Still feeling a touch tired and blegh today but... I'll get through it. I'm sure I'll sleep well tonight.
The Reason for our Hope
It was necessary, for salvation's purpose, for Jesus to die as all men did. When Jesus died, he ceased his existence. The destiny of all mankind.
1 Cor 15:3-5
3 For I give over to you among the first what also I accepted, that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures,
4 and that He was entombed, and that He has been roused the third day according to the scriptures,
5 and that He was seen by Cephas, thereupon by the twelve.
Let me belabor this. Jesus completely ceased to exist at his death. He had no more earthly consciousness, nor spiritual consciousness. He was plunged into oblivion and were it not for God himself who roused him 3 days later, he would STILL be dead.
This is the whole of the gospel and it's pivotal point. It is not, then, our faith that saves us, but Jesus OWN faith in his father to rouse him;
21 Yet now, apart from law, a righteousness of God is manifest (being attested by the law and the prophets),
22 yet a righteousness of God through Jesus Christ's faith, for all, and on all who are believing, for there is no distinction,
23 for all sinned and are wanting of the glory of God.
Jesus who had no sin in him, died for our sakes, and TRUSTED that God would rouse him from the dead 3 days later.
I remember how this hit me only a few months ago. I was sitting at work and just got hit with... WOW... He DIED.
At that moment, I had a mix of elation and grief. Knowing that when he came to earth he had no divinity. When he died, he CEASED TO EXIST!
Our faith then, is only the recognition of what has already happened. Jesus has already saved us, whether you believe it or not.
Your faith is simply punching the ticket into Eonian life. Nothing more; but what a ticket that is!!
This is why it is so essential to understand the lies that trip us up in this faith;
Trinity - this essentially denies that Jesus Christ died. God by definition CANNOT die.
Eternal Conscious torment/Hell - This portrays God as an unjust and completely incapable God. If Jesus' sacrifice was insufficient to save ALL mankind, then God sinned for he did not achieve what he set out to do.
Doctrine of Free Will - Only one will is sovereign and in control, either God is in control or man is in control. Free Will denies God's sovereignty and denies that JESUS did the work of salvation - NOT man. It denies that we were powerless in our sins to save ourselves, and rejects that we needed God to do the saving work.
6 For Christ, while we are still infirm, still in accord with the era, for the sake of the irreverent, died.
To be infirm means to be powerless. We were helpless, unable to do anything for ourselves. It was for our sakes Christ died. We share NO Part in the work of salvation. NONE. The doctrine of free will denies this.
Immortality of the Soul - If the soul is immortal, then we are not dead. If we are not dead and dying, then Christ never died either. If Christ did not die, then no sacrifice for sins was made. If we are not dead, there is no need for resurrection. Do you see how insane this doctrine is? It makes madness out of everything. Either the Bible is true when it says we die, or it lies, and in which case we might as well use our Bibles for kindling.
However 1 Corinthians 15:16-18 puts it quite succinctly;
16 For, if the dead are not being roused, neither has Christ been roused.
17 Now, if Christ has not been roused, vain is your faith -- you are still in your sins!
18 Consequently those also, who are put to repose in Christ, perished.
So, one more time. Christ died for all mankind, and completely ceased all existence in any form whatsoever, he was buried in a tomb, and was roused to life again on the third day, vivified in spirit. He alone is now our hope for Resurrection. How AWESOME is that?!