God's Abundant Mercy
“The radical nature of God’s grace is hard for us to comprehend. Think of the worst person you can possibly imagine, perhaps Hitler, Saddam Hussein, or Osama bin Laden. Most people would think of them as truly evil, unrepentant, and deserving of annihilation. However, if Jesus were to approach these men, He would approach them with God’s grace. If you think otherwise, you are underestimating the power of grace to transform evil into good. If God’s grace does not extend to everyone, then it extends to none, for we all act contrary to God’s will. It is just a
matter of degree and none of us have the right to draw a line in the sand saying. “This person deserves God’s grace and that person doesn’t”1. ~ DR. THORTON
(Dr. R Scott Thornton, Inclusive Christianity, page 39.)
Scripture teaches seven different ages:
1. Evil Age (Galatians 1:4)
2. Present Age (Ephesians 1:21)
3. Future Age (Ephesians 1:21)
4. Worldly Age (Ephesians 2:2)
5. Coming Age (Ephesians 2:7)
6. End of the age (Matthew 13:49)
7. Age of punishment (Matthew 25:46)
According to dispensational theology, there are also seven ages:
“Dispensational theology looks on the world and the history of
Mankind as a household over which God is superintending the
The outworking of His purpose and will. This outworking of His
purpose can be seen by noting the various periods or stages of
different economies whereby God deals with His work and
Mankind in particular. These various stages or economies are
called Dispensations. Their number may include as many as seven." (Theology and Doctrine, Wayne House, 1992. Pg. 15. )
The seven dispensation:
1. Age of Innocence
2. Age of Conscience
3. Age of Human government
4. Age of Promise
5. Age of Law
6. Age of Grace
7. Age of Kingdom
According to the many scriptures we read, God deals with mankind through distinctive periods (ages and
dispensations), these distinct periods, are unfolding to accomplish
the salvation of each and every person. Galatians 1:4 teaches that
Christ came to redeem the world from the present ‘evil age’.
Ephesians 1:21 teaches that in God’s great power He came to rescue not only those in the present age, but in the age to come. His greatness surpasses any other power or authority. The universe is in the process of growth. In the age to come (the future), all of creation will be reconciled to their Creator. This is the great mystery revealed to our generation. Have we missed it entirely? It is often asserted that scripture is very clear, but if it is so clear, we would not see so many differing opinions among Christian denominations. Each has a different theological viewpoint on every major doctrine within the Christian Faith.
Here are a few samples:
1. To a Roman Catholic Saving Grace is communicated through the seven sacraments.
2. To the Lutheran Grace is through faith alone.
3. For an Anabaptist Sacraments are only symbols and do not
provide saving grace.
4. Those of a Reformed view see Salvation as determined by God, and not by human will.
5. To an Armenian Salvation is determined by human free will.
Beginning in the early church there have always been varied and
differing opinions. There has never been a consensus among
orthodoxy. I encourage everyone to conduct their own personal
study, to investigate and learn more about the colorful history of
Christian Theology. Scripture is not as clear as we would like it to
be, and depending on our circles of influence, we generally are NOT better off by accepting the majority. The majority has a history of following the world’s systems. We tend to apply our western culture ideals and concepts to interpret the Bible. The Bible is an ancient manuscript written by various people, living in an eastern world and culture. The Bible requires more consideration than an ordinary book or novel.
It takes a lifetime of study. And each time we study, we will always learn something new, because, unlike a novel, the bible is life-giving water (John 7:38).
Adam and Eve
“IN THE beginning God (prepared, formed, fashioned,
and) created the heavens and the earth.” ~Genesis 1:1
Adam and Eve lived in a perfect paradise, they walked and talked with God. They were the first humans to experience living in a world where no one died or no one suffered. They participated in naming the animals; they lived in peace and harmony with nature. God didn’t warn Adam or Eve that they would suffer for all eternity in hell. If this would be the outcome, why not warn them immediately! There is no warning (of hell) in the first book of the Bible. The warning given is disobedience would cause death. But, after eating from the tree of life they did not physically die instantly. Adam and Eve died a death that may be more complex than physical. It can be presumed it was a death of sorts:
1. Death of a relationship ( with God)
2. Death of pure love.
3. Death of harmony.
4. Death of perfection.
5. Death of a spiritual nature.
However, we contemplate this ‘death’ the result has remained for
thousands of years. People no longer live in Paradise. Today
Millions of people die and suffer by no fault of their own. Eating from the tree of life brought death to all. The important detail missing is that God never mentioned that disobedience would bring eternal hell. No warning is to be found in the majority of the Old Testament. Along came the birth of Cain and Abel, now having full knowledge of the outcome of their parent’s disobedience, you would assume they would make better choices. However, eventually, Cain would murder his brother. Paradise is in shambles and this raises the question, did God have a plan? Was God surprised that all He created changed into a great tragedy? Is God in control and can any of this be rectified? Did the events serve a greater purpose? Did God have foreknowledge and insight in how to remedy the situation? And if He did, would He allow for it to continue generation after generation only to send the vast majority of His beloved creation to an eternity in hell?
“Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the
glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in
the heavens and the earth is Yours; Yours is the
kingdom, O Lord, and Yours it is to be exalted as Head
~1 Chronicles 29:11
Seeing the wickedness upon the earth, God sent a flood. Centuries have passed; and the world is still suffering from war, hunger, and pestilence. How much longer until we see victory? How much longer until the world is redeemed from pain, suffering, and death? It has been ingrained in our current age and culture that condemnation equals an eternity in hell. But, the message of the cross is victory has been won! God no longer holds mankind under the penalty of the law.
“For sin shall not [any longer] exert dominion over you,
since now you are not under Law [as slaves], but under
grace [as subjects of God's favor and mercy].”
The book of Romans teaches that God in His foreknowledge knew
that He would transform all of creation back to the original glorified condition.
“Well then, as one man's trespass [one man's false step
and falling away led] to condemnation for all men, so
one Man's act of righteousness [leads] to acquittal and
right standing with God and life for all men.
For just as by one man's disobedience (failing to
hear, heedlessness, and carelessness) the many were
constituted sinners, so by one Man's obedience the
many will be constituted righteous (made acceptable to
God, brought into right standing with Him).
The majority of believers miss the impact that Christ’s one act of
righteousness brought acquittal and right standing with God for all men.
The assumption (by non-Christians and Christians) is that you
must accept this gift and if you refuse you will spend an
eternity in hell. But this misconception is not taught in the Old
or New Testament. This might surprise many people who have
faithfully read their bible for years and have regularly
attended a traditional congregation.
“We cannot have a right conception of God unless we
think of Him as all-powerful, as well as all-wise. He
who cannot do what he will and perform all his pleasure
cannot be God. As God hath a will to resolve what He
deems good, so has the power to execute His will.”
Human beings have no control over the creation of the world,
or what transpired in the Garden of Eden. And God certainly
isn’t still holding a grudge for Adam or Eve’s disobedience!
It is through the authority of Scripture, that we know that we
serve a God that has an unlimited amount of Mercy and
( Arthur W. Pink ‘The attributes of God’, Page 9.)
“And said, O Lord, God of our fathers, are You
not God in heaven? And do You not rule over all the
kingdoms of the nations? In Your hand are power and
might, so that none is able to withstand You.”
~2 Chronicles 20:6
We can accept that:
God has the power to accomplish His will.
OR Human will prevent God from accomplishing His
If a human will is stronger than God, then God will lose all that He created to wickedness. This would mean that wickedness is more powerful than God who created everything! Does this really sound logical and reasonable? Would God hand over everything to fallible people? If God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving, and He is unable to save everyone, He must be limited in one of these attributes. If God is truly all-powerful, all-loving, and all-knowing then He can accomplish salvation for everyone!
“[And the Lord answered] Can a woman forget her
nursing child, that she should not have compassion on
the son of her womb? Yes, they may forget, yet I will
not forget you.”
~ Isaiah 49:15
Serial Killer Aileen Wuornos
Is she a victim, victimizer, or both? She was abandoned by her
mother and her father was a convicted child molester. Aileen’s
grandfather raped and beat her as a child, and her grandmother
was an alcoholic. By the age of 14 she became pregnant (allegedly by her brother). She claimed that one of her victims raped her, and she killed him in self-defense.
Children who grow up in abusive homes learn to numb the pain,
and certain events can trigger past abuse. In the case of Aileen, she has a history of abuse. While some people can grow up in an abusive home and walk away and lead productive lives, it is troubling that many do not and live devastating lives. Aileen would turn to a life of prostitution and violence. She became a product of her environment. Can someone truly heal after such abuse? If Aileen had grown up in a loving home, free from violence and sexual abuse as a child would her character and nature have been different?
