Category Archives: Systematic Theology Book

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Judgment OR Salvation

In the scripture the terms “salvation” and “deliverance” have similar meanings, but not the same. Deliverance usually is in the context of judging an enemy to rescue someone out of slavery and trouble. This is seen in Israel crossing the Red Sea and the Egyptians were drowned in it. Salvation includes this, but it also means more (Heb. 9:28). On this judgement aspect the two terms are interchangeable.

When Jesus mentions in John 16 that the Holy Spirit “correct the world about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged,” this is what we mean by deliverance. Judgement is referring to all aspects of power and command that belongs to a ruling king. Salvation is this and the addition of His positive works of righteousness freely given (Romans 5) and positive blessings given to us by His Contract in blood (Hebrews 8).

Jesus executes judgement on Satan by binding him up and blundering his house.

“But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. “Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can plunder his house. “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters,” (Matthew 12:28-30 NIV). (see Acts 10:38, Heb. 2:10-14, Colossians 2:15)

Jesus is the caption of salvation for His chosen ones. Satan is the chief enemy against Jesus’ kingdom, and thus, the King must deal with Satan to show His power. Jesus does this. Jesus removes the dominion of Satan and replaces it with His dominion. This is Jesus’ judgment and deliverance. The Holy Spirit corrects the souls of men about this, because they have sided with Satan against the Kingdom of God. Satan is defeated; his kingdom is weakening. Soon he, and all who align with his rule, will be thrown into hell. But Jesus’ kingdom will last forever and ever, amen.

In Satan’s dominion, his law was a law of accusation, bondage, and fear. Jesus defeated this. He obtains His Kingdom by war and conquest. Jesus bound, plundered, and casts out Satan; He neutered his power and accusations against His chosen ones. Jesus came to earth and by His power, even power showed in sacrifice, defeated Satan in battle. Jesus is a mighty warrior. The devil defied the saints of God. Jesus with one stone, killed Satan and cut off his head. In Jesus’ atonement and resurrection, it was 100 times truer, “Today the whole world will know there is a God in Israel.”

“Now is the time for judgment on this world;
now the prince of this world will be driven out.”
John 12:31

In Jesus’ dominion, He rules with the law of unmerited favor and sonship. The Father has transferred us from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of the Son of His love (Colossians 2:13). These additional super blessings of being sons of God, even co-heirs with Jesus and being highly favored by God and not merely forgiven and in a neutral standing with God, is the fuller meaning of “salvation.” The word salvation can mean just judgement or the fuller meaning depending on context. David often used salvation as God both delivering him, and setting his feet in a good and prosperous place. Jesus does this for all His saints through His atonement.

The substitutionary atonement of Jesus is both a deliverance in power and a substitutionary exchange were Jesus gives us His righteousness and highly favored status. Thus, the finished atonement of Jesus is the fuller meaning of salvation.

I Am your Exceedingly Great Reward, Righteousness

I Am your Exceedingly Great Reward, Righteousness

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

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

Romans 4 (NLT)

The Faith of Abraham

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Genesis 12:1–2 LEB).

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

Genesis 15 NIV

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

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

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

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

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

Genesis 17 NLT

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

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

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

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

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

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

Summary:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vincent Cheung on this subject says,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Moses/Law – You are sinful.

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

——- Endnotes ——-

[1] Boldface mine.

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

[3] Boldface is mine in these 3 passages.

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

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

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

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

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

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

[8] Boldface added by author.

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

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

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

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

God’s Authority & Not Man’s Freedom Makes Man Accountable

Before going over a more positive stating of God’s sovereignty, we will deal with this idea of man’s responsibility and accountability to God, since the wrong doctrine of this is used to negate what the Bible says about God’s sovereignty and man.

This is both an ultimate question about God’s sovereignty and Christian ethics, and so, this will be dealt with more in that section.

Man is responsible and accountable to God, not because man is free from God’s direct control; rather it is the complete opposite. Man is accountable, because man is not free to God’s sovereign authority to hold man accountable.[1] Accountability does not presuppose freedom; rather, it presupposes a sovereign authority that you cannot escape from. Without a parent, how is child (if you can still call them that) responsible? Without teachers, students (if you can still call them that) are not accountable. Without a government of some sort, citizens (if you can still call them that) are not responsible.  

