I might lose some readers after this one. However, with Easter approaching, I think it’s appropriate that we all take time to consider the sacrifice of Jesus and the gospel more fully.
The following is an excerpt from an article I’m working on entitled, “The Nature of Hell (Part 3) — The Lake of Fire and the Second Death” — which is shaping up to be very long, so this might turn in to a four-part series instead of three-part.
Jesus is the Remedy for Sin
All of mankind has sinned, and death was established as an outcome of sin from the beginning. This truth is self-evident in this present world. Sin leads to destruction within our lives in countless ways. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the gospel of the kingdom—a “good news” that provides us with forgiveness of our sins and cleansing from them.
Jesus paid the price for our sins—the price of death—when he gave himself up to the cross. Those who are given faith in Jesus are granted forgiveness from sin so that we can go on and pursue the righteous ways of the kingdom of God.
After the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, the Holy Spirit was sent to the world so that people of all nations could know Jesus—not just intellectually, but inwardly as the Spirit changes our natures from sin and death towards righteousness and life.
Faith that is not dead will naturally result in a progressive freedom from living sinfully, thereby freeing one from the kingdom of this world as one walks within the “kingdom of God at hand.” Those who are faithful to walk after the kingdom of God in this present world are rewarded with eternal life in the kingdom of God to come.
Those who do not bring forth fruit are among those cast into the lake of fire—many of which will say, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?” Jesus will respond, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:22-23)
Does this mean Christians never sin. No, and to ever claim to be without sin makes us prideful liars. However, we should continue pushing forward with a mindset that states “today is the day of salvation.” We should not settle for any sin and have faith in the power of Jesus to help us overcome all sin.
It is a matter of good conscience towards God, true faith, and submitting ourselves to the will of the Father. We cannot love our sin and truly love God and appreciate the sacrifice of the Son at the same time.
Jesus came so that you can have life more abundantly—not so you can sin abundantly without consequence.
The gospel of the kingdom of God is the message of the New Testament. This is not merely a teaching that says if your declare faith in Jesus once they when you die you will go to heaven instead of hell. This is the good news of freedom from sin in this present world. This is the ability by the Spirit to walk spiritually after the kingdom even now. If faithful in the kingdom of God now, then we are either raised from the dead or transfigured at the first resurrection.
If we are faithful during the thousand-year reign of Jesus on this earth, a time in which all can approach the kingdom even more directly than this present time, only then are we given everlasting life. We might have “eternal life” that lasts for 1,000 years, but we might not live forever if we fall during the final rebellion of Satan.
I believe that’s a lot of the purpose behind the millennial reign of Jesus. There are those who rule and those who are subjects. Those who rule are those who were faithful to his word and keep his commandments during this age. I believe that faithful subjects of the kingdom have yet a second chance to inherit everlasting life.
You see, the Lord is patient and merciful. We are given so much opportunity to know him and walk after his laws instead of the laws of this world. Let’s not despise the patience of Jesus and the righteousness of the kingdom of God.
I understand that many do not fully get what the kingdom of God is about and the Lord knows our frame. He is merciful towards much misunderstanding. However, ministers should at least refrain from teaching Christians that we are bound to living a sinful life.
Many are cherry-picking scriptures and taking them out of context, thereby making “children of hell” very often instead of “children of the promise.” Read the New Testament for yourself if you can. Pray the Holy Spirit of Truth to help you understand. The truth is evident when we put aside the ways we are conditioned to interpret the bible.
This is not meant to be condescending. I once believed the common Christian traditions, and I’m sure I have a long way to go in understanding, and I definitely have a long way to go in having the righteousness I seek written in my own heart. However, Jesus rewards those that seek him diligently, and he will lead us all to a better understanding if we make him priority in our lives.