Category Archives: Christian Axiology

Be Good Stewards of Pain, Or God’s Promises?

I read this irritating quote from Jerry bridges the other day.

 

“….We usually think of Christian stewardship in terms of money. Some churches have ‘stewardship campaigns’ during which they seek to get their membership to pledge toward the annual church budget. Then the concept of stewardship was broadened to include our time and talents—or as one slogan puts it, ‘Be a good steward of your time, talents, and treasure.’ The idea behind these concepts is that whatever resources God has given us, He has entrusted them to us as stewards to use for His glory.
“Now apply that idea to pain, either physical or emotional. If we believe God is sovereignly in control of all circumstances of our lives, then our pain is something He has given to us just as much as our time or talents or treasure. He has entrusted the pain to us as stewards to be used for His glory.
“How can we be good stewards of the pain God gives us? One way … is to trust Him even though we don’t understand the purpose of the pain…… ”
“Joy of Fearing God.” Pg. 225 Jerry Bridges.

Ontology Is Not Ethics

There are a few problems with this. The first main “if…then,” argument only in essence says, “ If God CAUSES all things, then God CAUSES this thing.” It is a broad but correct deduction. So far, so good. This category is only dealing with ontology. Yet, the conclusion he makes that pain is like stewardship, is an implied “ought.” So that we ought to obey God by using pain in such and such a way. This is now a category or ethics—a different category. Ethics is what God commands. However, Jerry provides no command from God (in what I read) clearly showing we “ought” to treat pain the way he seems to imply. It is made up human superstition and disobedience.

Informal Fallacy

This is an inductive argument in the form of arguing from analogy, which is invalid. [ That is, X, R, T, and F all have characteristic 1, 2, and 3. Also, X, R and T have characteristic 4. Thus, F has characteristic 4 as well. ]
The problem with an invalid argument from analogy is when one takes it further. If we see where it leads it would imply that pain is not merely something to “steward,” but even a “gift.” I surely take my “talent” to play music for God as a gift – and money, and time. Some theologies treat pain like a sick religious fetish. The Kingdom of self rules them. The kingdom of human superstitions (induction) and human starting points of knowledge is their idol and god.

Hanna

We do in fact know –broadly speaking—what to do with suffering that GOD CAUSES in us. Everything in reality is explained by God directly causing it. So What? This gives us no command to know what we “ought to do,” when God causes something. Hannah knew what to do when she dealt with the pain of not having a child, she asked for a miracle and received one – a gift. She did not like the pain and wanted it to go away. God gave her a son, as a gift. The pain stopped. God has commanded us to believe in His promises. Christian ethics is not an inductive conclusion taken from some nebulous notion of what one thinks God’s causality is doing at a given moment.

Hannah, therefore, was a hero of faith and ethics. After speaking of God’s sovereignty (“God kills and makes alive”) she proclaims that for the humble who believe in Him, (1 Sam. 2:9,8) “For the foundations of the earth are the LORD’s; on them he has set the world. He will guard the feet of his faithful servants, but the wicked will be silenced in the place of darkness. It is not by strength that one prevails. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor.”
Hannah, therefore, was a faithful steward of the promises of God by believing in them – and giving glory to God as a “GOOD” Father by receiving the very thing she asked from Him (a fish for a fish, bread for bread, an egg for an egg, and a son for a son).

 

God’s Will, Made Me Unwise

 

First a clarification of Christian categories.

Vincent Cheung has been helpful on this topic to me, and he gives some good examples from Scripture on this distinction of Metaphysics/decree versus the different category of Ethics/God’s Precepts. Notice the “will of God,” in Mark 3 and 1 Peter 3 are used differently.

1 Samuel 2:25

His sons, however, did not listen to their father’s rebuke, [precept] for it was the LORD’s will to put them to death. [decree]…

Mark 3:35, For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother. [precept]

1 Peter 3:17, For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil. [decree [1]

Paraphrasing Mark and Peter with a more direct meaning of the term “will of God.”

Mark, “Whoever obeys God’s commandments is my brother.”
Peter, “It is better if God causes you to suffer for doing good rather than evil.”

Second. So the advice is if God sovereignly gives you something you accept it? How stupid can you get. God sovereignly gives and causes all things, even all sin. In this metaphysis sense, God is the metaphysical author of sin.[2] So what? This has nothing to do with human ethics, or that is, what we ought to do.

By God’s sovereign will, He make all of us born as unbelievers and sinners. How are we to “steward” this? The question is an “ought” question (not metaphysics); therefore, we need to know what God commands, and not what He has caused. God commands for us to repent and be saved through faith in Jesus Christ. Thus, this is how we steward being born sinners by God’s sovereign will.

If you have a “lack of wisdom,” then God sovereignly caused you to have it. How does one steward this lack of wisdom? This again is asking an ethics question; that is, “what ought I do?” Christian ontology—God sovereignly making you have a lack of wisdom—is not a category of ethics; thus, to conclude from this descriptive premise of ontology into ethics is invalid. Pragmatically speaking it is voodoo and witchcraft.

As for ordinary life difficulties, it is God’s will for victory. James says if you face the common difficulty of lacking wisdom you are to ask in faith, and then God will give it to you. Think about it! It is not God’s will for you to stay in a lack of wisdom. What you “ought” to do is have faith and be victorious over this hardship of confusion by getting wisdom from God. This is not a self-help tip. It is a precept from your Master. The command is that BY YOUR FAITH, YOU are to obtain it.

Give it some thought.

If God directly controls all reality, then everyone who lacks wisdom is due to God’s Will.

(P) If it is God’s will [decree] for me to lack wisdom, (Q) then what I ought to do is accept God’s Will [ethic] and be unwise.

You realize how incredibly moronic this is, right? You realize how disobedient and disrespectful that is toward God, right? What God causes you to experience is not the same category of what you ought to do about it. If you want to know what you should to do, then ask what are God’s commands about this. Obey God. Get some wisdom by your faith. If you do not get wisdom because of your lake of faith, then you are in direct disobedience of God.

James command about healing, since we started about “pain,” is that we not merely pray about it, but that “by your faith” you actually get healed and get forgiven.

 

——–Endnotes———

 

[1] Vincent Cheung’s essay, “Ezekiel 18:23 and 33:11.” (www.vincentcheung.com). It is also found in his book, “Sermonettes Vol. 8, chapter 4.” 2015. Pg, 22-32.

[2] I got this phrase, “metaphysical author of sin,” from Vincent Cheung. See, Systematic Theology, And Commentary on Colossians and Reflections on Second Timothy.

 

 

Martin Luther- The Bondage of the Will – Commentary

Martin Luther. The Bondage of the Will.

Quotes from, unless noted are from, Martin Luther, The Bondage of the Will; translated by J. I. Packer and O. R. Johnston; Fleming H. Revell ,1957

 

Martin’s argument in a quick summary. It seems to me it is constructed like a large fortiori argument. He defends the lesser in greater length, (relative level) to say you ought to accept the greater(ultimate), since the same conclusion is in both, which is, there is no free-will. But if you do, then how much more is the point made?

 God is the ultimate cause of all things directly and absolutely. That is, in philosophy verbiage, Christian ontology is God’s direct causality over all things, even evil. And so God is the author—on the ontological level—of all things including good and evil. God directly causes Satan to will evil, as directly as He causes a Saint to will to do good. However, if this seems too much for you right now, then consider it on the relative level. Man, relative to Satan’ power and their own inward evil heart is not free to will contrary to these masters. Also, the Saints in heaven, are not free to will to do evil. They are under the motion and master of God’s Spirit to do good. Their wills are non-effective to resist the Spirit’s control.  Thus, man’s will is non-effective against relative things such as Satan control, their sin nature’s control, and for saints, the Spirit’s control. Thus, for man’s will to be effective it must be free, but it is non-effective against its masters. Non-effective effective is nonsense. Thus, a non-freewill freewill is nonsense. However, since this is true, then why resist the Scripture’s teaching on the Ultimate level? For it would result in the same conclusion, that man will is non-effective.