The point is, if you take the authority away, accountability is not merely partially removed, it is completely removed. On the other hand, I can hold my clay vase accountable for not talking to me, by slamming against the wall, and then throwing it into the fire. Whether or not you like this, is not the question. The issue is painfully obvious, even without freedom, my sovereign authority over the clay vase, is all that is needed to make it accountable. 

And in fact, this is exactly what Paul says in Romans 9 when the issue of how is man being accountable to God, when man is not free from God controlling man (like how God controlled Pharaoh, by hardening his heart).

Also, if you recall earlier comments about God’s transcendence, God is not merely above being accountable; God is categorically not even related to such a category. There is nothing above God. There is no other power. There is no other causality. There is no possibility for God not to be absolutely sovereign, and so it is impossible for there to even be a possibility or another power or metaphysical dualism. Because the possibility is not even possible, it means God is categorically separate from such a term. Is color above the concept of numbers, or do they have no necessary relation to even be considered in such a way? Because God is transcendent to man in this regard, we therefore know, when a person tries to apply accountability to God, by relating how it works with man, just made a metaphysical, intellectual and ethical no, no (to say it nicely).

First, Paul brings in the example of the twins who were, one chosen for mercy and the other damnation—before they were born or had done good or bad choices—to show God’s choices and His resulting causation from these choices includes both good and bad; both light and dark; both mercy and damnation. Paul then brings in additional examples of the old testament regarding a positive choosing and then also a negative choosing. Moses is the example for mercy and the Pharaoh is the example of damnation.

This is classic systematic theology. Paul is bringing in different passages ranging over the Scripture that address the same theological category. From this Paul then gives a summary of a doctrinal statement that is to be believed and obeyed. “God chooses to show mercy to some, and he chooses to harden the hearts of others, so they refuse to believe.” And this doctrinal comprehension includes what Paul stated before in the formation of it: “before they are born or had done good or evil.

If some say that the twins were a representation of nations, then Paul’s point is made even more so, for then it would mean, before millions were born or had made choices of good or evil that God chose some would obtain mercy and some damnation.[2] This point, logically therefore, is a point of non-relevance. However, this objection shows that such a person not only is defective in their objection but demonstrates they miss the entirety of what Paul is doing here. Paul is doing systematic theology. He brings many individuals and then asserts with logic and divine inspiration, that these are not an exception of God’s power and active; rather, Paul shows this is how God uses this power of causality over all humans for all time. That is, categorical premises of “all,” not some. 

Back to Paul’s doctrinal statement. He does not wish for people to miss the point. One can see how Paul bracketed the part about the twins (before they had made choices of good or evil) in the verse. Paul wanted to head off the misinterpretation that despite being born, God looked ahead and considered the twins choices of good or evil, to then decide who to show mercy and who to dam to hell. And so, Paul stops the flow of the statement to clarify that God did not consider their choices in determining their future of heaven or hell. 

God punishes the Pharaoh after saying He first hardened (first mention in Exodus) the Pharaoh’s heart. To this Paul’s opponent says,

if Pharaoh went along with God’s causality(ontology)

—that is, to be hard hearted and resist God’s command(ethic)

—then why is Pharaoh punished?”

This objection is bottom of the barrel stupid and displays a mind that is spiritually broken and mentally faulty.  Again, this is like saying trees and cats are the same, therefore, why don’t’ trees walk? It is a category fallacy.  All Christian ethics are God’s commandments. The Pharaoh was a lawbreaker by disobeying God’s command to let His people go. He is guilty, not because He did or did not resist God’s causality, but because He resisted obeying God’s command.

Some say that man is “more than a clay pot.” This is true, but only if whole analogy is taken up together.[3] Thus, if man is more than clay, then God is infinitely much more than a mere potter. Therefore, as much as man is more than clay, it is not a true infinite. God however is truly infinitely more than a mere man. Thus, if the analogy is taken up then the point of God’s sovereign control over man’s destinies apart from man’s choice is literally made “infinity” stronger.

This clay analogy reminds of how teachers and preachers today directly contradict the Scriptures teaching. They are blasphemers who would rather suffer the Scripture to nonsense, than let their cowardly souls suffer from confessing their unbelief. It appears popular in many Christian traditions to say God takes a wicked clay lump and God chooses to let some remain in this wicked lump state and make them into wicked pots. In addition, God chooses to take some of this wicked clay lump save them and make them into a good clay pot.  How obvious that this is not what the verse says. The lump is not already wicked or good. It is unformed, without choices of good or evil. It is a neutral unformed lump. It is like what is said about Jacob and Esau, “before they had done good or evil,” God decided to love one and hate the other.

