Change in Trading Dynamics: The Key to Successful Health System Reform

Change in Trading Dynamics: The Key to Successful Health System Reform

After $6B spent on federal campaigns, the country has chosen its leaders. Yet, problems with our health system still linger and fester. Physicians, the last bulwark of patient advocacy, have a ubiquitous role in reforming the system and must pick up the cudgels.

Even after passage of PPACA (Obamacare), issues like access to care, quality of service, insurance coverage, malpractice, over-utilization of resources, etc. continue to be at the forefront of the debate. However, all of these segmentations boil down to 3 general categories, viz., waste, fraud and abuse in the system, mired by “moral hazard” of having health insurance. Hopefully, all the preceding contending interests will be addressed with civility.

In my humble opinion, shaped by years of experience in the system, the above general categories do not constitute the root or core problem facing the entire healthcare industry. Worse yet, the proposed measures for reform will arbitrarily limit provision of services cloaked behind “evidence-based medicine” and will make future payment based on outcome that is uncertain or performance that is unpredictable. Assuming, for the sake of argument that all these issues come close to an ideal solution, these will still default to where they started due to the structural nature of the problems that rest on human nature.

People take action based on rational choice and personal interest unique to each person. The strategy then for health system reform is to accept this reality of human nature and align it to an understanding about a key flaw in the financial underpinning related to payment methodology of our current health system. Human nature being what is, the only remaining recourse is to change the structure of trading dynamics that initiates payment.

Price and Payment

To start with, our current payment system, whether public or private, healthcare or otherwise, is oblivious to the opaque pricing mechanics and corresponding arbitrary payment. Global markets thrive in such a scenario. “Buyers” have needs, wants and expectations of quality and service that have to be filled by “sellers“. Only the “sellers” determine and set the price according to modifications in demand and supply. The buyer either pays that price, wait or haggle for discount or not buy altogether. When both “seller and buyer” agree with the price, payment is made and trade is completed. Unfortunately, the nature of this trading system favors more the seller than the buyer because of “asymmetric costing” information. To illustrate, a seller may price a product or service for $100 and may discount it down by 50%. As price went down to $50, the buyer sees a 50% discount as a good deal, and pays up. If the production cost of the product/service amounts to $10, but hidden from the buyer, then he just paid the seller a 5x profit mark up. This fog in “costing” and lack of transparency in “pricing determinant” favor the seller as he is the only one who knows the production cost and the spread/profit.

Extrapolating this to healthcare product/service, exorbitant medical inflation occurs as “suppliers” mark-up the price way above their costs. Their expectation is to be paid, at least, above “break-even point”. True, it is crucial for the viability of any business to have profit. But there can be overpricing, overcharging, some call “gouging” that affects the entire spectrum of the “supply chain” in the healthcare system. Supplier-to-end-user, each along the way, marks up the price to profit from the trade. Everyone is affected as all can be buyer or seller depending upon where each one is along the throughput of the trading system. No wonder, healthcare expenditures turned exponential since private insurance came into being and in 1965 when a federal insurance, i.e., Medicare, became an mandated program.

Mechanism of fraud?

Historically, payment is made, by and large, from decision of bureaucrats in the federal or private insurance based on the price charged by the provider of the product or service. They get that money from federal income taxes or private insurance premiums. As payment comes not from their own money but from others’, public and private insurance just “opened there wallet“. As their “skin not in the game”, little effort is expended to negotiate down the price and even when done through contracting, the “spread” may still be too high. When it became apparent that the upward trajectory of spending is unsustainable, cost control measures were instituted, akin to price control. Federal responses like RBRVS and SGR for physicians and DRG for hospitals came into being. Private insurance increased premiums, tweaked qualifying requirements through adverse “selection bias” and/or exclude pre-existing conditions. Other stakeholders like pharmaceuticals, device companies and different suppliers responded in a similar fashion to maintain profitability.

Lack of transparency in “true cost “

What is apparent in these arbitrary responses is a pervasive theme of a pricing structure sans openness as to production cost. Only when there is transparency in production cost in relation to price charged, can a more rational payment system develop through a change in trading dynamics. When the buyer knows the “spread” between actual cost and selling price, he is in a level-playing field with the seller and can better negotiate down the price much closer to “true cost“. This is the essence of a competitive market-based economy. Medical inflation will be replaced throughout the whole gamut of trading by deflation in prices to a more reasonable level, while profit will still be made, although lesser than before. The eventual agreed price will then be more affordable and the health system sustainable and durable. With “information symmetry” between buyer and seller, the trading dynamics will change. As in the preceding illustration when the seller priced a product or service at $100, but discounted it down to $50, now that the production cost is transparent and is actually $10, instead of the buyer happily paying $50 as before, he can now negotiate the price even lower, e.g. $11 or 10% profit from “true cost”. The ability of buyers to participate in the decision as to how much actual profit comes from the trade, brings parity to the parties involved in the trade. The seller can continue to present projected % profit for his product, but transparency gives buyer/payer additional parameter to make final decision to complete the trade.

Summary

Reform of the healthcare system is complex when all the “moving parts“, as important as they are, detract us from the core problem, which is a payment system that marginalized and ignored trading dynamics. The payers, public or private, must fulfill their fiduciary responsibility and obligation to taxpayers and premium payers by demanding information about production cost and selling price before paying up.

Knowledge of % Profit (spread) should be part of “buying drivers” for consumers to be in equal footing with the seller. The system should not limit “price determinants” to supply/demand, needs, wants, expectations and ability to pay. They should include price differential with production cost throughout the whole gamut of the supply-chain. Physicians are the only ones that have attempted costing-transparency with RBRVS which slowed down their contribution to the rate of medical inflation. Other larger components of healthcare expenditures, i.e, hospitals, allied personnel, pharmaceuticals and device companies continue to wrap themselves in mystery. Consequently, healthcare inflation continued unabated. Even when the political winds sway towards conservatism or progressivism, the moral imperative is to bridge this chiasm. The challenge to our present generation is whether to keep the same culture in “buying/selling” or develop a new one, to adopt parity vs. disparity, opacity vs. transparency in the trading system. Which world and global market do we want to create? Shall we think outside-the-box or not? Only by looking at the culture and foundation of “buying-and-selling” through the prism of impartiality and even-handedness, will the payment system in healthcare system and other markets be equitable and reformed. With more healthcare dollars saved, a new dawn is in the horizon when payment is equitable, services not curtailed and access to healthcare available to all, whether the economy is yawning or booming.

