LETTER TO A BROTHER
TAKEN FROM SAVIOR OF THE WORLD WEB SITE
BY: BRAD EDWARDS
January 29, 1999
I am not sure how to begin this letter. I am continually reminded that any truth of God can only be revealed by Him who has hidden it throughout the ages from man. Herein lies my dilemma – If what I speak is the truth, I can not on my own merits or reasoning convey or convince anyone else that it is in fact true. Only God can allow us to understand His purpose, which has been hidden in Christ. But I am hopeful and I do pray that God’s Spirit is with me as I write this letter to you, so that you may understand that what God has placed in my heart and mind is true
Before I address your letter I would like to touch on this point of “eternal purpose.” It is important to understand that God has a PLAN and had it long before creation.
EPH 1:11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12] in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.
EPH 3:7 I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. 8] Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9] and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10] His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11] according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12] In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. 13] I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.
Now, there is much to understand in just these few passages. We see that God works EVERYTHING to conform to HIS WILL. Paul testifies that he, “the least of all God’s people,” became a servant by the gift of God’s grace. He says he is to “make plain to everyone” this mystery. I think we both will agree that God had a plan for creation from the beginning and it was to be accomplished thru His Son, Jesus Christ. Let us agree on this truth. Furthermore, Christ has already accomplished His Father’s will! Do we agree on this point? We must recognize that Christ did not fail and cannot fail.
Now let’s begin to look at your letter. You rightly say that God desires ALL to be saved, but you believe that He can’t accomplish this mission or desire because of these reasons:
1) Many deny His free gift of salvation and choose the path of destruction
2) God will not force us to come to Him because that wouldn’t be lov
3) God gives us the choice – His way or our way
4) God is holy and therefore cannot overlook sin as it would not meet His standard of holiness.
5) We cannot be saved by our own righteousness
6) God cannot lie
First let us begin on what we surely agree upon. That our God and Father love us and wants ALL to come to repentance. I would like to expound on this truth. He wants us to come to the knowledge of truth and to be saved. (1Tim 2:4) We also know this fact – that Christ has already given Himself as a ransom for ALL men. He has paid for ALL of humanity in full. But this testimony will be given in its proper time. Not everyone will hear His Message while walking on the earth. Do you agree with Paul?
We should agree that millions of souls have gone to the “grave” without hearing The Good News. Paul is very adamant on this point that this is a Truth. Notice what God wants – “ALL to come to the knowledge of the truth.” So apparently there are some that have not come to this knowledge and don’t know the Truth. These are those that are considered ignorant like Paul was before God called him. I will address Paul’s situation a bit later, but how badly does God “want” all to be saved? Well, the word “want” is translated “will” in some Bibles and “desires” in others. But what does it mean and how much weight does this word carry? Well, the word in Greek is “qelei” and is exactly the same word used in Romans 9:18 –
RO 9:16 It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 17] For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18] Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.
These passages clearly are showing us that our God is a sovereign God. That is – He does ALL that He pleases and no one can stop Him. That His purpose does not “depend on man’s desire or effort.” But the main point is that HE DOES WHAT HE WANTS! GLORY TO THE ONLY TRUE GOD! I will bring the sovereignty truth up again later, but my point here is to show that exactly the same word was used in the same context, which we should believe means the same thing. When God wants something He doesn’t desire its fulfillment in vain. His words cannot come back void and unfulfilled. Surely you believe that everything is possible for God? I will leave this issue and begin to explore your statements.
1) I agree when you say that many go the way of destruction. Let’s look at that passage:
MT 7:13 Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14] But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. It should be perfectly clear that Jesus is telling us that many will be destroyed and only a few will find Him, the narrow gate. Do you agree? But what does it mean to be destroyed? Well, let’s look at these related passages:
1 COR 5:5 I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
1 COR 3:15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss, but he himself will be saved, yet so as by fire. 16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17] If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.
