The Law and The Redemptive Process

The Law and The Redemptive Process

The Law and The Redemptive Process

A brief overview of the book of Romans

General and special revelation have very strong differences that are easily distinguishable: revelation given by direct divine intervention is special revelation and general revelation is accessible to all by virtue of living in the world.

General revelation is available universally and was pursued by means such as Philosophy wherein geniuses like Plato and Aristotle were able to make great strides in the realm of theology by utilizing philosophy to develop arguments like the Argument from Contingency (Aristotle’s unmoved mover), the Teleological argument, and others.

They, however, fell short of knowing God quite like the Hebrew did to whom God made special effort to reveal himself: “despite Aristotle’s remarkable moral sensitivity in many ways, he still despised the idea of humility and the idea of being in anyone’s debt.” (McQuilken, & Copan, 2014, pg.72).

Another philosophical argument for God, the argument from morality, is used by the Apostle Paul when he makes this a major premise in the beginning of Romans to lay out his argument of the inexcusability of all the gentile world before God (Romans 1:18-32). He goes on to liken this general moral understanding of right and wrong (Romans 2:14-15), of which has been seared with a hot iron (1 Timothy 4:2), to the Law of Moses in that he explains how the Jew is likewise doomed despite being divinely given the correct moral understanding of right and wrong by divine fiat (Romans 2:17-29).

Thus, both general revelation and special revelation are impotent for dealing with the great problem of evil and suffering faced by all mankind (Romans 3:9-20). 

This problem, of course, goes back to the very beginning wherein Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, giving them the ability to know both (Genesis 3:22) something which the Law of Moses serves an identical purpose: “law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless” (1 Timothy 1:9, ESV). That is why Paul spoke of the law as a curse to those who are under it in Galatians 3:10-14.

As Paul continues in Romans, he shows how God was fulfilling His prophecy of writing the law on our hearts through faith in Jesus Christ by referencing Abraham’s actionable faith in chapter 4, showing that it was the patriarch’s circumcised heart being lived out through faith that led to a circumcised flesh as a sign, proving circumcision of the flesh alone to be useless (Romans 4:9-16; Jeremiah 4:4; Deuteronomy 10:14-16; 30:6).

 

Abraham had, however, only general revelation to work from (Romans 4:10).

Paul argues from thus that it is faith in Christ that brings a total death to one’s own old moral framework of right and wrong, which he has shown in the earlier chapters to be inadequate and marred, via faith and baptism and (Romans 6:3-4).

This is because by being under grace, no longer have we any incentive to refuse repentance since the punishment that would discourage repentance (like admitting one was wrong, sinful, or wicked) has been entirely paid for. By this, the Law does not bind us (Romans 7:1-5) but rather just incites sin to war against us in the death throes of a soon-to-be-conquered kingdom (Romans 7:25; Matthew 16:17-19).

In a sense, this makes life much easier for the Gentile Christian who has never gotten the conscious correcting Law of Moses and thus has only to fight the battles against sin as they progressively learn more from the schoolmaster that is the law (Galatians 3:24; Acts 15:24-29), while Jewish converts have full knowledge of the law and thus have to combat sin in every part of life as soon as they are within Christ (Hebrews 2:19, Hebrews 1-12). 

Paul goes on to encourage believers that this life of internal war is worth the persisting battles that sin wages against us when we come to faith in Christ (Romans 8:18-25) because we have been made “…more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Romans 8:37, ESV).

In chapter 9…

…Paul shows that God’s not done with those who received God’s special revelation, arguing that it was because of their over-reliance on that very special revelation that they allowed themselves to stumble and that we Christians allow Israel to persist in existence by becoming the new child of promise that bears her birthright, replacing not Israel but rather those wicked generations that embody Esau.

Paul’s conclusion defeats the heresy of replacement theology in his quotation of Isaiah: Christians became the faithful remnant within apostate Israel, just like she was apostate back in Isaiah’s time, so that through the Christians Israel might be reconciled and saved (Romans 9:27-29).

Paul’s multiple quotations of the prophet Isaiah in Romans 10:18-21 shows how God going unto the Gentiles to punish Israel was specifically prophesied of and should come as no surprise. Thus, the Jewish rejection of Jesus is not evidence of the falsehood of Christianity but rather proof of it. 

In case it was not at this point already clear, Paul gives a useful illustration to explain how this process works: there is a breaking off of the branches of apostate Israel to graft on new wild branches of Gentile Christians; the tree is still the same tree meaning Israel never got replaced but rather only some of her branches. Moreover, there are even today Jewish-Christian believers.

Paul concludes that once this process is complete, then Israel will finally desire her king (Romans 11:25).

Paul spends the final 2 chapters of Romans describing how Christians rest in a sort of general-special revelation wherein the Holy Spirit renews our minds and empowers us with various gifts by which we can fulfill the law through love (Romans 12:10).

General, because it is universal to Christians; special, because He indwells only those whom He set apart.

