FAITH – God’s Goodness and Mercy – Greg Albrecht
Do I understand correctly that faith comes as a gift from God and we can’t develop true faith on our own? If so then it seems to me that God hasn’t yet given true faith to most of the people that have ever lived, from Adam on down to today.
And if God shows no favoritism and loves everyone equally then at some point He will give everyone faith. Everyone will believe in Him. Whosoever believeth in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. And if we stand in front of God when we die surely we’ll believe him then. Just seems to me like most people won’t believe till after they die.
Didn’t Jesus lead spirits out of hell when He went there on Saturday and preached to them that had been there since the flood? I think He will save everyone in the end. Even Hitler and the rest.
Speaking of hell, about 30 years ago you, Greg Albrecht, were a major part of helping me leave the cultic spiritual prison I was in at the time. I had a hard time leaving that prison, even when the cell doors were opened, when I was being set free from all that, excuse my language, crap. But after a while, I realized God was setting me free and I believe he will free everyone in His own good time.
Greg I love you brother. You can’t know how much so many around this world love and appreciate the work you and your amazing team continue to do, serving us in and with Jesus. Please keep on keeping on. Thank you.
I agree with almost every issue you raise, and the particular take you have on them, but please allow me a few extra thoughts:
1). Faith – I believe there is human faith and divine faith. All humans have the capacity to have faith – I believe this comes with the image of God (Genesis 1:27). So with human faith comes the capacities to imagine, dream, hope and be optimistic. There are times when the Bible speaks of this human faith on its own, but there are also times when the Bible speaks of divine faith. Divine faith, as with all spiritual attitudes, all Christ-centered thoughts in heart, soul and mind, is a gift of God.
We do not have any faith that is capable of moving us across the bridge from humanity and our carnal interests to the heart, mind and soul of God. Even the realization that we are not “all that” and we need God is, I believe, a gift of God – repentance is called a gift of God in the New Testament. It is a totally inhuman act in that we are not inclined to believe we are wrong and we need God. Thus faith is a gift of God, it can be received by us, by grace, though Christ, but it is not initiated, produced or manufactured by us, apart from God. Christ followers, as I see it, have their own human faith which, when they trust and believe and rely on Jesus implicitly, picking up their cross to follow him, is given a heavenly, divine faith which combines with their human faith.
2). Thankfully, I believe we have no idea about those who respond to God’s call, his invitation to faith, his welcome, the beckoning gestures of Jesus – but I suspect the number is low, but I also suspect the number is higher than I think, simply because I know my humanity is proud and attempts to persuade and convince me that very few are as “good” as I am – we are all tempted to be, in this respect, somewhat like Elijah who felt as he was on the run for his life from Baal worshippers, most notably Ahab and Jezebel, that he must be the only one who was faithful to God, God told Elijah (1 Kings 19:18) that there were 7000 people in Israel at that time who had not bowed the knee to Baal. That was a much larger percentage of the population than 7000 might represent today in most countries – so in effect, God to Elijah, “I have a lot of people who are faithful to me, you just don’t know about them.” That thought fills me with both human and divine faith!
3). I concur with you that many will not believe in God until just before they die or after. Just like Elijah presuming he was the only faithful follower of God, then to find out from God that there were MANY others – I see a similar dynamic in this issue. I believe that MANY, based upon so many testimonies I have heard, read about and personally experienced, have a conversion experience – an intimate “death bed like repentance” in this last weeks of their life. Some might demean such a conversion thinking that such folks “got away” with living a wild life and then at the very end turned to God – but let us know that the mercies, grace and love of God are deeper and higher and more profound than anything we might ever know, in our flesh, on this side of eternity.
4). Yes, 1 Peter 3:19 speaks of Jesus speaking to spirits in prison, and Ephesians 4:8 speaks of the net effect of his death and resurrection on releasing captives – no doubt about it, Jesus has triumphed over death and the grave! Thanks be to God!
5). In terms of everyone being saved, I believe in what some might call “hopeful inclusion” – that in the end the vast majority, whatever the specific details of their repentance and belief are when finally revealed, will be saved. However, because God has given us the power of choice, because he created the conditions (human choice) for evil, and because God will not force anyone (the Prodigal Son an example) to accept his love, freely allowing people to “leave” or “reject” him, I believe that some will, for whatever reason, reject God. I hope that is a small percentage of all who have ever lived – perhaps less than 1 %. But don’t take my estimate too specifically – I really have no idea, neither does anyone else! But for all to be saved then God must insist that we accept his offer, and if we will all accept his invitation and offer, then it is not an invitation nor an offer, but a foregone conclusion.
6). Hitler? When we are all seated at the great banquet table, the marriage supper, if someone finds the person across the table from them to be Hitler, it may come as a huge shock and stumbling block – but then again, if it does, then they would not be there to begin with. All who are given eternal life, as I see it, will want MORE, not less, to share it with them and will, by virtue of being there, be acutely aware of their own foibles, flaws and faults – I have no idea about Hitler’s ultimate spiritual state, but I see Jesus loving him just as much as anyone, for John 3:16 says God so loved the world – ALL of us, just not those of us who by the grace of God realize now a deeper sense of human need and a deeper sense of the magnificent love of God.
7). I do know how hard it is to leave and reject cultic teaching. As someone once said, “The truth will set you free, but first it will hurt like hell.” In my own case, after almost 40 years of bad road, consisting of mud, potholes, ditches, detours that lead nowhere fast, and certainly unpaved spiritual roads, the grace of God shined in my life. I am ever thankful for that, and more than that to be able to share what I have experienced and the God I now know, by his grace, with so many, and that includes you.
8). Thanks for your kind words – I too count you as a precious brother in Christ. Perhaps, as you note, we can’t know how many are “out there” who appreciate what we are doing just like Elijah could not see the entire perspective – but know this, when someone like you takes the time to encourage us, it makes a huge difference. I am reminded of another Old Testament prophet, in this case Elisha, whose servant was dismayed by the sight of an enemy army completely encircling the city in which he and Elisha were staying. Elisha asked God to open the man’s eyes so that he could see the spiritual reality – and upon his eyes being opened the servant saw the opposing armies of the enemy themselves encircled by angelic armies of horses and chariots of fire. Moral to the story: Don’t be dismayed. Don’t pretend you can see all the reality that exists. Follow and focus on Christ to that your eyes may be opened, healed and the glory of the Lord revealed!
Your brother in Christ