Category Archives: Christian Axiology

I Am your Exceedingly Great Reward, Righteousness

I Am your Exceedingly Great Reward, Righteousness

[This is a first draft on the introduction to my Soteriology section, from my up coming systematic theology book.]

Let me introduce you to the doctrine of righteousness, as the Scripture introduces it, and not how tradition does it. There is some historical reasons why “justification by faith,” is stated as it is, but that is just it, it’s not stated how Scripture does it. Let that sink it. Because of this, the doctrine is often distorted, sometime beyond recognition.  The Reformed are found of their doctrine, justification by faith, but this is a narrow doctrine—in scope of the whole gospel—albite a very important one. Their fanboyish love for man and the past, has led them to take this doctrine, which is like a priceless beautiful rug, and soiled like a dog using it to marks its territory. Let us rather, learn this doctrine how the bible itself introduces it, and expands on it. Let us not define such important doctrines such as the gospel, by man’s love for man, and history; rather, through submitting to the scripture as our only starting point for knowledge, let us learn the definitions of reality. “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path,” (Psalm 119:105 NLT).

Romans 4 (NLT)

The Faith of Abraham

4 Abraham was, humanly speaking, the founder of our Jewish nation. What did he discover about being made right with God? 2 If his good deeds had made him acceptable to God, he would have had something to boast about. But that was not God’s way. 3 For the Scriptures tell us, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.”

4 When people work, their wages are not a gift, but something they have earned. 5 But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners. 6 David also spoke of this when he described the happiness of those who are declared righteous[1] without working for it:

7 “Oh, what joy for those
whose disobedience is forgiven,
whose sins are put out of sight.
8 Yes, what joy for those
whose record the Lord has cleared of sin.”

9 Now, is this blessing only for the Jews, or is it also for uncircumcised Gentiles? Well, we have been saying that Abraham was counted as righteous by God because of his faith. 10 But how did this happen? Was he counted as righteous only after he was circumcised, or was it before he was circumcised? Clearly, God accepted Abraham before he was circumcised!

11 Circumcision was a sign that Abraham already had faith and that God had already accepted him and declared him to be righteous—even before he was circumcised. So Abraham is the spiritual father of those who have faith but have not been circumcised. They are counted as righteous because of their faith. 12 And Abraham is also the spiritual father of those who have been circumcised, but only if they have the same kind of faith Abraham had before he was circumcised.

13 Clearly, God’s promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on his obedience to God’s law, [but on God declaring one righteous because of their faith].[2] 14 If God’s promise is only for those who obey the law, then faith is not necessary and the promise is pointless. 15 For the law always brings punishment on those who try to obey it. (The only way to avoid breaking the law is to have no law to break!)

16 So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe. 17 That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, “I have made you the father of many nations.” This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing.

18 Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!” 19 And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb.

20 Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. 21 He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises. 22 And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous. 23 And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn’t just for Abraham’s benefit. It was recorded 24 for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God.

Let us review what God promised to Abraham, when God “declared him righteous.” Paul, uses the principle of first mentions here in this passage, by bringing up the account of Abraham. He does something similar in Galatians by reminding us that Abraham’s promise was before the law, and that Jesus’ substitutionary atonement grafts us into this promise of Abraham. What did God promise Abraham that when he believed, the doctrine of God declaring people righteous by faith is established?

Paul in this passage mentions a portion of this promise, by saying God promised to multiply his children (starting with his own) as the stars. Paul also states that God promised to give the world to him and his descendants. The whole world! Well, that escalated quickly.

(Genesis 12:1–2 LEB).

“And Yahweh said to Abram, “Go out from your land and from your relatives, and from the house of your father, to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and I will make your name great. And you will be a blessing.””

Genesis 15 NIV

1 After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision:

“Do not be afraid, Abram.
I am your shield, your very great reward.”

… 5 He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”

6 Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

14 “…But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions.”

Genesis 17 NLT

… 4 “This is my covenant with you: I will make you the father of a multitude of nations! 5 What’s more, I am changing your name. It will no longer be Abram. Instead, you will be called Abraham, for you will be the father of many nations. 6 I will make you extremely fruitful. Your descendants will become many nations, and kings will be among them!

7 “I will confirm my covenant with you and your descendants after you, from generation to generation. This is the everlasting covenant: I will always be your God and the God of your descendants after you.”[3]

Paul says the Scripture recorded this as an example for the gentiles, because we are declared righteous and receive the same blessing on the basis of faith in God.

There are 3 main places God promises to Abraham. The first is rather man-centered and not God centered.  God does NOT promise to establish Himself a with great name, no, He promises to make Abraham’s name great. Moreover, God does not promise to make Himself a blessing, but to make Abraham a blessing. Furthermore, God does not promise to make Himself a great nation, no, God promises to make Abraham a great nation. Lastly, God does not promise to bless Himself, no, He promises to bless Abraham. This is said without any mention of sin, salvation or forgiveness.[4]

In the second encounter, which is still a continuation and reaffirming of the first, God promised to protect and to be Abraham’s exceedingly great reward; lastly, God promises to make his descendants as abundant as the stars. There is no mention of sins, salvation or forgiveness. Abraham believed God would do what He promised, in that God would protect him, bless him, make him wealthy, favor him and give him super abundant children and give the world to him. God then declares Abraham righteous in His sight.

The third, God promises again to give super abundant descendants and then we hear for the first time the phrase “I will be your God,” and also to his descendants. In the temporary covenant with Moses and then again restated in the permanent covenant in Jesus’ blood we get further insight what “I will be your God means.” However, here in the first mention of the doctrine, it is defined as God giving Abraham incalculable descendants, the world (as Paul says), blessings, favor and rewards.

Summary:

God: “Abraham, I will bless you, I will make you wealthy and prosperous, I will give you supernatural health, I will highly favor you in all things, I will exalt your name before the world, I will give you a son and love your children as I loved you.”

Abraham: “OK, I believe You are able.”

God stands up in Heaven, points His finger at Abraham and declares:
Righteousness.

This is the biblical doctrine of God declaring His chosen ones Righteous in His sight. There is a presupposition behind this, and that deals with the connection that Abraham was not declared righteous by God, but now is. The presupposition deals with the doctrine of our standing before God.[5] If we are not righteous in God’s sight, then we are unrighteous in His sight. Since God is the Almighty, and the source of all things, then for Him to declare someone righteous in His sight is very important.

However, as said before, Christianity is a positive doctrine, not negative. Therefore even with being declared righteous, the first mention of it is a positive one. God promises an over-the-top, excessive abundance, wealth, health, protection, blessings and even the world, then God declares a man righteous in His sight, because he believed God would do it. Because our sin was in the way, then sin must be dealt with, but sin is not the focus, God’s good promise of blessings and faithfulness to do it, is. This is where many make mistakes in how they focus on parts of the bible and what they focus on when they preach. Those who mock the health and wealth preachers are far more guilty of super-abundantly focusing on sin, sickness and death to the point of being satanic masochists. Their focus on sin, makes sin more central and foundational than God Himself, and more foundational than His promise of blessings for His chosen ones.  They do such things to affirm their unbelief and to appear humble in the eyes of the people they want to receive praise from. They have their reward.

God is the foundation for declaring man righteous in context of giving super blessings and rewards; not mand, and not man’s sin. God is the foundation for everlasting contracts; not man, and not man’s sin. God is the foundation for super abundant blessings, health and wealth; not man, and not man’s sin.

Vincent Cheung on this subject says,

“God promised that Abraham would have a son, and that his descendants would become numerous like the stars. He promised that he would make his name great. It was not presented as a promise of salvation or justification as such, and it was not a call to suffering discipleship. It was a promise of healing, prosperity, and glory for Abraham. And Abraham was justified by believing in this promise. The sort of message that false teachers call heresy today has been the foundation for the calling of Moses, the coming of Christ, and the salvation of Christians. Abraham recognized that his own body and his wife’s body were old and barren, but because God said that he would have a son, natural circumstances became irrelevant. He believed that God was able to perform a miracle of healing.

It would have been redundant to believe that God was willing to do what he said. Of course he was willing — he said it. God said, “Abraham, I have made you the father of nations. You are going to have a son. I will make your name great.” Imagine if Abraham had said, “I know you are able, but are you willing to do it?” This would have made no sense, but somehow it has become a pillar in Christian reasoning. “Well…I just said you are going to have a son.” “Right, I heard you. But are you willing to do it?” Should we treat God like a child? It is even more absurd to focus on the will of God for healing given all that the Bible says about the nature of God, the work of Christ, and the ministry of the apostles and the believers. Even the attempt to demonstrate the will of God for healing seems redundant and ridiculous. Abraham believed that God was able to do this thing that was impossible for human power to accomplish. And that was faith.”[6]

The scripture teaches the doctrine of being declared righteous in God’s sight, not in the context of sin or salvation, but of faith to believe God will be faithful to His promise to bestow us with over-the-top blessings, health, wealth and fame. It is interesting how the Scripture in Romans 4:13 interprets its own gospel blessing to Abraham as a promise to give the “whole world” to him! Two important things need to be said here.

