Monday, November 10, 2008

Lordship Apologetic

Well, I haven't been around a lot in various discussions lately because I've been working, on this.


The Sovereignty of Jesus Christ

Dear leaders,

Thank you for the opportunity to learn more about the LORD in this bible study. Every week I see so much work, planning, prayer, and thoughtfulness go into what is for my benefit. I feel very well loved and accepted, and I want to thank you for that. The LORD is at work in you and in our church.

This letter I write because I wish to know your mind and I am hoping that you will give me the true honor of your time to consider mine. I appreciate this bible study but through some details you might discover that I am somewhat concerned over the theological intention of this study. These are my own apologetics I have written through the years, but some of the following is new. Either new or old, it expresses the theology I have been given by scripture, apart from the teachings or confirmations of men of any church.

Page 4 of Lesson One: "The Sovereignty of God" Lesson, asks this question at the very top of the page:

"How do you see God's sovereignty over Jesus and, in turn, Jesus' submission to the Father's sovereign authority? See Matt 26:39&42, Lk 4:43 & 22:41, John 4:34, 5:30, 8:28 & 10:18, John 12:27, 49 & 15:15, Phil 2:8-9, Col. 1:18-19, 1 Thess 4:14, Heb 1:5, 9 & 10:7."

Was God "in control over everything," for Jesus?

This can only be true in one sense; which is that Jesus made the choice to let the Father rule over Him at every moment.

Let me please establish the deity of Jesus Christ? You and I both know that Jesus is God. But how much do we meditate on Jesus' perfect and saturated sovereignty in all of heaven and earth?

Every time we see or hear God (YHWH, or "Jehovah"), it is actually Jesus Christ we are hearing or seeing in the bible. Because Jesus is the image and the word of God (John 1 and Hebrews 1:3), and no one has ever seen or heard the Father, who is invisible (john 1 and john 5:37-39). They therefore would be surprised to learn that all Old Testament scriptures, being the words of ‘Jehovah’ Himself, was actually Jesus speaking and acting in connection with humankind:

"No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him." john 1:18

"And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen His form." john 5:37

"You search the scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life." john 5:39-40

WHO IS YHWH? IT IS JESUS CHRIST. HE is the only God we've known in revelation (that is, if it were not for Jesus' own teachings of the Father God while on earth in the gospel narratives).

Permit me the privilege to use the Word of God to establish the sovereignty of Jesus Christ?

Premise: “Holy holy holy is the Lord God Almighty” was addressed to Jesus (both times) by prophecy, in books Revelation and Isaiah:

“I saw Adonay seated on a throne...” “...and they were calling to one another: ‘Holy, holy holy is YHWH Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.’” Is 6:1,3

“Day and night they never stop saying: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.’" rev 4:8

My comment: The NT gospels declared the Isaiah 6 passage as specifically describing Jesus Christ:

John 12:37-41:

“Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet:
   "Lord, who has believed our message
      and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?"
For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere:
  ‘He has blinded their eyes
      and deadened their hearts,
   so they can neither see with their eyes,
      nor understand with their hearts,
      nor turn—and I would heal them.’
Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus' glory and spoke about him.”

and to reference, Isaiah 6:1-10:

“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw Adonay seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:
       ‘Holy, holy, holy is YHWH Almighty;
       the whole earth is full of his glory.’
At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
  ‘Woe to me!’ I cried. ‘I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, YHWH Almighty.’
  Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, ‘See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.’
  Then I heard the voice of Adonay saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’
      And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’
  He said, ‘Go and tell this people:
       'Be ever hearing, but never understanding;
       be ever seeing, but never perceiving.'
  Make the heart of this people calloused;
       make their ears dull
       and close their eyes.
       Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
       hear with their ears,
       understand with their hearts,
       and turn and be healed.’’"

My comment: Maybe there are more indications besides just these, that this is the same vision being prophecied by Isaiah and the apostle John (who wrote the words: “Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus' glory and spoke about him,” and also the vision in the book of Revelation we are examining) regarding identity? (The same man who wrote Revelation 4:8 about the Lord God Almighty, also wrote, in his gospel, the name of the one Isaiah witnessed as being called the Almighty.) The creatures described are the same:

In Isaiah 6:1-3: “Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:
       ‘Holy, holy, holy is YHWH Almighty;
       the whole earth is full of his glory.’”

