Paul's Passing Thoughts

The Nature of God

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on August 7, 2015

God-Is-LoveI believe incredibly exciting times await God’s people as they break free from the Protestant Orthodoxy Dark Ages. The key will be the realization that God wrote the Bible for the average individual. We have an example of this regarding the nature of God; a subject thought to be too deep for the average disciple.

Our only head is Christ who teaches all, and the idea of being taught assumes the ability to understand. God’s people need to simply let the words in the Bible say what they plainly say, and we are individually responsible for doing so. One must free their minds from the tyranny of orthodoxy and journey into the Bible with their own God-given mind, and they will be responsible to God alone for doing so.

What then does the Bible teach us about God’s nature? The Bible states that God is love:

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

Obtaining God’s Love

Protestant orthodoxy has a peculiar teaching known as the “vital union.” According to Reformed tradition, we maintain this vital union of “Christ in us and us in Christ” by “preaching the gospel to ourselves.” This is done by searching for sin in our lives so that we can return to the cross for forgiveness resulting in increased salvation. The following chart publicized by several Reformed organizations illustrates the process:

how-to-preach-the-gospel-to-yourself-2 (2)

In case you think this is a “biblical” process for best results in growing as a disciple expressed in the illustration by “Heart Changed,” think again as illustrated by another chart published by several Reformed organizations as well:

gospel-grid

In this chart, what is growing? Us, or our “salvation”? Many Reformed teachers in our day are fond of telling us how to “keep ourselves in the love of God” by “preaching the gospel to ourselves every day.” In fact, if we change, the following chart from the same camp shows the consequences:

ssp_temp_capture1

…our salvation gets smaller! In contrast, we obtain God’s love once, and for all time, by believing in His Son, and experience assurance of that love but walking according to our new being.

Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him…

But according to Protestant orthodoxy, if we make every effort to love God and others instead making every effort to find more and more sin in our lives, the gospel effect in our lives is diminished.

The Nature of God

How we obtain the love of God as prescribed by Protestant orthodoxy flows from its tenets regarding the nature of God. Primarily, God is defined as sovereign. Rather than sovereignty being an aspect of God’s nature, it is made to be the primary organizing principle—not love. This is an important distinction for those who take part in the exodus from Protestant darkness; will God’s nature be defined by a grammatical and exegetical interpretation of Scripture, or an interpretation based on orthodoxy?

Clearly, the Bible states that God is love. So, how does the Bible define love? Let’s see:

1Corinthians 13:1 – If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

The so-called Reformed gospel of sovereignty calls for the total inability of man to love God even after their definition of conversion. One well known Reformed theologian wrote a book titled One Way Love. This staple Protestant belief is defined in the doctrine of double imputation which calls for the imputation of Christ’s alien righteousness to be imputed to our lives apart from anything we do other than preaching the gospel to ourselves. Much is made of living the Christian life by faith alone in order to maintain our “just standing.”

What it boils down to is God creating evil for His own glory. Whether you consider the teachings of Martin Luther or John Calvin, the founding fathers of Protestantism, this is an irrefutable fact. Luther taught that God created mankind with a passive will; in other words, a will that can only act if acted upon from an outside source. This testifies to God’s nature as defined by sovereignty. Hence, certain people are predetermined to suffer for eternity. In regard to this, John Calvin stated,

[God] arranges all things by his sovereign counsel, in such a way that individuals are born, who are doomed from the womb to certain death, and are to glorify him by their destruction.

~Institutes 3.23.6

I again ask how is it that the fall of Adam involves so many nations with their infant children in eternal death without remedy, unless it so seemed meet to God?…The decree, I admit, is dreadful; and yet it is impossible to deny that God foreknew what the end of man was to be before he made him, and foreknew, because he had so ordained by his decree.

~Institutes 3.23.7

This is contrary to love which is the true nature of God, being “kind,” and “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” The Reformed even make it a point to say that God did no wrong by creating man in an evil state because the end cause is God’s glory. If God brings good out of something evil, in the final analysis it is good because the end is good. It is also said that God created evil to make good better. However, that still does not dispose of the kindness issue. Love CANNOT be unkind to ANYONE.

Furthermore, it does not seek its own way, and you can insert “its own glory” in that list as well. Moreover, love does not rejoice in evil for any outcome, and always rejoices in truth and not the temporary demise of truth for some kind of better outcome. That notion is absurd.

In the final analysis, one of God’s attributes is sovereignty, but sovereignty is not the organizing principle of his nature because his nature is love.

paul

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8 Responses

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  1. M. E. Quinn said, on August 8, 2015 at 10:15 AM

    You wrote: “Our only head is Christ who teaches all…”. What about the Holy Ghost as teacher?
    Luke 12:12 “…For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.”
    John 14:26 “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”
    1 John 2:27 ” But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.”

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    • Paul M. Dohse Sr. said, on August 8, 2015 at 1:12 PM

      Agreed, thanks for the clarification.