1 TIM 1:20 Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.
Here in Corinthians we have a couple of passages dealing with destruction. Let me ask you something – have you ever “defiled the temple of God?” Most honest followers of Christ would say yes, that in some way we have corrupted these temples. So what then? Will God destroy us and all that have corrupted themselves? Yes, he will! Thank God! Does God use Satan and hell to destroy the flesh and to correct us? Yes, we clearly read that He does. Will God salt EVERYONE with fire? Yes, He will! Remember, ALL of God’s word must harmonize into His eternal purpose. All that we read must make sense with the Light of Truth removing the darkness from our hearts and minds. One final thought on “destruction”- how could IT take forever and ever to destroy something? Would you even consider that Greek word “aion” means age? And that this has been mistranslated. I have the King James, a Rotherham, a Weymouth and a Young Bible that use “age” or “of the ages” and not forever. I have articles siting ancient Greek writers that use “aion” to mean age. Here is a little note on this issue of an “age.” We read in Ephesians:
EPH 2:6: And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7] in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8] For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – 9] not by works, so that no one can boast. 10] For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Well, the word “ages” is exactly the word “aions.” Why did they not here translate it “forevers” or “eternities”? Because it wouldn’t make sense! So why take the same Greek word and give it 5 or 6 different meanings? The other thing to note is that God is going to show His INCOMPARABLE RICHES IN GRACE IN THE COMING AGES. “IMMEASURABLE GRACE” is what the Greek definition says. Do you believe that God will do this in the coming ages? How many ages do you suppose God will show His immeasurable kindness? God clearly shows us that destruction is not what we may think. God is destroying our carnal natures, as I will go into more detail later about. Well, let’s move on to the next issue.
2) You believe that God cannot FORCE us to come to Him because that wouldn’t be love.
My knee-jerk response to that is- and throwing his screaming, scared and pitiful children into an everlasting hell IS love! But it matters not what I think, but what God says, correct? So let us examine this point. You say that He desires a “personal love relationship” with us. I certainly agree on this. But you say that He won’t or can’t use force as that would violate His character of being perfect love.
This is really about what is love as defined by God’s word and whose will is sovereign- God’s or ours. For one to have a sovereign free will means that nothing and no one can thwart what you want or what you will to be. Let’s look at a few passages showing God’s sovereignty:
ISA 46:10 I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.
DA 4:35 All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?”
DT 32:39 “See now that I myself am He! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand.
RO 9:16 It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 17] For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18] Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.
Brother, there are so many more passages illustrating the truth that God can do what He wills with man. I really don’t know of any that support man having a “free-will.” Also Christ paid for us, God owns us. Moreover, we should trust our Father as He knows what is best for us no matter what our circumstances or plans that He has for us might be. In Daniel we read that He does what He pleases with the people of the world. Don’t you believe this true?
Look at Saul’s salvation. Here was a man persecuting believers right up to the minute God spoke to him and COMMANDED him what to do. As we see:
AC 9:1 Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2] and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3] As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4] He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? AC 9:5 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.
“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. 6] “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
Do we see God “asking” Saul to follow Him or COMMANDING him? When Christ said to His apostles, “follow me,” do you suppose that was just a suggestion from God? When Jesus told the spirits to leave men’s bodies or the sick to be healed, HE WAS COMMANDING THESE THINGS. OUR GOD IS SOVEREIGN GOD AND WILL DO ALL HE WILLS. He speaks – it happens!
Do you believe that God has ever called anyone and failed? Did Noah, Moses or even Jonah fail at the ultimate purpose that God had for them? That would mean that His word would come back void and we know that is not possible. What ever God speaks it happens. That is the way it is. We must understand that our God is SOVEREIGN. Certainly you must believe that He is?
He hardens, fashions, blinds and confuses men, but all according to His purpose and His Glory! But what about our so-called free will when God gives us a “spirit of stupor?” How can men make good decisions when God has made them this way? Is God love when He hardens our hearts so that we turn away from Him? Is God love when He blinds us so that we can’t see Him?
Do fathers force their kids to do things they don’t want to because they know best? Are they not forcing on them good behavior because they love them? Will fathers not punish their children to correct them and bring them back to the image the father is making them into? Even if the child tells the father that they hate them and become disobedient to their father, does the father understand that his children are not yet matured and “know not what they are doing?” (Luke 23:34)
Paul tells us about how he was ignorant and was shown mercy. If God gives a child of His no understanding, no faith, no desire to seek Him, then what should God the Father expect in return from this child of His? We know that more is expected of those who are given more. If nothing is given then it must not be their time yet to come to God.
How should we define LOVE as it pertains to God’s love for us? We look to Christ and see God’s love shown in Him! We read about love and God’s character in 1Corinthians 13. WE MUST HARMONIZE ALL TRUTH IN GOD.
1 COR 13:4: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5] It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6] Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7] It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.
