Category Archives: Christian Axiology

Question about God’s displeasure in the death of the sinner.

As Vincent Cheung points out about the chess game analogy in, ‘There is no Real Synergism,’ the player is ultimate level ontology and piece to piece is relative level ontology.[1]

The piece to piece relation to each other on basis of the rules of the game, is like a person relating to the world on their ability to adhere to God’s command.

The Bible often speaks on the relative level, for example, in how person x relates to God’s commandment. Do they obey or disobey it? God’s command is His reveled definition for man, made in His image. When man interacts with God’s command and obeys God, this is the relative level. In this relative level context as it relates to God’s command. God does not command for the death of the wicked. It is God’s command for them to repent and obey Him. If it was God’s will/command, for them to die, He would command them to die. He commanded them to live. In other words, “It’s not my command for you to die, so don’t do it. I have commanded you to live. Thus, obey me.”

What God commands, and what He ultimately causes are two different things. The first category is ethics: God’s command. The next two categories are about ontology. The first is relative level ontology, which is said from man’s point of view as they interact with God’s command, or lack thereof. The last category is the ultimate level ontology. God’s ultimate design for the reprobate is for them to die as sinners and by this magnify the value of grace given to His elect (Romans 9:22-24). So in the ultimate or only real level of causality, God’s decree/will is the death of the wicked, as it was planned by God to support showing off His grace to the Elect. In this light, God both commanded, and then, used His command to distinguish the Elect and Reprobate. God causes the reprobate to fail on the command and causes this to magnify how He causes the Elect to obey/fulfill the command in Christ.

Endnotes——————-

[1] See also, Commentary on 1 & 2 Thessalonians 2008. Pg 108
and Satanic Oppression 

Snake Basterds & Loving your Neighbor as Yourself

But when the set time had fully come,
God sent his Son,
born of a woman,

born under the law.”[1]

Some time ago, a famous so-called Christian writer, Joshua Harris, renounced Christianity[2][3] on Instagram. It has caused an uproar. What I found interesting was the comments at a certain pastor’s Facebook page. I assume the commenting friends of the pastor are professed Christians, because most non-Christians do not normally befriend Christian pastors because they like them so much. The pastor had a harsh rebuke for Mr. Harris, because of the dishonor Harris caused by implication, that God’s revelation is false. The comments that followed about this post, were mostly harsh rebukes to the pastor for not “loving” Harris and not rebuking him “privately”—which is logical nonsense, because the persons doing so were both harshly rebuking and publicly rebuking. Harsh rebukes are not loving, so don’t you do it you cruel, heartless, person—as I harshly and dogmatically rebuke you. How much hypocrisy and nonsense one can fit into one small sentence is amazing. LOL! Such thinking is faulty and broken. Do not publicly rebuke people for it is an ethical wrong, while I publicly rebuke you. Dumber than dumb. Both, if their ethics are true, would make them moral monsters themselves, but I digress.

Getting past the Redwood tree sticking out of their eye, the issue for such persons is that emotional and outward displays of gentleness/kindness is primary, and God is secondary. I remember one so-called Christian, after leaving Christianity, updating their religious affiliation on Facebook as, “Kindness.” The one redeeming aspect of this was their honestly. Many have a man-centered view on this aspect of reality. Their final authority is their emotions, God is only a memorial or knickknack. They submit to feelings; they do not submit to God’s Word. They worship man, and God is put under their boots. They use God to promote what “they” think kindness should be. They use God as a steppingstone to elevate man, they do not honor or respect Him.

Genealogy was and still is a big deal to the Jews. There is a reason for all the list of genealogy in the Scripture. It was a bigger deal if you could prove you were a direct descendant of David and Judah, rather than from Dan. If your father was important and you were the first born, you had a larger inheritance.  Therefore, calling someone an illegitimate bastard, was to give an insult at a debasing level. This was something that even the Jewish leaders tried to insult Jesus Chris with saying, “who is your father,” knowing the rumors about Mary being pregnant before marriage.

Growing up I thought calling someone a “son of a dog” (aka. An illegitimate  bastard of a dog) was about as low as an insult one could get. However, not until I read Jesus calling people bastard children of Satan and bastards of snakes did I realize there was more dehumanizing, more vindictive names to call a human being, “made in the image of God.” Think about this. Jesus did this in ministry time. He did this in front of other people.  The people He insulted where important, popular people. Wait? What? Should pastors call someone a snake bastard and Satan bastard, and then do this in a Sunday service—of important people, in front of a crowd? Should they say this to image bearers of God? Or do people not know what they are talking about?

Did Jesus fail the command? Did He fail to love His neighbor? Was He not born under the Royal Law to love your neighbor “as yourself?” This means, this is how Jesus wanted to be treated if the context was reversed. Think about that.

I say, let the disobedience be on the theologians, who have no idea what Peter meant when he says to be gentle in apologetics, rather making Jesus Christ violate the Law. Also, the apostle Paul and John totally violated the “command” for a gentle and respectful speech to others. The Old Testament prophets have many revolting ways (sometimes sexually graphic ways) they insulted unbelievers and persons who resisted the truth. There are so many juicy, dehumanizing and nasty things they said, one could write books time about it. Wait! It was by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It was not only the prophets themselves, but some is direct discourse from God Himself in the nasty, dehumanizing name calling of the Image bearers He created. God did it, the prophets did, the Apostles did and the cornerstone Himself did it.

Paul says to rebuke them sharply. Titus 1:12-14 (NIV), “One of Crete’s own prophets has said it: “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.” This saying is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the merely human commands of those who reject the truth.[4]  Yet, how many disobey and dissent against this command of God? Do you? Paul stereotypes these people in dehumanizing, vile, cruel names. This was his “rebuke” of them. Then commands Titus, and by implication all teachers, to do the same.

Also, Paul says for those who claim to be Christians that we are to publicly judge them (Corinthians 6). We will one day judge angels, and so we are to practice making public judgments of each other in this life. Yet, how many are in willful rebellion to Jesus on this? Do they call Jesus master but willfully disobey Him? If I see this, how much more does God see your disobedience?

How many times did Jesus publicly and harshly name call and rebuke people? He called people pigs, snake bastards, stupid (morons), liars, hypocrites and sons of Satan. Jesus used the Greek work for “moron,” for people who resisted the Scripture and were forfeiting their souls to hell. He called people morons, in front of their peers, and in doing so, Jesus publicly shamed and emotionally embarrassed them. And Jesus did this while, “born under the law” (Galatians 4:4). Jesus, right after name calling the Jews as “liars,” and “Sons of Satan,” asked if anyone can prove He has sinned? That is, sinned according to the Law of Moses. They could not.  Therefore, all His harsh rebukes and publicly calling people morons did not break the commandment to “LOVE your neighbor as yourself,” otherwise, He broke the command of God and forgiveness of sins for mankind is lost. The Law of Moses (and prophets) teach we ought to not only love our neighbor, but also love God first, and this includes bringing people to Yahweh as true worshipers.

Did Jesus’ harshness “push people away,” or was Jesus to stupid to know this?