How many in the world today are changed in one way or another by the actions of others? The result of one act of unrighteousness has a ripple effect, starting in the Garden of Eden. How will this be rectified? Injustice has impacted everyone in the world for
thousands of years! Aileen suffers injustice as a child and her
victims suffer injustice. Innocent people suffer by no fault of their
own. The action of others impacts us all, and we have no control
over what transpires to shape us into less than perfect people.
“All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned
every one to his own way; and the Lord has made to
light upon Him the guilt and iniquity of us all.”
When God allows for sin to run rampant in the world today and a
person is born into a severely deprived home, how can they cure
themselves? It is like expecting a child with cancer to cure the
disease on their own. If Christ came to free the captives and bring victory to a lost world, are we literally responsible to cure our own malfunction? Many minds are simply not capable or equipped with making a willful decision. And for argument's sake, we can also conclude that even those who lived in a perfect world (like Adam and Eve) still make wrong choices. Has God left all responsibility to human beings? We have a history of making the wrong decisions, and if our perfect parents (Adam and Eve) cannot, how can we?
“To Him who [earnestly] remembered us in our low
estate and imprinted us [on His heart], for His mercy
and loving-kindness endure forever. “
Cult leader and serial killer Charles Manson
Manson was born to a teenage mother who was both an alcoholic
and a prostitute. For most of Manson’s early years, he spent time in the custody of the state. Manson tried to return back to his mother; sadly she wanted nothing to do with him. Like Aileen, he found a way to survive by committing crimes. His probation officers noted that Manson suffered from severe rejection as well as multiple molestations at a faith-based boys' home. Manson had no control over the conditions he was born into or the abuse and lack of love he experienced as a child. Feeling loved and accepted is crucial to our emotional and spiritual
development. Manson, like many other criminals in our prison
systems, never received the most basic human need, love from his
earthly parents. God designed the world to live by love. Sadly,
love is the greatest famine in the world today. When we lose our
connection to God and those around us, we have lost an essential
element to function the way we were created. When love is restored in our soul it will allow for us to become connected to God and others. If any human is deprived of love, they become twisted and distorted. When wickedness was introduced into the world, the result was the death of love for our creator and our fellow man. Love is the most important factor that contributes to all our needs, (physical, mental, and spiritual). We all need a steady diet of love to function.
The most important commandment is to love others. It is only when we allow ourselves the ability to connect to each other through love that we can bring healing to one another and to our planet.
Manson will never be neglected by God the way he was by his
earthly parents. God is a Father to those abandoned by their
fathers and mothers.
“Although my father and my mother have forsaken me,
yet the Lord will take me up [adopt me as His child].”
Christ came to heal the sick. Aileen and Manson were sick
individuals who needed healing. Their mothers and fathers failed at providing them the love and protection they needed. Society failed at giving the help Aileen and Manson desperately needed. The system is exhausted with many similar situations. Injustice befell everyone, but there is good news. The world is no longer under the condemnation of the law but is under the law of Grace.
“And it is not with the gift as it was with the results of
one individual's sin; for the judgment which one
individual provoked resulted in condemnation, whereas
the free gift after a multitude of transgressions results in
While we live in a broken world, even with the advancement in
science and technology, there is no cure for human brokenness.
Everyone has experienced a loss of perfection. What hope is left if the only ‘justice’ that remains for humanity is to remain estranged eternally from their creator?
Did God rest the salvation of the world on imperfect mankind? Or has He given this task to the Savior who came to take away the sins of the world?
“The next day John saw Jesus coming to him and said,
Look! There is the Lamb of God, Who takes away the
sin of the world!”
The traditional view must be tested with the love, compassion, and grace of the Savior of the World. Manson and Eileen did not become damaged by choice, but by the choices of others. Abuse and trauma shaped their heart and mind. And if we logically examine the evidence of a moral and upright God, we cannot as compassionate people accept that anyone deserves endless punishment. God, who created all, must provide mercy for all. God has the moral responsibility for all His creation.
“For our sake, He made Christ [virtually] to be sin who
knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might
become [endued with, viewed as being in, and
examples of] the righteousness of God [what we ought
to be, approved and acceptable and in the right relationship
with Him, by His goodness].”
~2 Corinthians 5:21
Learning the way of Christ
When we learn to weep as Jesus did over the distressing lack of love in the world we are beginning to learn the love and compassion of the Father. When we begin to feel (taking to heart) inwardly the injustices in our world, we are learning the mind of Christ. When we promote ourselves by our set of religious traditions we have lost sight of our purpose.