1 COR 13:8: Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9] For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10] but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.
How do Christians read these powerful words about LOVE (which is the greatest power God has)? Then in the next breath say “He sends them to hell forever because He loves them and there was nothing else He could do for them….these wicked souls are better off away from their Father because to be in His presence would be much more pain.”
This is complete NONSENSE and devilish logic! Read and BELIEVE what LOVE can do and can’t do! Love protects, preserves and is kind. Love DOES NOT keep a record of wrongs and DOES NOT FAIL! Also notice, “when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.” But what becomes of all those “imperfect” souls in hell? Does our Savior Jesus Christ just shrug his shoulders and say, “sorry, Father. I couldn’t save them even if that was your will.” TOTAL FOOLISHNESS!
Dear Father please instill your wisdom, mercy and love into all your believers so they will stop worshiping a god of endless wrath and truly understand your love and purpose shown in your son, Jesus Christ.
Somehow you must explain to me that our Father, defined as perfect love, would knowingly and without OUR choice, bring us into this world for a few years to grope in the darkness like blind men only to be cast into a torture chamber that lasts forever. How can one worship such a god? As God defines love, I show my children MORE LOVE than this god of wrath does! Where is this “other” image of love found in the Bible? Where does it say that putting millions of God’s children in hell forever is love? Where? Can your heart accept this?
Is all that matters to us our own personal salvation, bliss and security? I believe many Christians are more worried about themselves than ALL of humanity combined. I cannot worship such a god, nor love such a father as this. I would rather go to hell than to worship such a god who’s mercy has ran out, but who’s wrath is going to last forever. I would rather cut my time in heaven in half and share it with a sinner in hell who cries out to be saved while I take his place in hell.
But All thanks and Glory to God, our Father who is LOVE and will do ALL of His desire and He desires ALL to be saved! God will do what He wants with me I care not about myself, but this truly angers me that many Christians are self-righteous, prideful, and living in a complete delusion that THEY chose Christ and have secured their own salvation. They are wrong. Truly there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth…” Time for the next subject.
3) “God gives us a choice.” The passage you cite is this:
GE 2:15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16] And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17] but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” (NIV)
My first question is -what does God tell Adam will be the penalty for disobedience? Answer- death that is it. What will die? -The body of Adam? This NIV translation is not the best and has removed a verse from this passage. Most Bibles say “in that day you will surely die” Well, it should be quite clear that Adam nor Eve died that day they ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Adam lived 930 years.
DEATH CAME TO ADAM’S SPIRIT. He was born of God, and God is Spirit. He is called the “son of God.” Adam had the spirit of God while he ate freely from the Tree of Life, which is Christ. When he “chose” knowledge, God’s Spirit left and he was then dead, or dying in God’s eyes. Where does God ever tell him that he would go to an eternal hell for his sin? If Adam had known that his sin would put ALL of mankind onto the highway to hell, perhaps he would have reconsidered. But nowhere did God tell him about this eternal hell as punishment for his actions. THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH. Could God be any clearer? Hell is not the wages of sin- hell is to destroy, refine, purify, punish and teach.
As you asked me before, does God lie? Isn’t withholding such an important issue like our eternal destiny rather unjust and deceptive? Did He tell any of the prophets about an eternal hell? He didn’t because it doesn’t exist forever, but rather only as long as it takes to “destroy” the flesh. He told them about Sheol – the grave where EVERYBODY went, good or evil.
Another point I want to raise is this idea that Adam made the choice for ALL of us. Is this fair? What about MY free will? My so-called choice was already made 6,000 years ago and now I am born a slave to sin whether I want to be or not. Many have told me that we have to use our “free-will to choose God” But I have been made a slave to sin. Can I set myself free? Can I break the bond of sin, so that I may have soul and heart that is free of sin so that I can make such a choice? Is it fair that one man’s transgression brought ALL men to state of death? Yes, but ONLY IF one Man will bring us ALL back into His Glorious life! It should be clear that any one of God’s children would have made exactly the same choice as Adam. But why is this? It is because God created us ALL and WILLED our fall according to his plan. He created our nature to fall when tempted. Babies are born with legs, but can’t walk for many months and when they try, they fall many times. This carnal nature given by God is a maturing process to learn our dependency on God. Our God and Creator must take responsibility for us. He gave us this nature with a disposition to sin as we read-
EPH 2:1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2] in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3] All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4] But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5] made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.