Jude 1:10-13 [LEB]

“…all that they understand by instinct like the irrational animals, by these things they are being destroyed.
11 Woe to them! For they have traveled in the way of Cain, and have given themselves up to the error of Balaam for gain, and have perished[j] in the rebellion of Korah.
12 These are the ones feasting together without reverence, hidden reefs at your love feasts, caring for themselves, waterless clouds carried away by winds, late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, uprooted,
13 wild waves of the sea foaming up their own shameful deeds, wandering stars, for whom the deep gloom of darkness has been reserved for eternity. ”

Let us not forget the vileness and creative poetic-ness of the rebukes given to human beings by Jesus and the authors of the N.T.

Apart from the immeasurable, de-humanizing insults Jesus gave when calling people bastards of Satan, I could not insult a person more horrifically, nor as poetically and creatively as Jude his brother. I guess Jude learned from His older half-brother the ins and outs of how to properly give de-humanizing name calling. Even Martin Luther has nothing on Jude. Think about the horrible realty Jude is describing in his vile name calling here. As much, as cruel atheists have tried to name call me in debates, they do not measure to the vileness, dehumanizing and cruel names to which Jude name calls false teachers.

Jude calls them dumb/irrational animals. Not just animals, but dumb animals. As a side note, according to Facebook to refer to a person on the level of an animal to showcase a human as inferior is, “hate speech.” Their standard outlaws the prophets, apostles and Jesus Christ Himself. They are called “Twice dead.” As if being once dead is not enough; they are twice dead? “Up rooted trees.” To say this of a human being created in God’s image is rather the insult. “Waterless Clouds”? Ouch! They are “wild” and “foaming” up their shame? “A wandering star”? Wow! This is a horrible insult to call a human being! Then to merely say hell is not enough for Jude, he needs to really describe hell in a sharper rebuke: “whom the deep gloom of darkness has been reserved for eternity.” Ouch!

Morons or Unwise?

Matthew 23:19, “Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift?

Jesus is calling people morons. There are two Greek words which are translated as fools or foolish (etc) in most Bible translations.  One is on the more offensive side, such as moron or stupid. The other means unwise, irrational or ignorant. Here, Jesus is using the more offensive one.  The Jewish leaders had forfeited themselves from entering the Kingdom of God. This was due to their moronic and irrational traditions that said such things as, “the gift is greater than the altar.” Christ’s argument was that His Divine Nature, being God, has infinite value, and therefore, this is the altar it makes His human body an acceptable offering to His Father for our sins. In summary, the altar is greater than the gift.  Christ was saying only God could save men from their sins, and He was there.

Jesus used this more aggressive word of moron when referring to the stupid virgins who forfeited their soul, Matthew 25:2 “Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish[morons].

Again, this is in context of taking about ultimate questions of reality. That is, in context of talking about Epistemology, Metaphysics, Logic, and Ethics. In context of these big questions that are revealed by Scripture people reject it. In this context Jesus calls them stupid morons. Jesus is not saying these overtly cruel names to people who dislike His use of Samsung over the iPhone, (not over personal things).

As a contrast, Jesus used the word for “fool” to describe his disciples, but its Greek was not “morons,” but “unwise.” And so, for those who are at least trying to understand but are messing up, Jesus called them “unwise” and “weak in faith.”

There are other times Jesus applies the less harsh form for example in, Luke 24:25, “Then He said to them, “O foolish[irrational] ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!”  Jesus Christ is talking in disguise to His disciples right after His resurrection. He is amazed how slow in the head they were in connecting the dots in the Old Testament, which spoke about His death and His glory.  As I stated before, it appears that Christ lessens the harshness of His name calling depending now how hard He and His gospel are being resisted.  The disciples are trying to understand, yet have totally missed it.  Therefore, Jesus calls them irrational and slow to understand, when so much of the Old Testament speaks of God’s Son and the gospel.

People who are willfully not believing and spreading a bad report/unbelief are called MORONS.  Those who—even if slow—are at least trying to understand are called UNWISE. To know which, takes some discernment. It does not mean one must always follow this in any one particular case, but that it being a common theme in the N.T. should have some resemblance in a Christian’s own life.

The biblical preachers followed both of Christ’s examples in the use of name calling.  To the Galatians, where they seemed to be honestly trying to understand Christ, Paul called them irrational and unwise.  Yet, in the book of Romans, to people resisting God so hard they are unwilling to yield to Christ, he calls them morons

Galatians 3:1, “O foolish [irrational] Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?”

Romans 1:22, “Professing to be wise, they became fools [morons].”

Peter and Context.

1 Peter 2:3-14, 3: 13,15-16,  LEB

“… Subject yourselves to every human authority for the sake of the Lord, whether to a king as having supreme authority, or to governors as those sent out by him for the punishment of those who do evil and the praise of those who do good…”

.. And who is the one [i.e. authority] who will harm you if you are a zealous adherent for what is good?…

“…always ready to make a defense to anyone [i.e. authority] who asks you for an accounting concerning the hope that is in you. But do so with courtesy and respect, having a good conscience.”

The context is painfully obvious. However, if there is one thing I have learned with so-called theologians is that they and those who scream the loudest to read a verse in context, are the ones who in practice, do not do it.

The context is authority. Do good and authority will most likely praise you. However, if the authority hurts you for being a Christian and for doing good, then you will not lose you reward. On the other hand, if you do evil, then the government is God’s extended authority to punish you.

First, the term, “everyone,” in verse 15 does not mean all people, because the term “all,” or “everyone,” is seldom meant this way in the Bible. Almost always, it is within a context of a particular group. The context of the group here is “human authorities.” For example, in verse 18 it reads, “For Christ also suffered once for sins,.. for the unjust.”  The “unjust” does not mean, “all unjust”; rather, this term refers to the particular group in context of Peter’s letter, called the “elect.”

Secondly, one might think verse 8-12 in chapter 3 means there has been a move away in context of “human authorities.” This would be a naïve mistake, and poor reading comprehension. Verse 13 and 14 speak of, “who is the ONE who will harm you,” and, “do not be afraid of THEIR threats.” In context, the one spoken of who has the power to bring harm is the human authority, and the one who has the power to threaten with fear is the human authority.

Third. The Greek word for “defense” or “answer,” is where we get our English word for apologetics. It is a rational defense of the Christian faith.  That is, when Jesus in John chapter 8 was doing apologetics. He was preaching and defending the gospel. Jesus did this in a positive proof of the good news. He likewise did so by tearing down the falsehoods and arguments of the Jew. Or as Paul says, “tearing down arguments…that is raised up against the knowledge of God,” 2 Corin.10:4-5. Apologetics includes both.

What does this teaching from Peter 3:15 look like?

Acts 23:3–5 (LEB)

3 Then Paul said to him, “God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! And are you sitting there judging me according to the law, and acting contrary to the law do you order me to be struck?” 4 And those who stood nearby said, “Are you reviling the high priest of God?” 5 And Paul said, “I did not know, brothers, that he was high priest. For it is written, ‘You must not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’”

Paul does not apologize for the insult or the curse itself, but only apologizes for speaking that way to a human authority.

Conclusion

If there are people willfully teaching bad doctrine or hindering the good doctrine from being heard, then the rebukes become very harsh, even curses. Paul even prayed that the harm the coppersmith did in hindering good doctrine being believed, would be returned back to him. See Jude speaking of false teachers: it is one insult after another. 2 Timothy 4:14 “Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his works.” In essence, Paul is praying like an vindictive Psalm over this person.

Yes, the vindictive Psalms are still for today. As a superior species of human, as a saint of God, as a co-heir who is seated with Jesus at the right hand of the Power, you have authority to pray such things today.

