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

Bible Prophesy is Directly Linked to Assurance of Salvation: Part One

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on August 4, 2015

https://paulspassingthoughts.com/One of the many Protestant myths that we hear often is that Bible prophesy, otherwise known as eschatology, is “secondary” truth. Yes, having a definitive understanding of its corpus which is about 25% of Scripture is optional.

Among the many disturbing insinuations in regard to this mentality is the idea that God prophesies about things that we can’t really understand. In other words, God is glorified by telling us things we can’t understand to prove some kind of point whatever that might be.

Not unlike many other Protestant mentalities, this particular one is warned against in Scriptures, and to the contrary promises blessings for those who study prophesy which assumes possible understanding.

One of the blessings of studying Bible prophecy and having a proper understanding of it is assurance of salvation. Much could be discussed on this wise, but the focus of this post will be the number of resurrections and judgments.

A Humble Faith is Confused and Uncertain?

There are many confused Protestants in the land because supposedly, being confused gives glory to God. One of myriad examples is a book written by Puritan wannabe Russ Kennedy of Clearcreek Chapel in Springboro, Ohio titled “Perplexity.” The primary thesis of the book is about how unanswered questions are a form of worship. But this is typical: the Bible states that God is not a god of confusion, but Protestant orthodoxy can always be counted on to set the Bible straight. My point here is that there are many Protestants that believe the Bible teaches about multiple resurrections and judgments, But that’s NOT Protestantism. Most Protestants do not know what a Protestant is…which of course in not commendable.

At any rate, confusion never walks with surety.

Justification by Faith: One Resurrection; One Judgment

What is Protestant orthodoxy on this matter? Answer: one resurrection and one judgment immediately following. And why does this matter? It matters because this view of eschatology is tied directly to the Protestant position on justification; or in other words, the essential doctrine of Protestantism known as justification by faith.

In that doctrine of salvation (soteriology), there is no assurance of salvation until your salvation is confirmed at the one final judgment at the end of the ages. In that one final judgment, God “separates the sheep from the goats.” This is the judgment of the nations and NOT the great white throne judgment, but articulating the differences is not the subject of this particular post; our subject is justification by faith and its necessary eschatology that supports its authentic soteriology.

Orthodoxy: Obedient Faith Not OSAS   

Most Protestants also believe that once saved always saved (OSAS) is Protestant orthodoxy, but this is something else you can add to the long (very long) list of things that Protestants think Protestants believe. Protestant orthodoxy holds to salvation as a process. It is the idea that the process has a beginning point, a progression, and a final confirmation. A good snapshot of this is how Protestant orthodoxy interprets Philippians 2:12,13.

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

First, “obeyed” is the Protestant “obedient faith” or “obedience of faith.” What’s that? It is the idea that Christians only perform one act of obedience, living by faith…alone. How do you live by faith alone? It’s a good question because our culture defines faith as purely mental. Therefore, how do we “live” actively by faith alone? As homo sapiens, we not only sit around and think—we do things.

The answer is in… “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Here, orthodoxy interprets “salvation” as justification, or the saving of the soul by Divine decree. Therefore, salvation needs to be worked out through faith alone.

“The Imperative Command is Grounded in the Indicative Event”

Also, and this is a BIG also, our working out of our salvation by faith alone, or faith-alone work, should be motivated by the supposed fact that “Christians” remain under the condemnation of the law, and should live in constant fear of condemnation which motivates us to live by faith alone lest we fall into “works righteousness [justification].” Because justification is seen as a process, and its end acquired by faith alone, one must not “jump directly from the command to an act of obedience.” Instead, everything we do must be “grounded in the historical Christ event” via faith alone, or by faith-alone works. This is how orthodoxy categorizes works in the Christian life: works, or a “righteousness of our own,” jumps from the command to obedience which is not of faith while faith-alone works operates on all obedience being grounded in the cross event.