This lines up with the objection Paul’s opponent brings up.

“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?”

This question of “responsibility” is precisely what Paul’s opponent asks in Romans 9:19.

…Therefore you will say to me, “Why then does he still find fault? For who has resisted[o] his will? (LEB)

…Well then, you might say, “Why does God blame people for not responding? Haven’t they simply done what he makes them do?” (NLT)

We will now put into the verse the clear terms for command(responsibility) and God’s absolute causality: or Christian ethics and Christian ontology.

“Why does God [hold people responsible] for not responding [to His command]?

Haven’t they simply done what [He absolutely directly causes them to do]?

or

“Why then does he still find fault? [Ethics]

For who has resisted[o] his will? [Ontology]

Thus, Paul’s opponent is dealing with the issue of man’s responsibility when man is considered relative to God controlling and causing man to do. Paul’s opponent correctly restates Paul’s position about God’s absolute sovereignty saying “who has resisted God’s will (causality/sovereign control). Paul’s opponent understands that Paul position is that God is actively and absolute controlling man. The opponent says that “no person has resisted God’s will.” God’s will here is defined in context to me God’s causality not command, because it is painfully obvious people resist obeying God’s commands.

Thus, the opponent is saying,

Paul, your position is that no person has never resisted God’s causality, in causing them to make good or evil choices; but, if that is true, then why does God still hold us responsibly for things He sovereignly caused us to do?”

On the contrary, O man, who are you who answers back to God? Will what is molded say to the one who molded it, “Why did you make me like this”? Or does the potter not have authority over the clay, to make from the same lump a vessel that is for honorable use and one that is for ordinary use?
(Romans 9:20-21 LEB)

Paul’s reply is interesting because it ignores the fallacy of the opponent, and simply gives a positive answer about God’s authority and power. The fallacy of the opponent lies in what we disused earlier about God’s transcendence over commands given to man.  God is not merely above the laws; rather, laws do not categorically apply to Him. The Bible defines sin and evil as lawlessness. Thus, you cannot accuse God of sin or a wrong, without a law being transgressed by God. But laws do not categorically apply to God. Thus, it is categorically impossible for God to do sin or evil. It is not that God can do evil but chooses not to. No. The possibility does not even exist.

Who are you who answers back to God?” Paul ignores this, in that He does not address it directly; rather, Paul rebukes the opponent in this way: “as a man you are acting like God and as a man are trying to put God under a law.” The opponent has the role of God and man flipped. That is, the opponent’s position is not merely a little bit wrong, it is upside-down wrong.

The potter [has] AUTHORITY over the clay, to make from the same lump…” Remember the context is about why is man responsible. If ever there was a time for the Bible to say man’s accountability is based on freedom or freewill, now is the time. Now is the foundational issue or linchpin about man’s responsibility. Paul gives his positive answer to why man is responsible to God. God is an AUTHORITY OVER THE MAN. The answer given is NOT “God gave man freedom.” NO. The contradiction of this is given. Man is NOT free from God’s AUTHORITY to make man however He wants.

The way Paul does answer this presupposes what we just went over; that responsibility presupposes a higher authority and not freedom. If you are responsible, then it means you are not free, but under an authority. Paul’s answer to why people are responsible—even like Pharaoh, by performing the works God causes them to perform—is that God is an authority over them. That is, Paul appeals to that fact that God is a sovereign authority over us. We are responsible precisely because we are not free, but under God’s authority.

It can be said that God makes it—as an additive—that having more knowledge makes us guiltier. This can be said about metaphysics on a relative level when said about us. That is, we are led away by “OUR” own desires. However, both additives only work as adding to our responsibility because God as an “authority” over us commands it so! That is, without us being free from God’s sovereign authority and control over us, He adds additional rewards and condemnation if we have more knowledge (knowledge that He chose to give or not give us).

