Calvin’s Concerns – Do You Believe In Prevenient Grace?

In our previous post, I tried to give some of my interactions and history with the Calvinistic thought process and teachings.

With this post, I would like to introduce you to the teacher I referred to earlier. He is a former Calvinist also, and has recanted, and has become a bit of a lightning rod for provisionism soteriology teaching.

Many of his videos are quite lengthy, and have kept my interest now for weeks. What I would like to do is offer his “60 Second Soteriology” clips to introduce you to Mr Leighton Flowers.

I do hope you will consider the teaching with an open mind.


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Calvin’s Concerns – Do You Believe Calvinism Makes God Unjust?

In our previous post, I tried to give some of my interactions and history with the Calvinistic thought process and teachings.

With this post, I would like to introduce you to the teacher I referred to earlier. He is a former Calvinist also, and has recanted, and has become a bit of a lightning rod for provisionism soteriology teaching.

Many of his videos are quite lengthy, and have kept my interest now for weeks. What I would like to do is offer his “60 Second Soteriology” clips to introduce you to Mr Leighton Flowers.

I do hope you will consider the teaching with an open mind.


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Calvin’s Concerns – Didn’t Jesus Say Only Sheep Can Believe?

In our previous post, I tried to give some of my interactions and history with the Calvinistic thought process and teachings.

With this post, I would like to introduce you to the teacher I referred to earlier. He is a former Calvinist also, and has recanted, and has become a bit of a lightning rod for provisionism soteriology teaching.

Many of his videos are quite lengthy, and have kept my interest now for weeks. What I would like to do is offer his “60 Second Soteriology” clips to introduce you to Mr Leighton Flowers.

I do hope you will consider the teaching with an open mind.


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Calvin’s Concerns – Choice Meats

In our previous post, I tried to give some of my interactions and history with the Calvinistic thought process and teachings.

With this post, I would like to introduce you to the teacher I referred to earlier. He is a former Calvinist also, and has recanted, and has become a bit of a lightning rod for provisionism soteriology teaching.

Many of his videos are quite lengthy, and have kept my interest now for weeks. What I would like to do is offer his “60 Second Soteriology” clips to introduce you to Mr Leighton Flowers.

I do hope you will consider the teaching with an open mind.


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Calvin’s Concerns – A Contradiction?

As you may remember, I lived as a Calvinist for a number of years, teaching the “doctrines of grace” in a Sunday School Class for Adults, and in Small Group studies for years.

During this time, certain verses and passages seemed to niggle at the back of my mind, but I sought to ignore them and refused to consider alternate ways of looking at the Word, and the God of the Bible.

Certain verses seemed to be in contradiction with the general teaching of Calvin.

One of those teachings were the apparent hatred God has for some sinners, to the point where He would not allow regeneration of their souls prior to their activating the faith required to please God. Yes – that is a common teaching in the reformed thought, that God regenerates a lost sinner prior to the sinner responding to the call of salvation.

Any sinner that is not regenerated, given life eternal, is relegated to eternal suffering. This brings up a number of issues in my mind, which include the justice of God in condemning a sinner for not able to respond to the Gospel of Christ.

Nevertheless, the topic I want to consider is the Love of God in relation to the sinner.

Many times in the New Testament, (golly – bunches of times in the Old Testament) believers are enjoined to love thier enemies.

Matthew 5:44

But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

or

Romans 12:20

To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”

What has that got to do with Calvinism? The doctrines of grace teach that God does not love His enemies, but of the destruction and eternal torment of sinners, the enemies of God. They will suffer throughout eternity and this will supposedly bring glory and honor to the Father.

Wait a minute

We are told to imitate Him, as dear children.

Ephesians 5:1

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.

or, consider

 Matthew 5:48

You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

So what is your point Carl?

Are we to hate our enemies or love them? If we follow the teaching of Calvin, it seems in order to follow our Father in relation to His enemies, we would have the right to do damage to them. After all, according to the God depicted by Calvin, destruction of the enemies of God pleases Him.

Never mind all the passages that speak of our not taking revenge, or that God is love. I found that once I admitted to myself that the logic of Calvinism had some weakness, the whole scheme tumbled down.

If you are considering the teaching of Calvin, remember to keep a gentle spirit, an open mind to the passages of Scripture that give you pause, and flee from the pride of a “higher spirituality”

To be loved by the suffering Savior and His gracious Father is enough.