One, this remark about the “gospel blessing,” was intentional. This again, will likely be a surprise to some, particularly those obsessed with sin more than God Himself. Paul in Galatians 3 says the promise “blessing” to Abraham was the “scripture” preaching the “gospel,” not only to Abraham but to the gentiles. This means that like the doctrine of God declaring people righteous was first introduced without sin or context of salvation, but in context of abundant favor and goodies, it is also with the doctrine of the “gospel.” It is true that what God promised Adam and Eve in the Garden, although vague, is about deliverance and in this sense was a promise of “good news”; however, in referring to the “gospel” in context to how the Scripture interprets itself “directly,” it is with Abraham the Scripture introduces “the gospel.” The reason for this, is that the children of faith and unbelief are publicly and historically made known with God’s promise to Abraham.[7] Also, not only does the Scripture directly call this blessing the gospel, but it is also in this context that the Scripture uses the principle of first mentions, about the doctrine of God declaring someone righteous in His sight.

Thus, the scripture introduces the doctrine of the “gospel” to Abraham, not in context of sin or justification or salvation, but of God giving extraordinary blessings, wealth, health and fame to humans. Let that sink in.

The gospel is “good news” that is “reported” and announced. The gospel, like with everything else about God and His chosen ones, is first and foremost a positive doctrine. It’s first announcement is of extraordinary good things for God’s chosen ones. Abraham believed this report of good news of blessings, and God declared him righteous for it. For this reason, when the gospel is “mainly” announced to be about sin and forgiveness or only forgiveness, it distorts and even slanders the way the scripture teaches the doctrine. Therefore, the gospel will be defined in this book as, “all the good things that the death and resurrection of Jesus accomplished at that place and time.” More will be explained later about this, but you will see how this definition will give proper place for sin and forgiveness (as a free gift blessing), but also strongly focusing on God’s super abundant blessings (health, wealth, help and powers), which are freely given to us, not only for the next life, but for this one.

From the beginning the gospel was foundationally an announcement of all the good things God is giving us, which like Abraham, by faith we receive today, and not just for the next life.  What if Abraham said, “well, I will receive a child in the next life, so it will be ok.” No! If Abraham thought this, there would have been no Isaac. Do not be deceived. To receive these good promises of miracles today in faith, are so important that if you do not receive them, then there is little hope you will find any good thing in the next life. If you are a true child of Abraham, a true child of faith, you will receive your miracles in this life, and then you will have proof that in the next life you will receive heaven itself.

“So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?

So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham.

Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the GOSPEL in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.”

So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith,”
(Galatians 3:5–9 (NIV)[8]

Because this “blessing of Abraham” (Galatians 3:8) is called by scripture the “gospel” let us read that in the text and see how it reads. Remember a few verses later “the Spirit,” was put together with “miracles.” Having the Spirit (most likely the baptism of the Spirit) and miracles, Paul says, is proof the Galatians began in the “message of Christ.”

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, because it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree,”

in order that the “gospel” might come to the Gentiles in Christ Jesus,

so that we might receive the “gospel” of the Spirit through faith,”
(Galatians 3:13-14 LEB).

Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, sums up “the gospel” preached to Abraham as receiving the blessings of the Holy Spirit and miracles. Let that sink in. God promising to be Abraham’s exceedingly great reward, according to Paul, means we get the gift of the baptism of the Spirit and miracles, and the Scripture calls this “the gospel.” This is not how most define and preach the gospel. But who is more God-centered, and who is more gospel-centered, some famous theologian or the scripture itself? Interestingly, Paul does not refer to Christ being our curse for us on the cross, as directly the gospel, but as something that makes the gentiles receive the gospel of the Spirit and miracles. It is true that the “gospel” is used in other places as incorporating the whole aspect of Jesus’ substitutionary death and resurrection; however, I point this out to show that even the Scripture at times narrowly uses the “gospel” as only its positive blessings, just like it was originally preached to Abraham. That is, the scripture interchanges “the gospel” with “God’s abundant favor.” Here, the “message of Christ”[9] is about the substitutionary atonement of Christ, particularly the negative aspect of Jesus becoming our sin, curse and sickness. The “gospel” here is referred to as the positive blessings of God giving the Spirit, miracles and the world to us.[10]

This teaching on the gospel also condemns cessationists 1000x over. Paul narrowly uses the “gospel” to only refer to the blessing of the baptism of the Spirit and working miracles. Therefore, those who resist the baptism of the Spirit (as defined by Acts) and working miracles, are those who fight the gospel itself. Cessationist rather than being gospel-centered, are gospel enemies and blasphemers. They are gospel haters.  The gospel is not even in the picture for them. They are centered on something, but it is not the gospel. However, as I think about it, there was a group in the New Testament, of spiritual beings and men who tried to stop this gospel of the baptism of the Spirit and miracles. They were “gospel-centered,” but only in the sense they were centered on destroying it. So in a sense cessationists are “gospel-centered,” but not the way they think.

Two. The second point that needs to be addressed is Paul summing up the blessing of Abraham, as God “giving him the world.” So, in Galatians the blessing of Abraham is called the gospel, and Paul boils it down to receiving the baptism of the Spirit and miracles. Here in Romans 4 Paul boils down the promises of God to Abraham as God giving the “whole world” to him.  Both are true, correct, and together they broadly incorporate the favor of God given to His chosen ones. As for the gospel of the Spirit and miracles, we see God being our Exceedingly Great Reward in the spiritual sense. Recall an earlier doctrine, we went over how man’s image is intellectual and spiritual. We discussed this from 1 Corinthians chapter 2. Through the Spirit, who alone knows God, we who are given the Spirit, have the “Mind of Christ.” In the baptism of the Spirit and miracles, this intellectual and spiritual image becomes so infused with God like power, that is becomes more than an internal spiritual reality, it becomes an outward world effecting power. God’s internal intellectual and Spiritual glory is overflowing with power so much that it effects reality so much, that it is the sole cause of all reality. As image bearers, we also reflect this image of God in us. God is such an exceeding great reward for His chosen ones, that He spares no expense. He gives us the “Mind of Christ,” and unlike Zeus who would never let a person even borrow his lighting bolt, God gives us His lighting bolt to wield as our own.  Jesus overcame the world, and with our faith in Him, “we” wielding God’s power overcome the world. This is the legacy of God’s children. The same love the father loves the Son, the Son asks the Father to love us with. We are made one with God, by His unmeasurable favor that He has for the Son, He pours in and all around us. Thus, whether it is the image of God internal glory of intelligence, God gives it to us, or whether it is God’s power, He gives it us to. The is no one who gives like God. If He gave His Son to saves us from our sins, then how much MORE will He freely gives us all things in Jesus? Who can measure such lavish and generous giving?

In addition to our spiritual image and spiritual power that effects reality, Paul sums up Abraham’s blessing as God giving the whole world to Abraham. This is not the first time we have seen this. Recall our earlier circle diagram from 1 Corinthians 3. Paul says the world belongs to God but so do the saints; yet God puts “the world,” as a smaller category inside the larger category of “His children.” The world, the past and present, the future, and all things belong to God’s children. Understanding God’s immeasurable giving nature, why should any saint have any hesitation to affirm and believe that God would create and give the whole world to His chosen ones? Who could doubt this but the unbelieving and wicked? As said before, this was how Satan tempted Eve; as if God was somehow holding back on her. To disbelieve and not enjoy the good things God has so graciously given us, is what led man into sin to begin with. If you have the smallest hesitation to believe and receive all the great things God has given to you, in this life, is at the same time leaving the door open for Satan to tempt and destroy you. God as given you His Mind, His Power and the wealth of reality, and if you disbelieve it, Satan will come along and say, “look at all the things you don’t have, and all those things you can’t have.” He will tempt you to acquire God’s freely given things, by a malfunctioned and intellectually delusional way. You will live a lie, a fallacy and become wicked. Do not allow yourself to be such easy prey. Rather, receive from God all that He has given you, and expand the Kingdom of God with truth, power and resources. Become Jacob who possess his possessions. “And the house of Jacob will possess their possessions,” (Obadiah 1:17 NKJV)

Considering what God promised Abraham in being his exceedingly great reward (giving the world to him), Abraham became financially filthy rich, had a wife so physically beautiful that kings wanted her (70 years old) for their Harlem, defeated 4 kingdoms and their armies, supernatural had children beyond what natural bodies can do and prospered in all that he did. This is what it meant for God to be Abraham’s God, and Abraham to be His son, in relation to reality. Reality is freely given to Abraham to bless and prosper him. It is true the “fullness” or completeness of this promise is realized after Jesus’ second coming; however, the point here is to state what is available in this life, which is the life we are currently existing in.

