unending punishment, Jesus died for your sins, all are dying in Adam, sinGod,

Dear Guilt Queen
This chick's dragging around her own cross


Dear Guilt Queen,

Thanks for writing. Seriously. Not everyone bothers to write. That you did tells me you care about truth. Either that or you’re so mad at me that you couldn’t sleep unless you vented. I understand the venting thing, but I hope you’re not so upset that you won’t read this. I’m taking a chance that you won’t see an e-mail from Martin Zender and delete it on the spot. I’m taking the chance that you’re at least going to look at it. I’m going to spend a little bit of time answering your points, questions and concerns. I’m going to try to be easier on you than you were on me. I may not succeed.

It was not my intention to answer every single objection on Frank Whalen’s radio show. I’m only on for two hours. What you consider "loopholes" were really only topics untouched upon due to time constraints. You should not assume that, because I didn’t answer every objection you may have had, that there are not answers to your objections. There are.

You missed my point when I said, "people tell me all the time that scripture is ‘crawling all over’ with passages about eternal torment." You wrote, "Well, I wonder how that could be? Could it be that the word is inspired by God and He has breathed life into every passage?" The point I made was that scripture IS NOT crawling all over with passages about eternal torment. That was my point. My point was that the people who say this are mistaken.

There is not one word about unending punishment in the entire Old Testament. And in the New Testament, where the doctrine appears to be taught, a more careful analysis of the passages show that it’s not taught at all (I’ll be getting to this in relation to Matthew, chapter 25.) But you have to look carefully, Guilt Queen, which something you’re not doing. There are so many details you’re missing. You’re so sure you’re right that you’re not even pausing long enough to consider that you might be wrong. I’ve already believed the way you do, years ago. It was only when I got brave enough to look at scriptural facts that I realized my mistakes. My mistakes became obvious to me then. You’re still in the mode of thinking you can’t be wrong. As long as you stay here, you’ll never see truth.

I believe, with you, that Scripture is God-breathed. You accuse me of calling God a liar because you claim I don’t believe certain passages of scripture that you think teach eternal torment. I could say the same thing of you concerning passages that teach the reconciliation of all. Have you ever read 1 Timothy 4:10? This verse says that God is the savior of all mankind. Since you don’t believe He will save all mankind, then you are making God a liar. See? We’re both in the same boat in each other’s minds.

John 1:29 says that the lamb of God is taking away the sins of the world, yet you believe that people’s sins (especially the sin of unbelief) are still somehow going to damn them to hell for eternity. Are you making God out a liar? Don’t you believe John 1:29?

Colossians 1:20 says that, through the blood of the cross, God is going to reconcile all creation to Himself, both that in the heavens and that on the earth. This is a God-breathed passage. Since you don’t believe it will happen, you’re rejecting a God-breathed passage. You’re making God out a liar.

In Romans 11:32, God says that He locks up all together in stubbornness, that He may have mercy on all. This is another God-breathed passage that you don’t believe because, apparently, you think lots of people are going to hell because they’ve misused their free wills and chosen stubbornness for themselves. And you certainly don’t think that God will have mercy on everyone. Why are you calling God a liar? Don’t you believe He has breathed life into Romans 11:32?

1 Corinthians 15:22 says that all those dying in Adam (which is everyone) will be vivified in Christ. But again, you don’t believe it. You are calling God a liar! (I only used the exclamation point here because you used it on me. I’m being petty, only so that you can feel how it feels to be accused of this by someone who loves God just as much as you do.)

You claim that everyone in their right biblical mind is aware of the basic knowledge between good and evil and the rewards for each. Are you aware that God is responsible for evil entering the universe? He created it, a truth plainly stated in Isaiah 45:7. Do you believe this, or do you only believe some of God’s Word? There is a big lump under your rug, and you’re holding a big broom.

There are many more passages I could accuse you of disbelieving, but I’ve made my point.

Speaking of points, you have completely missed the point of Christ’s death and resurrection. "Seems to me that living a sinful life without guilt or with disregard to the suffering Christ went through would be plenty to show God that we don’t deserve anything better than eternal punishment!!" Well, it is you who are disregarding the suffering of Christ, not the rotten sinners you’re so disdainful of. Sinners living without guilt are actually farther along the path of truth than you. This is why I’ve nicknamed you "Guilt Queen."

