Excerpted from Leaving and Finding Jesus / Chapter Seven: Retribution

While we could discuss the afterlife endlessly, “I don’t know” is the only empirically true answer. As to the answer a relational theologian would give, I think anything less than “I sure hope so” would be anti-Christ. I don’t write that with condemnation, but as a challenge to the hearts and minds of friends of Jesus—that we might be set free!

As for me, “Yes, I sure hope so” is my answer. I’ve grown convinced that answer best aligns my heart with the heart Jesus demonstrated on the cross when, hanging between heaven and earth, He said, “Father, forgive them.”

* * *

“Them” is everyone.

There is no exclusion, no, “Father, forgive them….”

if they stop sinning

if they repent

if they receive Me

if they say a sinner’s prayer

if they believe in My name

if they love Me

if they love one another

if they obey My commandments

if they are faithful

if they read Scripture

if they believe in eternal conscious torment



Just, “Father, forgive them.”

All of them.

“For they know not what they do….” Their eyes are unhealthy, and how great is their darkness…

On that cross, God was in Christ reconciling “the world to Himself,” not counting our if’s against us. “The world” includes all the peoples.

There were no omissions, no “The world except everyone in Timbuctoo, El Dorado, and The Simpsons who live at 742 Evergreen Terrace in Springfield, Oregon.

Nope—just “the world.” All of it!

Then, Jesus, on a cross, proclaimed, “It is finished.” 

* * *

“Finished” means “ended or completed.” I looked it up. Case closed, settled, resolved. No one was overlooked by Christ at the cross—not even Judas. Paul told us, “…in Adam, all die, so in Christ, all will be made alive.”

“All” means, “everyone.” I looked it up.

It’s crazy, but most Christians put their faith in the first part of that verse, “In Adam, all die,” but seem to completely ignore the second half and the whole point, “so in Christ all will be made alive.”

What does that ultimately mean? I don’t know, but I bet it’s measurelessly good, and I’m convinced that anything less than positioning our hearts in the hope that all means “everyone.” is not just anti-Christ; it places us firmly on the “What am I still lacking?” road, cut off from experiencing eternal life in the ever-present now. It positions us as self-righteous malcontents slaving on the wrong side of a three-foot concrete median, often in opposition to our Father’s reconciling heart…


This article is excerpted from my book, Leaving and Finding Jesus

Jason Clark is a bestselling storyteller who writes to reveal the transforming kindness of the love of God. He and his wife, Karen, live in North Carolina with their three children, Madeleine, Ethan, and Eva.


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Early encounters with Holy Spirit, the Gospel, growing in the language of love, shifting paradigms from separation to union, the conviction of God’s goodness, The Prodigal Son and the Good Father, Jesus the storyteller, and the significance of presenting the gospel through story, prison ministry, and transformative love, the Eucharist, the eternal now, gratitude and enjoyment; in this conversation Malcolm and Cheryl Smith share their background and journey in ministry, highlighting key moments of encounter and revelation.

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