So, I became a Christian by saying the traditional “sinners’ prayer”, the considered Pro Forma rite of proof of faith by most Protestant-Pentecostal-Charismatic Church branches. In January of 1988 I attended this Church service in Amsterdam, where the Pastor preached a long message, and then there was the “Altar Call”. Some people behind me sort of tapped me on the shoulder and said, “go forward”. I did because I intentionally attended the service for this reason. I then made sure I said every word exactly as the preacher led the prayer through the microphone. Afterwards, I initially felt nothing. Then they encouraged me and the rest of the group that had come forward with me to go with some of their elders to a room in the back of the building. There they gave us some literature, and they asked me if I needed extra prayer. The result was that they spend two hours praying with me. During that time God really touched me in a powerful way. I will likely share more about that experience some other time. After they finished praying for me, I felt so different. Very light, as though a massive burden had left me. I left all the “winti” necklaces and rings (jewelry for the use of Surinam Nature and cultural witchcraft purposes) at the Church building for the elders to destroy. My life completely changed in the days that followed. About two weeks later I cut of all my dreadlocks. They were huge. I began to build my life around the Church scene, reading the Bible, pray loads and fast (though reluctantly) at times. Not long after I became involved with the Ministry of the local Church and served in many functions. In 1995 my wife and I graduated from Rhema Bible College in Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA, shortly after which the Lord began to reveal the message of Grace to me.
My personal study-life is relatively disciplined in the sense that it is a routine of several dedicated hours a day, depending on what I have going on that day. Studying can mean many things to many different people. For me it is a multi faceted approach of reading the Bible, conducting Hebrew-Greek word studies, topical studies, looking into history, researching different views on Theological topics, sometimes reading certain books on topics of interest, and whatever I do it is always with an awareness of my ever-present fellowship with the Lord.
I agree that everyone is different. I cannot expect everyone else to do things the way I do them or see things the same way I see them. Saying that, I do struggle with the phenomena of whole Christian groups, communities, and organisations adopting a certain viewpoint about something and then become locked in to that one view with minimal flexibility to think outside of the box they created for themselves. They may have changed their minds several times over the years because they realized that their local Church or Ministry organisation had their Theology wrong in some crucial areas. They knew they had obtained a fresh understanding about some of these subjects contrary to what their Christian fellowship believed. They took the bold step to leave because it became clear that they no longer fit in and were now being ostracized by their Church friends for holding to a different Theological vantage point. They thought they had caught the latest wave of God and received a greater revelation of truth and then latched on to that movement.
Now years down the road, some free thinkers in their own new group began to ask questions. Before you know, the newly formed groups began to reject these “rebels” who had developed ideas that were not conform to their new movement. They started treating those few “odd ball heretics”, in the same way they themselves were once upon a time treated by the groups, they left years prior to that. How, strange. What really happened is that most of the people who were part of that movement stopped growing and learning. Yet, there are always some annoying characters who just have to ask questions and stretch the status quo just a little more.
When we assume that that we have the full revelation of Gospel truth we have literally closed our minds to greater insight into the Gospel truth. Over the years the Lord taught me many things. However, I feel like I’m just scratching the surface when it comes to the revelations of the total reality of the things of God. He remains my teacher.
No matter where we are in our understanding of spiritual truth, we must keep asking questions, and allow for questions to be asked. Questions from a sincere heart seeking for truth will be answered, even if it takes a while. Those answers may not come from the sources you expect them to come from, but they will come. If a Church or Ministry takes part in censoring or silencing and shaming those who with sincere intentions question the Theological views of that Church, they have sadly developed the following characteristics to one degree or another: closed-mindedness, judgmental-ism, sectarianism, superiority-complex, clique-ism, self-righteousness, and a greater difficulty to recognize the leading of the Holy Spirit. Their need to want to suppress the freedom to ask questions or even to be challenged is only proof of the insecurity of the main proponents of that group.
The standard Theological position of mainstream Christianity with regards to how a person can secure their eternal redemption, allows for very little openness or tolerance for those who honestly question this view. Now I am one of those who began to ask those kinds of questions. Does that mean I don’t believe in Jesus anymore? On the contrary. I want to get to know the Lord more, I want to understand His truth, I want to grow in the Power of the Gospel, more than anything in this world. That’s why I ask questions. Not questions out of disbelief, but questions with the intention to better understand the accuracy and detail of the presented material i.e., Biblical evidence.