Olive Tree in the Holy Land

To summarize…

…Humanity had a general-special revelation in the beginning but forsook it for a false, or anti-revelation that marred our ability to live by faith and caused us to live by a mental framework of what is right and wrong cursed to maintain it perpetually as it progressive degrades in our sinfulness.

Abraham was a unique man who lived by a similar kind of faith, via his general revelation, as from the beginning and so God decided that because of his faithful lifestyle He would save the world through him. From there, God gave mankind the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil again, intellectually repairing that lost knowledge of good and evil through special revelation. Then, through His son Jesus Christ, God repaired that spiritual loss of knowledge of good and evil so that we may live by faith one again and grant us a general-special revelation through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

With renewed minds and renewed spirits, one day soon the Lord Jesus will return to renew our flesh in the resurrection at the end of days so that we may once again live as we did in Eden.

References:

McQuilken, R; & Copan, P. (2014). Introduction to Biblical Ethics: Walking in the way of wisdom. Intervarsity Press.


 

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Sixty Seventh Birthday Message

Sixty Seventh Birthday Message

Sixty Seventh Birthday Message

Gentlemen, this is my 67th birthday message.

Today I get to preach to the group!

Each year I love getting closer to the arms of Jesus. Everything we have ever hoped for, dreamed for, longed for and the final fulfillment of every need that has been built into us by God Himself is to be with Jesus someday.

The ultimate perfect relationship and marriage is the best illustration.

Everything here on this planet is a reminder that we are not yet with Him and the battle, the great battle is not to find temporary substitutions for those need fulfillments in the flesh or in the world but in the Spirit, in Him.

We see people achieve great things like Olympic medals or prizes on game shows or the lottery, or superior dream jobs or places of power, or some living vicariously through their children’s successes, even victory in battle or a political race.

Millions of books are rooted in some kind of lacking or insurmountable obstacle and then the hero winning the prize, be it the kingdom, the revelation that your Father is a King and that you were kidnapped as a child or meeting your Prince Charming or finding the love of a beauty queen.

Movies that resonate with people…

…usually have to do with this idea of winning, of overcoming, of the enemy or the evil one being destroyed, of reward.

I believe that culture has always pointed towards the day that you and I will be complete in Jesus Christ.

It is like winning the ultimate Lottery and anyone can enter by faith and when the prize.

Every good thing that exists is wrapped up into Jesus Christ.

All good is found in Jesus. Everything else of the flesh and the world is temporal and not eternal.

We don’t have any fairy tales that end in a divorce. The hero’s fairy tale lives in a type of Eternal Bliss and happiness.

What billions of people have excepted as fantasy, we as children of God (believers) believe is a certain reality in Jesus Christ , the Author and Creator of this entire story.

I am one of the heroes in God’s story!

 

Sixty Seventh Birthday Message


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Why does God Allow Satan to Accuse Believers? Part 1

Why does God Allow Satan to Accuse Believers? Part 1

Why does God Allow Satan to Accuse Believers? Part 1

 

Revelation 12 verse 9 and 10 he is continually deceiving and seduces the entire world political systems false religions idol worship hedonism and verse 10 he who accuses them and keeps bringing charges of sinful Behavior against them before our God day and night.

Can you imagine a being who can come before Almighty God and tattletale and accuse and continually bring charges against the children of God?

Accuses and continually brings charges against the children of God?

It’s interesting to realize that there is no possible justification for Satan, no possibility of forgiveness, no future redemption or glorification. Only reminders of his loss.

He lost his Beauty, his glory that God gave him, his status he lost everything and here are the Poor Pitiful, tempted, tried, imperfect, tormented, conflicted, in mature little children of God who have no idea of how far they fall short all of the glory of God.

You could even say that we saw we fall short of his glory, even minute by minute and within ourselves and our own power we are no different than Satan in nature.

What Are the Benefits of Being Grateful?

We are rebellious, prideful, obstinate, stubborn, self-sufficient and self-glorifying.

Mankind under the best of circumstances could not even together save themselves out of this other Corruption of nature.

The very fact that we are deceived and blinded about our own condition is proof enough.

And so Satan goes before God and points the finger at me Dash if he were to go over the whole list of my failures, my hypocrisies the hardness of my heart, the lack of love for you oh God, the sum total of my failures of falling short of your glory ( your attributes, character, submitting to my rightful position as a created being, to be like an reflect Jesus Christ and his example he set for us as the Son of God ( what does God Almighty say to Satan?

What is His response to these accusations?

Check back in a few weeks for the answer.

 

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Why does God Allow Satan to Accuse Believers? Part 1

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The Wise and The Foolish Virgins

The Wise and The Foolish Virgins

The Wise and The Foolish Virgins

 

The foolish are those who had oil in their lamps but none in their vessels. By the foolish in the text, therefore, we may understand those who have the light of knowledge in their heads and the lamp of profession in their hands, but no oil of grace in their hearts.

They are foolish because they know neither God nor themselves, neither sin nor salvation, neither the depth of the fall nor the greatness of the remedy.