In Rev 4:6-8: “In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.’”

A Test for godship: True god, or False god? How Does Jesus Christ Measure?

--Is 44:15 “But he also fashions a god (466) and worships it; he makes an idol and bows down to it. He prays to it and says, ‘save me; you are my god.’”

--Is 45:20 “Ignorant are those who... pray to gods that cannot save.”

--Acts 7:59-60 “Stephen prayed, ‘Lord, Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Then he fell on his knees and cried out, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’”

--Luke 23:46 “Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’ When he had said this, he breathed his last.”

--Luke 23:34 “’Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’"

Q: Isn’t Stephen fashioning Jesus Christ as God, by praying to Him to save his soul in the same manner Jesus did to the Father?

--Is 41:22-23 “tell us what happened, what will happen, or act to make us dismayed or fearful. But they won’t do these things.”

--Is 41:27 “See, they are all false! Their images are but wind and confusion.”

--Is 46:9 "I am God and there is no other; I am God and there is none like me."

--Is 40:25 “’To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?’ says the Holy One.”

--Is 43:10 “Before me no god (466) was formed; nor will there be one after me.”

was formed - yasar - to form, fashion, devise, produce, create; to be formed or fashioned; to exist. The word implies initiation as well as structuring. Yasar is often used of God’s creative acts. It is also used to denote those who sculpted idols (Is 44:9, 10, 12).

--Is 44:6-10 “This is what YHWH says--Israel’s King and Redeemer, YHWH Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God (466). Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and lay out before me.... You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? ... Who shapes an idol, which can profit him nothing? He and his kind will be put to shame; .... ...they will all be brought down to terror and infamy.”

Q: If false gods have images of wind and confusion, and are unable to prophesy truthfully, but Jesus Christ is the image of God and always spoke the truth, then he can not be a false god. He must be a true god. But there was never created any god at any time. Jehovah says no one is like Him, and that is how Jehovah goes on to prove that He is the only god. They cannot do what He does, YHWH complains about all others who get worshiped. Yet Jesus is His image, the first and the last, Israel’s King and Redeemer, and the owner of us, Jesus’ witnesses. And, he is also, a god. A true god. Why does Jehovah not exclude Jesus Christ as an exception when he said, “apart from me there is no god” and “there is no one like me”?

It must either be because, as the Son of Jehovah, he is so diminutive to be irrelevant; or else, so assumed in God’s camp that his kind of being doesn’t distinguish Him.

Does YHWH Share His glory with other gods??

--Is 42:8 “I am YHWH; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols.”

--Is 48:11 “For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another.”

--Rom 1:1,2,4-5,6 “Paul, ...set apart for the gospel of God -- the gospel... regarding his Son..: Jesus Christ our Lord. Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles... to belong to Jesus Christ.”

--Heb 1:3 The son is the radiance of God’s glory....

radiance- apaugasma- to emit light or splendor

glory- doxa -to think, imagine, consider, appear; glory, honor, wealth, splendor

--Is 68:18 “And I, because of their actions and their imaginations, am about to come and gather all nations and tongues, and they will come and see my glory.”

--Is 66:19 “I will set a sign among them, and I will send some of those who survive to the nations—to Tarshish, to the Libyans and Lydians (famous as archers), to Tubal and Greece, and to the distant islands that have not heard of my fame or seen my glory. They will proclaim my glory among the nations.”

--john 15:26 “the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.”

--john 17:5 “And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.”

--John 13:31-32 “When he was gone, Jesus said, "Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.”

Q: Taking on the human-being of the Son of Man, Jesus was glorified in his death by the Father. But apparently Jesus also had glory in the presence and knowledge and approval of Jehovah in the very beginning. How can Jehovah say that He would not share his glory with other gods, that he would not surrender any of His fame to another? He clearly has done so unswervingly from the beginning.

--john 16:14-15 “He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.”

--John 12:27-28 “Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!"

--john 17:1-2 “"Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.”

Q: Okay, so Jesus shares glory with Jehovah. How closely do they share God’s glory? Where did Jesus come from? Where was Jesus, before and afterward being in human form?

--John 13:3 “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God...”

--John 14:20 “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.”

--john 14:23 “My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”

--john 16:27-28 “...because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father."

--John 17:7-10 “Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them.

