Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Who to Trust?

Now that I was reading the Bible a lot, I was coming across more and more scriptures that just frustrated me.  Nothing fit the way I was told it should fit.  I was baffled.  This was my last journal entry before everything changed:

s)  For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? (1 Peter 4:17)
o) I am confused by this scripture.  What judgment is he talking about if it's starting right now?
a) I am trying very hard to understand the atonement of Christ and what it will mean on judgement day.  I know it's supposed to mean "if you believe in Jesus, your saved, if not, your going to hell"...but I know it's more than that.  Maybe it's not for us to truly understand until that day.
p) Lord, you are a just God, and you are a merciful God--I know this is true.  If it's your will for me to understand how you will show mercy to the unbeliever, I ask that you will show me in your word.

A week later I came across a book on the internet called "Hope Beyond Hell", and it was like finally reaching that itch you've been wanting to scratch for a lifetime. http://www.amazon.com/Hope-Beyond-Hell-Gerard-Beauchemin/dp/0977279308  As I read it, I felt the presence of God in such a powerful way that I began to weep. It felt like God smiling...like He was as excited about showing me this as I was about finding it.  But these answers were so much better than I had imagined!  All I wanted was to feel secure in knowing God would not punish forever good people who just happened not to be Christians.  But here was the assurance that "for even as in Adam all die, so also in the Christ all shall be made alive". (1 Corinthians 15:22)  It felt like winning the lottery...but could I trust it?  What if this was one of those "collect your money at yo' momma's house" kind of lottery tickets.  And so began the most painful lesson of my life thus far..."Do I trust what I believe was unmistakeably the Holy Spirit's answers to my questions concerning scripture, or do I trust the religious authority of the church?"

PS.  In looking up this scripture in the Young's Literal (the one I use now because of it's accuracy in translation...published in 1862) it reads:
"because it is the time of the beginning of the judgment from the house of God, and if first from us, what the end of those disobedient to the good news of God?"  I still can't say I completely get it, but the change from "with the household" to "from the house" is significant, don't you think?  I will note that the Young's Literal Translation uses the word "age-during" for the word "eternal" in a few very significant passages.