Let's take things back to the beginning, to the ROOT of the problems that this world faces, or at least what many consider to be the root events upon which our modern-day reality is based.
God Almighty created this planet, earth, and in doing so did something new. He created mankind.
Unlike the angels, man was a spiritual being, yet also possessed a material nature of 'clay', made from the earth and thus part of the earth... part spirit, part matter. It was God's intention for these humans to be overseers of nature, actually mediators between spirit and nature, by allowing the LIFE of God to indwell them, and thus by keeping their own physical natures under the benevolent flow of the LIFE-FLOW of God, this life would cascade down through the humans and into nature, keeping the material world under the dominion of the spiritual world.
But something went wrong. Enter Lucifer. Lucifer saw one creature in the garden, a reptilian being which God had created as the most intelligent and cunning of all of the animal kingdom, yet through deception Lucifer was able to enflame the jealousy of this creature over the fact that mankind had been given dominion over nature, rather than serpentkind.
The fallen archangel Lucifer promised this creature power over man AND nature, and all that the serpent and its 'seed' would have to do would be to surrender their bodies to indwelling or incarnating fallen angel[s], yet in doing so the serpent lost most of its individuality and power of choice, which it had capitulated to the fallen angels, being blinded as they were by their enflamed jealousy towards mankind.
So using the body of the Serpent, Satan deceived the woman, Eve, into rebellion against the Almighty. For the downward flow of supernatural dominion-life over nature to remain in effect, Adam and Eve had to maintain an open channel between themselves and their Creator. However when GUILT came in the way, that 'channel' was broken, TRUST was broken. Adam and Eve had perfect childlike faith in God, but now their minds were poisoned by questions they had never heard before, questions challenging the integrity of a perfect and Almighty God. Mistrust, fear, anomosity, and guilt set in... NOT from the Creator but from within the poisoned mind and heart of humankind itself.
So it was not God who turned from Adam and Eve, but Adam and Eve who turned away from God. Remember the story of the prodigal son [or daughter]. And so it has ever been...
The main thing that has kept man from fellowship with the Almighty, the Creator, is the serpents LIES to the effect that the Almighty could not be trusted, that the Almighty is unjust, and the Almighty does not love us, as well as other attacks on the integrity and character of God. Look at it as a corrupted "social worker" trying to turn a child against their parents by poisoning the child's mind with lies, in order that the "state" [i.e. the world-system, which is in alliance with the flesh and the devil according to the Word of God] might gain control over the child or children.
This is what the fallen archangel Lucifer, and his collective of fallen spirits/slaves collectively known as 'Satan' -- who Lucifer has pulled into the spiritual 'black hole' of his own dark being -- are trying to do with God's children, with the supreme motive of hurting the Creator by hurting those whom God has created. It is all rooted in a twisted conglomeration of self-hate, insecurity, jealosy, revenge, hatred and ego on the part of Lucifer and his followers, who have CHOSEN the path of self-deification AT THE EXPENSE OF the rest of Creation.
In spite of the LIES of the Luciferian-Reptilian-Pagan collaboration, God chose to PROVE HIS PERFECT LOVE for these little ones, this lost children, by bearing the just punishment that His perfect JUSTICE demanded. Yet God's perfect MERCY would not allow Him to annihilate all of humanity without giving them a way out of their dilemma. Since God is perfection, only those who come under the covering of HIS righteousness can be allowed into His eternal presence, which can be likened to a perfect oasis of LIFE in the midst of a burning desert. Only such beings could be allowed "inside", otherwise the very nature of God would be corrupted, along with the "oasis" [heaven] istelf, and God will NEVER allow his perfect holiness nor His domain to suffer corruption.
But since man/woman were created as beings of free choice, they had to CHOOSE to receive his gift of mercy. God could not FORCE it upon them. God so respected the first gift that He gave us [freedom of choice] that He would risk allowing humans to choose their own destinies -- even if it meant a total chosen rejection of God's grace and an ultimate eternity of despair outside of His LIFE-GIVING presence -- in order to honor and protect his first gift to mankind, free choice, without which there is no 'soul' or 'personality'.
