Archive for April 2020

The wages of sin is DEATH, but the free gift of God is lasting life in Christ Jesus , by Giovanni Camacho

April 12, 2020

Romans 9:17 to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, in order that I show my power in you, and that my name be proclaimed in all the earth.””

Isaiah 10: 15 “Shall the ax boast over him who hews with it, or the saw magnify itself against him who wields it? As if a rod should wield him who lifts it, or as if a staff should lift him who is not wood!”

We are told by many preachers that the non-elect will be conscious forever and that God will torture them forever. To quote one of these preachers: ” the immortality only for the elect scheme is contrary to the gospel, contrary to the truth, and contrary to God’s Everlasting righteousness.”

Romans 6: 23 The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is lasting life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This traditional position redefines death for sin (an objective legal standard which requires cessation of life function/cessation of consciousnesses as a wage delivered by God), into a subjective experience of pain for the sinner.

In other words, rather than being destroyed by He who can destroy both body and soul (objective standard/demand of the law), the majority tradition teaches that the non-elect sinner is instead necessarily preserved by God in full consciousness to be tortured subjectively with the impossibility of ever actually satisfying God’s righteous demand.

This tradition defines justice as not about what God requires [and will get] to satisfy His standard, but rather to what the sinner perceives, feels, and is unable to provide. In order to experience pain, one must be alive. Indeed, so much of the comfort expressed between human beings when it comes to death is the cessation of suffering. Many will comfort each other with the sentiment that at least the dead person is not suffering any longer.

Some would ascribe this belief to the false assumption that their loved one is now a ghostly “soul” carrying around a harp and a halo, though many others would conclude that their loved one has ceased to be in pain because of cessation of consciousness.

But what the sinner subjectively feels, even if caused by God, can never itself be justice, because justice is about satisfaction of God’s law which is an objective standard outside of the sinner. The demand of God’s law is what matters when it comes to measuring what is just, not the subjective experience of the sinner. To the extent that God’s law requires something, it is that something which must happen in history to satisfy the law.

IF death is DEFINED as the cessation of life and consciousness, them merely causing pain is insufficient to satisfy the requirement of divine law for death.

Ecclesiastes 3: 19 “For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. All are from the dust, and to dust all return.”

I was holding my dog when my dog breathed his last breath approximately one year ago. He was in my lap with a blanket underneath him as the vet pumped in the medication to overwhelm his system and kill him. It was an odd feeling to watch and feel the life literally leave him. He immediately began to lose that warmth of life that we all know and love from embracing others who have life. What I was left with was him, only dead. That was Frank in my hands, but he was dead. He could not feel me holding him. He could not hear me crying over him. He could not respond to me because he was dead.

Ecclesiastes 9:10 “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.”
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The daughter of a close friend of mine died last year due to a genetic disease. We went to her open casket viewing, and there she was. Right there, except that she was not alive as I had seen her so many times before that. Her eyes and mouth had been glued shut, and she had makeup applied to make her presentable to the rest of us who likely would have been utterly horrified to see her prior to being “prepared for viewing.”

Death is something that many (at least seem to) embrace because of the belief that their true [and righteous] self is trapped inside, but my experiences with death have been horrifying and unforgettable.

No matter what one’s private reservations may be about “where” the deceased may be, the cold truth is that their death means that they inaccessible to those who are alive. “They have no knowledge of anything in the grave.”

Lots of mental gymnastics are exercised upon redefining “death” into “separation from God,” which is further described as sustained torture in various degrees, either in the presence of Christ and his angels or not. This is often premised upon the explicit claim or implicit assumption that man has a component to his being and composition which is inherently immortal and incapable of being killed.

This claim is further defended on claiming that because humans are
created “in the image of God” and that they are therefore have immortality as an inherent quality . In turn, this leads to the bizarre belief that human flesh is essentially a husk for a true being/essence, which is traditionally
seen as a “consciousness” awaiting “true reality” upon death of the
husk – a strange metamorphosis into a future experience, sometimes called
“eternity,” either pleasant or unpleasant. Many have been willing to
sacrifice their own flesh on the premise that such flesh is
essentially valueless because their “true home” is somewhere invisible
and inaccessible while trapped inside their body. Some haven’t
considered what the preacher in Ecclesiastes is saying in regards to
the value of life.

Even more mental gymnastics are spent on redefining the meaning of the
term “destruction” to reconcile it with keeping the non- elect alive forever because they have not been tortured enough yet. Because infinite torture demands that the non-elect sinner be sustained by God, “destruction” is preached as “separation.” This hardly makes contextual sense, much less logical sense. How is one who is sustained and tortured by God “separated”
from God? To the contrary, under the infinite torture model, it would
seem that those who have been “separated” have very much fallen into
the hands of an involved in time and place tormentor.

At times, arguing for the “dignity” or “free-will” of those being tortured is related to believing that humans are equal to God, or at least on some kind of chain of being. Living and suffering in “hell” is often presented in a manner in which God is functionally the jilted lover who will continue to execute His revenge on the wayward partner who wouldn’t play along.

This position is defended on several different grounds, most or all of
which focus on “infinite” characteristics of God. I’ve heard it said
that sin is in defiance of God’s infinite holiness/dignity, therefore
requiring infinite torture throughout “eternity.”

This is a non-sequitur for several reasons – God’s motivation for
justice is not tied to being offended by unrequited “love” or in the way a spouse might be offended at infidelity. Indeed, Romans 9 teaches that
both election and non-election occurred “apart from works” and that God’s
will involves the punishment of those who cannot resist His will. Paul
describes vessels of wrath prepared for destruction. God has already determined to display wrath apart from works. God is not a mob boss asking for loyalty or compliments.

Further, that God appointed Christ as a high priest means that God intended to decree sin (no need for a mediator where there is no sin) SO THAT He could judge the world. To that end, God uses humans as God’s instruments. Humans do not use God as their “tool”.

Acts 2: 23 “this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and
foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless
men.”
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It is not for us to determine that God’s dignity demands that God engage
in the form of sustained torture as a historical result of acrimony justified by past betrayals. Human sin is one of the means by which God accomplishes God’s Holy purpose.

To what purpose would God forever torture those for whom God did not provide propitiation. I’ve argued that punishment for sin is not premised upon God’s passions, and that justice is about satisfaction of the law and not the subjective experience of the sinner. If punishment for sin was torture that never ends, there would be no logical demand for an intermittent death or judgment prior to the beginning of the torture. Indeed, there would be no basis for any person to die at all, but theoretically could remain sustained by God in the flesh and be
“providentially” tormented.

Jesus challenged his disciples in John 21 regarding John being kept alive until Christ’s return. If never-ending torment is the meaning of “death” and “destruction,” arguably no one would ever die, because they would need to be kept alive to endure the punishment.

Torture forever but never dead is based upon the non-scriptural belief that all humans have a component of their composition that cannot be killed, even by God. At bottom, torture never finished functionally denies that God will ever have justice over those who perish because God will be forever extracting what is due from beings which cannot die and therefore cannot give the law what it requires-their death. I think this claim to be as corrupt as claiming that sinners for whom Christ died will perish.

Hebrews 9: 25 Christ did not offer Himself to death many times, as the high priest enters the sanctuary yearly with the blood of another. 26 Otherwise, Christ would have had to die many times since the foundation of the world. But now Christ has appeared one time, at the end of the ages, for the removal of sin by the sacrifice of Himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for people to die once—and after this, judgment— 28 so also Christ , having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.