Whether it be pastors rebuking things they ought, or issues in movies, or business, or politics, many Christians unmask their spiritual perversion and adultery. They show how little they regard truth, and how much they love viewing the world from “their” human observation, emotions and calculations of kindness. They even judge God himself by these human superstitions.

Their god is not Yahweh; rather, their god is their spiritual belly of emotions. Their condemnation is well deserved. May God repay them for the harm they have done to the Church. They have a “man-centered view” on what it means to have a God-centered view of loving your neighbor. This man-centered view of kindness is in first place too them; God is secondary.  I know many professed Christians are dumber than bricks, do not know the Scripture and are in willful rebellion to God, but to reject God in disobedience over your emotions is Plus Ultra Stupid.

Jesus was always surprised to see faith in people, because it really is such a richly scarce possession. The same is for today.

born under the law

EndNotes—————-

[1] Galatians 4:4

[2] Sexual sins can be forgiven. But to disbelieve God’s word is truth to begin with, means you are not a Christian. It is a horrific dishonor to God, by making God to be a liar and man (as a starting point) truthful.

[3] Harris kept saying phrases like “according to historic Christianity.” In my experience this is often an indicator that one’s epistemology is empiricism (starting with man as a starting point of knowledge (i.e. speculation)), and not Scripture. Any other sin issue that might be exposed later, is secondary to this issue of epistemology.

[4] See Vincent Cheung. Rebuke them Sharply.

Biblical Politics!

How the does Bible demonstrate what is the Christian way to deal with Politics?
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The disciples prayed Psalm 2 to the Father, and moralized it to ask God to give them healings, miracles and abundant spiritual powers to “judge” the government. God responded back, “It’s all yours,” by giving then what they asked. The point here to consider is that God approved of their prayer and how they wanted to deal with an overreaching Government. You can pray this today and receive because we know God approves of it.  God gave their eschatology and doctrine of government, His stamp of approval. Odly, most religious fanboys, will implore any other way to deal with the government, other than the one way that Scripture records that has God’s positive approval. Plus Ultra Stupid!
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Acts 4:18-31 NLT
18 So they called the apostles back in and commanded them never again to speak or teach in the name of Jesus.
19 But Peter and John replied, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? 20 We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.”
21 The council then threatened them further, but they finally let them go because they didn’t know how to punish them without starting a riot. For everyone was praising God 22 for this miraculous sign—the healing of a man who had been lame for more than forty years.
The Believers Pray for Courage
23 As soon as they were freed, Peter and John returned to the other believers and told them what the leading priests and elders had said. 24 When they heard the report, all the believers lifted their voices together in prayer to God: “O Sovereign Lord, Creator of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them— 25 you spoke long ago by the Holy Spirit through our ancestor David, your servant, saying,
‘Why were the nations so angry?
Why did they waste their time with futile plans?
26 The kings of the earth prepared for battle;
the rulers gathered together
against the Lord
and against his Messiah.’[a]
27 “In fact, this has happened here in this very city! For Herod Antipas, Pontius Pilate the governor, the Gentiles, and the people of Israel were all united against Jesus, your holy servant, whom you anointed. 28 But everything they did was determined beforehand according to your will. 29 And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. 30 Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.
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31 After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness.

“God’s Will,” – Is, A Fish for Fish

If [animal sacrifices provided by the priest] could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared…

For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.

Our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand.

For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy.

And the Holy Spirit also testifies that this is so.

For he says,  “This is the new covenant I will make
with my people on that day,  says the Lord:
I will put my laws in their hearts,
and I will write them on their minds.

Then he says, “I will never again remember
their sins and lawless deeds.”

(Hebrews 10:2,10,12,14,16)

First we will discuss what “God’s will”[1] necessitates here, and Secondly, dive more into what it means for “God to be our God” and “we His people,” which is stipulated in the  new contract.

Hebrews points out in more than one place that the result of “God’s Will,” (for us to be holy), is for us to approach His throne of grace and receive what we ask of Him

The first mention is in Hebrews 4. What is the application for knowing our high priest has redeemed us? The idea of having peace with God is the ability and position to approach God, in His throne room of grace, to ask and then to receive the help we are asking for. There is no way to spiritualize this away. It is about receiving what we are asking for. Jesus when talking about prayer to God, teaches us something that opposes eastern religious like Buddhism (etc.). Such paganistic religions teach us that even if we do not change God’s will in our prayer, we have changed inwardly for the better, by seeking God. People who say such things are spiritual perverts. They are deceived and blind. Jesus contradicts this superstition about prayer and God, by teaching us that God gives a fish for a fish, and the Spirit for the Spirit. Let Buddha be damned, and Jesus and His teaching be highly valued.

“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 taught from demons. Some bark up like mad dogs that, “what if you ask for something bad?” Yet 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. Thus, if you ask you will get what you ask for, Jesus says, 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 wicked fools say, “you cannot judge without hypocrisy”; 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. It seems little has changed in 2000 years, for who can find a person who values and does prayer the way Jesus demands it? 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, It is God’s Will for prayer, 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 Him?

Back to the two passages in Hebrews.

“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most,”
(NLT Heb 4:16).

Next, after several chapters of doctrine and theology about how Jesus accomplished salvation, Hebrews 10, starting in verse 19 gives us the conclusion or result.

“And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus.

By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place.

And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.

Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise,”
(Hebrews 10:19–23 NLT)

God being faithful to His promise is in context of the New Covenant. We will talk more about this later.

Here we are again seeing the same thing. Since in “context” of Hebrews 4 defining approaching God’s throne is about getting answers to our prayers for help, it therefore, does not mean the opposite here. The end says, “for God can be trusted to Keep His promises.” The promise that He will not remember our sins, and that He will be our God who loving gives us help when we ask for it. The emphasis is on two points here by the preacher. One is the category fact or truths. You are holy in Jesus right now. You are beloved and stand before God without Him remembering your sins against you. The second, is that you stand firm, believing these truths. You stand believing you are categorically holy, righteous and a child of God. That you believe you can boldly walk into heaven and push the door of God’s throne room open, and then you ask like a beloved son, for Him to help you. And that you stand believing He is the Good Father as He defined Himself to be in His word, so that He will indeed give you bread for bread.  The first part is always true, due to Christ’s finished work, whether or not a particular Christian has weak faith about it. However, if one has strong, unmoving faith about Jesus’ finished work, then truly you stand before God and He will answer your prayers.

The point is that Scripture makes the logical (or necessary) connection from Jesus’ atonement that makes us holy, to boldly going to God and getting “fish for fish, healing for a healing,” when we pray for help. Because the connection is not merely sufficient but necessary, then it is a “modus ponens” logical connection. If Jesus made you holy by His body, then you necessarily have access to boldly receive the things you ask for in faith.

If these two are necessarily connected, and they are according to Hebrews, then the logic of modus tollens applies. That is, if you deny the consequent you deny the antecedent. If you negate the application, you negate the foundation. If you negate getting our requests answered at God’s throne, then you negate being made holy by Jesus’ body. Novices play with the Bible like its play-dough. Their pet theories and traditions are not harmless when they make mistakes. They condemn themselves and turn the body of Christ in a spiritual casualty, in order to be fanboys of the past.

