4, 2018 in Uncategorized


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Love, Life


“By this we know love, because he laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.”1

“…Always carrying in the body the putting to death of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus may be revealed in our mortal flesh. So then death works in us, but life in you.”2

Something I’ve been thinking about lately is life, in the spiritual sense the term is used in scripture (I wrote about life and the law it a little bit here).  I think life is such a huge and important thing, but something we don’t really understand or possess naturally.  I lately had the realization that there is no life without love.  But what is love, and what does it look like to love God and love others?  That’s what I hope to look at a little bit here.  I pray the spirit of God takes these inadequate words and uses them to do what only he can – reveal truth to the soul.

Jesus and the first apostles had much to say about love, and many of their statements lead me to believe that in their eyes, love is the greatest and highest thing.  Jesus said the greatest love any man can have is to “lay down his life for his friends.”3  If that’s true, then understanding what it means to lay down your life should help us understand what love is.

In each of the several scriptures that mention laying down your life, the word “life” is a translation of the Greek word psuche, which is also frequently translated “soul.”  Psuche refers to the part of us that isn’t physical – our thoughts, emotions, opinions, will, desires, etc.  To lay these things down literally means to set them aside, to neglect them.  Therefore, the greatest love is to set aside and neglect your own rights, feelings, opinions and desires, no matter how justified or strong they are, in order to benefit your “friend.”  Love is always self-sacrificing, but to set aside your very soul in favor of another is the greatest love.

Jesus didn’t want believers to become Christians, but disciples; those who exactly follow their master’s teachings and way of life.  According to Jesus himself, to be his disciple you must do 3 things: deny yourself (lay down your life), take up your cross (endure hardship and opposition), and follow him (his example, his way).4  In John 13, Jesus knows his time on earth is coming to an end and he has only one more chance to make a statement to his disciples before he is crucified.  Here’s what he does: “Jesus…arose from supper, and laid aside his outer garments. He took a towel, and wrapped a towel around his waist. Then he poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.”5 

Notice that Jesus first “laid aside” his outer garments.  Lay aside and lay down are the exact same in Greek.  This is symbolic of laying down one’s life.  After Peter protested that Jesus was too good to wash his feet, Jesus said: “You call me, ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord.’ You say so correctly, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Most certainly I tell you, a servant is not greater than his lord, neither one who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”6   If Jesus wasn’t above washing the feet of impure men, we absolutely aren’t either.  Jesus knew that in a few hours, Peter was going to deny him and Judas was going to betray him, but that’s wasn’t the point.  

Jesus said he came so that we may have LIFE in greater abundance (not necessarily an “abundant life” as men think of it).7  This life is the spirit of God active and powerful within us, but many of us seem to remain without much experience of this.  I believe one reason is that we have pursued life by knowledge and scripture, but what this life demands is love.  The cross we are to carry is the often painful laying down of our life that is the core of love – repaying good for evil, blessing when we are cursed, forgiving from the heart, showing unconditional kindness and mercy.  In fact, Jesus’ sole commandment to his followers is that we love one-another like he loved us – without condition or ego.8  In other words, that we lay down our lives.  When Jesus was on earth, though he had access to unmatched spiritual and natural authority on earth and in heaven, he didn’t assume the role of a God, superior to men.  Instead, he humbled himself and became a servant of men.  He took the lowest place, and helped elevate others.  He had no home, and all but a few rejected him in the end.  He often withdrew alone, and he shunned fame and notoriety.  If you want the divine life Christ came to give, you first have to lay down yours.  That’s love.

I pray this was edifying and challenging, and God willing I’ll have a part 2 of sorts posted soon.  As always, there is more, and deeper avenues to these things, seek them out!  God bless you. 


  1. 1 John 3:16 WEB (R)): 
  2. 2 Corinthians 4:10-12 WEB (R))
  3. John 15:13
  4. Matthew 16:24
  5. John 13:3-5 WEB (R))
  6. John 13:13-17 WEB (R))
  7. John 10:10
  8. John 15:12
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Posted by on January 13, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Absence of Love Brings Death. One Thing Needs to Die…

…And they loved not their life even unto death.”  (Revelation 12:11 ESV)

Let me point out a few things before I tell you what I believe this phrase means, which I find shocking.  The word “even” was added by the translators.  The word “loved” is Greek agapao, a verb meaning “to love” and “to welcome or entertain.” Life” is the Greek word psuche, which is most often translated “soul.”  The word “unto” is the Greek word “achri,” which is most often translated “until,” meaning “to the point of.”  The same phrase translated “even unto death” in Revelation 12:11 is used in Acts 22:4, where Paul says of his former self: “I persecuted this Way to the death,”  meaning he diligently persecuted followers of the way of Christ, refusing to quit until they were killed. 

