A podcast interview with me

Chris Date has begun a series of podcasts in which he will interview authors of chapters in A Consuming PassionI am the first person on deck, and Chris spent quite a long time talking with me about my journey to annihilationism. Whether or not you have read the series of blog posts I wrote, which were an early form of the material in my chapter for the festschrift for Edward Fudge, you may be interested in this interview.
Toward the end of the interview, Chris asked whether my becoming a conditionalist had affected any other areas of my theology. I said that this was not the case, outside of eschatology. In my experience to that point, I had seen no other dominoes fall as a result of my new understanding of the nature of hell. Chris was particularly interested in hearing whether my understanding of Christ’s atoning work had been affected by my coming to believe that God ultimately destroys the wicked rather than tormenting them endlessly. I answered in the negative. For good reason, this is a subject of great interest to Chris, and he noted that traditionalists tend to place a very heavy emphasis on Christ’s suffering, in order to demonstrate a coherence between what he experienced and what the unredeemed will experience.
Prior to that time, I had made comments on the issue a few times on this blog. While I was still a traditionalist, I had reached the conclusion that neither traditionalism nor annihilationism gains an apologetic advantage from the doctrine of Christ’s penal substitutionary atonement. It seemed to me that Jesus neither suffered endlessly nor was annihilated. So there is not an exact likeness between Christ’s experience in bearing the penalty of our sin and unrepentant people’s experience in bearing the penalty of their own sin. That was still my view at the time of my podcast conversation with Chris.
It has been a few months since that Skype call conversation and the wheels have kept turning in my mind. To my own surprise and delight, I have come to see the matter differently. So, by way of moving further onward from my written work to date and my recorded conversation with Chris, I want to lay out here what I now believe and why.
Since the penalty for sin is death, what Jesus suffered as our sin bearer was death. Through that death and his glorious resurrection, Jesus the Christ, the world’s only Savior, graciously secured immortality and eternal life for all who are united to him by faith. Hence, the unrepentant wicked, who must pay the penalty for their own sin, necessarily die the “second death,” in the most complete and irrevocable way that Jesus warned about in – destruction of body and soul. Consequently, penal substitutionary atonement accords much better with conditionalism than it does with endless conscious torment.
This is what I want to unpack a bit in the remainder of this post.

Jesus suffered in two distinct ways

In our consideration of the suffering of Jesus, it is critical that we distinguish between two different kinds of suffering, only one of which was directly instrumental in the accomplishment of salvation. I think we can identify them as: (1) the things Jesus suffered with us, and (2) the things Jesus suffered in our place, or instead of us. If we blur this important distinction, we seriously muddy the waters in regard to our doctrine of the atonement and what that teaches us about God’s judgment of unrepentant sinners.

In becoming human, the last Adam, suffered with us.

The eternal Word, who became Jesus through his incarnation, although completely righteous, suffered the penalty for sin, and he did this in his role as the second or “last” Adam. Representatively bearing the consequences of sin’s entrance into the world through the sin of the first Adam, Jesus, the last Adam, brought life where Adam had brought death (; ).

As a man, God’s eternal Son became vulnerable to death, the penalty for sin

The writer to the Hebrews described very clearly the importance and the effect of the Word’s taking upon himself our nature, thereby entering completely into human experience. This entailed suffering, for

It was fitting that God, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For the one who sanctified and those who are sanctified all have one Father. For this reason Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters, saying,

“I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters, in the midst of the congregation I will praise you.” ( NRSV)