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Calvin’s Concerns – Discussions

A few weeks back, I published the first of a series of posts offering 60 second video discussions on alternatives to the popular Calvinistic teaching in our churches these days.

The videos were provided by Dr. Leighton Flowers, and addressed a number of topics that related to Calvinism and it’s resultant effects on the believer.

Since then, I have received a number of comments in response to the videos, primarily from those that are associated with the reformed thought process (Thinking like Calvin).

Initially, the comments were cordial, but eventually, due to my guests frustration or anger, their responses became heated, to the point that I was instructed to repent and believe the gospel.

Passion to share your faith is commendable, but we must remember that we are called to fight the good fight, not the harsh fight. By that I mean, we are to fight with goodness, love, kindness, and patience. Condemning a brother, (or even a non-believer) usually results in loss of communication and personal offence. With no positive fruit coming from the effort. Trust me – I have spent far too long trying to argue and berate people into the kingdom!!!

These things ought not to be.

James 3:10

Out of the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.

I would encourage all to be gracious in our discussions with those we meet, either in our workplace, over the phone, through teleconferencing, or even on a blog post, in a comment section.

John 13:35

By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Please look for my next post on Calvin’s Concerns, where I will make an effort to consider a contradiction in Calvinism. Hope to see you there.


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Calvin’s Concerns – Is Faith a Gift?

In our previous post, I tried to give some of my interactions and history with the Calvinistic thought process and teachings.

With this post, I would like to introduce you to the teacher I referred to earlier. He is a former Calvinist also, and has recanted, and has become a bit of a lightning rod for provisionism soteriology teaching.

Many of his videos are quite lengthy, and have kept my interest now for weeks. What I would like to do is offer his “60 Second Soteriology” clips to introduce you to Mr Leighton Flowers.

I do hope you will consider the teaching with an open mind.


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Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Calvin’s Concerns – Man-Centered Doctrine?

In a previous post, I have sought to give some of my interactions and history with the Calvinistic thought process and teachings.

Comments in a few of the previous posts made claim that Dr. Flowers was a heretic and was espousing a man centered teaching.

Of course, some (if not most) of the comments were reactionary, condescending and derogatory, with a bit of judgement and condemnation thrown in for good measure. And some were gracious, seasoned with a bit of salt, which is a preferred method according to Paul.

Colossians 4:6

Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.

Find the following clip, which has Dr. Flowers agree that he is espousing a man-centered doctrine

I do hope you will consider the teaching with an open mind.


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Calvin’s Concerns – Bondage to Sin and Free Will

In our previous post, I tried to give some of my interactions and history with the Calvinistic thought process and teachings.

With this post, I would like to introduce you to the teacher I referred to earlier. He is a former Calvinist also, and has recanted, and has become a bit of a lightning rod for provisionism soteriology teaching.

Many of his videos are quite lengthy, and have kept my interest now for weeks. What I would like to do is offer his “60 Second Soteriology” clips to introduce you to Mr Leighton Flowers.

I do hope you will consider the teaching with an open mind.


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Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Calvin’s Concerns – What is Predestination?

In our previous post, I tried to give some of my interactions and history with the Calvinistic thought process and teachings.

With this post, I would like to introduce you to the teacher I referred to earlier. He is a former Calvinist also, and has recanted, and has become a bit of a lightning rod for provisionism soteriology teaching.

Many of his videos are quite lengthy, and have kept my interest now for weeks. What I would like to do is offer his “60 Second Soteriology” clips to introduce you to Mr Leighton Flowers.

I do hope you will consider the teaching with an open mind.


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Calvin’s Concerns

It’s funny how things go round in life. Over twenty years ago I providentially tripped over the teaching’s of “grace”, and found that my head had additional capacity for puffing up (see 1 Corinthians 8:1).

At the time, I was teaching a Sunday School Class for adults, studying a minimum of 10 hours for every hour in front of the class. (Can you hear the me me monster coming out?)

Nevertheless, did I mention that I was in a church that was NOT Calvinistic, that did not adhere to the teachings of grace.

It wasn’t easy!

Since moving away and not attending that church, I have had the opportunity to consider the teachings of Calvinism. I have found that I just couldn’t retain the obvious conclusions this teaching provided. I initially ignored this particular theory, and then serendipitously found Bible passages that refuted it. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that Calvinism had too many concerns and not enough foundation in the truth.