So to summarize, Hebrews knows no gospel that does not bring a person who is already perfected and “holy” to the throne of God, to ask and receive what we ask for. “God’s will,” is thrown around much today, but rarely do I see it used how the Scripture uses it. The preacher says it was “God’s Will,” to make us holy; however, we learn more.  There was a pre-determined point for why God desired to make us holy and perfected. The necessary result (or a previous in order Decree of God) is a person, according to Hebrews, who by faith (who assents they have been made ‘holy’), stands at God’s throne, to ask and receive what they ask for. The conclusion is obvious, it is “God’s Will” for you to stand in faith, with your head held high, before His throne, to ask and receive a fish for a fish, mercy for mercy, son for a son, health for health, wisdom for wisdom, wealth for wealth, inner strength for inner strength, protection for protection in your time of need. To say this is “not God’s will,” is to logically say it is “not God’s will” for us to be made holy by the body of Jesus Christ.

Many educated people feel proud of their intellect and academia, but in their fanboy affirmation of the past–such things as cessationism and things like “only if it is God’s will” (negating God’s promises)—they expose themselves as plus ultra perverts. They think they know logic and knowledge; however, deductive logic, like math and truth, is not flexible. They try to bend the sword of truth to pervert it; however, they only end up impaled on it. Leave these voodoo practitioners, and return to standing firm in the truth that you are holy, and standing before the throne of grace. God made the world and defines His world as He wants. His Word defines you as already a holy child, who when you ask for help, then you will get the type of help you asked for.

The “Will of God” is that He is your God, and you are His people.

We just discussed the connection of God’s Will to prayer in His throne room (in context of Hebrews), now we will further look at this connection within the new covenant.

Hebrews 8 when quoting the Old Testament about the details of the New Contract says,

“But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day, says the Lord:
I will put my laws in their minds, and I will write them on their hearts.
I will be their God, and they will be my people.”

(Hebrews 8:10 -quoting Jeremiah 31)

Hebrews 10 reveals it was “God’s will,” for us to be made holy by Jesus’ body. Then a few verses later it quotes Jeremiah 31 (the new covenant promise) as proof for this, “I will no longer remember their sins.” However, it is important to remember to read this in context. Hebrews 8 quotes the fuller promise of the God’s covenant with the Elect, from Jeremiah. It mentions that “God is our God, and we are His people.” The logical connection is the new covenant. It was God’s Will for us to be made holy by the body of Jesus; the way this is given is the promise of the new covenant. In other words, if it is “God’s Will,” for us to be holy, which is a new contract promise, then the new contract is “God’s Will.” Also, God is not under any pressure or obligation when He makes a promise. He is the only being who has intrinsic self-existence, self-freedom and self-definition. Thus any promise He makes is by definition “His Will,” because in total freedom and foreknowledge and power He made a choice. Also, the new covenant was stipulated by God and not man, thus, it is perfectly what He wants, or the perfect stipulation of “His Will.” This contract given in oath of Jesus’ blood, promises that God will be our God and we His people. What does that mean? This is important because it is “God’s Will” for Him to be this to us. And it equally, God’s Will, for us to be this to God.

Isaiah 41:10 says regarding God “being a God to His people,” which is a commonly quoted promise verse (as it should be) says,

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”

About king Hezekiah it said in a more indirect way through king David, however, the point is the same, God is Hezekiah’s God, and Hezekiah is God’s people.

“Return; you must say to Hezekiah, the leader of my people, ‘Thus says Yahweh the God of David your ancestor, “I have heard your prayer and I have seen your tears. Look, I am about to heal you.” 2 King 20:5

However, the first major stating of this phrase and an explanation of its meaning is found in Leviticus.

 “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,
(Leviticus 26:9-13 NLT)

This is a foreshadow of the New. That is, what you see here is much more so in the new blood oath, by Jesus Christ. The freedom from the slavery of Egypt is in the, New Contract, about us being freed from sin. Freedom from the conscience of sin and from Satan’s oppressive accusations, because God remembers them no more against us. So much so, we can march in the throne room of heaven to ask from God what we wish, “with our heads held high.” But that is just one part of “God being our God, and we being His people.” As being freed from Egypt is the foundation for the other blessings, so too within New Covenant. That is, God’s promise is NOT blessing them with surplus crops in Egypt, but in the promise land. Their blessings awaited them in the promised land, not in Egypt. They needed freedom from the yoke of slavery first. Jesus does this for us in the New Contract. He frees us from sin and its guilt, so that He has a righteous foundation to lavish all His other blessings. Our promise land is not so much a place, for it is foundationally being brought near to God. There is however, a place for Jesus’ throne, and yet, the scripture says we have already (past tense) been raised and set with Jesus at God’s right hand. . In 1 John 3 he goes so far as to command us to keep our thoughts where our lives are at, and our lives are not on earth, but are already hidden in Jesus, who is at the Power’s right hand. Thus, even if one wishes to make the promise land heaven, our lives are there. John also says in chapter 4 that “as Jesus is so are we in this world.” Jesus with awesome power, frees us from the law and Satan’s oppressive accusations against us. Now, He gives us a surplus of the Holy Spirit for miracles and healings; which is to say, since we are already in the promise land through Christ, Christ therefore, pours the promise land’s and kingdom’s power into us on earth by the Spirit. Paul even says Jesus became poor for us, so that we might become rich, by His substitutionary death (in context it is decisively about money). Thus, Jesus multiplies our bank accounts and barns, because, in Jesus, our lives are already connected to the promise land. Our lives are even connected right up next to the Power, because our lives are connected to the valuable Person who sits at the Power’s right hand. If the blessings were so great in the Old Contract, then much more now when the Promise Land we are connected to  now, is the true heavenly one! He pours over us an ocean of unmerited favor that is all for the taking by faith. How could someone be so depraved, so as to despise the oath of God, confirmed by the blood of His Son?

“For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.”

MADE holy. This causality is God’s doing, and it is His promise. To be holy relative to or “before God,” is more than not being punished. In Ephesians 1 it says holy and “beyond reproach.” This means we are perfectly moral and flawlessly ethical before God, so much so, we are beyond even the hint of an accusation against the demand for absolute perfection. By the body of Jesus, this is now our reality, “BEFORE GOD.” Even if our sanctification is not perfect, it is a non-logical point, because God considers you holy and righteous before Him. And God is not fickle or emotional like man. He promised to treat you as holy and righteous and not something else. Thus He interacts and treats you as perfectly and morally righteous. However, our holiness and righteousness by the body of Jesus, which we have now, is a God-level holiness, because it was performed by Jesus Christ and given to us. And so, our position with God is not us standing somewhere in the back corner of God’s throne room or somewhere even farther; rather, our position NOW, is with Christ at God’s right hand. Do you understand the position you have now in Christ and before the Power?

Christ being at God’s right hand, presently enjoys and partakes of the goodness that rightfully belongs to being in that position. Yet, we are now with Christ! Thus, to be made holy by Jesus, is to be a partaker of the holy God, now.

To be made holy is similar to how Paul said that we were made righteous in Christ in Romans 5:19.

“For just as through the disobedience of the one man,
the many were made sinners,
so also through the obedience of the one,
the many will be made righteous (LEB).”

By God’s sovereign control over His own creation, He authored and caused Adam to sin, and then by this He caused all mankind to be made into sinners by His direct and absolute causality. But the reverse is also true, but much more. God sent His Son and by His righteousness (holiness) God caused the elect to be made righteous. God is sovereign. Man has no free choice relative to God’s control on the ultimate level. God without asking humanity, and humanity not being free from God’s causality, made them sinners. Then God made some of them into His righteousness. However, there is even more to this sovereign control of God. In the New Covenant, God, without our consent and without us not being free to do otherwise, also made Himself to “be our God” and “made us to be His people.”  This New Contract is a packaged deal. If you negate one part, then you negate the rest.