Original post: June 8, 2018

N.B.

June 2011: Condensed version of Master Thesis accepted at New England College, Master in Healthcare Administration

Pentecost, speaking in tongues a miracle?

Pentecost, speaking in tongues a miracle?

When something happens that is impossible, unbelievable and never-happened before, we call that a “miracle”. It is understood as such, because it actually happened, still unbelievable though unexpectedly and is unexplainable. It loses it “miraculousness” the moment it becomes explainable.

A case in point is the “miracle” of telephone pioneered by Alexander Graham Bell. If someone in the 19th century sees a person speaking to another, miles apart from each other, that could have been impossible and unexplainable, a miracle. Now, we know how and do not classify that as a miracle. Bell’s patent covered “the method of, and apparatus for, transmitting vocal or other sounds telegraphically … by causing electrical undulations, similar in form to the vibrations of the air accompanying the said vocal or other sound“(1). It was sound/vocal energy transmitted through electrical wires to be converted to sound by the hearer.

Another example is about moving vehicles that transport people from one place to another. Before this became a reality, at an era of horse-drawn carriage, for someone to see a bus, car or train, it must be amazing and miraculous. Yet now, this is so common place and explainable by switching one energy to another and conserving it(2).

Similarly, knowing and seeing how easy ships sail, planes fly, electronic gadgets respond, etc. somehow they lose their “wow-effect”. The “law of diminishing returns” also applies.

Miracle explained?

The preceding discoveries bring me to the issue of the so-called miracle of “speaking in other tongues “ at the time of Pentecost narrated in Acts Chapter 2. This event was indeed unbelievable, first-time occurrence and unexplainable as far as mechanism of how this happened. There is “ongoing debate as to whether the apostles spoke an angelic language and the miracle included the understanding of an angelic language by the crowd, or if the miracle was simply the apostles speaking in foreign languages that they themselves had never learned(3), but was heard in the language of their foreign-birth origin by the Jewish crowd who were born and raised in different parts of the world.

But could this phenomenon be explained? Recent observations on auditory science led to social media craze on how different people hear audio recording of “yanni or laurel” (4,5). Personally, I heard “yanni” but others heard “laurel”. This difference appears to be reproducible by changes in pitch, whether low or high and depending upon prior experience of the person.

Additionally, when someone you know who is monolingual suddenly was heard bilingual, was there an infusion of the ability to speak another language? Did the apostles at Pentecost actually spoke different languages(infused in their brains as in Matrix movie phenomenon), or spoke their native tongue but the audience was enabled to hear their own respective birth languages? At that time, those who heard did not yet have “spirit-baptism” to have this capability, although afterwards some were baptized (Acts 2:38-41; Acts 10:46). Could the apostles have spoken (Acts 2:1–16) Galilean but heard/perceived differently by people in the languages of their birthplaces?

As narrated in Acts 2:5-14, there were Jews in Jerusalem for the Pentecost who came from different places where they were born and spoke also their birth-languages (bilingual). So, could the apostles have spoken actual Hebrew language but was perceived to be speaking other languages of those Jews in attendance. This appears to be so in:

Acts 2:7-8 King James Version (KJV)

And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?”

Notice that “every man”, meaning every apostle, was “heard” by people/foreigner Jews in the “tongue, wherein (they) were born”. If the apostles, whose language was Galilean-Hebrew, actually spoke different languages suddenly, then they were not only bilingual but multi-lingual and each speaking in multiple languages at the same time. For emphasis, those who heard them understood them to be speaking their native languages all at the same time making it sound “gibberish” or “drunk(Acts 2:13,15).

Recent observations in speech science have acknowledged, thus,

A lot of research has shown that bilinguals are pretty good at accommodating speech variation across languages, but there’s been a debate as to how,” said lead author Kalim Gonzales, a psychology doctoral student at the University of Arizona. “There are two views: One is that bilinguals have different processing modes for their two languages — they have a mode for processing speech in one language and then a mode for processing speech in the other language. Another view is that bilinguals just adjust to speech variation by recalibrating to the unique acoustic properties of each language.“(6).

So there was a plausible explanation that the apostles did speak their own Hebrew/Galilean language (not angelic) but was perceived by the hearers (foreigners-Jews) in their own birth-country, all at the same time. There is therefore a mechanism involved in this phenomenon of “speaking in tongues” but not in the way most people were taught for years in churches.

Summary

The mechanism of how “speaking in tongues” can plausibly be explained, understood and therefore may not be called now as a “miracle“. However, the why, when and where it happened can still be considered a “miraculous event”. An energizing power of the Holy Spirit came about and actually caused this to happen at that particular point in time as promised and prophesied. See also 1 Cor 12:10, 30; 13:1;14:5, 13, 26–27;Joel 2:28-32;John 7:39,16:7; Acts 1:8;19:6.

References

1. Alexander Graham Bell. Retrieved 5/22/18 from https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Graham_Bell

2. Vehicle. Retrieved 5/22/2018 from https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vehicle

3. Robert Alan King. Pentecost of Tongues. Retrieved 6/20/2018 at

https://biblecommentator.com/tongues-pentecost-miraculous-hearing-gift-languages/

4. Neuroscientist explains. Wired. Retrieved 6/20/2018 at

https://youtu.be/3km896XZ-J0

5. Yanny or Laurel. Retrieved 4/22/18 from https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yanny_or_Laurel

6. How bilinguals switch between languages. Retrieved 5/20/18 from

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130520163859.htm

Original Post: June 4, 2018

FATHER’S DAY_USA.2014

FATHER’S DAY_USA.2014

Ever since it was championed by Sonora Smart Dodd, Father’s Day has been commemorated throughout the U.S.A. on the 3rd Sunday of June since 1910 (1). Today, on Fathers’s Day, what could be more apropos and timely to honor it than to know who the “Father” in the Old Testament is? Is he the same or different from that referred to in the New Testament? Is the Father in the Old Testament the same as the Father of Jesus in the New Testament? To provide context to these questions, consider a parallel question:

Who is the God of the Old/ New Testament?

