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Monday: At Death’s Door — 23 Comments

  1. It is pertinent to this discussion to remind ourselves of C S Lewis summary in "The Problem of Pain"

    In the fallen and partially redeemed universe we may distinguish (i) The simple good descending from God, (2) The simple evil produced by rebellious creatures, and (3) the exploitation of that evil by God for His redemptive purpose, which produces (4) the complex good to which accepted suffering and repented sin contribute. Now the fact that God can make complex good out of simple evil does not excuse — though by mercy it may save — those who do the simple evil. And this distinction is central. Offences must come, but woe to those by whom they come; sins do cause grace to abound, but we must not make that an excuse for continuing to sin. The crucifixion itself is the best, as well as the worst, of all historical events, but the role of Judas remains simply evil. p98 "The Problem of Pain"

    This idea is implicit in some of the Psalms we are currently studying.

    • Hello Maurice - I read with interest C.S.Lewis' thoughts about 'evil, though I do not understand the last sentence in his quote. In the context of today's lesson, should you have a moment, would you please be so kind and elaborate on how you understand 'the crucifixion itself is the best as well as the worst of all historical events, but the role of Judas remains simply evil'?

      • The crucifixion of Jesus was an evil act but God used the crucifixion for salvation. That does not excuse or condone Judas's action which in itself was evil.

        • Your second paragraph is an insightful observation, Brigitte. Thank you.

          However, in your first paragraph, you seem to imply that some on this blog or in the Seventh-day Adventist church hold to "the interpretation that His crucifixion was needed as it represents the 'atonement' necessary to pardon man, protecting him from the wrath of God." I think, however, that you'll have a very difficult time finding someone here or in the church who holds to that view.

          You will, however, find other people who caricature the substitutionary atonement as necessitating such a view. And some of them have posted such a caricature on this blog in the course of denigrating the teaching that Christ, the Lamb of God, died in our place, bearing our sins, just as each sacrificial animal in the sanctuary services.

          I invite you to review Nadine Sample's comment providing biblical support of our teaching that Christ died in our place - that He died the death that we deserve that we might have the life that only He deserves.

          One of our pioneers put it more beautifully than I could:

          Christ was treated as we deserve, that we might be treated as He deserves. He was condemned for our sins, in which He had no share, that we might be justified by His righteousness, in which we had no share. He suffered the death which was ours, that we might receive the life which was His. “With His stripes we are healed.”

          By His life and His death, Christ has achieved even more than recovery from the ruin wrought through sin. It was Satan's purpose to bring about an eternal separation between God and man; but in Christ we become more closely united to God than if we had never fallen. In taking our nature, the Saviour has bound Himself to humanity by a tie that is never to be broken. Through the eternal ages He is linked with us. “God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son.” John 3:16. He gave Him not only to bear our sins, and to die as our sacrifice; He gave Him to the fallen race. ... forever to retain His human nature. ... God has adopted human nature in the person of His Son, and has carried the same into the highest heaven. It is the “Son of man” who shares the throne of the universe. It is the “Son of man” whose name shall be called, “Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6. .... In Christ the family of earth and the family of heaven are bound together. Christ glorified is our brother. Heaven is enshrined in humanity, and humanity is enfolded in the bosom of Infinite Love. Desire of Ages, page 25

  2. Only our God’s children can find true comfort in times of peace, trials or tribulations -because we trust in Him! We accepted Him to be our spiritual shield and buckle; no longer are we afraid of death or dying.

    The grave cannot hold its terror any longer for those who fall asleep trusting in faithful God to call them at the appointed time. Sleeping in His care we await His return – He will call us!

    Am I worthy, Oh Lord?
    Help me to be acceptable in your sight!

    When calamities beset me - lighten up Your Way!
    Am I worthy, Oh Lord?
    Help me to trust your Way!

    I walk by the faith and trust you have given me!
    Am I worthy, Oh Lord?
    Help me to trust and be faithful to you!

    You are my Lord and Savior!
    In life or death I will cling to!
    You have called me, and I have harkened your call to follow Your Way!
    You are trustworthy and faithful!
    You are my Sovereign God!

  3. This cosmic war to me shows the utter helplessness of human race if it weren't God's intervention. Sometimes,it makes me wonder as to whether it's an experimental battle field in the battle between principalities in which we are like Guinea pig in the battle field. Something to think about

  4. The Psalmists experiences then are just as much the same to us. They expressed their genuine plea. I wish to be like them, seeing death at my door step and the love over it from Jesus who never never fails. Lord please help my fainting heart in you and grow it to see the evil days as nothing more than aanother step going up to you.

  5. Psalm 23:4 Even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we should fear no evil because God is with us. When there are dark times in our lives whether financial, medical, or relational whatever causes us to walk in uncertainty, doubt, and confusion, we need to cling to God’s righteousness and saving grace which is sufficient for us. 1Corinthians 15:54-56.
    God gives us victory over every circumstance because He is our Shepherd. His presence gives us strength and hope in any valley of the shadow of death. Thank you Lord.