Lucifer seeks to destroy free choice and devour the soul by ultimately FORCING upon everyone under his command his dark will, however he will allow his servents to think that they have free choice. He will allow them every corrupted material intoxication imaginable, yet will not tell them that this animalistic debauchery is destroying their spirits and souls day by day, until the time when the evil one claims their soul forever. And God must honor this, for they would have CHOSEN to capitulate their soul and their will to Lucifer and his will. They will forever be Lucifer's property and part of Lucifer's being, and thus they must suffer his horrible fate, of spending eternity locked away in the presence of other cruel, hateful and selfish beings who, no longer able to steal their life force second-hand [having refused to recieve it first-hand from the Creator], will no longer be able to prey like parasites upon living humankind. They will be forced to prey on each other in a futile effort to satisfy their insatiable and unbounded appetives, and this horrible and mutual abuse amongst those who share this fate will increase down through the eternities... and what could be a worse "hell" than that? It will be a hundred, a thousand, a million times worse than the mutual abuse that takes place in the world's harshest prison systems.
However if there is even a spark of the divine life-force left in their beings for the Creator to work with, then there is still hope, however once this last spark of LIFE is extinguished, they are lost forever. And there ARE some fallen spirits who HAVE reached this point of no return, having absolutely NO will to turn back to God, because their will BELONGS completely to Lucifer.
This should be a sobering and fearful lesson to the rest of us. "The fear of the Lord is to hate evil" and "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom". We speak of a reverential fear, not a fear of being IN the presence of God but rather a fear of being OUTSIDE of the presence of God, in the burning no-mans land outside of the heavenly "oasis" of God and His domain, who is the ONLY SOURCE of the pure "waters of life".
When Adam and Eve sinned, they lost the garment of LIGHT from God, which clothed them, and realizing that they were "naked" they tried to cover their shame with the works of their own hands. But since they had lost their perfect innocence they were no longer perfect beings, and thus the coverings they created could not cover their shame, could not remove the GUILT that they felt for deserting God and his PERFECT plan for this world and this universe.
God was not pleased with their efforts, but always merciful and always patient with His creatures -- so that perhaps they would return into His LIGHT -- He took the fig-aprons they had made, and for the first time slew some of the animals in the garden that Adam and Eve had come to love and adore, showing them that He was perfectly JUST and had to judge "sin" [i.e. "missing the mark" in the original Greek definition] by his perfect LAW, yet God was also perfectly LOVING and in order to satisfy both of His natures, He allowed the punishment for Adam and Eve's rebellion to fall on an innocent sacrifice, very possibly a lamb, and covered their nakedness with their animal skins.
As Cain and Abel grew they learned about God's plan -- God's TRUE RELIGION or plan of redemption, if you will -- from their father Adam, yet in spite of this Cain developed his OWN religion by offering the firstfruits of the field [vegetables] in a self righteous and prideful attempt to appease God, essentially saying to God,
"See, I've found a better sacrifice than the one you thought of, God!? And this sacrifice is one that satisfies my own ego and sense of self-righteousness in that it is a product of my own sweat and my efforts, which should be more then enough to 'pay back' all of the damage I've caused or will cause". However, if Cain were to peer down through the waves of time and see just HOW MUCH damage his individual actions caused, he might have had a different perspective.
In doing this he was able to by-pass his conscience and any discomfort or conviction that the bloody sacrifice of a lamb would cause, which was God's plan, to show man the horrible consequences that rebellion brings. Otherwise man would go about carelessly violating the earth and each other until God's whole creation was polluted and destroyed. But God wanted a universe and a creation that lived in perfect harmony with His perfect plan of LIFE and ORDER, rather than the alternative, the DEATH and CHAOS which resulted when the supernatural dominion over nature was broken at the human level, allowing nature to literally turn WILD and UNTAMED -- along with man's material nature -- which began to revolt against their spiritual nature as men and women began to think about the APPETITES of their own flesh rather than about the spiritual GOOD of the whole.