With the above in mind, I believe the last clause of this verse literally means: “they actively and continually shunned and refused to regard their soul, until it died.  This is huge, and actually mirrors what Jesus emphasized during his ministry. 

Matthew 13:34 clearly states that in public, Jesus only taught using parables – physical symbols representating deeper, spiritual things.  Therefore, when Jesus said that to follow him we must take up our cross and lose our life (psuche) for him in order to find it, he wasn’t speaking of literally carrying a piece of wood or dying physically.  He’s speaking of losing our soul-driven, self-devoted life for a spiritual life that is founded on devotion and relation to God.

Remember, the call of Jesus is to pick up our cross, deny our self AND to follow him.  Unlike the common understanding, the self-denial Jesus had in mind isn’t about restricting what you eat, what you do, what you buy, where you go, etc.  It’s deeper than that.  You can restrict all those things without any change of heart toward God and without following Christ.  It’s about refusing to edify, promote or defend yourSELF.  Self-denial is really the total absence of awareness of or regard for self, PERIOD.  All the various forms of self-improvement and self-restriction that are promoted in the church and the world still bring focus to self, so they aren’t self-DENIAL

Self-denial is critical to following Jesus, because you can’t be aware of and concerned with yourself and God simultaneously.  Because a believer has become a member of the body of Christ and is called to total devotion to the Father, self has no place any longer.  The life of a disciple of Jesus is about giving heed and pursuing God’s kingdom only and ignoring the loud demands your selfish (and often religious) soul will make – demands to be heard, respected, acknowledged, and obeyed.  Sometimes the soul will demand you conform to a certain standard it sees as “good” or “holy.”  But holiness is simply devotion to the Father’s voice, which often makes no sense to the soul, which is “rational.”  

The phrase “they loved not their life” means these people actively and consistently gave no love – no compassion, tolerance, welcome, kindness, patience, recognition or obedience to their SOUL, until it became powerless and essentially died.  Absence of love results in death.  This is a hard process, but a vital one.  One thing that’s been on my heart is that if I’m going to suffer, at least let it be for a love-driven pursuit of God and His Kingdom – His will being done on earth.  Nothing else is worth it.

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Posted by on July 5, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Sin, Self, and God’s Kingdom

I noticed and found this very interesting this morning: sin is called deceitful and is subtle, but the “works of the flesh” are evident and obvious.

Sin is characterized by deceitfulness.  It’s often undetected, even by those who are looking for it.  It’s subtle and crafty.  Satan’s primary activity appears to be that of deception.  Deception is simply perceiving things differently than God without acknowledging so.  I believe that sin, wickedness, and evil, as God sees them, don’t really look like what we would call “evil” or “sinful.”  Sin and evil are subtle, that’s important to keep in mind.

Starting in Matthew 16:21, Peter tells Jesus that he shouldn’t go to the cross.  Rather than acknowledging his concern, Jesus  rebuked Peter and actually referred to him as Satan!  Peter, in his great distress and concern, was just trying to protect Jesus’ flesh, but Jesus immediately rebukes him, stating Peter was using a natural, human perception of things rather than a spiritual view of things, and that one has to deny himSELF and take up his cross to follow Jesus. Peter was trying to protect Jesus’ self, and Jesus saw this as evil, as a hindrance to God’s will.  Jesus had to die, this was his mandate from God.  We too have to follow in his example.

I believe the primary meaning of sin is to “miss the mark” of God’s will and guidance, which, if yielded to, will lead to inward purity and the establishment of God’s kingdom on earth.  In that sense, something we might call “good,” if not done in obedience to God, is actually “sin,” because God had no part in it – it originated in our own mind or heart, not His.  In a similar way, the word “wicked” in scripture comes from the idea of twisting, as in the “wick” of a candle being made from twisted-together strands.  Thus any sort of perverted or misapplied understanding or mindset is wicked, as are the actions that may result.  Scripture declares: “as a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”  ONLY as we understand in our heart and apply what Jesus and the apostles really meant, can we be righteous, meaning “in a right standing and relationship,” before God.  Wickedness is empowered by deception.