The temporary contract with Moses in the law, also restated what this blessing of “God being our God, and we His people,” looks like, if the law if perfectly kept. Of course, in Jesus Christ, the law is perfectly kept. Thus, we who are Christians receive the blessings of that law; although what is really happening, is that this favor is originally the unmerited and eternal blessing promised to Abraham from ancient times, which the atonement of Jesus grafts us into.

“I will give you peace in the land, and you will be able to sleep with no cause for fear. I will rid the land of wild animals and keep your enemies out of your land. In fact, you will chase down your enemies and slaughter them with your swords. Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand! All your enemies will fall beneath your sword.

“I will look favorably upon you, making you fertile and multiplying your people. And I will fulfill my covenant with you.  You will have such a surplus of crops that you will need to clear out the old grain to make room for the new harvest!  I will live among you, and I will not despise you. I will walk among you; I will be your God, and you will be my people.  I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt so you would no longer be their slaves. I broke the yoke of slavery from your neck so you can walk with your heads held high,”
( Lev. 26:6:13 NLT)

Jesus, under the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and perfect faith in the word of God, asked and multiplied five loaves of bread to feed 5,000 men (not including women and children). There was such a “surplus” of food, they had to gather large baskets, in order to hold all the surplus of food. There was such a surplus of the power of the Spirit given to the church that people would try to let their shadows touch them, so that they might be healed of sickness and demons.  “The apostles were performing many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers were meeting regularly at the Temple in the area known as Solomon’s Colonnade.  But no one else dared to join them, even though all the people had high regard for them. Yet more and more people believed and were brought to the Lord—crowds of both men and women.  As a result of the apostles’ work, sick people were brought out into the streets on beds and mats so that Peter’s shadow might fall across some of them as he went by, (Acts 5:12-15 NLT).” But even table bearers, such as Phillip, had such a surplus of power and favor, that he was bodily transported by the Spirit to different locations, which is not recorded that even Jesus experienced.  Paul said that Jesus was a wealth atonement substitute on the cross for us, so that the Corinthians will live in financial abundance (because Jesus took on their poverty), so that in this “surplus” of money they can freely give to the cause of advancing the gospel and helping the church (2 Corinthians 8:9 & 9:8).[11]

Melchizedek, the eternal priest—without beginning or end—and an architype for Jesus, brought Abraham bread and wine in Genesis chapter 14. The context was God blessing Abraham with a victory in defeating 4 kings and their armies who had take Lot as a captive. In returning from this victory, Melchizedek meet Abraham, bringing him “bread and wine.” The connection is obvious. This high priest of God is giving bread and wine, as an archetype for what Jesus, the true high priest, was going to do.  This again was without the context of justification or salvation, but of granting Abraham a military victory over his enemies. God promised to be Abraham’s great reward, and therefore, even in military conflicts God favors Abraham. God even blesses Abraham with a high priest and gives him the bread and wine. Thus, those grafted into the blessing of Abraham, have victories over their troubles and enemies. Likewise, the true high priest gave us His body to be broken and His blood to be spilled out, in order to both save us and favor us with blessings. I could go on and on about his, but the point is made.

This ties into our previous teaching on the decrees. The original intention God had toward the Elect was all blessings and glory and love. It was a purely positive intention to create a chosen people to share in the love He has for His Son, to be freely given in and over them. Therefore, after the introduction of the Garden and God’s promise of salvation, God singles out Abraham and introduces the major Christian doctrines in a exclusive positive way, without the context of justification or salvation. Abraham is blessed, favored, declared righteous in God’s sight and is God’s “friend.” In this Abraham is a type of architype of how God saw all His chosen ones, at the beginning of His decrees. After Abraham, we see in Scripture how God designed to get all His chosen ones to this overabundant blessed position. Thus, God after Abraham brings in the temporary law of Moses to teach about man’s sinfulness.  “This is what I am trying to say: The agreement God made with Abraham could not be canceled 430 years later when God gave the law to Moses. God would be breaking his promise.  For if the inheritance could be received by keeping the law, then it would not be the result of accepting God’s promise. But God graciously gave it to Abraham as a promise. Why, then, was the law given? It was given alongside the promise to show people their sins,” (Galatians 3:17-19 NLT).

This will end the scripture’s basic introduction of Soteriology and how it introduces major doctrines of salvation. The next section will deal with the specifics of the atonement of Jesus Christ and its accomplishments.

Abraham/gospel promise – You are highly favored and blessed.

Moses/Law – You are sinful.

Jesus/It is finished – I save you from your sins (the doorway), and I give you Abraham’s blessing (at seat at My Father’s table).

——- Endnotes ——-

[1] Boldface mine.

[2] [] my translation, since I felt the NLT paraphrased too far on this part.

[3] Boldface is mine in these 3 passages.

[4] Although I have heard other people mention the importance of Abraham, such as Oral Roberts (mentioning Abraham’s promise means healing as bread in the example of the gentile women), but it was Vincent who help me the most to understand this doctrine, and must give credit to him. I would recommend his essay, “Edge of Glory.”

[5]  “You are nothing but a Canaanite! Your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite.  On the day you were born, no one cared about you. Your umbilical cord was not cut, and you were never washed, rubbed with salt, and wrapped in cloth.  No one had the slightest interest in you; no one pitied you or cared for you. On the day you were born, you were unwanted, dumped in a field and left to die.

But I came by and saw you there, helplessly kicking about in your own blood. As you lay there, I said, ‘Live!’  And I helped you to thrive like a plant in the field,”
Ezekiel 16”3-7 NLT.

[6] Vincent Cheung. “Healing: the Will of Man.”

[7] Before Abraham, the children of faith were more random and spread out. There was no definite line or place to show a strong heritage of faith.

Even though Israel was marred with unbelief, there was always the remnant of faith in him, as opposed to every other nation on earth that did not even have a small public remnant of faith.

[8] Boldface added by author.

[9] In 3:1-2 the message Paul referred to was about the “crucifixion of Jesus.”

[10] I can count on one hand how many times I have heard preachers use the terms gospel and message of Christ the way Paul uses them here.

[11] I will not long deal with the stupid objection that says, “the church in Jerusalem was poor to whom they were giving the money too,” because the main context of this was the “persecution” for the sake of the gospel. As said, many times, that is a different category other than everyday troubles. Thus, if you are not under direct persecution, for the sake of being a true Christian, then this objection is a point of non-relevance.  Green is 7 therefore blue is 7. Please think like adults and do not annihilate categories like children playing imaginary games.

With that being said, even under persecution, we are not without weapons, and ways to gain victories, and if death for the gospel’s sake is truly our end, then the Spirit will make this clear, and not irrationally inferring it form mere circumstances. Only those under the power of the Spirit and filled with mountain moving faith, are those qualified to make such distinctions, which means those who make such stupid and wicked objections are not qualified.

Love Never fails – To Heal by Miraculous Power

Paul says this famous premise in 1 Corinthians 13. This love chapter is sandwich between the chapters on Paul’s teaching on the gifts of the Spirit. I remember Vincent Cheung saying something to the effect of, (as I paraphrase from memory) “if this chapter is read at a wedding, it is only proper to have a healing and miracle service afterwards, because that is the context of Paul’s teaching on love.” I agree.

It is odd that pastors and theologians who scream the loudest for “context” only do it on their few pet doctrines, but ignore it on everything else. The context for this doctrine of love is about God’s people having overwhelming spiritual power. Paul’s instruction is for God’s people, who have great power, is to use this great power in love, toward each other.

This next statement might be a shock for some, but it needs to be said. For those who do not have great heavenly powers of the baptism of the Spirit, Spiritual Gifts, Faith to move mountains, and are practiced in manifesting the Anointing Presence of God, this chapter of love is not applicable to them, or at the very least, it is mostly not applicable to them.

Paul starts the chapter by presupposing the audience does have faith to move mountains, give prophecies, speak in tongues, give to the poor and sacrifice themselves for each other. Those who do not fit the above presuppositions are those Paul is not addressing. He is addressing those who have spiritual power. This does not mean if you do not have spiritual power you are free from obeying God’s command to love your neighbor as yourself. What it does mean, is that for the Christian, love (like with the Sermon on the Mount) is elevated to a higher standard. There is no such thing as Christian love, that is not favoring others as yourself with healing, miracles and prophecies. A love that is without spiritual power is not a Christian love, by definition. Such a definition of love might the standards of non-Christians, but we are not non-Christians.