This is the sense in which it is legitimate for us to call all human beings “children of God.” In becoming human, Jesus identified with the entire human race, just as Adam was constituted representative of the race in his probation, and this fact is attested by the writer’s quotation of . Human beings were created flesh and blood, and so the eternal Son of God likewise shared flesh and blood (), “so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death” (2:14-15). It was the nature of humans, not the nature of angels, which the Word took upon himself, and this made Jesus mortal. The Word took this frailty upon himself, in order to accomplish redemption and deliverance of us humans from the bondage in which our sin enslaves us.
Paul made the same point in his letter to the Philippians. the Son of God, though being himself “in the form of God,” with all the manifest privileges that this entailed, “emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross.” ().
Both of these passages focus on the significance of the Son’s incarnation for all of humanity. They emphasize that his identification with humans was necessitated by human sin and that it would lead Jesus to death, the penalty decreed for sin, in the basic stipulations God gave to Adam in the garden of Eden. Only one prohibition was stated, eating of “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,” and the consequences of disobedience to that simple command were clearly stated: “for in the day in that you eat of it, you shall die” ().
The apostle Paul summed up the immense implications of Adam’s probation in the garden, the way in which his disobedience implicated all of us, his descendants, but also God’s gracious provision of a remedy in the obedience of the second man/Adam. “Sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned” ( NRSV [or “all sinned” NET]. Thankfully, God did not simply abandon Adam, and all of the sinful race that followed, to death, the penalty for sin. The “grace of God and the free gift in the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ” () made a provision sufficient to redeem the entire human race. “The judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification. If, because of the one man’s trespass, death exercised dominion through that one, much more surely will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness exercise dominion in life through the one man, Jesus Christ” (). “One man’s trespass led to condemnation for all,” but “one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all” (), and when grace exercises “dominion through justification,” it leads “to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (). Hallelujah, what amazingly good news that is!
Every descendant of Adam will die. For some it happens even before they are born, others live for a long time, but we all know that death is inevitable. But it need not be the final story, because, in Jesus, the second Adam, God has made a way by which sinners can rise from among the dead and receive a life which will never end. Having taken upon himself the nature of the first Adam, Jesus was likewise vulnerable to death. But, being the “last Adam,” he got a clean start. Like the first Adam, he was tempted or tested “in every respect . . . as we are” (). But, unlike the first Adam, he remained “without sin” (). The Adversary who had tempted Eve and, through her, Adam, later tempted and tried Jesus with a severity that no other human being has ever experienced, precisely because he resisted all Satan’s efforts, whereas we often and quickly succumb.
In becoming human, the Word incarnate, Jesus, became vulnerable to death as the stipulated penalty for sin, but he never deserved that penalty, because he never sinned. The Word had chosen not only to take our human nature upon himself, he chose to identify with us as sinners. He demonstrated this in his request for John to baptize him with the baptism of repentance. As Jesus told John, he did this “to fulfill all righteousness.” Whereas we are baptized into Christ’s death, he was baptized prospectively of his own death. Although Jesus “knew no sin,” in accordance with what Reformed theologians call the “covenant of redemption,” God “made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (). Here we see the core of the doctrine of incorporated guilt and incorporated righteousness.
[Protestants have tended to speak of imputed guilt and righteousness, and our intent has been good, but I think the choice of terminology is unfortunate. It implies an externality which prompts people to question why one person should be accounted guilty for the sin of another {Adam}, or accounted righteous for the righteousness of another {Jesus}, as though some sort of external transfer was the mechanism at work in such accounting. But I believe that the more biblical way of speaking is incorporation. Being “in Adam” or “in Christ” are the key relationships which lead either to death or to life.]

On the way to death, human life in a world full of sinners is inevitably a life of suffering

We suffer from the effects of sin in the natural world, until we return to the dust from which we were taken (). The whole of creation groans in labor pains as it looks forward to the deliverance that will come about when our own bodies are redeemed (; cf. ). The Son of God subjected himself to this reality during his life on earth, in order that he might eventually regenerate the whole creation, bringing in the new heaven and earth, and subdue all his enemies, the last of which will be death ().
We also suffer the consequences of our own acts of sin. The moral law which God has given us is not arbitrary; it is expressive of his own good nature and it is the way of life which is good for us. Every act of disobedience, conscious or unintended, is folly and it inevitably brings pain and suffering. In a very sobering passage in , Paul describes how one of God’s means of punishing those who “by their wickedness suppress the truth” (1:18), is to withdraw his grace (which protects people, even unbelievers, from the natural consequences of their sin), and to “give people up” to “the lusts of their hearts (1:24), “degrading passions” (1:26), and “a debased mind” (1:28). In such cases, as Augustine wrote, sin becomes its own punishment (Confessions, 1).
Since Jesus was without sin, he did not suffer personally in this way, but he suffered the pain of watching other people who were suffering the consequences of their own perverse and foolish sin. And I assume that Jesus might also have suffered what we could call collateral damage from other people’s suffering of the consequences of their own sin. In military engagements people often suffer pain and loss that was never intended for their particular harm. The goal of the action was to punish or restrain the evil of another person or group, but its effect was wider than that targeted population. There was a ripple effect that spread the suffering. Likewise, innocent people often suffer because of the suffering that others are experiencing as a due consequence of their own evil doing.
Frequently, we suffer the effects of other sinners’ hostility to God. This was doubtless the source of much of Jesus’ most painful suffering. He came to his own people and most of them rejected him (). Most of the religious rulers of Israel, who should have led their people in reception of God’s promised Messiah, suppressed God’s revelation, to their own peril and to the detriment of the people. Jesus described them as “blind guides of the blind,” and warned the people that if they followed these leaders, both they and the leaders would “fall into a pit” (). At every turn, these leaders criticized and opposed Jesus, and ultimately their hostility prompted them to incite false witnesses against him so that they could charge him with blasphemy and seek his death, through the claim that Jesus was a threat to the Roman government. We see the agony of Jesus as he looked out upon Jerusalem and said:

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you, desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.’ ().

This was a form of suffering which Jesus shared with all who seek to follow God, and he warned that we would be treated in the same way that he was treated, that we “will be hated by all because of [his] name” (). In this regard, therefore, Jesus suffered with us and he gives us the privilege of suffering with him.
A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household!” ().
Acts and the New Testament Epistles give many examples of precisely this persecution happening. Paul warned us through Timothy that “all who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (), and he told the Philippians that suffering for Christ was one of the “privileges” which God had given to them (). In my senior year at Bible College, our class verse was , and I confess to struggling with a sense of ambivalence every time we repeated Paul’s words. I very much wanted “to know Christ and the power of his resurrection,” but I shrank from “the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death.”
Yet, that is what we should expect, and we should learn, like Paul, to see our suffering for Christ’s sake as a form of fellowship with him, which is a privilege. Indeed, as Peter said, it is a “calling.” Christ suffered for us, and it is now our privilege to suffer for him. We must do so in ways that imitate his own suffering at the hand of wicked people (), and we know that we will experience God’s approval when we do so (). In Paul’s letter to the Colossians, he described his suffering with and for Christ in a fascinating way, as “completing what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church” ().
What we hear in these texts is sobering and highly important for its practical import for our life as followers of Jesus, but what I want to stress here is that none of our suffering with and for Christ adds in any way to the work Christ did in the suffering which achieved our atonement and accomplished our redemption, justification, sanctification, adoption, and glorification. What Christ suffered uniquely for our salvation is what he suffered instead of us, even though it was brought about, in some measure, by the sort of suffering which we share with him.

To deliver us from the guilt and power of sin and to give us eternal life, Jesus suffered instead of us.

It is in this second form of suffering that we come face to face with the penalty of sin from which Christ delivers all who believe in him. It is here that we grasp the nature of hell, of the divine judgment upon sinners, from which Christ saves all who are “in him.” In being made sin for us, he suffered the penalty of sin on our behalf. He suffered the wrath of the holy justice of God, that which is the essence of all that is depicted in biblical references to Gehenna or hell. And all who are incorporated into Christ by grace, through faith and the gift of God’s Spirit, are delivered from hell, which we deserve, and are given eternal life with God, which we do not deserve, but which God delights to give us.

Jesus suffered the wrath of the God, who is holy and just, so that those in him will not have to suffer that wrath themselves

In recent years, people have often expressed concerns that penal substitutionary atonement is a form of child abuse. This should not occupy us long, because the accusation so completely ignores the Trinitarian nature of all God’s works. The crucifixion of Jesus was not something the Father did to him, it was as much the Son’s as the Father’s act. Everything the Father does is also done by the Son, though in a distinct manner (). Jesus specifically spoke to this matter in , when he describes his work as “the good shepherd” (10:11). It is in that role that he “lays down his life for the sheep” (10:11, 15). This was both a manifestation of the self-sacrificial love of God for sinners and an act that elicited the Father’s love for the Son (10:17). But Jesus insisted: “No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have the power to lay it down, and I have the power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father” (10:18). In his self-humiliation for our sake, the Son always did the will of the Father, and the Father was vocal about the pleasure this gave him (). It was the very “food” of Jesus to do the will of the Father who sent him and to complete his work ().
Fleming Rutledge describes this grace of God in moving terms:

Who would have thought that the same God who passed judgment, calling down woe upon the religious establishment (; ), would come under his own judgment and woe? This is a shockingly immoral and unreligious idea; as we shall see over and over again, however, the crucifixion reveals God placing himself under his own sentence. The wrath of God has lodged in God’s own self. Perfect justice is wrought in the self-offering of the Son, who alone of all human beings was perfectly righteous. Therefore no one, neither victim nor victimizer, can claim any exemption from judgment on one’s own merits, but only on the merits of the Son (The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ, 132).

