Leave the Past Behind
(Kenneth Copeland, “Faith to Faith, devotion)
…But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.
– Philippians 3:13
Failures and disappointments. Aches and pains from the past that just won’t seem to go away. Most of us know what it’s like to suffer from them but too few of us know just what to do about them. So we limp along, hoping somehow they’ll magically stop hurting.
But it never happens that way. In fact, the passing of time often leaves us in worse condition—not better. Because, instead of putting those painful failures behind us, we often dwell on them until they become more real to us than the promises of God. We focus on them until we become bogged down in depression, frozen in our tracks by the fear that if we go on, we’ll only fail again.
I used to get caught in that trap a lot. Then one day when I was right in the middle of a bout with depression, the Lord spoke up inside me and said:
Kenneth, your problem is you’re forming your thoughts off the past instead of the future. Don’t do that! Unbelief looks at the past and says, “See, it can’t be done.” But faith looks at the future and says, “It can be done, and according to the promises of God, it is done!” Then putting past failures behind it forever, faith steps out and acts like the victory’s already been won.
If depression has driven you into a spiritual nose dive, break out of it by getting your eyes off the past and onto your future—a future that’s been guaranteed by Christ Jesus through the great and precious promises in His Word.
…Instead of looking behind you and saying, “I can’t,” you’ll begin to look ahead and say, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me!”
Whether Kenneth knows this or not he is doing fantastic deduction here and avoiding logical superstitions. He puts to shame most of the educated reformed and Christian elites in this one simple devotion.
I will not go long into explaining logic here; however, one or two quick points will be helpful. In logic class or a book on logic, one will soon learn the principle that after one defines a term, they must be consistent to it, or else one will end up in a formal fallacy of a “4 term fallacies,” or informal fallacies such as equivocation.
For example If I say, “ (1) No non-men are smart. (2) All women are non-men. (3) Thus No women are smart.” The issue here is that I changed or equivocated the meaning of non-man (as mankind) from my major premise to just males in the minor premise. By doing this I can make the Bible to superstitiously say whatever I want it to.
Jesus is famous for pointing this issue out in a deduction to the Jewish leaders about the resurrection. Jesus’ deduction hinged on the fact He was consistent with the present tense verb (“I am,” and not I was) in the argument or application of knowledge.
Kenneth correctly points out that past tense, is based off “your” observations. It is merely a descriptive statement about the past. Yet, the promises of God is a truth claim about the present and future.
In other words, saying “[Oshea] is [he who has failed on moral x],” is invalid (equivocation) to say in present or future tense “[Oshea] is [he who will fail on moral x].”
To bring this some context, this is one of the many issues with having empiricism/observation as a starting point for knowledge. To make a statement about past observations to then make a present tense or future tense conclusion is always a logical fallacy; it is always superstitious. To say, “The sun is that which has always risen. The sun is that which as risen today. Thus, the sun will rise tomorrow,” is superstitious nonsense. It is the same as saying, “All trees are organic. Oshea is a tomato. Thus all dogs are clouds.” Both arguments are making many fallacies, but the biggest issue is the ontological one of “category error.” God’s consistent control over reality stops you from obliviating categories. Example, try saying “I do not exist,” without using your existence? It is ontologically impossible. A radio wave might pass through your desk, but your face is not a radio wave. This is one reason, why you do not slam your face as hard as you can into your desk, because your organic face would not harmlessly pass through it like a radio wave. A radio wave and an organic body are not the same categories. Past tense is not the same category as future tense. If you do not have the knowledge of future tense given to you up front (as truth), you cannot morph it into the conclusion without being superstitious and irrational.
To put this simply, the problem with saying, “I have failed this many times, thus, I will fail again,” is that you are an empiricist, which is to say, you are an atheist. You are an atheist because your starting point for knowledge is man’s speculations and not with God’s revelation. All the logical irrationality of empiricism is now part of your reasoning. The more foundational issue here is that empiricism contradicts the Scripture as an epistemology. And thus, it is a point of choosing which God will you submit to and worship. Will you submit to God and start with the knowledge He has revealed, or will it be “your” observations (empiricism) and your superstitions (irrational)? Will you be a Christian or will you be an atheist (empiricism).
People often miss these technical points I brought up here, because it involves God’s good promises about aspects of our lives that some are rather emotional about. God’s good promises for overcoming besetting sins, or healing is God’s revealed definition for Christians just as much as this is God’s definition about the weather, “I will never again destroy all living things. As long as the earth remains… there will be summer and winter, day and night.” ( NLT Ge 8:21–22). This is God’s definition about the earth He created. God’s promises are definitions about His elect. The added layer that sometimes confuses people is the context of relative level ontology. That is, they must believe to receive the completeness of the promises.
Consider the Christians who were sick and dying that Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 11. Paul said God did this because of the dishonor they were doing to Jesus through the Lord’s supper. Paul also says God killed and made them sick (judged) them so that they would not be eternally condemned with the world. These Corinthians are the righteousness of God, as Paul says in chapter 5. It is a categorical fact by God’s definition and power. However, those who died or were currently sick, failed to fully believe the promise of what this meant. That is, there are some aspects of our being adopted and being made the righteousness of God that is intuitive or automatic to faith when we are born again; however, there are further aspects of growing our faith that is acquire by faith taking hold of the promise through maturity. Paul’s encouragement was to stop sinning so that they would stop being killed off and made sick by God. Thus, it was not God’s Will for them to be this way. God’s will is our sanctification, not gross sin. God’s will is for our healing not death and sickness. Christian ethics (i.e. God’s Will for us) is what God commands. This exhortation in James is perfect for them and for any in their shoes, “they will be healed, and they will be forgiven,” (James 5:15). James, as does Isaiah 53 and Psalm 103 and other places, puts the forgiveness of sins and healing together in the same gospel, and same atonement benefit. If you negate one you negate the atonement, for both are produced by the same Jesus in the same atonement. And so, weak faith will lead you to fail in accomplishing God’s will. Weak faith will lead you to fail in aspects of ministry, and so on.
It is odd, when the religious elite Christians mock someone like Kenneth, but when it comes to applying God’s promises and truth to our everyday life, he puts them to shame through fantastic systematic theology, Christian epistemology, logic and application. Kenneth, as least here, leaves empiricism and human superstitions behind and starts with scripture as his epistemology and uses systematic theology, to then validity apply God’s definitions to himself. If he is wrong in other aspects of doctrine, it is correct here.
I will be the first person to happily recommend logic books for any Christian to read, but if after all the book reading and systematic theology you find you cannot believe God’s good promises for your life, you seriously messed up something. You failed Christianity. Faith is God’s love upon a person; it is His public support of a person. God’s good promises, even ones like health and wealth is God’s definition of His children. What good is it, to say you believe in God’s overall sovereignty and truth to define the world, but reject God’s definitions when it comes to you? What a worthless piece of trash. ‘You,’ are ‘you.’ If you reject God’s definition of you, then it matters little that you believe God is truthful when He defines what a dog is. Since you mentally assent God gives a definition of a dog, then maybe that’s why you eat your own vomit of superstitions and speculations, like a dog. As for the rest of us, we will mentally assent to God’s good promises and receive them. Keep your empiricism and atheism to your vomit pit. God’s promises are for me, and I will take them by faith, with or without you, because they are God’s definition over me. God is the all sovereign God, who is able to say, ‘what have you done, why did you make me this way”? God is the Potter and I am the clay, and so, who am I to resist God’s definition over this aspect of reality, called ‘His Elect’?