Faith in Jesus Christ – the fixed point in the universe.
The voluntary nature of Christian faith.
In the kingdom of God there is only complete freedom of the will. / Wilhelm Busch, book WB00, p. 123 ff
Biblical Christianity and its claim to sole representation.
As we have already pointed out in Discourse 131, the Christian faith is not a religion. "Religion" is derived from the Latin word "religio", and has several meanings. The term "religion", according to Cicero, means "the conscientious observance of rules that have been handed down". And here we have the deeper meaning of a religion, and so of all world religions – as a rite to be observed and practiced by human beings. That is to say, human beings must act (offer sacrifice for example, or carry out certain actions), and then hope for some kind of preferential treatment in return.
Christian faith is the diametric opposite of this. Here God himself has acted (1Jn 4:10) and has sent his Son, who in accordance with the will of the Father (Lk 22,42) underwent death as a sacrifice for the sins of all the world (Gal 1:4). The individual only has to accept this sacrifice in spirit as having been performed for his or her sins, and appeal to it in prayer to the Father. This way he or she is freed from sin and can once again stand justified before God, and ask to receive the Holy Spirit (Lk 11:13).
(See also discourse 51: "The reception of the Holy Spirit – how does it happen?")
According to the Biblical Christian faith, there is only one God. And so too there can only be one sole religion. This religion was the Abrahamic-Mosaic religion. Both Abraham and Moses had direct contact with this one and only God. It follows that all other religions of this world are just human inventions, and so have no significance of any kind.
The Abrahamic-Mosaic religion was a religion which was exclusively meant for the people of Israel and for all those non-Israelites who would convert to the Mosaic faith, observe its commandments and allow themselves to be circumcised. All other religions of this world more or less took over this system of rules and commandments, though without being aware of its spiritual content, and still less of its later development.
And that also applies to the Jews. They are aware, of course, of this recent development of their Mosaic faith – the "New Covenant" – but they have nonetheless fatally refused to accept it. But as a result they have broken their Old Covenant with God. Consequently God dissolved that covenant, and abandoned them two thousand years ago (Mt 27:50-51). But as is so often the case, the Jews thought, and continue to think, that they can simply ignore the fact that their God has abandoned them, and carry on as if nothing had happened.
This was the tactic they resorted to three thousand years ago, when Moses was with God on Mount Horeb, and they thought he wasn’ t coming back. In willful ignorance, they made themselves a golden calf and proceeded to worship this idol.
And it’ s just the same in our own day. The Bible prophesies that Israel will be gathered again by its God from all those parts of the world to which he dispersed them (in the Diaspora), after they broke their covenant with him. But this was too long for the Jews to wait. So under the leadership of Theodor Herzl and his Zionists, they gathered on their own initiative, and reoccupied the land of Israel by murder and assassination, without having been remotely encouraged by God to do this, let alone having been led by him as the Bible says (Hos 1:7).
And so the state of Israel was set up in 1948 – the new "golden calf" of the Jews. If any proof were still needed that God has abandoned Israel, this would be the best possible demonstration. But it is also a proof of the fact that God has dissolved the covenant with Israel, and so the Mosaic religion, which is based on this covenant, no longer has any validity. This of course invites the natural question whether such a serious claim finds any support in the Bible. That is just what we aim to demonstrate in what follows.
As we have already explained earlier, God sent his Son first of all "to the lost sheep of the house of Israel", so that he, as their Messiah, might fulfill the prophecies and set up the "kingdom" – the Kingdom of Peace of a thousand years. But the Jews rejected him and condemned him to death on the cross. If the Jews had accepted him, world history would have taken a completely different course.
But they did not accept him (Jn 5:43), and so changed their own destiny and the course of this world entirely. One of the resulting changes was God’ s decision to abandon the Temple in Jerusalem and the people of Israel (Mt 27:50-51) and dissolve the Old Covenant (Hebr 8:7-9). But he would not have been our omnipotent and gracious God and Father in heaven, if he had not accompanied this just decision with a possibility of salvation.
