Monthly Archives: September 2014

God’s Righteousness at Christ’s Resurrection funds our own exertions of faith

If Christ’s ownrighteousness” is made “ours” by way of an “imputational” transfer, then we might well have “status” with God not due to any exertion on our part (Calvin goes so far as to eliminate even the exertion of our own faith, regarded dubiously in this sense as a “gift” instead, deprived of sweat, grit, or risk), but this seemingly innocent emendation of strict apostolic usage hazards the eschatological incentive of winning righteousness, no less than salvation and rescue from God’s wrath against sin, freedom from the slavery of corruption, God’s graciousness, our glorification, our inheritance of allotments in God’s Kingdom, agelong life, sonhood, and more (Galatians 5:5, Romans 5:9-10, 8:11-25, 29-30, 1 Thessalonians 1:10, 1 Peter 1:13, 2 Peter 3:13-14). These are our own personal future only if we keep on believing it and behaving accordingly (which is to say, don’t keep on sinning, which grieves and quenches the Holy Spirit continually supplied to us as we are believing under the teaching and guiding of the Spirit of graciousness.

This all means that alienation from our legacy is not an unthinkable impossibility by any means. So we have work to do…er, I mean we have believing to do, which is being perfected or matured by our good works. It is the righteousness of God displayed in His resurrection of His mortified Son that provides the foundation for the effectual and productive exertion of our own increated faculty of believing to any good and lasting effect beyond our mortal span.

GOD’S RIGHTEOUSNESS TOWARD HIS EXEMPLARY SON, OUR MASTER, BOTH MODELS AND INSPIRES OUR OWN REFLEXIVE RIGHTEOUSNESS, ALONG WITH ALL ITS VARIEGATED GOOD FRUITS IN CHARACTER AND IN CULTURE SURAROUNDING US. [11/07/07]

“The Lord God is watching over us and in truth has compassion on us, as Moses declared in his song which bore witness against the people to their faces, when he said, ‘And He will have compassion on His servants.” (2 Maccabees 7:6)

This remarkable confession was declared by the brothers and mother of another one of the sons of Mattathias who was suffering mayhem at the hands of the king. In the very teeth of horrifying tortures, they could throw this courageous declaration of confidence that God, anyway, was not showing them wrath, but only vindictive idolaters were, who would themselves come to a terrifying end unless they repented.

Theologians claiming the legacy of the Protestant Reformation could well learn something profound from the mighty Maccabees. [11/07/07]

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BOTH Justification AND Sanctification are BOTH Instantaneous AND Progressive

The medieval Roman Catholic teaching concerning justification had become so corrupted that the Protestant Reformers felt justified in condemning even the residual truth that remained. In a word, they OVERREACTED and postulated new errors as ‘substitutes’ for old errors, BUT EVEN FOR OLD, OLD AUTHENTIC APOSTOLIC TRUTHS!

The first casualty of their onslaught was the vital link between “the righteousness of God” and the Holy Spirit of God. These links are not particularly delicate in Scripture, but they were quickly severed by the doctrine that Christ’s own personal righteousness is imputed to the sinner who believes the Gospel. This is not what Scripture teaches in so many words anywhere, but it seemed close enough to win a very wide hearing indeed.

The Roman Catholic teaching that the Holy Spirit creates within us (“by faith,” of course) a righteousness that, when complete, then justifies us before God, could not stand, psychologically, before the blandishments of this new contender. Yet both are in error. The true “evangelical” teaching of the New Testament witnesses is that the perfectly faithful and sinless obedience of Jesus throughout his entire life, under the most adverse trials of faith leading all the way to the unjust shedding of his innocent blood (representing, when used as a symbol, this entire just existence) made him worthy of receiving a vastly overcompensating reward of resurrection to endless bodily immortality plus superabundant restitution via an inheritance of the entire created universe and an exaltation to the sovereignty over it. This glorification was entirely the execution of “God’s righteousness/justice” acting in his FAVOR, that is, as the supreme DISPLAY OF GOD’S RESTORATIVE JUSTICE.