To see what this means, consider the woman bent over for 18 years. Jesus said, because she was a daughter of Abraham it was “necessary” for God to heal His daughter. God was God to Abraham, and Abraham was God’s people. This is why Abraham was victorious when he defeated the 5 kingdoms and was blessed by Melchizedek, and why the other non-people of God were defeated. To be a true child of Abraham, means God is your God. We are so today in Christ (Galatians 3). This is a categorical truth. Recall an earlier comment about logical connections. A logical connection is only about “necessary” connections; logic is not about sufficient ones, for there is no valid inference with only sufficient connections.  Thus, Jesus said it was “necessary” for God to heal this woman, and not merely a good or sufficient reason. If God promises to be your God and you are part of His family, it is “necessary” for Him to benefit you with the goodness He promised.

Not in another place, or in a different time, but here and now, God is our God and we are His people. Act like it. Receive from your Father’s table. If God put you at His table (i.e. in Christ at God’s right hand) then it is God’s Will for you to partake of the fatness of His table. You have heard it said that God disciplines His legitimate children, and this is true; however, the other side of the coin is also true. Taking food from your Father’s table is necessary for you to prove you are His legitimate child. Illegitimate children cannot ask and get what they want from God. You, take and eat. This is what the sovereign God has done. This is the type of Being His is. These things already belongs to you. It is NOT God’s will that you do not take it. It is His will, that you ask and receive what you ask for, knowing God is your God and you are His holy beloved child.

Endnotes——————

[1] I will not deal with the teaching that “God’s Will” can categorically mean two things in Scripture, for I have done that elsewhere. For a quick read, then see Vincent Cheung, “Ezekiel 18:23 and 33:11.” The problem I often see is that most make a category error by mixing these two categories up. Conveniently, this fallacy is most often made when people try to avoid Jesus’ demand for us to get what we want in faith.

Faith, The First Theology: “God did Say?”

The Lord God commanded the man,

You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;  but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman,

Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”[1]

What was the first school lecture, or first doctrine taught by God to humanity? Relative to how we read our Bible, the first might be said, to be ontology (referring to God creating) or to epistemology (God is “revealing” that He is created all things). However, what I am referring to is what is relative to humanity (represented by Adam and Eve). That is, when God stops and gives the first personal lecture to humanity, what is this about? Or, when God’ holds the first school class for all of mankind, what does God teach in this first class? God does not contradict Himself, for He is the Logic (Logos) itself. God cannot lie. God is super smart. He literally is the source of all knowledge and treasure of all understanding and wisdom. When the King of Ages gives the first lecture to man He created, what is this pivotal knowledge? What is the opening lecture that sets the stage for all other teachings afterwards?

The first lecture is agreeing to what God classifies as true; or that is, the first lecture is about faith. God creates all things. God even created categories that do not exist and from scratch, designs them, creates them and then places created things into His own created rules (or order) and categories. God even created the invisible mind of man, and the invisible thoughts and invisible knowledge of man (Romans 2:15). If only Plato could have turned from shadows dancing on a cave wall, to the King of Ages, then he would have found the source of all categories that he was looking for.

In one way, the Scripture is heaven’s dictionary or encyclopedia for mankind. After God creates all things, all categories and sustains them by His power, God then publicly gives descriptions or definitions to what He created.  God points to the thing He created and says, “this is its definition, engage with this created thing with the definition I give it.” God considers a particular point of reality and says, “this is its category, this its name, and this is the reason I created it.”

Normally, if I were to start with a systematic theology, I would begin with epistemology; however, for this topic we start with metaphysics because of the context.  The reason we normally start with epistemology is that if knowledge is not possible, then knowledge about creation, categories and the nature of faith does not exist.  Without knowledge, there is no point in teaching about the knowledge of metaphysics and the knowledge of ethics. There would be nothing to say and nothing to think about. Once knowledge is possible in a system-of-thinking, then we can move on to knowledge about reality and knowledge about ethics. For this essay, we will assume epistemology (for more see, Vincent Cheung, Systematic Theology and Ultimate Questions).

On one hand, “faith” just makes sense in the context of the Christian system in a pragmatic way of looking at it. If God created all things, then He gets to define the things He created as He so wishes. Thus, if we do not interact with God’s reality with His correct definitions, then our interaction with reality will be defective, unsuccessful and unreliable.

However, there is more to it than the ontological interaction, for there are moral definitions and consequences in this reality God created. For example, faith is itself an ethic, because God commands faith. Even with the gospel of Jesus Christ Paul says in Acts 17, God has commanded all to repent and believe in Jesus Christ. Ethics is what you ought to do. Faith is what you ought to do; thus, it is an ethic. All ethics are from God’s command.  Therefore, we need to quickly go over what is an ethic, and what is responsibility.

As with ontology, there is nothing more basic than God Himself. Thus, a doctrine of privation is a blasphemy to describe evil, because it makes something other than God more foundational in regards to existence and causality.  If evil results from the privation of God (and God is good), then God is not the most foundational ontology in existence.[2] The same is with responsibility. If God Himself is responsible, then God is not the final authority. It would mean if you take the Christian God away, there is another God behind God. God would not be God. Responsibility presupposes an “authority over you.” There is no one over God by definition and by revelation of Scripture. God is therefore not responsible for anything He does. Therefore, Moses says, “All God’s ways are just,” (Deut. 32:4). If God moves His pinky finger, then it is by definition a just and righteous action. God is said to be just because He is faithful to His promise and revelation. However, God is consistent in this way not because He is being held accountable under a higher authority; rather, God’s Nature itself makes it impossible for Him to lie (Hebrews 6:18). Its like saying God’s nature is a circle, and a lie is a square. A square-circle is a contradiction; it does not exist in the mind or in reality. It has no being. God is truth, and so, He cannot lie.

God created all things, even categories themselves. He upholds His own creation by His power, within the categories He created. He has revealed to man what He has created and why He did so. God cannot lie, and so, what He has revealed is a precise and correct explanation of reality. God will sometimes change things in His own creation; He might get rid of some types of categories and make new ones. However, He has promised that all things necessary for life and godliness has been revealed to us. Therefore, all important ultimate questions about reality, and their changes if so, God has revealed to man in the Scripture. For example, there were no seasons before the flood, then afterward God changed it. God did it by unstoppable force and power. He then pointed to this new aspect of reality, and He revealed to us precise definitions of it.  The same is with the old Mosaic covenant, and new covenant made in Christ’s blood. God points to this specific aspect of reality and says, “this is the correct definition for it.”

How painfully obvious is the pragmatic effectiveness, success and certainty if we interact with creation by God’s definition of it.

As for human ethics, God points to man and says, “this is your definition, act like it.” God does the same thing, for example with a fig tree; however, the fig tree has no mind, so there is no relative level ontology to describe here in relation to a mind. As for man, even though God controls directly and absolutely all things, even man’s mind, God interacts with man on the relative level. God tells man, “this is my definition for you, interact and move within this description.” As for the fig tree, it has bark and leaves and does (if the scientists are right) the process of photosynthesis because it is the definition God gave it. The tree does not think about its own definition, because it has no mind. It was not made in God’s image. This does not mean, such things as trees are not accountable. Jesus found a fig tree with no fruit and cursed it. The tree was accountable for the sole reason that it was not free, but under God’s authority. The same is for man. However, man made in God’s image is able to think about reality and the truth about it.

