(12) giving thanks to the Father, who has made us meet to be partakers of the saints in light. (13) For He has delivered us from the power of darkness and has translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son; (14) in whom we have redemption through His blood, sins. (15) who is the image of the invisible God, the First-born of all creation.
On the cross Jesus Christ removed the punishment for sins. As Paul writes: He has delivered us from the power of darkness and has translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son, why then do we keep acting like every infraction requires our putting Jesus back on the cross in an attempt at reestablishing our place afresh in Him. As I watch people continually struggle, it is easy to believe that this life of deliverance must be a process. I think that because we keep slipping into the grip of darkness. Why do we do that? There is an answer!
My first response is that we are probed for weaknesses and then fed some deception based upon that weakness. Adam was not deceived, Eve was; Adam stood right there, watching what happened.
Genesis 3:13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this that you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."
I think I can understand how Adam felt in those moments. He knew what the Lord had told him, and Adam made sure Eve knew as well; we know this because we have no record of God speaking to Eve. That does not mean it did not happen, but scripture is very intentional in telling you about the path of the man, and though Eve no doubt plays a role, God's contract is with the man.
Having come from a religious background, one in which so many things had the potential of causing you to lose your salvation, I came home to my beautiful wife, whom, after a little over five years of marriage I almost despised, and she says to me, I have smoked Marijuana with my brother, here have some. What is so odd about this moment in time is that I met her at church, and she never expressed any interest in drugs, and she had a girlfriend that she loved, who almost died in a car crash due to drugs. So what do I say? Well then, let's go to hell together. No it did not send me to hell, I was living in it. It is possible that Adam thought, I only have this one option for a wife and now she may be dead in a few seconds, there are no other women to choose from, so I will just die with her. (Yes I know, everything about this scenario screams co-dependency, but that is such a major aspect of what we inherited from Adam when he committed treason.)
The second thing I see is the fact that Adam said and did nothing. In those minutes before the fall Adam had choices; he was the healthiest, both mentally and physically, man could ever be, so he did not cower before the pains of ; he just stood there watching. Could he have forcibly stopped her? I suppose so, but God gives us the freedom to choose who we will serve, so no, I do not think it crossed Adam's mind. Perhaps scolding or chiding her about her foolishness, or inability to see the trouble she is heading into. Maybe that would have put Eve back on track. But then I think, God has never spoken to me like this. No, it was all about the free will of the person, and Adam got pulled into the trap, all it needed was the right bait, and Eve was it.
Although history since this time has proven itself to be rather cataclysmic, it is really the result of two things: man's ability to make his own choices – whether right or wrong, and the fact God needed Adam's treason to play itself out because in time God would eliminate Satan and any influence this fallen angel had on creation.
Doesn't this point you to a logical explanation. Colossians 1:13 tells us that people walking this earth, walk as free men; free from the penalties that were passed through Adam's treason. I feel comfortable saying treason because Adam knowingly subjected himself to a new master – Satan – in taking the fruit from Eve's hand and eating it.
How is that we walk free on this earth, knowing full well that people, are still to this day in slavery; many, slaves to their own vices?
Because the freedom, in God's eyes, is from the penalty of what Adam did, which we all inherited. It is so much easier to wrap your mind around if you can picture the result of Adam's actions as something that changed his DNA. Since then, because he is the genetic father of all, we inherited that same damaged chromosome, God simply calls it sin. This should help to explain why Jesus, had to be born from above, from God; for to be born from man would have caused him to have that damaged chromosome as well, and that would never work.
Because of our foolish actions, motivated by , we are taken captive by the enemy to do his will.
2 Timothy 2:24-26 And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, (25) correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to the truth, (26) and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.
Notice though, we have, through the help of others prayers and correction, the ability to escape from the snare of the devil. I see this happen all the time in recovery.
Yes, there are snares – small game hunters still use them. Snares are set with bait for the express purpose of attracting victims into the trap. If you are taking the bait because you are hungry then consider getting fed somewhere else. (Okay, I admit that was meddling, but seriously, if you are not getting fed in your congregation, then GET OUT, and find some church body that will feed you.) I am going to let you in on one of the great mysteries of life - there are no perfect churches, but I can think of a few that are trying. The other side of this snare issue, is that you took the bait because you wanted it. Your actions had nothing to do with the necessity to live, you indulged your selfish desires and got trapped because you wanted what you saw.
I have heard this question – in various forms – many times. If the penalty for sin has been removed, why then are still being punished, thrown into the lake of fire with Satan and his fallen angels? I rarely hear anyone adequately explain it. Sadly, most people merely assign all those brought before the throne of God to hell. Where do we look to find the answers to this.
While it is God's hope that all be saved, clearly not all are. If, as I showed you from 2 Timothy 2:24-26, many are taken captive by the enemy to do his will, does that not imply some form of willingness to follow.
Revelation 20:10 (10) and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night .
