Saturday, November 15, 2008

No Excuses, Please


Ezekiel 18 - Click Here
A False Proverb Refuted


One thing the ancient Israelites always maintained is their fear of death. In the reading from Ezekiel 18, the Israelites attempted to blame their punishments and justification for sin on the sins of their father’s. In essence saying, ‘I may as well sin because; I’m going to reap the judgment of my father, anyway’.

God asked, 'why would they do that?'. Then He told them, they are responsible for their own lives. What God was addressing is a community of people who were conscientious of their relationship with God. Their fear was formed out of knowing of this proverb that suggested they would be responsible for the sins of their fathers. And, so they adopted a self defeating attitude.

Unlike the conscience of the ancient Israelites, many today lack even a symbolic presence of God in their lives. With that, they naturalize death. In fact, death was not part of God’s plan for human life. It was not something man was intended to fear.

In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were not withheld the Tree of Life until after they ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Today, many choose to believe death to be natural. That, after they have passed on to death, there is nothing. Or, they create a ‘cast system’ which allows them a ‘do over’ in life if they don’t get it right, or if they don’t get it right again, and again, and again there is a do over. So, people mess their lives up and are convinced that they will need a ‘do over’. The cast system ultimately has the effect of searing the consciences of people in entire communities.

People in religions or social groups with cast systems mess up. Then they just wait it out until they parish and they go on to the do over, hoping to get a good start and finish in the next life.

Ezekiel 18:4 says, “The soul that sins shall die”.


Hebrews 2:9 says in contrast, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.”


Jesus Christ defeated death so we would not have to undergo a spiritual judgment.

Death does not have to be the end of life.

22 comments:

Nitewrit said...

Jim,

And a third group who believe after death they will go to some sort of "heaven" because there is some sort of "god" who would never punish anyone. There are a lot of people, at least, in this country who have this form of religion, but no substance.

Thanks for telling me about the Blog List not updating. I had noticed that the other day. I have no idea why this is the case. First I couldn't read any profiles and now my posts done show current on the Blog List...maybe Blogger just doesn't like me.

Larry E.

Nitewrit said...

That should have been "don't show current", not "done show current".

I really need to take my time and proofread my comments before hitting the send button. :)

Larry E.

jeleasure said...

Thanks for the comment Larry.
My blog link does not update either. And don't worry about making errors. You should have seen my comment on Tamela's page.
I said,
Jesus says, "the Lord will hate you because of me".

Vicki said...

Hi Jim,
There is nothing like answering and affirming biblical commentary with more scriptures. But everything you wrote reminded me of many more scriptures.
First, Hebrews 9:27, For it is appointed man once to die and then the judgement. There is no reincarnation nor second go round.
The idea of life after death is as old as the Bible itself. Job is the oldest book. Job 19:25-27 I know that my Redeemer lives and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyesshall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.
Finally, I Corinthians 15:13 If there be no resurretion of the dead, then is Christ not risen:... V. 19, If in this life ONLY we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most merserable. V. 20, But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. V. 21 For since aby man came death, by man came also the resurrection fo the dead. V. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
As a believer in Jesus, the only true hope, I want to get on the dresser and jump up and down, shouting, and jumping on the bed with absolute joy.I don't need a second chance, Jesus forgives me and justifies my here. I will acknowledge that I am responsible for my actions. Also, I am not responsible for my children's actions.
Blessings and love Always,
Vicki

lmouser said...

The thought of rotating through this world in different forms (some really creepy) until I finally reach some sort of spiritual perfection would be the pits, and I would never make it...

One lifetime is sufficient for those who trust in the Lord. Receiving His grace, not our works, will save us the first time through.

Larry M.

jeleasure said...

lmouser,
Amen! One time! Isn't it amazing that we are on the right side, given that we only had one life to get there?
I always take the opportunity to explain my thoughts on works, when the opportunity arises. Even if I need not speak to you about 'works'.
I can say it this way; In every way God interacts with the human family, his intent is to be the head of the Family and give us an example of how we should be with one another.

God forgives, we must forgive. God loves, we must love. People must realize that our absolute need to reflect the character of God is what appears as the signature of God's family. God does want us to love one another. Our works should be done to reflect that love. Salvation is an entirely different issue, aside from works.

Tamela's Place said...

Hi Jim,

I like to think of death as just going from this life on to the next life with and in the Lord that is.

btw, i love the song that you have playing. It is one of my favorites. :)

jeleasure said...