Years pass, and I venture into other areas of Bible research. Ecclesiology, a bit or Eschatology. Maybe even some hamartiology –

Say it isn’t so Carl! Yes but not for long.

Covid 19 struck America and we spent some time not attending a fellowship. Eventually I had had enough and sought out a church that was welcoming people in their buildings for face to face worship.

What a wonderful idea!

The preaching was good and the folks seemed real friendly. Eventually, it became apparent that this body of believers were of the Calvinistic stripe.

Golly, I become a Calvinist in a non Calvinist church, leave that church and abandon Calvinism, and now begin attending a fine church, with teaching that focuses on the Calvinistic thought process a bit much.

No matter. Fellowship depends on our relationship with the Son, not on our perspective regarding “mysterious” decress in eternity past.

With that said, I would like to offer an alternative consideration of soteriology (Doctrine of Salvation, or the study of Biblical Salvation).

I have found a teacher on You Tube that presents an irenic message, well thought out and, in my humble opinion, a perspective that has far greater support based on the Word of God.

Watch for the first installment in our next “Calvin’s Concerns” post.


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Judge Judge Judge – δίκη – Verse List for Study 10

Because of the Cross

This word is found 3 times in 3 verses within the New Testament. 

The previous study dealt with each occurrence of this word in the New Testament.

 

I look forward to comments and discussion.

May the Lord give you an understanding heart and a willing spirit to consider the Bible and all it’s wealth.


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Judge Judge Judge – δίκη – Study 10

Because of the Cross

Thanks for returning to this series on “Judge Judge Judge” and my feeble attempt to understand a believers responsibility and right to make judgments.

Another purpose of this series hopefully is to understand the believers restriction on judgement. 

What can a Christian judge?  How is he to judge?  What is prohibited in the Christian life to judge.  So many questions and concerns. 

Our tenth greek word related to judging is…

dikē

δίκη – dikē – vengeance, judgment, punish

This word is found 3 times in 3 verses within the New Testament.  A full listing of all verses will be included in this study.  

This word (along with some of our following studies) carries the meaning that most in our society associate with the term judge.  Synonyms for this word include vengeance, judgment and punish.

Acts 28:4

When the native people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.”

This verse is a recounting of the natives of Malta, as Paul and Barnabas were seeking to minister to the people.  The Maltan’s were a kind people, having begun a fire for Paul and Barnabas.  As Paul helped with the fire, a venomous snake bit him.

First he was a murderer, deserving the justice of death at the teeth of a venomous snake.  Moments later, he was considered a god, escaping the death of the snake bite!

Each of these responses showed the Maltans understanding of the rightful demands of justice.  These folk, like us, had an innate sense of justice, that this is a world that cries out for justice.  Yet how often are injustices and wrongs allowed to exist in this world, causing us a yearning for a world of righteousness and truth.  And yet…

James 2:13

For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Since God has judged us with mercy, we also, following the character of the Master, should also express mercy to those we meet and associate with.  Let us display the mercy of God in our relationships, walking humbly, seeking to be a blessing and not a curse.

2 Thessalonians 1:9

They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,

Who will suffer? Who is Paul referring to in this passage, that will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction?

I am going to leave this as a self study for the reader, but will assist by directing you to Acts 17:1-9, and 1 Thessalonians 2:13-16.  Let me know what you find out, or if there are additional passages that bring light to this particular topic.

The punishment of eternal destruction.  Justice that results in eternal destruction.  It is interesting that my initial assumption of this judgement is the lake of fire, the burning of hell.  I am not arguing for or against the teaching of eternal torment in this study, but regarding this verse, the passage does not say

“They will suffer the punishment of eternal suffering

So what is this verse trying to say?  In regards to the term we are studying, the justice declared results in an eternal condition.  I have supplied a post on the Greek term Apollumi, sometimes translated as “perish” in the New Testament, and may assist you in considering the intent of the Apostle Paul’s message in 1 Thessalonians.

Jude 1:7

just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

This verse also defines an eternal state of judgment / punishment.

When Jude wrote this passage, I assume the actual physical(?) fires of Sodom and Gomorrah, along with the surrounding cities had been extinguished.  The question I have is with the term “eternal” fire.