“By nature” must mean by God. For what other Creator of nature is there – Satan? Does Satan create? Certainly not! There is but one Creator, God Almighty – maker of heaven and earth. Satan and the “fall” in the garden were planned and WILLED by Him who created us. Furthermore, we see that we were ALL dead in God’s eyes. He cares little about our physical bodies- this physical world will become foolishness to us one day. We read in Romans this sinful nature is removed when we return to the Tree of Life that is Christ Jesus.
RO 8:9 You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10] But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.
RO 8:18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19] The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20] For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21] that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.
Was Adam not part of creation? Are we not ALL part of creation? What didn’t God create? Do you believe what is being said here? ALL of creation was subjected to frustration, or futility by God’s will not Adam’s. Adam didn’t really have a choice. He did what God has designed his nature to do and that is sin. Let us remember that to sin is to “fall short of God’s glory” or “to miss the mark.” Again in Romans we read God’s hand at work in mankind’s fall:
RO 11:32 For God has bound ALL men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them ALL.
So, do you believe this? You must! Do you believe that God will have mercy on ALL of us? Again, we read that God is in control and takes complete responsibility for His creation. You must understand that God gave us this nature to sin and caused us to be disobedient towards Him for our growth.
You may say the “devil made him do it.” But God placed Satan in the garden for a purpose – to make us masters of the physical world. God wants us to have dominion over the whole earth, but first we must overcome the flesh and the world thru Christ! God is making us into His image and likeness to have supremacy over EVERYTHING HE HAS CREATED! It pleases God the Father to be fully manifested in Christ and Christ to be fully manifested in us. Furthermore, God’s saints will inherit His Kingdom to rule with Christ! But back to the role of Satan and hell.
Haven’t we read how Satan has been used to test us, correct us and to bring us back to God? “Deliver such a one to Satan so his spirit may be saved…” It was necessary that Jesus be tempted by Satan. Would you agree He did this to overcome his natural carnal desires? How did He do it? He did it being “full of the Holy Spirit”
(Luke 4:2). He tapped into God’s Spirit and now is for us the Tree of Life! It should be clear that only by His Spirit filling us COMPLETELY can we overcome the flesh.
Can we do anything to deserve or gain this Grace from God? No. As you rightly stated. It is a gift from our All-mighty Father. So you must believe that everyone in this lifetime on earth is offered this gift from God since He desires all to be saved and therefore, must offer them salvation for them to have the chance to be saved. No matter how long they live – 1 minute or 1 century.
We should agree that He certainly must offer this gift sometime to everyone without exception if He truly and desperately wants ALL to be saved. But we disagree on when this gift may be offered. I believe HIS IMMEASURABLE grace, mercy and love reach beyond the “grave.” You apparently do not. So you must then believe that ALL will be offered this gift during their lifetime, right? How is this done? What Scriptures back this up? What of the millions of people that never knew of the man, Jesus Christ or heard of His name and His Gospel? What of the millions of aborted babies? Are these the “many” that go to destruction? Does your heart that God formed (PS 33:15) feel this is fair and just and loving?
Have you ever considered the “Worst of sinners,” Saul. Before God saved him wasn’t he the WORST GOAT (as God divides the nations in Matthew 25)? Paul certainly realized this. Did Saul seek Christ or persecute Him? Can anyone go to God by their own “free” will? NO!
We know that no one comes to the Son unless he is drawn by the Father:
JN 6:43 “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. 44] “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. 45] It is written in the Prophets: `They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. 46] No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. 47] I tell you the truth; he who believes has everlasting life. 48] I am the bread of life. 49] Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. 50] But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. 51] I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
Jn 12:32 But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.
Do you believe that God will “draw all men” to Christ. It is noteworthy that the word “draw” is the same word used in John 21:6 when they were trying to pull the catch of fish that Christ had given them. The Greek dictionary defines “elkusai” as to draw or drag (coercion). God will force his WILL on man and man’s will because He “loves us desperately.”
Saul was headed straight to hell. He didn’t seek Christ. He didn’t know Christ. But God saved the “Chief of sinners.” Surely Christ could save anyone by this example He showed us in Paul. Do you think that God created any children that are incapable of repentance? I believe that ALL are made in His image and likeness. I believe that He will draw ALL back to Himself, but many will have “learned” what life without Him is like- hell. All will go thru some hellfire either in this life or the next.