Did YHWH give us His image? Consider Jehovah’s Question to us: “’To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?’ says the Holy One.” Is 40:25

--Hebrews 1:3 “The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.”

exact representation - charakter - to carve, the impression; letter, mark, sign, character. This impression was considered as the exact representation of the object whose image it bore.

being - hypostasis - substance, nature. That which underlies what is apparent, hence, reality; that which is the basis of something, hence, assurance.

--Is 41:27 “See, they are all false! Their deeds amount to nothing; their images are but wind and confusion.”

--Is 40:18 “To whom, then, will you compare God? What image will you compare him to?”

image - demut - likeness, figure, image, form. To compare. Resemblance, image, model, pattern, shape. Used as an adverb, signifying “like” or “as.”

compare - arak - to arrange in rows, put in order, be put in formation, to set a value.

--Col 1:15 “He is the image of the invisible God...”

image - eikon - to be like, resemble, representation, likeness, figure, copy, reflection, appearance, manifestation, embodiment. It implies what is derived from an archtype, which is cast as a direct expression of something. Used of idols (rom 1:23) art (mt 22:20) OT law (heb 10:1) Christ (2 cor 4:4,6). In the book of Revelation, eikon of the beast symbolizes the idolatrous devotion shown by his followers.

--Deut 34:10 “Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom YHWH knew face to face....”

--Luke 9:29-32 “As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him.” (“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory...”)

--Heb 11:24-27 “By faith Moses... regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king's anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.”

--2 cor 4:4-6 “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”

Q: Where can we locate the glory of God? Have we been deceived or misdirected by any inappropriate amount away from our duty, because we have been blinded by the enemy from giving God’s glory to Jesus? The light that shines in Paul’s heart (qualifying him to be a proclaimer of truth) is the knowledge of... what? The knowledge of God’s glory as it dwells in Jesus. Jehovah’s good news, IS the glory of Christ. Can this be a true interpretation of the above passage? Let’s see if scripture would hopefully generously support it:

--Luke 19:35-40 “When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: ‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!’
      ’Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’
  Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!"
  ‘I tell you,’ he replied, ‘if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.’“

--John 1:14 “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

--John 2:11 “This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.”

--John 8:50 “I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge.

--John 8:54 “Jesus replied, "If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me.”

--John 11:4 “When he heard this, Jesus said, "This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it."

--John 12:41 “Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus' glory and spoke about him.”

--Rom 16:27 “to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.”

--1 cor 2:8 “None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”

--Phil 2:10-11 “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
      in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
  and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
      to the glory of God the Father.”

--2 thess 2:14 “He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

--2 tim 4:18 “The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

--Heb 13:21 “through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever.”

--1 peter 4:11 “If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

--1 peter 5:10 “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”

--2 peter 1:1-3 “To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours: Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”

--2 peter 3:18 “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.”

--Jude 1:25 “to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.”

--Rev 1:6 “To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.”

--Rev 21:23 “The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.”

--john 16:14-15 “He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.”

--John 3:35 “The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands.”

Q: So glory is brought to Jesus by what He owns, which is everything the Father owns? What could be off-limits in Jesus’ glory, then? Can we restrain Jesus from obtaining any remnant of YHWH’s glory? Jehovah in the OT worked hard to proclaim Himself the one who would receive notoriety and service and glory and honor, but it seems that Jehovah must have surrendered all this into Jesus’ account:

--Luke 22:24-30 “Also a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. Jesus said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. You are those who have stood by me in my trials. And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

--John 8:54 “Jesus replied, "If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me.”

Comment: I can imagine that the Father would have been the first to utter such a powerful sentence of humility to His Son: “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing.” The ultimate moment when Jesus brings glory to Jehovah will most likely be that prophecied moment when after he has judged he turns everything back over to His Father, just like the elders in Revelation who lay their crowns at the feet of the Lamb in the end.

Who is He who is the Origination of Everything?

--Is 45:5-7 “ I am the LORD, and there is no other;
       apart from me there is no God.
       I will strengthen you,
       though you have not acknowledged me,
  so that from the rising of the sun
       to the place of its setting
       men may know there is none besides me.
       I am the LORD, and there is no other.
  I form the light and create darkness,
       I bring prosperity and create disaster;
       I, the LORD, do all these things.