Since the punishment is eternal, does that imply eternal suffering? Or might the effects of this judgement be eternal.  Notice that the phrase is “punishment of eternal fire”, not “eternal punishing/suffering in fire”.

As may be obvious by now for those paying attention, I am unsure how to understand the New Testament teaching on hell.  One thing is for sure – Judgment and a day of reckoning is coming, and we all need to prepare.

Flee to the Savior for He is the only place of refuge available.

Thanks for joining me in this study.  Hope to visit with you in our next post as we look at the Greek term κρίμα which is commonly translated judgment, damnation, condemnation, be condemned, go to law, avenge in the New Testament.

Be Blessed.

I look forward to comments and discussion.  May the Lord give you an understanding heart and a willing spirit to consider the Bible and all it’s wealth.


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Judge Judge Judge – δικαστής – Verse List for Study 9

Because of the Cross

This word is found 2 times in 2 verses within the New Testament. 

Please refer to previous post for complete listing

 

Thanks

I look forward to comments and discussion.  May the Lord give you an understanding heart and a willing spirit to consider the Bible and all it’s wealth.


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Judge Judge Judge – δικαστής – Study 9

Because of the Cross

Thanks for returning to this series on “Judge Judge Judge” and my feeble attempt to understand a believers responsibility and right to make judgments.

Another purpose of this series hopefully is to understand the believers restriction on judgement. 

What can a Christian judge?  How is he to judge?  What is prohibited in the Christian life to judge.  So many questions and concerns. 

Our ninth greek word related to judging is…

dikastēs

δικαστής – dikastēs – judge

This word is found 2 times in 2 verses within the New Testament.  A full listing of all verses will be included in this study.  

This greek word is synonymous with arbitrator, or even an umpire.  It is the more dignified and official term to be used.  Someone who makes a decision based on information, facts or counsel from (trusted) sources.

Luke 12:14

And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?

 

Jesus was asked by one in the crowd – Master speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.

First off, I believe that is the duty of the Jewish courts, to uphold the law in relation to the inheritance codes of Israel.  It is obvious, by the way the Master continued his teaching, that this fellow was looking for some quick cash, some influence from the Master in order to gain some coin.

He will have none of that.

His question to the covetous man – who made me a judge or a divider over you? speaks volumes.  If the man realized who he was talking to, he would understand that Jesus is a Judge and a Divider over him, and not that of his brother.

But the question is to be focused on who made Jesus the judge?

Mr Covetous – get your head right.  God has made Jesus judge over you, and that question you spat out reveals your (my) foolish covetous heart.

Psalm 119:36

Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain!

Mr Covetous at least had the backbone to reveal himself.  So often, I fear we as Christians wrap our covetousness, that is our idolatry, in religious terms, even claiming that God wants us to be rich, that He died in order for us to be rich.

What utter nonsense.

Twist the scriptures in order to satisfy the flesh.  The modern church has teaching that feeds the desires of the flesh, lying to us and feeding our covetous hearts.  He wants you to have a new Cadillac, or Rolls Royce.  After all, you are a Kings kid, and you should live as royalty.

I am no one’s judge, and I have much to answer for in many areas.  I love the Lord and His free gift of life that leads us to Him.

But I have to tell you that this prosperity teaching, so prevalent in the church, scares me.  It is like a cancer that gnaws on the inner man, filling him with doubt, causing him to loose focus on the Master and look only to “things”.  As the faithful fall into this teaching, they give to get, and when the getting isn’t happening, they give more and more.

What a scheme!

For the wages of prosperity teaching is poverty, not only financially, but more importantly spiritually, since the “promise” of God to supply ($$) bountifully was not kept.  How can I trust Him with my soul, if He can’t even double my givings.

Alas, the prosperity adherent is filled with doubt, eventually becoming hardened to the real message of God’s love and forgiveness, His sustaining in times of trial and trouble, His mercy in the midst of struggles and disappointments.

He is good.  Life can be hard.  Trust in Him.  (Not his gifts!)

Acts 7:27

But the man who was wronging his neighbor thrust him aside, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge over us?

Acts 7:35

“This Moses, whom they rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’—this man God sent as both ruler and redeemer by the hand of the angel who appeared to him in the bush.

These last two sets of verses speak of the same message that Steven preached to the hardened Jews, just before they threw him to his death, hurling rocks and boulders on his body to kill this saint.