Many grew up in a Christian family and were taught that the God of the Old Testament is the Father of Jesus. And, that of the New Testament is Jesus and/or his Father, as they “are one”. It may as easily be interpreted as Jesus and YHVH ELOHIM in the Old Testament “are one” and the same, by incarnation. Does being “one” mean indistinct or inseparable? Are they similar or different? In what way if any or when are they the same or distinct from each other? Is this issue a mere exercise in futility, unnecessary minutiae, pure semantics or “splitting hairs”?

Although not a recent phenomenon, these questions are confusing and distracting to many today. Even in mid-second century Rome, a prominent Christian leader by the name of Marcion who had a thriving shipbuilding business at the time of Justin, was confused (2). Does it really matter who is the God of the Old and/or New Testament? Yes, it does. In fact, about 90 C.E., John who wrote “I and Father are one”(John 10:30) also said that life eternal hinges on this understanding: “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3). The Father, “the only true God” and Jesus are distinct and separate from one another, even when they “are one”. Always remember what Paul said in Heb 11:1,

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.”

We need “assurance” that depends on evidence-based facts, not empty promises, unsubstantiated teaching, nor hope against hope. The answer to these questions may help enhance our understanding of the subject, thus solidifying even more our handle on the truth and fortifying our faith.

Old Testament God

There are many so-called “gods”, and polytheism is more than a phenomenon; it is a reality. While it is tempting to deny this fact, the presence of manygods” is acknowledged to be true. And yes, this has been a crucial fact in the Old Testament, such that Israel has to be directed away from these real “gods” and commanded not to worship them. Instead, worship has to be to one particular and specific God. There was/is only one God to be worshipped. This is the basis from where developed the Jewish “Shema” doctrine of,

Thou shalt have no other gods before me (Ex.20:3) …above all gods”(Ps 95:3; 135:5)(

See also Reference #3)

Who, was the God of Adam, Noah, Enoch, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses?

This question maybe resolved if one accepts the fact that this God introduced himself with different names at different times. Strong’s Concordance helps in finding the derivation of the original words translated in English. And, while names are different, they refer to only one, the Creator. Getting right to the point, consider these documentation and confirmation:

Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning, God created the heaven(s) and the earth”.

Here, without doubt, this God was introduced as the Creator. But, this particular God was not identified and was described as a uni-plural generic “Elohiym” (Strong Concordance 0430/plural form being supreme). But, in Ex.6:2-3, this God was identified with different descriptive names,

And God (Elohiym 0430) spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the LORD (Yhovah 03068) : And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God (0410 El) Almighty (Shadday/07706), but by my name JEHOVAH (Yhovah 03068) was I not known to them”.

This Creator God was God Almighty/ “El Shadday” to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob but to Moses he was known as Lord/”Yahveh:YHVH. Moreover, in Isa 45:11-12, this Creator God was also referred to as Lord,

Thus saith the LORD (03068/Yhovah), the Holy One (06918/qadowsh) of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me. I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.

That particular Creator God was The Lord God, the Holy One of Israel. Post Old-Testament times, this Creator God was also identified more specifically as the “Word”. In John 1:1-3, he said

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

John then went further to identify this Creator God to be The Begotten Son, as in

So the Word became human and….And we have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father” (John 1:14, NLT).

To make it even clearer, John reiterated that this Creator God was Jesus, as in

The one who existed from the beginning is the one we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is Jesus Christ, the Word of life” (1 John 1:1).

The Creator God was Word God. Paul also testified, that the Creator God was Jesus ,

He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of creation. For by Him all things were created…all things have been created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (Col. 1:15-17 NASB).

This Creator God, who “fathered” all creation, incarnated into Jesus, the Christ/Messiah, as in Isa:9:6,

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father(01,ab), The Prince of Peace.

From the preceding verses, one sees the “evidentiary facts” that the same specific and distinct person is known as: God:(Elohiym 0430) LORD: (Yhovah 03068) God (0410 El) Almighty (07706 Shadday) The “Holy One (06918/qadowsh) of Israel” The “Word” (3056/logos) “Begotten Son” (monogenes/3439) The “only Son of the Father” Jesus Christ, the Word of life (3056) First-born of Creation (prototokos/4416) Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father(01,ab), The Prince of Peace.

Changes in Name, Position and Function

All these descriptive positions, tasks, functions and changes in name at a particular time are no different from our own experience as humans. All of us have been children and have parents and grandparents. As we ourselves became parents, we left our description as children. After we have grandchildren, we are now called grandparents. Our position and function changed but we are still the same person. Likewise, previously, one maybe secretary in an organization, but then can become vice-president or president. That person is no longer addressed as Mr Secretary; rather called Mr. President. The same person but different function, task and time. In general, unless described otherwise, when the word “God” is used in the Old Testament, it refers to El Shaddai/YHVH ELOHIM who incarnated to Jesus, the Word; in the New Testament, it refers to the FATHER of Jesus. The Creator God and the only one commanded to be worshipped in the Old Testament was “El Shaddai” to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob but to Moses he was “YHVH“. The same person was the “Word Creator” even before there was any creation. Subsequently, he incarnated, dwelt among humans and assumed a different function and name as “Jesus-Yhusuah/Massiach-Messiah, the Redeemer” (John 4:26). As an incarnate/ flesh-composed person, he was “begotten Son”.

This first official introduction ever, of the Father-Son relationship took place at the river Jordan when Jesus was baptized (Matt.3:13-17;Mk 1:9-11; Luke 3:21). The Synoptic gospels testified that the Father introduced the Son, and conversely the Son also “declared” the FATHER (John 1:14,18) ; rightly so, as they knew each other from before the beginning of time. As he is the only one who had seen him, he was the perfect person to introduce his FATHER and ours as the “only true God” and commanded us to worship only his Father. No doubt, this is fool-proof identification of both of them as distinct and separate (I Cor.8:6) , even when they “are one”. Subsequently, he was then “declared Son of God” (spirit-composed) by the resurrection from the dead ( Rom.1:4 ) He is also now “head of the spiritual church…firstborn from the dead (Col.1:18), the “head and elder Brother” (Heb. 2:11) of his “fellows” (Ps.45:7; Heb.1:9 ) , the other “firstfruits” (I Cor.15:23; Rev. 14:4).

As a Creator God/Word of all that is known, whether angelic spirits, inanimate universe and all living things, this ” Son of God” is now creating from humans, “spirit-composed firstfruits/harvest” to be his “body/church” and subsequently in due time, the ” latter-fruits/harvest”. Indeed, an “upgrade” of his position and glory, all given by our “FATHER” and planned from the beginning, much before “time”.