Christ’s allotment and rightful award of damages for all his suffering of abuse from Satan’s kingdom of darkness and vice included the GIFT OF WHOLESOME SPIRIT IN TRANSCENDING MEASURE IN ORDER TO RENEW THE BLIGHTED CREATION. This outpouring can now be given away gratuitously to all who, even as Jesus the forerunner, exert their faith in this inherently powerful, even COUNTER-CAPTIVATING, Proclamation of emancipation from death, Satan, sin, and all their attendant evils.

Our receipt by faith of this indescribably gift of Wholesome Spirit that Jesus won for us by his faithfulness brings the real and actual cleansing away of our sins from our hearts (the core of our being) at immersion, whereupon God simultaneously declares us righteous in His sight (Who alone is the “Knower of hearts”), meaning both that our sins are not imputed to us and that righteousness is imputed to us (same thing).

Thus we get instantaneously sanctified (called wholesome by the Wholesome One), all by the operation of the Wholesome Spirit at our immersion into the Messiah, Jesus. Our duty as justified and sanctified believers is to keep believing—stay faithful—just like Jesus did, for he is our Example so that we might walk in his steps, in his Spirit. In doing this we mature and actually grow in this stupendous graciousness in which we stand and walk by faith. Thus we start producing the many and wonderfully diverse fruits of righteousness and wholesomeness in every sphere of action, enduring bravely all opposition and every temptation while pushing back the darkness with the light of the Proclamation of Messiah. This often takes painful sacrifices, but the goal and reward if we endure faithful to the end (just like Jesus did) is agelong life to enjoy allotments on the New Earth!

All this means that both justification and sanctification are instantaneous, by faith, whereas both righteousness and holiness (wholesomeness) are progressive, by faith. The wrongfully outpoured blood of Jesus won for us by his faithfulness the rightfully outpoured Spirit promised by the Father for that faithfulness. So when our hearts are sprinkled with his blood, God answers with a flood!

This all further means that imputation of righteousness properly understood is not competitive, as the Protestant Reformation made is, with the impartation of the Holy Spirit and holiness. For there is no way to grow in the fruits of righteousness except by having experienced an instantaneous sanctification and walking in it; conversely, there is no possibility of producing the fruits of holiness without having experienced and instantaneous justification. These realities are intimately cross-linked.

The New Reformation to come must become reconciled to this reformation of doctrine or there will be no peace among the brethren or the requisite unity to stand in force against the impending contests with Satan. [11/07/07]

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Jesus implored God to JUSTIFY him from a FALSE IMPUTATION OF SIN

The startling realization surfaces that Jesus needed (and implored God!) to BE JUSTIFIED FROM A FALSE IMPUTATION OF SIN. This wrongful impugning of the Savior was yet added proof of the delusive enchantment of Satan and mankind’s complicity in his malicious schemes.

This truth concerning Jesus’ sufferings of reproaches is a far cry from the Protestant dogma that God Himselfimputed” human sin(s) to the Messiah, who then experienced their oppressive burden in a “substitutionary” fashion so that we wouldn’t have to. That dogma seems as close to a “doctrine of demons” as I have ever heard. It backhandedly vilifies the Father’s intentions toward His beloved and highly favored Son and turns his cross into a whipping post to display DIVINE SHAME instead of a foil for contrasting the DIVINE HONOR of RESURRECTION via JUSTIFYING AWARD. [11/05/07]

Jesus’ BEING “LOADED” on the cross was the PRIMING of his exaltation that was only the first, yet absolutely crucial, FIRST STAGE OF A SERIAL PROCESS ENCOMPASSING HIS RESURRECTION, ASCENSION, AT-ONE-MENT (proper), AND CORONATION ON THE THRONE OF HIS FATHER IN HEAVEN.

Some theologians mistakenly see the cross alone as Messiah’s “exaltation.” But this is not what Jesus meant in John 12. He gives no suggestion of this sort by his language. His clear indication that, against all superficial indicators and normal expectations, his cross was the painful kickoff that would send him soaring through the skies to score the ultimate goal of total and unconditional victory over the sinister suzerainty of Satan only means that his cross must not be excluded from his glorification via exaltation, which otherwise our earth-bound perspective would surely have dictated. [11/06/07]

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EASTER SUNDAY JUSTIFIED JESUS FROM THE FALSE IMPUTATION OF SIN ON “GOOD” FRIDAY

The startling realization surfaces that Jesus needed (and implored God!) to BE JUSTIFIED FROM A FALSE IMPUTATION OF SIN. This wrongful impugning of the Savior was yet added proof of the delusive enchantment of Satan and mankind’s complicity in his malicious schemes.