Here we go. The premise that those who do not accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior suggests that this attitude amounts to a rejection of the gift of eternal life and therefore, purely because of their unbelief, hell becomes the eternal destination of such a person. In this way God does not send anyone to hell, people only choose to reject the gift of salvation, and God is not going to override their free will. Btw, this is not a straw man argument. This is an accurate “statement faith” among mainstream Christianity. You can rephrase this statement as you like to match many of the specific main-stream Christian groups “statement of faith” but the same principles remain emphasized. You can add, accepting or rejecting Jesus as Lord, ask Jesus to come into your heart, confess your sins, repent, accept the gift of forgiveness and the gift of eternal life, or reject and suffer eternal damnation. If eternity is at stake here, then is it not crucial that we get it right, don’t you think? Now therefore, let’s look at this statement and analyse: There are several presuppositions in this statement.
It presupposes that there is a hell. Hell is also understood as being a place of punishment for the wicked unbeliever where they will be tormented by flames that will never be quenched and that this torment will last forever.
The Futurist eschatology proposes that hell currently still exists, as per Revelation 20:14 and that at the judgment at Christ’s second coming, hell with all it’s prisoners will be cast into the lake of fire.
The Preterist eschatology proposes that Christ returned in the first century to execute the vengeance of the Lord upon apostate Israel and the Gentiles who suppressed the truth of Christ’s resurrection. The logical conclusion then is that hell and its prisoners were already cast into the lake fire in the first century.
The Realised Redemption view added to the Preterist view, proposes that all the souls in the realm of dead (erronously translated as “Hell”) were resurrected at the Parousia, the Coming of Christ in the first century and taken to heaven.
The critical issue here is that the word “hell” in the Old Testament, translated from the Hebrew word Sheol, means realm of the dead, and the word “hell” in the New Testament, translated from the word Hades, also means realm of the dead. The English word “hell” has only been added to the English translations significantly later in the timeline of Church history and the word “hell” or an equivalent is never found in the original Hebrew or Greek. The New Testament also distinguishes between the Greek words, Gehenna, Hades and Tartaroo. Gehenna referring to the valley of Hinnom outside the ancient city walls of Jerusalem, and Hades is simply the Greek word for realm of the dead, with Tartaroo meaning: to cast down. Therefore, if a student of the Biblical scriptures is to uphold their own integrity, they must avoid the application of the word “hell” to the true meaning of these Greek words. To assimilate the word “hell”, alleged to be a place of eternal torment for the unbeliever into scripture, becomes presumptive and certainly un-scriptural. The Greek word Tartaroo, meaning; to cast down, has often been mistaken for the word Tartarus, which means prison. (2 Peter 2:4) Those angels were cast down and kept in chains until the day of judgment. Though you could extrapolate that being kept is chains is virtually being imprisoned, yet the word prison is not used in the sentence. Therefore, there is no justification to replace the word Tartaroo with Tartarus. Tartaroo is the Greek word used, and not the word Tartarus. I guess it comes down to whether one chooses to accept the Word of God written in it’s original languages as true or the accepted doctrine of their local Church or Ministry organisation.
2 Peter 2: 4 King James Version
4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
The original Greek does not contain the words “to hell” in the sentence. If the word hell were meant to be used there, it would more likely be the word Hades. So those angels were cast down (Tartaroo) into hell (Hades). The word Hades is not there in the Greek original.
God is a judge and therefore sin and the sinner must be judged. This is correct. But God is not a judge according to our current secular Anglo-American Judiciaries in the world, which has for a large part morphed into Roman Civil Law and has its roots in ancient Pagan Babylon. Our modern Anglo-American Justice system is a penal system. It has its end goal to merely punish the offender. God is a judge of a much different kind. God seeks remedy for the victim, and the transformation of the offender. Notably, God did judge every man, woman and child of every generation a very long time ago. He could do that because He can see every person’s life during anytime of our human history in the past present and future. After Adam and Eve ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, God looked at the condition of humanity and concluded that our spiritual nature had become so corrupted, and we were in such a bad state, there was no way of restoring us. So, God decided, (to decide, is another meaning for the words, to judge) that there was only one solution; we should all be put to death. He then totally destroyed the first creation. How? You may ask. We were all in Christ when He died on the cross. Thus, we all died with Him. This was not a punishment. Jesus dying on the cross, was not the Father punishing Him or us in Him.