In our Heidelberg Disputation series, mainline Protestant evangelical Phil Johnson is cited in regard to orthodoxy’s very definition of faith: it is returning to the same historical Christ event that saved us over and over again. By doing this, the righteousness of Christ is imputed to our Christian life (sanctification, or a process of increased setting apart for God’s purposes), and the justification process continues to move forward. This is important to note because said imputation continues to satisfy the law, and remember, our primary motivation is fear of condemnation from being under law.

So, to clarify, our primary faith-alone work is to continually return to the same gospel that saved us, otherwise known as “preaching the gospel to ourselves” in order to keep the law satisfied. A perfect law-keeping is imputed to us as we live by faith alone in “what Jesus has done, not anything we do.”

The Preeminence of the Law in Protestant Soteriology  

Let’s tally all of this up in regard to the subject: Protestant orthodoxy makes law preeminent in salvation, and there is only one judgment that deals with the law; the great white throne judgment at the end of the ages. Orthodoxy rejects any judgment that excludes the condemnation of the law. Their gospel calls for a judgment that confirms those who “live by the gospel” well enough to be covered by Christ’s fulfillment of the law through His perfect law-keeping.

Judgments for rewards apart from the law and its condemnation are rejected by orthodoxy. The reward for living by faith-alone well enough is salvation. Because we are saved by faith alone, we must begin by faith alone, live by faith alone, and will be judged according to how well we did that. When we stand AT the judgment, if God only sees the works of Christ and not anything we did, we will “stand IN the judgment.”

Though Christ is said to have preeminence among Protestants, that’s only because Christ paid the penalty of sin under the law, and supposedly fulfilled its demands in our stead. The law is what really has preeminence in Protestant orthodoxy.

And this is why only one judgment is accepted; because all other judgments are for reward APART from the law’s condemnation.

What Saves a Protestant at the Judgment?

In the rest of Philippians 2:12,13 we read, “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” If you have been following our Heidelberg Disputation series, you know that authentic Protestantism interprets this through Martin Luther’s bondage of the will. Luther believed that man was created with a passive will. Like water, it is only active when it is acted upon from outside of itself. Water doesn’t move unless gravity pushes it—it doesn’t change temperature unless the environment acts upon it from the outside. Likewise, the Christian does not work, he/she only has the will to act if acted upon from the outside. God is the only one who has an active will, and He created man with a passive will.

Luther framed this in context of death. According to Luther, death is not a nonexistent state, but merely a passive state. The dead exist, but they are in bondage to passivity unless acted upon. Luther also believed that this is illustrative of the Christian life. Christians are still dead in trespasses and sin, and only perform good works when acted upon from the outside by God. This is in fact central to the Protestant ideology that drives its soteriology.

Conclusion  

Assurance of salvation cannot be a reality in authentic Protestantism because surety removes the condemnation of the law regardless of anything we do. The goal is not the obedience of love, but the so-called obedience of faith that satisfies the “righteous demands of the law.” If we live by faith alone, the obedience of Christ will be imputed to us. This belief is what saves the Christian at the final judgement.

In part two, we will examine what Philippians 2:12,13 is really stating, and its relationship to eschatology. Moreover, we will examine why Christians can have doubtless assurance of salvation accordingly.

paul

The Reformed False Gospel of “As If”

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on July 2, 2015

https://paulspassingthoughts.com/Gospel Sanctification is the original false gospel of the Reformation that presently dominates the institutional church. Basically, it is the gospel of New Calvinism. It is often expressed by the truism, “We must preach the gospel to ourselves every day.” Most people assume this to be a biblical prescription for enhancing our sanctification, or a reminder to be thankful for our original salvation.

In reality, what is it? It is a perpetual return to the same gospel that saved us in order to keep ourselves saved. It confines all obedience to repentance via focusing on our sin. This ongoing need for repentance unto salvation is satisfied by returning to the same gospel that saved us because as many proponents state it: “We never stop needing the gospel.” This is because “Christians” are said to have an ongoing need for salvation.