And not just for the salvation of the Jews, but for the salvation of all human beings. The basic problem of all human beings was, and continues to be, our inability to fulfill the commandments of God in their entirety. Through the weakness of our faith (Lk 17:6), we fall a prey repeatedly to the temptations of Satan. But violation of the commandments of God is sin, and sin is punished with death (Rom 6:23).
(See also discourse 08: "The first and the second death.")
Even though this is not the first, physical death, but the "second death", so called
(Rev 21:8) – that is to say, condemnation to eternal damnation at the Last Judgment – God, not wishing
to be compelled to damn all humanity at once, decreed, in the old Mosaic religion, that the vicarious
death of an animal might be substituted for the death of the sinner (e.g. the sacrifice of one year old
immaculate sacrificial lamb) as expiation for the sins of the sinner.
But when the Jews rejected his Son, God fulfilled the prophecy which states:
Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly
Jes 28,16 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed. Jes 28,16;
The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief corner stone.
Ps 118,22 The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief corner stone. 118,23 This is the LORD’S doing; It is marvelous in our eyes. Ps 118,22-23;
The builders – the Jewish scribes and the Mosaic edifice of faith – rejected this stone,
their Messiah, and so God made him the corner stone, i.e. the stone in the foundation which sustains the
entire building and holds it together. And although the Jewish scribes were very familiar with the Torah
and all the scriptures, clearly they had failed to understand the meaning of this prophecy (Mt 5:1-7).
And so there came about a paradigm change in belief in the one and only God. The old Mosaic faith was repealed, and could no longer serve as the basis for the forgiveness of sins. And this too was stated by our Jesus Christ, though here again they were reluctant to grasp his meaning:
Unless you believe that I am He (the Messiah), you will die in your sins.
Jn 8,21 Then He said again to them, "I go away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin; where I am going, you cannot come." 8,22 So the Jews were saying, "Surely He will not kill Himself, will He, since He says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?" 8,23 And He was saying to them, "You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. 8,24 "Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He (the Messiah),
you will die in your sins." Jn 8,21-24;
Anyone who dies in their sins – without their sins being forgiven, that is – will be
condemned to eternal damnation at the Last Judgment. And precisely that is the fate of all Jews, the
sons of the kingdom, from the whom the kingdom has been taken away, to be given to another people who
will bear its fruits.
The sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Mt 8,11 "I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; 8,12 but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Mt 8,11-12;
The kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it.
Mt 21,33 "Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard and put a wall around it and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and rented it out to vine-growers and went on a journey. 21,34 When the harvest time approached, he sent his slaves to the vine-growers to receive his produce. 21,35 The vine-growers took his slaves and
beat one, and killed another, and stoned a third. 21,36 Again he sent another group of slaves larger than the first; and they did the same thing to them.
21,37 But afterward he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 21,38 But when the vine-growers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.’ 21,39 They took him, and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.
21,40 Therefore when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vine-growers?" 21,41 They said to Him, "He will bring those wretches to a wretched end, and will rent out the vineyard to other vine-growers who will pay him the proceeds at the proper seasons." 21,42 Jesus said to them, "Did you never read in the Scriptures, ‘The stone which the builders rejected, this became the chief corner stone; Thos came about from the Lord, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?
21,43 Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it. 21,44 And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust."
21,45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they understood that He was speaking about them. 21,46 When they sought to seize Him, they feared the people, because they considered Him to be a prophet. Mt 21,33-46;
As we can see, the Jews have fallen between two stools. In the Mosaic faith of the Old
Covenant they can no longer receive forgiveness of their sins. Not just because this covenant has been
dissolved by God, but also because the sacrifice for sin can only be performed on the altar of burnt
offerings at the Temple in Jerusalem – and there alone (Deut 12:13-14)! But that Temple was destroyed
two thousand years ago, and the altar of burnt offerings along with it (Lk 21:5-6).
(See also discourse 111:"The destruction of the Temple.")