People whose hearts are hard and impenitent “are storing up wrath” for themselves, “when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed” (), because God will repay each of us according to our deeds (). “To those who by patiently doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life” (), but “for those who are self-seeking and who obey not the truth but wickedness, there will be wrath and fury, . . . anguish and distress” (). The terrifying thing is that our own consciences convict us of having disobeyed God, for none of us will be able to stand before God in the day of judgment and say that we always did what we believed was right and never did what we deemed morally wrong.
It is our own consciences that will testify against us, when we stand before God, and these will be God’s standard of judgment. Granted, our consciences are unreliable, sometimes absolving us when we are guilty of having broken God’s moral law, but at other times condemning us when we are objectively guilty by the demand of God’s law. The point is that, whether correctly or erroneously, properly or improperly informed, our consciences speak what we believe to be moral truth. They are functionally God’s voice, and when we obey or disobey them, we intentionally obey or disobey God, who alone is good and whose will defines the good for all his creatures.
We find in Scripture an interesting phenomenon, that we can be objectively guilty (having violated God’s moral will) but subjectively innocent (for having done what we believed to be right, so that our disobedience was unintentional), and God judges us according to our subjective, not our objective, guilt. This is never more clearly stated than with regard to what may appear the relatively minor issue of dietary morality, in :

The faith that you have, have as your own conviction before God. Blessed are those who have no reason to condemn themselves because of what they approve. But those who have doubts are condemned if they eat, because they do not act from faith; for whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

If we violate our consciences we act in bad faith, and so we are subjectively guilty, having acted with the conscious intention of doing what was sinful. But when we obey our consciences, we act in faith, having done what we believed to be morally right, and God judges us accordingly.
I propose that one of the universal benefits of Christ’s atoning death is the forgiveness of sins of ignorance. Because any and all sin deserves God’s judgment, namely, death, everyone who sins objectively, having done what is morally wrong by God’s standard, deserves to be punished. Before the law of God, they stand guilty. When God chooses not to punish us for unintended sin, however, he does not simply say: “That is OK, it doesn’t matter.” It does matter, and it violates God’s holiness and disrupts the shalom, the total well being, of God’s creation. When God, the Judge of all moral beings, chooses not to punish us for that unintended moral violation, his own holiness is preserved, I suggest, by the fact that Jesus paid the penalty for sin. He is “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (), and he remains righteous by justifying a person in regard to the sin done in ignorance, because Christ bears the penalty (cf. ).
Of course, I am not here speaking of the complete justification that leads to eternal life, simply of that one act for which God does not hold the ignorant sinner accountable. But, nonetheless, I am suggesting one of the ways in which Jesus satisfied the just wrath of God against sin, is in his providing a sacrifice of atonement which God applies to sins of ignorance, that is to say, to acts which, though sinful, were done in good faith (as per ). This was typified in the old covenant provision of sacrifices for sins done unintentionally (; ), particularly in the annual offering of the high priest, in the Holy of Holies, which was for his own sin and “for the sins committed unintentionally by the people” ().
Of much greater magnitude than God’s forbearance of sins done in ignorance is God’s forgiveness of sins done deliberately. No provision was made for these sins in the old covenant sacrificial system. Yet that is precisely what God does to all whom he graciously justifies, not on account of their own righteousness, but on account of the righteousness of Jesus, in whom they are incorporated by faith. That absolution of blatant rebellion, of acts done in violation of our own conscience, is only possible on the part of the Righteous God, because God sees believing sinners, not in their sinful selves, but as covered in the righteousness of Christ. He treats us as “in Christ,” and he gives us eternal life as the reward Christ earned for himself, his own vindication being manifested in his resurrection (). This righteousness is communicated to all who participate in Christ by faith (), resulting in our own resurrection and God’s gift of eternal life ().

