articles of chapter 9

The Wages of Sin

When Sin Came Into the World and What Followed

Gen 3:22 And Jehovah God said, Behold! The man has become as one of us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put forth his hand and also take from the Tree of Life, and eat, and live forever, 23 Jehovah God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground out of which he was taken. 24 And he drove the man out. And he lodged the cherubs at the east of the Garden of Eden, and the flaming sword whirling around to guard the way of the Tree of Life.

Years ago, when I contemplated the nature of sin and its consequences I thought this way: Man has a free choice for his life. Adam and Eve, however, did not have the desire and purpose to sin. They just were inexperienced; Never before had they met a situation, where they had to resist the temptation. In this sense, God did not create his own perfect image, but a spiritually weak pair of humans to resist sin, which they did not even know properly. They were like little children with a cookie jar that had been forbidden by their mother to eat.

God, who knows everything beforehand, has surely known the fall of Satan and his intention to seduce Adam and Eve. Why did He let it happen rather than strengthened them to withstand Satan’s temptations? We know God even before the creation of the world had a particular task in his mind for his Son, and also the Apostles as well as the chosen followers were already in God’s plans. Adam and Eve, the first people, were by no means perfect to resist Satan’s plan. They just had not known Satan in the past. Nor were they the initiators. If we only believe that God’s ways and thoughts are so much higher than our humans, even though we are created as God’s image – to be like God’s angels who are almost divine.

If Jesus had been both God and a perfect man, as the main churches believe Jesus had not overcome temptations. But Jesus was a man and not even he was initially perfect, but became so through suffering. Heb 2:10: For it was fitting for him, because of whom are all things, and through whom are all things, bringing many sons to glory, to perfect him as the Author of their salvation through sufferings. – The life of Adam and Eve had been carefree without any suffering. No one was trying to deceive them, that is, they were completely unprepared for the seduction of Satan.

Jesus also had to learn obedience through suffering: Heb 5:8 though being a Son, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9 and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

The earthly sufferings of Jesus made him perfect to receive the high status and power, all power in heaven and earth which God gave him. God’s chosen ones are also tested and taught during the life of the earth to receive a high administrative status under Christ in the kingdom of God.

Most of God’s angels in heaven are completely obedient and sinless. Instead, all people have sinned. If humans (everyone) have a free choice to do or not sin, why do all of them do it? Is not there even one person who does not sin? There is no such person; already the Bible’s letter to the Romans said: for all sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Rom 3:23)

Many questions arise. Why did death come along with sin, from Adam and Eve to the eternal part of all mankind?  Why couldn’t God forgive and say; let us start again from the clean table? Why did God have to send his own son to death on the cross? Why is the judgment of sin that the sinner has not regretted and been forgiven, eternal suffering in a fiery lake?

Originally the hell of a fiery lake was created to punish Satan and his angels.

This suggests that Satan had gone his separate ways before attracting Adam and Eve to sin. When our ancestors allowed to be seduced to break God’s only commandment given to them, God decided to apply the eternal punishment of the fiery lake also to humanity.

Rom 6: 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. – If the wages of irreconcilable sin is death and after death the second death in the fiery lake, God will offer the gift of eternal life through his son Jesus Christ. Here is eternal life and eternal punishment as opposites.

Psa 7:11 God is a righteous judge, Yes, a God who has indignation every day.

Joh 3:18 He who believes in him is not judged. He who doesn’t believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God.

Joh 3:36 The one believing into the Son has everlasting life; but the one disobeying the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. 

God is light, and in him is no darkness at all (1 Joh 1:5). – God is the standard of all good and true and perfection. All that is missing from this perfection is sin.  On this basis, it can be said that after Adam and Eve there have been no people who have been completely sinless.

Sin is progressing in man as follows: Jam 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God,” for God can’t be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each one is tempted by his own lusts, having been drawn out and having been seduced by them. 15 Then the lust, when it has conceived, bears sin; and the sin, when it is full grown, brings forth death.

Rom 5:12 Therefore, as sin entered into the world through one man, and death through sin; and so death passed to all men, because all sinned. 13 Certainly sin was in the world before the law was given, but no record of sin is kept where there is no law. – Christians who commit sin (that is, all of us) are in danger of falling into the lake of fire unless we repent and be forgiven our sins for Christ’s sake. Notice the remainder of the verse: “sin is not charged when there is no law”, and therefore the sinner cannot be punished by the severe punishment of God in the lake of fire. On the other hand, the Bible says: 2 The 1:8 giving vengeance to those who don’t know God, and to those who don’t obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus, – ” those who don’t know God” does not only mean pagans or servants of another god. Knowing in the Bible has meant a close connection, for example between a man and a wife. People who have heard the gospel and may be baptized, but who have no connection with God or Christ are those who do not know God.

However, the ungodly people do not escape punishment; they receive a punishment, which I interpret meaning death in the fiery storm of violent events that meets the world in the coming of Christ. However, they are not thrown into the Lake of Fire for their sins. They too wait for the last judgment.

2 Pet 3:7 “But the heavens that now are, and the earth, by the same word have been stored up for fire, being reserved against the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men”.

When Christ arrives, the Bible testifies in 2nd letter of Timothy 4:1 “In the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who is going to judge those who are living and those who are dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I solemnly appeal to you”. – I believe that they too are raised on the last day, when Christ’s Millennial kingdom ends and the dead will be resurrected for the final judgment. Along with Christ, the [resurrected] saints will divide the judgments: 1 Cor 6:2 Don’t you know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters?

When God knows everything in advance, did he realize that almost all of his creation in the future will go to the lake of fire for ever because of their sins? Or did he plan to have his son Jesus save all mankind by redeeming all those who believe in him and those who do not believe he would purify with fire. The first fire-refined was the merciless persecutor of Christians, Saul, who then became the Apostle of the Nations called Paul, known in the scriptures.

Now, after many years I am coming back to these questions and would like to begin by saying that I left these things among the last, because I found them difficult for several reasons. Things to look for include:
– What does God want from mankind? What is the plan of God which he will surely accomplish?
– Is the Bible’s message of God’s will clear and free of interpretation?
– When God says sinners will go to the lake of fire, should it be taken literally or is the fiery lake just a figurative expression, a figure of speech?
– Is the punishment in the lake of fire eternal, i.e. it will last forever?
– What does fire mean for salvation?