On the other hand, the forgiveness of sins in the New Covenant of the Christian faith
can only be obtained by believing in the vicarious redeeming sacrifice of the Son of God on the cross
for the sins of all humanity. And this the Jews reject.
This is why the Lord also says to them, in Jh 8,24 above: "Unless you believe that I am He (the Messiah), you will die in your sins." And anyone who dies in their sins can receive no forgiveness of their sins, and so will be condemned to eternal damnation at the Last Judgment.
At the same time, it would be a mistake – one which unfortunately some Christian denominations fall into – to believe that this means the Mosaic faith and Israel have been rejected by God for ever. This God-lessness of the people of Israel extends from the death of the Son of God, when the Father left the Temple, up to the start of the Millennium, when the remainder of the Israelites will again convert to their God and his Son Jesus the Christ (the Messiah).
Those who know their Bible will be aware, then, that Christianity is just an "interpolation" in the history of God with Israel. In the Millennium the remainder of Israel will convert to Jesus Christ, God will raise their King David from the dead (Jer 30:8-9) and Israel will become the "chief of nations" (Jer 31:6-8) in the thousand years of the Kingdom of Peace of the Son of God.
(See also discourse 121: "Christianity: an interpolation in the history of God with Israel")
This, too, is the reason why our Lord Jesus Christ said:
Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.
Mt Mt 5,17 "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 5,18 "For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 5,19 "Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 5,20 "For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Mt 5,17-20;
(See also discourse 131: "Judaism and its view of Jesus the Christ (= Heb.: Messiah / the Anointed One).")
Christianity, it follows, is subject to exactly the same commandments and laws as the
Mosaic faith! That is what the Lord tells us here. The wages of sin – unatoned and unforgiven
non-compliance with the laws and commandments – is still death (the second death). What has changed,
however, is the manner of expiation and forgiveness.
Whereas in the Mosaic faith it was an animal (the sacrificial lamb) that had to lay down its life vicariously for the human being, in the Christian faith it is the Son of God himself who has given his life for sinners. If the Jews had many sacrificial laws for a whole battery of sins and expiations, in Christianity what counts is the sacrifice of the Son of God for all sinners, and for all the sins mentioned in the Law.
This is the New Covenant, this is Christianity. Whereas the identifying mark for belonging to the Old Covenant was circumcision, in the New Covenant it is faith – faith in Jesus Christ and his vicarious sacrifice on the cross for the sins of all the world. Anyone who is willing to accept it has their sins forgiven and is saved. Anyone who is not prepared to accept it remains under the wrath of God, and goes to damnation.
Another difference as compared with the Mosaic religion – as already mentioned above – is that the Christian faith is not a religion at all. It is rather a relation, a relationship or connection with God as our Father in heaven, the dimension out of time and space where God and his angels live. This again is why the Son of God said:
Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.
Mt 23,9 Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Mt 23,9;
So we shouldn’ t call anyone on earth our father, because our Father is in heaven. – But
this also makes it clear that all Catholic Popes, who even, shamelessly, let themselves be called "Holy
Father" – a designation which our Lord Jesus Christ reserved exclusively for God in prayer (Jn 17,11) –
just for this very reason will be going to hell.
So the members of the New Covenant may be recognized by the fact that they believe in Jesus Christ. They are children – sons and daughters – of the living God, who is their Father in heaven. And this relationship, this connection is of a spiritual nature. As the Lord also tells us:
God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.
Jn 4,23 "But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 4,24 "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." Jn 4,23-24;
So in the Christian faith there are no rituals, no liturgy, no "masses", no priest,
bishops or Popes etc. etc. – nor does biblical Christianity have any truck with "houses of God", like
the churches, mosques and temples of the world’ s religions. This is because the one and only God has
said to us:
»Heaven is my throne, and earth is the footstool of my feet; what kind of house will you build for me?«
Acts 7,48 "However, the Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands; as the prophet says: 7,49 ‘Heaven is my throne, and earth is the footstool of my feet; what kind of house will you build for me?’ says the Lord; ‘ Or what place is there for my repose? 7,50 ‘Was it not my hand which made all these things?’ Acts 7,48-50;
And Paul writes to us in his first letter to the Corinthians:
Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
1Cor 3,16 Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 3,17 If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are. 1Cor 3,16-17;
And finally the Son of God himself explains to us how that is to be understood:
If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.
