Living a Life that Pleases Our God
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
God, in his perfect love for us was willing that none should perish but that we would turn to him and be forgiven. However, we could not be forgiven on our own merits because God being a Righteous Judge, had to judge sin, and let's face it, we all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). So that being said, God could not let our sins go unpunished. So Jesus Christ who was without sin, took our sins upon himself and suffered the penalty for our sins. He, in his love for us, suffered by the hands of sinful man through beatings and whipping's and then being nailed to a cross. Last of all, he died and spent three days and nights in the heart of the earth (more on this below). But by the power of our God he was raised from the dead and is now seated at the right hand of the Father making intercession for us. For it's true that our God wants all to be saved, for his word says:
You will not leave my soul in Hell
I foresaw the Lord always before my face; for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved. Therefore my heart rejoiced and my tongue exulted; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. (Psalm 16:8-10)
This passage above is the same as was quoted by Peter in Acts 2:27-31. It is a reference to the words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, declaring to his Heavenly Father that he was confident that he would not leave his soul in hell nor allow his body to decay in the grave. Now, does this mean that our Lord Jesus suffered not only through whips, beatings and the cross, but it was needful for Him to spend three days and nights in the heart of the earth to suffer for our sins also? Well, let's see what God's word says below:
I Say to You Today
And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:42-43)
We see that one of the thieves had a change of heart and was in a state of repentance before Jesus. Of course, we can see from Jesus reply that He was forgiven. But, did Jesus really mean that he would be with Him that very day in Paradise? Because we must remember, that he had to spend three days and nights in the heart of the earth, and according to the scripture quoted earlier, he went to hell. So, let's examine what God's word has to say:
You will be with Me in Paradise
Now, this word Paradise that is mentioned, is a Greek word which is only mentioned in three passages in the New Testament. The first is the above mentioned earlier. So, where do you think this "paradise" is? Is it in some so called "Abraham's Bosom" inside the earth somewhere? Well, let's again examine God's word and come to an conclusion on where this paradise is:
Lazarus and the Rich Man
And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. (Luke 16:22-23)
There are those who say that when we as Christian die, we go to a place called Abraham's Bosom. Also, some lay claim that Jesus went there (along with the forgiven thief) to spend three days and three night with the saints of God. But I truly question that because I don't see this being reinforced anywhere else in the bible, for scripture needs to be tested with scripture. But what we do see in Luke 16:22 is the angles caring Lazarus into the bosom of Abraham. So once again according scripture, is Abraham's bosom a place, or is it the person Abraham himself who is holding and comforting Lazarus in his arms. I hope you can come to the right answer on this.
Now notice that the rich man in this chapter is in hell being tormented in flames of fire and that he lifts up his eyes and sees Abraham and also Lazarus afar off. So my question would be this, how can this rich man see and recognize someone afar off (a "chasm or vacancy" as noted in Strong's Concordance), let alone Abraham whom he has never laid eyes on before, and all this while looking up into the air? Could the be a real life vision that God allowed the rich man to see of Abraham and Lazarus, perhaps even in heaven itself. For we see the same thing with the martyr Stephen, whom while he was being question by the Jews in Acts 7:56, lifted up his eyes to heaven and said: “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” And I’m pretty sure that those Jews who were ready to stone Stephen did look up, could not see a thing. Now, let us look a a few scriptures below:
Again, having said all this, we must not argue over this but come to the unity of faith knowing that we who are in Christ will be spending all eternity with our Lord. And that I hope we can all agree on. Amen.
It is Finished
So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. (John 19:30)
Now we come to his statement “it is finished.” So, we must ask ourselves, what was it that he finished. Was in that moment of time that our forgiveness for our sins and our redemption was completed? For we must remember that Jesus did not die nor rise from the dead until after he said “it is finished.” For God’s word say, 1“For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!” (1 Corinthians 15:16-17) So, these two elements (his death and resurrection) are crucial for us believers because without them, there is no eternal life for us. And wouldn’t make sense if he was speaking of completeness, he would have waited until after he died and rose again to say “It is finished,” if indeed that this is what he meant? So, when Jesus said “it is finished,” was he not speaking of his earthly mission which was to show us that he came from the father as well as to show us the way to the Father? For He said, 2“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. "I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do."And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. "I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.” (John 17:3-6)
Into Your hands I commend My Spirit
And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, "Father, 'into Your hands I commit My spirit.' " Having said this, He breathed His last. (Luke 23:46)
So, what does it mean, “into your hands I commend my Spirit,” which he said to God the Father while he hung on the cross. And we know after he said that, he died physically. So, was it at this moment that he went to the Father? Of course not. For Jesus said to Marry Magdalen at the sepulcher after his resurrection, that he has not yet ascended to his Father. For He said, "Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, 'I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.”(John 20:17) So, could this statement of Jesus: “into thy hands” be a reference to his faith and trust in his Father that he would not leave his soul in hell nor let his body experience corruption as Peter said in Acts 2:27 when he was quoting 2Psalms 16:9-10? And we know that Jesus trusted that the Father would deliver him out of hell and raise him up again bodily, for he said: I foresaw the Lord always before my face; for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved. Therefore my heart rejoiced and my tongue exulted; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. (Psalm 16:8-10)
The Pains of Death
"Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; "whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. (Acts 2:23-24)
Did we really grasp what is being said here? Jesus was crucified and put to death, then God raised Him from the dead, freeing or delivering Him from the “pains of death.” So, what pains are there in death? Now remember, this part of the scripture (the pains of death) came after He was put to death and He was not freed from it until He was raised up from the dead. So, is this not a reference of Jesus suffering during His death. And if so, can this place be is in the heart of the earth, which is hell itself. And, is it not true that the penalty for sins included punishment in hell as well, which we saw was the fate of the rich man mention above who didn't help sick Lazarus. For we know that the cross was our visual of Jesus blood being poured out for us sinners, by the hands of us sinners. But hell is that unseen suffering where one goes to suffer for the penalty of sins.
The Passover Lamb
And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof. (Exodus 12:7-9)
Now we come to the Passover Lamb which had to be slain and its blood be applied to the house in order for its occupants to be saved? Not only that, but the Passover Lamb had to go through the fire before those in the house could partake of it and come out alive. For we read, 1“Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it. They shall eat the flesh on that night, roasted in fire.
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