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A LETTER FROM DANIEL, A LISTENER IN NORWAY
I HAVE A QUESTION FOR YOU PASTOR CRIST, CONCERNING THE GREAT WHITE
THRONE JUDGMENT. I WROTE SOMETHING TO ANOTHER GRACE BELIEVER AND
HE DIDN’T AGREE WITH ME. HE QUOTED REVELATION 20:12 WHICH STATES:
Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their WORKS.
YES, HE STATED, CHRIST DIED FOR EVERYONE’S SINS BUT ONLY THOSE THAT BELIEVE AND TRUST THE GOSPEL HAVE THAT FORGIVENESS ATTRIBUTED TO THEM.
ACCORDING TO THIS GUY, GOD IS STILL HOLDING THE SINS AGAINST EVERY INDIVIDUAL THAT ISN’T SAVED, WHICH MEANS HE’S STILL IMPUTING THEIR TRESPASSES UNTO THEM. THIS SOUNDS CONTRARY TO 2 CORINTHIANS 5:18-21. DO YOU HAVE AN ANSWER FOR THIS? THANKS BROTHER! DANIEL
Just because God’s justice has been resolved concerning a person’s sins does not mean that person possesses the very righteousness of God himself. The problem is, God cannot dwell with anyone who fails to measure up to his righteous standard! People read the word ‘works’ there in Revelation 20:12 and they automatically assume that ‘works’ in this passage refers to ‘sins’. I believe it is talking about ‘works of righteousness’. See if this same word translated ‘works’ in revelation 20:12 sounds right, (when read the way it’s often translated), as we consider these statements from the Apostle Paul:
Titus 3:5 Not by works (sins?) of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Titus 3:14 And let ours also learn to maintain good works (sins?) for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.
…and let’s be careful not to leave out Ephesians 2:8-9 where Paul wrote..
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Ephesians 2:9 Not of works (sins?), lest any man should boast.
You see, the word ‘works’ in these statements is the same word translated ‘works’ in Revelation 20:12, so the word ‘works’ is not always referring to works of unrighteousness as many presuppose (see 2 Timothy 1:9). This is why Paul said that he did not want to be found in his own righteousness which is of the law. Law keeping works were abundant in Paul’s day, as they are in ours! The problem was…Paul’s works of righteousness were insufficient to merit Paul a righteous standing before the Lord (Philippians 3:6-8, Galatians 2:16, 3:10):
6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith OF Jesus Christ, even we have believed IN Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith OF Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
Galatians 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
The books will be opened at the great white throne judgment, but those in attendance will be judged because their ‘righteous works’ do not measure up to God’s righteousness (his glory; Romans 3:23). Therefore, the decree will be that they cannot dwell with God. As Paul stated in his letter to the saints at Thessalonica, these people will face the sentence of ‘everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord’. There will indeed be ‘weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth’, just as it will be in the kingdom program when the unbelievers of that day find they are not allowed into the presence of their promised ‘King’ (Luke 13:28). Cast out of the Lord’s presence forever! What conscious torment that will be! The bible says, “where their worm dieth not”, and (where) the fire is not quenched”.
I believe what this person is actually saying, is this, Daniel…
“Yes, Christ died for everyone’s sins, but only those who believe and trust the gospel will have their sins actually paid for.” If this is true, then how can God be telling us (through Paul) that we’re to tell those who are lost that God is no longer counting their sins against them because he counted them against his son at Calvary?
2 Corinthians 5:18-21
18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
How can we take the good news message to the lost world, that God is not imputing their trespasses unto them, if God is indeed continuing to count the sins of the lost against them until they believe? Do you see the inconsistency? Does that not sound like ‘religious confusion’ to you? Sure does to me!
Should Paul not rather have said, go to the lost world and say…God hasn’t really reconciled you to himself yet! Thus, Christ didn’t really pay for your sins yet! So, God is continuing to count your sins against you! But if you believe, then, and only then, will Christ’s payment be satisfactory to God the father where your sins are concerned!
Should Paul not have said, “tell the world that god is indeed counting their sins against them, and will continue to do so, until they believe”? You can see how this goes totally contrary to our ambassadorship as God stated it through Paul, in 2 Corinthians 5:18-21.
Why did many in Israel’s program fail to enter into their promised land?
Hebrews 4:6 says they entered not in because of UNBELIEF. (notice, it does NOT say, they entered not in because they had too many sins to be permitted into the land; those with the fewest sins ‘got the property’. No! they entered not in because of UNBELIEF.
I know I’m being facetious, but i do so to make a point. At the great white throne judgment, those present will be refused a dwelling place in the presence of the Lord for all eternity because of unbelief in what had already been accomplished at Calvary where ‘their sins’ were concerned! Christ paid for those sins and God the father has already accepted the payment for those sins as the author of Hebrews so clearly tells Israel, in:
25 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;
26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
Unfortunately Daniel, there are many who refuse to believe in what Christ’s cross-work actually accomplished. Even the pope states that Christ died for his sins, and was buried, and then rose again from the dead. The problem the pope has is the same problem from which the religious world suffers. While they believe in a death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, they fail to understand what the ‘for my sins’ part of Paul’s gospel is all about! They refuse to acknowledge that Christ’s death at Calvary actually resolved God’s justice where the sins he died for are concerned. They continue to hang on the notion that God is hanging on to their sins! How sad!