Jn 14,22 Judas (not Iscariot) *said to Him, "Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world?" 14,23 Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. 14,24 "He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’ s who sent Me. 14,25 "These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. 14,26 "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.
So through the Holy Spirit’ s being in us, the Father and the Son will make our abode in
us. And for that reason we (our minds) are the temple of God. All these other human
inventions in the religions are only aimed at making an impression in the material world of human
beings, glorifying oneself in the eyes of others. To the invisible God, who is spirit, all this is an
Religion is, when human beings try to reach God. In biblical Christianity, God comes to humanity. God is our Holy Father in heaven, and so, through the Holy Spirit’ s being in us, there is a relation, a direct spiritual relationship between us and the one and only God.
If a person is without sin – for which they must first pray, and ask for the forgiveness of their sins in the name of the redeeming sacrifice of the Lord Jesus – and if they are prepared to give glory to the truth, then they will go into a room where they can be undisturbed, close the door, sit down and begin to speak to their Father in heaven in the Spirit.
But you, when you pray, go into your inner room and pray to your Father who is in secret.
Mt 6,5 "When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners (or at the "Wailing Wall"! / FH) so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 6,6 "But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. 6,7 "And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. 6,8 "So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. Mt 6, 5- 8;
Gottfried Daniel Pomacher, a revivalist preacher from Wuppertal, takes the same view of the matter when he
“Christianity does not consist in words but rather in the power of the Holy Spirit in the believer. The pillars of the temple are not those who attract the admiration of their hearers with their public utterances of ‘Lord, Lord’, but rather those who - at home, in the stillness of their own room, and without any audience - address their prayers to the Lord: these are the ones who really support the congregation.”
This is the one possibility every person has of speaking (praying) to God, and actually
being heard by him. All other so-called "prayers" – whoever they may be addressed to – issue into
emptiness and do not reach God. Christianity, it follows, is not a religion, but a relation. A
relationship or connection between human beings and their Father in heaven, the almighty God and his Son
And here we can now easily recognize that the Catholic church, which the world generally regards as the representative of Christianity, is not a Christian church at all. The Biblical Christian faith is not based either on rules or on ritual and liturgy. The true Christian faith has nothing to do with priests, bishops and cardinals, certainly nothing to do with Popes. The true Christian faith is a relationship with God as our heavenly Father and with Jesus Christ, his Son, as our Savior.
"Give me a fixed point in the universe and I will lift the world off its hinges."
The Greek mathematician Archimedes of Syracuse (287-212 BC) was the first to discover the principle of the lever, and came to this remarkable theoretical conclusion.
In the reality of this world, faith in Jesus Christ is the thing that really lifts the world off its hinges. When the Son of God says:
I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies.
- he abrogates all the biological and physical laws of our world of space and time. The power whereby a human beings can realize this miracle is called faith. Faith is a power in human beings, as also are love, hatred, jealousy and so on. But whereas love, hatred and jealousy in most cases "break out" involuntarily, human beings can themselves activate the power of faith. In the Christian faith, what they have to do for this is place their trust in God and the Son of God. Trust – just that is what the Bible means by "faith".
In the miracles that the Lord worked on earth, he always says, "Your faith (your trust in me) has helped you."
Mt 9,22 Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well.
Mk 10,52 Go; your faith has made you well.
Lk 7,50 Your faith has saved you; go in peace.
Lk 17,19 Stand up and go; your faith has made you well.
Mt 15,28 O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish.
And this trust, this faith, then gives birth to a conviction. This is the faith of a correctly believing Christian: conviction.
He who believes in Him (Jesus Christ) is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already.
Jn 3,17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 3,18 He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. Jn 3,17-18;
He who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes
in Me will never thirst.
Jn 6,35 Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst." Jn 6,35;
He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’
Jn 7,38 "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’" 7,39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. Jn 7,38-39;
I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies.