Mechanism of How we are “Saved

The Word/El Shaddai/YHVH has to dis-empower himself, take-off his power, and incarnate as Jesus so that by being human, he could die as our “Passover” ( I Cor. 5:7 ). YHVH, being spirit and eternal, could not have died unless incarnated. Jesus’ divine power, being “flesh-blood” was not inherent in him but was spiritual powers/abilities given to him, at baptism in river Jordan, by the Father much like us humans with measured spirit-power given by the Father through the function of the Spirit ( Compare John 8:28, 19:11; Acts 1:5, 2:4; Luke 4:1 ). As the “FATHER” imputed the sins of mankind on the sin of the first Adam (I Cor. 15:45-50) at the garden of Eden and eternal death to all mankind, so was Jesus’/last Adam’s death (a consequence of sin) imputed to mankind ( Rom.5:12-21). His death was the propitiation/atoning sacrifice for our sins ( I John 2:2 ) and reconciled us to the “FATHER” ( II Cor. 5:8; Rom. 5:10; Col. 1:20-22 ); put us “at-one” with the “FATHER“. His death was only the beginning so that “death, where is thy sting?” ( I Cor. 15:55 ), will no longer have a hold on us. Having been reconciled, we are now “saved by his life” ( Rom.5:10 ). But, how are we saved by his life? How is this knowledge and understanding “life eternal” as in

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3)?

Here is how: Now that from “flesh/human” incarnate, Jesus was subsequently created by the Father as spirit-composed “Son of God” by the resurrection from the dead (higher than angelic spirits), Jesus “by his life” (after resurrection) is now creating his “body/church” of fellow “firstfruits“, “sons/daughters/children of God” and subsequently the “latter-fruits”. All spirit-composed, as in I Cor. 15:53,

“For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”

He has to be first, a “Son of God” before he can bring other “sons/daughters” to glory as their “Elder-Brother and “Head of the church”. He is developing us into his “body/church” through the workings of the Spirit in us that he could not have sent until after his resurrection from the dead, (saved by his life) as in:

When the Comforter comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about Me. But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Comforter will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” (John 14:25,26; 16:7).

This Spirit was sent at Pentecost (Acts 2) and getting into us to have power to develop into the “body/church” of Christ. We know about the preview of this mechanism in the garden of Eden. Eve was taken from “the rib” of Adam to show that the future church(Eve) will come from the “second and last Adam/ Jesus“. When the human Jesus resurrected from death and became spirit-composed as Son of God, he then sent (his) Holy Spirit of power to create the woman/church/Eve in a spiritual way to be his body. As the flesh Adam/Eve “… shall be one flesh”, so shall the spirit Adam/Christ/Son of God shall be “one” with the spiritual church/Eve and be “one body“. And all shall be “onewith the Father. Amazingly, all of these as planned and implemented by God through his “first-born Son of God“.

SUMMARY

In the Old Testament, the Father and God that was commanded to be worshipped was the Creator God, El Shadday/YHVH, Jesus the Messiah/Christ. Since then, in New Testament times, Jesus himself introduced hisFATHER“; and rightly so, as he was the only one who saw the “FATHER“. As incarnate Messiah/Christ, he instructed us to pray to his “FATHER“, but through Jesus and in his name (John 15:16).

Who to worship? In the Old Testament times, YHVH/El Shaddai/Jesus was commanded to be worshipped as he was “above all gods”(Ps 95:3; 135:5) known to all creation at that time. But today and for all of us, the “FATHER” of Jesus, the only one referred to as God in the New Testament, is the only one to be worshipped and prayed to, but “in the name of Jesus”. The “Father” is the God and Father of Jesus and of us all (Eph.1:17). As the Creator God/El Shadday/YHVH took off that glory, honor and position by incarnating into “flesh” as Jesus/Messiah/Christ, by so doing he shifted and directed/introduced all of us to his Father as the only God to be worshipped today. The Father is greater than Jesus; they are not co-equal as in John 14:28

Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away,…for my Father is greater than I.”

On the side, this particular “FATHER” of Jesus, started a “new creation” (2Cor.5:17, NKJV), from the human “first-begotten” son Jesus (John 3:16) who then became the “first-born” (Col.1:18; Rom. 8:29) spirit Son of God, by the resurrection from the dead. Indeed, a position of “sonship” which is higher than the angelic category (compare Ps 8:4-6 and Heb. 2:6-18). Jesus is now the “the first/wavesheaf of the firstfruits” ( compare I Cor. 15:10,20,23 and Ex 34:26, Ezekiel 44:30; Lev. 23:10-12 ). After him, will follow the remaining “firstfruits” (Rev.14:4) at the resurrection to commence the “Millenium”. As the “FATHER” through (I Cor.8:6) Jesus/YHVH/Word created the “first known creation” (all non-living and living things including angels), the “FATHER” is now creating a “new creation” of “sons/daughters and children” of God, Jesus the “first of the firstfruits“, then through Jesus, “fellow firsfruits” will follow “at the last trumpet” ( I Cor. 15;52) , all of them spirit- beings, higher than angelic spirit-beings, and after the Millenium, the “latter-fruits“. This is Jesus’ “body” the church, being “one” yet with many members that are distinct/separate from each other ( I Cor.12:12-20) as we are altogether “one” with a distinct and separate “FATHER“. As incarnate Jesus/Passover, his death paid off mankind’s penalty for sins, reconciled us to the Father so we will all be like him. Everyone at their own time , first is Jesus becoming the Son of God (the first of the firstfruits), then fellow firstfruits at this dispensation to be manifested at the start of the Millenium, then subsequently after the Millenium will manifest the “latter-fruits”….all with “life eternal” ( John 17:3 ). Buttressed with these facts, our appreciation of God”s love for all of us, hopefully, will be magnified and enhanced. We can have confidence and trust in God because of these facts. i.e., faith which is “evidence of things hoped for.”

Remember, that this is the plan of God, the “FATHER“, even before the first creation by YHVH, before any of us have done anything right or wrong. Even our will to do good and to act are from God ( Phil. 2:13) so that “no one can boast” (Eph.2:9; I Cor. 1:29). Truly, grace and love manifested. Glory to God, our “FATHER“.

HAPPY FATHER’s DAY.