Lets compare what the Israeli described Moses as, and what the Christian Steven actually defined him as.

Both said he was a ruler.

The Israeli called Moses a judge, and in Moses ministry to the fledgling nation of Israel, he certainly became a judge, and to the nation of Israel as a whole, the greatest judge to have lived.

Steven though, changed the term judge to redeemer.  What?  Did Steven try to push some revisionist history?  Was he trying to rewrite the books, making Moses something the Israelis did not believe?

Steven emphasized a greater, more positive aspect of Moses ministry.
He was a judge that is true.  I don’t think Steven is arguing that.  I think Steven is declaring a greater truth, a truth that emphasizes Moses ministry as a redeemer of the nation from the clutches of Egypt.

Moses was a judge, a revered man of God who was elevated to the highest of honors.  As a judge of Israel, he had no peer, until the Greater One appeared.

And the Greater One is not only the ultimate Judge, deserving of all respect and honor, but the Deliverer and Redeemer, without Whom we would have no hope.

Thanks for joining me in this study.  Hope to visit with you in our next post as we look at the Greek term δίκη which is commonly translated vengeance, judgment, punish in the New Testament.

Be Blessed.

I look forward to comments and discussion.  May the Lord give you an understanding heart and a willing spirit to consider the Bible and all it’s wealth.


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Judge Judge Judge – δικαίωμα – Verse List for Study 8

Because of the CrossFind the full list of verses for the word dikaiōma below


Luke 1:6 And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord.

Romans 1:32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Romans 2:26 So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision?

Romans 5:16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification.

Romans 5:18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.

Romans 8:4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Hebrews 9:1 Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly place of holiness.

Hebrews 9:10 but deal only with food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until the time of reformation.

Revelation 15:4 Who will not fear, O Lord,
and glorify your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come
and worship you,
for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

Revelation 19:8 it was granted her to clothe herself
with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

Thanks for joining me in this study.  Hope to visit with you in our next post as we look at the Greek term δικαστής which is commonly translated judge in the New Testament.

Be Blessed.

 

I look forward to comments and discussion.  May the Lord give you an understanding heart and a willing spirit to consider the Bible and all it’s wealth.


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Judge Judge Judge – δικαίωμα – Study 8-B

Because of the CrossThanks for returning to this series on “Judge Judge Judge” and my feeble attempt to understand a believers responsibility and right to make judgments.

Another purpose of this series hopefully is to understand the believers restriction on judgement. 

What can a Christian judge?  How is he to judge?  What is prohibited in the Christian life to judge.  So many questions and concerns. 

Our eighth Greek word related to judging is…

dikaiōma

δικαίωμα – dikaiōma – righteousness, ordinance, judgment, justification

This word is found 10 times in 10 verses within the New Testament.  A full listing of all verses may be found in a post to follow for your self study.  I will consider the verses that are not clear, that create questions in my mind, with the remaining verses left for the reader to ponder.

Our next verse is Romans 8:4

Romans 8:4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
In our next verse, I promise no extended rabbit trails as in Romans 5.  Wow Carl – that was a bit much, don’t ya know.
Romans 8:4 is using the same greek word as in Romans 5, and is speaking of the purpose of sending the Messiah in the flesh, and of condemning King Sin in the believers life.
King Sin hasn’t been condemned to no purpose.  God has purpose!
The purpose is that the righteous judgments of the law may be fulfilled in us.
Okay – Questions
  1. What law?
    • Law of sin and death – No – read Romans 8:1
    • Law of the Spirit of life – Yes – This is the law that is to be fulfilled in us
  2. How is the law described?
    • Law of freedom and liberty, joy and love and peace and hope and … No
      • These descriptors are of the FRUIT of a life subject to the rigteous requirement of this law
    • Law of righteous requirements – Yes
      • Take a few moments to consider the moral aspects of the Ten Commandments in the believers life.  See Commandments for Christians as a starting point.

My point is that the Christian Spirit filled/controlled life is a life that reflects the character of God, and that character is defined throughout the Word, but cogently in the Ten Commandments (Okay – only nine if you have read the posts above!)

Please do not consider the requirements of the law and the fruit of the Christian life to be identical.

Keep a clear head when reading the Word, depend on the Spirit of God for a clear head and open ear, and struggle with the Word.  Argue and test it.  Wrestle like Isaac did with the angle of God.