Jn 11,25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, 11,26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?" Jn 11,25-26;
He who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do.
Jn 14,12 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father." Jn 14,12;
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me." (Jn 14,6)
Then a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!"
Lk 9,35 Then a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!" 9,36 And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent, and reported to no one in those days any of the things which they had seen. Lk 9,35-36;
The faith of the true Christian is his or her conviction that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of this world.
But the Son of God is not merely the Savior of the world he is also the judge of the world. Just because he voluntarily saved this world by his death, God the Father has also handed over all power in heaven and earth to the Son. And he – Jesus Christ – is also the one who at the end of the world, at the Last Judgment, will judge every individual human being to see whether this person, in his or her earthly life, has decided to believe in the Son of God or not.
All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
Mt 28,18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Mt 28,18;
He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father.
Jn 5,22 "For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, 5,23 so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.
Now how are these people going to stand before this court whose judge they have denied on earth? These people are practically "suicides". They have rejected the one and only possibility which would be capable of releasing and redeeming them from sin in this world. They have denied the only mediator who can represent them before their God and declared that he does not exist. They will die the second death.
For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.
1Tim 2,3 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 2,4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 2,5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 2,6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time. 1Tim 2, 3- 6;
Whoever will call on the name of the LORD will be saved.
Rom 10,9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10,10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he
confesses, resulting in salvation. 10,11 For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed." 10,12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him;
10,13 for "Whoever will call on the name of the LORD will be saved." Rom 10,9-13;
Should we pity such people? They are murderers! Self-murderers, that is to say. And in such a case there can be no pity – either with God, or with human beings.
But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.;
Rev 21,8 "But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." Rev 21, 8;
(See also excursus 08: "The first and the second death.")
You will find at Immanuel.at a document which presents the essential events of the past, present and future of God’s creation in easily manageable compressed form. This is Table 09 (see also above), which I would warmly recommend the interested readers to take a look at. Don’t let the term ‘Table’ scare you off! It is just a listing which shows in a horizontal direction the comparable forms of manifestation of a certain event in different historical epochs, and in a vertical direction the different events in each of these temporal periods.
The essential thing about this presentation, though, is its biblical authenticity, as demonstrated by the links giving references to the relevant biblical passages in each case. This means you have demonstrable certainty that you are looking at the original biblical connections. This work has been carried out over decades of biblical research analysis, and offers readers the possibility of a comprehensive overview, so enabling them to develop a very much more profound understanding of the Bible.
But the fact that Jesus Christ has saved the world does not mean, of course, that the world is saved already. The world remains still in the power of Satan. What is at stake is the possibility of salvation for every individual human being. And this means final salvation – salvation from the second death.
The first death is the normal, biological, physical death of the body. But every human being has an eternal existence, and will come to life again in the resurrection, to appear before the judge Jesus Christ. And there it will be decided whether he or she will be permitted to enter the Kingdom of God, or whether they will have to go to eternal damnation in the kingdom of Satan. That is then the second death.
The eternal existence of every human being.
Every individual human being who leaves the amniotic sac
of his or her mother alive in being physically born – who is "born of
water" (amniotic fluid), that is to say (Jn 3:5) – receives a human
spirit (1Cor 2:11) from God (Jn 4:24) with eternal existence (Mt 25:46).
In the first, temporal and earthly part of their existence – in their
life, human beings have the possibility of deciding, in complete freedom,
without any compulsion and with the help of the spirit given them by God,
whether or not they will give this God, the creator of all life, their
complete trust and entire love.
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
1Cor 15,42 So also is the resurrection
of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable
body; 15,43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it
is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 15,44 it is sown a natural
body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is
also a spiritual body. 15,45 So also it is written, "The first MAN,
Adam, became a living soul." (Gen 2,7) The last Adam became a
life-giving spirit. 15,46 However, the spiritual is not first,
but the natural; then the spiritual. 15,46 However, the spiritual is not first,
but the natural; then the spiritual. 15,47 The first man is from the earth,
earthy; the second man is from heaven. 15,48 As is the earthy, so also are
those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly.