Foolish, as regards themselves, in thinking that light and knowledge will save them, without life and grace; And they are foolish as regards others, for want of an experimental acquaintance with the heart.

They know nothing, therefore of the temptations of a child of God; how he is beset on every hand; how Satan is ever thrusting at or enticing him; how his own heart is continually prompting him to evil, and how snares are in every direction laid at his feet.

The foolish know nothing of these trials, they are Pharisees, who make clean the outside of the cup and platter, who whitewash and adorn the sepulcher (tomb) without, while within it is full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.

What Are the Benefits of Being Grateful?

David knew well, and every child of God knows well…

…that if he were allowed to slip if he were suffered to say or do anything unbecoming, these would be the very first to make him an open reproach.  

The foolish can and will make no allowances for the least slip of tongue or foot, for they are ignorant of the weakness of the flesh, the subtlety of Satan and the strength of sin, and the power of temptation.

Was he to stumble and fall, the foolish would be sure to point the finger of scorn at him?

Lord, of whatever temptations I may be called upon to endure, whatever snares of Satan or lusts of the flesh may be set my path behind in before, O keep me, keep me that I may not be the reproach of the foolish that they may have nothing to accuse You.

The story of the 10 virgins is found in Matthew 25


 

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The Wise and The Foolish Virgins

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Can You Admit You Are Wrong?

Can You Admit You Are Wrong?

Can You Admit You Are Wrong?

How hard is it for you to admit you are wrong about something? How about admitting that to those close to you, like your wife, children, or people at work, or someone that you may not have seen eye-to-eye with in the past?

Let’s face it, admitting you have been wrong takes a certain amount of humility. Your self-esteem takes a real hit.

Romans 12:3 says “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.”

Philippians 2:3-4 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

I know it has been very hard for me at times in my life to admit I have been wrong, especially with my wife. If I admit I am wrong, my brain shoots back to my childhood where everyone seemed to consider me as not very intelligent.

My teachers in first and second grade and my family thought I was of low IQ (and still does) because of attention deficit (they did not name it that in the 1950’s) but called it retarded.

Everyone was convinced I was retarded.

They sent me to a counselor when I was 7 or 8 years old for help with my cognitive skills. After one session he told my parents that my IQ was not low but that I needed to have my hearing checked.

They did and found my hearing was very bad. I had lost hearing completely in one ear and about 50% in the other. That is why everyone thought I was ignoring them.

I had exceptionally bad earaches as a child and would scream for hours on end because of the pain. Eventually the doctors took out my tonsils which turned out to be the cause of the infection in both ears.

By that time the damage was done, and my hearing would never improve.

The damage was also done in my psyche in my early years of child development.

That mindset has followed me my whole life so when I have had a problem where something did not work or I have to admit that I am wrong about something,  it shoots me back to feeling stupid and retarded.

That feeling has been lurking in the back of my brain all my life and has done damage in many of my past relationships, especially with my wife.

God has been working on this issue with me since I became a Christian, but it is not totally gone. I have become much better with her, but it still raises its ugly head from time to time.

Funny thing is that I have noticed when I do admit I was wrong about something with her, she finds it very hard to forgive me, at least right away.

She also finds it much harder to admit she was wrong about something.

I think many wives are like that. Why is that?

I think it’s because we as husbands have wounded them far more than they have wounded us. I know this is an overgeneralization, but I have observed this play out in many marriages.

My last two questions for us to answer. 

1.) How hard is it for you to admit you are wrong about something?

2.) What is our opinion of ourselves and is it accurate from God’s perspective?

 

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Can You Admit You Are Wrong?

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Our Personal War in This Life

Our Personal War in This Life

Our Personal War in This Life

The truth is Jesus is with us and goes through life with us and we most definitely are born again into a journey that is akin to being in a war 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, year after year until we die.

The nature of the war affects many or all aspects of a human, for example, fighting against an aging body by intentionally choosing to do helpful exercise, lifestyles choices and healthier eating.

These tests, these temptations and we see them, is to self-indulge in the pleasure of unhealthy food and drink, making it an idol and habit and losing the image of God on our bodies.

The enemy supplies all the tantalizing junk food and drinks that may give us a buzz and then the meds to keep us on life support as we kill ourselves.

Most fall for this trap unless we are like the Amish in Ohio, we are surrounded 24/7 with the sirens of gluttony the little drug of pleasure in food, the look, the romance, the connection to culture, being comfortable that are artificial tranquilizers to the needy brain.

Most fall for this trap unless we are like the Amish

This is only one area. Look at sensuality, sex and pleasure, false romance and intimacy, power, control and wealth, being our own gods and taking the glory from the true Creator and Savior of the world.

We are surrounded with the same destructive temptations Christ was presented with by His enemy and our enemy.

Talk about getting ourselves in a rock and a hard place!

He prevailed over the enemy’s temptations and now He walks with us into victory if we will follow him.

Self-denial may be one way out.

Take up your cross and follow me.

 

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Our Personal War in This Life

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