(Hebrews 3) 12 “Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”

(2 Timothy 3) 13 “But evil men and impostors will proceed to worse, deceiving and being deceived.”

(Revelation 19) 20 “And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image…”

(Revelation 20) 7 “When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, and will come out to deceive the nations…”

Many things we call “sin” are really what scripture calls “the works of the flesh.”  In contrast to subtle, deceptive sin, the works of the flesh are “evident,” meaning they are obvious, easily seen and recognized.

(Galatians 5) 19 “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality…those who practice such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God.” 

The reason practicing the works of the flesh will keep one out of the kingdom of God is simple – the flesh, or your SELF, is opposed to God, and to follow it is to establish the kingdom of SELF and to make SELF your God.  Everything labeled as a “work of the flesh” is aimed to gratify oneself.  There is no consideration of God, no self-denial in sexual immorality, anger, strife, divisions, envy, drunkenness, divisions, etc. Sin has to do with independence from God – acting from or for self rather than God.  When we establish the kingdom of self rather than God’s kingdom, we commit treason, mutiny.  This is sin, this offends Him.  More than watching a bad movie or kicking the dog, establishing self is the real offense. Salvation, which we are told to “work out,” has to do with being delivered from the influence of self.

Conclusion:  If you want to be righteous, free from wickedness or evil, then completely let go of all that YOU have acquired in terms of your beliefs and understandings, and let God’s spirit teach you.  If you want to be pure and without sin, then do nothing from yourSELF, but learn to discern the Father’s will and follow Him.  Seek God, get quiet and still, ask Him to reveal Himself to you, TRUST Him to do it, look for His guidance, rely upon Him.  1 John 2:27 is a confirmation of this.  Remember this – if you humbly, before God, acknowledge that you lack sight and clarity, you cannot be deceived.  I believe God gives grace to the humble.  Grace is the influence of the spirit of God which will teach you.

Galatians 5:19-21  Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,  (20)  idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions,  (21)  envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

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Posted by on March 26, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Laodicea Summarized

(Revelation 3, ESV):  14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.  15“I know your works (labor): you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.

It’s critical to keep in mind that Laodicea, who Jesus speaks to, is a congregation of believers in Jesus Christ.   Laodicea means “a just/righteous people,” from the Greek words laos (a people) and dikaios (right or just).  As we will see, Laodicea’s righteousness was only in their own eyes.    

Interestingly, Jesus tells them exactly why he sees them as “lukewarm.”  (Revelation 3): 17 Because you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing…”  Laodicea is seen as lukewarm and nauseating, because they say in their heart that their condition is one of wealth and they need nothing.  Again, this is a congregation of believers which God recognizes.  I believe Laodicea says in their heart they are “rich” by believing in Christ, have “abundance” by doing good works, and “lack nothing” because they are saved and assured of going to heaven.  This is lukewarmnessJesus literally says in reality they are:  “undergoing a testing, pitiful, thoroughly destitute, blind, and naked.”   He then gives them counsel to repair their utterly destitute state.  The theme of his counsel is toward repentance from tainted understandings.

Jesus first counsel is to get “gold refined by fire.”  Here and everywhere else, he is speaking spiritually.  This “gold” represents that which in the kingdom of God is precious and leads to increasing wealth.  In scripture, gold is compared with wisdom.  Wisdom and understanding are the “gold” of God’s kingdom.  The fire that refines (purifies) this gold is the judgments of God.  I believe this primarily takes place within our heart, the core of our thoughts and beliefs.  When we undergo this fire, things based on men’s false wisdom are either consumed or made visible and then separated.  What remains is the precious “gold” of everything in our heart which is based on wisdom from God.  I believe many well-established religious ways of thinking and acting will be burned up in this fire.  We can only access God’s mind and heart by Spirit-to-spirit revelation.

The second thing Jesus says to buy is “white garments, that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed…”  Garments cover naked flesh.  In the spiritual, our “flesh” reprents our SELF, the “me, myself, and I” part that always cries out to be catered to.  Self can be very religious, but it always opposes God.  It must be crucified and covered.  I believe the “white garments” here represent the righteousness and purity of Jesus Christ Himself.  As self is daily put to death, then one can receive this white garment.  God recognizes nothing else.  Many things we see as “good” have been tainted by self and God sees them as ”wood, hay and stubble” to be burned or disgusting, “filthy rags.”  Self is the filth that stains our spiritual covering.