Thanks Tamela,
I will tell you that I do consider death. I often wonder what it will be that we are going to go to. I have no worries about it being a bad experience for me. I also have another idea is was considering for a blog. It has to do with the 'benefit' of death.
Now, am I becoming morbid? I don't believe so. I do want people who read my blog to understand that this is one of the very neglected issues of the church. We, (or at least my wife and I) don't hear of this being discussed much. So, I am planning my next blog item to be on the benefits of death. Where are the ideas coming from? I don't know, except that this study from Ezekiel happened to be from my devotional time.

I feel different about the type of music I have playing from time-to-time. I like this one to. It is by Jeremy Riddle, entitled "Sweetly Broken".
c-ya,
Jim

Nitewrit said...

Jim,

I look forward with interest to your thoughts on the benefits of death. You know, Paul saw death as gain. I agree, I see death as a benefit, life as a grant, living as a responsibility and salvation as a gift.

Larry E.

Great Googly Moogly! said...

"In fact, death was not part of God’s plan for human life."

I agree, Jim...for the most part.

I would say that death was necessary because the ultimate plan/purpose of God for humanity (and creation, in general) is to be found in Christ. Since Christ was/is the ultimate destiny for mankind, "death", in my opinion, was part of God's ultimate plan.

However, I would agree with you in the sense that "death" speaks to a principle that is not God's plan/purpose--the principle of estrangement. Physical death, in my opinion, is simply a consequence of the "spiritual" death that necessarily instigated our Lord and Savior to come and accomplish the purpose of God for His creation--the "summing up of all things in Him".

The curse of "the Fall" is the estrangement (death...separation from God, ourselves, mankind and the entire created order) that marks all of creation. It's this universal, cosmic estrangement that has been "fixed" in the Person and Work of Christ. The curse has been lifted in Him and now the principle of life has been established for all those who come to Him by faith. Relationship has been restored and "death" has been swallowed up in victory--Praise Him!

So...in one sense I agree with you; but in another sense, I believe that death was in God's plans for humanity because Christ, the Lamb, was "slain from the foundations of the world".

Even though I (may) have a slightly different understanding about God's "plan" of death (though you may agree with what I've said but didn't want to get into specifics in your post?), I really enjoyed your post. You are a faithful "brother" who desires people to grow up in their faith...and I appreciate that. My thinking is usually stimulated after reading your material.

Thanks Jim,

GGM

jeleasure said...

GGM,
Thanks for taking the time to draw the distinction. I agree, if Christ was "slain at the foundations of the world", then yes, God foreknew there would be a need for physical death, separation, spiritual death and then regeneration in Christ. So, physical death was a part of God's plan, in already having seen the fall of man prior to the actual event. However, I will not say that Adam and Eve were aware of this. And, possibly even the angels were not aware of this, since Satan discussed the possibility of death from a recent statement God had made, promising the death of Adam and Eve if they ate from the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The question is how did Satan and Adam understand 'death'?

There are times, when saying too much before someone else has an opportunity to weigh in can cause confusion. Especially when someone is hearing something for the first time.

That, hearing things for the first time problem concerns me. Because, many times a person has been a christian for many years before falacies are in conflict with truth.

So, I do tend to simplify the matter as to not be called a heretic. From experience I have found this allows for discussion to unveil more.

satire and theology said...

Good discussion, Jim.

I emailed you a reply. I am taking a bit of a break tonight as yesterday after church I spent several hours working on comments and work related to the Millennium (for my pastor who has read some other books and is preaching on related), the problem of evil and a tag.

The more readers there are the more work there is.:)

It is time for a walk.

Russ:)

Great Googly Moogly! said...

"However, I will not say that Adam and Eve were aware of this. And, possibly even the angels were not aware of this..."

Yes...I agree with you and very good point.

"There are times, when saying too much before someone else has an opportunity to weigh in can cause confusion. Especially when someone is hearing something for the first time."

Another good point. I've found that to be the case when I discuss the issue of "Israel" with people. When someone has never been exposed to certain ideas before it can be difficult to communicate so that he/she really understands what you're talking about. So..."a little at a time" is usually a good policy.

And you're right, this "allows for discussion to unveil more." As our comments to each other attest! :-)

Thanks Jim.

jeleasure said...

Thanks GGM,

I want to share with the readers of this blog what Russ of Satire and Theology and The King Pin 68 shared in an email when I consulted with him on this issue. Quoting Russ:
"Cheers, Jim.