Yet, for the God’s chosen they will be saved, sanctified and glorified. They will enjoy happiness without end, for God’s will is indeed very effective toward His chosen ones.

The end result then? Argumentum a fortiori. If man on the lesser “relative level” is not-free to sin and Satan, or to the Spirit of Life, then how much more is man not free on the “ultimate level,” when God is the only direct cause of all things? If man’s will is non-effective on the lesser, then how much more is it non-effective to the greater! Also, if God’s will is so effective when considered on the lesser relative level, and not from His position, then how much more is God’s will effective over all things when considered on the Ultimate level where He alone directly controls all things?

 

“So that which we call the remnant of nature in the ungodly and in Satan, as being a creature and a work of God, is no less subject to Divine omnipotence and action than all the rest of God’s creatures and works. Since God moves and works all in all, He moves and works of necessity even in Satan and the ungodly (204). [i.e. on the ultimate level God directly works evil in creatures as he does good in creatures.]

Here you see that when God works in and by evil men, evil deeds result; yet God, though He does evil by means of evil men, cannot act evilly Himself, for He is good, and cannot do evil; but He uses evil instruments, which cannot escape the impulse and movement of His power. The fault which accounts for evil being done when God moves to action lies in these instruments, which God does not allow to be idle. In the same way a carpenter would cut badly with a saw-toothed axe. Hence it is that the ungodly man cannot but errand sin always, because under the impulse of Divine power he is not allowed to be idle, but wills, desires and acts according to his nature (204).” [i.e. God created man—after Adam—with an evil nature. So on the relative level man wants evil, but the on ultimate ontology level God picks up this defective hammer, and by direct causality this defective hammer is moved and cannot but move when God moves it. Because it is defective and damaged it hammers badly, and so it is judge and defined as bad by God’s command.]

“So God’s hardening of Pharaoh is wrought thus: God presents from without to his villainous heart that which by nature he hates; at the same time, He continues by omnipotent action to move within him the evil will which He finds there. Pharaoh, by reason of the villainy of his will, cannot but hate what opposes him, and trust to his own strength; and he grows so obstinate that he will not listen nor reflect, but is swept along in the grip of Satan like a raging madman (207) [i.e. on the relative level Pharaoh wants to be bad. On the ultimate level, Pharaoh cannot resist God’s direct causality upon him and upon Satan.]

[Pharaoh’s] evil will would not have been moved or hardened of itself, but as the omnipotent Agent makes it act by means of his own inescapable movement.(207)” [.i.e. Ultimately, God is the author of evil, by direct causation]

“Had there been in Pharaoh any power to turn, or freedom of will that might have gone either way, God could not with such certainty have foretold his hardening” (211). [i.e. God foreknew because God predestined first. ]

“It is true that Judas acted willingly, and not under compulsion, but his willing was the work of God, brought into being by His omnipotence, like everything else.(213)” [i.e. God the author of evil, by direct causation]

“Paul teaches that faith and unbelief comes to us by no work of our own, but through the love and hatred of God (228).” [God the author of all good and evil, of all things by direct causation]

“What I assert and maintain is this: that where God works apart from the grace of His Spirit, He works all things in all men, even in the ungodly; for He alone moves, makes to act, and impels by the motion of His omnipotence, all those things which He alone created; they can neither avoid nor alter this movement, but necessarily follow and obey it, each thing according to the measure of its God-given power. Thus all things, even the ungodly, cooperate with God(267).” [God the author of all good and evil, of all things by direct causation]

“The king’s will cannot escape the action of the omnipotent God by which all men’s wills, good and bad, are moved to will and to act (259).” [God the author of all good and evil, of all things by direct causation]

“I answer: Whether God permit, or whether He incline, that permitting or inclining does not take place without the will and operation of God: because, the will of the king cannot avoid the action of the omnipotent God: seeing that, the will of all is carried along just as He wills and acts, whether that will be good or evil (10c Discussion: Second Part (Sections 114 – 130).” [God the author of all good and evil, of all things by direct causation]

It would certainly be a hard question, I allow-indeed, an insoluble one-if you sought to establish both the foreknowledge of God and the freedom of man together; for what is harder, yea, more impossible, than maintaining that contraries and contradictories do not clash? (215) [ free-will and God’s sovereignty are contradictions]

The apostle, therefore, is bridling the ungodly who take offense at his plain speaking, telling them they should realize that the Divine will is fulfilled by what to us is necessity, and that it is definitely established that no freedom or “free-will” is left them, but all things depend on the will of God alone (215).

What God wills is not right because he ought, or was bound, so to will; on the contrary, what takes place must be right, because he so wills it” (209). [There is no law over God. God’s Ethic is His ‘Choice’ or ‘Decree’ itself]

What does Luther say to Erasmus about this issue of God’s absolute and direct sovereign control, over man’s will and yes, even evil?

I give you hearty praise and commendation on this further account-that you alone, in contrast with others, have attacked the real thing, that is, the essential issue. You have not wearied me with those extraneous issues about the Papacy, purgatory, indulgences and such like trifles. . . . You, and you alone, have seen the hinge on which all turns, and aimed for the vital spot (319).

 

” Heap together, therefore, out of the large Concordances all the imperative words into one chaos, provided that, they be not words of the promise but of the requirement of the law only, and I will immediately declare, that by them is always shown what men ought to do, not what they can do, or do do. And even common grammarians and every little school-boy in the street knows, that by verbs of the imperative mood, nothing else is signified than that which ought to be done, and that, what is done or can be done, is expressed by verbs of the indicative mood.

Thus, therefore, it comes to pass, that you theologians, are so senseless and so many degrees below even school-boys, that when you have caught hold of one imperative verb you infer an indicative sense, as though what was commanded were immediately and even necessarily done, or possible to be done.[1]

[i.e. God’s command imposes responsibility, not freedom to do. “Ought to do,” is Ethics, and “can do,” or necessarily done,” is ontology.  So that God’s command/ethics does not include the power in man to do it.  These are different categories of systematic theology/philosophy. This phrase, “necessarily done,” is like the sophist’s saying, “necessary immutability,” i.e. ultimate ontology. Thus, Martin did include in this category contrast, Ethics versus ultimate ontology.]

 

“But what do they effect by this playing upon words” This is no more than saying, the act is not God Himself. This remains certain, that if the action of God is necessary, or if there is a necessity of the consequence, everything takes place of necessity, [then] how much [more] the act be not God Himself. But what need was there to tell us this? As though there was any fear of our asserting the things done were God Himself….” [2] [i.e. God is not what He causes. If God creates a river and directly causes it to move north, then God Himself is not a north flowing river. The same with men and their good and evil choices that God directly causes. Or if God causes a man to choose evil, then God is not that.]

“And what is the design of the apostles in proving their preaching by the Scriptures? Is it that they may obscure their own darkness by still greater darkness? What was the intention of Christ, in teaching the Jews to “search the Scriptures” (John v. 39,) as testifying of Him? Was it that He might render them doubtful concerning faith in Him? What was their intention, who having heard Paul, searched the Scriptures night and day, “to see if these things were so?” (Acts xvii. 11.) Do not all these things prove that the Apostles, as well as Christ Himself, appealed to the Scriptures as the most clear testimonies of the truth of their discourses? With what face then do we make them ‘obscure?’  [.i.e. The Scripture interrupted themselves and are revealed to be clear and precise to man about knowledge of God.]