Jesus showed compassion and love over and over and over in the gospels, and it was always with the power of healing and miracles. Love without miraculous power is an anti-love, it is a love that Jesus does not know or lived. It is a love the apostles did not know or live. It is a love the New Testament church did not know or lived. Non-Christians live this type of love, but we are not non-Christians, unless you really are.

Love is to favor. Loving your neighbor is to favor them, the way you want to be favored. Jesus filled with the Holy Spirit for ministry, had power. When He saw a sick person, He favored them by using power to heal them and remove their suffering. This means, if I was sick and in pain, and I had power, I would favor myself by removing the sickness and pain from me. This is how Jesus favored those around them. This is how the apostle favored those around them. This is how the New Testament favored those around them.

Jesus commanded we pray in His name and get whatever we wish so that God is glorified, and we are filled with joy (John 14-16). Love others by praying for others to receive whatever you want for them, so that by Jesus giving this to them, God makes their joy full. Jesus was filled with the Sprit for ministry, and so commanded His followers to be baptized in the Spirit for power.

The gospels take the time to repeatedly show that Jesus demonstrated love and compassion by healing and using heavenly power to help people. Jesus then commands us to do the same. Then for extra measure Paul used the chapter on “love” in context of using spiritual power in church to help people. This is how the Bible defines Christian love. God’s love is not a powerless love. Before creation and after creation God’s love is not a powerless love. The Godman Jesus Christ, who the saints are imaged after, did not and does not love with a powerless love. The love that Jesus commanded the saints to use was not a command to have a powerless love.

God’s love is using power to favor others with help and salvation. Jesus’ love is using power to favor others with help and salvation. God commands us to love in the same way. We are to love the way God loves, which is to use heavenly power to favor others.

Remember when the Israelites went in to take the Promise Land? Do you remember that “they failed” to completely eradicate all the inhabitants? Did they fail or did God fail? God in the ultimate sense decrees everything; therefore, even their failure to obey His command to completely eradicate all inhabitants, was by God power and decree. However, the “failure” was theirs not God’s. “God’s command,” which is what “He wants for them,” is to completely take the Land and enjoy it. Both the moral accountability, and the failure to bring God’s desire for their good, was their failure and accountability.  God is not the objects He creates, thus, God’s command to man, does not categorically apply to Him, just as blue does not apply to the number 7. They failed to fully enjoy all the goodness of the Promise Land, because they failed to obey God. That failure is their accountability and responsibility, not God’s. That is, their failure is not God’s failure. The public failure of God’s people to fully enjoy what Almighty God promised, was on them.

The same with this phrase “love never fails.” If the saints are truly empowered and full of faith, the way “God commanded” them to be, then indeed “love never fails.” Love will see the need for a revelation, miracles, healing, truth or resurrection and because it has power to support all this favor surging in their hearts, then the blind see, the lame walk, the prisoner is set free, the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. However, if the saints are not in obedience to God’s command to have mountain moving faith and crowned with Spiritual power, so that they fail to love each other in miraculous power, then that accountability and responsibly is on them and not God’s definition of what love is. In such cases, God’s definition of love did not fail; rather, a person failed to obey God commandments, just like with the Israelites.

The Corinthians were prideful, however despite this, at least people were being healed and miracles were performed so that God’s people were favored with help and deliverances. If I were sick and in pain, I would pick a prideful Corinthian who has power to heal me, 1 million times over a so-called saint who was humble but lacked God’s power, and thus, lacked the ablity to love me by removing the pain. Neither, is a true definition of love, but the Corinthians were at least able to relieve suffering saints with the Spirit of God. That is, the Spirit of God did not leave the Corinthians, even though they had some selfish intentions. Paul corrected them and told them to seek even more power. The finger of God, was still moving to help those around them with power, despite some of their faults. However, without this power, then the finger of God does not break in with power, because the power is not there to begin with.

Let God’s people not repeat the mistakes that Israel committed in desert and Promise Land. Let us be filled with faith and the Spirit for heavenly power. Let us love like Jesus. Let us love by the definition revealed in the Scripture. Let us love like God. Let our favor be with power, so that “love never fails.” Let us favor our fellow saints as much or more than ourselves, and with this desire, let us be filled with faith and power. Let us fulfill our desire to help by wielding the power of God as our own, which is our rightful inheritance. Let our actions be the Finger of God that expands His Kingdom with love that never fails.

Cannot Throw a Hammer at God’s Face…

What is humility before God? What is confidence before God? Good questions, but unfortunately such easy questions for Christian masochist’s become a den of demons.

I will protect the person behind this comment below and just call them Billy.

You can read at the end of this the original post, where Billy read and then gave this response to it.

4 Blessed [are] those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed [are] the meek, For they shall inherit the earth. Matt 5:4-5.

You might want to get your intellect around the fact that Jesus does not promise these blessings to the confident, but to the humble. Consider the story he told of the Pharisee and the tax collector. It was the super humble tax collector who went home justified
“I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18:14

If you read my original post used I the term “super humble,” to refer to those who think and act in false humility. I said, “super-humble people never receive God’s salvation, let us leave them to their religious masochism.”

The usual fallacies of ambiguity and non-relevance hide a doctrine of demons in this short comment.

Let us define humility. Humility is submission to God. We are told to “humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, so that He will lift us up” (1 Peter 5:6). Humility is not a feeling or an emotion. Humility is an intellectual understanding of yourself relative to God. You understand God is big and you are dependent on Him. God’s hand is mighty and yours is not. But in this command to humble ourselves we are told to do it so that God will “exalt us.” Think about that. In this command to humble ourselves it is commanding us to seek our self-desire to be exalted. The command is not seeking God to be exalted, but us. We desire our own exaltation, but we are weak in and of ourselves, so we are commanded to submit ourselves to God’s so that His power will exalt us.

Again, super humble people have a problem with this, which is why they do not receive salvation or any other promise form God.

Let us define “confidence.” I mean the word the way it used in Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see, (NIV).

The term “confidence” is a relative word, like big or small. Confident in what? Confidence in self is obviously both stupid and wicked. The Scripture tells us we are created, and are dependent, and are weak. Non-Christians, and Christians before they were Christians, were intellectually blind and morally darkened. Thus, to have confidence in the self is a delusion and sinful.  When Christians are saved and renewed in the Spirit, are not intellectually blind anymore and the state of their soul is not darkness, otherwise they are not Christians. This does not mean they are perfect, but that their new-creation is radical transformation.

Since I am addressing Christians, I will deal with it from this position. Even though our minds are renewed and we are filled with God’s truth, and (hopefully) are baptized in the Spirit with powers from heaven, we do not have confidence in ourselves because every positive thing just stated is given and continually supplied by God’s power to us. This is something so painfully obvious that I wonder why I need to even say this. Therefore, our confidence is in God. He sent His Son for us, even when we were sinners to be a wrath appeasing atonement, simply because He favored us so much. He caused us to be born from above, with the washing and renewing of the Spirit. Jesus from the throne of David, at God’s right hand, pours the baptism of the Spirit to endowed us with heavenly powers and weapons. Every morning His tender mercies are new; His rod and staff comforts us as we walk in the valley of death. He is so faithful; the sun’s daily rising looks like a cheap copy.

I say this because any Christian can see this. They have read Hebrews 11:1 about faith is confidence in what God said. They understand some terms are relative. Even preschool unbelievers know this. Thus, why is it when I write about a confidence in Jesus, so-called Christians try to rebuke me by saying confidence is bad? What? Why is it when I write about God promising to give me the “mind of Christ,” and “the Power of Spirit,” and that I am confidence God works this in me so that “I have Mind of Christ” and “I have the Power of the Spirit,” I am publicly attacked by Christians by saying confidence is bad?

Ok, let me try this out. Confidence in God’s promise is good, except all the times it is not? I remember Vincent Cheung saying something to the effect of, “welcome to this mad-house called Christian theology.” Indeed, it truly is.

When I deal with some “Christians,” I feel like I am dealing with the most ridiculous stupid, bottom of the barrel insane people. Can you fault me for this? First they are not Christians. They are reprobates. You cannot actively attack God’s Word, which is attacking God over and over, without giving proof of your reprobation. You cannot keep attacking God and claim you are with Him at the same time. It doesn’t work that way.

Super humble people like to emphasis that “confidence” is only or mostly relative to man’s confidence in himself. However, this not the emphasis in Scripture. It is true, the Scripture mention at times how some have confidence in themselves, and by doing so they condemn themselves to burn in hell.

Scripture has a positive and not a negative emphasis. The Scripture’s positive message is God, with all this power and grace, and the message that for those with “confidence” in His many promises they will not be disappointed. The Scripture’s focus on confidence is a positive one, as it repeatedly highlights those with confidence in God.

In fact, our passage in Hebrews 11 is all about this focus. Jesus in the gospel does condemn those with confidence in themselves, but it also underscores repetitively those with faith (i.e. confidence) in God to heal them.