TO CONSIDER: Jehovah, the LORD, does all these things and... another; Jesus Christ...? “Whatever the Father does the Son also does (john 5:19).” There are two separate persons who both could be being described here; yet the scriptures claim that only YHWH is like this. Why is Jesus not mentioned here outside of mentioning YHWH? It seems plausible, at least, that it may be because Jesus is included in YHWH.

--John 5:16-27, 36 “So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him. Jesus said to them, ‘My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.’ For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
  Jesus gave them this answer: ‘I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.
  ‘I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.’ ... ‘For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me.’”

TO CONSIDER: Even the kinds of things Jesus did and taught (his work) are meant to be a testimony by themself, to indicate Jesus’ identity; that He came from the Father -- verse 36. You may also notice that it was John’s testimony that Jesus truly did relate Himself equal to God.

--Is 44:6-7 “This is what YHWH says—
       Israel's King and Redeemer, YHWH Almighty:
       I am the first and I am the last;
       apart from me there is no God.
  Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it.”

TO CONSIDER: Jesus was proclaimed as the glory and image of God. Jesus is the exact representative of Jehovah. Apart from Jehovah there is one true god who we are commanded to acknowledge as our King and Redeemer and Lord, who is equal Jehovah, and who we are also commanded now to proclaim, as believers in a post-crucifixion world. How hard it is to distinguish YHWH as separate from the person of Jesus....

As I said in the opening paragraphs, in my mind Jesus is not only part of YHWH, but the only person of YHWH we really have known.

--Zech 12:1, 10 “An Oracle: This is the word of YHWH concerning Israel. YHWH, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundations of the earth, and who forms the spirit of man within him, declares: ‘.... And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.’”

TO CONSIDER: Who got (into heaven?) to pierce Jehovah? Does he have a body to pierce? How are the people in Jerusalem to look upon Jehovah when no one has ever seen Jehovah at any time (john 1:18)? The grieving is over an only child or a firstborn son, which is what Jesus was characterized as. What other possibilities can there be without adjusting the words here in this passage to release us to assume something else? The scripture cannot be lying when it says that this was Jehovah speaking when he said “they will look on me”. It is nearly impossible to split this passage into two speakers, yet that is what is necessary to maintain that Jesus Christ is not YHWH.

If Jesus is not YHWH, it makes no scriptural sense that he does receive proskyneo (worship) and latreuo (service) in any portion, without consequently alarming Jehovah to distinguish himself as more glorious and godly than His Son. But as the scriptures have plainly said, Jehovah has surrendered all of his glory into the Son.

Why Jesus' Identity Matters for Wed. Morn. Bible Study

Jesus is YHWH, the great I AM, the Holy Holy Holy Lord God Almighty.

The bible study question at the beginning of this paper, asked: "How do you see God's sovereignty over Jesus and, in turn, Jesus' submission to the Father's sovereign authority?"

There is no way a sovereign God will bow down at any time, to anyone or anything. Jesus is such a sovereign God. It goes beyond His nature, it goes against His honor, for Him to serve or obey any thing in heaven or on earth. All glory and honor, praise and power ought to be ascribed to Jesus as the Almighty God. For us to find Jesus in such a spot, in submission... is absolutely unexpected! There is only one way to assume the righteousness of such an act by the One and Only Sovereign God of heaven and earth, to bend a knee to another, which is, that He might righteously do so to another Person of that Godhead, as just and kind in character and nature as He Himself also is. That Person is the Father. What drove Jesus to bend that knee? Not His own state! He properly deserves the throne! But us; Jesus' love for us. Because Jesus loved us, He came in the form of a man, to submit Himself according to the demands of the law and be that second Adam which delivered us from the curse and promised us eternal salvation and also an unburdened opportunity for fellowship.

It is NOT about control, or acknowledging sovereignty. It is about a choice to love someone enough to choose to go where you don't naturally want to go, both for Jesus and for us as we obey One who is greater.

Consider our nature; it desires to be on the throne of our life. God made us after His own image, which I believe in part means we desire to be in control over our own affairs. But we go to that place of submission to the will of another (the Father) by the model of our Lord: "We love because Christ first loved us."

"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient...." phil 2:5-8

Thank you so much for letting me speak about the reasons for obedience, and the sovereignty of Jesus Christ! What a privilege it is, and I am very, very blessed to know that you might have read this.

I have the privilege of reading a copy of the speech given I believe in week three of the bible study.