For the God’s elect children, the point is that though Jesus Christ’s imputed righteous (ethics) they have completed the requirement of obeying God. They have been credited with a perfect Christian ethic that is fulfilled and the receipt printed off. After new birth they are given the Holy Spirit that causes(ontology) them to behave in accordance with the perfect obedience already credited to their accounts. That is, as Pharaoh could not resist God causing him to reject His command, the Elect cannot resist the Holy Spirit causing them to be sanctified


—-Endnotes——

[1] I learned to say this doctrine in this way from Vincent Cheung (and some from Gordon Clark). See Vincent’s many mentions of this in his books. (www.vincentcheung.com)

[2] I learned this argument from Vincent Cheung. See, “More than a Potter.”

[3] This basic idea of taking the analogy up with both parts was brought to my attention by an essay of Vincent Cheung, “More Than A Potter.” Found in “Author of Evil.” 2014. Ch.18.

The Transcendence and Nearness of God

Transcendence of God:

Attributes that describe God’s existence (such as, Infinity, Immutability, Timelessness (etc.)), show God’s existence to be Transcendent to every other type. This is where the base idea of holiness comes from, in the broadest sense. Holiness means God is a cut-above all others in a said category. However, God’s transcendence is a step greater than this, in that God is all together different in these categories. To be cut-above the competition does not “necessarily” mean a whole new category; it might, but does not necessarily donate that. The context will define how to understand it. At the very least, sometimes God Holiness does refer to His metaphysical attributes in the transcendent way.

“For thus says the high and lofty One—He Who inhabits eternity, Whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, but with him also who is of a thoroughly penitent and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble and to revive the heart of the thoroughly penitent [bruised with sorrow for sin].”
(Isaiah 57:15 AMP)

At other times God’s holiness refers to His moral perfection, in Justice, Mercy and His ability to help. In this light God’s Holiness is the internal value of His nature. Glory, is this (internal) value, shinning out in the public (external).

He is holy.
…They called to Yahweh, and he answered them.
…you answered them.
You were a forgiving God to them,
but an avenger of their wrong.
(Psalm 99:6-8 LEB)

Furthermore, this is like God being Ex Lex. Or that God is above all ethical laws. This is indeed true in a sense; however, God is more than merely above the law. God is categorically different (transcendent) from the laws even being applied to Him. Again, the idea of category errors come up. God’s laws are not so much below Him, as they are applied to the category of man. It is not so much that God is above moral laws commanded to man; they do not categorically apply to Him.

As said before God is the Foundation of theology, not something else. The foundation of how or if laws apply to God, is God; it does not start with man, inductively making up superstitions about it. No. God is the foundation. God is the foundation that gave laws to man. Not the other way around, despite how badly man wants it to be. God’s law is commanded to man, not to Himself. If man tries to say, “well this means, God must also behave this way,” is man starting with something not revealed in scripture. It is man starting with man, and using man’s induction to command laws on God. It is the height of rebellion and arrogance. God is the foundation for laws, not man.

Back to the point. Is the category of humans above the category of “subjects and predicates,” or do they have no necessary category relation to even ask such a question? Is red above the category of odd numbers, or is there no necessary connection to even ask such a question?

In a publication that I cannot presently find at Vincent Cheung’s website, called, Better than Ex Lex, he says something to the effect of, “my position is not merely ex lex; rather, the transcendence of God is that he doesn’t even have to be ex lex.”

If God has infinite wealth and supply, and owns everything, and even owns the persons who owns things, then God is categorically different from a billionaire, and not merely in degree.

If God has infinite propositions and infinite connections about these propositions, and understands them, not in a mutable linear way, but in an immutable all at the same time understanding, then God’s mind is not merely different in degree, but is categorically different from man’s mind.

The Nearness of God:

This doctrine of the Nearness or imminence of God is put right next to God’s Transcendence because the Bible often does so to show the value of God.

Though the Lord is exalted,

He regards the lowly [and invites them into His fellowship]; But the proud and haughty He knows from a distance,” Psalm 138:6. AMP

Although God is separate from His creation and Transcendent to it, yet, God has made man in a special way; namely, spirit and intellectual/rational. When you combine with this that in Jesus Christ, God has given us His very own Spirit, then you have an incredibly, special result. The Saints know God in the same way God knows Himself. This does not mean the saints are God, or become infinite and timeless; rather, it means that the way God knows Himself, intellectual and Spirit—by His very own Spirit—God causes the saints to know Him in this way. God is near to them, in the way God is near to Himself, that is, in a rational and spiritual way, even by the Spirit who knows Himself.