Thus, faith and confidence in God are referring to the same thing. To rebuke confidence is to rebuke faith. This is why I said the above is demonic. It is the job of demons to rebuke faith, ..well, and those who follow them. Since my topic was faith/confidence in God, to rebuke me, even if using a sleight of hand fallacy and make it “relative” to self rather than God, is to still rebuke faith by a sleight of hand fallacy. You cannot rebuke God, even by proxy, even by fallacies that put you one step back from directly slapping God and be in delusion that you will escape condemnation. You cannot throw a hammer at God’s face and claim the hammer did it.

And this brings us back the other term, “humility.” Humility is also a “relative” word. I have made this point before, and it bears repeating. Humility starts with Christian epistemology. Humility starts by submitting to the Word of God. Humility is acknowledging that you do not produce truth, you cannot obverse truth, you cannot calculate truth from science, and you do not have truth inherently; rather, God is truth, and the only starting point of knowledge for mankind.  You are exchanging your human starting point for knowledge with God’s promise and definition. This is where humility starts, and without this no action you do can intellectually or spiritually be defined as humble.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of understanding. How do you expect to obey without understanding Him? Take your human speculation and submit yourself to God as your starting point for all knowledge.  Do this and we can at least start to talk about humility. If I do not see this from you on any one topic in Scripture, then humility is no longer part of the picture, at least on that topic.

Thus, if you want truth, you submit yourself to God and God will exalt you with His truth, His understanding and His intelligence.

This will be another painfully obvious point, but super humble people seem to miss this. Thus, to submit yourself under God’s command to repent and be saved is humble. “You” want to be “exalted” so high up that “you want” to be at peace with God and boldly approach the King of Kings, thus you submit yourself under God’s command for repentance and then God exalts you to be His son and even a co-heir with Christ forever.  You are not seeking to exalt God, but you are seeking for God to “exalt you” with salvation. Of course, this in the larger context exalts God. Here is the main point, this act of humility is also true for EVERY COMMAND and PROMISE, no matter how awesome and grandiose the promise is.

Jabez praying for God to enlarge his tent and give him peace, is an act of the most holy and debasing humility as defined by God’s word. Let that sink deep into your soul. To seek God to heal you based on His promise in James 5:15, is humility at its finest. Why? Because you are trading in your human speculation (my body is sick, and seems to want to stay this way for the future) and you are lowering and debasing yourself, by giving up your observations and your conclusion from them and bowing to submit to God’s definition (that says Jesus already took your sickness and if you ask in faith you will be healed). It is hard to lower oneself, greater than this.

I know some are thinking about the phrase, “in His own time,” from 1 Peter 5:6. But again, this is also defined relative to God’s own definitions and promises. The promise in James 5:15 is referring to a “miraculous” healing. That is, if not in the very moment, at least soon. Thus, to submit yourself under God’s mighty promise in this context means His timing is quick by definition, the whole new testament shows this. Any promise that conveys an immediate or fast response has the same definition to “God’s timing.” God’s timing for healing is fast; there is no way to remove this context out, unless you remove the Scriptures, or that is to remove God. The same for faith in the gospel and being born again. Stop letting excuses keep you out of healings and heaven. You only have one life.

If you are looking for God to exalt you by submitting your faith and confidence in God’s mighty promises, you are the pinnacle of humbleness. Do not let anyone steal this from you. Do not let Satan or those sided with him steal God’s definition from you. Be humble and seek God’s mighty hand to faithfully do all the things He promised. Be a Christian.

If you find it humble to ask God for forgiveness, knowing that if you ask in faith God will absolutely exalt you with forgiveness and adoption, but not humble to do the same with healing you or prospering you, then you are very definition of arrogance and pride. You have sided against God. You are a legacy of pride.

Be humble and seek God’s mighty hand to faithfully do all the things He promised. Be a Christian.

——————-

Original Post:

This foundation of Jesus is important, because He is head of the church; He is the Image that God’s chosen ones are created in. Everything else the saints gained from their new creation in Christ is built on this “Logos” foundation. We have already discussed, in the doctrine of man, what intelligence means. We learned the foundation of the Spiritual aspect of man is in this intellectual foundation. This foundation is to have true premises from God’s revelation and logically apply them to the world and oneself.

Jesus’ ability to think in this spiritual and intelligent way, is freely given to the saints, so that Paul even says we “have the mind of Christ.” Christ’s ability to be Spiritual and intelligent becomes the Saints’ ability to be Spiritual and intellectual. This is made reality by the Spirit of God poured into the saints and the “truth”; however, there is a particular emphasis on the “truth” of all the good things freely given them.

This theme we will see more and more. God’s ability becomes the Saints’ ability. The realm of impossibilities that are possible by God’s ability, becomes the saints’ realm possibilities. The power of God becomes the saints’ power. As Jesus was anointed by the Spirit with power to do His ministry, the saints’ have the same Spirit given to them to minister in the same power of Christ, with the one exception that Jesus promises they will have even greater power for miracles than Him. Super humble people have a problem with this, but since super humble people never receive God’s salvation, let us leave them to their religious masochism, for it is all they will receive in this life or the next.

This Logos of intellectual light and wisdom that made and logically decreed the whole future of the reality, is the logos that John says became flesh and stepped into the world He made. John says He was full of “truth” and “unmerited favor.” These themes of truth and grace will repeat themselves in John’s gospel, and the conclusion John gives is for us to believe in God’s Son and be saved.

 Desire vs Faith

We can define “desire” as one of two main ways, as “feelings / emotions,” or as “a want or wishful hope.”

Both of these definitions have the same non-relevance in regards desire being non-intellectual and having no necessary connection to faith, or no necessary connection to receiving the promise.

Faith is simply a mental assent to God’s truth. Having a desire or wishful hope to be saved, and mentally assenting to the gospel propositions as truth, is not the same thing.

The bible does speak of a “sound mind” and that we are to renew our minds. This is in two ways. The first and foundational meaning is to know the propositions of Scripture and assent to them, and deductively apply them to yourself and to decisions of good and evil about reality. You remove false propositions and replace them with true propositions from Scripture, and you remove invalid reasoning with deductive reasoning. The second part is what we call the psychological state of the mind. A renewed/mature mind will experience a more stable state of joy, and without even trying will keep gravitating towards wanting or desiring to please God rather than the self or man. However, as John says in 1st John 3, our hearts or that is, our irrational emotions and thoughts can condemn us, even when it is not true. Thus, you never base what is true or false by your emotions or by your up and down desires. You base what is true on “faith.” You do not base truth by sight for sensations is no truth or produces truth. Or simply put because we live by faith alone, and since sight is not faith, we do not live by sight. By the same reasoning, we do not live by feelings and desires, because these not faith. To go from sight to a proposition is invalid; however, it is just as invalid to go from desire/feelings to a proposition. In both case one is making a category error and denying the law of identity.

A wishful hope for healing is not faith. A wishful hope is not a mental assent to the fact that in Christ’s atonement “you” are already healed (Isaiah 53); that is faith. To desire to be healed, is on one hand something Jesus presupposes that people want; however, because desire to be healed is a command then even if you do not “feel” the desire to be healed, you can be obedient, if by nothing else, by pragmatically seeking to be healed by faith, in how the bible says to grow faith.

The desire would and often should be there, but it is not faith, and it is not needed to obey God’s commands. We should desire and seek for a sound mind, both in the intellectual, spiritual aspect, and also for a constant state of joy and desire for God. However, we do not start off with a mature mind when we are born again. We renew our minds by the means God has given us. If we do not start off with a perfect state of mind when born again, and having such a mind is required for us to ask and obtain our requests from God, then it would never happen. Think about the examples of faith in the Bible? Samson, when his eyes were stabbed out and bound in chains of slavery, was his mind in perfect joy? All he did was believe God would be faithful to His promise to use Samson. His faith was so great he is mentioned in Hebrews 11 with David, Moses and Abraham as a man who the world was not worthy to have utter Samsons’ name on their filthy lips.  It is true that having a joyful and peaceful state of mind for good things is able to help, so that even prophets asked for music to be played, and David would retreat and quietly meditate on God’s goodness; however, with or without the perfect desire, only one thing is needed, a mental assent that God will do what He said, without doubting it. When this is done you can ask for 100 mountains to throw themselves into planet Saturn and it will happen.

Also, like assenting to the fact that bananas are your favorite fruit, it is either mental assent that you do, or if they are not and you still affirm, “bananas are my favorite fruit,” you mentally assented to a lie or a delusion. A mental assent does not merely mean you affirm something like (2 plus 2 equals 4), if the context demands it. It is one thing to assent that figs exist, and a different thing to assent that figs are “my” favorite snack. This is either true or false; if false and you say it in your mind anyway, then all you have done is indulged in a mental delusion.