Are these words of the Scripture, I pray you, obscure or ambiguous: “God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. i. 1). “The Word was made flesh.” (John i. 14,) and all those other words which the whole world receives as articles of faith? Whence then, did they receive them? Was it not from the Scriptures? And what do those who at this day preach? Do they not expound and declare the Scriptures? But if the Scripture which they declare, be obscure, who shall certify us that their declaration is to be depended on? Shall it be certified by another new declaration? But who shall make that declaration?— And so we may go on ad infinitum.

In a word, if the Scripture be obscure or ambiguous, what need was there for its being sent down from heaven? Are we not obscure and ambiguous enough in ourselves, without an increase of it by obscurity, ambiguity, and darkness being sent down unto us from heaven? And if this be the case, what will become of that of the apostle, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction?” (2 Tim. iii. 16.) Nay, Paul, thou art altogether useless, and all those things which thou ascribest unto the Scripture, are to be sought for out of the fathers approved by a long course of ages, and from the Roman see! Wherefore, thy sentiment must be revoked, where thou writest to Titus, (chap. i. 9) ‘that a bishop ought to be powerful in doctrine, to exhort and to convince the gainsayers, and to stop the mouths of vain talkers, and deceivers of minds.’ For how shall he be powerful, when thou leavest him the Scriptures in obscurity—that is, as arms of tow and feeble straws, instead of a sword? And Christ must also, of necessity, revoke His word where He falsely promises us, saying, “I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries shall not be able to resist,” (Luke xxi. 15.) For how shall they not resist when we fight against them with obscurities and uncertainties? And why do you also, Erasmus, prescribe to us a form of  Christianity, if the Scriptures be obscure to you![3]  [ i.e. Erasmus, You contradicted yourself. LOL. This is like saying all propositions are uncertain. If that is the case, then that proposition is uncertain]

“ [Erasmus correctly quotes Martin saying], “That whatever is done by us, is not done by Free-will, but from mere necessity. And that of Augustine also—that God works in us both good and evil: that He rewards His good works in us, and punishes His evil works in us.”[4] [i.e. God ultimately is the only cause, and judges us by His commands, from the causality He worked in us]

“But, by necessity, I do not mean compulsion; but (as they term it) the necessity of immutability, not of compulsion; that is, a man void of the Spirit of God, does not evil against his will as by violence, or as if he were taken by the neck and forced to it, in the same way as a thief or cut-throat is dragged to punishment against his will; but he does it spontaneously, and with a desirous willingness.”[5] [i.e. “necessity of immutability” is saying Ontology on the ultimate level is God’s direct causality over all things. And “not of compulsion,” is saying on the relative level man does what he wants to do from his own soul.]

“Therefore, to say, that the will is FREE, and that it has indeed power, but that it is ineffective, is what the sophists call ‘a direct contrariety.’ As if one should say, “Free-will” is that which is not free. Or as if one should term fire cold, and earth hot. For if fire had the power of heat, yea of the heat of hell, yet, if it did not burn or scorch, but were cold and produced cold, I should not call it fire, much less should I term it hot; unless, indeed, you were to mean an imaginary fire, or a fire represented in a picture.—But if we call the power of “Free-will” that, by which a man is fitted to be caught by the Spirit, or to be touched by the grace of God, as one created unto eternal life or eternal death, may be said to be; this power, that is, fitness, or, (as the Sophists term it) ‘disposition-quality,’ and ‘passive aptitude,’ this I also confess. And who does not know, that this is not in trees or beasts? For, (as they say) Heaven was not made for geese.

Therefore, it stands confirmed, even by your own testimony, that we do all things from necessity, not from “Free-will:” seeing that, the power of “Free-will” is nothing, and neither does, nor can do good, without grace.”[6] [i.e. A contrariety is that the truth of one means the falsity of the other, thus, a non-effective effective will is nothing and nonsense. Like a contradiction they cancel each other out, so that there is no knowledge; there is nothing to affirm or deny, nothing.  Also, if the man’s will is non-effective on the relative level against the sin-nature and Satan, then how much more on the (necessity of immutability) ultimate level where God directly controls man’s mind, directly controls the sin-nature and directly controls Satan’s will?]

“And thus, as soon as he presented to it outwardly, that which naturally irritated and offended it, then it was, that Pharaoh could not avoid becoming hardened; even as he could not avoid the action of the Divine Omnipotence, and the aversion or enmity of his own will.” [7] [ i.e. Martin speaks both of the Ultimate and Relative level regarding man’s will. Man’s will is not free on the ultimate level of God’s directly causality, “could not avoid the action of the Divine Omnipotence.” And man’s will even on the lesser relative level, cannot avoid the “aversion of their own enmity, or if saved, the Spirit’s law of life.” Again, if man on the lesser relative level is not-free to sin and death, or to the Spirit of Life, then how much more is man not free on the ultimate level when God is the only direct cause of all things. That is, if man’s will is non-effective on the lesser, then how much more to the greater!]

 

Endnote———————

[1] Martin Luther. Bondage of the Will. Translated by Henry Cole. 2009 kindle eBook.

[2] Martin Luther. Bondage of the Will. Translated by Henry Cole. 2009 kindle eBook.

[3]   Martin Luther. Bondage of the Will. Translated by Henry Cole. 2009 kindle eBook.

[4] Martin Luther. Bondage of the Will. Translated by Henry Cole. 2009 kindle eBook

[5] Martin Luther. Bondage of the Will. Translated by Henry Cole. 2009 kindle eBook

[6] Martin Luther. Bondage of the Will. Translated by Henry Cole. 2009 kindle eBook

[7] Martin Luther. Bondage of the Will. Translated by Henry Cole. 2009 kindle eBook

Hedging Your Prayer in Unbelief.

Hedging Your Prayer in Unbelief.

But there was no stopping him and he went on praying and there was not a particle of faith in anything he uttered. He did stop at last, and I said, “Brother Clark, it’s now your turn to pray.” He started, “Lord, answer the prayer of my brother and comfort me in this great bereavement and sorrow. PREPARE me to face this great trial.” I [Wigglesworth] cried out, “My God, stop this man.” The whole atmosphere was being charged with unbelief.

Smith Wigglesworth, Ever Increasing Faith.

This man’s prayer might sound like humility in its human sophistry and human philosophy, but it is in fact unbelief hedging itself in because he doubts God will grant the miracle being asked. Regarding life issues, Jesus never prayed like this. In fact, it is a command by Jesus for us to receive the very thing we pray for. Think? Did Jesus ever say to the blind, crippled, or dead, or demon possessed, “Lord help this person face their trail.” No. Nor did the prophets or disciples. Rather they asked for a fish and got a fish, a victory for a victory, a son for a son, a healing for a healing, forgiveness for forgiveness, and a sound mind for a sound mind.
The context of Jesus being “compassionate”, was not in that He asked the Father to help them deal with the trail; rather in context, He was compassionate to these people in that His prayers of help stopped the pain and and stopped the sickness and gave them victory over their trail. This is how the Scripture defined Jesus’ compassion.

A Gospel Elevation Declaration, Smith Wigglesworth

As a child I grew up in churches were they preached on faith in God’s promises (all of them) and the gifts of the Spirit. It is here I first heard biblical arguments for such. Later on, I found Vincent Cheung gave better and more precise arguments for such, but I first heard them from the founders of the Church of God and people I read like Smith Wigglesworth. I wish I could quote these COG founders’ arguments (in a resource like a book), but they were given to me as a child in scattered preaching, and so I do not have a way to do so. I remember, for example, the founding pastor Westmore COG (Sr. Floyd Lee McClung), making the argument from Peter’s Sermon in Acts that maturity is not merely receiving forgiveness but going on to receive the promise of God’s Spirit and all the power, healing and partaking that comes from this.