This truth concerning Jesus’ sufferings of reproaches is a far cry from the Protestant dogma that God Himselfimputed” human sin(s) to the Messiah, who then experienced their oppressive burden in a “substitutionary” fashion so that we wouldn’t have to. That dogma seems as close to a “doctrine of demons” as I have ever heard. It backhandedly vilifies the Father’s intentions toward His beloved and highly favored Son and turns his cross into a whipping post to display DIVINE SHAME instead of a foil for contrasting the DIVINE HONOR of RESURRECTION via JUSTIFYING AWARD. [11/05/07]

Jesus’ BEING “LOADED” onto the cross was the PRIMING of his exaltation that was only the first, yet absolutely crucial, FIRST STAGE OF A SERIAL PROCESS ENCOMPASSING HIS RESURRECTION, ASCENSION, AT-ONE-MENT (proper), AND CORONATION ON THE THRONE OF HIS FATHER IN HEAVEN.

Some theologians mistakenly see the cross alone as Messiah’s “exaltation.” But this is not what Jesus meant in John 12. He gives no suggestion of this sort by his language. His clear indication that, against all superficial indicators and normal expectations, his cross was the painful kickoff that would send him soaring through the skies to score the ultimate goal of total and unconditional victory over the sinister suzerainty of Satan only means that his cross must not be excluded from his glorification via exaltation, which otherwise our earth-bound perspective would surely have dictated. [11/06/07]

The medieval Roman Catholic teaching concerning justification had become so corrupted that the Protestant Reformers felt ‘justified in condemning even the residual truth that remained. In a word, they OVERREACTED and postulated new errors as ‘substitutes’ for old errors, BUT EVEN FOR OLD, OLD AUTHENTIC APOSTOLIC TRUTHS!

The first casualty of their onslaught was the vital link between “the righteousness of God” and the Holy Spirit of God. These links are not particularly delicate in Scripture, but they were quickly severed by the doctrine that Christ’s own personal righteousness is imputed to the sinner who believes the Gospel. This is not what Scripture teaches in so many words anywhere, but it seemed close enough to win a very wide hearing indeed.

The Roman Catholic teaching that the Holy Spirit infuses into us “by faith,” of course) a righteousness that, when complete, then justifies us before God’s Judgment, could not stand psychologically before the blandishments of this new contender. Yet both are in error. The true “evangelical” teaching of the New Testament witnesses is that the perfectly faithful and sinless obedience of Jesus throughout his entire life, under the most adverse trials of faith leading all the way to the unjust shedding of his innocent blood (representing, when used as a symbol, this entire just existence) made him worthy of receiving a vastly overcompensating reward of resurrection to endless bodily immortality plus superabundant restitution via an inheritance of the entire created universe and an exaltation to sovereignty over it.

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Why no “divine wrath against Christ” in Messianic Psalms?

If Jehovah had ever shown wrath against His Anointed, it should have shown up in the Messianic Psalms especially.  But I challenge anybody to find it…aside from assertive eisegesis.  The Psalms are jubilant when Jehovah pulls off a glorious answer to such plwas as, “In Your righteousness deliver me!” (Psalm 31:1) in such striking apposition only a few verses later:  “Into Your hands am I committing my spirit; You have ransomed me, O Jehovah, God of FAITHFULNESS!” (Psalm 31:5).  Either there’s something wrong with David’s theology, or with that of the “evangelical” doctors of the church.  David is beseeching, “Rescue me quickly, O Jehovah!” (Psalm 31:2).  And for his Son that came indeed quickly, on the third day!  He wasn’t crying out for rescue from Jehovah (specifically His WRATH), but from the SHAME of his enemies and their buried nets and other humiliating distresses and afflictions and pursuits and reproaches.  LET’S GET WITH THE PROGRAM!  [11/05/07]