That is a debate. Erickson states human beings were not necessarily immortal in Eden.

So, if they would not have sinned, although God knew they would and made them in a way that he knew they freely would, Erickson seems to me suggested that if they would have stayed sinless they could have been translated into immortal bodies after outgrowing Eden, perhaps like ours will be.

Others state that Adam and Eve were immortal as they were warned if they would sin they would die.

I reason there was at least the death of plant life before the fall, and perhaps animals too. It appears we were perhaps originally intended to be vegetarians from
Genesis 1: 30.

Old earth scientists like Christian Hugh Ross will likely assume non-human death is a natural part of the solar system even prior to the fall, as is entropy.

Some young earth scholars may state there was basically no death at all prior to the fall, or even entropy, although they would have difficulty getting around plant death I reason, if that was their position which I doubt it would be.

It is an interesting debate, but in a sense moot point because God made persons that would freely sin without being forced in order that he could ultimately have a culminating Kingdom with citizens that had experienced the problem of evil and had been atoned and resurrected for by Christ.

For whatever good reasons these are the type of citizens God ultimately wanted, along with the angels that did not join Satan and never did fall.".

nutuba said...

Jim,

This is a great blog site! I'm glad you contacted me.

Regarding death, life, and eternal life ... it never ceases to amaze me how many people seem to have never really given thought to the question, "What happens when I die?"

I think this apathy / neglect is part of the big downward spiral as society drifts away from God. We (society) are getting lazier; we seek to be entertained without having to think; and we've become a homogenized "you believe your stuff, I'll believe my stuff, and we'll be happy together" mentality.

Yuck.

On the other hand, I've had a few friends over the years who went from being devout atheists to being devout believers in our Lord because they DID ask questions, they did seek to know whether there really Is a God. The promise in Jeremiah really is true -- seek Him with all your heart, and you will find Him.

How many movies are there that portray death in a non-threatening way? Very few. The Great Brain-Washers (Media) like to focus on fright and gore and sadness and devastation.

But, like how Gandalf explains to one of the hobbits in "Return of the King," death is just the next step. It's not the end.

Sure, there can be sadness in death because we miss the person; I'm even still sad about my dog dying last year.

But we as the body of Christ need to constantly be reminding ourselves that our focus needs to be on Jesus and our life with Him. And we don't have to wait until we die to worship the Lamb on the Throne.

We can do that now.

Joel (nutuba)

the_thinking_frog said...

Greetings Jim,

If it were not for sin, we would not face death. If it were not for death, we would remain in our sin. I give thanks frequently to God for delivering me from my past and sins by way of the cross and the blood of Jesus.

It is amazing the amount of rationalization that takes place to excuse conduct that is morally unacceptable without even mentioning Scripture. How low would our depravity reach if it were not for death?

Thanks for planting seeds for so much thought!

Joyfully Serving,

Kermit

nutuba said...

Hi Jim,

I found a couple interesting blogs today, both very Christ-centered and quite readable. When you get a chance you may want to check out:

http://www.charlottesheart.com
and
http://thelensoftruth.blogspot.com

Regards,
Joel (nutuba)

Greg said...

Yet, ironically, the fact that physical death awaits us all is what drives many to seek God. All part of His wonderful plan. :)

jeleasure said...

Hi Kermit, Joel and Greg,

All three of you make well noted and viable points.
Thanks for stopping by.

Jim

Great Googly Moogly! said...

Oh...by the way...I meant to comment on your drawings--they're great!

Gigi said...

Having been by my Sweet Hubby's side, holding his hand 11 days ago as he went to be with the Lord, I can tell you most assuredly and with great conviction that Jesus was there to meet him. In his last few days he would almost always awaken from sleep talking about his "heavenly Jesus." His face was joyous, not fearful. Yes, the veil is thin between this world and the next...why would anyone want to be "reincarnated" out of Paradise?

jeleasure said...

"Why would anyone want to be reincarnated out of paradise?"

I don't know that I can say for sure. For some, it is indoctrinated, sociologica philosophy. For others, there is something very disturbing in their hope to return.
I was speaking to one of my customers, and she said, "Oh, I hope I can come back".

Thank you Gigi. You are a wonder! I'll be by to visit your blog. I've been very busy working. Last night, I worked up to 11:30p.m. = 16hrs and today, 10hrs. So, I can't really stay focused.
Jim