When we realize our faith is not where it should be we are told to renew our minds. We take off the old falsehoods and replace them with the truth. We “confess” them, even when we know we have doubts, not because we are delusional, but because the promise of God is that we can renew our minds and that the Spirit will help to strengthen us. We confess God’s promises, knowing God will be faithful to sanctify our minds so that soon, we can assent to them without doubts. Because the “foundation” is not us, but GOD, we have the confidence to read God’s promises, and confess them knowing God will renew and strengthen us, so that soon the doubts will be gone and an indomitable faith remains.

Jesus: “You Have Heard it Said…”

Jesus: You have heard it said,

“if you ask, you might or might not get it, depending on God’s will.”
However, I say to you, “If you ask you will receive, if seek you will find, and if you knock the door will be open.”

Jesus: You have heard it said,

“If you pray God will answer with a ‘yes,’ ‘maybe’ or a ‘no.’”
However, I say to you, “for everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”

Jesus: You heard it said,

“If you keep asking, and God has not given it to you,  God has answered your prayer with a no.”
However, I say to you, “Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, 6 ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ 7 And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’ 8 But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence.” [1]

Jesus: you have heard it said,

“Even if God answers your prayer, because God is looking out for you, He will often give you something different, but better.”
However, I say to you, “what man is there among you, if his son will ask him for bread, will give him a stone? Or also if he will ask for a fish, will give him a snake? Therefore if you, although you* are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him?”

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives,

and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you, if his son will ask him for bread, will give him a stone?

Or also if he will ask for a fish, will give him a snake? Therefore if you, although you* are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him? Matthew 7:7–11 (LEB)

Since it is God’s, and not man’s definition that a “good” God gives you the very thing you ask for, anyone who teaches otherwise is spouting a doctrine of demons. Some bark up like mad dogs that, “what if you ask for something bad?” So what? What does this logically have to do with what I am saying? This is not a relevant point, because James says if you ask God for evil things (“God help me murder this person”), then you are God’s “enemy,” and so prayer is the least of your concerns. Since I am addressing Christians or those who at least claim to be so, and not sworn enemies of God, I will ignore logically non-relevant points.

Jesus says, if you ask in faith you will get what you ask for. Jesus even says this in more than one way, in case we missed it. What Jesus is doing here with prayer, is the same He is doing throughout the “Sermon on the Mount.” You have heard it said “do not murder your brother, but I say to you, do not do it, even in your heart.” When Jesus teaches on judging people, His point presupposes that you are able to judge your brother, and to do it without hypocrisy. You do this by removing the wood from your own eye first. Some morons say, “you cannot judge without hypocrisy or bias”; yet, Jesus contradicts this in His sermon. He teaches the true ethical standard God demands for judging, and He expects His disciples to do it. It is good news to see in the new covenant, God promising to give us ethical power, “I will write my laws in your hearts.”

In this context of Jesus repeatedly correcting the low opinion of people’s thinking on God’s commands and standards, Jesus talks about “prayer and faith.” Thus, when we see Jesus saying, “if you ask God in faith, you get the very thing you ask for,” then we can infer the presupposition behind it, at least in the broad sense; and so, Jesus’ teaching is in opposition to the people’s low opinion of what they think prayer and faith should accomplish. The Jews had a perverted and low view of prayer. From the Mount, Jesus corrects their error and describes the true ethical standard that God commands about faith. Whatever the low valuation of prayer the Jews had, it was not to the standard of, “if you ask in faith, you will get what you ask for.”  Jesus is expecting and demanding, (just like He demands us to not even lust in our hearts after another woman), to pray and get what we pray for.  Jesus in essence says, “You have heard it said, if its God’s will, then you might get what you pray for. But I say to you, if you ask in faith, you will get the very thing you ask for, because God is the good Father.” This is the type of Being we are dealing with. You must deal with Him and not someone else.

Do you know this Jesus?

[1] Luke 7:5-8

Obedience Proves you Understand the Scripture

All who follow his precepts have good understanding,”
(Psalm 111:10 NIV).

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this: that you bear much fruit, and prove to be my disciples,
(John 15:7-8 LEB).

 Ethics are the conclusion of one’s worldview. Without knowledge, there is no knowledge of ethics. Without a reality, then there is no reality for ethics to exist in. Without man, there is no man to command. Thus, on the major premises of epistemology and metaphysics, ethics conclude from this.

We read something interesting Psalm 111:10b. We are told that by obeying God’s precepts (i.e. Ethics) it “proves” that a person has good understanding or intelligence. Since obeying God is Christian ethics, it means obeying God concludes from “understanding” Christian epistemology and metaphysics. This is why the greatest test for exposing if a so-called Christian pastor, or historically famous theology is truly intelligent and understanding can be seen in their obedience of God. In obedience they prove they have understanding of Christian epistemology and metaphysics. However, like the religious hypocrites in Jesus’ day, some Christian ethics can be outwardly mimicked, at least to a degree. However, some ethics cannot be mimicked by hypocrites. For example, one such ethics is mentioned by Jesus in John 15. Jesus’ presupposes that bearing fruit for the Father is a command or precept. It is a Christian ethic. Jesus says by doing this ethic you “prove you are His disciples.” The ethic mentioned here is having faith to ask God for anything and then God give you this anything.

Even Jesus said it was more difficult to speak healing to the sick than speaking forgiveness of sins, because if you say, “get up and walk,” there is an immediate point of verification. False Christian converts do not have faith, thus, they cannot ask for God for anything and then get it. They cannot do the miracles that Jesus did, because they do not have faith or understanding.

The more difficult ethics that cannot be mimicked by false converts (such as healing, miracles and answered prayers), are ethics that give greater proof of greater understanding of God’s truth and greater Christian intelligence. It means you need to understand more of God’s sovereignty and Christian epistemology, and to believe them, in order to do such ethics. These ethics prove, you truly believe what the bible claims about God.

Thus, the real proof for a persons claim to ministry is not a degree, which is mere human approval, but doing the more difficult ethics. These prove such a Christian has great understanding of Christian epistemology and metaphysics. It does not mean they are perfect in their understanding, but as the Scripture says, it does prove they understand God. If your pastors and favorites theologians do not have such ethics in their life, they do not give Scriptural proof they understand God’s sovereignty, or biblical epistemology as well as they claim.

Do not let such disobedient weaklings be your instructors, in particular, if they directly teach against such ethics, or merely hold them back. 

Prayer of Petition VS Dedication: When prayer becomes Non-prayer

Below, is a quick contrast between a prayer of “dedication,” that Jesus prayed in the garden, and a prayer of “petition” (John 15:7, Luke 18:1).

These are two different categories. They do have some overlap, depending if you are looking at the only real level of causality, or from the human relative level, and ethics. There is also some overlap between the direct meaning and indirect or presupposition behind it; however, we will keep it at this relative and direct perspective for simplicity, because it is this level that Jesus mostly spoke about.

When Jesus prayed in the garden, it was a dedication prayer, like Hannah dedicating her son, or when we dedicate our tithes and offerings to God. We will focus on the two necessary qualifications from these types of prayers, which is important for our present topic.

 

Dedication:

One, the person dedicating knows specifically what the plan or will of God they are dedicating to. The point is about a “specific” plan, “revealed from God,” not revealed from human speculation. Second, the person is directly giving up something of theirs to aid God’s specific plans and goals.

As for the first qualification Hannah knew God’s plan about having an ongoing ministry to God with ministers.  There was no mystery about what God might or might not do about having a church and ministry. God instituted it and commanded it. It was His goal and plan. There are no vague notions about it. Hannah dedicating her son to the service of God, was Hannah dedicating to a clear and specific plan of God she understood. The same with tithing.  You know exactly what God’s plan is when it comes to tithing. There is no mystery here. God’s plan is to support His ministry and ministers. You are dedicating your money to His plan, a plan you know about in precision and clarity. The same with Jesus in the Garden. Jesus knew the specific plan of God about His death for the salvation of the elect. There was no mystery here. There were no nebulous notions of what God might or might not do. Jesus says in effect, “I am not here for Myself, to ask for something, I am here to dedicate Myself to Your plan Father, however, in Me giving Myself to aid Your plan, if there is a way for Me not to suffer so horrifically, then grant this to Me, however, I am here to aid Your specific goal Father, so I will do it no matter the cost.

In all these examples the plan of God is known from infallible divine revelation, and not personal superstitions from observations. Thus, one important point about a prayer of dedication is knowing about a specific plan of God as revealed truth (as infallible divine revelation), and giving something you have to aid this plan.