The Bible compares the corrupt nature of sin to the plague. The plague of sin had corrupted our spiritual nature, but Jesus was made sin on the cross when we were all in Him.
Romans 8: 3 King James Version
3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
The word “for” from the Greek means “because of”, and the word “condemned” can very likely carry the meaning of “to separate”, and the word “in”, can be used as “by”. Therefore, the last part of this verse may also read: God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and because of sin, separated sin by the flesh: …the point being that God through the flesh separated the plague of sin from the spirit and soul.
Side note: As you can see it is important to check the Hebrew and Greek meaning of our translations. I often refer to the fact that I believe that there has been an ongoing conspiracy since ancient times to translate the Hebrew Greek manuscripts in such a way it promotes a different gospel from the original Gospel.
Romans 6: 6 King James Version
6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
After His death on the cross, God judged Jesus, with all of us in Him, as just and righteous. When He was declared righteous, then so were we. When He was raised from the dead, then so were we, when He was glorified, then so were we in Him. When He was seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high, then so were we.
Ephesians 2:6 King James Version
6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
When God raised Jesus from the dead. We were all in Him and received the new birth of our spirit by the Spirit of Christ. Being united in Christ’s resurrection we were made us one spirit with Him.
1 Corinthians 6: 17 King James Version
17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.
The deeper meaning of the word “joined” refers to being married. And remember we did not choose Him as our bridegroom, He chose us as His bride. He, the Father placed us in Christ and joined us together with Christ. As the first creation was destroyed in the death of Christ, God made us a new creation in the risen Christ. As the righteous judge, the Ancient of Days, God the Father looks on us, He sees us in Jesus. We are one Spirit with Him, made righteous as Him, made holy as Him. If God must judge us guilty of sin, He must judge Jesus as guilty of sin. If satan, the accuser of the bredren, wants to bring accusations against us, which he has no right to do, he is really presenting accusations against Jesus. What? Who can bring any accusations against Jesus? No one!
God the Father does still judge us. He judges us as righteous in Christ.
What if we do live a life filled with selfish, hateful, destructive behavior? Then we are not living up to or according to our new identity in Christ. It still does not change the fact that we are in Christ. For those who have lived a life unaware of their redemption in Christ, and are determined to commit horrible acts against other people, their wickedness will return upon their own head. Should they find the grace to repent, which means to accept the revelation of Christ in them, they will begin to experience the power to express the life of Christ. There are also people who are so reprobate and hardened against the truth, they may never find the grace to turn to the truth of Christ until they get to heaven. That’s where they are going to want to kick themselves for living the way they did on earth. They will learn that they are forgiven and made righteous. They will meet the people they hurt and learn that those people forgive them to. What a mind blowing trans formative revelation that will be.
The Bible does teach that there is a reward system in heaven. Though this admittedly is my conjecture, could it be that those who were evil on earth will find that their reward may involve serving those people whom they used and abused and disadvantaged on earth? That kind of servant-hood will not be comparable to torment and slavery but one that is filled with love and value for everyone involved.
The Bible also teaches that we as believers on earth have the responsibility to judge righteously, and therefore must judge those who commit evil atrocious acts against other human beings. On a spiritual level this means that we have the responsibility to pray and present our case against evil individuals before a Heavenly court. We can decree that we retain their sins against them and deliver them over to satan for the destruction of their flesh. If the court ruling agrees this means that their wickedness will return upon their own head, and in worse case scenario, it could cause them to lose their physical life if they don’t repent. This is such a hot topic and an extremely powerful spiritual dynamic which mainstream Christianity avoids teaching anything about. Probably because of the lack of knowledge on the subject. Yet, it’s there in scripture confirmed by hundreds of verses in both old and New Testament. There are 344 references to the word judgment in the Bible. Many of them involve man’s responsibility to judge accurately.
