About 5 years ago, a few days before Resurrection Sunday God impressed upon my heart a "vision" or spiritual understanding of what it would be like if Jesus never came and if redemption was never part of the plan of God from the foundation of the world.
I have wanted to share this for years but never felt capable of explaining with the full impact the "vision" or "picture" that the Spirit impressed this upon me. Today with fear and trembling and much reliance upon the Holy Spirit to speak through me, I would like to share this vision of a world without redemption.
I think we believe that if Jesus hadn't come, our life would be the same but eternity would be spent in Hell forever separated from God. But this is not the truth. Everything in history, from God covering Adam and Eve with the first clothing to events in our modern lives, has been put in place as God's redemptive love story for his people.
Therefore, we cannot begin to comprehend what human life would look like had God said to Adam and Eve, "You've sinned! Get out of the garden! And you will go to the hell that I've prepared for Satan and the demons when you die!" This would be a totally logical response of a holy God that had warned his creation to not sin. Satan and the demons, as far as we know, did not get any redemptive plan offered to them. Why do we assume that we should be treated so differently? We brought sin into the world and like a contagious disease, infected every human ever born since. Why do we assume that we deserve this beautiful redemptive story?
It's amazing to study other religions. Every religion has a hope of a peaceful eternity built into it. No other God is loving like the one true God but other invented deities at least give the hope of some type of redemption should the subject do it's bidding enough times and with enough sacrifice.
In Islam this sacrifice is known as a Fedayeen or Shahid - a martyr. The point of the bomber isn't suicide - it is to kill infidels in battle. This is not just permitted by Muhammad, but encouraged with liberal promises of earthy rewards in heaven, including food and sex.
From the Buddhist point of view, those who go to hell can work themselves upward by making use of the merit that they had acquired previously. There are no locks on the gates of hell. Hell is a temporary place and there is no reason for those beings to suffer there forever.
And the list of world religions go on and on. Therefore, it is safe to assume that everyone in the world, in one measure or another, hopes for some sort of eternal redemption, for even if that redemption is in the form of ceasing to exist, still it is void of punishment for sin and hope of a painless eternity.
What if the world had no hope of redemption??? The implications in human history are astronomical and impossible to sift through in this writing. There would be no false religions, as the evil one acting as the father of lies, would have no purpose in deceiving the nations. Satan would be in our face, night and day, tormenting us with the reality of the future and of the future of our loved ones. Satan would not veil his evilness, there would be no purpose in deception, he would be free to show himself in all his evil glory from the day of our birth, until the day he won the victory and celebrated our souls torment in hell.
I am reminded of Edmund in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and how he sat with terror and dread as the white witch declared him guilty of treachery and by the deep magic that he belonged to her for her to torture and kill. Of course the story ends with the redemption of Edmund through the representative death of Aslan.
But we are talking now of a world devoid of redemption. The White Witch-Satan, would have a heyday with our lives. He would delight in torturing our emotions with the fact that, through our sin we belong to him, and we will die in our sins and be tortured forever.
Do we realize what a life like this would be like? What would it be like to lose a baby to death? A beloved mother or a cherished husband? We would know, without a shadow of a doubt that they left this world in the clutches of Satan and went directly to hell. Can you imagine the horror of living a life like that, knowing that a trip to the mountains in the snow could be a one way ticket to hell? What would it be like to "enjoy" an extra piece of pie at Christmas knowing that it would mean you would be destined to enter hell that much sooner? Can you imagine watching a family member age? Or having a child born with a life threatening disease? Can we even wrap our minds around the hopelessness that this world would hold?
You see, the hopelessness wouldn't be the same as just being a non-believer, because nonbelievers have hope. It is a false hope but it is still hope never the less. Without redemption, Satan would have no desire to deceive so false hope would not exist. The evil one would wallow in our suffering and in the agony of our future with him in hell. He would have no desire at all to give false hope; he would derive great pleasure from the despair of our fallen and sinful state.
What would our world look like without the indwelling Holy Spirit in believer's lives? Chaos, sin, and evil would run rampant. If God's sovereign hand was not guiding this planet, what would our lives look like without him?
This "vision" became very personal to me after Gary's death. What would it be like to know that he was in hell? What would it be like to not have the comfort of the Holy Spirit? What would it be like to live in a world without redemption and know that one day I would join my beloved in utter torment and despair?
A world without redemption goes way beyond being surprised by hell when we die. The lack of redemptive plan from the foundation of the world would infiltrate every area of life of every person on the planet. It would literally be hell on earth.
Therefore, on this day when we remember the death of Jesus Christ, let us remember that the redemptive plan of God was in place from the foundation of the world. From Adam and Eve to Noah to the nations of the world, and to your family and mine.
God's loving and redemptive hand has been upon the human race from the moment he picked up the dust of the earth, made it in his image and breathed life into it. God isn't this angry deity whose son happened to be a nice guy and decided to appease the wrath of his father for dying for the world! NO!!!! The love of God was in place and the redemption of mankind was planned out before man was even created. The Bible says that Father God, so LOVED the nations, that he gave his son to die. Jesus was being obedient to the Father in giving his life a ransom for our sins. Jesus responded to the Fathers love for us and his redemptive plan for us.
So on this Good Friday let us fall upon our faces in worship for the redemptive death of Jesus that was planned by the Father from the foundation of the world! Let us ponder a world without the redemptive plan of God and in that pondering be brought into new worship and new devotion to a God who gives us the hope and assurance of eternity with him! Let us worship God who has brought redemption's story into our world from the moment of first life to the moment of the end of the ages. God IS love and his love has brought redemption to the world!
"with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God." 1 Peter 1:20
"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world." Matthew 25:34
"For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love" Ephesians 1:4
"Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death--that is, the devil"--Hebrews 2:14
"Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness, in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago, but at the proper time manifested, even His word, in the proclamation with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior,…" Titus 1:2