We all make choices. We all make interpretations. We all are led individually by the Holy Spirit. We all do the best we can with our three-pound brains and our built in, God-given human limitations. We all stake claims on our current understanding of God’s truth as revealed to us by his Holy Spirit through the bible, his creation, and ultimately through his son Jesus. And so tonight, I do so as well and stake my claim on my current understanding of God’s truth.
[In doing so, please realize that this is my human profession. By making it, I am not judging or condemning others who believe or understand God differently—we all see dimly and in part. This is simply a short, non-comprehensive statement of where I have been led and am choosing to stick my flag based on my limited, non-comprehensive human understanding. It is by no means all worked out without any issues with a tidy bow (whose belief/theology ever is?), nor do I believe it ever will be. I believe that when contemplating God, there will always be a substantial element of mystery and faith involved—if not, he would cease to be God, and I human. It is partly because of my human limitations and the mystery of God that my belief will continue to be shaped throughout my life. Currently, this is what I believe. If you don't agree with it, cool . . . that is not an expectation of mine. After all, I really believe that we will all show up with our three-pound brains before God and realize we all fell short, were in error, and misinterpreted his revelations to us to one degree or another, and even then he will show grace.]
If it helps, to understand biblically a bit more where I am coming from, I would highly encourage you to read this Word document referencing scripture before continuing: reconcilation-scriptures.doc
I believe and stand on the mountain of God’s abundant grace and love for all of humanity. That through the blood and sacrifice of Jesus, God’s justice was met and the punishment for all sin was paid in full—canceled. That because of God’s love for his kids and the reconciliation that was made through Jesus, God has forgiven all. That forgiveness is his decision alone to make and it is not dependent on our response. That a person’s belief does not trigger God’s forgiveness, but rather their belief allows them to experience and walk in God’s love and the reality of their God-declared forgiven state. That God is able to extend his love and grace even after a person’s death. That death indeed lost its victory and sting, and God is not hindered one bit by our death in extending his mercy. If God was hindered by our death, then our death would ultimately be more powerful than God. That one day, every knee shall bow (repentance) and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (worship), and on that day God will not say, “That’s great and all, but there’s nothing I can do, my hands are tied. Sorry, you died—you’re too late.” That even then man can still reject him, but I find it awfully hard to imagine them doing so given the God-reality they are now experiencing. That if rejected, God will honor their decision and what happens after that I will let God worry about. That God, in his infinite love, is just wild enough to redeem, reconcile, and restore all things to himself. That in the end, God’s love for his kids wins and we will get to join in and celebrate his victory over death and sin, and embrace our dad. That in the end, mercy indeed triumphs over judgment.
I believe that on this earth, sin still has its deadly and destructive consequences, and that God, out of his love and for the purpose of restoration, disciplines his kids. That those who ‘believe’ on earth get to begin enjoying God’s love and kingdom-life here and now, and have the honor of being God’s kingdom-vessels in both word and deed here on earth . That the good news perhaps is not, “You can be forgiven in Jesus if you believe” (which is good news to be sure), but, “You are forgiven through and by Jesus, do you believe?” That the burden of humanity’s souls is God’s burden. Our job is the declaration of forgiveness, to love God (who first loves us), to love ourselves (because he loves us), and out of God’s love we are to love our fellow brothers and sisters who happen to share the same tiny globe as us, who happen to be created by the same one and only God as us, and who happen to be loved by God as we are. That it is our joy and privilege, as pre-death embracers of God’s love and forgiveness, to love and spread the good news that man is forgiven and loved by a God—their Daddy—who is love. That through love, their image of God, themselves, and others will begin to be restored. That we can join arms and follow Jesus’ example and the Holy Spirit’s leading in bringing God’s Kingdom to earth as it is in heaven. That our highest call is love. It is on the mountain of God’s incomprehensible love and Jesus’ all-encompassing blood that I stand, come what may.
I echo the words of John Bunyan, the author of Pilgrim’s Progress, who said, “I will stay in Jail ’till the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience.” And the spirit of Martin Luther when he said, “Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God.”
And if I error, I will error on the side of God’s grace and love—for all.
“For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.” Col 1:19-22