In Galatians 2:21-3:6, Paul, astonishingly from a Protestant dogmatic viewpoint, virtually identifies the righteousness that made its advent through God’s graciousness with “the Spirit”!  Did I say “IDENTIFIES”?  I meant “EQUATES”!  He declares, “If righteousness is through Torah, consequently Messiah died gratuitously!” (Galatians 2:21).  Then he moves right on to query, “Did you get the Spirit by works of Torah, or by the hearing of Messiah’s faithfulness?” (Galatians 3:2).  Moreover, he repeats himself in case our foolish bewitchment has made us dullards:  “Did He, then, Who is supplying you the Spirit, and operating [work]s [of] power among you [do it] by works of Torah or by a hearing of [Messish’s] faithfulness, just as Abraham believes God, and it is reckoned to him for righteousness?” (Galatians 3:5-6).  WHAT A RIGHTEOUSNESS!—ONE FULL OF MIRACULOUS POWER TO BOWL OVER THE TORAH AND ITS MERELY RESTRICTIVE, MINIMALISTIC SCOPE!  WHEREAS ABRAHAM WAS MERELY RECKONED RIGHTEOUS WHEN HE EXHIBITED A LITTLE FAITH, JESUS, IN RETURN FOR HIS FAITHFULNESS, WHICH FAR EXCEEDED ABRAHAM’S, RECEIVED A WHOLE KINGDOM…ONE OVER THE WHOLE CREATED UNIVERSE!  FOR IF EVEN WE SINNERS ARE JUSTIFIED BY OUR FAITH, HOW MUCH MORE MUST THE LORD JESUS HAVE BEEN JUSTIFIED BY HIS EXCEEDINGLY SURPASSING FAITHFULNESS?  Hence his MIGHTY RESURRECTION!

To be sure, this justification was not a vindication or exoneration from sins, since he was sinless, BUT IT WAS A JUSTIFICATION FROM THE SINS FALSELY AND WRONGLY IMPUTED TO HIM BY “MANY” SINNERS (Isaiah 53).

This conception necessarily turns Protestant dogma on its head.  But Reformation-style theologians are in no shape to do handstands this late in history’s Post-Reformation theology games.  Imagining that “the” Gospel truth had been fully (or at least sufficiently) restored, that tradition stopped short of making the further corrections called for in the received dogmas concerning the Atonement.

BY JUSTIFYING THE SINLESS JESUS—A VINDICATION DEMANDING EXTREME MEASURES AND EXTRAORDINARY REWARDS—GOD SURPASSED ALL PAST ESTABLISHED INHIBITIONS AND LEGAL PROTOCOL IN A BLITZKRIEG OF RESURRECTIONARY POWER THAT GRACIOUSLY CAUGHT UP SINNERS OF EVERY DESCRIPTION AND DEGREE IN THAT GIGANTIC JUSTIFICATION OF JESUS!  [11/05/07]

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No wrath of God at the Cross, ALLEGED appearances to the contrary.

Is it conceivable that John the Baptist should have warned about “the wrath to come” (Matthew 3:7, Luke 3:7), meaning the impending Jewish wars and conclusive destruction of Jerusalem and its temple, and that Jesus should have warned about the very same events in his woes against the scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 23:29-39, Luke 13:34-35) and in his Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 17:20-37, 21:5-36) and even on his very way to be crucified (Luke 23:27-31), and that even the apostle Paul should have alluded to them (1 Thessalonians 2:14-16, 2 Thessalonians 1:4-10, Romans 2, etc.), yet, regardless of all these Scriptures, THAT ANYONE MIGHT SOMEHOW IMAGINE THAT GOD’S WRATH WAS COMING AT THE CROSS?  [11/04/07]

By raising His Son from the dead, God was decisively demonstrating that NONE OF JESUS’ SUFFERING OF ABUSE HAD ORIGINATED FROM HIS (GOD’S) OWN WRATH AT ALL!  THE RESURRECTION PROVED GOD’S NEVER-CHANGING GRACIOUSNESS TOWARD JESUS, DESPITE AMBIGUOUS APPEARANCES TO THE CONTRARY.  THE RESURRECTION EXPOSED THE JEWISH OPINION THAT “GOD HIMSELF HAD CURSED JESUS” AS RADICALLY FALSE AND CONCLUSIVELY DISPOSED OF THEIR SLANDER THAT GOD’S WRATH WAS “PROVED BY THE CROSS.”  [11/04/07]