The lamb sacrifice would have forced Cain to face the horrible consequences of his ungodly choices. The "fall" gave man an imperfect "nature", one prone to rebellion, as was the tendency of nature itself, to which man's physical body was intricately connected. But it was not "genetic" imperfection or sin that God was worried about in Cain's case, it was Cain's CHOICE to rebel against God's plan to forgive his mistakes or sins of choice and thus be free of guilt, which was necessary for him to regain control over the effects of the original sin and the corrupted addictions and appetites that such guilt created. THAT was what God was concerned about. By not allowing the dark cloud of guilt that existed between him and his Creator to be removed GODS way, Satan was able to drag Cain even farther from God, farther into the darkness... and rather than being illuminated by the light of God, Cain was filled with the dark thoughts of the evil one.
Abel on the other hand DID sacrifice a lamb, and trusting in GOD'S plan of redemption, his guilt was removed and he was able to commune with God without fear. God approved of Abel's sacrifice, yet God was displeased with Cain's self-righteous offering, and in his rage and jealousy at this Cain slew his brother Abel. This was the very first "religious inquisition".
As the Israelites were about to be delivered from slavery in Egypt, God told each family to slay a lamb and paint its blood on the door posts. All of those who complied were spared a horrible fate as the destroying angel who passed through Egypt, killing the first born of every household. When the angel saw the blood on the doorposts, it "passed over" that home. This was the first "pass-over".
All of these sacrifices were looking forward in time to the ultimate sacrificial "lamb", the "Lamb of God", who was slain on the "altar" of Calvary's cross, which event transpired DURING THE JEWISH PASSOVER CELEBRATION and on the same hill where Abraham offered up a Ram sacrifice IN THE PLACE OF his son Issac!
Today we must decide which path to take, i.e. try and attain salvation by self righteous works, gloating and praising ourselves for the "righteous works" we have done, and thus stand before Christ on judgment day and hear Him say, after explaining all of the "good works" we have done, "I never KNEW you!" Or, we can humbly come to the altar of the cross and confess that we can not attain to perfection without His provisional grace, and by faith apply the "blood" of the last "passover lamb", Jesus Christ, to our lives and thus stand justified before God, not by our own self-righteous works but by the work of Christ at Calvary, where God's perfect JUSTICE and perfect MERCY become ONE.
Then we will realize that the LAW was never meant, as the apostle Paul writes in the 8th chapter of the book of ROMANS, to heal our fallen nature, but rather to serve as a MIRROR to show us our NEED. One who denies that they are sick or weak will never overcome that condition, for one must first ACKNOWLEDGE the problem in order to remedy it.
Once the 'mirror' reveals our lack of perfection, then the remedy can be applied, the imputed divine life-blood of Christ, the only begotten Son [the WORD, LOGOS] of God, which like a divine blood transfusion fills us, and empowers us with the very life essence of the Almighty, and we are connected to an INFINITE source of LIFE, giving us more than we need to once again tame and conquer the appetites and addictions of the flesh, IF we ASK in FAITH, those tendencies that would otherwise entice us into violating the sovereignty of others for selfish material gain, and in so doing violate God's ten commandments which are simply non-intervention directives, you might say, against invading the God-given "space" of others.
We are "saved" through faith AND works, however it is not OUR works but FAITH in the WORKS of Christ, faith in the Spirit of LIFE which through the life-blood of Christ [divine blood transfusion] fills us and empowers the Spirit of Life or and Truth Holy Spirit of God to live THROUGH US in the SPIRIT OF LOVE, which is the common-demoninator. If we live a life of LOVE, then we will not be violating the 'estate' of others -- as did the first fallen angels when they left their 'first estate' and invaded the domains that belonged to other of the Creators children.