An excursus on Christ’s suffering when forsaken by the Father

In we hear a cry from the lips of Christ which has always affected me profoundly: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” These painful words from expressed the agony that Jesus was experiencing in his last moments on the cross. The leaders of Israel had been mocking him: “If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross. . . . He saved others; he cannot save himself. . . . He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he wants to”(). Jesus did trust in God, and God certainly had the power to deliver him, but the Son of Man came “to give his life a ransom for many” (), and his face had been set toward Jerusalem all his life, to make that supreme sacrifice at Passover time. Surely, what Jesus was feeling, when he cried out at being forsaken, was not simply shame at his helplessness in the fact of his mockers, nor a sense that God had indeed abandoned him in his hour of need. For the Father to have delivered him then would have been to abort the purpose for which the Father had sent him. As Isaiah wrote, so graphically and so painfully, Jesus, the suffering Servant “was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities, upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed” (). The Father could have delivered Jesus from the cross, but he did not do so, because he had deliberately “laid on him the iniquity of us all” ().
In my many years as a traditionalist, I viewed Jesus’ cry from the cross through the lens which was so often used when I heard it preached, namely, the alienation of Jesus from the Father by his being made sin. I do not deny the truth of that proclamation at all. But, over time, that moment assumed an importance in my understanding of the atoning work of Christ which I now see to have been misconstrued. I came to see that time, and that interaction between the Father and the Son as the supreme moment of Jesus’ accomplishment of our salvation. The Father’s righteous wrath was poured out, and Jesus, in our place, bore our sin “in his body on the cross,” as Peter put it, with very clearly in his mind (). But, because I saw the Son’s satisfying of the Father’s righteous wrath against sin as of utmost importance, I came to think of that moment as virtually the time at which Jesus redeemed us. I didn’t explicitly say this, to myself or others, but I was working with that concept in mind.
It has taken a while, but being an annihilationist has finally made me aware of my error on this point. I believe that it is true that the Son’s bearing of the Father’s wrath against sin is at the very center of the effectiveness of Christ’s work on the cross. But to put things in the way that I had begun to portray them, would have been to indicate that redemption was accomplished while Jesus was alive on the cross. That is contrary to the continuous testimony of the New Testament that Jesus accomplished our delivery from the guilt and power of sin by his death, by the shedding of his blood. Our redemption in Christ has been “put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith” ().
All the sinners whom God had chosen “before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love,” had been chosen “in Christ” (). It is through this incorporation into Christ that those who believe are saved and “have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses” (, emphasis mine). Their names had “been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slaughtered” (). After Peter’s declaration, by revelation of Jesus’ Father in heaven (), that Jesus was “the Messiah, the Son of the living God,” Jesus “began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised” (; cf. ; ). Jesus described in detail the events which would occur to him in Jerusalem – condemnation to death, handing over to the Gentiles, mocking, spitting, flogging, and killing, but then rising again after three days (). He spoke of those events as the cup that he was about to drink ().
Jesus had stated to his disciples that, although his soul was troubled, he would not ask the Father to save him “from this hour,” because it was “for this reason” that he had “come to this hour” (). What Jesus did request was that the Father glorify his name, and the Father answered: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again,” with a voice which the crowd took to be either thunder or the voice of an angel who had spoken to Jesus (). But Jesus told them that this voice had not spoken for his sake, but for the crowd’s because the time had come for “the judgment of this world, “ when “when the ruler of this world will be driven out.” And when Jesus was “lifted up from the earth,” he would “draw all people to [him]self” (). That was his way of indicating the kind of death he would die (). In the garden of Gethsemane, Peter drew his sword in an effort to protect Jesus from arrest, but Jesus told him: “Put your sword back into its sheath,” because Jesus willed: “to drink the cup that the Father has given me” ().
Consequently, it is highly unlikely that, in Gethsemane, Jesus asked the Father to allow him not to drink the cup of death (; ). Earlier that evening, at the Passover super where Jesus instituted what we call “the Lord’s Supper,” Jesus had taken up the cup of wine and invited his disciples to drink it in remembrance of him, because it was “the cup that is poured out for you,” the cup of “the new covenant in [Jesus’] blood” (). Whatever Jesus meant when he prayed in the garden, it cannot have been a request for deliverance from the death which was the Son’s very purpose for coming to the earth as a man, the last Adam.
Various suggestions have been made concerning Jesus’ intent. One of the most common is that Jesus knew that it was not possible that he should be kept from death, but that, in his human frailty, he naturally shrank from the immense suffering that lay ahead of him, even though he willingly submitted himself to the Father’s will, knowing that he must drink this cup. But I give stronger credence to the proposal of J. O. Buswell Jr., that “our Lord Jesus Christ, finding himself in this physical state of extreme shock [“profuse perspiration,” indicating risk of “collapse and even death”], prayed for deliverance from death in the garden, in order that He might accomplish His purpose on the cross” (A Systematic Theology of the Christian Religion, II, 62). This, Buswell suggests, is Jesus’ prayer “to Him who was able to save Him from death,” a prayer which was answered (; Buswell, II, 62-63).
Reading through Scripture, we are very quickly impressed with how frequently death is cited as the penalty God established to punish sin. In the old covenant, God had prescribed the system of animal sacrifices for sin, to typify the perfect sacrifice which Jesus was to make, but the same principle was at work: “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins” (). It is precisely for this reason that Jesus came to “give his life as a ransom for many” (). Consequently, in bearing that penalty on our behalf, Jesus satisfied vicariously God’s righteous demand, and he thereby redeemed those in him from the guilt and power of sin.