Revelation 20:15 And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
You are an intelligent person, so you caught this immediately: “the devil who had deceived them”. Yes, many of you got deceived, we saw this in the garden story, but remember Eve was the one that got deceived; Adam, made the choice, knowing full well what he was doing. In that moment Adam switched teams; he committed treason against God. Do not worry too much about Adam though, because Jesus Christ went into hell, ripped the keys to death out Satan's hand, and preached good news to those in captivity. That tells me that God showed Adam mercy as well.
Keep in mind that the point here is that the tortuous and eternal separation from God was really meant for Satan and those that followed him. Initially, it was only the angels that followed him. Obviously Satan has gained a rather large following by trapping people.
And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
A close examination of Matthew 25 where Jesus speaks of the dead being brought before the throne of judgment may shed some light on the character of God. Here the dead are separated into what he refers to as sheep and goats. Since Jesus is presented to us as the shepherd in Matthew's gospel, it only makes sense that he tells the story in this way. While I strongly suggest that you read Matthew 25:31-46, I am only going to give you a portion of it for space sake.
Matthew 25:31. 32 "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. (32) Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
There is much confusion about this last throne because:
- People ("followers of Christ") cannot see that this throne and the one we find in Revelation 20 are the same.
“Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.” (Revelation 20:11-12 )
Let's talk about this for a minute. “I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne,” At what point do we find everyone among the nations dead? At the end of the millineal reign, after the last great war against God. This war is initiated by the nations; “Christians” have no role in this, unless God has us in the battle as soldiers (Since the time of Christ's physical return to earth, no Christian has died).
When the “nations” are brought before Jesus, he does not say whether they are dead or not, he merely calls them the nations; this should be easy to grasp for the believer as we understand that it is our bodies that are mortal, while our spirit is eternal. In understanding bible prophecy a clear distinction that there are three people groups is vital. There are the Jews (God's chosen), the nations (everyone outside of Christ), and the Church – the body of Christ. So the nations are just that. Since no man really dies is it important to distinguish whether there live ones among this group? No, so you do know if this, like what we see in Revelation 20, is a collection of dead being brought before the throne.
One more thing. Some would say that what Jesus does in sitting upon his glorious throne is happening at the beginning of the reign. While that might be, there are some problems with that theory, such as: It is said that he brings all, Christian and non, ignoring that the passage clearly states that he brings the nations before him.
- They tend to only see Jesus, represented as the angry, vengeful God, not finding their names written in the book of life, and therefore sends them into the lake of fire where Satan is.
Revelation 20 makes no mention of sheep. The explanation, which you should have already picked up on, is that Matthew 25 shows us Jesus as the shepherd - an aspect of His nature and character - while Revelation 20 presents us with Jesus as an angry God.
- Keep in mind that the book of Revelation is a revelation of Jesus Christ. Therefore, the person we are experiencing in Revelation 20 is Jesus. Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit, are one.
Colossians 1:13 (13) He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,
Colossians 1:13 not only tells us that we were delivered, but that God has translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son. The used the term transferred instead of translated. To be transferred is to be conveyed from one to another. However, here you sit. Doesn't that show that something beyond your sight, emotions, and feelings is involved.
Paul's letter to the church at Colossi, is written to followers of Christ. These people understood that our relationship with Christ is being described here in verse 13. That understanding does not happen without a purposeful reading of Paul's letters, or the Holy Spirit directly teaching you, or someone who has an understanding of Paul's letters conveying them to you. Therefore I can also learn that this not written to the those outside of the relationship with Christ as they cannot and will not understand.
But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains , because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. (2 Corinthians 3:14-16 )
I would completely understand if you said to me, 2 Corinthians 3:14-16 applies to the Jews, and I thought about that too, however, I know people like this. I speak to them about God's word and their responses cause me to walk away scratching my head and saying, how do they not see that? The other things that convince me that it is for us and for today, is that
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” (2 Timothy 3:16 )
and we are dealing with the New Testament, which was effectively written to the Church – us, therefore I see 2 Corinthians 3:14-16 as useful information.
I recently spoke with someone about the idea that this world is not reality, much like the movie "The Matrix". Where would I get that idea? Because Jesus - after he was no longer in the tomb - walked through walls, and appeared in various places - without walking. After his death and resurrection Jesus shows up on a beach and eats fish with the guys. How does one explain that, since dead guys tend to not do that? He also ascended up into the heavens, defying gravity, when He was done with His mission here on earth. The only type of being that can do that is someone who lives outside of our reality, time, and dimensions.
His name is Jesus Christ. Receiving him is all about faith. Jesus was hung between two thieves, and too will die, as he did. However they wasted no time giving him lip, and yet, one of those thieves saw something different, and he perceived information about this Jesus he had not understood before. It changed him in such a way that he yelled at the other to shut up, “for this man has done nothing wrong.” Turning to Jesus, that thief asked Jesus to remember him as He went to paradise, and Jesus did. If you feel you have enough information then you should make the decision to believe and follow Him as well. Time for the church – the body of Christ is very short and those of us still alive when Jesus returns for His church will be caught up to be with Him forever. After our departure God will pour out His wrath upon the earth and it's inhabitants. The deadly aspect of the time of wrath will be magnified after this, as people will continue to kill each other. As a heads up, Islam will become your greatest foe.