Acts 2:38, “Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit,” NLT.

Below are a few experts from Wigglesworth book, Ever Increasing Faith, and titles that I put in. Here I show the basic teaches and arguments Wigglesworth taught. Some of these arguments I still use today, and with the help of Vincent Cheung teaching, with more precision.  This older generation might not have had the precision, but their basic arguments were correct on many points.

 

Ever Increasing Faith.

By. Smith Wigglesworth

Do not measure God by your unbelief, or that is, by your speculations and your superstitions

“Another preacher said, “It was an easy thing for Jesus to feed the people with five loaves. The loaves were so big in those days that it was a simple matter to cut them into a thousand pieces each.” But He forgot that one little boy brought those five loaves all the way in his lunch basket.

There is nothing impossible with god. All the impossibility is with us when we measure God by the limitations of our unbelief.”

Unbelief Robs

Unbelief robs them of these blessings. It is possible to hear and yet not conceive the truth. It is possible to read the Word and not share in the life it brings.”

The Atonement produces forgiveness and healing by the same Blood

“He wants to encourage you to believe Him. If thou canst only believe, thou canst be saved and healed. Dare to believe that Jesus was wounded for your transgressions, was bruised for your iniquities, was chastised that you might have peace, and that by His stripes there is healing for you right here and now. You have failed because you have not believed Him. Cry out to Him even now, “Lord, I believe, help Thou mine unbelief.”””

….We have a Jesus that heals the broken-hearted, who lets the captives go free, who saves the very worst. Dare you, dare you, spurn this glorious Gospel of God for spirit, soul and body? Dare you spurn this grace? I realize that this full Gospel has in great measure been hid, this Gospel that brings liberty, this Gospel that brings souls out of bondage, this Gospel that brings perfect health to the body, this Gospel of entire salvation. Listen again to this word of Him who left the glory to bring us this great salvation, “Verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, . . . he shall have whatsoever he saith.” Whatsoever!

Hedging your prayer in Unbelief.

“But there was no stopping him and he went on praying and there was not a particle of faith in anything he uttered. He did stop at last, and I said, “Brother Clark, it’s now your turn to pray. He started, “Lord, answer the prayer of my brother and comfort me in this great bereavement and sorrow. Prepare me to face this great trial.” I cried out, “My God, stop this man.” The whole atmosphere was being charged with unbelief.

[ i.e. This man’s prayer might sound like humility in its human sophistry, but it is in fact unbelief hedging itself in from the fact, that he doubts God will grant the miracle being asked. Regarding life issues, Jesus never prayed like this.  In fact, it is a command by Jesus for us to receive the very thing we pray for. ]

I had a glass bottle full of oil and I went up to the woman and poured the whole lot on her in the name of Jesus. Suddenly Jesus appeared, standing at the foot of the bed. He smiled and vanished. The woman stood up, perfectly healed, and she is a strong woman today.

We have a big God. We have a wonderful Jesus. We have a glorious Comforter. God’s canopy is over you and will cover you at all times, preserving you from evil. Under His wings shalt thou trust. The Word of God is living and powerful and in its treasures you will find eternal life. If you dare trust this wonderful Lord, this Lord of life, you will find in Him everything you need.

So many are tampering with drugs, quacks, pills and plasters.  It is sufficient to believe God. You will find that if you dare trust Him, He will never fail. “The prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the LORD shall raise him up.” Do you trust Him? He is worthy to be trusted.

Elevation Declaration

“The purpose of all Scripture is to move us on to this wonderful and blessed elevation of faith where our constant experience is the manifestation of God’s life and power through us.

Peter goes on writing to these who have obtained like precious faith, saying, “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord.” We can have the multiplication of this grace and peace only as we live in the realm of faith. Abraham attained to the place where he became a friend of God, on no other line than that of believing God. He believed God and God counted that to him for righteousness. Righteousness was imputed to him on no other ground than that he believed God. Can this be true of anybody else? Yes, every person in the whole wide world who is saved by faith is blessed with faithful Abraham. The promise, which came to him because he believed God, was that in Him all the families of the earth should be blessed. When we believe God there is no knowing where the blessing of our faith will end.

Some are tied up because, when they are prayed for, the thing that they are expecting does not come off the same night. They say they believe, but you can see that they are really in turmoil of unbelief. Abraham believed God. You can hear him saying to Sarah, “Sarah, there is no life in you and there is nothing in me, but God has promised us a son and I believe God.” And that kind of faith is a joy to our Father in heaven.”

Exceedingly Great Partakers of God, Manifesto

“Peter goes on to say, “According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue.” God is calling us to this realm of glory and virtue where, as we feed on His exceeding great and precious promises, we are made partakers of the divine nature. Faith is the substance of things hoped for right here in this life. It is right here that God would have us partake of His divine nature. It is nothing less than the life of the Lord Himself imparted and flowing into our whole beings, so that our very body is quickened, so that every tissue and every drop of blood and our bones and joints and marrow receive this divine life. I believe that the Lord wants this divine life to flow right into our natural bodies, this law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus that makes us free from the law of sin and death. God wants to establish our faith so that we shall lay hold on this divine life, this divine nature of the Son of God, so that our spirit and soul and body will be sanctified wholly and preserved unto the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

When that woman was healed of the issue of blood, Jesus perceived that power had gone out of Him. The woman’s faith laid hold and this power was imparted and immediately the woman’s being was surcharged with life and her weakness departed. The impartation of this power produces everything you need; but it comes only as our faith moves out for its impartation. Faith is the victory. If thou canst believe, it is thine”

 

Sickness- Dumb about Scripture

“It is as your heart goes out to the needy ones in deep compassion that the Lord manifests His presence. You are able to locate their position. It is then that you know that you must be filled with the Spirit to deal with the conditions before you.

Where people are in sickness you find frequently that they are dense about Scripture.

They usually know three scriptures though. They know about Paul’s thorn in the flesh, and that Paul told Timothy to take a little wine for his stomach’s sake, and that Paul left someone sick somewhere; they forget his name, and don’t remember the name of the place, and don’t know where the chapter is. Most people think they have a thorn in the flesh. The chief thing in dealing with a person who is sick is to locate their exact position. As you are ministering under the Spirit’s power the Lord will let you see just that which will be more helpful and most faith-inspiring to them.”

Healing needs compassion.

“There is a fruit of the Spirit that must accompany the gift of healing and that is longsuffering. The man who is going through with God to be used in healing must be a man of longsuffering. He must be always ready with a word of comfort. If the sick one is in distress and helpless and does not see everything eye to eye with you, you must bear with him. Our Lord Jesus Christ was filled with compassion and lived and moved in a place of longsuffering, and we will have to get into this place if we are to help needy ones.”

Elisha – Where is the God of Elijah?

“I will explain to you the most perfect way to receive the gift. Come with me to the second chapter of 2 Kings and I will show you a man receiving a gift. Elijah had been mightily used of God in calling down fire and in other miracles; and Elisha is moved with a great spirit of covetousness to have this man’s gifts. You can be very covetous for the gifts of the Spirit and God will allow it. When Elijah said to him, “I want you to stop at Gilgal,” Elisha said, “As the Lord liveth and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee.”

