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The Daily Word of Righteousness
The Afterlife, #4
He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (I John 2:2)
It seems to me reasonable that Christ preached the atonement to the spirits in prison so those who would place their faith in Him would have their sins forgiven. And why not? Were they worse than any of the other sinners of the world? Why shouldn't they have a chance to receive Christ?
If we grant that Christ preached to the spirits in prison, and it appears certain from First Peter that He did, then this opens up to us a whole new understanding of the afterlife.
I notice Peter says God is ready to judge the living and the dead. This was spoken two thousand years ago. I would submit that the Judgment Seat of Christ has been in session throughout the entire two thousand years of the Church Age.
Peter claims that the dead shall be judged during these two thousand years, and also the living. The dead are being judged as though they still were living on earth.
Think about the following passage.
Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:27,28)
Men are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment. So we know for certain that believers are judged after they die, because the passage speaks of those who are looking for Him.
But Peter says they are judged according to men in regard to the body. This tells me that the judgment of the deceased proceeds just as it does on the earth.
How does judgment proceed on the earth? After we receive Christ we are filled with the Holy Spirit. One of the principal tasks of the Holy Spirit is to lead us to put to death the deeds of our sinful nature.
For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, (Romans 8:13)
We must confess our sins as the Spirit points them out to us, denounce them as wickedness, renounce them by turning away from them with all our might, and then ask the Lord for His Presence in our life so we never behave in this manner again. This is an eternal judgment. We never again shall have to answer for this behavior, provided we do not fall back into it again.
Now, if this is how we pass before the Judgment Seat of Christ today, while we are alive in the body, then this is how the judgment proceeds in the afterlife. So instead of relaxing in our mansion we shall be confessing our sins to the Lord.
I think this is what Peter is telling us.
It is my personal opinion that our physical death is not a spiritually significant experience.
The program of redemption begins when we receive Christ as our blood atonement. Receiving the benefits of the blood atonement by faith can take place on earth or in the spirit realm. Certainly the patriarchs and prophets of old received forgiveness through the blood atonement and were born again hundreds of years after they had died physically.
We see the interest in Christ and His mission when Moses and Elijah appeared on the Mount of Transfiguration.
Two men, Moses and Elijah, Appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. (Luke 9:30,31)
To be continued.