“No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.

When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths. But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit.”
1 Corinthian 2:11-13

There are two main ways God is near to those who He favors/loves. Nearness in relationship (intellectually and spiritually), and nearness in participation in God’s supply (receiving all His benefits).

In both the section on Epistemology and Metaphysics we have already dealt in a broad way, definitions for how God and saints are close spiritually and intellectually. God is the original. God made man in His image. God in Jesus, truly makes man in His image, by giving them not only truth, but also His Spirit. By this man gets to know and communicate with God directly, in precision, immediately and intellectually.

The second part of God’s nearness, is something many churches have decided to make war against God. They wish to be the foundation of theology and dictate to God, what gospel accomplishments they want and others they wish to trample under their filthy feet. However, despite their protest, God is still the foundation of the gospel and Jesus’ victory from the grave is still available to those with faith. As with every war, this is one God will also win along with the saints, and those who oppose will be trampled under God’s foot as worthless trash.

Our passage says after being near to God in spirit and intellect (or the inner man), the result is another necessary nearness. It is a nearness of practical blessings and goodies (outer-man).

“..so we can know the wonderful things God has
freely given us.”

I will chase this point for a little bit, since it is denied. I will end up going over some points about salvation, which will be explored more in a later chapter.

Many at this point, foam at the mouth like demons, about a doctrine called, “already-but-not-yet.” They are correct in the strictest sense of the definition. There are some benefits of Jesus’ finished atonement and New Covenant that are available now, and some are later. For example, healing is for now, and a new transformed body, that does not need healing, is for later. So far, so good. However, I mostly see pastors and lay people use this doctrine to emphasize what we do not get now. The problem with this is that the Bible contradicts this emphasis. The prophets, apostles and Jesus Himself, used this doctrine to emphasize the super-abundance of what we get here and now! Thus I am in agreement with Vincent Cheung that this doctrine when mainly used, is a logical/exegetical fallacy.[1] It is sad to see the elites of orthodoxy, who boast of their knowledge and intellect, act like demons by turning a biblical doctrine into a convoluted fallacy.

The Psalmist said in Psalm 103 to remember how God gives you so much free forgiveness, goodies, blessings and helps. We are not to remember God’s benefits for person x over there, or remember them to be given to us in another place or another time; rather, we are to remember God’s benefits us now, in the land of the living, for us.  This is not a suggestion. These are precepts and commands; and thus, they are Christian ethics. God commands you to not forget all the ways He benefits you, today, in this place. He forgives you, He heals you, He provides prosperity to you, He delivers you, and gives you an abundance of good things. God gives to you freely and unearned. You do not give to God.

This is similar to how Jesus gives proof to John the Baptist that He is the Messiah who is bringing in the Kingdom of God. Not the Kingdom of God later, but now. He says, “healing, healing, healing, healing, resurrection and truth proclaimed.” That is, healing is a physical not invisible reality, such as forgiveness and a cleansed soul. It is a miraculous physical reality. As to resurrection, Jesus meant it, as a second time for a present tense physical reality.  Thus, Jesus’ Kingdom now is referred to by Jesus as “miraculous physical, miraculous physical, miraculous physical, miraculous physical, miraculous physical and truth (which is invisible/spiritual). Thus, those who overemphasize the now part of Jesus’ Kingdom as the invisible, spiritual realities are enemies of Jesus, because they are working against His Kingdom and command. They are rebellious and disobedient.

Vincent shows how even Jesus Christ Himself, rebuked this ‘already-not-yet’ fallacy, when people used this nonsense on Him.

When Jesus went to raise Lazarus from the dead, Martha said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” So the theologians tell us, “These things had happened in the past.” Jesus answered, “Your brother will rise again.” But Martha said, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” So the theologians tell us, “These things will happen in the future.” Jesus answered, “I am the resurrection and the life.” The sisters applied the “already / not yet” principle on Jesus, but rather than displaying their theological education, it revealed their unbelief and ignorance. They did not even know Jesus very well. For Jesus, it is always a good time for a miracle. In the theology of Jesus, it is not a matter of time, but a matter of faith. He said to Martha, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” And Lazarus was raised from the dead.[2]

The new covenant is active because, as Hebrews says in chapter 9, the death of the tester makes the testament active. The new covenant is active for you here, and now. This eating at the lord’s table, is eating the benefit that God is our God, and we are His people. God takes the tab for this table. You do not give to God; God gives to you. God want you to know about this. He wants you to know what a great benefactor He is to you in Christ, today, here in this place.  By Christ, in faith, it is freely given to you. It is already yours in Christ. Receive and eat.