There was no stopping him. When Elijah wanted Elisha to stop at Jericho he said in substance, “I am not stopping.” The man that stops gets nothing. O, don’t stop at Jericho; don’t stop at Jordan; don’t stop anywhere when God would have you move on into all of His fullness that He has for you.

They came to Jordan and Elijah took his mantle and smote the waters. They divided; and Elijah and Elisha went over on dry ground. Elijah turned to Elisha and said in substance, “Look here, what do you want?” Elisha was wanting what he was going to have, and you may covet all that God says that you shall have. Elisha said, “I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.” This was the plowboy, who had washed the hands of his master; but his spirit got so big that he purposed in his heart that, when Elijah stepped off the scene, he would be put into his place.

Elijah said, “Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee.” May God help you never to stop persevering till you get what you want. Let your aspiration be large and your faith rise until you are wholly on fire for God’s best.

Onward they go, and as one steps, the other steps with him. He purposed to keep his eye on his master until the last. It took a chariot of fire and horses of fire to part them asunder, and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. I can fancy I hear Elisha crying out, “Father Elijah, drop that mantle!” And it came down. Oh, I can see it lowering, lowering and lowering. Elisha took all of his own clothes and rent them in two pieces, and then he took up the mantle of Elijah. I do not believe that, when he put on that other mantle, he felt any difference in himself; but when he came to Jordan, he took the mantle of Elijah and smote the waters and said, “Where is the Lord God of Elijah?” And the waters parted and he went over on dry ground. And the sons of the prophets said, “The spirit of Elijah doth rest upon Elisha.”

It is like receiving a gift; you don’t know that you have it till you act in faith. Brothers and sisters, as you ask, BELIEVE.”

God Rekindles Smoldering Wicks

QUEST.

 “ [Since you had to deal with your twin’s death, may I ask how you dealt with it? See, I have been through something recently, and] I’ve had some [issues] with anxiety, depression (etc).”

ANS.

[Disclaimer. This a testimony. Vincent’s advice helped me (which I will mentioned later); however, I do not wish to convey, that I am Vincent’s personal student, or that I represent him.]

FIRST. A few years before my twin brother passed I was suffering from severe depression to the point of being suicidal. I did not even wash my clothes for a very long time, for I did not even care anymore about hardly anything. The depression dove me into an abyss of utter pain. At the end, the mental pain of the depression became a crippling physical type pain. It was like I had knives and swords stuck in my body and just moving would cause them to slice into me. I had suicidal thoughts. I was in a very dark place.

I received instruction from several people. A pastor I meet with, helped the depression to stop, but I was already at the bottom. Reading Martyn Lloyd Jones’ book on Spiritual Depression helped a little.  However, then my friend Vincent Cheung consoled me.[1] I was instructed to defeat it with standing on God’s promises and faith–particularly the right promises for victory. I was taught to be like David and Daniel in going over these promises and God’s Word night and day. I did this. This advice was the only counseling that helped me. That is, I did not need to read a long book on how to defeat depression. What I needed was my faith to be strong so as to overcome my trial and hardship. Jesus said that we would have trials, but to cheer up, because He has defeated the world. In the context of Jesus saying this in John 16, He commands us over and over, and over and then over again for us to pray for what we want, and prove we are His disciple by receiving the very thing we pray for. Thus, if the context defines Jesus words, and not your superstitions, then Jesus defeating the world for you, means asking in faith and receiving the exact type of victory over the trials you pray for.

The Invincible Word of God.

And so, since faith comes by hearing of the word of God (Romans 10), then what I needed was passages of Scripture that directly addressed facing hardships of life and defeating it. I remember reading some promise verses in Lloyd Jones’ book, but I need more than a few. I was like the disobedient Israelites looking over the promise land. I saw depression as a giant and I was like a grasshopper. The Jericho walls of pain were just too big. My mind was made defective by depression, and the fruit of it was the sin of unbelief in the promises of God.  It is never good to disbelieve God, because God has commanded us to believe every proposition He has revealed, even the magnificent promises of good and deliverance. Yes, promises of victory of sin and sickness, of physical and spiritual. This what Jesus did day and day out in His ministry.[2]

Did you know there is no limit to being Spiritually minded? There is no limit; there is no doing it too much. Colossians 3:2–3 (LEB), “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Therefore, those who are the most earthly good are the most Spiritually minded. David said he praised God 7 times a day (Psalm 119:164). Daniel, he prayed 3 times a day (Daniel 6:10). Looking at the unscalable wall of depression, was indeed unscalable for the old man. However, we are a new creation in Christ, and so things are different now. This new man is renewed in the knowledge of Christ (Colossians 3:10). This knowledge tells us that by faith in Christ, we can ask and receive what we ask for.

Thus, “with my God I can scale a wall,” (Psalm 18:29). In fact, I an run right through it, because God is able.

We are identified with Christ. If the wall is scalable for Him, then it is for us. We know the Father accepts Christ in perfect love, but we are now part of Christ! Is something to big for God, then it is not for us. Is making the sun stands still, too big for Jesus Christ?  Then it is not to big for Joshua, who was a mere mortal like you are. Of course, you are to measure yourself by Jesus’ power and righteousness. No, wait. You are to measure yourself as more, for Jesus said you would do greater things than He did. The table bearer Phillip was spiritually transported to a different physical location, but this is something not even recorded that Jesus did.

Vincent, in his initial email to me, sent a paragraph of promise verses directed for faith to not only endure with character, but also overcome it! Faith comes by the hearing of the word of God (Rom 10). I took this and expounded on it.[3]  I made this my food night and day.

[You may also listen to the audio version of these promise verses, or download them to listen to them again throughout the week: Download them here, or listen here,

.]

Jesus tells us there will be trouble, but to cheer up, because He has defeated the world for you (John 16:33). He tells us that if we ask anything in His name that He will do it so that the Father will be Glorified, Jesus also tells us it is the Father’s will that we bear much fruit, and in context this include asking and obtaining what we ask for,—it is a command, (John 14:13,14 and John 15:7, 8). Jesus says He has left us his peace (John 14:27). 

The Bible says God is for us, and no one can be against us, (Romans 8:31). We are told that Jesus –the author of our faith– is sanctifying us whom He has already Perfected, once and for all, (Hebrews 10:14 ). That, on the account of the blood of Jesus, the Father has declared us righteous in His sight, (Roman 5:1,9).  That where there is forgiveness of sin, there is no more sacrifice for sin, (Hebrews 10:18). That because we have been adopted and are sons of God, the Holy Spirit has been sent into our souls and makes us cry out, “Dear, Father,” (Galatians 4:6).  There is no fear in God’s perfect love for us through Christ, which gives us bold confidence in God’s throne room, in the day of Judgment, (1 John 4:17-18).

That because we are already sons, we are thus already heirs of God through Jesus, (Galatians 4:5-7).  That, we have been seated in the heavenly places, at the right hand of God with Christ, (Ephesians 2:6; Colossians 3:1). That we are coheirs with Jesus Christ, (Romans 8:17). That we are a new creation, and that all things have become new, (2 Corinthians 5:17). That we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, (2 Corinthians 5:21).  That by the one man, Jesus Christ, God has recreated us in new realities and ontologies, so that, by the free gift of righteousness and the gift of abundant grace, we have justification of life, we have victorious life and eternal life by the power of Spirit, (Romans 5:15-21).

God promises us to always provide a way of escape from every temptation, (1 Corinthians 10:13). That, Jesus author of our faith, is able to heal broken limbs, and rewrite besetting sins into stories of victory, (Hebrews 12:1-2). That in face of fighting sin, Jesus commands us, to not let our hearts be troubled, but rather, to believe in Him and the Father, and to remember that He is preparing a room for us in Yahweh’s house, (John 14:1-3). That, the law of the Spirit of Life, has freed me from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2). That the Father has delivered us from the power of darkness, and He has conveyed us into the Kingdom of the Son of His love, (Colossians 1:13). That greater is Jesus who is in you, than he who is in the world, (1 John 4:4).