His name (life) was changed.  Our lives will change as we understand more and obey

I look forward to comments and discussion.  May the Lord give you an understanding heart and a willing spirit to consider the Bible and all it’s wealth.   
*The idea of “might reign” will be addressed in a future post, dealing with “The Conditional Security of the Believer”

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Judge Judge Judge – δικαίωμα – Study 8-A

Because of the CrossThanks for returning to this series on “Judge Judge Judge” and my feeble attempt to understand a believers responsibility and right to make judgments.

Another purpose of this series hopefully is to understand the believers restriction on judgement. 

What can a Christian judge?  How is he to judge?  What is prohibited in the Christian life to judge.  So many questions and concerns. 

Our eighth Greek word related to judging is…

dikaiōma

δικαίωμα – dikaiōma – righteousness, ordinance, judgment, justification

This word is found 10 times in 10 verses within the New Testament.  A full listing of all verses may be found in a post to follow for your self study.  I will consider the verses that are not clear, that create questions in my mind, with the remaining verses left for the reader to ponder

Romans 5:16. 18

And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification.

Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.

Let’s visit on this verse for a wee spell, since Romans 5 has always been a difficult passage for me.

Romans 5  is a passage that Paul is writing to explain the imputation of sin on the human race due to the sinful action of one (Adam) and the imputation of righteousness on the human race due to the righteous act of One (the second Adam – Jesus).

But that can’t be right, since the sinful act of Adam effected all of humanity.  The righteous act of Jesus effected only those who are disciples.

So now I am confused still.

I suppose I need to find beyond our subject verses the qualifying verse within the context where Paul defines the subjects of forgiveness.

Romans 5:17

For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

That was easy!
But Paul speaks of justification and life for all men in verse 18.  I could take the seemingly easy way out and state that in this context “all men” refers only to believers.
Ya that makes it easy!
Kinda like when Paul used the same term in verse 12 when speaking of every individual who has ever walked on the earth!
Dang – Maybe not…
So lets try to figger this out

Many & Much More

Paul begins to use the terms “many” and “much more” in the following passage.  But I definitely need some clarification so…
Definition time!
Use much if the noun is non-countable (e.g., water, sand).
Use many if the noun is countable (e.g., oranges, children).  (
(Check out this site for help with grammar related issues)
The choice between much and many depends on the noun it is describing. …
When using much, the noun will always be singular; it cannot be plural.
Many is used to describe nouns or nouns that can be counted like books, ideas, leaves, and shoes.
When using many, the noun will always be plural.
(Check out this site for help with dictionary needs)
That helps somewhat.
Many describes something that is countable, but not definitive – I’m gonna use “multitudes” as a synonym to help me get some clarity
Much describes something that is not countable, and is singular.  I’m gonna use “a great quantity” as a synonym to help me get some clarity
Lets get context for this.

15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many (multitudes) died through one man’s trespass, much more (a greater quantity) have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many (multitudes).

So many died through a single act of disobedience!  This statement seems clear.  Verse 12 of the same chapter states the same.

Could the “much more” be referring to the effect of the act of obedience when compared with the act of disobedience. The free gift will have eternal effect on the ones who receive it, and depending on your view of hell, it will have an effect on those who do not receive the free gift.  It is possible.

Could the “much more” refer to the power/authority of the act of obedience compared with the power/authority of the act of disobedience?  I kinda think this makes sense, especially when we consider the topic of reigning that comes up in the next few verses.

16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification.

This verse contains our study word – please don’t think I have abandoned the original purpose of the study.  I will get back to it!  I just wanna figger this thought process out!

17 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

Okay – I think I am getting some clarity – I hope I can communicate it to y’all.

Notice the term “reign” in our passage.  Paul begins this thought here and continues in Romans 5:21 and 6:12.  Paul personifies sin and grace.

Think of it this way.  In the past, King Sin ruled over all the people, holding them under the grip of death.  Jesus enters the scene, deposes King Sin and offers the new Kingdom to all who receive it.

We are in the transition time right now.

I think it is like when David was anointed King of Israel by Samuel.  In God’s sight David was the King, but Israel didn’t recognize him as such.  Just like the world does not recognize the Messiah as it’s true King.  Come to think of it, we are like the band of men that followed David while he was being persecuted by King Saul.

