Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. Galatians 3:23 (NIV).
Before Jesus, we were/are bound to the consequences of our sins. God’s law demanded them. Those consequences are God consigning us to what we choose, namely eternal damnation. Personally, the longer I live the more I believe hell is mostly God removing Himself from our lives forever. No love, no peace, no mercy, no justice, no anything good we can think of…forever. According to some passages in the Bible, that’ll include fire as well. Whether it is all fire and pain and torture forever I don’t know. All I understand is that it would be the worst never-ending life I could imagine. All because I choose anything in this world other than God. I chose dependence on sin rather than independence from it.
Now, after Jesus. After Jesus perfectly kept God’s law. After accepting all He did to remove those consequences from my future (and present), there’s no chance of it happening. Jesus guarantees that those who die having believed in Him will live forever with Him in paradise. It will be the most wonderful, adventurous, satisfying life possible. Seeing Jesus fully in person, as He is all God and man at the same time. Being able to live with the fullness of God without the hazy veil of sin and pain. According to my friend, Patrick, heaven will be a place of fulfilling vocation, not floating around on clouds. It will be a place where we live on in praise and satisfaction, of being filled with worship for our God and being known fully by Him while thriving on that. Heaven will be an adventure, not just some never-ending white cathedral in the sky.
Before and after. Those who knew God in the Old Testament accepted God as He was, as He presented Himself to them, and they followed Him. The heroes of the Old Testament understood that God was revealing Himself to them in ways they could absorb. That all Israel would know that the Lord, their God, was Lord and One.
During and after the ministry of Jesus, however, people got to see God more plainly, understanding that the One Jehovah YHWH is Father, Son, and Spirit as three beings co-equally one real person. In Jesus’ aftermath, people began to see how God had kept His ancient promise to Abraham, and how He still keeps it today. Every other faith on planet Earth will eventually leave you empty and wanting. But not faith in Christ. In Him, you can see who you were before, and who He has called you to be after. The ancient mystery is solved, and the new adventure is only beginning every new day.
For further reading: Romans 11:32, Galatians 3:24
Lord God, all praise to You alone!
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