“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. – Isaiah 55:8
I have a great dislike for the above passage. Rather, I should say I have a great dislike for the way that passage is used by many Christians. It has become a cliche cop-out used by those who don’t want their theological view challenged. Soul winning is one such view.
Let me start by saying, I do not believe God is illogical. Any Being who can create beings who are as logical as humans are must possess logic (however infinitely greater) himself. Even scientist admit to logic being one of the attributes which distinguishes man from animals. It is seems unreasonable then to think that God could have no experience of logic and still create such significant part of a humanbeing’s psychology. Therefore, our logic must be a shadow of God’s. Since we are made in His image this is only…
Getting back to the matter at hand, I have often wondered at the logic of the Great White Throne Judgment. If, as soul winning evangelicals, teach post-mortem evangelism does not exist. Then what is the purpose of the final judgement? If as Peter implies judgment has already come to the house of God (1 Peter 4:17), then why is it necessary to have the Great White Throne Judgment? Since as Paul tells us we are sinners because of the sin nature inherited because of the sin of Adam, why even bother with it at all? Since the church will rise first, and be changed and given into glory instantly, why not just skip the unneccesary step and proceed to send every one who did not believe directly to hell or eternal damnation?
The answer usually given is that of Isaiah 55. Cop-out! There is explanation as to the reasoning behind the Great White Judgment. The answer is found in the role of Christ’s atonement and the role of Christ’s resurrection in the salvfic work. While these two aspects of Christ work together to bring about salvation; what they accomplish are very two different things. Let’s look at each one briefly.
The work of Christ’s atonement was to pay the penalty for sin. It was to clear the books of a debt we owed to God for breaking His intrinsic moral law. However, the clearing of the books does not in anyway obligate God to give us life. Which brings us to the resurrection.
The resurrection binds God (of his own volition) to give eternal life to those who believe in Jesus. It is on this that the whole of Christianity hangs. Without the resurrection, the Gospel has no power.
In other words, you can have the atonement without the resurrection, but you cannot have the resurrection without the atonement.
Since we are speaking of judgment, the atonement is where the answer is to be found. What exactly did the atonement accomplish? The Apostle Paul answers that in his letter to the Corinthians. He wrote, “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.”
How is God not counting sins against people? It is through the atonement. Their debt is paid! Since their debt is paid, they no longer owe God death! However, God is under no obligation to give them life. Since it is God’s desire to give them life, he will offer them an opportunity at life during the final judgment.
You may say, if their debt is paid then God is obligated not to condemn them to a second death. You would be right unless they occur a new debt. If a person pays their mortgage off, but then takes another loan against their home; although the original debt was paid the new debt is now owed. Although at present all of humanity’s debt is paid, but they will be given the chance to be declared righteous at the final judgment by accepting Christ. If they do not, they then have incurred a new debt and deserve the second death.
So what does this mean for soul-winning theology? It Means That Unbelievers Are Not Sinners Who Need Saved From The Second Death; They Are Children Of God Who Need Their Creator In Order To Obtain Life!
It is, after all, only logical.