The necessity of Jesus’ resurrection for our salvation

In dying and rising from the dead, Jesus conquered death. In that victory, Jesus’ resurrection is critical. Apart from Jesus’ resurrection, even though Christ died for us and we with him, death would still be our final destiny. Paul stated this most clearly, in his fullest discussion of Christ’s resurrection.
If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have died in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. ()
Filled with the Holy Spirit whom God had poured out upon the believers in Jerusalem, on the day of Pentecost, Peter explained to the puzzled crowd what had taken place that day, and what it meant in regard to Jesus of Nazareth. He was “a man attested to [them] by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among [them]” (). But, in keeping with God’s “definite plan and foreknowledge,” Jesus had been handed over to them, and he had been “crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law” (). But God had not left Jesus in the grave, rather, “God raised him up, having freed him from death, because it was impossible for him to be held in its power” (). Israel’s king David had spoken of precisely this, in :

For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One experience corruption. You have made known to me the ways of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence ().

God had willed that Jesus should be put to death unjustly, by human powers, but he would not leave him dead, unlike David himself, whose tomb was in Israel at that time. So David had not been speaking of himself, but of “the resurrection of the Messiah” (). God had raised Jesus up, to which the disciples bore witness, and had exalted him at the right hand of God. Having “received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit,” Jesus had then poured out what the crowd had witnessed that day (). Furthermore, everyone who would repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus, would have their sins forgiven, and would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (). That promise was not just for them, it has continued to be true ever since then, as we can testify from our own experience.
Paul told the Romans (and us, as Paul stresses []) that God reckons faith as righteousness to all who believe with the quality of faith exercised by Abraham. Righteousness “will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification (; emphasis mine). In short, had Jesus not been personally vindicated by God’s raising him from the dead, we who believe in God would not be pardoned for sin, declared not guilty, and therefore resurrected from death to eternal life. “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” ().
Everyone is raised from the dead, both righteous and wicked alike, although Scripture makes much less mention of the wicked because, for them, it is not good news, as it is for those who die with Christ and rise again to new life. It seems clear that, even if Jesus had not risen from the dead, God would have raised all the natural descendants of Adam from the dead, in order that they might all be gathered before God’s judgment seat, so that they might be “judged according to what they had done” (), and the justice of God’s judgment upon them as sinners might be revealed. But, in that awful scenario, the entire human race would have been put to death again, in the “second death,” the lake of fire (), and would eventually have been consumed by the fire of God’s wrath. Though everyone is raised, only those who died in Christ (by faith) will be raised with him, in the resurrection of which he himself was the first fruit (). This is the good news of the “gospel,” that Christ “abolished death and brought life and immortality to light” (). Only those who die in faith, by God’s grace, are raised to that endless life and given immortality.
Because I see the theme of Christ’s victory over his enemies (“Christus Victor”), particularly Satan and death, as the dominant metaphor in the Bible’s description of the atonement, the resurrection of Christ looms even larger than it would for those who identify penal substitution as the dominant theme, which is quite common in evangelicalism. Death is the last enemy that Christ destroys (), and this makes best sense, I believe, within annihilationism. Death and Hades (the place of the dead) “gave up the dead that were in them, and all were judged according to what they had done” (). But “then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire” (). When the redeemed are given eternal life, and when the wicked are destroyed in the second death (), then there is no need for Hades, for a place of the dead. Death itself, spoken of as personified, is itself destroyed. It is “swallowed up in victory” (), and it has lost its sting, for “the sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law,” (), but God has given us victory over both sin and death, “through our Lord Jesus Christ” ().
I postulate, therefore, that death is destroyed when it has finally served as God’s instrument for destroying his sentient and volitional enemies, so that absolutely no rebellious creature remains anywhere in creation. This is a vastly different picture of the finality of Christ’s work than is presented by traditionalism, which depicts a multitude of creatures living endlessly in rebellion against God, in spite of being eternally consciously tormented, and even though their animosity is futile.
Universal reconciliation, the salvation of all God’s moral creatures would appear to be an even more glorious victory on God’s part, but there is insufficient biblical support for universalism, despite its great attractiveness. Nonetheless, I find comfort in the grounds I find for hopefulness that most of the human race will be redeemed.
We must praise God that he “so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life” (). Here, and everywhere in Scripture, the message is clear and the importance of our response to God is unmistakable. Each of us is faced with life or death, and the only way to life is by incorporation into Jesus by faith. He paid the penalty of sin, namely, death (not eternal torment), but those who reject his summons to believe and to obey, must bear the penalty themselves. To die in unbelief is to remain in the condemnation of our sin and hence to be raised to “shame and everlasting contempt,” rather than to “everlasting life” ().1 Traditionalists speak as though we have a choice between eternal life with God and eternal life apart from God. But Scripture never describes the alternatives in that way. Those “who do not know God” and “who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus,” will not be given eternal life away from God. Their destiny is to “suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, separated from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might” (; emphasis mine). Without God’s continual sustaining power, no creature can exist, and God has chosen to destroy, rather than to torture endlessly, those who wickedly suppress the truth which God has revealed to them ().