Dr. John Piper, the elder statesman of New Calvinism, states the position in no uncertain terms:

“We are asking the question, How does the gospel save believers?, not: How does the gospel get people to be believers?… Believers need to be saved. The gospel is the instrument of God’s power to save us. And we need to know how the gospel saves us believers so that we make proper use of it.”  Part 2 of a series titled, “How Does the Gospel Save Believers.”

Obviously, if salvation is not a onetime finished work by God alone, and we have to do something to obtain continued salvation – in this case a return to the gospel for re-forgiveness of sins – that is a form of works salvation. It also denies the new birth which makes us new creatures that have “passed (past tense) from death to life.”

One aspect of this gospel is called “double imputation.” Each time we return to the same gospel that saves us, the perfect obedience of Christ is credited to our account. This is the idea that Christ came to die for our sins (Christ’s passive obedience), and also came to live a perfect life so that His obedience can be imputed to our lives each time we return to the gospel (Christ’s active obedience).

When proponents of Gospel Sanctification speak of the “obedience of faith,” what they mean to say is that Christians only EXPERIENCE the obedience of Christ imputed to us, and are not really performing the act directly. This leads many to believe that proponents are advocating direct obedience by the “believer,” but that is not the case at all.

Therefore, according to Gospel Sanctification, the “believer” is able to live a life of FAITH ALONE, or in other words, a like faith alone that saved him/her. This is nothing new. In his epistle to the Jewish Christians, James refuted a “faith without works.” In reality, FAITH WORKS through love (Galatians 5:6).

Of late there is a new truism roaming about that depicts this double imputation aspect of Gospel Sanctification: “On the cross Jesus was treated as if He lived our life so we could be treated as if we lived His life.” Notice that we are treated “as if” we live a godly life, but we really don’t. We are only experiencing the active obedience of Christ. If we are directly responsible for any act of obedience; that’s supposedly works salvation.

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Calvin’s Double Imputation Voids the Gospel of Promise and the Spirit’s Two-Fold Use of the Law

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on January 9, 2015

“Again, we find another major role of the Holy Spirit in regard to the promise: His two-fold use of the law; to condemn, and to sanctify. Calvinism only recognizes ONE use of the law: condemnation which Christians are still under. That’s why Christ needed to be a perfect law-keeper in their minds. But as a result, the Holy Spirit’s ministry is falsely reduced to a single dimension.” 

Longtime Protestants would probably agree that among the mass of pithy orthodox truisms they live by, one is conspicuously missing. Even though orthodox truisms often use non-biblical words, this missing truism is actually Bible-specific: “the promise.”

The promise is central to the gospel, but where has it been? So, what is the promise? Let’s find out, and then show why it is antithetical to the Protestant gospel.

Understanding the promise begins with understanding the seed, or offspring of Abraham. The seed is mentioned in Genesis as first coming from Eve, although that could also refer to Mary the mother of Jesus, but the seed is not associated with any salvific covenant until Abraham.

The seed (offspring) then becomes part of the Covenant of Promise, also known as the Abrahamic covenant, but more biblically correct as “the Covenant of Promise.” I am going to pull the whole rabbit out of the hat here as a way to establish the theses for this post:

God makes a promise to Abraham and the seed. The promise is the coming of the Spirit. The “seed,” singular, is Christ. So, the basics of the Covenant of Promise follow: God reconciled Himself to man by promising Abraham and Christ…the coming of the Spirit. This makes all three members of the Trinity major players in salvation. To emphasize one particular member of the Trinity over another in regard to salvation is heresy; the Father makes the Promise to Christ and Abraham, Christ is the seed, and the Spirit is the fulfillment of the promise. God also elects Christ, angels, and Israel as a means of bringing about the fulfillment of the promise.