Because God has commanded faith in His revealed definitions, man is not merely to think about reality; rather, man ought to move and behave within the definition that God defined man with. Mankind will be held accountable to this, because man is not free relative to God’s authority and command over Him.[3] Even the concept of what is value, if it is something man ought to value or not ought to value is an ethic, because it is about what we ought to do. That is, it is about God giving us a definition about some aspect of reality and commanding us to interact with (x) as something valuable or not valuable. It is based in God’s commandments.

This leads to a point of caution. The category of ontology/metaphysics is not the same category of ethics. The category error, of equivocating these two distinct categories, is the favorite pastime of many theologians. A description about metaphysics cannot logically/validly deduce into a conclusion of ethics(ought). It would not logically follow. It would not be an application of knowledge. Now, there is some connections between these, but they are not the same, and there is a logical order to the structure when thinking about them. Christian ethics work within the order of God’s sovereignty over all things, His revelation to man, His definition of man, and finally His command to man. God’s command is not only a definition about aspects of reality, it is a definition about God’s creation called mankind, and that God will hold man accountable to operate within this definition.

The Garden of Christ

This was the first school lesson for mankind. God gave His correct and precise description about what mankind is, to Adam and Eve. God said they will be accountable by His authority to interact within this definition. Satan comes along and tempts them to not agree with God’s definition. Satan in essence says, “Even though God created and controls all reality, should you trust His definition of it?” “Did God really say that about (x)….?” Satan appealed to things like lusting for more of something and pride; however, those were the symptoms, or additives. The foundational issue was about faith in God’s definition about His reality.

Two points.

One. God’s definition was correct, and Satan’s a lie. Just because someone says something in a sentence does not mean it is intelligent. I can say, “Do you really have to exist, in order to deny your own existence?”  I could say that as a snake, your pastor or a Greek philosopher, but the result would still be the same self-refuting nonsense. Adam did not have the Scripture, but he did have innate knowledge (God’s laws), that was not suppressed by sin. In order to overcome man, Satan, attacked his enemy with deception and lies.

Second. The foundation of Satan’s lie used a starting point of empiricism rather than God’s revelation. Adam had self-awareness. He knew he was created as an adult, and preinstalled with all the knowledge, logic and understanding by God’s power, and not Adam’s.

And so, Satan first injected doubt about God as a starting point. “Did God really say.” This is a negative apologetic attack, against God as an epistemology. Then Satan does a positive apologetic for empiricism. “YOU, look at how attractive this fruit is to benefit you.” Satan encourages man to start knowledge with “man,” and “how man sees and observes such and such.” Or for a simple contrast, The kingdom of God, versus, the Kingdom of self.  It is God’s revelation, versus, man’s speculation.

Paul in contrast to what Satan said, says the opposite, “we live by faith, not by sight,” (2 Corn. 5:17).” Paul further says in 1 Corinthians 1 that man by his wisdom did not know God. Next in Chapter 2 verse 4 Paul says by the power of the Spirit He gave a deduction (“demonstration”) (obviously from Scripture), so that the Corinthian’s faith, is in God rather than man. Major premises started from God’s word. Next, the Corinthians applied themselves to God’s revelation. The Greeks, which according to Paul, “seek for (human) wisdom,” could not discover God. The Greek philosophers had two main epistemologies (3 if you include the self-refuting skeptics): Plato as a rationalist, and everyone else (From Socrates to Aristotle) where empiricists. All these Greek epistemologies had one thing in common, they all started with “man as a starting point”. The only honest one was Plato who admitted that by his rationalism, he could not get to the realm of the categories(forms/logos).

So, whether in the first days of the Garden or in a New Testament Church, God is constantly teaching and reteaching this subject. We are to start with God’s revelation and believe His words; we are to do this over all human starting points (or non-God starting points). Seeing this is the foundational attack of our greatest enemy against us, should we not take time to consider it and make preparations to withstand it? Should we not practice with our divine armor and weapons so as to defend and defeat our foe?

Yet, it seems even preachers take more time in a sermon to explain why Jesus did NOT REALLY SAY, “I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you will have it,” (Mark 11:24). Their exegesis is mostly about, “Jesus really did not say that.” It makes one think who side these preachers are on?

Here is the real issue. It is about deductions from the Scripture as our only epistemology. It is starting with God’s Revelation rather than man’s speculation. It is to say, “Yes, Jesus did say,” rather than to hiss out, “Did Jesus really say that”.

Those who question, “Did God really say that,” do not have a valid deduction from Scripture to say this. Instead they seek for a sign, or for human wisdom. But as Jesus says, an evil person seeks for a sign. They say, “physician heal yourself,” and proceed in informal fallacies of ad- hominem attacks. God is the foundation of theology, not man. God is the only first principle of Knowledge. There is no knowledge from observations. Wait?  Who was the fool that told you that knowledge comes from human observations?  Because God is the foundation of theology it is a non-relevant point if a person does not do what the Scripture says. If God says, then that is the only correct definition of reality.

They say, “Oshea heal thyself.” Or, “history for the past 1,500 years, “heal thyself.”” I have experienced some success in healing ( and I know others with better success), but that is not even relevant in a logical argument. It is an ad-hominem fallacy. What does God’s revelation say? They seek a sign that God’s word is true. They read in God’s book, “…God did say…,” but then they seek a sign for God to prove it. However, Jesus said even if someone from the dead comes back to preach to them, they still would not believe. Jesus did give these a sign. It is a book called the Scripture. Jesus stands before these sign seekers (reformed, traditionalist, non-faith-ers) and throws a book at their feet. Jesus points to it and says, “read and believe it and live. Disbelieve it and burn in hell fire.” Of course they hate this, because they want a sign to prove the book is true. And so, it is foolishness to them. Yet, the fact is, they have their sign. The issue is whether they will say, “yes, God did say,” or “this is what I observe and say.” Their sign seeking would make the Jewish leaders in Jesus’ day blush with envy.

They say, “I do not see this.” Or, in the past a bunch of pastors got together and said, “WE do not see these miracles or healings Jesus promised, and so WE come together to publicly say, ““God did not really say; He meant something different; this something different is what WE see and observe, and calculate.”” These are David Hume, empiricist sluts. They seek wisdom the same way the Greek philosophers Socrates and Aristotle did. Their starting point for knowledge is a human starting point. They produce major premises to deduce from, by what they observe or by what other men in history observed. It is a kingdom of men, a kingdom centered on self. Jesus’ wisdom to these, is the same for the sign seekers. Jesus stands before these human wisdom seekers and throws a book at their feet. Jesus points to it and says, “read and believe it and live. Disbelieve it and burn in hell fire.” This of course is foolishness to them, because they seek a human starting point, not a God starting point. God is not the foundation of their theology. And so it is madness to them.

The Garden of Eden was Great, But Yahweh’s Garden Is Better

In Jesus, our garden is the very Garden that is in Yahweh’s house. In this garden are all sorts of promises and fruits to partake. The golden apples in the Garden of Hesperides cannot compare. Let us sample some choice selections.