But I digress into discussing the Kingdom of God.  Paul is describing a kingdom where Sin reigned for a time, but now Grace can (and should) reign in a believers life.

Sin or Grace?  It is somewhat surprising that Paul is not comparing sin with obedience, or sin with righteousness.  No – he contrasts Sin with Grace.

So – vs 17 gives the two possibilities.

  • Because of one disobedience – death reigned upon all through Adam.
  • Because of one obedience – life reigns upon all through Jesus, (who receive the abundance of grace).

18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.

This is the verse that started my inner turmoil this morning, where Paul speaks of “all men” being justified.

19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.

Again, Paul seems to be equating “the many” sinners with “the many” that will be made righteous.  There are some who look to this verse (and passage) and teach of a universal (eventual) salvation for all men.

Oh my heart wishes for this, and yet at this point in my pilgrimage, I haven’t found enough in the Word to advance, or even defend the position.

20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,

This verse could support my current thinking that the trespass had power/authority (through the law) but grace (through the life of Christ) had greater power/authority

21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

  • Sin reigned in death
  • Grace might reign* through righteousness, leading to eternal life.

Two possibilities for the human race, for you.

So, although a bit of a detour, I needed to resolve some of these issues for my own sake.  If you followed along, let me know of your thoughts on Romans 5.  It is difficult in its initial reading, and only got worse as I dug, but to reduce the words of this post, I will refrain from further discussion on it.

Regarding the original reason for the post, this word for judgement is translated as justification.  It is the declaration of a judicial sentence by the Judge of all, a statement or sentence that, per context is favorable for us.

His free gift has provided the basis of this judicial decision (judgement) a legal decision and declaration to all who receive this gift.

The courts are an awe invoking environment.  Even the kangaroo courts I was associated with in my youth, inspired a sense of dominance and authority over my life.  Alas, that is the purpose of the courts.  At least one purpose, and that is to declare the condition of my life in the future.  A judgement from an outside source will effect my life; I have no power to avoid the consequence.

But in this grace filled judicial sentence, I am invited to enter into cooperation with the Judge, to become one who is involved and led into a life of righteousness.

Where grace reigns and following God is a duty and a pleasure.


 

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Judge Judge Judge – δικαιοκρισία – Verse List for Study 7

Because of the Cross

This word is found 1 time in 1 verse within the New Testament. 

See previous study for entire list.

Still kinda anal about order in the series naming – Thanks for understanding!

 

 

I look forward to comments and discussion.  May the Lord give you an understanding heart and a willing spirit to consider the Bible and all it’s wealth.


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Judge Judge Judge – δικαιοκρισία –Study 7

Because of the Cross

Thanks for returning to this series on “Judge Judge Judge” and my feeble attempt to understand a believers responsibility and right to make judgments.

Another purpose of this series hopefully is to understand the believers restriction on judgement. 

What can a Christian judge?  How is he to judge?  What is prohibited in the Christian life to judge.  So many questions and concerns. 

Our seventh greek word related to judging is…

dikaiokrisia

δικαιοκρισία – dikaiokrisia – righteous judgment

This word is found 1 time in 1 verse within the New Testament.  A full listing of all verses may be found below for your self study – ha one verse!

Romans 2:5

But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.

Ok – so this verse is an interesting verse since context lets me think of a couple scenarios.

Let me explain.

The issue in my mind is the identification of the “O man” in verse 1.

Most of my Christian life, I have considered the one Paul refers to as “O man” in Romans 2:1 to be that of the lost person- the one who has no knowledge of God, alienated from God in his works and thoughts.

Consider Paul’s larger context of the book of Roman’s.  This is a church that is split down the middle with the Jew  and the Gentile being at odds with one another.  Consider Chapter 14, for an extended discussion on the two groups and Paul’s concern over their co-existence.  The church was experiencing turf wars over food and holidays!

It seems to be a bit of a thing for Paul, a topic that could destroy the work of God, and allow for condemnation to be introduced into the discussion.

Rom 14:20

Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. 