 That when Satan says, “did God really say,” from any foreign epistemology, that with a single shield of faith, we are able to stop every arrow of temptation and every deception from Satan, (Ephesians 6:16). That we are able to destroy every thought, and every argument raised against the knowledge of God, (2 Corinthians 10:5).  That to think any ethic or ought, and or, to use any logic or intelligence, we must presuppose God’s written law on our hearts and His revelation; however, we cannot do this without dealing with the whole Scripture that says only it is true and all others are false, (Romans 2:15, and Romans 1:18, 1:20).[**]

When the fire has brunt away the works of straw, then, whatever silver, gold and precious stones remain, will endure with you for eternity (1 Corinthians 3:12). God is your Helper, so be courageous and never be afraid, ( Psalm 118:6, Hebrews 13:6).  That, God will not forsake you; He will be with you for victory, whether it is spiritual, mental, demonic or physical troubles, ( Deuteronomy 31:6, Hebrews 13:5). That, whoever is born again by God’s Spirit, so that they have faith, are those who overcome all things; indeed; they are victorious over the world, with all its troubles, (1 John 4:4-5).

That we receive the Holy Spirit, miracles and the endless fountain of blessings from Abraham, by faith in Jesus, (Galatians 3:2,5; 4:29). That if you will abide in him, and if his word abides in you, you will ask what you want, and whatever you ask will be done for you, (John 15:7). That if you have faith, you can command a mountain to throw itself into the sea, and it will obey you, (Matthew 21:21). That if you ask for anything in prayer, if you believe that you receive it, you will get it, (Mark 11:24). That we commanded to pray and never give up, because we will have what we as for, (Luke 18:1-6). That it is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom, (Luke 12:32). That if you ask, you will receive, and if you seek, you will find, (Matthew 7:7). That God is the rewarder of those who diligently seek him, (Hebrews 11:6). That, all things are yours through Jesus Christ, (1 Corinthians 3:22-23). That we can approach the throne of grace, for help in time of need, before our High Priest and our Father, (Hebrews 4:16). That Jesus is our Priest who already bore our stripes for our healing, and He has already bore our sickness and pain on the cross, so that the healing is already ours, (Matthew 8:17). That the Father has qualified us to be partakers of the rich inheritance of the saints, (Colossians 1:12). That when we ask for a fish we receive a fish, and not something else because God is our Good Father; and, when we ask for a son, we get son, and when we ask for healing, we get healing, and when we ask for the powers of God’s Spirit we receive God’s power and not something else, because God is our Good Father, ( Luke 11:11). That because God did not spare His Son in order to save us, the Father will much more freely give us all things through His Son, (Romans 8:31); and on and on and on. Look at all those extra baskets, left over!

Therefore, Maturity is not you giving to God, but rather, as sons, receiving from God all His endless, awesome blessings, (1 Corinthians 2:6-12). Maturity is having the strength of soul, to not merely leave the pig pin and go to ask forgiveness; but rather, by God’s Spirit, to have the power of mind to receive the signet ring, and receive the BEST robe, and receive the sandals from the Father, and then march into the house with joy, with your head held high, because you belong there like a son, like a prince (Luke 15:22-23).

That, we are commanded to cast all our cares upon our Father in heaven, because he cares for us so much, (1 Peter 5:7). Because our life is already hidden with Jesus Christ, who sits in God’s presence, at His right hand, therefore, our thoughts are to be constantly there, with Yahweh and our beloved Lord, (Colossians 3:2-3).  That, just as Jesus is at God’s mighty right hand, so are we now, hidden and seated with Him there, even while we are in this world, ( 1 John 4:17 ). That, we are commanded to use our reconciliation and our bold access to Yahweh’s throne room, by constantly opening the doors to our Father’s throne room and seeking His face for all the things and help we need, and by this, we fulfill the command to love God with all our souls, (Hebrews 10:19-22).

It is both a direct promise of God and a revealing of His Divine immutable nature that He forgives all our sins, He heals all your diseases, He delivers you, and He crowns you with kindness and goodness (Psalm 103 and James 5). Therefore, as many as are the promises of God, in Jesus they are “yes”; therefore, also through Him, is the “Amen,” to the glory of God through us. (2 Corinthians 1:20.)

In about 2 years I went from severe depressed to numb, to then ok and then to a more constant state of peace and joy.

 

What to Emphasis when Depressed?

The issue with a mental sickness, is that you already know how bad, sinful and pathetic you are. I surely knew it. At this point to over emphases your sin is both misplaced and could be a sign you do not really believe it. The emphasis is on God’s victory. If you read God’s word and walk away feeling ok where you are at in your depressed position, then you will stay there in your unbelief.

Watch your spiritual diet. Avoid teachings that tend to make people more depressed, often disguised as manifestos on God-centeredness, holiness, repentance, suffering “for the glory of God,” and so on. Avoid teachings that merely comfort you in your unbelief and defeat. They will not get you out of the pit. There are teachings that focus on repentance in a way and in a proportion that ironically make it into a meritorious thing. An improper emphasis on repentance is destructive, because it is in fact unbelief toward the blood of Christ. If you have repented, you are forgiven through Christ. You can march into the throne of grace without fear and without shame, not to beg like one without a covenant, but to talk and ask like one who belongs there – like a son, like a prince.

You already know that you are unworthy. This is an elementary doctrine of Christ, an entry point for this life. Now is the time to acknowledge the surpassing excellence of Christ — credited to your account by grace[4]

I was that bruised reed Jesus spoke about. I was that smoldering wick almost ready to go out. I am sure if the doctors would have looked at me, at my worse, they likely would have found some chemical imbalance in my head, or it could have been something else. I do not care. It does not matter. The Bible teaches the root cause is a non-relevant issue.  What is important is faith in God’s word that is victorious over demons, defective bodies and broken minds. God’s victory is a whole victory. He is the God of the hills and valleys.

God did not break me.

He healed me and strengthened me.

I say this to indicate when my only close friend, my twin brother passed, I was able to deal with it, with little to no anger/depression, because God had already renewed my mind (put on the new man) with faith in His promises. I know I will see Josh again –and as 1 Thess. 4 says—this is a comfort to me. Also, I do believe Josh passed too early in his life, partly due to bad teachings that influenced him—more than he knew I think: such things as “if its God’s will.”[5] I have decided to vindicate his honor by doubly going over such teachings to help others have the doctrine and faith to overcome the world, sickness, death, sin and all things.

 

Oh Boy, the View from up here is Awesome

SECOND I still go over the same verses almost every day. Sometimes I get irritated in that I don’t want to go over them again, but I press on anyway and I find God’s promises renew my thinking. In this, I put off the old man and put on the new, who is renewed in the knowledge of the one who created me. God’s Word destroys doubt and fear. It imparts a joyful courage for the future. Immediately after Jesus told Peter he would deny him 3 times, (people have forfeited their souls for less) Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions… I go and prepare a place for you.(NKJV John 14:1-3).”

Jesus commanded His disciple “not to be troubled” in his heart, right after telling him about his sin. Rather his focus should be on believing in the Father and Him.  But then goes on to say I am preparing a place for you in God’s valuable House. That is, not only is Peter commanded not to worry about his trail of sin, but he is commanded to look forward to victory over the trail. Yes, even commanded to think it is not too great for him to dwell in Yahweh’s house, who is the Lord of angel armies.