The demons were not expelled from the whole world by Jesus; most were left for us to handle!  Jesus is Joshua!  The demons are the “wild beasts” of the promised land.  The conquest is to be achieved “little by little” at the hands of God’s people—the “children” not of Israel merely, but of God Himself.  We get to participate in the victories!  We need to put our armor on!  Our spiritual weapons in hand!  This age is for our conquering this present world in this way!  [11/04/07]

Traditional critical scholarship (whether taken in hand by Evangelicals or by its more authentic promulgators) generally is impotent to grasp the true and even obvious relation between Jesus’ miraculous career and his resurrection.  Apologist for the Gospel accounts often seem to be treading water…or at least thin ice, no less than over-eager prosecutors!  (James G. Kallas, however, pointed the right direction in The Significance of the Synoptic Miracles.  SPCK, 1961.)  The historical validity of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus is implicit in all the other miracle narrations.  It is hardly possible, much less credible, that they could be veritable eyewitness history, yet it be not!  Jesus had dropped more than a few hints concerning his rising from the dead, and HE HAD EVEN DEMONSTRATED IT AND, FURTHERMORE, TAUGHT AND COMMANDED AND COMMISSIONED ALL HIS LEARNERS TO PRACTICE RAISING THE DEAD TOO!  So his own resurrection by no stretch of a jaundiced imagination stands alone and isolated from either his evident actual power to effect it or his predictions that “thus it must be.”  All those “tedious” recordings and corroborations, in the Gospel writings, of unnumbered oral histories about this amazing man, Jesus, COULD ONLY MEET THEIR HISTORIC CLIMAX IN…RESURRECTION AS USUAL!  [11/05/07]

 

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God’s tactical shift to achieve His strategic objective

If, indeed, Satan has a personal history, which is partially visible in the Bible from Eden to Job to Jesus to Revelation 20, such that actual changes are visible in his behaviors along the way, then it should come as no surprise that God “changes” along the way too.  But these only amount to tactical shifts in order to stay the course of His unalterable strategy to usher in His Kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy against every evil contingency.

A startling example might be the change apparent in the circumstances behind the curse phenomenon.  If Satan’s adversarial role as one of God’s originally trusted and obedient messengers became corrupted over the eons, then his function to execute the curses of the Covenant would also necessarily start to take on a tainted hue.  This might explain why Paul, when he quotes Deuteronomy 21:23 as “Accursed is everyone hanging on wood” (ξυλον—same word translated “tree” in the Eden history, but later commonly reserved for “wood” and “timber”), tactically omits the words, “of God.”  To be sure, Jehovah’s supremacy was highlighted in the Mosaic text, but when His emissaries go bad and decide on their own to enact one of God’s own curses upon the innocent, then matters have gone “too far”…although not too far for a truly supreme Deity to rectify, even if it does require a little EXTRA EFFORT!  [11/03/07]

Jesus did not “pay our [debts of] sin,” he pardoned, forgave, took away, erased, expunged, cleansed off, washed away, cancelled, nullified, and obliterated our sin.  The release from DEBT and ransom from DEATH are not to be confused.

The ransom that Jesus paid to death in order to redeem, deliver, or liberate its slaves, was itself precisely NOT A DEBT!  [11/03/07]

Did God give Satan “all the kingdoms of the world” before the fall or disruption into sin?  Was the temptation, then, simply part of Satan’s official role in the hierarchy of God’s universal regime?  We see this in the book of Job as well (who lived in the fifth generation after Esau and was an Edomite personage of distinction, according to ancient tradition, like his ancestor, Abraham).  Satan was one of the “sons of God”—a member of the celestial council.

If this be given credence, then it seems possible that as Satan’s personality degenerated or (if that’s not what happened and he was instead created originally with a disposition toward evil, as in A. E. Knoch’s view, for instance) as mankind progressively rebelled against Jehovah and simply became more enslaved to evil themselves instead of resisting it by faith in Him, then all the kingdoms of the world reflexively became corrupt as well.  This would imply that Satan never really “stole” the earth away from God and/or mankind at all; it simply fell into his hands by default, in accord with Satan’s original authority and hence his rights.  Aggrandizing so much earthly authority due to human weakness might well have corrupted Satan, thus requiring God to take more drastic measures to reclaim human beings.  Conjectural as this may be, none of it, of course, would have fallen outside God’s foresight or oversight.  His purpose rules regardless.  [11/03/07]

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