Rom 14:23

But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats,

Is Paul writing Romans as a full blown description of the gospel in order to give an argument for “One Church” with no division?
Is Paul’s message to the Romans the destructive nature of two bodies with a “church”?
Does Paul supply a teaching that extends the full breath of the gospel in order to make an argument for unity within a body?
Consider the following structure for the opening chapters.
Chapter 1 – Introduction and Condemnation on “them”
This “them” within the first chapter is usually considered to be referring to the lost.  The passage under consideration begins with verse 18, describing “them” as suppressing the truth.
Who is suppressing the truth? The lost?  Is this accurate?  Consider
  • Vs 21-23 states
    • “They” knew God, but did not honor Him
      • Could this be the lost being referred to?
        • When did the lost ever know God?
    • “They” became futile in his thinking
      • Could this be the lost being referred to?
        • When did the lost “become” futile – they have always lived in futility until salvation is recieved
    • “Their” foolish heart became darkened
      • The heart of the lost is darkened, not became darkened?
    • “They” claimed to be wise
      • I see this as applicable to the lost.  Claiming wisdom seems to be a favorite past time of the lost!
    • “They” exchanged the glory of God for images
      • This is what got me thinking.  When have the “lost” had the glory of God in their possession to exchange?  The lost are under condemnation.
  • Vs 24-27 – Paul uses the pronoun “them” through out this passage.  Is Paul describing the lost when referring to “them”?
    • This is very possible, and yet it could be describing any group of people since the fall also.
  • Vs 32 is interesting though
    • “They” know God righteous decree, that those who practice such things deserve to die
      • Adam performed one act of sin and died.  He didn’t practice sin, resulting in death.  He experienced death upon his first sin.
      • Could the one command “not to eat” be considered God’s righteous decree?
    • They give approval to those who practice sin.

Who is the “they”, the apostle is describing?

Chapter 2 begins with a summary statement about judging.  Remember there are no chapter divisions in the original text!

The conclusion of the previous verses is that “they” and “O man”, perform the same sinful actions.  So who are the “they”?

Let me ask you a general question.  Considering Paul’s audience…

  • Who liked to judge others?
  • Who knew the judgement of God best?
  • Who claimed the riches of His kindness, forbearance and patience?
  • Who would have the hardest and most impenitent heart in Paul’s thinking?

Check out the following.  Paul continues with a passage describing a level playing field.  Judgement and glory will not be based on ethnicity!  (There may have been some in the church that relied on this thinking!)

The passage describes the factor of judgement as works, not ethnicity.

Rom 2:6 – 11

He will render to each one according to his works:

to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life;

but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.

There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek,

but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek.

For God shows no partiality.

As an aside, Jesus and John the Baptist spent oodles of time comparing the dirty gentiles with the self righteous Jews, always lifting those filthy gentiles up, in comparison to the good good Jews.

So, if I am following Paul’s thoughts, “they” are the historic Jewish nation, and “O man” is the Jew in the Roman church.

The Jewish nation knew the righteous decree of God.  They exchanged the glory of God for idols.  Reread the first chapter, starting in verse 18, and consider.

So why not just say it Paul?

He did a Nathan!

Nathan set King David up by describing an event, and asking for judgement, little knowing that David would be judging himself.

2 Samuel 12:1-7

And the LORD sent Nathan to David. He came to him and said to him, “There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor.

The rich man had very many flocks and herds,

but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. And he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children. It used to eat of his morsel and drink from his cup and lie in his arms, and it was like a daughter to him.

Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the guest who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.”

Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the LORD lives, the man who has done this deserves to die,

and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.”

Nathan said to David, “You are the man! 

David would never have judged himself as harshly as he did that stranger.

The Jewish population within the church, while this passage is being read, are condemning these awful folks, not unlike David, until it is too late and then they realize they are guilty.

Who needed to realize they were sinners like the rest of the church population?  Sure they had privilege (chapter 9 – 11) but their heart was in worse shape than their brothers in the Lord.

So long story short, I think “O man” in chapter 2 verse 1 is the Jewish folk in the church,  If so, then Paul’s use of the strengthened term for judgement makes sense, since the group that would know the commands, deserved the greatest / most righteous judgement.

Wow – that was a long post.

Judgement shows up a lot in Romans 2, with various Greek words being used.  We shall return to this passage in the near future, but for now (or in the near future) when you read Romans, take a fresh look at the first three chapters.

Thanks for joining me in this study.  Hope to visit with you in our next post as we look at the Greek term δικαίωμα which is commonly translated righteousness, ordinance, judgment, justification in the New Testament.

Be Blessed.

I look forward to comments and discussion.  May the Lord give you an understanding heart and a willing spirit to consider the Bible and all it’s wealth.


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