Saturday, May 9, 2009

Bittersweet Refinements: XIX-XXI

Bittersweet Refinements is another book that I have been given to publish. If it gets to sounding an awfully lot like a broken player stuck on repeating the same old wrong song over and over again that is because it is to a fairly great extent. For most of it contains rewritten parts of the Bitter/Sweets that were published here before. Hopefully, it will get to sounding a lot better to you very soon, and for the benefit of those who do not have access to multiple versions of our Heavenly Father's Holy Bible, numbered Scripture references in the text (for example, [1]) provide links to such through Bible Gateway this time around. The same also applies to verses included in the text.

Chapter XIX
The Freedom To Choose

And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. [Joshua 24:15 AMP]

Yes, we do have a certain amount of what is commonly referred to as being “freewill.” For we could not be of any true and lasting value to our Heavenly Father without it[1].

It is, however, extremely limited. In fact, it is only in regards to the choice that we are given to make about wanting to truly accept our Heavenly Father as truly being our own Heavenly Father that we can be confident of there not being any divine intervention involved[2].

No, this is not to say that we are all on our own in this. For no one can come to our Heavenly Father except through His only begotten Son[3], and no one can come to His only begotten Son unless our Heavenly Father draws them[4].

Yes, it would appear that not all are given a choice in the matter. That is, of course, unless you are of the opinion that all who fail to reach their own age of accountability before their own time as a part of this world never counted in the first place.

No, it has not been revealed to me just exactly how it will work in our Heavenly Father’s Kingdom Of Heaven. For that is on a strictly need to know basis[5], and I obviously do not need to know—albeit only at this time[6]. For if I did need to know, it would have been already revealed to me[7].

Anyway, what I do know is that it will be as it should be in the end[8]. For no one will be forced to spend all of eternity with our Heavenly Father in His Kingdom Of Heaven as an heir to all that is His in glory against their will[9].

Yes, there are many who insist that none of us are given any choice in the matter at all. This is, of course, a result of unbridled Calvinism in the extreme.

No, it is not that they do not have any Scriptures to point to. For it is written: The Lord has made everything [to accommodate itself and contribute] to its own end {and} His own purpose--even the wicked [are fitted for their role] for the day of calamity {and} evil. [Proverbs 16:4 AMP]

The ninth chapter of Romans appears to make it all the more clear that our Heavenly Father creates some for glory and all of the rest for destruction, but I would think that most (if not all) would want to believe that the parts that appear to being saying such are meant to be rhetorical in nature. For who in their right-mind[10] would want to spend all of eternity with someone so cruel? After all, what would there be to prevent Him from changing His mind about even the elect[11] somewhere down the line if so many of us are of no concern to Him[12]?

{1}Ephesians 5:22-32; {2}John 1:12-13; {3}John 14:6; {4}John 6:44; {5}2 Corinthians 12:4; {6}John 20:29; {7}2 Peter 1:3; {8}Romans 8:18-21; {9}John 6:66-67; {10}1 Corinthians 2:6-16; {11}Matthew 24:21-31; {12}Job 34:12-15.

Chapter XX
Command and Control

For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he
may have mercy on them all.
[Romans 11:32 NIV]

I like to refer to them as being “eye-poppers.” For when I “find”[1] such a verse, it feels like my eyes are about to pop out of their sockets.

Romans 11:32 is such a verse. For it serves as written confirmation of the absolute truth of the matter truly being that we are not nearly as free to do as we like as what we have been so strongly encouraged to believe[2].

Alas, is it not any wonder that seldom a sermon is heard that is based upon that verse? For hearing it preached that our Heavenly Father is the reason why none of us can really be good in, and of, ourselves is not something that far too many want to hear[3].

Yes, many would argue that the main reason why there are not that many sermons based upon Romans 11:32 is because it represents old news. For it is already well established that all are born into sin[4], and it has been widely taught that Romans 11:32 speaks to that.

Ah, but for that to be true, Ezekiel 18:20 would have to be false. For it is written: The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him. [Ezekiel 18:20 NIV]

No, this is not to deny that all have sinned. For it is also written: There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins. [Ecclesiastes 7:20 NIV]

Nonetheless, let it be widely known and well understood that what Romans 11:32 is really addressing is something much more personal. For it is the same today as it was during the days of the Prophet Ezekiel: For every living soul belongs to me, the father as well as the son--both alike belong to me. The soul who sins is the one who will die. [Ezekiel 18:4 NIV]

Yes, since none of us would purposely subject ourselves to all that our Heavenly Father truly has[5], it is naturally inconceivable that the Creator of us all would. For who from amongst us would allow something that they had created for their own good pleasure[6] to continue to fail to meet their expectations if there was anything that they could do about it? After all, would it not be preferable to just destroy it and start all over rather than leave it as a reminder of a miserable failure? That is, unless it did not mean all that much to them in the first-place, of course.

