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The Daily Word of Righteousness
Salvation Through Judgment and Suffering, continued
If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. (John 15:22-24)
Our tradition announces strongly that once we die we will be totally healed and joyous. The blind will see. The lame will run and leap. The sorrowful will sing for joy all the day long. There will be no pain, no problems of any kind. I know the Bible speaks of Paradise but these passages refer to the new age of righteousness to come, not of life after death in the spirit realm.
This is our tradition. As Lewis pointed out in A Grief Observed, as he pondered the death of his wife who had suffered so severely, there really is no basis in the Bible for the assurance that she is not still suffering.
Sorry, but this is the truth. The Evangelical concept of Heaven is mostly mythological.
All we have to stand on is the written Word. All else will pass away. The eternal Word says the Gospel was preached to those who are dead so the dead might be judged as though they were still alive on the earth. This passage may or may not be referring back to the preceding chapter which told of Jesus Christ preaching to the prisoners in the spirit realm.
It doesn't matter. This is what the Word says and the Word cannot be changed.
This sure cuts the ground from under the Evangelical teaching that those who have lived on the earth but never heard the Gospel of Christ are doomed to spend eternity in the Lake of Fire.
It's about time that someone drove a stake through the heart of the totally abominable, inequitable doctrine that those who have never heard the Gospel of Christ are condemned for eternity to the Lake of Fire because they never "accepted Christ." Some hold that babies who are not baptized will be in the Lake of Fire because they "never accepted Christ." One minister recently was heard to say that aborted fetuses will be in the Lake of Fire because they "never accepted Christ."
And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. (Luke 12:47,48)
I find it difficult to pray for those who would accuse our Father of such rank injustice. Surely this is the religious spirit that crucified the Lord Jesus. But pray for them I must. Right?
The Bible says the Gospel was preached in the spirit realm, to those who are dead. Does this mean there is a second chance? It certainly does not! Does this imply there is a Purgatory? It certainly does not! Does this mean that all people eventually will be saved? It certainly does not!
What it does tell us is that the plan of salvation embraces all men. God, the great Potter, has created vessels of glory and vessels of destruction. He brings His grace and wisdom to each individual at the time and in the place best suited to his eternal destiny, the destiny planned from the foundation of the world.
To be continued.