True LOVE is to reinforce and protect the personal sovereignty/space of all God's children and to resist those forces what would devour and destroy the essence of LIFE that God has given each of us. This includes knowing where OUR boundaries are, and knowing how to prevent ourselves from invading the boundaries of others, yet at the same time preventing others from invading our boundaries and our neighbors boundaries as well. Yes it is important to keep OURSELVES [the temple of God] from being abused and violated, simply because statistically 80 percent of abusers in society were abused in like fashion sometime in their lives. But in order to "break the cycle" of mutual abuse, one NEEDS the provisional GRACE OF GOD, through Christ. There is NO OTHER way. The remedy MUST be spiritual, since we are spiritual beings in a material world. So this is why the physical "law" can only go so far by serving as the "mirror", yet only the divine life-essence of God itself [via the life-blood of Jesus Christ] can TRANSFORM us from the inside out.
We NEED the Father, the Son and the Spirit just as much as the trees NEED the earth, the sun, and the rain to survive and prosper.
For those who do not consider the spiritual side of things, the Bible might seem to contain contradictions. For instance the Old Testament talks much about WISDOM, and the New Testament about FAITH. Well, which one should we focus on, wisdom or faith? Should we for instance prepare for a possible social disaster and store up food and so on? Or should we simply trust that God will provide for us? Well, why not have FAITH in the revealed WISDOM of God? In this "letter" we are talking about salvation by GRACE [Romans] AND salvation by WORKS [James]. Is this a contradiction? As we indicated above, not if you consider that BOTH the grace and the works are God-to-Man manifestations rather than Man-to-God. That is, it is not OUR works, but the works that the Holy Spirit of Truth performs IN us and THROUGH us, the "vessels", as a result of the GRACE that Jesus provided. This is symbolized by the blood AND water that poured out from Christ side, the blood of GRACE to break through the barrier of sin/guilt that keeps people separated from God, and the water of LIFE that EMPOWERS us to live a LIFE in which our spirits have dominion over the flesh rather than vise versa.
"But just BELIEVING that Jesus' blood washes away our sins removes us from any responsibility to live a righteous life", you might say. Not really, it almost seems like a paradox, but if one pleads the "passover blood" over the "doorposts" of their life, so to speak, then they give the spirit of God permission to allow the outer fallen fleshy nature to be "crucified with Christ" so that the inner spiritual person can emerge [similar to the analogy of the butterfly breaking forth from the 'worm' or the 'cocoon'].
Those who fail to remain "under the fountain" of the Blood of Christ by faith/prayer will begin "dying on the vine". There are those who say that once one is grafted into the vine they can never be cut off, while there are others who say that one can lose their salvation. I'm one who believes that it is best not to tempt Christ and try to find out how far His grace goes. I honestly believe that the only unpardonable sin is rejecting the redemption itself. I believe that Christ's mercy goes a VERY LONG WAY, but to put it simply, I personally believe that one is "eternally secure" SO LONG AS they CHOOSE to "abide in the vine". I will leave it at that.
Salvation involves confessing our sins and allowing them to be "judged" on the body of Christ at Calvary, and then allowing the provisional LIFE of God to FILL us and live THROUGH us, not by forsaking our free agency, but by bringing our WILL into alignment with the will of the Holy Spirit of TRUTH and LIFE working IN us. These are the two kinds of grace that Abraham Lincoln spoke of, redeeming AND preserving grace.
Yet we also have to realize, and this is VERY important, that God is not into "lone ranger" or "rambo" Christianity. When the WORD speaks about the BODY of Christ it means just that, a unity of believers WORKING TOGETHER AS ONE FAMILY, AS ONE BODY [not DIVIDED between denominations but UNITED around the altar of the cross].
Lets face it, there is a WAR going on between good and evil, and as in any war UNITY is essential. Unity is a "weapon" that can be used by EITHER side to divide and conquer the forces of the other side. It is a tragic thing when this awesome weapon falls into the hands of the enemy [the servants of the Serpent/Lucifer - see: Genesis chapter 3 & Revelation chapter 12] as opposed to the defenders of the Kingdom of God [the servents of the Lamb]. But the enemy can apprehend this weapon ONLY if we capituate it to them out of neglect or ignorance.
May the grace of God through Christ be with you always... Alan