So you say, “we have a choice.” I say no, we cannot go to God nor choose to be saved anymore than I chose to come into this world. God gave us up to disobedience and will bring us back after we have learned and matured. God’s plan is more glorious than we know! We must believe this! We are ALL born “slaves to sin” and ALL will become slaves to God. He literally owns us and will do ALL that He pleases even if He has to “drag” us kicking and screaming into His Kingdom. But truly, this is not the case because once His created beings made in His image and likeness are given His grace to see Him and His love, they will WILLINGLY turn to Him for salvation!
ISA 45:22 “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.
This is God commanding us to TURN! Much like Christ commanded the evil spirits to leave bodies and commanded many to be healed. Can our God and Father not command our spirits as well? Did the evil spirits have a free will to say “no” to God? Don’t you see that ALL works to God’s glory in the end? Do you believe there is glory in millions of his children being tortured forever and ever? Here is another point I want to bring up. This term “forever and ever”. How many “ever”s and “forevers” do the worshipers of this god of WRATH have to put on “hell”?
Can one add to forever? Did the Holy Spirit inspire the writers to say something that is foolish or redundant like adding time to forever? No, but one can add to an AGE. Let me show you Revelation 14:11 and Matthew 25:46 in my Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible:
“And the smoke of their torment unto the ages of ages ascendeth;”
“And these shall go away into age-abiding correction, But the righteous into age-abiding life.”
The Rotherham Bible and the Young’s Bible are both literal translations. That means they took great care in translating the Greek literally and not paraphrasing God’s Word. The true meaning is clearer with these actual translations. “Unto the ages of the ages” sound like a long time, but it IS A FINITE PERIOD OF TIME, NOT ETERNAL, NOT EVERLASTING, NOT FOREVER.
The word “correction” in Matthew is usually translated “punishment.” It is the Greek word “kolasin” which means “punishment for correction” as in chastising. This exact word is used only one other place according to my Greek New Testament. In 1John 4:18 it is used while John is explaining that God is love. He says there is NO FEAR in LOVE. And yet FEAR is exactly what the Church has used to win converts to Christ. Fear of the sword; fear of mutilation and fear of an eternal hell have all been used throughout the Church’s history. Does our Father use fear or love to save us? Yes, “fear of our Lord is the BEGINNING of wisdom”, but it is only the BEGINNING? Everyone must first be in total AWE at God’s handiwork and shutter at His Almighty Power! But then we must grow in wisdom and love beyond this starting point by His grace given to us. We must not run and hide from Him anymore as we are now sanctified by Christ’s blood and will return to our Father thru Christ Jesus. Well, let’s move on to the next issue.
4) You say, “God is holy which means He can’t overlook even 1 sin” and cite this passage:
1 PET 1:13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 14] As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15] But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16] for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
Let’s look at this passage from Peter more closely. We are to set our hope on the GRACE that will be given to us when Jesus Christ is revealed, or comes. It said we lived in ignorance. Who gave them knowledge and the understanding of Christ? Only God can bestow understanding to us by His Holy Spirit. He said that they had been “called.” Once again showing that God directs the timing of our salvation. We can CHOOSE to believe, but it is God who decides our Salvation and when to give us this new birth by His Spirit into the Body of Christ.
But let’s talk about what it means to be holy. You say this means that He cannot overlook sin. But what is sin? In my Companion Bible it says that it means to “miss the mark” or “come up short”. We can back this by the fact that “ALL have sinned” and therefore, “fall short of the glory of God.” This is important to understand. That when Satan’s “seed”, which is sin, entered mankind we started “falling short” of God’s glory and fullness. But Christ took away the sin of the whole world- He has paid the FULL PRICE. Do you accept this truth?
Sin is truly not this issue with God. It is our sinful natures that must be removed/destroyed so that we can move on in our development. We must understand that ALL men will be resurrected to be judged, All will come to the knowledge of truth and ALL will be saved but each in his own order which God decides, not man himself.
Also we have already talked on this point that it was planned by God that this happen. Furthermore, EVERYTHING is from God and EVERYTHING, NO EXCEPTIONS is FOR CHRIST because this pleased God the Father. And He will reconcile ALL THINGS in heaven and earth back to God the Father.