Finally, Jesus counsels Laodicea to buy “eye salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see.”  In  Matthew 6:22-23, Jesus spoke of the singular eye” (spiritual perception) which gives light within, which can be “clear” or “bad.”   The word “clear” is the Greek word haplous, essentially meaning an unmixed, sound whole.  Jesus is saying that one’s spiritual perception (eye) needs to be without any mixture of the false teaching of men or unclean spirits, which Jesus calls darkness.  An “eye” that has this mixture is called “bad” and results in total darkness.  Jesus warns if the “light” (truth and understanding) we claim to have is actually “darkness” (deception and confusion), then this is the most extreme darkness there is.  This is why the Laodicean attitude of “no need” while in darkness is so dangerous.

“Eye-salve” is the Greek word kollourion, which comes from a base word meaning “glue.” “Anoint” likely just means to “rub in.”  Our natural understanding is the “eye” Jesus said in Matthew 6:23 is bad and results in total darkness.  The “eye-salve” Jesus offers will glue shut this bad eye and cover it with the presence of the Holy Spirit.  1 John 2:27 says: “you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie…”  To perceive spiritually based on the “sight” of this anointing is the “clear” eye that Jesus says will produce a body full of light (truth).  But first, the “eye-salve” must be applied to glue shut or negate everything else.  If this is not done, then the natural, carnal understanding/perception will remain the “light” within, which Jesus calls the most extreme darkness.  God forbid.

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Posted by on March 14, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Why Jesus Christ Died, Pt 2

In this second part, I want to take a more complete look at what the scriptures have to say about the reason and meaning of Jesus’ death.  In reviewing the scriptures on the topic of Christ’s death, I have found the need to seperate two similar but distinct issues: 1). Jesus’ personal death on the cross, and 2). Our own identification with his death, so closely that we are said to have been “crucified with him” and to have “died with him” (Romans 6:6, 8, 2 Corinthians 5:14, Colossians 3:3, Galatians 2:20, etc).   Our own death with Christ is a direct result of Christ’s personal ministry and death, but they are not the same thing.  I want to focus here on the meaning of Jesus personal death on the cross. 

“…and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness…”  -1 Peter 2:24 

“…while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son…”  -Romans 5:10

“So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.”  -Romans 5:18,19

“…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.”    -2 Corinthians 5:14-15

“…God, who reconciled us to Himself through ChristGod was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them…”  -2 Corinthians 5:18-19

” …He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross…”  -Colossians 2:13-14

“For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God…”  1 Peter 3:18

“…you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace…abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity…for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.”  -Ephesians 2:13-18

“…through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil; and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.”  -Hebrews 2:14-15

“…through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption…the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?…since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.”  -Hebrews 9:12-15

“…He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.”  -Hebrews 9:26

“…we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all…” “For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” “…we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus…”  “…having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”  -Hebrews 10:10, 14, 19, 22.

“…Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered…” -Hebrews 13:12

There’s a lot there, enough for a lifetime of study.  But the theme I notice most is the idea of Christ “reconciling” us to God through his death on the cross.  “Sanctification,” or being “set-apart,” is another theme, which I believe is a result of our reconciliation.  The Greek word for “reconcile” is katallasso, which basically means a change or exchange.  It was reportedly used as a term for changing money and enemies “changing” to friends.  A careful look at the scriptures shows that it is only mankind who is “reconciled.”  God Himself needed no change, but we did.  In a sense, our “reconciliation” consists of our “exchanging” our position of weakness, sin and spiritual death for Christ’s position as son and his spiritual life.  There’s no connection with God outside of spirit. 

The law brought sin and death; our weak and corrupt flesh responds to it (Galatians 6:8, Romans 7:5-9, 14, 25, Romans 8:2-3, 1 Corinthians 15:56, Galatians 3:10-14, 2 Peter 2:10).  This kept mankind from genuine righteousness, or right relationship to God.  Christ satisfied and ended – “fulfilled” the law (Matthew 5:17, Romans 8:4), took it away (Colossians 2:14), made us spiritually alive (Romans 8:10, Ephesians 2:5, Colossians 2:13), and gave us peace with God (Romans 5:1).  Now, being led by the spirit instead of law (Romans 7:6, Galatians 5:4-5, 25), we are to walk in our position as sons of God (Romans 8:14-16, Galatians 4:6), denying our self/flesh (Matthew 16:24, 2 Peter 2:11), furthering the Kingdom of our Father and honoring Him.  It’s not easy, our self/flesh remains corrupt and must be dealt with harshly which is painful and hard, but it’s a glorious calling, and for those who love, it’s worth it. 

