One of the things that the Greeks did better than anyone else was wage war. When they would do this, the people in the city would have to be on wartime rationing. They could not use their salt as much. They could not use iron. They had to send their food to the front line in order to help the soldiers. The people back home in the city are living in wartime.
Several hundred miles away, the Greeks wage war, and much more often than not, the Greeks were victorious. At that point, the victory is won. The people in the town did not do the fighting, did not win the war. And, the people in the town cannot make the victory any more real than it is. But, the victory has happened hundreds of miles away. They cannot see this on their television sets.
So what happened? The Greek army would send the euongaleon, a messenger on horseback, and that messenger would ride and ride and ride until either he reached the home city, or else he would hook up, as in a tag team or a relay, with another euongaleon who was fresh and whose horse was healthy and rested. Days sometimes weeks would go by, until finally the euongaleon would arrive and tell the city, victory is ours. The war is over.
That is the most perfect illustration of the Gospel of the Good News of the Euongaleon that I have ever heard, and it is the clearest explanation of the power of the death and resurrection of Jesus that I can ever imagine. The war is over. The people did not fight the war. The war is over. Jesus died upon the Cross and said it is finished. The war is over. He broke the bonds of sin and death.
However, the people in the city do not know this. They cannot make the war over, and they cannot keep it from being over. There is justified to all mankind the forgiveness of sins. Right now, period, it is finished. The war is over. All people are justified.
However, the people in the city live in ignorance and darkness. They do not understand the truth, so they have to have the word proclaimed to them. Once the word is proclaimed to them through the Euongaleon, they have a choice. They can accept that this is the euongaleon, that he is the official representative of the government, and begin then to rejoice. At the moment they accept the message of the euongaleon, the past victory becomes their present reality.
That is the essence of Christianity. The moment at which we hear and accept the Word and the past, victory becomes our present reality. So, who goes to hell?
This is a question which is always asked of me in the context of this discussion. The people, who go to hell, are the ones who do not accept the message of the euongaleon. They do not believe he's an official representative, and they scoff at him.
Therefore, they reject the message that the war is over. They continue to ration their salt. They continue to ration their food. They continue to live as though there is a war. The war is over, externally, objectively, and factually, but their internal world does not accept it. Therefore, they're still living in war. They are still in hell.
That is precisely what happens to us. We begin with an objective fact: God has forgiven the entire human race. The objective fact is that every human being has been perfectly justified. The objective fact is that the war is over. The objective fact is that it is finished.
What we must do is hear the good news, and we must accept it. Once we do that, then the fact of the objective realities become our internal truth. We begin to learn and live in accordance with what has always been true. It has been true for ages that the war is over. It has been true for ages that justification has been given to all men. But, it takes so long for us to accept and understand the message of the euongaleon, and it takes a long time for the objective truth to take hold within our hearts and enable us to live as truly redeemed free people.
That is the message of the euongaleon That is the good news. All people are justified. All people are free. Sin is dead. The war is over.
A powerful revelation, which the Bible contains, is the notion of repentance. Once we accept the gospel, we are always called upon to repent, to turn from our current ways.
Repentance is, again using the original Greek words, "metanoia." "Metanoia" is the Greek word, which we translate into repentance.
Metanoia, in its etymology, means beyond knowledge: meta, beyond or change; noia, knowledge. Repentance, then, actually means to change your way of thinking. You do not have to change the reality, because the reality is forgiveness. You only have to change your thinking. As St. Paul says in Romans 12, "We have to be transformed by the renewing of our minds," so that we can begin to see the truth, to be able to see the truth that there is no war, there is no problem.