The second point is about who is giving to who. God owns all things, however, even Jesus when talking about the relative level said, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar,” and not “Give Caesar’s things to God, because God ultimately owns it.” The bible does not teach pantheism. God is not what He creates, although He directly and absolutely controls every aspect of it, so that He is even the author of sin and evil. Thus, when God gives “you” something, because God is separate from the things He creates, God gave it to “you,” and “not Himself.” It is yours, not God’s, in this sense.  God gave money to Caesar, not to Himself, and thus, it is Caesar’s. The same with our money. When we tithe and give extra offerings, we are giving to God in this sense. God has said what His plan is about the ministry and ministers, and we obey Him by giving a portion of our money to aid God’s plan.

 

Petition:

A prayer of petition has the two same foundational points from above, but the object has changed. First, it is our specific plan, not God’s. Second, God is giving to us, and not us to God.

For the first point, the direct focus is our plan. We have a specific plan, and we are asking God to help, give it and establish it. Think about healing. When King Hezekiah was praying to be healed, was he praying for the idea of healing for all people, all animals and all theoretically possible aliens in the broadest sense possible? No. He was praying for healing for himself. (I know this sounds obvious, but people still miss these sort of things). As with the prayer for dedication, the plan is a specific one, and not a mystery, not might this or might not that.

I recall one time I was praying for help against a temptation to God, however, I was not clear in how I wanted God to help me. I suddenly felt the Spirit of God rebuke and say to me, “What do you want?” I then said, “I want my friend (Chris) to call me in the next 5 minutes, and read a Psalm to me and pray for me.” Exactly 5 minutes later my friend Chris called, and said he called because he suddenly felt the holy Spirit move him to call me, and read me a Psalm; and so he did.

God is often kind to us in our lazy prayers; however, this kindness of God does not remove the accountability from us that we are to specifically make our request known to God and receive them in faith.

As for the second part is obvious. God is the one giving to us. We are not referring to mysterious hidden providences of God; rather, we are referring to what Jesus said in the sermon on the mount.  Jesus said God is a good Father, in that what we ask for, God gives us this exact thing and not something different. God gives to us, and gives what we ask for. God hears our plan and our will, “Lord, heal me of this sickness,” and God aids our plan, by giving us a healing. Just like we see Jesus doing over, and over, and over, and over again in the Gospels. These people were stocking him, overcrowding Him, even interrupting Him (the person lowered through the roof), and He would stop what He was doing, and blessed their plan by giving them the healing they were asking for.

By staying on this level, we learn an important lesson: one type of prayer will negate the other. You are doing one or the other. You are in the direct sense, either giving to God, or God is giving to you. You are either knowing God’s exact plan (as divine revelation) and aiding it, or God is hearing your exact plan and aiding it.

Many when they pray, are in fact not praying, because they act like they are praying a petition, but then they refer to, “Lord, your will be done,” which is a dedication type prayer. When praying about the same these prayers cancel each other, therefore it is as if they prayed nothing. If this is the majority of your prayers, then you are not praying. If you are not praying, you are not a Christian. If you are not a Christian you will endure eternal suffering.

Since this is exactly the WOF doctrine, the WOF is right, and the others are wrong. Unless you are making a prayer of dedication, it is often wrong to pray “if it is your will,” as if you do not already know his will. In a prayer of petition, it can be an indication of unbelief and rebellion.

When you came to Christ, how come you did not pray, “God, I am a sinner. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and he came to this earth to die for sinners. If it is your will, save me, but if not, let me burn in hell”? Now when you sin, how come you do not pray, “God, I have sinned. If it is your will, forgive me, but if it is not, then revoke my salvation and damn me to hell.” How come? Because you know Jesus already suffered for your sins and paid for your forgiveness. God tells you this in his word. You knew God’s will before you asked, and you received by faith. Well, Jesus paid for a whole lot of other things, and God also tells you about them in his word.[1] 

This point we have been highlighting is a point that is different from the category error of mixing up ontology and ethics. If you do not know a specific divinely revealed truth, then an appeal in prayer to “ if the will of God,” is almost always nonsense. One could refer to the will of God in the broadest sense possible, such as “all things for God’s glory,” but the person who says this, could by the “will of God,” blaspheme the Spirit in the next breath and be sent to hell for the “glory of God.” Thus, a dedication prayer, is not meant to be said in this broadest sense possible, unless you are fine with giving your life to God, for God to cause you to blaspheme the Spirit, so that your burning body in hell is for His glory. No, you need something more specific.

Both types of prayer have in mind a specific plan, and is seeking to aid that plan. Because both are specific, to pray one type is not to pray the other type. To pray, “Lord heal me,” is seeking your specific plan, not God’s plan, in this direct sense. In this sense, you are indeed asking for “your will to be done” not God’s will. You are asking for God to give to you, and not you giving to God. Just like those who lowered the paralyzed man through the roof, and interrupted Jesus, they were asking for their will to be done[2]; they were not looking for God’s will to be done, in the direct sense by giving to a specific revealed plan of God.

I apologize for having to say such obvious things, but some have so abused the “will of God,” and so abused God’s sovereignty that I must go over this.

If you are NOT thinking about a specific decree and plan of God from Scripture (like tithing for support of the ministry), or a specific prophecy God has given you about your own ministry, then there is little context and little to no intelligibility to pray a dedication prayer. You are just mumbling at this point. You are praying like a mumbling pagan.

To ask for healing, and then say, “but your will be done,” is nonsense. In essence it is saying, this prayer is about “me knowing” my specific plan for healing and knowing “You giving” me that healing: however, it is also about “me giving” to You my circumstance and my “my not knowing” your specific plan to heal or not heal me?” LOL!

Again, this type of prayer has now become non-prayer. You are not saying anything. You are praying things that cancel each other out. If you pray like this, you are not praying, and if you do not pray you are not a Christian.

What is odd is that many cessationist and traditionalist (and sadly even Pentecostals) often refer to the “will of God,” as if they are praying a dedication prayer, when they are asking for something in a petition prayer. Thus, they are not praying. Getting past this point, we see another problem. If they are not receiving divinely given prophecies/visions/dreams concerning specifics for their ministries, then what “specific” plan from Scripture are they using to dedicate themselves to, by giving something to “God’s revealed plan”?  Take healing for example. What Scripture says God will not give healing when asked in true faith? Where? Remember a rebuttal only works if you can show a scripture that only means no healing with faith, and not a mere possibility.

These persons now have a real problem. They need a specific plan of God to dedicate themselves to, so as to feel really humble about themselves.

Sadly, the only thing left for such persons to acquire a “specific” plan of God, is to humanly divine it from the movements of circumstance, similar to how Satanists humanly divine the future with movements of a Ouija board. Their circumstances move this way, their bodies and hands move this way, thus, it is God’s specifically revealed plan not to heal me. Starting with an epistemology of human empiricism/observation (not scripture) they superstitiously conjure up a specific plan of God to their liking, such as, “its not God’s plan to heal me of this sickness.” Thus, many so-called Christians have more in common with demonic cults than with Christianity.  They are one step away from entering into the fellowship of demons, if they are not already there.

Be true Christians. Pray dedication prayers when applicable, and pray petition prayers when applicable and do not blur them into the same thing. Be Children of the light.

 

Dedication: Lord I give this to you.
Petition: Lord give this to me.

 

Dedication: Lord your will be done.
Petition: My will be done.

Dedication: I know Your plan, so I want to give this to You, to aid Your plan.
Petition: I know my plan, here is something I need You to give me, to help my plan.

 

———-END NOTES———-

[1] Vincent Cheung. Prayer and the Word of Faith.  From the ebook, Sermonettes Vol.8, 2015, pg.45.

[2] See Vincent Cheung. Healing: the Will of Man.

First Principles of a Worldview or First Spirits?

“See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, and not according to Christ.”

LSB Colossians 2:8

Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon: (elementary principles),

4747 στοιχεῖον [stoicheion /stoy·khi·on/] n n. From a presumed derivative of the base of 4748; TDNT 7:670; TDNTA 1087; GK 5122; Seven occurrences; AV translates as “element” four times, “rudiment” twice, and “principle” once.

1 any first thing, from which the others belonging to some series or composite whole take their rise, an element, first principal. 1a the letters of the alphabet as the elements of speech, not however the written characters, but the spoken sounds. 1b the elements from which all things have come, the material causes of the universe. 1c the heavenly bodies, either as parts of the heavens or (as others think) because in them the elements of man, life and destiny were supposed to reside.
1d the elements, rudiments, primary and fundamental principles of any art, science, or discipline. 1d1 i.e. of mathematics, Euclid’s geometry.[1]

In the verse, the word “philosophy” is actually used, not “spirits or angels.” In addition to philosophy being used by Paul, which is about philosophy, the context is about “traditions of men,” that are conclusions from “elementary principles.” In Philosophy 101 you learn that ethics (or in this case religious ethics as “traditions”) are a conclusion from the rudimentary principles of metaphysics(reality) and epistemology(knowledge). To talk about ethics, as Paul does here, coming from elementary foundational principles of a human system, is as philosophy as it gets.  In fact you can start any Intro to Philosophy book or college class with this statement, “Philosophy is the study of the fundamental principles, or ultimate questions about life.” The first two biggest questions are almost always about “starting point for knowledge,” and then the “starting point for reality.” With these two big fundamental principles laid down, then one can easily proceed to ultimate question about ethics.