15,49 Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image
of the heavenly. 1Cor 15,42-49;
With this body the human being
will then stand at the Last Judgment
before the Son of God, who has been given the task by God (Jn 5:22, 26-27)
of judging every human being on the basis of their earthly deeds and their
decision for or against God while still alive (Rom 2:16).
(See also Discourse 22: "Is
there such a thing as the immortality of the soul?")
Being allowed to enter the Kingdom of God is what the Bible calls "eternal life" – because the alternative of eternal damnation in hell cannot be described as "life" but can only be called existence. The verdict at the Last Judgment depends on whether a person has converted to Jesus Christ while still alive. This because in the eyes of God every violation of his commandments – every sin – can only be atoned for by the death of the person. And seeing that every human being has sinned, the whole of humanity is in the eyes of God worthy of death.
(See also Chapüter 13: "The Last Judgment.")
But since God, two thousand years ago, dissolved his covenant with Israel, because the Jews handed over his Son, their Messiah, to the cross, he has concluded a New Covenant with all human beings: the death of his Son on the cross would in future serve as a vicarious death for the sins of every human being, provided that the person in question has converted to faith in his Son Jesus Christ and the latter’s vicarious redeeming sacrifice.
(See also discourse 103: "God’s New Covenant with all human beings.")
So we see that with God there is no compulsion. It is a completely voluntary decision on the part of every individual human being whether they choose to convert to him or not. This is something that the evangelist and preacher Wilhelm Busch – for whom I have the highest regard, though sadly now the late Wilhelm Busch – repeatedly emphasized to his hearers:
(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.)
Look - if you don’t want to believe, you really don’t have to! Can I
tell you something? In the church there are still all kinds of compulsions enforced.
In the Kingdom of God, there is only an absolute freedom of the will. If you want to
live without God, you can do it! God offers himself to us. But we can refuse him. Do
you want to live without God? You may. Do you want to live without having made your
peace with God? You may. Do you want to live without prayer? You may. Do you want to
live without the Bible? You may. Do you want to transgress God’s commandments? You
may. Do you want to profane the Lord’s Day, be sexually promiscuous, drink, lie and
steal? You may. Anyone who does not want this Savior whom God has sent to save
sinners is at liberty to turn him down. Anyone who wants to go to hell can do just
that. With God there are no compulsions. But please be clear on one point - you will
have to live with the consequences. In Jesus God offers you peace, and the
forgiveness of your sins. You can say, "I don’t need it! And I don’t want it either!"
And you may live accordingly. But then you are not to suppose that in the last five
minutes of your life, when you are on the point of death, you will still be able to
grasp what God has been offering to you for the length of a whole lifetime. You are
free to reject God’s offer of peace in Christ Jesus, but then you must live for all
eternity without having made your peace with God. And that is hell.
Hell is the place where you have finally and truly succeeded in getting rid of God. You are no longer invited. There is nothing calling you any longer. Perhaps you may want to pray, but you can’t do it any more. Perhaps you may want to call on the name of Jesus, but you can’t remember it any longer. You don’t need to accept this message I have for you. You can forget about converting to belief in Jesus, if that is what you want. But be clear about what you are doing, because you are choosing hell - and you have absolute freedom to do so!
"But you were unwilling!" Jesus tells the people of Jerusalem. He did not compel them in any way. But what they chose was horrible! (Mt 23:37-38)
Wilhelm Busch (1897-1966) was a Pastor and youth worker in Essen, an
evangelist, preacher, writer and author.
*) This extract and the photo are taken from the book "Jesus unser Schicksal" ["Jesus our Destiny"], by W. Busch, Schriftenmissions-Verlag Gladbeck/Westfalen [Scriptural Mission Publications, Gladbeck/Westphalia], ISBN 3-7958-0364-0.
Any religion which does not place Jesus Christ, as the Son of God and sole mediator between God and human beings, at the center of its faith is a false religion (1Tim 2:5).