COL 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16] For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17] He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18] And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19] For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20] and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
God’s word must harmonize. You, my beloved brother, surely read this passage, which makes no exceptions. It must come to pass! Sin is instrumental in our maturation and salvation. Some believe that God had a plan that was thwarted by the devil. This is hardly the image of our perfect Father and God. Our AWESOME God and Father has a plan that will not fail nor can ANYTHING change or impede it. If our God cannot make a fail-proof plan then He has lied to us and, by His own definition, is not God.
Christ came to “destroy the works of the devil.” We are told that the “last enemy to be destroyed is death.” Are we to believe as some do that the “devils works” and “death” will be destroyed like ones going thru the “wide gate”? That is to say that this destruction will never end? If this were true, then the devil, his spirits, his works and millions of souls will be in hell being destroyed forever. Therefore, sin will last forever. Evil will last forever. Pain will last forever. But apparently God’s mercy is GONE and DOES NOT last forever!
A TOTAL FALSEHOOD! Is this what you believe? Please. How will “every knee bow and every tongue confess?”
PHP 2:10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
PHP 2:11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
PHP 2:12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13] for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
Some would say that God will “force” those in hell to do this. While that kind of unravels the “free-will” notion, I would certainly agree that God could force anyone to do this. But this is done to the GLORY of GOD the FATHER! How glorious is this scene? Here is an omnipotent, omniscient Creator of ALL who is defined as LOVE, taking these pitiful little creatures that HE created and has sent into everlasting torment and making them worship and confess Jesus Christ is Lord!
Bravo! Bravo! What a marvelous feat! WHAT NONSENSE! Is this what Christians believe? Does this bring glory to God after he failed to save them? What about EVERYTHING being reconciled back to God?
So we are suppose to believe that His will IS imposed here in hell, but He wouldn’t use His All-powerful will to save them before it was too late? WHAT!? But there is more to understand here. Once again we see that it is God who works in us His will and actions. We do not KNOW the will nor DO the will of God by eating from the Tree of knowledge of good and evil. Eating of this tree gives us carnal reasoning which leads to falling short which is to sin. When we receive the “fullness of His measure”, we will not think, or reason what is good or evil, but rather His Spirit will lead us and there will be no thinking at all involved. Jesus didn’t think, Hmmm, what is the right thing to do here. His will and actions were that of His Father’s by his choice. Yes, Jesus had the choice to do His Father’s will, but He also had the fullness of God the Father dwelling in Him. He was the only one who knew God. But let’s get back to the point about “confessing that Jesus Christ is Lord.”
1COR 12:3 Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
Well, there seems to be a paradox here for those that feel that these spirits in hell are being forced to say this. All of God’s truths must harmonize in his holy Word. The ONLY way to confess that, “Jesus is Lord” is by the Holy Spirit of God! The only way to worship Christ is by the Holy Spirit of God! How are these evil sinners in hell possessing God’s Holy Spirit so they may do this?
Yes Brother, God is holy and perfect, but do we really understand what that means? There should be no argument that EVERYTHING came from our Creator including Satan and sin. I say they are tools you say that God cannot tolerate them. What be the truth?
ISA 54:16 “See, it is I who created the blacksmith who fans the coals into flame and forges a weapon fit for its work. And it is I who have created the destroyer to work havoc;
God created the “blacksmith”, the devil to work havoc. But on what? -ON OUR CARNAL NATURES. He destroys things of the flesh. Yes God will destroy many, but understand that He will destroy our fleshly natures!
JN 6:63 “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are SPIRIT and they are LIFE.
Well, let’s move on to #5 and #6. Here are truths we can agree on. We cannot be saved or stand on our own righteousness and God can not lie.
But the question is really how did we become unrighteous and sinful? How did we go from being “good” and in His image and likeness to being unrighteous? I believe it was when we separated from the Tree of Life (GOD) and His spirit left us. But this topic we have already addressed. You rightly say that God cannot lie. Let’s look at a few of His promises:
PS 22:27 “All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him,”
LA 3:31 “For men are not cast off by the Lord forever.”
LA 3:32 “Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.”
1CH 16:34 “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.”
God does not lie. He says that His “love endures forever” 41 times in the Old Testament. We read that His love is unfailing. Is it a failure for Christ if Satan has won more to hell than Christ has to God? We are told that Christ has the keys to death and hell. Surely believe that Christ has won over the world and Satan and will free ALL the captives!