Original post: 2011

Revised 2014

Revised and reposted 5/3/18

References

1. Father’s Day.http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Father’s_Day

2. Ehrman, Bart D., Misquoting Jesus, p.33-34, 2005.Harper Collins Publishers, 10 East 53rd St. NY, NY 10022.

3. What is God? https://fact-s.net/2018/05/03/1208/

What does “naked” mean and why were Adam & Eve “afraid” and “ashamed”?

What does “naked” mean and why were Adam & Eve “afraid” and “ashamed”?

In the Garden of Eden, the narrative regarding Adam & Eve was that , before they sinned, they were naked but not ashamed, as in:

Gen. 2:25 The man and his wife were both naked, but they were not ashamed.”

The word naked was an English translation of the Hebrew word “arowm”, also meaning “nude”. Whereas, the etymology of the word ashamed is “buwsh”, aka “pale” or “dry”.

In the garden of Eden, they were instructed in:

Gen 2:16-17 “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

They then violated God’s command. It was only after sinning did Adam & Eve become aware their “eyes opened” that they were “naked“…. “afraid” and ..”ashamed” as in,

Gen. 3:7 “Then the eyes of both of them opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Gen. 3:10 “…I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.”

They “hid” and “sewed figs for covering” are actions that expressed their “fear” and “shame”.

The origin of the body and spirit.

What do all these mean? To help understand this narrative in the garden of Eden, one has to start from the beginning of human creation, cautiously and precisely.

We can see how man was composed in:

Gen 2:7, “The Lord God formed the man from the soil of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”

Clearly, man is composed of a body that came from the “soil of the ground” plus “breath of life” that came directly from the Creator’s breath, not matter from “soil”, i.e., non-matter or “spirit” from a “spirit-being”(Creator-God).

So man is made up of matter(the whole body from head to toe) and spirit. By itself, the body is lifeless, i.e., dead. And, infused into the body through the nostrils, is a “spirit of man” , aka, the “breath of life” that has intrinsic life, having come directly from a living God. Subsequently, the body + breath of life(spirit of man) ”became a living being”. In other words and strictly speaking, the body, per se, is dead and only the “breath of life,the “spirit of man” has life because it came directly from a living God, not from the “soil of the ground” which is inert. And a living God has to connect or fuse them together(turn them on)to become “ a living being”. It was this connection by God that made it a “living being/soul”.

A living person has to turn it on

This connecting/turn-on mechanism has parallels, although not strictly equivalent to the relationship between body and spirit:

1. Before we see light, there has to be light bulb, electric cord, socket where the cord is plugged in and electric wire towards the switch; all components to bring light. All the preceding elements, by themselves, do not bring on light. Essentially, they are “dead”. Only when one (a live person) turns on the switch or “connects” all these parts that light will come on. Or, some living being, automatically turns it on, as a reflex, using a “timer”.

2. A computer with all its parts are “dead” or not useful unless someone, who is alive, turns on the power.

3. With all the parts of a car, it will not start even with an ignition unless a living person turns it on.

Separation and connection

Connectivity as a step in this mechanism to bring on life is also proven by:

1. Death comes when there is disconnection or separation between the body and “spirit of man/breath of life”, as in:

Eccl.12:7 “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.”

The dead body decays and turns to dust or soil on earth, while the “spirit of man” returns to God who gave it; they separate.

2. A dead body that is “matter-composed” can be restored to natural/physical life when the “spirit of man” is infused back to him/her again.

An example of this is Lazarus, who has been dead,i .e., the spirit left him 4 days already but he was resurrected, as in:

John 11:38-44 “Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.  I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

3. The same physical resurrection in:

Daniel 12:2: “Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, …some to shame and everlasting contempt”

Revelation 20:12-13: “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened.

So the spirit that returned to God can then be retrieved back into the physical body, although previously dead will have life, through the power of God.

This “spirit of man” that returned to God at death, is devoid of a physical and matter-composed body. As a parallel, it is like the thumb-drive that has all the memory downloaded from a computer, which represents the body, and can be destroyed. The thumb drive can be inserted into a new computer with all the memories and activities of the previous destroyed computer. In the future, this “spirit of man” maybe given another type of body. This time a spirit-composed body as in the “first resurrection” to eternal life. This is proven by:

Daniel 12:2 “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, …”

Rev. 20:4-6 “...They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ,…”

Notice that, by itself, the “spirit of man” does not have “everlasting life”. It is not eternal until given a new and immortal body,i.e., it and can be destroyed and cease, as in:

Matt. 10:28 “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul(psyche/breath/spirit). Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul (spirit) and body in hell(Gehenna fire , not hades).”

Essentially, the “spirit-of-man” (while not eternal and can cease or be destroyed) is the living component of man separate from the non-living/lifeless body-component. But God, a living person, caused them to fuse/connect/combine that turned them into “a living being/soul”. At death, they separate, the “spirit-of-man” goes back to the Creator while the dead body goes to the grave/hell/hades to rot.

4. The same principle in healing . If dead body can be alive by this mechanism so did people with sick bodies. Notice that these people already have intact “spirit-of-man” but with sick body. Yet they were healed. A living God had to “turn on”or “activate” the “flesh-composed body”. Read the narrative about the crippled (Mark 2:9-12),leprosy (Luke 17:12-16), blind (John 9:6-7),bleeding disorder (Matt. 9:20-2), and every kind of disease and sickness (Matt. 9:35)

Who and where “we” are, the real “us”, the real man?

With that said, what is the true interpretation or rendering of “body”, “naked/nude”, “clothed”? What or where is the “real us”, the “real man” referred to? Before and after separation of body and spirit ?

As words may have different meaning depending upon time-culture, viz. gay which before means happy but now understood to be homosexual, can we be assured of the meaning of these words?

Yes, we can and were given proof of what these words mean today. The true understanding was expressed by Paul in that same time-period, within the first century. These 2 separate components were also understood by Paul, as in:

2 Cor 5:1-4 ” Our bodies are like tents that we live in here on earth. But when these tents are destroyed, we know that God will give each of us a place to live. These homes will not be buildings that someone has made, but they are (made) in heaven and will last forever. While we are here on earth, we sigh because we want to live in that heavenly home. We want to put it on like clothes and not be naked. These tents we now live in are like a heavy burden, and we groan. But we don’t do this just because we want to leave these bodies that will die. It is because we want to change them for bodies that will never die.”