God’s table of His best benefits is not given to the reprobates or even to clean angels; rather, it is only given the people He is nearest to. To you. To His redeemed, beloved children.

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

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

In this context of Jesus repeatedly correcting the low opinion of people’s thinking on God’s commands and standards, Jesus talks about “prayer and faith.” Thus, when we see Jesus saying, “if you ask God in faith, you get the very thing you ask for,” then we can infer the presupposition behind it, at least in the broad sense; and so, Jesus’ teaching is in opposition to the people’s low opinion of what they think prayer and faith should accomplish. 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.

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)

This is said as an application for learning how Jesus as the high priest of eternal power, has destroyed our sin and already made the New Covenant active in His blood.

In “context” of Hebrews 4 defining approaching God’s throne, as getting answers to our prayers for help, it therefore, does not mean the opposite in Hebrews10:19-23. The end says, “for God can be trusted to Keep His promise.” The promise that He will not remember our sins, and that He will be our God, who lovingly 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.[3]

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, Jesus and the apostles, 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 into spiritual trash, 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 they 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 why God desired to make us holy and perfected. The necessary result (or a previous in order Decree of God) is a person 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. God is near to you, and you are near to Him. You are so near to God that you are sitting at His table. If you want some bread, reach for it. If you want some meat, then get a piece.

“In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this in remembrance of me as often as you drink it.”

For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again.
( Corin. 11:25-26).

What does this proclaiming His “death,” mean in relation to Jesus saying the New Contract is “an agreement confirmed in my blood”?

Think about Hebrews 9 where this connection is made:

Now when someone leaves a will, it is necessary to prove that the person who made it is dead.  The will goes into effect only after the person’s death.

…Then he said, “This blood confirms the covenant God has made with you. (Heb 9;16-17, 20)

So, in the Lord’s supper we are proclaiming the new contract, by a death in blood, that is made active. Once there is death/blood it is active at the moment, not later. In the previous chapter, Hebrew 8, he says the new contract in addition to saying we are forgiven, says “I will be their God, and they will be my people.” Thus, this is already active by the death of the Tester, Jesus.

This phraseology in the Bible, is always about God blessing and prospering the inner and outer man.

Consider Lev. 26

“I will look favorably upon you, making you fertile and multiplying your people. And I will fulfill my covenant with you. 10 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! 11 I will live among you, and I will not despise you. 12 I will walk among you; I will be your God, and you will be my people. 13 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.” (NLT)

The death of Jesus not only is a negative, where our sins, sickness, poverty, abandonment and stupidity were transferred off of us, and conveyed onto Jesus, where he carried them away from us to the place of the skull. Jesus death, because it makes active the new covenant is also positive. It makes God our God, and we become His people.  This is always defined as God blessing the whole man in all areas of life.  This is active now, not later.  Jesus’ death has already put the new covenant into play. God is already ours as our beloved God, and we are already God’s.

Reading how the Bible at the beginning defines terms is important. God first defines what “I will be your God and you My People,” to Abraham (Genesis 15:1 “… I am your shield, and your reward shall be very great.” Genesis 17:7-8,”…I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. …I will be their God.”). This promise to “be God to Abraham and his descendants” conveys spiritual blessings for being counted righteous for his faith, getting future promises, and much health, prosperity and favor in Abraham’s lifetime.

This will be explored more later, but Paul says in Galatians that miracles and the gift of the Holy Spirit (most likely referring to the baptism of the Spirit) is part of the Covenant of Abraham. Paul says, Jesus’ atonement grafts gentiles into this blessing of Abraham. Therefore, miracles, in the majority mode, is not to confirm Jesus (which is only a minority use of miracles) but God being faithful to perform the ancient blood oath to Abraham. Doing something to “prove” a future contract you intend to make (a sign), and performing an action that you are already bound by contract to perform, are two different categories.  For those who are savvy with logic, will see the implication of this. So what if the miracles for signs have ceased? Who cares? Miracles and the Power of the Spirit, (and the presupposition is that these are a common thing for the Galatian church, and those in Paul’s ministry) is part of the blood oath to Abraham. Has God negated His promise to Abraham? Then this majority mode of miracles and the power of the Spirit, as a common experience for Abraham’s descendants, is still active. Thus, if a church does not reflect what Paul teaches here, they are not spiritual descendants of Abraham. They do not have Abraham’s faith. They have not inherited Abraham’s blessing of miracles and the Spirit. They are damned and reprobates.