Jesus replied,  “Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.  But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!  When you produce much fruit , you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.” (NLT). John 15:6-8.

Yes, Jesus did say.
Jesus did say you can pluck this fruit and partake of its sweetness. And in return it becomes fruit in your own life, that proves you are a disciple.

Psalm 103:2–5 (LEB)  “Bless Yahweh, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits: who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,  who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with loyal love and mercies, who satisfies your life with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

Yes, God did say.
God did say you can pluck this fruit and partake of its sweetness.

 “And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins ⌊he will be forgiven⌋.  Elijah was a human being with the same nature as us, and ⌊he prayed fervently⌋ for it not to rain, and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months.  And he prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the earth produced its fruit.” (James 5:15–18 LEB).

Yes, God did say.
God did say you can pluck this fruit and partake of its sweetness.

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

Yes, God did say.
God did say you can pluck this fruit and partake of its sweetness.

“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, he will have what he says. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you will have it.” (Mark 11:22-24 NIV)

Yes, Jesus did say.
Jesus did say you can pluck this fruit and partake of its sweetness.

Will you partake, or will Satan continue to lead you to seek more signs and more human wisdom?

———–Endnotes———–

[1] Genesis 2:16-17, 3:1

[2] Vincent says this well and has taught me on this subject. He says, “… This exposes the dangerous implication of the idea that evil is the mere privation of good. That is, if evil is the mere privation of good, and God is good, it would mean that evil is ontologically more basic than God himself. Since evil is necessarily associated with an entity, it could even suggest that Satan is more basic than God. Therefore, those who use this principle as some kind of theodicy or to distance God from evil not only ends up with a version of dualism, but also ends up with Satan as the supreme entity instead of God. It ends in blasphemy.

God is ontologically the most basic entity, and he is good. He is always good and righteous, and therefore it must be “good” that there is evil (although evil itself is evil, and not good). …

Vincent Cheung. “Evil and Privation.” From, The Author of Sin, 2005, pg 45.

[3] Gordon Clark and Vincent Cheung first taught me about his subject. Here is Vincent saying “… If God says something is wrong, then it is wrong to do it, regardless of the context or choice, and regardless of freedom. In fact, the Bible says that the non-Christian is unable to obey God’s law. If sin presupposes the freedom or ability to obey God’s command, or to not sin, then all non-Christians are already sinless, since all of them are unable to obey God, and they would require no salvation. However, it is precisely because they are sinful and unable to change that they need Jesus Christ to save them…”

Vincent Cheung,  http://www.vincentcheung.com, “Homosexuality and the Wrath of God.” Emphasis added by author.  Sermonettes Vol.5 chapter 20.

God is the Foundation for all Theology, even with Ethics

You cannot go beyond God to find a reason for ethics. If you did so, then you cannot do it without establishing a dual ontology or authority with/over God. God’s sovereignty over you is what makes a command a command, and not something else. God created you, in absolute sovereign power. You are not free from God’s hold on metaphysics and His revealed definitions about mankind, and this is the foundation for ethics. Consider our patriarch King David. Compare his words to Romans chapter 9. David says because God created him, (A sovereign authority over David, which David is not free from) he needs to understand how to obey Him.
Ps 119:73 LEB
“Your hands have made me and established me;
give me understanding that I may learn your commands.”
Or Paul’s argument:
If the Creator takes me from a neutral clay lump(that is not already bad) and makes me into a wicked pot, and I obviously go along with God’s causality, then why does God find fault with me, even if He commanded me to do good? He finds fault because you did not do what He commanded, regardless of the ontology of it.
Romans 9,
“Well then, you might say, “Why does God blame people for not responding? Haven’t they simply done what he makes them do?””
Both affirm God’s commands presuppose the fact God is a sovereign over something, and that this something is not free relative to God. Paul takes it further by saying, even if God causes (on the ultimate level ) you to behave against His commands (like He did with Pharaoh) you are still accountable because God is a sovereign creator over you, and you are not free from Him. As said before, God is the foundation of all theology. The issue is that God will do what He wants. If he decides to hold Pharaoh or a fig tree accountable, then its accountable, regardless of anything else that might be added.

God’s Will Failed, Because of Non-faith

“But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him,” (Luke 7:30).

Sometimes when reading, “faith and or, health and wealth,” preachers I notice their complete lack of talking about God’s power and causality on the ultimate level. This goes so extreme at times it becomes an excommunicable offense. They will say things like “God does not give sickness, “ONLY,” the Devil.” They are referring to passages like Acts 10:38 when Peter said Jesus healed all those oppressed by Satan. This is indeed true; however, it is only regarding relative level ontology, not ultimate level causality. What they have correct is that Jesus mostly speaks on this level. Jesus says if you have faith, then the mountain will OBEY YOU. Your, faith saved you. Your, faith healed you. And let us be honest here, Jesus was and is, more God-centered than you. And he mostly speaks on this relative level ontology.

This divide over what “the Will of God,” means is a similar issue. It can mean 2 things. It either refers to God’s decrees (or causality, either by direct force, or to the ordering of what God causes, i.e. “ontology”) and to what God commands (ethics).  Luke refers to the will of God as His commandments. And let us also be honest again, Luke is also more God-centered than you. Luke is not saying the Sovereign God made a decree and the Pharisees used their own self-existence-power (ontology) and overpowered God’s causality (ontology) on the ultimate level. Rather, Luke is saying God has commanded all to repent and be reconciled to God, but the Pharisees “rejected God’s Command.” Ethics (i.e. God’s Commandments) is especially important because the Bible says so. Thus, talking about, ‘the Will of God,’ as His commands is a common and important part of Christian theology.

Thus, when a faith preacher says, “do not reject God’s Will,” or “do not miss out on God’s Will, by unbelief,” or “you will miss God’s Will,” or “you need to accomplish God’s Will,” he is correct in this. Jesus Christ, the most God-centered man who ever lived, spoke on this (ethics, relative ontology) level more than ultimate causality. Let that sink into your thick skulls.

Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God.” Thus, on this level God’s Will Failed, because of unbelief. There is nothing wrong in saying it this way. OR better said, God’s command failed to produce obedience in minds of unbelief.  It is saying the same thing.

I would recommend Vincent Cheung’s essay, “ “Ezekiel 18:23 and 33:11.”[1]

Below is a small excerpt from that essay. Notice the “will of God,” is used differently.

1 Samuel 2:25

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

Mark 3:35, For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother. [precept]
1 Peter 3:17, For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil. [decree][2]

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

Mark, “Whoever obeys God’s commandments is my brother.”

Peter, “It is better if God causes you to suffer for doing good rather than evil.”

Obviously, the doctrine of God’s sovereign causality over all things, and His commandments revealed to man are quite different categories. To make an equivocation here is a huge category fallacy. It would be like saying my invisible thoughts and rocks are the same category; therefore, all rocks are invisible. It would directly violate the basic laws of logic. It would make all inferences from scripture to be invalid.  If categories were to be violated like this, then it would thrust knowledge into skepticism. Yet, skepticism denies the law of non-contradiction. To be true, it must be false.

Look, what happens if we mix categories up?

If God caused(ultimate ontology) the Apostle Thomas to not believe Jesus’ resurrection, then it is right(ethics) for Thomas to not believe what Jesus commanded to.

God did indeed, referring to ultimate level causality, cause Thomas to doubt. However, to infer an ethic from God’s causality like this, is voodoo, witchcraft divination. It is David Hume empiricism in full display.