In other words, the sins Christ paid for have not really been paid for at all! God is going to continue to hold on to those sins and keep imputing them to a person until that person comes to belief. Christ has simply stored up some credit these folks can access when they so choose is the idea of ‘religianity’. This renders Christ’s payment for sin ‘a partial payment’, a ‘down payment’, or a ‘future payment’ at best…rather than ‘a completed and satisfactory payment’ as the bible tells us is true!
If what this person has written is true, Daniel, Christ’s death at Calvary did not resolve God’s justice at all! When Christ said ‘it is finished’ (paid in full), should he not have said…’paid in part’? Future payment to made at the point of a person’s belief? You see what ministers of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:13-15) who short-change the ministry of reconciliation by short-changing the accomplishments of the cross have instilled in the minds of those who (like the pope) continue to hang on to the notion that God has ‘not’ reconciled the world unto himself as he has said; he only reconciles believers to himself. (Very close to the calvinist idea, is it not? If the truth is known, Daniel, this is really what lies at the core of the reconciliation issue).
Of course, these folks will oftentimes want to turn ‘belief’ into a ‘work’ but scripture fully refutes that idea. Faith is not a work. There is a work concerning those who ‘have faith’. Rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15) is one of those works and that work will be judged at the BEMA (judgment seat) of Christ for reward or the loss of reward, not at the great white throne judgment. ‘Faith itself’ is not a work. Satan’s ministers of righteousness are doing a great job in blinding people’s eyes to the reality of what was actually accomplished for all by Christ at Calvary.
The fact is, God has ALREADY reconciled the world unto himself ‘in his mind’ according to the word of God itself. 2 Corinthians 5:18 states as much. God could not have had Paul state it any more clearly than he has! It’s religious individuals who are not reconciled to that fact in their minds:
Colossians 1:21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled
Until they believe Paul’s gospel to be true for themselves, they will not be placed ‘into the person of Jesus Christ’ by the baptizing ministry of the Holy Spirit, and not being ‘baptized into christ’ means these folks are standing in their own righteousness rather than Christ’s righteousness.
This will be the problem at the great white throne judgment, the people there will be dressed in ‘fig leaves’ (their own righteous works – Revelation 20:12), just like Adam was dressed in his, and thus they will be judged to reside throughout eternity in a conscious state of ‘everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord’. Why again? Not because God’s justice had not been totally resolved where their sins were concerned, but because they had rejected the one who resolved that justice. They had rejected the one who died having already paid for their sins. The sin issue has been resolved in its entirety. The gift of salvation has been purchased for all. God will not collect a debt twice! The question is…’will the people of the world for whom the gift was purchased accept the gift’?
A LETTER FROM NORWAY, CONCLUSION….
To accept Paul’s gospel, one must believe that Christ’s cross-work resolved the issue of their sins in the mind of the one to whom the payment for their sins was made; God the father! This is what 2
Corinthians 5:18-21 is telling us. To believe this good news is to be reconciled in your mind (Colossians 1:21), not in God’s. His mind has already been reconciled in that he has counted his son to be sin for the entire human race;
1 Timothy 2:6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
At the point of a person’s belief, that individual is ‘joined to Christ’, thus having Christ’s righteousness freely imputed to their account.
Daniel’s friend seems to believe that Christ satisfied God’s justice for him because he has believed the Gospel, but that Christ’s cross-work has not really satisfied God’s justice for those who have not believed. This would not make this person unsaved because he has indeed trusted that Christ died for his sins, but it surely puts him squarely in the camp of the calvinist’s concept of ‘limited atonement’. I hope he can see this goes entirely contrary to the clear testimony of scripture as given us in 2 Corinthians 5:18-21. Why alter God’s word?!
Many, in the religious world today, believe the message set forth by ‘ministers of righteousness’. I sincerely hope he reads the passage in 2 Corinthians over and over again until he allows the truth Paul is revealing there to become ‘truth to him’. His faithful role as an ambassador for Christ, ‘telling the world’ that God has already reconciled them unto himself through the cross-work of his son and is therefore not imputing their trespasses unto them…is dependent upon it. This is the best news the world could ever hear. This is what makes Paul’s gospel the ‘good news’ that it truly is!
No, Daniel, Christ did not become a ‘storage tank for sins’; he is not hanging on to some of those sins for a future day when God will snatch them back off of his son and punish them yet again on someone else! Christ’s cross-work was a ‘justice resolution accomplishment’ for ‘all the sins he bore at Calvary’. Since he died for the sins of all according to the Apostle Paul, people will not be in hell for the sins Christ paid for, they will be in hell for their unbelief in (and thus their rejection of) the one who paid for them! Let’s hope your friend comes to accept Paul’s good news for the good news it truly is!