Romans 7: But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter. 

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Posted by on February 7, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Why Jesus Christ Died

As we have discussed, modern Christianity has tended to simplify and make more “comfortable” to the human flesh and mind the meaning and ramifications of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  From early on, I (as many others) have not been satisfied with the pat answers and shallow doctrines I’ve been presented with in the church.  As I’ve learned and gained understanding, I’ve had to do an equal amount of UN-learning and repenting (changing my mind and understanding).  As I was hangsing up some coats in the closet a few days ago, the thought came to me: “why did Jesus Christ suffer and die on the cross?”  I know that modern Christianity believes and teaches he did so to save us from hell and take us to heaven.  But I also know it’s deeper than that.  I believe the Spirit of God put this question in my mind to spur a deeper search.

First of all, without chasing a rabbit trail into a vast cavern, I’d like to simply say I don’t think the modern Christian concept of heaven and hell is accurate.  I’m not saying  the understanding is totally wrong, but I think it’s mistaken in many ways.  I say this because studying the death of Christ and the scriptures that teach about it leads to many other issues, including heaven and hell, but it’s dangerous to assume Jesus meant the same thing that Christianity means when using certain phrases or discussing certain topics.  It is VITAL to understand that when, like Christianity, you have a pre-conceived, wooden understanding, (which I sometimes refer to as a “lens” or “filter,”) then most pieces of information that come your way meet one of two fates:  1). It doesn’t get through and is rejected, or 2). It is reshaped to fit through the “filter.”  This is what Christianity has done to many deeper truths.  Keep this in mind and I will probably refer to this idea again.

I think the boiled-down, nutshell reason Christ died is summed up by the apostle Peter, in 1 Peter 3:18, ESV: For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God…  I think it’s really that simple, when you boil it all down.  Christ suffered and died to bring us to God.  Of course, what that all means, and how it’s all worked out, is a HUGE topic that I believe is still being revealed today.  But at it’s core, it means just what it says.  It’s not about heaven or hell, it’s not about changing our behavior, it’s about bringing us to God.  It’s God making a way for fellowship with man, one Son bringing many other sons to glory and a knowledge of their Father.  Hebrews 2, NKJV: 10 For it was fitting for Him (the Father), for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation (Jesus) perfect through sufferings. 11 For both He who sanctifies (Jesus) and those who are being sanctified (true believers) are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren…

Christianity would like it to end there, with us becoming a son, being good and reclining in comfort for eternity, but it doesn’t.  If adopted as sons, then we should act as sons and participate in the work of our Father, just as Jesus did. John 8, NKJV:   28 Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. 29 And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.”

Hebrews 2 mentions sanctification of you and I as an outworking or result of Jesus’ sufferings.  Here is a good time to showcase my earlier warning about “filters.”  Christianity has taught that sanctification is basically a process of eliminating bad things from one’s behavior, until one is “holy.”  This concept is burned into the mind of millions, but IT’S DEEPER THAN THAT.  Sanctification refers to being “set apart,” to God, which is a meaning of holiness.  It’s a process of losing the influence of SELF and gaining the influence of GOD.  It’s a process of coming into union with the Father, thinking like he thinks and growing into His image.  John 17, NKJV: 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one…  You can have impeccable behavior, but look NOTHING like God and be full of pride, falsehood, and false doctrine.  Many are just that way.  In saying Jesus suffered to “bring us to God,” a main aspect of this is to bring us to a place where we think and act like God – in a sense, to bring us to “god-hood,” although not equal to God ourselves.  That only comes as we deny ourselves and the influence of SELF is removed and the spirit of Christ, the faithful Son, replaces it.  1 Corinthians 6, NKJV: 17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.

I hope to continue this post soon, and I have many more scriptures to share.  I hope it has encouraged you to go DEEPER.  Trust God to take you there, and simply be closed to your own voice, and open to His.

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Posted by on February 5, 2013 in Uncategorized


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