NOTE: This is an excerpt from a journal written two years ago…YOU is referring to God/Jesus, except in the last few paragraphs. It is basically one continuous, unedited, strain of thought.
You said that you spoke and did what you saw and heard from your father in heaven saying and doing. So you came and spoke very harsh words to the church (for lack of a better word) using their language of hell against them, yet spoke words of grace, healing, and redemption to the very people they were condemning to hell. You gave blessings to the least of people, and spoke curses to those who had you nailed (no pun) down…to those who held the power of “right doctrine”. You said that there would be people who confessed with their mouth that you are “Lord, Lord” yet you would tell them to depart from you because their works, their deeds did very little, if nothing to bring your kingdom to earth (feed, cloth, visit, etc…these are your words, not the liberal’s) and that there would be people who were shocked at your judgment on them as they shake their heads saying who are you and when did we do your kingdom work, yet you would welcome them?
You told a story of a son who said the right words yet did no works (verbal confession without correct lifestyle) and another son who said all the wrong words yet did what you asked (no confession of faith, in fact, anti-confession with correct lifestyle) and you asked, which one did as his father asked? You mentioned time and time again the connection between fruit and fire. That if you do not bear fruit (right living) you will be cast away to be burned (again, interpreted as hell though it does not mention hell and might be speaking of just a life going up in smoke…there is nothing left in the end), yet we teach belief and fire, or words and fire, that if you do not believe the right thing or confess the right thing, you will be cast away to be burned (taught as eternal [eternal, never ending] suffering that of which no one, not even the worst earthly evil, would be capable of doing…even the cruelest of human inflicted suffering has an end to it). You heal, mend, forgive, grace, reconcile all who are willing and some who are not.If death’s door does bring an end to your forgiveness and mercy (meaning it is only valid to correct believe and confession before you die) then did you truly overcome death? Wouldn’t death still have a stinger? Wouldn’t death in fact have more power than even you and your mercy (which we sing about having no end)? “Sorry, I would offer you mercy because I can see your heart, your tears, your repentance, your sorrow, but bummer, you died, nothing I can do, I am powerless at this point…so off you go lad into an eternal suffering that even Hitler could not have brought you. But by the way, I love you like no other…in fact, I AM love.” Don’t you even tell us that it is your mercy that triumphs over judgment and that it is your mercy that leads to repentance? Isn’t your aim to bring reconciliation? Yet death still is taught as the final word? If judgment (interpreted as who goes to heaven and hell) was the final word to those who believed the wrong doctrine, then wouldn’t your message while on earth be a bit different? Why all the talk about right living, fruit, actions? Why all the embracement and forgiveness of “sinners”…those who haven’t a clue about right thinking (at least as far as we are concerned)? Or are you so cruel as to teach and live one thing and then in the end, flip it on its head and change what you came teaching what the father taught and did? It seems that is the message to the world that we give. God loves you, he accepts you, Jesus is awesome he hanged with sinners, forgave sinners, embraced sinners, yet don’t you dare die because that will be the end of his love, forgiveness, embrace.
Belief vs. Action. So if someone never hears about the mathematical gospel (your sins must be cancelled out by Jesus’ sacrifice, which can only happen when you believe in Him and give him your life) and yet devotes their entire life to feeding the poor, clothing the naked, caring for the sick, loving the orphan, housing the widow, speaking for those with no power or voice, saving the suffering during ethnic cleansing (you get the picture) and dies, Jesus is going to send them to eternal damnation and suffering? What’s good about that news? On the flip side, if someone hears about the gospel as professed by the majority of Christendom and believes, confesses, and gives “lordship of their life” to Jesus, they go to church, sing wonderful songs, study the Bible, memorize it, teach it, tithe, yet ignore the poor, the naked, the sick, the orphan, the widow, the powerless, the suffering…don’t lift a finger to help them (to bring God’s Kingdom to earth) and even sometimes, be part of the cause, that Jesus is going to build a mansion, bless them, open the pearly gates for eternal bliss, laughter and communion with himself simply because of their believe and lip service? Again, I ask, what is good about that news? An even more frightening question, which better describes me?As I re-read the gospels, and interpret the epistles through Jesus words and actions, not visa-versa, it paints a much different gospel. In one sense a narrower gospel, because it DOES require action, not just believe or words, yet at the same time a broader and more inclusive gospel that seems to extend much further beyond the protected realm of modern Christendom. Try this, reread the gospels and whenever Jesus mentions religious people (Pharisees, Sadducees, scribes, etc.) take the benefit of the doubt and read it humbly as if it is referring to current religious people (you and me included). Whenever he mentions sinners, read it as if it is referring to whom we/you would consider sinners (for this practice, exclude yourself from this list, though theologically we believe we are sinners, just sinners who believe the right thing). What do you see? What changes?