1 COR 15:22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23] But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24] Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25] For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26] The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27] For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. 28] When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.
I have asked you this before- Is Adam’s death to ALL greater than Christ’s salvation to ALL? Another paradox! Will God allow Adam’s “fall” to overshadow Christ’s victory forever? How do we make God’s Word harmonize here? How will God be ALL in ALL at the end? You see everything came from God and EVERYTHING will return to God. Is this so hard to understand? It seems that many Christians are rather carnal and selfish on this matter. I see most Christians only worried about their own salvation that they do not see the BIG picture that God has revealed to us in Christ. All will be absorbed back to whence it came. ALL will be reconciled and restored back to God.
Acts 3:21 He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.
What is “everything”? EVERYTHING MEANS EVERYTHING! Man can (AND HAS) certainly used our carnal minds to weave a cleaver answer to the many paradoxes found in God’s word, but this is vanity! WE MUST ACCEPT GOD’S WORD AND IT MUST HARMONIZE WITH HIS CHARACTER AND PURPOSE TOWARDS MANKIND AND CREATION.
Dear brother, the Spirit of God is driving my heart and these words. God has been drawing me closer all of my life and now is calling me to teach. Believe at least in this Truth – All things ARE possible for God. At least believe that He could save ALL mankind. You must believe this possibility or deny His authority and power.
I was listening to the WWJD CD tonight (Tuesday) and heard the song “The In Betweens” by Geoff Moore and the Distance. Here is how the song starts:
Gonna read aloud familiar words
And listen for the truth that I never have heard
Gonna open up to possibilities
And not be afraid of where they are leading me
This is what we all need to do. Read God’s word, listen for the Truth that we’ve been missing, open our hearts and minds to new realities and not fear where God is leading us. What would be more shameful: denying the doctrine taught to us by men or denying the Truth that God reveals to us? Read God’s word and make it harmonize in His love and in His purpose contained in Christ.
But I am just a man. I cannot “fashion hearts” or teach those that God has not given understanding to. Beware of our carnal minds. They call good evil and evil good. We see this throughout history including Christianity. Our minds can rationalize any type of evil. Carnal minds have been convinced many that Hitler was just, that slavery was right, that abortion is good and even that God has predestined millions of His children to enter into an eternal hell with NO chance of salvation in this life nor the next.
What type of fruit is produced from worshiping a god of wrath? Quite simply wrath! The Church has produced much bad fruit. We conform to the image of what we worship. Many Christians were taking on the image of their god. They became judges, executors, torturers, murderers, liars, thieves and “sons of hell” like the religious of Jesus’ day. Let us not be so foolish and prideful to believe that this same mistake could not be made today. Do not doubt that many “wolves” entered the Church system throughout history. These wolves changed doctrines, words and The GOOD NEWS into the snares of Satan! Have you read that your beliefs on an “eternal” hell were nurtured and championed by the Catholic Augustine? Here is what he said concerning those (around 400 AD) who believed in the salvation of all:
“There are very many (imo quam plurimi, can be translated majority) who though not denying the Holy Scriptures, do not believe in endless torments” (Enchiria, ad Laurent. c.29).
Augustine says VERY MANY did NOT believe in endless torments and are not deny the Holy Scriptures. It is easy to deny history and just accept the doctrines men have handed down, but another thing to look it up and to test it with the word of God. Harmonize it! It should be known that this man, Augustine said that he “hated Greek” and didn’t understand it. My friend, whether you want to believe it or not, your doctrine on hell was established mostly by this man who I have read quite a bit about. He was born of pagan parents. He worshiped a pagan fire god before his “conversion”. He studied rhetoric, which was used to be a lawyer. He lived with a woman for seventeen years had a bastard child then left this woman and never married her. He studied Manichaeism for nine years, which believes that good and evil are equals, which inspired the City of God – a famous book of his. He was one of the first Church leaders to “justify violence in religious matters.” He believed that God has predestined those to heaven and those to hell. So what happened to God desires ALL to be saved? Augustine must not have read that part of Scripture because he took hope from these he believed were predestined to hell. There is much more both from history books and from the Good Book on this matter.
Brother, I know this is a very long letter. Some may say I am obsessed, but I would rather hope that I am possessed by God’s Holy Spirit. He drives me and fuels these words. I give all glory to Him who has shown me His Way, His Truth and His Life in Christ Jesus. I have learned that I can do nothing apart from Him. I will continue to preach to those who will listen, and I will continue to pray for you and ALL mankind that they come to the knowledge of the truth and are saved. This is our Father’s will that His Kingdom come upon ALL mankind and creation. Do you recall what God’s messenger announced?