Choose Life!

  1. Lest “everlasting contempt” should be seen as evidence of the continuing existence of the wicked, I note that only the righteous need to exist eternally, since their contempt is for wicked beings who no longer exist or threaten God’s being all-in-all. Thus the shalom of his entire creation has been restored, and everything God made is, once again, “all very good.” The glory and beauty of God’s creation is no longer marred by the wickedness of such contemptible beings. It might even be that their contemptibility persists as historical fact, even when memory of them fades. []

28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.

15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. 16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. 17 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. 20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:42-49

42 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. 47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.

10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11 For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, 12 saying,

“I will tell of your name to my brothers;
in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.”

what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?

Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under his feet,

14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,

who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—

15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.

16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. 17 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.

21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

16 To the woman he said,

“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
in pain you shall bring forth children.
Your desire shall be for your husband,
and he shall rule over you.”

17 And to Adam he said,

“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.”

20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

28 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.

13 He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. 14 Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”

27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, 30 saying, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. 33 You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? 34 Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, 35 so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of innocent Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. 36 Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.

37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! 38 See, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”

22 and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.

12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,

29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,

10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,

20 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.

20 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.

24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church,

19 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.

10:1 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

19 There was again a division among the Jews because of these words. 20 Many of them said, “He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?” 21 Others said, “These are not the words of one who is oppressed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”

22 At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. 24 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” 33 The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.” 34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? 35 If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken— 36 do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 37 If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; 38 but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” 39 Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands.

40 He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing at first, and there he remained. 41 And many came to him. And they said, “John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.” 42 And many believed in him there.

29 And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.”

34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.

23:1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so practice and observe whatever they tell you—but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10 Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. 11 The greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. 15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.

16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ 17 You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? 18 And you say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.’ 19 You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20 So whoever swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. 21 And whoever swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it. 22 And whoever swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it.

23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. 24 You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!

25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.

27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, 30 saying, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. 33 You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? 34 Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, 35 so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of innocent Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. 36 Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.