Leviticus 26 gives a summary of this same definition, as contained in the Mosaic Covenant; or as Paul says in Galatians, in the temporary covenant or tutor. The point to remember is that Jesus fulfilled this Mosaic covenant for us. In the gospel of Christ, we are unmeritedly and undeservedly credited as if we performed the stipulations of righteousness of Mosaic covenant.

This is a shadow of the New. That is, what you see here (lev.26) is much more so in the new blood oath, by Jesus Christ. The freedom from the slavery of Egypt in the New Contract, is about us being freed from sin. Freedom from the conscience of sin and from Satan’s oppressive accusations. 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 the New Covenant.

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. The best land is nearest 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. God is the foundation of theology and reality, and He considers us already with His Son. That is the only important point for us. So what, if you feel distant? What does that have to do with anything. Man is not the foundation of theology and reality; God is the foundation. He considers you as already with His Son, and therefore, you are.

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, 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?

You cannot talk about “God’s Will,” and make it to be whatever you want it to be. If the Scripture makes certain effects as necessary connections, then the logic of modus ponens and modus tollens are now in play. Hebrews, as with other Scriptures make approaching God’s throne, to get the yes for your prayers, a necessary connection to God’s Will that made you holy. If you negate the consequence you negate the antecedent, which is the atonement.

“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, 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 freely given to us. 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.

This is what it means for “God to be your God, and You His people,” in the new covenant; and if you are a Christian, you partake of this benefit now. This is how the Bible over and over, defines what nearness to God means. If you do not know this you do not have nearness to God, or you are just really bad at being a child of God.

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. God is not a demon. God does not put you at His table, and then make you watch others enjoy a good meal, while you starve. David did not bring Mephibosheth to his table to torture him, like a demon, by making him watch but not partake. Mephibosheth sat at David’s table to enjoy the free supply of David’s bounty. 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 He is. These things already belong to you.  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.  It’s God’s will that you behave like legitimate children and receive from your Father, who is NEAR to His children in spiritual and material benefits.

Through the atonement of Jesus, God is near to us in power, supply, blessings, healings, and “yes” to all our prayers, made in faith.

We will sum up this section with our systematic theology maximum. God is the foundation of theology, not man, not something else. God defines His nearness as intellectual and (inward) spiritual, as much as He does material, with the whole life of man blessed with His benefits.

ENDNOTES——————-

[1] Vincent Cheung. “The Already / Not Yet Fallacy.” Found in TRACE. 2018. Chapter 2.

[2] Vincent Cheung. The Already not Yet Fallacy.  From, “Trace,” 2018, chapter 2, page 8-9.

[3] God is all-knowing, so and it is not that God has spiritual forgetfulness; rather, God has a policy of thought and promise not to apply the consequence against you. He already did that on His beloved Son, Jesus. That is, for all practical, not intellectually knowing, purposes, God does not remember your sins.

Timelessness:

[This is a first draft from a small section of my upcoming Systematic Theology book]

“Praise the Lord, the God of Israel,
who lives from everlasting to everlasting,”
Psalm 41:13 NLT

“there he worshiped the Lord, the Eternal God
Genesis 21:33 NLT

God is timeless, or exists in an “eternal state.” What does that mean?

God is Spirit, Power and intellectual. Thus, what is timeless is spiritual, intellectual force.

Time is a measure of change. Without any change, in any degree, there is nothing to measure, and if there is nothing to measure, then the concept of time is meaningless and nonsense.

Thus, all material existence is automatically ruled out in being attributed with timelessness, because all material things change. Even invisible things like the mind of man, changes as man learns new things; however, we will focus on the issue that matter is not timeless.