The promise is to all men who believe, and saving faith is defined by believing the promise. That’s it; the ONLY thing man can do to be saved is believe the promise. Abraham is the father of our faith because he believed the promise God made to him.

 Genesis 15:1 – After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” 2 But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.” 4 And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” 5 And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 6 And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.

Saving faith believes the promise. It is the promise of Christ and the gift of the Spirit. As part of it, God promised Christ that he would be resurrected by the Spirit after bearing the sin of the world. Christ is efficacious to the promise, but is also a recipient of the promise. Let’s look at some Scripture:

Acts 1:4 – And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

“The promise of the Father” is a major step in the unfolding of the Covenant of Promise. Part of it is the baptism of the Spirit. Peter elaborates on this further in his sermon during Pentecost:

Acts 2:22 – Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God unto you by mighty works and wonders and signs which God did by him in the midst of you, even as ye yourselves know;

23 him, being delivered up by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye by the hand of lawless men did crucify and slay:

24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pangs of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

25 For David saith concerning him, I beheld the Lord always before my face; For he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: 26 Therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; Moreover my flesh also shall dwell in hope: 27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul unto Hades, Neither wilt thou give thy Holy One to see corruption. 28 Thou madest known unto me the ways of life; Thou shalt make me full of gladness with thy countenance.

29 Brethren, I may say unto you freely of the patriarch David, that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us unto this day.

30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins he would set one upon his throne;

31 he foreseeing this spake of the resurrection of the Christ, that neither was he left unto Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.

32 This Jesus did God raise up, whereof we all are witnesses.

33 Being therefore by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he hath poured forth this, which ye see and hear.

34 For David ascended not into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, 35 Till I make thine enemies the footstool of thy feet

36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly, that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified.

37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do?

38 And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

39 For to you is the promise, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call unto him. (ASV).

First, note that Christ was approved by God, and this approval by God was shown forth to men by “mighty works and wonders and signs” and NOT perfect law-keeping. This should be noted for future reference in regard to Protestant double imputation. Also,

Being therefore by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he hath poured forth this, which ye see and hear.

This promise was to…

Galatians 3:16 – Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ.

The “promises” in the plural refer to the other covenants that build on the Covenant of Promise to Abraham. The Davidic covenant is hinted at in the afore quoted sermon by Peter.  The promises were to Abraham and Christ, and the coming of the Spirit in power is the specific promise. Part of the promise is that Christ would not be left in the grave, but rather:

Romans 8:11 – If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

Believing the promise necessarily involves believing what the promise is; it is the promise of eternal life through the means God elected. God promised Abraham that he and Sarah would give birth to an heir even though both were old and Sarah was barren. Abraham would then be the father of a great nation from which all of the other nations on earth would be blessed. In his lineage would be the seed (offspring) that would take away the sins of the world. Christ would die for the sins of the world, and would be raised by the promise of the Spirit. For Abraham’s offspring, viz, his children of faith, that means receiving the promise of the Spirit, or the baptism of the Spirit. This is the new birth—it means you literally die with Christ according to the old you, and are literally resurrected with Christ as a new creature, “you must be born again.”

This is where the Bible takes great pains to emphasize that the law has no part in this whatsoever. The Covenant of Promise is by promise only. Abraham stumbled and attempted to help God out with the planned promise by bearing a son with one of his concubines. God then took opportunity to make the fiasco representative of the law.

Galatians 4:21 – Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. 23 But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. 24 Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. 27 For it is written,

“Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear; break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than those of the one who has a husband.”

28 Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now. 30 But what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman.” 31 So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman.

The lineage of Christ would always be according to promise apart from man’s works or efforts. When Rebecca had twins,

Romans 9:6 – But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, 7 and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 8 This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. 9 For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.” 10 And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— 12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

Normally, the eldest son would be heir.