Or,

“If God caused(ultimate) Elijah to fail 6 times in his prayer (or your prayers) for rain, then it is not God’s Will (ethic) for Elijah to pray for this miracle and receive it (or yours).” Right?

Or,

“If God caused (ultimate) the disciples to not have enough faith to heal the father’s boy (or caused you to), then it is God’s Will (ethic) for God not to heal the boy (or heal you).” Right?

God did cause the disciples to have a lack of faith, in the ultimate sense, but to act like a voodoo witch-doctor and conclude, it must not be God’s Will to heal the boy, is superstitious rebellion, because Jesus turned around and healed the boy anyway.

OR,

“If God caused (ultimate) Satan[3] to temp David to take a census and God caused David’s heart to be weak (ultimate) to this temptation, then it is God’s will (ethic) for David to take it.” Right?

Or,

“If God caused (ultimate) the leaders of Israel to give a bad report of the Promise Land, then it is God’s will (ethic) for them not to take it.” Right?

Or,

“If God said No, and God gave the Canaanite woman a correct theological reason for not answering her prayer, then it is not God’s Will (ethic) to answer her prayer (or yours).” Right?

You realize how dumb that is, right? You realize if the saints in the Bible where to play this witchcraft, empiricist-superstition with God’s Word, they would have never become heroes of faith.

It is always God’s Will to heal, (it is part of the substitutionary atonement of Jesus, Isaiah 53), because it is His standing “commandment.” James 5:14-15, “Are any of you sick? You SHOULD … pray … in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.”[4] The word “should,” is an ethic. You should or ought to do this or that. Thus, it is the Will of God, for you.

Stop playing satanic witchcraft, and start obeying the Will of God; start accomplishing the Will of God, in your life.

 

———Endnotes——–

[1] It is also found in his book, “Sermonettes Vol. 8, chapter 4.” 2015. Pg, 22-32.

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

[3] I am not talking about allowing here, for there is no such thing with God, relative to Him directly causing all things by His own power. There is no such thing as secondary causation, relative to God’s direct causation.

[4] Emphasis added by author.

The God of All Things

1 Kings 20:23,28

“Meanwhile, the officials of the king of Aram advised him, “Their gods are gods of the hills. That is why they were too strong for us. But if we fight them on the plains, surely we will be stronger than they.

…The man of God came up and told the king of Israel, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Because the Arameans think the Lord is a god of the hills and not a god of the valleys, I will deliver this vast army into your hands, and you will know that I am the Lord.’”

God, the creator of all things, was not pleased when one of His created things  said, “God is only the God of part; His value is only partly; His power is only partly; His domain is only partly; His creator rights have limits; His ability to protect those who serve Him is partly.” The human superstition is easy to see here. Not using knowledge, but starting with the kingdom of self (speculations from the self, i.e. empiricism), this official produced superstitions that were false, invalid and wicked. The premise that “God is the God of hills,” does not validly conclude “God is not the God of the valleys.” The correct premise when starting with God’s revelation is that God is the God of all things; The creator of all things; the predestined order-er of all things; the present controller of all things (etc.). A valid conclusion from this would be the following. Thus, if God is the God of all things, then God is necessarily the God of the hills, valleys, sky, water, invisible heavens, and even such things as evil and sin, and whatever is part of reality.

It is easy to see the mistake in epistemology(speculation) and logic(superstition) this pagan made; however Christians overlook the same type of mental blunders they make in the same categories. Consider how the Apostle Peter made a similar mistake on the water.

Matthew 14:29-31 NLT

“So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.

Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?””

As said before, if God is the God of all things, then God is the God of the calm waves, as much as He is the God of the stormy waves. When Peter saw the stormy waves, he concluded this: Jesus is the God of the calm waves, but Jesus is not the God of the stormy waves. The proof of this is that Peter sank when Jesus (as Peter’s Master) commanded Peter to come to Him. The choice is now gone. It is not a matter of mere suggestion. It was God’s Will for Peter to walk on the water, because the phrase “God’s Will,” in context of ethics is about obeying God’s command.[1] It was God’s Will for Peter to walk on the water; however, Peter’s doubt made him fail to accomplish God’s will in this moment. Jesus rebuked Peter for this failure to accomplish God’s command. The problem that caused this failure was not believing what God said about reality. God said about reality, “if you believe Me you can walk on water.” When Peter saw the stormy waves, He in essence became an empiricist, and then made up a human speculation about reality. The kingdom-of-self was his starting point of knowledge and not God’s word. In addition, the conclusion was also logically invalid; this illogical leap was superstition. The premise, “the waves are stormy,” cannot validly conclude that, “I cannot walk on stormy waves,” or “God cannot help in stormy waves,” (etc.). This is wicked superstition and just outright stupid.

Do not be so quick to lookdown at the foolish pagan official, if you play the same game with God. God is the God of invisible-spiritual things like forgiveness, but not the God of visible-healings. God is the God of the Hills, but not the God of the valleys. God is God of restoring my invisible soul, but He is not the God of restoring my visible finances. Despite the doubts and superstitions, God is the God of all things. His promises apply to all areas of life, both spiritual and physical. James 5:15 (NLT), “Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven (Compare with Isaiah 53 and Psalm 103).” Therefore, the issue is not God’s complete sovereignty, and not God’s loyal love, and not God’s sovereignty in keeping His promises just like He said; rather, the issue is that men start knowledge with themselves (empiricism) and then make wild invalid superstitions from these speculations.

Rather than playing games with life, why not operate with reality and start with God’s knowledge and believe Him? Why play games like an irrational empiricist, when knowledge about reality has already be revealed? God’s promises for His children are for all of life, and they are wonderful promises. God is for us. God is for us through His Son, Jesus Christ. In Jesus, as our atonement, all the promises are an answered ‘Yes,’ to the value of God’s Name, and for our joy in Him. God is the God of both the calm and stormy waves. In God’s promise, you can walk on them both. This is the glory that belongs to the heirs of faith. This is the power the belongs to those hidden with Christ right now, at God’s right hand. This is what is available to those who are the righteousness of God. God is the God of all things; and all things have been GIVEN TO YOU; you are Christ’s; Christ’s is God’s (1 Corinth. 3:22-23).

——-Endnotes——-

[1] Regarding ontology, God caused the stormy waves as much as Peter’s doubt, but this causality does not negate the separate category God’s command and Peter’s responsibility to obey God’s command. The same is with a husband whose prayers are hindered due to his mistreatment of his wife. In the ultimate ontology, God caused the husband to behave this way; however, this does not negate the different category of ethics. On this level of command, it is God’s Will for the husband to treat his wife with love, and not have his prayers hindered. Accountability is based on God’s command, and not on God’s causality.
What has been a big help to me understanding this doctrine is Vincent Cheung. See, Healing and The Atonement, and “Ezekiel 18:23 and 33:11.”

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

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

 

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

Ontology Is Not Ethics

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

Informal Fallacy

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

Hanna

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

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

 

God’s Will, Made Me Unwise

 

First a clarification of Christian categories.

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

1 Samuel 2:25

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Give it some thought.

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

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

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

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

 

——–Endnotes———

 

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

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

 

 

Martin Luther- The Bondage of the Will – Commentary

Martin Luther. The Bondage of the Will.

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Endnote———————

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

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

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

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

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

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

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