Vincent Cheung commenting on this says,

Matter cannot be eternal, in the sense of being timeless, for there is no before and after with that which is timeless. And if there is no before and after with matter, then it would be impossible for it to be one way before and another way after. Therefore, if matter changes at all, it cannot be eternal. And matter could not have existed forever, for if matter is bound to time but has existed forever, then it would have an infinite past. But if it has an infinite past, it could never have reached the present. If it has reached the present, the past cannot be infinite. Therefore, matter is not eternal, but bound to time, and it originated at some point in time.

God is uncreated. He is eternal, timeless, and immutable. And he created the universe out of nothing, that is, without the use of any existing materials, since there were no existing materials when he created. All linguistic and historical arguments that attempt to suggest an opposing view must be wrong. In fact, these kinds of arguments are irrelevant unless the logical arguments based on the very ideas of matter and creation are demonstrated to be inconclusive.[1]

To further explain this. By this we know that any naturalistic or evolutionary claim that matter has “always existed” is bottom of the barrel stupid. To always exist with change, would mean an “infinite” chronological measurable time/distance. Another way to say infinite in regard to time or distance, would be “an unreachable distance.” If it is reachable, then it is not infinite; matter’s history of change is not an unreachable distance, if the distance to the past is reachable. Evolution teaches matter has always been here; they say this because if it was not, then either matter was created, or “self-created,” which is a contradiction. Either is not acceptable for evolution. Thus, since timeless is out of the question, they make matter eternal. However, that is a contradiction, and as shown before, a contradiction does not exist in the mind or in reality. To say matter has an “unreachable” distance going into the past, yet, we have “reached” this “unreachable” distance by being here today, is Plus Ultra Stupid.

God, as the Scripture says, exists from “everlasting to everlasting,” and this is as the “I AM who I AM.” He is also said to be immutable. And so, the I AM who I AM, has always been that way, and will forever be that way. Thus, God’s existence is not eternal properties that might change; rather, God’s existence is an eternal state. For this reason, “emotions,” are not part of the Divine Nature. Emotions change, but God does not change. God is timeless; yet, emotions by definition are measurable, and thus, are not timeless.

Therefore, what is timeless is God’s mind, or what is timeless is God’s powerful thoughts about all things. There is nothing to measure in God’s eternal state, because there is no change. Thus, God’s thoughts are not learned. God’s thoughts are not in a linear progression like man is with his limitations. God has always self-existed as intuitively knowing all things in “one thought” (i.e. “eternal unchanging state”), without progression. God did not have to wait to create, to see (although this is wrong because God does not have eyes) images to associate certain thoughts with things to know them better. God has always known that He would create. Included in God’s thoughts about all things, as an intuitive and never changing thought, was creation. This is why after creation, God does not change. This is why God is not different between the Old Testament or the New Testament. The eternal state of God’s intuitive thought about all things, has not changed.

God is also said to be perfect. And thus, for God to change is not only a denial of His timelessness, but it would be a change for the worse; it would be to liberate from perfection; it would make Him less valuable; it would be a serious downgrade. If you have been following what has been said about God’s nature, for God to change it would mean God would have to exchange a truth for a lie.  This is an impossibility.

This does not mean there is no such thing as logic or order to God’s mind; rather, it means the logical order of God’s mind was not chronological in time, but always known intuitively as one thought. For example, the decrees of God. God ordered the history of the world, before it was created. But this ordering has always self-existed with God as one intuitive thought. For man, who is not timeless and has a limited about of thoughts they can think in any given moment needs time and a progression of thoughts to see this ordering. This will be discussed more later, but the same is for logic and God. Because God has already known all things, it means any thought applied to creation is a deduction[2] for God, because it is merely pinpointing specific information that was part of God’s original timeless intuitive thought. For God, any specific thought about creation, does not add more information to His conclusion. For my readers, this section is dealing with many abstract concepts, however, to help see this, consider it with Jesus. Starting with Jesus’ divine mind before creation and His timeless eternal intuitive thought about all things, then go down to the incarnated Jesus who limited His mind (but the Divine Mind did not stop or change), any thought He had is still just a deduction from His timeless intuitive thought about all things (Even what He would think and say as His time as incarnated Jesus).

End-notes————–

[1] Vincent Cheung. Sermonettes Vol 1. Chapter 2. “Creation: In the Beginning.” 2010.  Pg. 7

[2] Vincent Cheung in an email first brought this to my attention, when I was discussing logic with him. Once I thought about it, it was rather obvious God’s thoughts are deductive by plain definition.