1 Peter 2:2, “As newborn babies long for the pure spiritual [logikos: logical] milk that by it you may grow up into salvation.”

Milk can go sour; water can get stagnant; and “the Life” can die . . . The Life was once entombed in the earth and entombed in earthen vessels like us. We think of death as the absence of life, but the Bible pictures death as a life separated from the Life, like a bottle of water separated from a stream—like well water. To the woman at the well, Jesus said, I have “living water (freshwater)… The water that I will give, will become in [you] a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Last week, we talked about Ben the Milkman gone sour—sour, for he held a grudge against a woman who owed him a debt. But when Ben chose to turn that debt into a gift, he became, once again, what he had always been: sweet, wholesome, and kind; he forgave.

To Peter, the Resurrected Christ said, “Repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed to all nations.” That’s a “proclamation,” not a threat. To the authorities in Acts chapter five, Peter says “God exalted Jesus at his right hand… to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.” Peter was amazed that God would forgive our sins and even more amazed that he would repent us of our sins. It’s the gift of forgiveness that creates repentance, metanoia, a paradigm shift, a new mind.

“Father forgive them; they know not what they do,” said Jesus on the tree in the garden. That we do that—take his life—is evil. That he does that—give his life—is the Good. That he “lets” us is “forgiveness.” He turns a debt into a gift and the gift is Amazing Grace—it forms a river that fills our lack of love with the river of Relentless Love, Eternal Life; we forgive as we are forgiven.

A friend of mine wrote the wonderful book, What’s So Amazing About Grace. In the first chapter, he basically asks this question, “How did the modern ‘evangelical’ church get a reputation for being so sour?” He received an immense amount of kickback for that book, and yet I don’t remember him suggesting what I find to be most amazing about Grace. That is that Amazing Grace is all that actually . . . is—not a small thing in a big thing (this world, this age), but the only thing that’s actually anything; not an anomaly in reality but reality.

If God is the Creator of all that is, isn’t this the most obvious deduction? Everything that’s anything is Grace. So, sin must be an illusion about Grace, as if a person thought that they could take knowledge from a tree and make themselves in the image of God. And repentance must be like waking from that nightmare in which we all seem to be trapped. And life must be “letting” (“forgive” means “let”) the river flow, the Amazing Grace, the Good, the Eternal Life.

So when, after Christmas, that lady, who owed Ben the debt, found Ben and tried to pay the debt, but Ben informed her that it had been paid—that he paid it—and she looked at him like he was Jesus and started to cry, and he started to cry, and they stood in the street hugging and weeping in joy, that—that experience—was not an anomaly in reality; that was reality; that was the “telos.”

1 Peter 3:8, “And the telos (the completion, the perfection, the End): all of you, same-thinking, co-suffering, brother-loving, tender-hearted, and humble-minded (He’s describing a body), not repaying evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing (He’s describing forgiveness).”

1 Peter 3:18-19, 4:6, “Christ… suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the Spirit, in which he went and preached to the spirits in prison because they formerly did not obey… in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons [7+1] were brought safely through water.”

I don’t think that this statement was in the least bit confusing to the first readers of this letter, but it’s utterly confusing to us because of one English word of which an equivalent cannot be found in Scripture. And that word is “Hell.” And yet, there are Greek and Hebrew words that some English Bibles translate as “Hell.”

We actually think of three separate words, or ideas, as Hell—two are exact opposites and the third is the place that they meet. I call them Hell #1, Hell #2, and Hell #3

Hell #1 is Sheol (in Hebrew)/ Hades (in Greek). It is the realm of the lost, lies, death, and darkness—chaos, that is “I Am” not. It begins on the surface of the earth and can continue in the grave.

Hell #2 is the Eternal Fire. Our God, “I am that I am,” is eternal fire. It is a lake of burning hot Amazing Grace—the Way, the Truth, the Life, and the Light—the Logos in the “logical milk.”

Hell #3 is Gehenna. This is the valley at the edge of Jerusalem. And near the northern end of this valley, Christ was crucified. This is the place Hell #2 invades Hell #1. This is the Judgment of God.

Hell #1 is temporal. Hell #2 is eternal. Hell #3 is the edge of eternity and time where “it is finished” and “everything is good;” It is the edge of the endless 7th Day; It is “now.”

Jesus descended into Hell and “makes all things new (Rev. 21:5).” And many modern “evangelicals” (Good News Tellers), say “That’s impossible.”

1 Peter 4:6, “For this is why the Gospel (Good News) was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does. The end (telos) of all things is at hand.”

In the modern era, some have said that there is no end to all things, for there was no beginning. Now they say, “Sorry we were wrong.” Since the 6th century, many Christians have said that there is no end to all things, for some things must be tortured forever without end. And, of course, Satan is always saying, “There is no end; there is no Jesus, and, if there is a ‘Jesus,’ he is certainly not ‘the beginning and the end’ and ‘the way’ in between.” “‘I am the god of this age (2 Cor. 4:4)’ and there is no ‘telos,'” says Satan.

Peter closes his epistles with this line: “To him (Jesus) be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen (2 Peter 3:18).” The day of eternity is the age to come, which always is, was, and forever shall be. Scripture views all of time as seven ages, “aions,” or days. “With the Lord, a day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day (2 Peter 3:8).” However, the 7th day has no beginning and end, for it is the end and the beginning. And this is the “plan for the fulness of time to unite all thing in him (Eph. 1:10)”—him, being our Lord Jesus, who fills all things with Divinity.

In the 7th day, one moment in time does not simply follow another moment in time, so the moment we take his life on the tree is the moment he gives his life on the tree. In the 7th day, all sin is eternally filled with Grace. In other words, Hell #1 is filled with Hell #2 eternally revealing Hell #3, the glorious judgment of God, Relentless Love in a Body, Adam in the image and likeness of God, Jesus, and all of us happy in him . . . on streets of gold, laughing and weeping in joy like Ben the no longer sour milkman.

The timeline, chronological time, that is the six days of creation, exists “in” eternity like a nightmare on a Sunday afternoon. And so, it is written, “Awake O Sleeper; rise from the dead; and Christ will shine on you (Eph. 5:14).”

We modern evangelical Christians can say such beautiful things about “amazing grace,” and all Satan has to do is whisper, “But hell…” and, for most people, that means that there is no “telos.” And so, they say that they believe in Grace for fear that God might not be Grace, and, with that lack of faith in Grace, they are terrified of Hell #2 (Heaven), and, ironically, they are trapped in Hell #1 . . . for a time. They go sour.

I hope you would tell them (Hell #3), “Amazing Grace is everything that’s anything; Wake up!”

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