King James Version with original Greek word translated:

2 Cor 5:1-4

For we know that if our earthly house (okia/residence/abode)of this tabernacle (skenos/temporary tent) were dissolved, we have a building (oikodome /base of structure) of God, an house (oikia/abode)not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed (endyo/sinking into a garment/array) upon with our house which is from heaven:

If so be that being clothed (endyo/sinking into a garment/array) we shall not be found naked(gymnos/nude). For we that are in this tabernacle (skenos/temporary tent)do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed(ekdyo/sink out/divest), but clothed (endyo/sinking into a garment/array) upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.”

Clearly then, the body is a temporary dwelling, a tent/tabernacle. And, that the “we” referred to is the “spirit of man” in this earthly tabernacle ( the temporary body). This, suggestive of our future “ immortal spirit-composed body” that we will put on or be clothed into “us”, is the “spirit of man/breath of life” that returned to the Father God, at natural death. The body is considered a cloth, temporary or eternal. Without a body, the “spirit of man” is nude or naked. Real “self” is really the spirit-component of man as the natural/physical body is transient.

Further proof of the above concept that, by usage as understood by Paul, the human spirit is the real “us”/“we” , (the real person), is what Jesus himself said, as in:

Matt. 15:12 “It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”

What goes out comes from the psyche/spirit or mind determines and defines sinful acts that defile the “us, we”; not the natural body.

Currently, “we”(the human spirit) is in this physical matter/composed body/cloth which is temporary tent. But, also now, Father God gave us the Holy Spirit through Jesus because of our belief in the promises to him, as a “deposit”, an “earnest” for it to grow and guide us into the fullness of the immortal body, as in:

2 Cor 5:5-10 “Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the (earthly)body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away (dead) from the body and at home (immortal body) with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us (immortal body)for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”

The Holy Spirit then is “baptized” into “us”( the spirit of man), binds, connects and fuses in “us” for sanctification.

Summary

We now know the 2 components of humans when created as explained in the narrative in Genesis at the garden of Eden. The body(soma) is natural, physical, earthy and comes from soil, mud, ground and therefore temporary as a tent/tabernacle. This is the “temporary clothing” that will die a natural death and decay in “hell/hades/grave”, as in:

Heb. 9:27 “And as it is appointed unto men once, to die but after this the judgment

Whereas, the spirit(psyche/mind) of man is spirit-composed element of man that came directly from a spirit-composed God Creator; heavenly but not yet immortal. This is the component that returns to God, at natural death. It can be killed in “hell/Gehenna fire”. Without the body, it is nude/naked, and needs to be clothed in the future with an “immortal, spirit-composed body”.

Gen. 3:7-10 can now be understood as to why Adam & Eve became aware of their nakedness, were afraid, ashamed, hid themselves and clothed themselves. It is because they knew that they violated God’s command, sinned, and their physical body is temporary and will die in hades but their “spirit“, even if it goes back to the Father at death, can also be destroyed later in “hell/Gehenna fire”. Sin separated them from God. They need to be covered again. Meanwhile, they were driven out of Eden to die a natural death and, because of Jesus’ trust in the promises of the Father, hoping for a future immortal body to clothe them again for eternity.

Original post:

April 10, 2018

Can we really swap Adam’s sin or Christ’s righteousness for ours ?

Can we really swap Adam’s sin or Christ’s righteousness for ours ?

There are well-intentioned people, high in the hierarchy of mainstream Christianity, who teach that Christ’s righteousness is “swapped” for ours. This may unnecessarily leave a bad taste to some believers because of its connotation that we do not have to do good works since Christ’s righteousness is already ours; that the Father looks at Christ as our righteousness. Sounds familiar? What does it mean “Christ’s righteousness swapped for us”? Is there “fullness of the truth” in this teaching? Was there really a “swap”? Or is this word “swap” a misapplication of the principles surrounding “imputation, righteousness, gift or reward”? Should the word “swap” be instead changed to “accounted” or “assigned“?

This is a question that many can take opposite sides and either side can still claim to be true and explainable. How could both be true? Where the “rub” is, can only be understood when one traces back the biblical verses from where the teaching was based on. Let us analyze these verses.

Discordant verses ?

Not only has it been emphasized in the Old Testament but also in the New Testament of the Holy Bible that we have to follow the Ten Commandments and have our own righteousness.

In Deut 6:25,it says- “it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the LORD our God, as he hath commanded us.”

2 Sam 22:21 “The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness: according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.”

2 Sam 22:25 “Therefore the LORD hath recompensed me according to my righteousness; according to my cleanness in his eye sight.”

Romans 2: 6-8 “He will reward each one according to his works : eternal life to those who by perseverance in good works seek glory and honor and immortality,”

Romans 2: 13“For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous before God, but those who do the law will be declared righteous. “

The preceding verses clearly confirm the requirement for us to do “good works”. By following God’s commandments, it “shall be our righteousness” and that “according to our righteousness” there will be a reward or recompense. For the reward to be given to us, it has to be our righteousness, not somebody else’s, even from Christ’s. Man-Jesus’ righteousness has to be uniquely for him and for something else, as a “pioneer/beginner” of our faith.

Contrariwise, Isaiah 64:6 states:

“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. “

Rom 3:10 is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one;

While we have done righteous things, we have been unrighteous as well. Our “sins sweep us away” from our reward like using “filthy rags“. Since our righteousness “have become like filthy rags”, how then can “our righteousness” be the basis for reward? It appears that there is asynchrony with the concept that reward/recompense is given because of our righteousness. Are these verses contradicting each other? How could this so-called “discrepancy” be when 2Tim. 3:16-17 state:

“All scripture is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

To resolve what appears on the surface as inconsistency, one may have to recall the principle that verses have to be analyzed and harmonized through the lens of correlation with each other, for truth behind the facts to come out as in Isa. 28:10:

For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:”

That being said, how could these verses align themselves toward searching the truth? How could “our righteousness” which our “sins have swept away” and “have become as filthy rags” be worthy of our reward/recompense?

Do we have a “sinful nature”?