I appreciate, and I agree that God has a design and plan for my life. He is my God. I do believe that He is in control in the larger sense. While He is aware of all I do not believe that God has taken all control out of my hands; for if I had none, I could not ever love Him by the measure of my sacrifice(s). He does desire that I would want to love Him back. That's why the salvation He purchased at the cross bought my freedom. Freedom to do as I please? Absolutely. God does woo, God does call, I agree. But I am not under obligation to obey Him once I have been saved.

In her speech the speaker wrote on page two:

"Can we get a bigger picture of what He is doing, instead of being focused on our circumstance that we are currently under? ... By recognizing that He is God, that He deserves to enthrone our lives and that He has the right to allow anything He desires to come into our lives to be used for His purposes, this will help us to realize that God's sovereignty is at work in us."

What might have alternately, more scripturally been said, was "this will help us to realize that God's Spirit is at work in us."

The focus is not Lordship. The focus is that we might choose to walk in the Spirit. For if we walk in the Spirit we will not obey the will of the flesh. It is just that simple, romans 8. "'Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the Lord of hosts." (zech 4:6) Obeying God is a simple choice, like an on/off switch; we are walking at any one time either according to the Spirit or according to the flesh.

Why remove the word "sovereign" from this bible study? I don't know what your intention is. Are you aware of the Lordship movement in evangelical Christianity? Are you apart of it? If you are not, do you realize that by using that word you are opening up a door of positive affirmation toward that movement? By that one word "sovereign," Lordship teachers carry in a whole wave of popular unbiblical doctrine through the front door. The Lordship people (NIV) have put the word "sovereign" in front of "LORD" 200-some times into the OT, where no such word in Hebrew even has been demarcated. Why? Either way, it does not belong! It is an assault to God's revelation which was already perfect!

The speaker mentioned the example of Rahab.... She said that Rahab understood God's "sovereignty." I don't think it was "sovereignty" though, that Rahab understood. What does the bible have to say? Those things she is recorded of as speaking about the LORD, is described with a different word in the NT:

"By faith the Harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace." Heb 11:31

She was saved not by acquiring appreciation of God's sovereignty, but in those fearful descriptions of God's power in her confession, Rahab is articulating her reliance (faith) in YHWH.

Even the demons understand the sovereignty of God, but they are not saved, nor sanctified by such knowledge:

"When He had come to the other side, to the country of the Gergesenes, there met Him two demon-possessed men, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that no one could pass that way. And suddenly they cried out, saying, 'What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?' Now a good way off from them there was a herd of many swine feeding. So the demons begged Him, saying, 'If You cast us out, permit us to go away into the herd of swine.' And He said to them, 'Go.' So when they had come out, they went into the herd of swine." matt 8:28-32

In the case of Job, too, Satan knew who he was talking with; the Lord of heaven and earth.

Did you know that Spurgeon and Pink ascribe deeply, as most Protestants do, to the teachings of Augustine? Augustine was heretical, in part. He not only was a Christian for part of his life but also at times was a part of some pagan philosophies: determinism and fatalism. These philosophies teach that there is no place for will or choice outside of God's first will or choice, that all things have been pre-ordained according to God's selection of our destiny. This whole concept? It is not biblical, and it never was, though you can find it laced throughout church history and writings. These men are examples of such pagan influences.

See here some quotes of Spurgeon in the written copy of the speech:

"that sovereignty overrules them" (paragraph one)
"that sovereignty will sanctify them all" (paragraph one)

But not all believers are promised as a guarantee to be sanctified!

"Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified." rom 8:30

Notice that "sanctified" is missing from that list?

Spurgeon continues in paragraph three:

"And we proclaim an enthroned God, and His right to do as He wills with His own, to dispose of His creatures as He thinks well, without consulting them in the matter...."

Here is a good example of Lordship Theology teaching the character of the LORD in an unbalanced manner. It is intoxicating to the senses to think that God is in control over everything in every way -- it's rather romantic. But it's not real. God respects, God gives so much dignity to human choice, that He does not interfere with the prospect that men choose to reject Christ and go to hell as a consequence. Do you see my point? If God were as Spurgeon describes, then no one would really go to hell because God could do as He pleases and intervene beyond the responsibility of their individual choice. But He does not. What's more, God has never "done His pleasure without consulting us." He has indeed informed us, from the beginning! He preserved His Word and has caused the revelation of God to reach all the world so that they may hear the good news! He also waits, not willing to have any perish, to extend salvation as long as today is called today. The gospel is the perfect story of the perfect balance of both His justice and His love-forgiveness. God is not so hungry for justice that He disobeys His love, and is not so hungry for love that He disobeys the narrow path of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Our salvation is secure. However our sanctification is not secure; it is in a state of "conditional footing" as Spurgeon's language would be used.

