Recently, I’ve been studying the topic of Hell, and specifically an alternative understanding of the doctrine of Hell know as Conditionalism or sometimes Annihilationism (though both names allude to particular aspects of the same understanding of Hell, they seem to be used interchangeably to represent the same perspective). The Conditionalist view of Hell seems to me to make much better sense of what the Scriptures say are the “wages of sin” and the destiny of the unredeemed than traditional view of Hell does.
While I am heavily leaning in the direction of the Conditionalist view at the moment, I am still open to the possibility that it is wrong and that Tradition is correct. After all, some of the biggest names in the history of Christian Theology have held to the traditional view, and I know these men are much more authoritative on God, the Scriptures, and what they have to say on this topic than I. That said, I also believe that these men are not inerrant, and believe that it is possible they are all wrong, and therefore feel it necessary to investigate the topic for myself.
When dark is the mood and damned is the man, the night is full of terror. Woe to him who knows Him not, for even some who have prophesied in His name will not be known on the day when all is done. Shutter at the thought and be wise, for when dark is the mood and damned is the man who is not Known, time will be at its end, and eternity before us.
I shutter at the thought of things for which I once wept, and shall once again weep with Him who watered wailing weary widows with tears for the world that turned away.
Praise Him who helps us home. Praise Him who shows us the way. Praise Him who rose that day. Praise God that Yeshua Messiah, Jesus who is called Christ, came, showed us how to be, and died at the hands who one day exalted him, and the next executed him. We all damned him that day, when the mood was dark, and damned was the day that the One died. But blessed be that day when He who died Rose. And in so doing redeemed us all. And in so doing unleashed a power that we can grasp if we follow the One who showed us the way when dark was the mood and damned was man.
Even when the dark is all around, and all you see is terror, pain, suffering, unfairness, coldness, harshness, remember the light that shows us that way of Love that so paradoxically works in ways we cannot possibly fully weigh, that in giving we shall receive, and in clinging we lose all. The first shall be last and the last first. the humble will be exalted. Everything is not as it seems. You have to look beyond the obvious, beyond the observable, and see the Way the One showed us. His way is the way of pain, rejection, loss. But it is also the way of Life eternal, Zoe life. Are you better than your master? Is the work done and the Word spread that we should sit here comfortably?
WAKE UP! We all need to reexamine what is important in life and see that we work towards that, whatever it may be. Put another way, the things you work towards are the things that are important to you. If that is a nice tv, a comfy home, a nice ride, etc., then go for it, but know that these thing are not the way of the One. He said sell your things and give to the poor, not accumulate stuff and live comfortably. The harvest is great but the workers are few.
WAKE UP!! That includes you mister maestro of the mouth, you whacky word wizard, slinging sentences together thinking you’re clever, you need to wake up, because you are writing this for a reason. You have lost your way, and you need to wake up. Time is not your friend, my friend. It is on the rails revving ahead, and you are no longer a wistful kid wiling away the days till you hit adulthood. you can’t simply slip through life on what little intelligence you have left. You are putting this out there for a reason. A wake-up call to yourself. Time to start rolling with Christ and stop fighting against your chains, and start surrendering them to Him, so that he can untangle you and set you free like a cat with too much yarn, all tangled up and fussing against the One who only wants to set you free. Stop scratching at His hand cause He wants to take away your favorite toys, and start following Him who showed us the way to true Love, who gives us joy, peace patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Notice that happiness is not on that list. This is because we aren’t promised we would be happy, we are promised we will reap what we sow, and that even when we sow so many seeds, we must persevere through all the muck of the world, and wade through the weave of weeds in order to have any kind of harvest. It is a marathon, not a sprint. If we keep quitting when things get hard, or if we settle for mediocrity in life, for a comfy job, and a roof over our heads, we will ultimately amount to nothing. Blips of nothingness, living comfortably numb, thinking we are saved when he will say “I never knew you, depart from me you who do evil.”
Stop asking God to fix you, because He won’t.
Sounds pretty harsh doesn’t it?
Well, its true.
God is not going to take away that temptation in your life, and He won’t change how you feel about your boss/spouse/friend/parent/other. He won’t take away that guilt you feel because you actually feel that way about them either.
Being periodically presented with the privilege of perusing Providence is a quite fantastic thing. Sometimes, this vision into the aftereffects of the Spirit working in our lives is of something so seemingly insignificant that others cannot conceive of the importance being granted such a vision is. Sometimes, I think this is intended not only to humble us who wish to share such visions with others (and in so doing puff up with pride at what God has granted us), but also to show us the specialness of such a vision. These special glimpses into the way God uses us when we let Him lead are sometimes meant to reinforce the intimacy in the relationship we build with God, and through the Spirit’s workings and visions we can see the joy that comes from letting the Spirit lead and inform our decisions.
If we work every day at building and reinforcing that most intimate of all relationships with God, we will one day be granted a vision of all the wonderful ways the Spirit used us unknowingly, and we will hopefully have cause for much rejoicing. Remember also, however, that we will also see and stand accountable for every unjust and evil action we have ever committed. Woe to us who have horrid pasts. Woe to us who wreaked wretched and reckless wrath. We must all stand accountable before the throne of God, and it is my wish that one day, despite all the damaging and devastating destruction I have done, I will be able to hear those words I so desperately want to hear uttered from the lips of my Savior, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” I haven’t had it anywhere near as bad as Paul or Jesus had it, but I am fully and utterly prepared to endure every kind of torture and pain for Christ, whatever form it will take. Jesus suffered and died so that we can live, and “no servant is greater than his master.” I know full well that the Gospel is free to receive, but we must remember that it will cost us everything we have.
I pray that I may suffer as much as is necessary (and as little as is possible) to accomplish all Christ means to through me, for the good of others in the Kingdom that is Here and Now, and for the good of all in the Kingdom that is Not Yet. I pray the same for all of those who truly wish to serve the King of Kings and help unite the Kingdoms of Here and Now, and Not Yet into that place we will one day call Home.
Pain is a beautiful Gift from God.
If you do not understand this statement, then I offer this post as a gift to those who wish to understand more about pain through the insights God has granted me on this topic. I am not perfect, nor do I know everything. I simply wish to share this insight so that others may benefit from what I have learned. Knowledge greedily guarded helps no one. I feel part of my calling as a Christian is to #SpeakTruth and #SpreadLove, and so I try to do that by sharing the knowledge God has granted me, and trying to live by it myself. As I said, I am not perfect, and I don’t always practice what I preach, but a flaw in me does nothing to negate the truthfulness of the statements (where there is truth, I may have some of this wrong!). Just because it is spoken by an imperfect man does not taint the truth of the message. Let him and/or her who has ears hear, and may the Holy Spirit guide those who choose to read this, that they may learn and grow from these insights I share.
Pain was created by God, and he has graciously given it to us as a gift. As with all gifts, it is either given or received. As such, there is both a right way and a wrong way to give it as well as a right way and a wrong way to receive it.
I was reading this morning in James 1 when the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to a spiritual truth that I had not seen before. This truth may be obvious to some, but to myself, I had never really seen it this way before, and so I wanted to share this passage with you, and the insights that the Holy Spirit has provided me through it. The passage is James 1:13-15:
When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”