37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! 38 See, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”

11:1 Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” And he said to them, “When you pray, say:

“Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.

Give us each day our daily bread,
and forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.”

And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

14 Now he was casting out a demon that was mute. When the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke, and the people marveled. 15 But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of demons,” 16 while others, to test him, kept seeking from him a sign from heaven. 17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls. 18 And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. 19 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 20 But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 21 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe; 22 but when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil. 23 Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

24 “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ 25 And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order. 26 Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first.”

27 As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” 28 But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”

29 When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, “This generation is an evil generation. It seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. 30 For as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. 31 The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. 32 The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.

33 “No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. 34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness. 35 Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness. 36 If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light.”

37 While Jesus was speaking, a Pharisee asked him to dine with him, so he went in and reclined at table. 38 The Pharisee was astonished to see that he did not first wash before dinner. 39 And the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40 You fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But give as alms those things that are within, and behold, everything is clean for you.

42 “But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. 43 Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seat in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces. 44 Woe to you! For you are like unmarked graves, and people walk over them without knowing it.”

45 One of the lawyers answered him, “Teacher, in saying these things you insult us also.” 46 And he said, “Woe to you lawyers also! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers. 47 Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets whom your fathers killed. 48 So you are witnesses and you consent to the deeds of your fathers, for they killed them, and you build their tombs. 49 Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,’ 50 so that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation, 51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be required of this generation. 52 Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.”

53 As he went away from there, the scribes and the Pharisees began to press him hard and to provoke him to speak about many things, 54 lying in wait for him, to catch him in something he might say.

But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.

He will render to each one according to his works:

to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life;

8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 9

9:1 I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit— that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.” 10 And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— 12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? 25 As indeed he says in Hosea,

“Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’
and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’”
26 “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’
there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’”

27 And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved, 28 for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay.” 29 And as Isaiah predicted,

“If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring,
we would have been like Sodom
and become like Gomorrah.”

30 What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33 as it is written,

“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense;
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

22 The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.

14:1 As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; 11 for it is written,

“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall confess to God.”

12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.

13 Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. 14 I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. 15 For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. 16 So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

20 Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. 21 It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. 22 The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

17 “If anyone sins, doing any of the things that by the Lord’s commandments ought not to be done, though he did not know it, then realizes his guilt, he shall bear his iniquity. 18 He shall bring to the priest a ram without blemish out of the flock, or its equivalent for a guilt offering, and the priest shall make atonement for him for the mistake that he made unintentionally, and he shall be forgiven. 19 It is a guilt offering; he has indeed incurred guilt before the Lord.”

22 “But if you sin unintentionally, and do not observe all these commandments that the Lord has spoken to Moses, 23 all that the Lord has commanded you by Moses, from the day that the Lord gave commandment, and onward throughout your generations, 24 then if it was done unintentionally without the knowledge of the congregation, all the congregation shall offer one bull from the herd for a burnt offering, a pleasing aroma to the Lord, with its grain offering and its drink offering, according to the rule, and one male goat for a sin offering. 25 And the priest shall make atonement for all the congregation of the people of Israel, and they shall be forgiven, because it was a mistake, and they have brought their offering, a food offering to the Lord, and their sin offering before the Lord for their mistake. 26 And all the congregation of the people of Israel shall be forgiven, and the stranger who sojourns among them, because the whole population was involved in the mistake.

27 “If one person sins unintentionally, he shall offer a female goat a year old for a sin offering. 28 And the priest shall make atonement before the Lord for the person who makes a mistake, when he sins unintentionally, to make atonement for him, and he shall be forgiven.

but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the unintentional sins of the people.

and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

22:1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?

41 So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, 42 “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”

45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his stripes we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

53:1 Who has believed what he has heard from us?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people?
And they made his grave with the wicked
and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.

24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.

even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,

and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.

17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.

21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.”

22 As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men, 23 and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” And they were greatly distressed.

22 saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”

33 And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.

22 Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.”

27 “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour.

29 The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.”

30 Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out.

33 He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die.

10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) 11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”

39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”

42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”

20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.

27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,

45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know—

23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.

24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.

I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.

11 You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
or let your Holy One see corruption.
28 You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’

29 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.

32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.

38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord,

24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done.

Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.

Revelation 20:14-15

14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.

26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done.

14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.

Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.

54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.

57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.