Sunday, November 22, 2015

Just a Thought "84"

2 Corinthians 5:18-19 - People continue to operate today in their thinking, nothings really changed, under the assumption that their sin is separating them from God. Many believe that they have to commit to abstain or commit to perform in order to be acceptable to God. If they sin in their thinking, they think God’s not going to accept them, that is how they reason it.

Many think they have sinned too many times to be acceptable to God. Or still others who may have made that “I will not sin” commitment over and over again and then broken those commitments, suppose it is to late for them anyway. Then you have the religious crowd who think their religious practices keep them in God’s favor. There are those who suppose church attendance merit’s some degree of favor with God. Others have I am doing the very best I can. So God will surely take note of my heart.

If an ounce of new reconciliation in this Age of Grace could be restored for anyone when it comes to the issue of their sins, then the degree of forgiveness that must be obtained in order to restore the reconciliation, is the very degree to which that individual refuses to believe that Christ accomplished it all. Paul’s good news message is hid from those people. They do not understand what reconciliation is all about.

They think that new sin needs a new measure of reconciliation, so they seek forgiveness on the installment plan. Is that not the golden thread woven through every denomination out there? The truth is, you could not obtain an ounce of forgiveness if you tried, because God has already forgiven you all. That is why Christ’s ambassadors have the responsibility and privilege of making the reality of the reconciliation Christ has already accomplished known to those who know nothing of it.

1 Corinthians 3:14-15 - Dying to self, is never portrayed as something optional, it is the reality of being born anew; unless we are willing to see our old lives crucified with Christ and begin to live anew in obedience to him. Dying to self is something you can take very literal; you will die in every way possible in order to be someone you are not.

The entire concept seems a bit strange to our natural eyes. Rather, dying to self means that the things of the old life are put to death, most especially the sinful ways and lifestyles we once engaged in. We see that we need to die to self, although our salvation is not dependent upon how well we accomplish this.

Yet, as ambassadors of the ministry of reconciliation, our witness is dependent upon how well we accomplish this. Dying to self is never portrayed as something optional, it is the reality of being born anew. Dying to self is something you can take very literal, you will die in every way possible in order to be someone you are not. Dying to self is a change in our principle action from what is by nature the exact opposite.

Dying to self is not fun or easy, but what is particularly difficult about fighting this tendency is that it is not exactly a behavior or action. It can certainly manifest itself in those forms, but underneath them is an attitude. Dying to self is a real change of mind and attitude towards sin itself and the cause of it.

1 Thessalonians 4:14 - Paul did not think the question of the status of the person between death and resurrection was a question that needed to be considered. The reason is that for Paul, those who die in Christ, their relationship with Christ is one of immediacy, because they have no awareness of the passing of time between their death and resurrection.

Death as we know it, would indeed be the end of our existence were it not for the fact of the resurrection. The second death differs from the first death, not in nature, but in results. The second death is permeant and irreversible extinction, because there is no awakening.

The second death is the death resulting from the final judgment which prevents evildoers from living in the new earth to come, a punishment that ultimately results in eternal, irreversible death. The stern punishment awaiting the enemies of righteousness, whose temporary resurrection results only in a return to death and its punishment, their full and final defeat. The wicked will be resurrected mortal in order to receive their punishment which will result in their ultimate annihilation. 

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