Luke 2:10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”
In the early Church they did believe in the salvation of ALL and spread the “Good News of great joy,” but some misguided men changed this joy into sorrow. They changed healing into suffering. They changed a message of life into justification for death. Will there be GREAT JOY for ALL the people or just some fortunate enough to hear the message and then wise enough to accept this message from sometimes violent, cruel men? Was this their chance promised by God to accept the gift of salvation? Remember, it is by God’s grace that Christ saves us using the Holy Spirit to draw us to Him. No man other than Jesus Christ can give the gift of salvation, which is according to the Father’s will and timing.
As I have said and shown before, many believers will have their time in hell with the unbelievers. These servants, preachers, “virgins” and workers will be cast away to be refined in God’s fire. Imagine a preacher who has served Christ all of his life- casting out demons and healing the sick- only to find that he was deceived and must go to hell. Everyone will be salted with fire, as our God is a consuming fire. Let us not forget that God is Spirit and so is His fire, His heaven and His hell. These are not physical places. One can be in hell or heaven right here on the earth. Spiritual fire has wonderful purpose- it burns and shines LIGHT!
JER 23:28 Let the prophet who has a dream tell his dream, but let the one who has my word speak it faithfully. For what has straw to do with grain?” declares the LORD. 29] “Is not my word like fire,” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?
MAL 3:2 But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. 3] He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, 4] and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the LORD, as in days gone by, as in former years.
ISA 33:14 “The sinners in Zion are terrified; trembling grips the godless:”
“Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire?
Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?”
LK 12:49 “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!”
REV 1:16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.
As Christ return is this dawning age, His fire will spread throughout all the world devouring the carnal natures of mankind. It will surely be painful for many and truly there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth,” but brother have you never wept and gnashed your teeth in pain from God’s correction? I have felt this pain, but it is cleanse us, to destroy us. The “flesh means nothing” and will be destroyed.
The seed once sprouted has no use for the shell that surrounded it, so it is with our spirits. Once born of God, our carnality is discarded like a hull and burnt. The wheat is sifted by the devil and his angels (LK 22:31), but the devouring fire is of God, which only leaves behind godly things like silver and gold.
But I have gone into a whole other issue. I hope I have addressed your letter clearly. I want only to use God’s word and Spirit to support my beliefs. Christ, my Lord gives me my boldness as He lives in me.
All that is said in the Bible must harmonize. This is a truth that we can agree on. There are many conflicts with the “traditional” belief of hell and salvation. Carnal rationalization will only work while there is darkness, but when the Light of the world shines- only the Truth will be seen. We need to let go of traditions and pagan beliefs. We need to study from Bibles that use the original language and not mistranslated versions swayed by men of wrath.
COL 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
I tell you the truth- there has been a falling away from the True Gospel that was to be “Good News of Great Joy” to all the world! The message of joy that I bring you is exactly this- Christ is the Savior of ALL men, especially of those who believe.
These were likely some of the last word’s that Paul wrote to his son, Timothy before he went to be with the Lord. He stresses how important they are and how truthful they are. He made them VERY simple. But apparently even these simple words can be twisted to mean something other than what they say.
God is the Father of ALL and commands ALL to turn and be saved! I put all of my hope in our Savior, Jesus Christ and not into the traditions of men. ALL PRAISE AND HONOR TO GOD OUR FATHER WHO IS ABOVE ALL! NOTHING CAN THWART HIS WILL! AND ALL THANKS AND PRAISE TO CHRIST WHO IS THE SAVIOR OF ALL MEN!
Brother, I hope I clearly addressed your letter with God’s word. But let us not be fools, our reality is Christ Jesus- on this we agree. The Truth is in Him and is ONLY revealed by God’s Holy Spirit. We must then pray and wait for this understanding as we must wait in hope for our salvation. We do not direct God. He directs us. We are called to seek, to grope, to knock, to believe on Jesus Christ and to seek Him with all our heart and soul. But we cannot come to Him without being called by His Holy Spirit.
I hope we can get together soon. We must trust in His love and in His plan.
In Christ’s love,
LETTER TO A BROTHER [Brad Edwards] 1