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  2. rghbroken said, on August 10, 2015 at 8:53 AM

    Paul and M. E. Quin, I believe your messages are the simple essence of God’s message to us. Man, because of our fallen carnal nature, has created religions based in the wisdom of man. Wisdom of scripture is the tool of prideful religious men. The insidious pride of man leads to self aggrandizing positioning of self above others for control and power. The religious man knowingly or unknowingly takes the role of the Holy Spirit before man. He makes God’s word more complicated and twisted to justify and elevate self. When in reality it is simply living a life that is of the character of Christ, in loving one another and walking in humility before man. We will of course fail to meet perfection and will fall to sin occasionally – but God knows we cannot be perfect and loves us continuously, even in our failures. So we can run to him in love of his unconditional love and grace, and not away from him in guilt and depression. Man has twisted the truth into the established traditions of religion that for 2000 years become the “world” in which trust is put in man, rather than fully trusting in God. It seems to me that this traditional path of religion, that we all are brought up in, has to bring us along unto maturity in our biblical understanding, before we can realize the carnality of it all. It is usually revealed in some form of action or behavior of those in religious power and authority that is in extreme conflict with the Word and character of Christ. Then we are able to see the truth. But it is a horribly painful process.
    In Him,
    Richard

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    • Andy Young, PPT contributing editor said, on August 10, 2015 at 12:47 PM

      rghbroken,

      “Man, because of our fallen carnal nature…”

      This is a false premise of protestant orthodoxy if not all of organized religion, that man is “fallen”. It is from this false premise that makes the organized institutional church not only possible but necessary.

      “We will of course fail to meet perfection and will fall to sin occasionally – but God knows we cannot be perfect…”

      If man cannot be “perfect” then what is the point? “Perfection” and the command to be “perfect” becomes irrelevant. At least in the traditional understanding of “perfection”. Unless the Biblical definition of “perfection” means something else entirely, such as “completeness” or “maturity”.

      Andy

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  3. rghbroken said, on August 10, 2015 at 10:17 PM

    Scripture is strong in its commentary of the man’s weakness to temptations of the flesh and pride, even the men close to God such as David and Paul. I don’t understand you calling our sinful nature a false premise.

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    • Andy Young, PPT contributing editor said, on August 11, 2015 at 9:17 AM

      rghbroken

      “Scripture is strong in its commentary of the man’s weakness to temptations…”

      You correct that scripture does speak to the “weakness” of the flesh. But weakness does not necessitate “evil” or “fallen”. Scripture also asserts quite definitively that man can use his flesh to perform both evil and good regardless if he is regenerate or not. Lutheran theology which calls “evil” even those works by man which any reasonable person would call “good” is indicative of the cognative dissonance that is created by the whole body of institutionalized religion.

      In the end, man is not condemned for lack of doing good works or for a proliferation of bad works, but rather upon his relationship to the law. The law must be ended for there to be no condemnation, for where there is no law there is no sin. And if there is no sin, then there is therefore no condemnation because there is no law to condemn. This is the reality for the believer who is made righteous by virtue of the new birth.

      Andy

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      • rghbroken said, on August 11, 2015 at 11:58 AM

        I guess where we are not connecting is that I don’t give the religions of man or his theologies any credit worth debating. They are creations of man, not God. Scripture speaks against religion and such practices that divide us into cliques of prideful owners of the one true way or whatever they come up with. The religions may be created in good intentions but they will always end in disaster because they are of the flesh. We are to trust in God and rely on scripture and the Holy Spirit for guidance. We can seek encouragment and wisdom from others in building our knowledge and relationship with God. But a man caught up in religion and subscribing to some man defined theology would not be a source for such wisdom or encouragement because his trust is in man and the world. He will want you to follow his religion or himself, rather than point you directly to God and the true message God has for us. There is no basis for the clergy or most of the religious privileges man has pridefully claimed for himself. This prideful positioning is in direct conflict with the humility of Christ, the very person they proclaim to know better than the “lay” person.

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  4. Andy Young, PPT contributing editor said, on August 11, 2015 at 10:06 AM

    Argo,

    “If you can NEVER be perfect, and perfect is the standard, then the standard, as far as your are concerned, MUST be both useless and meaningless.”

    To continue with your line of thought, one logical conclusion must be then that man must be able to achive perfection, and the fact that examples exist of men who do not achieve it does not preclude ability.

    But I think it is important, as I alluded to in the earlier comment, that we have a Biblical understanding of the definition of “perfection”. If we think in terms of the modern usage of the word, then we are describing something that means “without flaw”, which as you point out is a purely subjective standard. Rather than trying to perform the mental gymnastics that one must undergo to try and reconcile this idea of “perfection” with a so-called “totally depraved” man, we would be better served in asking the question, what did God mean by “perfect”? What did Jesus mean when He said “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect”? A thorough study and understanding of grammar and context is in order to properly apply those teachings.

    Andy

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