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The Daily Word of Righteousness
For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:30,31)
The Christian churches (and the world to a certain extent because of the testimony of the churches) are picturing God as being loving and kind, ready to forgive all who turn to Him. Jesus is seen as the one who died for the sins of mankind so people will not be punished in Hell when they die.
This is true as far as it goes. But because the remainder of the picture has not been painted, the vision is distorted.
In the first place, God is of supreme importance. Man is not of supreme importance. Man was created for God's pleasure—that he would fulfill all God's will.
God's requirements for human conduct are strict indeed. God does not expect humans to meet His requirements by their own efforts. Rather, God has extended grace through Christ so that each person can begin to grow into God's requirements concerning his personality and conduct.
Until our image, our relationships, our fruitfulness and our rulership are in perfect, complete accord with what God has envisioned, we shall experience chastening. It is not true, as we understand the Scriptures and the spirit realm, that such correction is limited to the physical realm. Correction and growth will occur independently of whether we are in the body or out of the body until we have met every one of the Divine requirements. How could it be otherwise?
What Scripture is it that states that after we die physically we no longer experience correction or pain? Does being saved mean we are frozen in stature when we die and that the fullness of our inheritance will be given to us because spiritual maturity has been imputed (ascribed) to us?
Or are we saved in order that we may have the opportunity to attain image, relationships, fruitfulness, and rulership according to God's will for us as an individual?
Is the spirit realm a land in which the apathetic believer suddenly is transformed into a victorious saint? Or is it not rather a common sense, practical realm in which what we are is revealed in what we think, speak, and do?
If the spirit realm is a place of magical transformation in character, why, then, does God waste His time and our time teaching us virtue in the world? Why not just bring us to the place of magical transformation?
Does spiritual growth take place in us because Christ is being woven into our personality in a process of death and resurrection? And if such is the case, will this process cease after we die physically? First Corinthians 3:15 speaks of the fruitless believer being saved, yet so as by fire. Is this "fire" limited to tribulations in the present world?
What happens to the believer after he dies is not clear in the Scriptures. Since there is no evidence whatever that dying and passing into the spirit realm makes the believer in Christ a better person, or that he will stand in glory as a son and heir of God, as a king and priest over the works of God's hands, even though he has not overcome the problems of life on earth, we must assume that his status in the spirit realm will depend on what he is as a person.
To be continued.