  6. The problem of sin is no simple matter. It requires to be dealt with decisively and God does exactly this when He employs various means. On the one hand He allows suffering as a remedy for sins committed and on the other He allows it as a purification process for the righteous. In all circumstances it's the salvation of the individual that's at stake as well as the vindication of God's character. Sin, because of its corrosive nature must be dealt with in the manner God does.

  7. I need a yearly study guide to be sent to help in my study of God's words. Thanks for these inspired words and encouragement from the book of Psalms.

    • There is a yearly guide here The Bible in a Year but if it is not what you are looking for, why not join in our daily conversations. The current study on the Psalms will continue until the end of March. You are welcome to join in the shared study.

  8. Why do we have to suffer? Why? By the way, while we question, do we remember that God also suffers when He sees His creatures suffering the consequences of sin in this world?
    Also, God became human and suffered such an unbearable pain for us.
    None of us could ever resist what Jesus went through in His last agonizing hours. May we learn to thank God for the good and bad moments we face because the glory of eternity is close.

  9. While I do love Gene Pedersens [Eugene Peterson's (Siri fix)] paraphrase “the message“ I have recently found the Remedy Bible by Tim Jennings, a Seventh-day Adventist psychiatrist who has composed the Remedy paraphrase New Testament and the Psalms…Here is his rendition of Psalm 73


    1 We know that God is good to the upright — 
    to those who are pure in heart.
    2 But I almost tripped myself up;
    I nearly slipped away from the truth:
    3 I began to envy the arrogant
    when I saw how the selfish prospered in this world.
    4 They don’t suffer with physical disabilities;
    their bodies are strong and healthy.
    5 They are privileged — not burdened with the problems of ordinary people;
    they do not have the daily struggles that others endure.
    6 Their pride and arrogance are flaunted like a necklace;
    violence and exploitation cover them.
    7 They go about draped in extravagant riches,
    intoxicating themselves with whatever their selfish hearts can imagine.
    8 They belittle others and speak harmful words designed to injure;
    they exalt themselves, lording over others and threatening oppression.
    9 They claim to speak for heaven,
    and with their decrees they seek to rule the earth.
    10 People turn to them
    and sadly, have the water of life drained away from them.
    11 These haughty ones say, “God will not know.
    The Most High will not find out.”
    12 Look at what the selfish are like:
    concerned only with self, they get richer and richer.
    13 I wondered, “Has my pure living been for nothing?
    Did I keep myself innocent for no reason?
    14 All day long I am touched by problems and temptation;
    every day is a struggle.”
    15 If I had shared these ideas as truths with others,
    I would have betrayed all who are loyal to you.
    16 When I tried to understand why the selfish seem to prosper,
    it made no sense to me
    17 until I studied the lessons revealed in the holy places of God:
    then I understood their inevitable end.
    18 Truly you gave them the freedom to slip around your design for life;
    you surrender them to their own terminal condition.
    19 Their desolation is swift — 
    they are consumed completely by the terrors of unremedied selfishness.
    20 Selfish success is like a dream when one awakes:
    When the Creator restores earth to his design of love,
    all will realize that selfish prosperity is mere fantasy.
    21 When my heart was sour,
    discontented and torn up inside,
    22 I was ignorant and didn’t understand reality at all;
    I must have seemed like a dumb animal to you.
    23 Nevertheless, I have always stayed close to you,
    and you hold my hand as I journey through life.
    24 With your wise counsel, you lead me in the way of life
    to the complete restoration of your glory within me.
    25 There is nothing in all the heavens
    or anything on earth that I desire besides you.
    26 My mind and body may grow weak,
    but God is my remedy — 
    my source of eternal life.
    27 Those who separate from you will perish;
    all who choose selfishness betray you and your kingdom of love — 
    they will be severed from life and cease to exist.
    28 But as for me, being united with God is my greatest delight — 
    to find healing and restoration with my Creator,
    and to proclaim all that you have done!

    (Psalms 73::1 - 27, The Remedy)

    I posted this yesterday, but so late I doubt anyone saw it. This is in response to Marissa’s post yesterday… Royce .

    • Thank you for sharing your preference with us, Royce - This Psalm is so beautifully expressed; such an edifying choice of words to resonate God's Trusht to elevate the living soul!

      I have looked up the author - finding that he authored several books, I plan to purchase them. My daughter studies for a PsyD degree. In her second year, she just started to learn about the functioning of the brain from the psychology perspective. I will send her the book "The God-shaped brain" written by the same author. All his books are well reviewed!

      Again - thank you, Royce! Coming from your caring heart, I trust the effect of your 'good deed' - hearing and doing - to ripple through eternity to touch unnumbered lives! 🙂


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