No, that is not something that applies to our Heavenly Father. For it is written: “Therefore, O house of Israel, I will judge you, each one according to his ways, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!” [Ezekiel 18:30-32 NIV]

Neither should it be assumed that it must be that there is nothing that He can do about our inherent unrighteousness. For it is also written: “If he snatches away, who can stop him? Who can say to him, ‘What are you doing?’” [Job 9:12 NIV]

Yes, there are many who would point to a discussion between our Heavenly Father and Moses as being an indication of why we are still around. For it is written: "I have seen these people," the LORD said to Moses, "and they are a stiff-necked people. Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation." But Moses sought the favor of the LORD his God. "O LORD," he said, "why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, `It was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth'? Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people. Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: `I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.' " Then the LORD relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened. [Exodus 32:9-14 NIV]

Be assured that they do have a point. For it is because of the promise given to us all that we have hope[7].

Nonetheless, do not take too much stock in the premise that it is because of our Heavenly Father not wanting to appear unrighteous in the eyes of His enemies that is the real reason for why we still exist. For both the deceiver and the deceived are His to do with as He likes[8].

Yes, it is the very definition of bittersweet, but unless we are willing to conclude that our Heavenly Father must not be all that He actually says that He absolutely is, it must be accepted that even our sinfulness is by design[9]. For who could do anything against His will if He truly is all-powerful[10]? Moreover, would He not know all about the deed to be done even before it came to mind if He is truly all-knowing[11], and would He not actually be there at the very moment that it came to pass if He is truly always-present[12]?

No, this is not to say that we were created to sin. For the absolute truth of the matter truly is that we were created without the ability not to sin[13].

Yes, there is a big difference between the two, but what does it really matter if it cannot be accepted that our Heavenly Father truly is perfect in all of His most awesome ways[14]? For it may very well be that the Apostle Paul really was out of his mind[15] to place into writing the rest of the story to Romans 11:32: Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! "Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?" "Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?" For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen. [Romans 11:33-36 NIV]

{1}Isaiah 65:1-2; {2}Proverbs 16:33; {3}2 Timothy 4:2-4; {4}Romans 3:23; {5}Romans 8:20; {6}Philippians 2:13; {7}Galatians 3:26-29; {8}Job 12:16; {9}Colossians 1:16-17; {10}Psalms 33:6-11; {11}Psalms 94:11; {12}Psalms 139:1-16; {13}Proverbs 20:9; {14}Psalms 18:30-32; {15}2 Corinthians 11:16-29.

Chapter XXI
Law and Disorder

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one {point,} he has become guilty of all. [James 2:10 NAS]

No, it is not at all true that we are really nothing more than puppets on our Heavenly Father’s string. For how could we be found guilty of breaking His Law if it was not by our own actions that it was broken[1]?

Nonetheless, it would not be all that far-fetched to think of the reality of our situation in this world as having been given enough rope to hang ourselves[2]. That is, at least not from our own very limited ground-based points-of-view[3]. For our Heavenly Father could have created us just as invulnerable to the temptations of sin as He absolutely is[4].

On the other hand, it would be better if we did not, of course. For it is written: For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God {did:} sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and {as an offering} for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. [Romans 8:3-4 NAS]

Is this to say that our Heavenly Father’s Law failed to meet its objective? MAY IT NEVER BE!!! For it is also written: So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. [Romans 5:18-21 NAS]

In other words, we (as in regards to all of mankind) have been in need of a Savior ever since sin entered into this world through the disobedience of Adam in the Garden of Eden[5], but before the Law was given through Moses[6], sin was not generally taken into account as being unlawful by mankind[7]. Therefore, the Law was given in order to make it easier for us to see just how desperately in need of a Savior we naturally are[8].

Yes, much of that certainly appears to support the notion that we are all born into sin, but be assured that to believe in such a way as this is to miss the point. For being physically born into a world full of sin is not the same as to be born sinful[9]!

{1}Colossians 3:25; {2}Romans 7:14-25; {3}Colossians 3:2; {4}James 1:13-15; {5}Genesis 3:1-15; {6}John 1:17; {7}Romans 5:12-14; {8}1 Timothy 1:8-11; {9}Ezekiel 18:20.

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