The whole structure of this premise and those immediately around, is strong philosophy, or ultimate question language. Thus, “stoicheion,” due to context should mean what it normally means and not some other meaning, like “elementary spirits.” It means ultimate or rudimentary/first principles of a worldview. Think about the philosophy word, “epistemology.” It means, “first or starting principle of knowledge.”

Thus, the last part of the Strong’s Lexicon (1D) is best definition of this word, that fits the context of Paul’s premise. Paul is therefore, referring to the first and foundational principles of a humanly made worldview, and then the “traditions” men conclude from the first principles of their humanly devised worldview.

Paul is contrasting “human” versus “Christian” first principles, and then human conclusions from their humans first principles versus Christian ethics from its first principles.

Men have their own speculative statements of first principles of knowledge and reality, and from this they superstitiously conclude human traditions as their ethics. Their traditions are false, because their first principles of their worldview about reality and knowledge are false; and therefore, their traditions/conclusions are false.

Christians on the other hand, have Christ, who is hidden all the treasures of knowledge. The Scripture reveals the starting principles about knowledge(epistemology) and reality(metaphysics) to us, and from foundation, God reveals His commands(ethics) to us. Christians ethics are founded on reality and truth, whereas, non-christians ethics are founded on a delusion of reality and skepticism as knowledge.

[1] Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.

Look Jesus! there are Crumbs: YOU SAID IT, NOT ME

“But she came and bowed down before him and said, “Lord, help me!”

“It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs,” he said.

“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”

Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, your faith is great! Let what you want be done for you.” And her daughter was healed from that hour.”
(Matthew 15-25-28 NET)

.
Jesus, the greatest teacher who ever lived, Jesus the greatest prophet who ever lived, Jesus the greatest man who knew God’s Will perfectly and set His face like a flint to accomplish it at all cost,–said to this outsider woman, “woman, not God’s Will be done (His plan to only minister to the Jews before the atonement), but your Will Be Done.”

JESUS: “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.

WOMAN: “Jesus, these are Your words not mine. You said with Your words, there are dogs in the house beneath the table. Even if you did not intend it, you have me under your table. Even if you did not intend it, there are always crumbs that fall down from the table. You SAID IT, not me! If You are to be faithful to Your word, then you ought to let me have the crumbs, because I am there under that table with those crumbs, and I want them. YOU SAID IT, not me!!”

This woman, even if she is commandeering Jesus’ analogy to go farther than Jesus intended it, she does something that most people lack, which is engaging God’s word with importance. In FAITH she treats the Lord’s word with SERIOUSNESS! God just spoke. God cannot lie. She is banking on the fact that Jesus must be faithful to His words, even if Jesus did not intend them to the length she is asking for. Most would have been too offended at being called a “dog,” to treat Jesus’ word with reverence and importance.

Despite the errors the health and wealth guys have, they are not mistaken on taking the divine promises, from God’s word, and treat them with importance. Those who often criticize these faith teachers, are often to offended at Jesus’ words calling them dogs and unbelieving perverts (Matt.17:17), to take His promises on health and wealth seriously. You cannot please God without faith, says the preacher in Hebrews 11. These despite their faults, have faith in God’s promises. To have faith in God’s promise, even for health and wealth, is at the same time to treat God with reverence and seriousness. Those, who do not, dishonor Him and treat His word as a little and light thing.

Jesus, after seeing this woman use His analogy against Him, rather than rebuking her, praises her. Think about that. How often did Jesus do that? Jesus gets out maneuvered and out argued by a woman taking His analogy farther than He intended, and He praises her “FAITH” for doing so. Unlike many around Him, at least she was engaging His word with great importance and seriousness.

Jesus says to her, “Woman, God’s will/pan is to only minister to the Jews first, but not His Will be done; rather, your will be done on earth.”

Your theology must include this Jesus, or you are not a Christian. Your faith must treat God’s every promise with this level of importance, or you are not a Christian. However, when Jesus comes, will he find faith, will He find people treating His word with this level of importance with healing and casting out demons as this women did?

‐——————–

Endnote.

Vincent Cheung points out in the essay, Faith Override (sermonettes vol. 9), that faith is the first doctrine. Similar to how the Mosaic Covenant cannot override God’s promise to Abraham, the same is with faith. God made a Covenant or contract with man about faith. It is the first primordial doctrine.

In fact, this is Satan’s first temptation to Adam, “did God say?” Thus, every other doctrine and Covenant that comes later will not override it; rather the opposite, God’s first doctrine of faith, if a man engages it, will override doctrines that come later, because they only add to this first doctrine, and not replace it.

Thus, behind Jesus saying not God’s will be done, in regard to His plan to only minister to the Jews before the atonement, is God’s standing doctrine of faith. God’s will is to honor the will of man, when man engages God’s doctrine of faith in His word. When the woman engaged Jesus’ word with absolute importance, it triggered this first doctrine of faith.

Thus, behind Jesus saying, “woman your will be done,” is God’s will being done by His faithfulness to always honor faith, His first doctrine established with man.

God Owns it All, the Saints Receive it All

God Owns it All, the Saints Receive it All.

Recall an earlier quote from Vincent, from “On Good and Evil,”

The Bible says that, “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). It also says that, “God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone” (James 1:13), but that, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17). This means that God’s nature is inherently good, and it is the objective standard of goodness on which all judgment on these issues must be based.[0]

I would like to point out from this an inference about how God’s children image Him.

There are a few reasons why God cannot be tempted. I will skip the issue that sin is not applicable to God. One reason why God cannot be tempted by evil, is because God already owns it all. How can God be tempted to steal something when He already owns it? The temptation of stealing happens because you perceive a lack in something, and you are tempted you to gain this lack in a manner that breaks God’s law, to lie and/or harms someone to get it. How can God be tempted to lie to get something, when He already owns it, and has no lack in anything? God has infinite power and value. If He does not already have it, if that is possible, then He can just create it. That is, by God’s nature itself, temptation for more than one reason, cannot be applied to God.

Remember Paul’s comments in Corinthians 1-3. He says there is a “wisdom” for the “mature” believer. He defines this maturity as the power, by the Holy Spirit, to know and receive all the goodies God has freely given us in Jesus Christ. This includes all of them, both spiritual and material goodies and favor. Paul goes on to say that, “all things are yours.” Then in context of this mature wisdom in knowing and receiving all God’s goodies, we are told we “think spiritually” and even have the “Mind of Christ.”

Jesus also, talked about degrees of faith. When commenting on the Roman soldier, Jesus said He had not seen such great faith in all of Israel. There is such things as weak and strong faith. With both examples, strong wisdom and strong faith was not related to suffering for Jesus, but the opposite. It was a “knowing and believing” that causes you to receive God’s freely given benefits.

Another example. “

Against hope Abraham believed in hope with the result that he became the father of many nations according to the pronouncement, “so will your descendants be.” Without being weak in faith, he considered his own body as dead (because he was about 100 years old) and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver in unbelief about the promise of God but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God,” (Romans 4:18-20 NET)

When Christians are strong in wisdom and maturity like this, they truly become Godlike, relative to our example above. God is not tempted because He already owns it all. Likewise, mature Christians, strong in faith and wisdom, receive all they ask from God. Thus, God owns it all, and Christians receive it all.

How can a Christian be tempted to steal, cheat their neighbors, and lie when whatever they are being tempted with they have the faith and maturity to receive it? Whether spiritual things like a hopeful mind, a joyous mind and a sound mind, the Christian can grow and receive this in faith. What about healing, finances, a spouse and help from everyday troubles? How can these tempt them in fear and lack to do something evil and sinful, when they can just easily receive it in faith?

There is more to having strength to resist temptation, but this is one aspect many foolishly overlook to their own damnation.

This is something that mature Christians do that truly makes them Godlike, and true image bearers of Christ. When they live this type of mature wisdom and faith, they think God’s thoughts after Him, and walk in His pathways. Leave the milk and elementary things like forgiveness of sins and move on to maturity.[1] Receive not only the doorway (forgiveness) but march to into house of God and sit at His table prepared for you. Receive the bread and wine, where God promises to “be your God, and you His people,” and promises to “never stop from doing good to you.” He defines Himself as a Good Father, in that whatever you ask for, you receive it, and not something different.


[0] Vincent Cheung. On Good and Evil. 2002. Pg. 6-7 (www.vincentcheung.com)

[1] (Not moving on in the sense of casting it aside, but having truly believed it as a foundation, you build on it.)