How can it be that some prominent figures in politics, or positions of influence throughout history obtained their position of power? They would have never got into that position if the people did not allow it in the first place. We can’t blame the people either. We were all born into this current world system. It is a system of deception seeking the consent of us the people. This is how power-hungry self-serving individuals got into their position and maintained it. Those who are so evil and very much aware of what they are doing, also know that God’s universal law of sowing and reaping, cause and effect, action and reaction, demands that if you commit evil it comes back to you, sometimes multiplied. By means of obtaining the consent of the people they claim indemnity to avoid being on the receiving end of this divine law and thus kick the harvest of the evil actions they sowed further down the grass. After all, the people agreed, they contracted with them. They gave the people portioned privileges in return for their freedom. This is how these evil people tend to get away with a lot of the horrible things they do. They will always first announce their intentions, though be it obscure, and then seek consent from the people.
There will also be sacrifices involved. Sacrificing is an attempt to mimic and mock the sacrifice Christ made, except in an inverted form by displaying Christ as defeated by His death. Someone or even many will suffer. The death of individuals then becomes the means to pay off the devil and contract the help of dark forces to delay or prevent the harvest of wickedness from coming back to claim it’s price. The sacrificed are often the victim’s of engineered wars, calamities and crisis or major incident of any kind. These were really principles taught by Balaam the prophet. King Balak couldn’t affect the people of Israel with spells of witchcraft. Not until he tempted the people with sexual immorality and then to commit sacrifices unto their pagan gods. The sexual immorality is a symbolic principle for giving your freedom and sovereignty away by contracting with a Babylonian system. The sacrifice to pagan gods is symbolic when the people allow themselves to be divided and encourage violent conflict where people get hurt or where there will be fatalities.
At this stage we can’t fully avoid having to enter contract’s with this worlds system. People have mortgages, get cars on finance, and on and on. However, Jesus taught us to be wise when dealing with the unrighteous mammon. We are warned to maintain our integrity, and avoid the love of money. The idea is that we need to work to a place where we may occasionally use the system but not be a slave of the system, until we can replace it with a God ordained system that is fair and just to all. One that gives no opportunity for evil people to control it.
Reprobate evildoers, tyrant leaders and lying politicians will not last the moment believers start praying as I mentioned earlier. It will be the swift end of those evil people when the people begin to pray right. We can retain the sins of evil people unto them where their freedom of choice and their evil behavior affects and harms other people. This is completely in line with the New Covenant of Peace. Love forgives, but love will not idly stand by and allow one person to attack or harm another person, unless we who have the power to do something about it stick our heads in the sand. God’s not going to punish those evil individuals because He would violate the New Covenant of forgiveness. But God will act and intervene when we take up the responsibility given to us in Christ when He said:
John 20: 23 King James Version
23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.
At the point we take the matter into Heaven’s court and present our case based on the New Covenant as per its own constitution; love one another as I have loved you, then we are using the right legal framework for our case against evil people in this world. For more on this topic please review my article of the Prayer series.
Now let us look at this powerful set of scriptures. I will expositorily extract main ideas from this paragraph.
Romans 5:6-21 King James Version
6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
So, I think verses 6, 7 and 8 are clear as a light tower. God did not just love all the believers because they were obedient or loyal to His word. Irrespective of whether people were without strength or capacity to believe. But whilst they were still ungodly, and sinners, God demonstrated His love through what Jesus did in His death and resurrection.
9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
The wrath referred to here was the day of vengeange, the day of the Lord, at Christ coming in judgment on apostate Israel between 67 – 70 A.D. The Apostle Paul often speaks about this event in his letters. Note specific key texts in 1 Corinthians 15 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. Jesus promised those who believed on Him that they would be saved or delivered from the destruction that was to come upon Jerusalem and Judea. The mistake many Christian preachers made is to assume that the “shall be saved” in verse 9 was referring to eternal redemption. That is not the case. This was a promise to the generation of Paul’s day that if they believe on Christ they would not perish by the wrath of God and be destroyed with the great fires that destroyed the city. John 3:16 and verse 36.
10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. 11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
The word atonement is really the word “Exchange” here. And what an exchange it was. Adam’s corrupted spiritual nature of sin, which brought damnation was exchanged for oneness with Jesus’s resurrection life. Paul now set us up for what follows in the next amazing set of text.
