Our appreciation for the worth of something is always dictated, and the degree of it is enhanced, by our understanding of what it cost. I value gifts from people relative to this, either consciously or subconsciously. I am not just talking about money. I actually value many gifts from people much more than material gifts...the gift of their time and presence most of all.
The same applies to the worth I assign to my redemption in Christ. The more I understand about what it cost, the more glorious it becomes to me. The more I understand of the depth of His love, and the extremity of His sacrifice, the more I love Him. I will never understand it fully, but I will always be understanding it more.
There was a price to be paid, and He paid it. At great expense to Himself, far greater than my mind could ever fathom. He became ashamed for me. God did. I don't know how to explain that, but I just know that He did that. And if He hadn't done it, I would be lost.
The "idealist" would reduce the cross to a mere metaphor, or symbol, denying that the cross was necessary and effectual for salvation--for the forgiveness of sins, to bring us to God. But these past couple of years that I have spent reading the prophets, the thing that has so gripped me is the way they were so desperate for their Savior. Waiting, hoping, longing....for that Day. And they were afraid and lonely and in despair when they contemplated death, because they knew what the grave was. It was a place of non-existence, and separation from the presence of God. And it was the cross--the historical event of the cross in time and space-- that made the difference for them, the difference between death and life. Between separation from God and presence with God. And it was the cross that made the difference for me. And this is how much it cost:
Psalm 69:1 Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul. 2 I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. 3 I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God. 4 They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored that which I took not away. 5 O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee. 6 Let not them that wait on thee, O Lord GOD of hosts, be ashamed for my sake: let not those that seek thee be confounded for my sake, O God of Israel. 7 Because for thy sake I have borne reproach; shame hath covered my face. 8 I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother's children. 9 For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me. 10 When I wept, and chastened my soul with fasting, that was to my reproach. 11 I made sackcloth also my garment; and I became a proverb to them. 12 They that sit in the gate speak against me; and I was the song of the drunkards. 13 But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O LORD, in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation. 14 Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink: let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters. 15 Let not the waterflood overflow me, neither let the deep swallow me up, and let not the pit shut her mouth upon me. 16 Hear me, O LORD; for thy lovingkindness is good: turn unto me according to the multitude of thy tender mercies. 17 And hide not thy face from thy servant; for I am in trouble: hear me speedily. 18 Draw nigh unto my soul, and redeem it: deliver me because of mine enemies. 19 Thou hast known my reproach, and my shame, and my dishonour: mine adversaries are all before thee. 20 Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none. 21 They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink. 22 Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap. 23 Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not; and make their loins continually to shake. 24 Pour out thine indignation upon them, and let thy wrathful anger take hold of them. 25 Let their be desolate; and let none dwell in their tents. 26 For they persecute him whom thou hast smitten; and they talk to the grief of those whom thou hast wounded. 27 Add iniquity unto their iniquity: and let them not come into thy righteousness. 28 Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous. 29 But I am poor and sorrowful: let thy salvation, O God, set me up on high. 30 I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. 31 This also shall please the LORD better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs. 32 The humble shall see this, and be glad: and your heart shall live that seek God. 33 For the LORD heareth the poor, and despiseth not his prisoners. 34 Let the heaven and earth praise him, the seas, and every thing that moveth therein. 35 For God will save Zion, and will build the cities of Judah: that they may dwell there, and have it in possession. 36 The seed also of his servants shall inherit it: and they that love his name shall dwell therein. --Jesus
I was asked the question:
What do you think happens to the unbeliever at physical death, Scripturally speaking?
To which I answered:
I think we have to get away from this idea (because I can't find it in Scripture) that physical death is the doorway to some new status with God, or that it is an event of any efficacious quality bringing about the fulfillment of some prophecy which has not already been fulfilled, or granting us additional redemptive blessings we don't already have (as those who believe we "get an immortal body" upon physical physical death would maintain: they look to physical death as a reward of some kind, instead of seeing that *Christ* is our inheritance. He is our promised land. *He* is *heaven*.)
It is not physical death which translates us into the kingdom (heaven); it is faith in the shed blood of Christ for the remission of sins which translates us into the kingdom. So, if physical death is not the doorway to the presence of God for believers because they are already there; then physical death is not the doorway to separation from God for unbelievers, because they are already separated from God. The issue for both is faith, or lack thereof; not physicality, or lack thereof. So to your question, what happens to them? They *remain* separated from God. I don't know how that might be differentiated, experientially, apart from a physical body in comparison to being in a physical body, anymore than I know what heaven (which is where we *already are*) will be like for us, experientially, when we no longer have physical bodies. I can only imagine.
But again, I think it is really important that we stop looking to physical death as this "big bang" event, with creative powers. He has already made all things new! When we attach redemptive significance to physical death, we take away from Christ, and His finished work.
I have been married to my loving husband Keith for 26 years. We have three beautiful and brilliant children, ages 24, 22 and 20. Nothing cheers my heart more than having them all at home, yet nothing is more satisfying to my mind than watching them grow from afar. My personal passion is theology: the knowledge and experience of the Truth and Mercy found only in the person and work of Jesus Christ, and displayed in the lives and communion of His people. My husband and I love to travel, and because our children are often out and about in the world, we get lots of opportunities to see it! And we also love to fill our home with friends who love us, and love our wine collection.