“I have decided to deliver such a one to Adversary for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”
- 1 Corinthians 5:5
Did you just see that?
Paul is saying that it is possible to be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus (The day of Judgement)! — “so that his spirit may be saved in the day of Lord Jesus!” So many theologians and scholars, Christians and even my dear friends, have told me that there is not a second chance for those who do not accept Jesus (choose him) on this earth… Now I know that this is NOT true!
Why would Paul say such a thing, that a person, if continuing in sin without repentance, would be handed over to the Adversary (Satan) for the “destruction of the flesh”, if there was no second chance? How cruel and evil would that be, that for the rest of ones life, he/she would be handed over to Satan to be destroyed until the day when there is no hope? No hope? Thats the answer? NO!
It simply cannot be true to say one only has a choice here and now, otherwise they’ll either be eternally damned with unending torment or annihilated from the face of mankind (the annihilation theory is basically saying that God wishes that He never created these damned beings — but the problem lies here — that why would God create them in the first place if He was going to annihilate them?). OR they’ll be brought into the life of God, restored to right relationship with Him!
Now, annihilation and eternal damnation (unending torment in hell), are ‘supported’ by scriptures that speak of “destruction”. There’s a verse in Matthew (10:28) that speaks of both the “body and soul” being destroyed in Gehenna (wrongly translated “hell”), and others, like the one above, that speak of the “destruction of the flesh”…
(The Greek word for “destruction” is Apollumi. Look at the translation below in the quote).
Lets look at a point made by Gerard Beauchemin, author of Hope Beyond Hell: The Righteous Purpose of God’s Judgements, on a response to the verse above, 1 Cor. 5:5 ::
Death and destruction are thought by most Christians to refer to an eternal hell of suffering or to a state of annihilation. Thus, they are understood to be a permanent state. I think if we closely compare Scripture with Scripture, line upon line, we will see this falls sort of what God is all about! Even in death and destruction, God will not be defeated. His promises to restore al (Acts 3:21; 2 Cor. 5:19; Eph. 1:10; Col. 1:19-21) will come to pass in their appointed times (Eph. 1:9-11; 1 Tim. 2:6). In An Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words regarding “apollumi”, W.E. Vine stated, “The idea is not extinction but ruin, loss, not of being, but of well being…”
Did you realize that the very ones Christ came to save are the “destroyed” ones? “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost [apollumi]” (Luke 19:10). Apollumi is the very condition qualifying us for salvation! Are the lost (apollumi) ones then the annihilated ones or those not yet found? At what point does apollumi become so permanent it exceeds God’s power and will to save? What justifies us to put limits on Him who is able to turn stones into worshippers (Luke 3:8)?
What gives God greater glory: annihilation or restoration? Stop! Think about that for a moment. “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living for all will live to Him (Luke 20:38).” “For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living (Romans 14:9).” “With God nothing is impossible!” See Luke 1:37.
- Gerard Beachemin (www.HopeBeyondHell.net)
As I continue to look at the scripture above in 1 Corinthians 5:5, I continue to see so much more than what our wrongly trained eye normally sees the interpretation of it.
What is the flesh? How are we rid of the flesh? Here are a few bullet point below.
- Our flesh is our body and soul without the Spirit.
- Through the fire of God, the destruction of our flesh, we are cleansed.
- Through the “taking up of our cross daily” and follow Christ, taking every thought captive, and allowing God to cleanse us of all unrighteousness - this is how we become rid of our flesh.
But what are we missing when we have only soul and body?
We are missing the Spirit! The Spirit of God is the Breath of Life that was breathed into Adam and Eve in the beginning, but was taken from us when we sinned and “died unto death”!
In Matthew 10:28 says:
“Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body (FLESH) in Gehenna (not hell!).”
Do you see that? So many have said that God will utterly “destroy” (annihilate or eternal damn, as is misinterpreted and mistranslated) both the soul and body in Gehenna (Which is not Hell, read more here)!
The soul and the body, without the spirit, is flesh (sin resulting in death)! But when you add the Spirit, the Breath of God, back into the dead soul and body, you have life!
And thats what Paul was stating in 1 Corinthians 5:5! That when the “flesh” (body and soul) are destroyed, then God has free reign to breath Life back into the soul and body through His Spirit!
Thats what we’ve been missing. Thats why we die! We are missing the Spirit, the very Breath of God’s Life! And, as Paul says, even those who continue to live in the flesh the rest of their lives, will indeed be saved and restored to right relationship with God, and through the Spirit, be given LIFE!
This is the future hope, the promise of God! To restore ALL of Creation, no matter what!
But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us (all mankind), not on the basis of our deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Spirit of God!
- Titus 3:4-5
For continued reading on this topic, go here to A. E. Knoch’s article on “The Meaning of Destruction”.