To begin to address the premise of the subject at hand, we need to clear a common topic of sermons that humans were created or born with natural bent to sin or with propensity to do evil. This can easily be debunked by:

Genesis 1:31 KJV “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”

Not only was man created “very good” but also from the narrative in Genesis, he was given freedom of choice either to eat forbidden fruit or not; Adam was not a robot. Indeed, man is capable to do “good works” on his own. But, he can also do wrong. From the beginning we were created with capability and choice; not propensity or bent to do evil. In Genesis, Adam did good, took care of the garden of Eden and eat allowable fruits from it. But, he also has the capability to eat the “forbidden fruit”, and sinned. Other humans have done likewise, i.e., did both good and evil. However, with Job, he did not sin at all and confirmed by God himself as in:

Job 1:1 “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one like him on the earth, a pure and upright man, one who fears God and turns away from evil.”

Job 1:8 “.…There is no one like him on the earth, a pure and upright man, one who fears God and turns away from evil.”

Job 1:22, “In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.”

This was what Job was on his own, righteous, even before the power of the Holy Spirit was given at Pentecost. Similarly, on his own and before his baptism, man-Jesus, while human and matter-composed, did not sin at all, as in:

Hebrews 4:15: “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.”

In contrast to Job whose origin was “earthy/ dust/ground/soil”, Jesus was “from above“, heavenly, the incarnated YHVH ELOHIM, LORD GOD(1). Job’s eternal or “second death” from sin was imputed, being a progeny of Adam. Whereas, man-Jesus did not have this imputed sin because of his heavenly origin. While not from Adam’s genealogy, Jesus’ conception (2) was along the line of Adam, viz., Mary & Joseph, as prophesied.

Similarly, a spirit-composed being, Lucifer was perfect until he chose to disobey and became an Adversary, thus named Satan. Clearly, choice is there for matter-composed and spirit-composed beings to do right or wrong; humans have a choice to do good and/or evil, as in:

Deut. 30:15 “Today I am giving you a choice between good and evil, between life and death.”

Be that as it may, God requires only good works from us, even from Job and Jesus, not a mixture of “good and evil”, like the Deceiver/Satan that he is. In Genesis, God has forbidden Adam to “eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil”, and allowed everything else , including that of the “tree of life”. Only “good works” is what God wanted us to have. We have to be a “servant” of goodness, not a “servant of sin or a combination thereof”(John 8;34; Rom. 6:20). Doing “good and evil” is not what God requires. How could this be accomplished? Before addressing this question, let us clear first the following question:

When did our good works become “filthy rags” and unworthy of reward?

Correlating all the preceding, it becomes apparent that there was a time when “our righteousness (own good works) became as filthy rags” and unworthy of reward. When was this?

As God planned this even before the beginning of time, there was a:

1. Time when sin entered the world as assigned to one specific man; one particular sin before the Law was given to Moses and therefore “apart from the Law”, yet with death (second) as penalty.

2. Time when sin was accounted or assigned.

3. Time when our good works became as filthy rags.

4. Time for us to receive the Holy Spirit and be empowered to do only good works, by choice, not combine them with evil. A time to be a “servant of good”.

Consider the following;

Romans 5:12-15 “So then, just as sin entered the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all people because all sinned – for before the law was given, sin was in the world, but there is no accounting for sin when there is no law. Yet death (eternal/second; Rev. 20:6) reigned from Adam until Moses even over those who did not sin in the same way that Adam (who is a type of the coming one) transgressed”(3).

In essence, while sin has been in the world (even pre/para-Adamic) and there was a sentence of death for all , the specific reference was on that particular disobedience of a specific person (Adam) in the garden of Eden; not anybody else’s. Moreover, there was no accounting for that sin until the time the Law was given to Moses, viz, “no accounting for sin when there is no law.” And this, so that sin will be even more abound or understood to be more horrible, and value of grace even more enhanced, as in:

Rom. 5:20 “The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more,

Notice that the object, of when sin and death entered the world, was Adam, not anybody else, even when there were pre-para-Adamic humans who sinned. This was because Adam was the first human who God chose to give the command “not to eat…”as in Gen. 2:16-17. No other pre-or-para-Adamic human was given this command and choice. So, precisely, Adam was chosen as the specific human to start “when sin entered the world” and was the pivotal person from which sin was “accounted” when Law was given to Moses. Also, not any sin like adultery, stealing, murder,etc in Mosaic Law, but the disobedience about eating the fruit wherein is the knowledge of good and evil which is “apart from the Law” as in:

Romans 3:21“But now, apart from the law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed – …

In essence, our righteousness “apart” from the Law, and before the power of the Holy Spirit was given at Pentecost, “became as filthy rags”,unworthy of reward”, when the time of accounting was done, i.e., when the Law was given to Moses and, even when all humans were sinful, from the very beginning, as God planned.

Imputation and gift

Similarly, as Adam was chosen as a “type” of the person to come, God also decided on who the “anti-type” would be. And this choice of one man was done so that also one man, Jesus, (also the Father’s choice) can take on that penalty of death from the sin of Adam and humanity, as in:

Rom. 5:17-19 “For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.”

Essentially, imputation is specifically about a particular sin of a specific Adam (counted as for all mankind) so that righteousness (a gift) of a specific person, Jesus, can take on the penalty of death for all. It was not about our particular sins in life, after the Law was given, but that of Adam’s, before the Law was given. In other words, there was no direct swap between our sins to Adam’s as in Deut. 24:16:

Parents are not to be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their parents; each will die for their own sin.”

Nor swap of Jesus’ righteousness for ours. There was no swap or exchange ; instead it was a matter of time for “accounting” or “assigning” of righteousness but only for justification, not yet salvation.

What was that particular obedience that was credited for righteousness towards justification and reconciliation ?

Since “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”, we are all doomed to die the “second/eternal death” . This is why there has to be a “substitute” for our death, a “Passover” This person has been identified by Paul as in,

I Cor. 5:7 “…Christ our passover is sacrificed for us”

This is the reason YHVH incarnated to man-Jesus. It was the Creator-Jesus who would give his own life for his creation, out of love, as in:

John 3:16 “For God (Father)so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son(Jesus), that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”.

But it was not his death, following God’s will, that was the gift to us for reconciliation/justification. Rather, it was the gift of righteousness. What righteousness? Not Jesus’ action of being crucified and die. Instead, it was Jesus’ belief in the Father that what was promised, the Father would fulfill. And this belief was evidence-based as in ;

Heb.11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

It was this substantive and evidence-based belief, termed “faith”, that was taken and counted for “righteousness “, the “righteousness of his faith”, when he was still alive, pre-crucifixion, as in:

Romans 3:21-31“But now, apart from the law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed – namely, the righteousness of God through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ for all who believe.