The right of possession into which the eldest son is born. The first son born to the father occupied a prominent place in the Hebrew family (Gen. xxvii. 19, xxxv. 23, xli. 51, xlix. 3; II Sam. iii. 2). Such a one is the “first-born” in the proper sense, and is to be distinguished from sons who are “first-born” merely in the sense of being the first child born to one of the several wives that men might have (Ex. xiii. 2, 12, xxii. 28; xxxiv. 19; Num. xviii. 15).

The first-born son took rank before his brothers and sisters (Gen. xxvi. 31, 32; xliii. 33). Usually the father bequeathed to him the greater part of the inheritance, except when a favored wife succeeded in obtaining it for one of her sons (Gen. xxvii.; I Kings xi. 11-13).

~ Jewish Encyclopedia

God trumped tradition and decided that the “older would serve the younger” before either had done anything good or bad. Granted, this could have been determined by God because He foreknew the character of the two sons. God did not hate Esau before he or his descendants did anything good or evil, His hatred towards Esau was based on things that he did (Mal 1:1-5, Heb 12:16).  Who would serve whom and who would be the heir was predetermined, not a hatred for Esau before he was born. The point of Romans 9 follows: any Jew claiming that the law is part of the promise may be a fleshly offspring of Abraham, but not according to promise. Also, the Jews are still God’s chosen people even though some rebelled; regardless, a remnant of the promise remain.

The apostle Paul makes the point in his letter to the Galatians that if law has anything to do with our inheritance, it is not by promise. The law or any work of man is not even in the ballpark. Salvation comes by believing the promise.

Galatians 3:1 – O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. 2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 5 Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— 6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?

7 Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” 9 So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

Again, Paul makes the point that Christ was shown to be approved by God through the miracles he performed, not law-keeping. And,

the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” 9 So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

And…

Galatians 3:15 – To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified. 16 Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ. 17 This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. 18 For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise.

This is what makes the Reformed view of double imputation a huge problem.  It is the idea that God’s law is the standard for righteousness. Supposedly, Christ came to die for our sins (passive obedience), and lived a perfect life to fulfil the law for us. As we have seen, the standard for becoming righteous is believing the promise only. If the law had anything to do at all with the baptism of the Spirit according the promise, the law would be an additional offspring with Christ:

16 Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ.

The law is not an additional offspring that can give life—that’s Paul’s point. And it doesn’t matter who keeps the law; i.e. Christ, the issue is law period.

Hence, Calvinists insert law where it doesn’t belong, and then they take it away where it does belong.

Galatians 3:21 – Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law.

22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

In regard to salvation, there is no law, but all sin is against the law (1Jn 3:4).  In this way, every sin committed by man is imputed to the law. Christ then died on the cross to end the law and all of the sin imputed to it (Rom 10:4).

Again, we find another major role of the Holy Spirit in regard to the promise: His two-fold use of the law; to condemn, and to sanctify. Calvinism only recognizes ONE use of the law: condemnation which Christians are still under. That’s why Christ needed to be a perfect law-keeper in their minds. But as a result, the Holy Spirit’s ministry is falsely reduced to a single dimension. Christians must park at the foot of the cross in order to keep their sins COVERED by the perfect obedience of Christ. They are not free to serve in the new way of the Spirit:

Romans 7:4 – Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. 5 For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. 6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

All of the unsaved are still under law, and the Holy Spirit uses that law to warn them of sin and the judgment to come, thereby pointing them to Christ who ended the law for them (Jn 16:8). When they believe, the Spirit baptizes them and uses the law (Scripture, Holy Writ, etc) to sanctify them (Jn 17:17).

Be sure of this: Reformed double imputation rejects the new birth.

All and all, I would say the major emphasis of this post points to the deliberate diminishing of the Holy Spirit’s role in salvation and sanctification. Calvinism is the Galatian problem all over again. It inserts law where it doesn’t belong, viz, as part of the promise, and takes it away from the new way of the Spirit. There is no law in sanctification because Calvinism keeps “Christians” under the law’s condemnation. Therefore, supposedly, Jesus must keep it for us.

paul

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