I hope you are familiar that there is much room, on condition of our choice, for improvement upon the righteousness we received in our salvation (hebrews 10:14, 10:10). This improvement is called "sanctification," and it is not a guarantee, it is an option. By this alone, let alone many, many more teachings of Lordship "Sovereignty" Theology, I say to you, it is unbiblical. Are you aware; what is your mind; and do you desire to have this association of inappropriate doctrine for our churchgoers?

Please consider the choice of influence you have as our leaders. I believe the very potential and power to become sanctified, as a church, lies in the choice of the doctrine you promote....

Thanks, so much from the bottom of my heart, for letting me share my mind with each of you. As I said in the opening of this paper, I am seeking to know your mind in general or detail, in speech or in writing, at your own convenience. There is no hurry.

I am not emotionally divorced from this presentation, to you, my leaders. I just was delivered from two years of believing that my sins were appointed by God. Indeed, Spurgeon even admits teaching this in the speech's copy and quotation of him!

"Yet God foresaw they would fall, nevertheless He placed them on a mutable, creature, conditional footing, and suffered them to fall, though He was not the Author of their sin."

Where did a concept of appointed sin come from? Just one point of Calvinism, leads the logic to the remaining four. "Total depravity," somewhere leaked into my theological grid. Once it was in there, I found myself fighting God, blaming Him for not rescuing me from temptation and my wanting to sin and obey my flesh. God forgive me for walking so long in such error!



Sanctification said...

No matter what it's about, when the posts get long,
all I can see with my eyeballs is, BORING!!


Aletheia said...

m :)

Your comment made me smile....have you already given this to the teachers?

I think you have some wonderful things to say...but I agree...people, have a difficult time reading something.....long :)

before I give my 2 cents on formatting let me know if you would even like my 2 pennies


Sanctification said...

A, of course.

I can't believe you got to its end!! :D :D

Yes, I handed it out this morning at my table and to two leaders and a couple friends my age. Now there's a lesson! Paul once said that he was bold while away when writing his letters, but timid face-to-face. I can understand that. I think about all the assertiveness that happens just by me announcing, "Some more scripture on these issues." My face is red. Tension can be felt. Face to face takes a sizeable part of the passion out of me.

:( M

Anonymous said...

I only had time to get through your first point so far, but here's a thought on the other side:Your use of Jn. 1:18 confirms He is unseen, but Jn. 5:37-39 is directed to those rejecting Jesus, so are unseeing/unhearing of God the Father, and were trying to gain salvation thru the law. Ma. 3:17..."a voice from heaven said, " This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased". it was audible. food for thought. I love this stuff :) I'll finish reading it tomorrow.

Sanctification said...

Hi Sonia!

Yes, that and the instance of Jesus' baptism performed by John the Baptist, are the two scriptures I cannot reconcile as a contradiction (at this time) to my thought that Jesus is the manifestation of, the theophany portion, of the Godhead.

Thanks for leaving your comment, let me know if you have another way to capture it?


Anonymous said...

ok, I'm a little confused. The part about Jesus either being so diminutive to be irrelevant or so assumed in God's camp that his kind of being doesn't distinguish him. Are those your only 2 options? I'm wondering if we have the same view of the Trinity. It seems that you think of God and Jesus as 2 distinct and different "people" (to keep it simple), but Jesus is the representative of God, and God has given over his glory to Jesus??? Is this what you mean? So that whenever we see God, its really Jesus, because we can't see God? Where does the Holy Spirit come into play, and how does all of this (assuming I'm not way out there on this conclusion) fit into the idea of a Triune God?

Sanctification said...


I wish I had back that good book which gave a pictoral view of the trinity and the extreme beliefs in either of three directions toward error. It was a gorgeous thing.

I don't know the answers that you haven't asked, though. I haven't gotten that far! :D

Maybe you have some insights that I can gather to help mature this.

Thanks for reading, Michele

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