Jesus said after he experienced his own victory, that he should encourages others. Peter, on the day of Pentecost, was endowed with supernatural power. On that very day, he encouraged thousands of souls, into the Kingdom of God.

Smith Wigglesworth in a similar note of counsel says, “We have a Jesus that heals the broken-hearted, who lets the captives go free, who saves the very worst. Dare you, dare you, spurn this glorious Gospel of God for spirit, soul and body? Dare you spurn this grace? I realize that this full Gospel has in great measure been hid, this Gospel that brings liberty, this Gospel that brings souls out of bondage, this Gospel that brings perfect health to the body, this Gospel of entire salvation. Listen again to this word of Him who left the glory to bring us this great salvation, “Verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, . . . he shall have whatsoever he saith.” Whatsoever!” (Ever Increasing Faith)

Vincent addressing his own testimony about overcoming his depression says, “ I was trapped in a dark well, looking up through a tiny hole, but Jesus Christ dragged me up and placed me on the mountain of God, and displayed before me the whole panorama of divine promises and intentions. Then he told me to join in, and to be a co-worker with God. To me, this is what it means to have his words[6].”

Like the people in the Samaritan village in John 4, I know this now, not because I heard it from someone else, but because God’s Word has also dragged me up. His Word heals the physical and the mental and drags them both up into victory. Christ’s imputed righteousness is the bedrock to being a child of God, and an inheritor of Abraham’ blessing. It is the solid granite layer upon which the Mountain of God’s promises stand. God drags me up upon this mountain top and displays the vista of all that is available. He says, “if my Son died for you, then All things are now freely given to you.” His Spirit causes me to cry out, “Father.” It is now part of my own DNA, my own metaphysics. He throws His hands out and says, “look! do you see all that I have given in my promises? Is it now you understand why there were so much extra baskets left over from the feeding of the four and five thousand?” God teaches me to view everything differently through His Word. Christ sees the world from up top. Jesus sees the world from the right hand of God, in perfect love and blessing of the Father. The Father tells me the same power He used to raise Jesus from the dead, He uses to set me above the world. And oh boy, the view from up here is awesome! There is no panorama on earth as great as seeing realty from mount Zion, while sitting next to the Lord Jesus Christ. God opens endless opportunities through His mighty promises. While bound in the kingdom of self, it really was a dark well. But now I am a new creation, in a new location and in a new Kingdom of love.

Oh, Christian do you not know, that we see the world as Jesus does! Yet, Jesus sees the world from the right hand of God. “As Jesus is! so are we,” now in this world (1 John 4:17). Now we have the Mind of Christ.

 

God Thinks So, Point of View

God is the source of all knowledge. God controls all metaphysics and ontology. God is the only lawgiver. God is the only one who gives definitions to His own creation. The Logos continues to uphold His creation faithfully in His definitions of it. Thus, why is it a correct definition that all people, born after Adam, were born created with a sinful nature and death, when they did not do the sin themselves? Because God thinks so. Why is it a correct definition that sinful people are credited with Christ’s righteousness, life, health, wealth and inheritance, when they did not do it themselves? Because God thinks so. Why is it correct for God’s adopted children, to have the privilege to ask for anything and then get this anything they desire from Almighty God, from the LORD of Angel Armies? Because God thinks so. Why is it a correct definition that adopted children have bold access to the very throne room of heaven, to the only Immortal, Invisible King of Ages, to ask for help and ask for blessings? Because this Eternal Lord of Ages think so. Why is mercy defined as both a spiritual help, and as a natural help of “double health and wealth”? Because God thinks so. Why is it correct, that God’s children have all their sicknesses and diseases taken away? Because God thinks so, and He has written this definition in stripes upon the back of His only Son.

Think about it, why does a tree today still ontologically behave in the category of a tree? Because God thinks so. God is faithful with His revealed definitions about His creation. God has defined us in the category of co-heirs with Christ, as part of Christ’s body. This has irrevocable metaphysical properties. Set your mind on how God defines the world. Think how God defines you in Christ. This is the essence of faith. It is the essence of maturity and of a renewed mind. It is the essence of spiritual warfare. It is not about how you think or feel about such things; you simply agree with how God defines you and all things; think about this point of view day and night. See the world from the top of mount Zion with your Father. From up here above the clouds, it is total victory and triumph over the world. The Father as given you the world and all things in Christ.

God’s Word & Not Experience

THIRD. If I were to preach my experience I would not be a servant of Christ. If I were to truly preach out of my own strength I would be a reprobate. In fact, if you are a normal Christian from your own strength, then are not a Christian at all. You can only be a Christian, if you are so by God’s strength. “If I minister out of myself or if I preach myself, I would not be a servant of Christ. He saved me. Now I work for him. And he owns the whole world. So when I am doing the King’s business, I am bigger than any professor or president, any corporation or denomination. I will rebuke Satan himself.”[7] Christ is my knowledge. He is my righteousness. He is my strength. As my faith looks through the promises of God I see truth, strength, joy and endless triumphs. If I speak from of the imputed righteousness of Christ and His strength, then it is not too small a thing to think I can rebuke kingdoms and ask for the rain to stop for 3 years. If I speak from myself, then not only am I a reprobate, but I do not even have the authority to correct myself, let alone anyone else.

God heals broken reeds and He rekindles smoldering wicks. I know this NOT because of my own experiences tell me. Rather, because God’s word says so! I do not need experience to know promise x, or promise u, or promise h will hold, for All the promises are yes and “so be it,” in Christ. I do not see by my eyes, but by faith in God’s Word. Vincent Cheung, in his own faith in God’s word, encouraged me saying, “You can do this too. You need to talk to yourself, rebuke yourself, encourage yourself, with the word of God. He said, “In this world, you will have trouble,” and some perverts only preach this far. But he continued, “Cheer up! I have overcome the world!” He has given you his joy. You can be happy by the power of Christ, when you are facing trouble, and when you are not facing trouble. This is true piety.”[ibid]

As Jesus said to Peter, “And you, when* once you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.[8] You can do this to. You can rebuke yourself, correct and encourage yourself. And when you have been rekindled by God’s promises, you can help rekindle others. You do this by not preaching yourself or experience but by preaching Christ. That is, by pointing others to God’s Word. It is a revelation that is true and that will not fail. The preacher of Hebrews did not preach himself in his epistle; rather, when his audience needed a reason for how they will overcome covetousness and adultery, he preached the promises of God to them. He took promises (ch.13) given to Joshua and King David and gave(moralized) these same promises for the audience to place their faith in; that is, to obtain victory by faith in His promises.  You can do this too.

It is good to have a church to help you. It is good to have a pastor or deacon who can console you in the truth to overcome depression and anxiety. However, what happens if you must move? What if this person or persons who seem so important to your help are no longer there? Do not depend on a person. They will not always be there for you. What if you are like Peter in a prison, all by yourself? The secret to joy and peace, and the secret to endless ontological power is faith in God’s Word. You can take God’s revelation with you anywhere. God’s Word will not leave you, nor will it diminish. Because God does not change, His promises do not change. Rich or poor, black or white, smart or dumb it does not matter. Faith in God’s promises will always give you direct and instant access to God. This access is not that God will “give you an answer.” This bold access to the throne room of God means—as Jesus says in John 13-16, that God will give you (not an answer) but the very thing you ask for. This is what it means to be child of God, who is a co-heir with Christ, who have been raised with Christ and seated with Him at God’s right hand.