I can glean one of two things from your astounding statement. Either you’re no longer living a sinful life, or you’re living a sinful life with guilt. If the former is the case, then congratulations on the amazing accomplishment. Perhaps you should write a book, The Key to My Sin-Free Life. If the latter is true, then you’ve effectively erased the benefits of Calvary. Jesus died for your sins so that you wouldn’t have to feel guilty. He suffered so that you could be free and happy. You are certainly not free, and you don’t sound happy. After all that Jesus suffered, you’re still guilt-ridden and worried about your sins. What a slap in the face to Christ. God took our old humanity and nailed it to the cross with Christ. But good old responsible Guilt Queen has dug it back up and nailed it to her own back. Won’t God be pleased! Won’t Christ be impressed!

No. Actually, He’s wishing you’d quit it.

No matter which of these cases is true (and one of them must be), you’re seeing Calvary as a personal challenge for you, rather than a gracious gift of God. Christ was perfect so that you could make mistakes. Christ suffered so that you could know peace in spite of yourself. Christ conquered sin so that you wouldn’t have to. But look what you’re doing. You’re undoing everything Christ accomplished. Are you a Catholic, or what? Why are you still so hung up on sin? Sin, sin, sin, that’s what you’re all about. Why is this the case, when God is no longer condemning you for your sin. Hello? Jesus went to the cross and took care of sin. If only you’d believe it.

Guilt Queen:
"Hmmm, seems to me He has every right to expect total commitment and respect from us in regard to the brutal death of His Son."

Martin Zender:
"Hmmm, seems to me He got total commitment from His Son, and that’s what counts."

Galatians 2:16 says, "We are justified by the faith of Christ." Did you hear that? We are justified by Christ’s faith, not ours. We are saved because of His commitment, not ours. Yes, by all means, let us be committed. Let us have faith. But let us not think that it is our commitment or our faith that has either won our salvation or keeps it going.

Faith and commitment. If we have them, they are gifts. Gifts, Guilt Queen. Why do you write as though these are matters of human accomplishment that separate you from those less accomplished than you? What has caused you to think that your commitment and faith are what separate you eternally from those stupid, faithless wretches who have neither? You remain dangerously unaware of the source of your blessings. I say dangerously because your ignorance has filled you with pride. As a remedy for it, take a dose of 1 Corinthians 4:7, "For who makes you different from anybody else, and what have you got that was not given to you? And if anything has been given to you, why boast of it as if you had achieved it yourself?"

You think you are earning your own salvation by being committed, faithful, and a good girl. Thus, you are boasting. I realize that you don’t boast outwardly because you’re Pharisaic, but the boasting oozes between every line of your letter.

Yes, Matthew 25:31-46 does ring a bell. It should, seeing as how I’ve studied the passage for fifteen years. This is a judgment of nations, not individuals, a fact plainly stated in verse 42. Thus, this is not the general judgment of mankind, as you suppose. This judging takes place at the inauguration of the thousand-year kingdom. The majority of mankind are not even alive at this judging, for scripture says that, "the rest of the dead" (the unbelieving dead of all time) "do not live until the thousand years should be finished" (Rev. 20:5).

If this is the separation of all people into either heaven or hell, tell me: What is the criteria for judging? Is it faith in Jesus? Is it belief in the gospel? Reliance on the cross? No. The only criteria is: How did the nation being judged treat the favored nation Israel? Did they feed Israel when it was hungry? Give it a drink when it was thirsty? This judgment, which takes place in the Kidron Valley (the Valley of Jehoshaphat) upon Christ’s return, does nothing more than separate nations that helped Israel (sheep nations) from those that ignored her (goat nations), and determines their placement during the millennium.

The "everlasting punishment" of the King James Version is actually "chastening eonian" in the Greek. ("Eternal" is a mistranslation of the Greek aion, meaning "eon," which always has to do with time.) The "life eternal" is correctly translated "life eonian." This passage has nothing to do with where people will spend eternity. The eon in question is the thousand-year kingdom, and the "people" are nations. Those nations that helped Israel will enjoy abundant life during that eon, probably near Jerusalem. Those nations that didn’t will be placed in the outer reaches of the kingdom and will certainly suffer more than the sheep nations. This is the "fire eonian" of verse 41. Since Christ is said to rule these nations with a rod of iron (Revelation 2:27), it is evident that these nations are neither consumed nor writhing in literal flame. Thus, the flame of this context is a figure of speech for suffering.

I hope all of this helps you. It will probably hurt you at first, because I know I said some hard things. But you must be broken, for your own good. Your self-righteousness has got to go. We must all come eventually to realize the source of our salvation; better now than later. I pray that God brings this revelation to you, and that Christ turns your pain to joy.

Yours in Him,