12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
So humanities problem was the nature of sin inherited from Adam. This resulted in physical death that comes to every human being. Spiritual death is wrongly assumed to mean separation from God. God never separated Himself from us. If God separated Himself from humanity He could never speak with anyone. How did you come to believe? If you were spiritually separated from God as many of the Churches teach, then how could the Holy Spirit speak to you, to convince you that Jesus is your redeemer? God has always been there with you. Then you finally had enough information and truth to pray to Him. You became aware of the truth. You became aware of your spirit in oneness with Christ. Even though you thought that by accepting Christ you suddenly became spiritually re-born. No, you became spiritually alive to God. Your sensory acuity became attuned to the spirit. Separation from God is an illusion and has always been the deception of the serpent. A spiritually corrupted spirit because of the nature of sin could not enter heaven. God didn’t want to leave our disembodied spirit and soul in the realm of the dead for eternity. So, through Christ He gave us a new spirit. We were born of God, born of His Spirit created in righteousness and true holiness and made partakers of Christ’s divine nature.
15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. 16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
Some have tried to argue that the gift of grace by Jesus Christ that came to the “many” cannot refer to all of humanity. As if many is not all. In some grammatical context this is true, but not in this case. In addition, those who claim that the “many” here cannot mean “all” are contradicting themselves when they quickly reaffirm that the “many” who would be dead by the offence of one (Adam) is in fact referring to “all”. Almost all mainstream Christianity agrees that “all” with no one excluded, were affected by the offence of one, and sin and death passed upon all. As in both cases the word “many” is the same Greek word “polys” meaning many, and altogether, we must remain consistent. Why should “the many” who died refer to a different group than “the many” to who came the gift of grace?
Since everyone agrees all men were made sinners, and all men are in view in this context so also has the gift of grace come unto all.
17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive (Lambano) abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
Notice how throughout this set of scriptures, Paul keeps making obvious use of the words “Much More”. How can a believer claim Christ gained back less than what Adam lost? Paul is comparing Adam to Christ. Adam sinned, and as a result, all men have received (passively) the consequences of his action. The generations after Adam did not exercise their faith to receive the nature of sin and the resulting death. The consequences of Christ’s action must also be received in the same manner, or Paul’s whole argument falls apart. If however, it meant that on one hand all of humanity was infected with the plague of sin by Adam’s choice, and no one had a say in that, how can we say that the gift of grace in Christ Jesus must be received by choosing to believe. Are we saying that what Adam did is more powerful than the finished work of Christ? Then Paul should have said that the redemption in Christ is much less powerful than the sin that came through Adam. No, I believe exactly what Romans chapter 5 is saying in its simplest terms. Just like sin, death and condemnation came to all through Adam, so the gift of grace and righteousness in Christ being much more powerful came to all. Someone might say: “that’s too good to be true”. Well, I will rather overestimate God than underestimate Him. Fact check: What mainstream Christianity has really been proclaiming is that where sin abounded through Adam to all who didn’t believe, much less grace abounded to only those who believe.
18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
Joseph Kirk, pastor, radio preacher, and former director of Scripture Studies Concern, said it this way: “But someone will ask, why does it say “the many” instead of “all” in verse 19? This is because the one disobedient man and the One righteous Man are put in a class by themselves. They are in contrast with “the many.” We may put it as follows: The one disobedient man plus “the many” equals all humanity made sinners. The One obedient Man plus “the many” equals all humanity made righteous. That “the one” plus “the many” made sinners, includes all humanity, few, if any, attempt to deny. Even so, “the One” plus “the many” made righteous is all-inclusive and guarantees justification of life for all humanity.”
Plus, notice that as Paul puts Adam in contrast with Jesus, sin no longer becomes a matter to be settled between Jesus and humanity or the one individual. This now exclusively becomes a matter between Adam and Jesus. When Paul mentions the “Old Man” in Romans 6:6, which was crucified with Christ, it is a reference to Adam and all generations after who at first received their identity from Adam. Remember, our identity is who we are at the core of our essence, not what we do. Our identity is determined by birth. When the Old identity of Adam in all generations was put to death in Christ on the cross, it was the end of that first creation. When Christ was justified, glorified, and raised from the death so was all of humanity made a new creation in the resurrection life of Christ. We received a brand-new identity by the Spirit of Christ.
20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: 21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.