Do not appeal to human speculations of what God’s will is, by divining one’s current experiences. To do so, is logically invalid (i.e. superstitious).  It is not resting on Scripture as one’s epistemology. Elijah prayed for rain 7 times. During the failed 6th prayer could not Elijah have said, “because God has not answered me 6 times in a row, then it concludes that rain is not His will?” How many saints in the Bible, if they did that would have failed and never been recorded! To do so is a false form of humility. It tramples on God’s sovereignty as a cheap thing, by using it as a stepping stone to glory the kingdom of self, and its starting point, and its experience and its observations.  Also, to do so is to make one’s “own speculation” from inductive experience on equal grounds with Scripture–as a first principle for knowledge. This proceeds from a stupid mind and a heart of witchcraft. Why bother criticizing the Pope as a dual epistemology with Scripture if one makes their own speculative experience greater than God’s Word? Why even bother asking a witch to divine your life, or star charts, if you use own inductive speculations to find out God’s secret decrees?

 

 Crossing over Jordan with a Sword in Your Hand.

The first stage was liberation from their masters in Egypt. The second stage was eviction of their enemies from Canaan. They would not be escaping, but they would be attacking. Under Joshua’s leadership, the people would have to fight. It was not to liberate their friends, but to exterminate their enemies. They would not be fighting for survival, but for prosperity. In fact, this was the reason they were taken out of Egypt in the first place (Exodus 3:8). Freedom was never the final end. They would take possession of God’s promises, of the “milk and honey.”

The Christian experience mirrors Israel’s history. If crossing the Red Sea was like baptism into Christ for freedom (1 Corinthians 10:2), then the distinct and subsequent experience of crossing the Jordan could be taken as baptism with the Holy Spirit for power (Acts 8:14-16, 19:1-2). Centuries later, John the Baptist announced at the Jordan, “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 3:11, Acts 1:8). This is no longer about salvation in terms of the forgiveness of sin. The blood of the lamb was applied back in Egypt. And it is no longer about maintaining a self-sufficient life, or the sanctification of the individual. They lived in this sufficient condition for forty years in the wilderness. Salvation in this sense was never intended as the final end.[9]

As God delivered the Israelites from Egypt(baptized them in the red sea), God has delivered me from sin and death—all by Himself with no help from me. However, just as with Joshua and the Israelites I was also Baptized in the Jordan river; and upon doing so God placed a sword in my hand and told me to take the land–He told me to overcome depression, demonic strongholds, arguments raised against the knowledge of Christ, confusions, besetting sins, physical and mental defective areas, and all sorts of troubles by His mighty and invincible Word! Hebrews said Joshua entered because of faith. Only faith in God would overcome the insurmountable troubles ahead of him. That is, by faith Joshua would overcome; without it he would fail just like the millions of dead corpses of the Israelites laying in the desert proved. Joshua did not look at the high walls and strong people as a burden—the only real burden was dealing with 40 years of the unbelief that surrounded him—rather, with a shout of triumph in the promise of his God, he overcame all things.

NLT 1 Corinthians 10:13, “When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it.”

When I realize that I did not find the escape from sin today, the issue is my unbelief in the promise of God. “There is always a way to escape temptation. There is always a way to avoid sin. However, I would not say to a preacher, “If God promises to change us, and if he promises to always provide a way out when we are tempted, then why do you still sin sometimes? The doctrine must be false!””[10]

When I fall into temptation it is not that the promise of God failed; rather, it is my faith. It is not a burden for me to realize this! Some spiritually defective thinking might ask, “How then, is faith not a burden?”

Hebrews 12:1–2 (LEB), “Therefore, let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the originator and perfecter of faith.” My faith is not perfect; however, the Perfect One and the author of my faith, is with me to mature and strengthen my faith. I rebuke myself and in the promises of God—take my stand—knowing Jesus will improve and mature my faith. I do not see burdens; I see hope. I see many triumphs and victories through the imputed righteous of Jesus credited to my account by grace, even in healing, miracles overcoming depressions, and defeating temptations. I see a promise land–filled with enemies, that will fall by my sword of truth and shield of faith. I see joy in overcoming all things. When the battle seems to grind to a halt—when Moses’ hands fell—I see peace, knowing the Victory is still mine through faith, for the “Author of my faith” will strengthen the feeble hands that hang low.

Hannah a Hero of Faith.

FOURTH. Hannah knew what to do when she dealt with the pain of not having a child -(which God caused, ontologically it was “His Will”). She asked for a miracle and received one – a gift. She did not like the pain and wanted it to go away. God gave her a son, as a reward for her faith. The pain stopped. God has commanded us to believe in His promises. Christian ethics is obeying God’s commands. Christian ethics is not an inductive conclusion taken from some speculations of what one thinks God’s causality is doing at a given moment.

Hanna was a hero of faith and ethics. After speaking of God’s sovereignty (“God kills and makes alive“) she proclaims that for the humble who believe in Him: (1 Sam. 2:9,8) “For the foundations of the earth are the LORD’s; on them he has set the world. He will guard the feet of his faithful servants, but the wicked will be silenced in the place of darkness. It is not by strength that one prevails. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor.”

Hannah, therefore, was a faithful steward of the promises of God by believing in them – and giving glory to God as a “GOOD” Father by receiving the very thing she asked from Him—a fish for a fish, bread for bread, an egg for an egg, and a son for a son.

 

Matthew 12:20 (NIV)

A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,
till he has brought justice through to victory.

 

———ENDNOTES———–

[1] The email Vincent originally wrote me, he expanded on and published on his website (wwww.vincentcheung.com) as “Depression: P is for Pervert.”  Also, found in Sermonettes Vol. 8, chapter 7. 2015.

Some of the basic counsel I received there I put into practice, and now I encourage you to do the same. In fact, the basic scriptural promise list that Vincent wrote me to think over, I expounded it and have read these verses to myself almost every day for years.

Some other essays from Vincent that have helped me and to which some of his explanations bleed out in this testimony since I put them to daily practice for years are (1) The Edge of Glory, (2) “Energized by righteousness, peace, and joy…”, (3) Faith Override, (4) All Things are Yours

[2] I can use my headphones at work, and so, for years I have listened to the 4 gospels of Jesus Christ so many times that I cannot count. Not only was this the heart of Jesus’ ministry, but He commanded that we follow in this same ministry. Do people suppose to willfully disobey God’s commands and not expect to reap what they sew?

[3] See Vincent Cheung, “Depression: P is for Pervert,” for the original list.  Found in Sermonettes Vol. 8, chapter 7. 2015.

[**] The basis of this apologetic method I got from Vincent Cheung. See Vincent Cheung, Ultimate Questions.

[4] Vincent Cheung, Depression: P is for Pervert. Found in Sermonettes Vol. 8, chapter 7. 2015.
The Reformed might criticize the charismatics for over-emphasizing things like health and wealth, but they are not better than the people they criticize, for they over-emphasize sin and forgiveness while negating the other half of the core gospel.

[5] See my essay on the Logic and Scripture: Romans 9:11-18, Why Is Pharaoh Punished.

[6] Vincent Cheung. Two Views on God’s Word. (https://www.vincentcheung.com/2016/06/15/two-views-on-gods-word). Also found in Sermonettes Vol. 9. Chapter 18. 2016.

[7] Vincent Cheung, Depression: P is for Pervert. Found in Sermonettes Vol. 8, chapter 7. 2015.

[8] LEB Luke 22:31

[9] Vincent Cheung. The Edge of Glory. (www.vincentcheung.com)  2016. Also, Sermonettes Vol. 9. Chapter 19.

[10] Vincent Cheung. Where There is a Promise there is a Way. 2016. (https://www.vincentcheung.com/2016/06/15/where-there-is-a-promise-there-is-a-way)

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