The Good News is that Christ's work has won us all salvation - and all that we have to do is accept it.
The bad news is that even one, single, solitary unrepented sin may suffice to induce us to reject salvation.
Thanks to Christ, we are no longer slaves to sin, no longer doomed by our sins; and it is only unrepented sin that is the problem.
However, unrepented sin is fatal.
Modernity in the West has been set-up as an environment to ensure that sins are unrepented.
Only one is needed.
That sin could be a moral sin - and the sexual revolution has given us encouragement to commit a wide range of sexual sins, and - much more importantly - to deny that they are sins, to pretend that they are virtues - therefore not to repent them.
But that sin could be a sin of dishonesty - the denial of a truth, or the propagation of a lie. Only one is needed, so long as we do not repent - so long as we convince ourselves that the lie is a higher form of truthfulness.
Or a sin against beauty: an unrepented act of uglification - a mutilation not merely unrepented but advertized as pretended beauty (or truth, or virtue).
The Good News is that salvation is as easy as ever it was; but the bad news is that rejection of salvation is easier than it ever has been before in the whole of human history.
Recent highly centralized and overly bureaucratic systems are a temptation to habitual non-truths.
Whether you are signing up to your "Annual Performance Review", filling out your JobSeekers booklet (to prove you have been looking for work) or applying for Government funding, the temptation to lie is increasingly there.
Nowadays it is often not enough just to do a good job and get on with other staff, you have to sign to say you agree to certain "behaviours" and principles that you, in truth, may not actually agree with.
Some may, occasionally, either have to waste time applying for jobs that they have no chance of getting, or lie on their form to meet their JobSeekers agreement of X applications per week.
Others may be tempted to "bend the truth" when answering the "irrelevant questions" on their funding application.
The danger is that in trying to avoid conflict and/or rejection "little" lies may creep in and become habitual.
The modern world should yield to the truth yet it increasingly levers truth out of everyday matters.
Here is yet another way in which Hell is metaphor so correctly reflects reality!
I love when these insights appear, because attacking the existence of Hell, or seeing it as a backwards and silly belief is so prevalent.
To sin against beauty! Those who destroy beauty and truth will likewise be destroyed. Those whose lives consist of nothing but evil will after death *be nothing* that could exist in Heaven.
Whereas those who celebrate and manifest truth and beauty (and repent - or separate themselves from sin - so crucial!) are themselves participating even in this life with God. So in death they will live eternally, with God in Heaven.
Whereas those attached to sin, who can not see it as a failure or part of themselves to be "cut off and tossed aside" could not help themselves from being dragged to Hell, where sin must be purged in the flames.
They wont need to be dragged to Hell - that will be their chosen habitation. (See CS Lewis's The Great Divorce)
The good news is that heaven awaits any who fearlessly embrace it.
The bad news is that all those who resist death, and meet it kicking and screaming, die permanently.
Can I repent while I am sinning?
There is too much temptation to resist it all. If I fully acknowledge my sinfulness and refuse to pretend it is virtue, including and especially at the moments when I am sinning, can I be saved?
Being flesh involves being fleshy, and doing things that flesh does.
The idea is to accept that being flesh, you have only so much choice in the matter.
While also knowing that being flesh is not a permanent state, and that while a human may be forced, sometimes, to eat human flesh, during the difficult course of his life, there will also come a time when such things no longer apply.
Do the flesh, yet remember your true nature. This, I feel, is the essence of repentance. To know what you are, is what is ultimately important.
@Crow - that is one of the strangest of your oft strange comments!...
"those who resist death, and meet it kicking and screaming, die permanently"
I think it is probable that the human soul *cannot* die but is (in some form/state or another) eternal - at least, that has been a frequent inuition or revelation throughut human history.
And this is a much scarier thought than extinction.
Thanks Bruce! "The Great Divorce" and "Miracles" are still on my must-read list.
Regarding the souls eternal nature, I wonder about the possibilities of the soul becoming somehow lost, or a dreamless sleep, or something akin to an insanity otherwise impacting it or affecting it in a negative away for those lead or go away from the light of God. The idea is such that the individual/alert consciousness could be temporarily or eternally lost in damnation so that it would be effectively similar to Crow's "die permanently."
Jesus also did make statements that appear to state eternal life is only available through him, and so implying something akin to a real and lasting death occurs by turning away.
Well, Bruce, from where I stand, some people are infertile, and never grow a soul in the first place.
Along with those who sell theirs off before their race is run.
The Garden of Eden, to me, is each individual. It must be tended.
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