For there is no distinction, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. But they are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. God publicly displayed him at his death as the mercy seat accessible through faith. This was to demonstrate his righteousness, because God in his forbearance had passed over the sins previously committed. This was also to demonstrate his righteousness in the present time, so that he would be just and the justifier of the one who lives because of Jesus’ faithfulness.Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded! By what principle? Of works? No, but by the principle of faith! For we consider that a person is declared righteous by faith apart from the works of the law. Or is God the God of the Jews only? Is he not the God of the Gentiles too? Yes, of the Gentiles too! Since God is one, he will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. Do we then nullify the law through faith? Absolutely not! Instead we uphold the law.

Romans 4:1-25”What then shall we say that Abraham, our ancestor according to the flesh, has discovered regarding this matter? For if Abraham was declared righteous by the works of the law, he has something to boast about – but not before God. For what does the scripture say? “ Abraham believed God , and it was credited to him as righteousness .” Now to the one who works, his pay is not credited due to grace but due to obligation. But to the one who does not work, but believes in the one who declares the ungodly righteous, * his faith is credited as righteousness.

So even David himself speaks regarding the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:

“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered;

blessed is the one against whom the Lord will never count sin .”

Is this blessedness then for the circumcision or also for the uncircumcision? For we say, “faith was credited to Abraham as righteousness .” How then was it credited to him? Was he circumcised at the time, or not? No, he was not circumcised but uncircumcised! And he received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised, so that he would become the father of all those who believe but have never been circumcised, that they too could have righteousness credited to them. And he is also the father of the circumcised, who are not only circumcised, but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham possessed when he was still uncircumcised.

For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would inherit the world was not fulfilled through the law, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. For if they become heirs by the law, faith is empty and the promise is nullified. For the law brings wrath, because where there is no law there is no transgression either. For this reason it is by faith so that it may be by grace, with the result that the promise may be certain to all the descendants – not only to those who are under the law, but also to those who have the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations ”). He is our father in the presence of God whom he believed – the God who makes the dead alive and summons the things that do not yet exist as though they already do. Against hope Abraham believed in hope with the result that he became the father of many nations according to the pronouncement, “so will your descendants be .” Without being weak in faith, he considered his own body as dead (because he was about one hundred years old) and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver in unbelief about the promise of God but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God. He was fully convinced that what God promised he was also able to do. So indeed it was credited to Abraham as righteousness.

But the statement it was credited to him was not written only for Abraham’s sake, but also for our sake, to whom it will be credited, those who believe in the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was given over because of our transgressions and was raised for the sake of our justification.

The 3rd and 4th Chapters of Romans clearly explained the truth given to Paul and by extension to us now, for our understanding that:

1. The gift of righteousness was not promised due to the action that Jesus took, viz., his crucifixion and death, but his belief that what the Father promised he would fulfill. This is righteousness without “works” and before the Law was given to Moses. And this trust in the Father is substantive and evidenced-based because Jesus was with the Father as YHVH before his incarnation. i.e., based on faith.

2. This Jesus’ faith was counted and credited to him, to Abraham and us, as “righteousness of faith” that initiated or started us to be reconciled to the Father and be justified; i.e., as preliminary step in the process of our salvation . This righteousness of Jesus’ faith defined him as our Passover, “demonstrated by Jesus’ action of being crucified and die”.

What righteousness was “rewarded” with immortal life?

For repetition and emphasis, the “righteousness of Jesus’ faith “, not his works, initiated/started our reconciliation to the Father and justified/negated our past sins. This is a gift out of grace and love of the Father. Likewise, the promise for Jesus to receive the power of the Holy Spirit after his resurrection to be given to us, is also a gift based on “righteousness of faith”. Moreover, our personal righteousness from our own good works became as filthy rags, being a mixture of good and evil, including pure good as Job and man-Jesus that was a product of our own works, are not enough to reward anyone with immortality and ultimately, salvation . A gift comes by belief, trust, faith that is evidence-based, which when activated , completed or demonstrated by action, leads to reward.

How then can we receive this reward of immortality and therefore salvation?

By looking at the life of man-Jesus, we will understand what the process of salvation is and what righteousness was rewarded with immortality, him being the “pioneer/perfector/initiator/author/finisher of our faith” towards salvation” as in:

Heb 12:12 New International Version

“fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

New Living Translation

“We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.”

English Standard Version

looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith,”

New King James Version (NKJV)

“looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,”

Simply put, Jesus had to be a pioneer, author, initiate, found, champion of faith and also perfect, finish, activate, complete this faith through action. As a human, like Job, man-Jesus lived, on his own, a perfect life, “without sin”. Unlike Job, Jesus “came from above” as YHVH. Their “own righteousness” was not what was required of the Father to receive “reward”, nor righteousness of their own works to receive “gift” of promise towards reconciliation/justification. Instead, it has to be righteousness of “works“, as a product or fruit of the Holy Spirit.

Notice that the works required have to be “fruits of the Holy Spirit “,which happens to have come as a gift of power from the Father, not from our own power,

Rom 6:18 “. ... But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.”

Recall what happened during the life of Jesus, our “pioneer“ in this process of salvation :

1. YHVH-Creator, a spirit-composed being who was the proximate creator of all including angels, as in:

Col 1.16: New Living Translation “for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see–such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him.

English Standard Version “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.”

This YHVH has to incarnate for him to be the anti-type of Adam, the 2nd-Adam, into man-Jesus and die, being the Passover, for the sin of Adam and, by accounting, to all humankind. As 1 Corinthians 15:45-48 state;

So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being” the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven.”

2. As a man, like Job was, man-Jesus did not sin. Both their flesh-composed bodies suffered physically. Their good works emanate from them and not from where the Father wanted them to come from. Unlike Job, at the river Jordan and not before, Jesus had in-dwelling (Matthew 3:16-17; Luke 3:21-22) of the Holy Spirit directly from the Father from which he would bear “fruits of the Holy Spirit”. He followed, not his will, but the guidance of this Holy Spirit through Gethsemane and the cross, as in:

Luke 22:42 King James Version (KJV)

Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”

Because of his substantive and evidence-based (faith) belief, trust and hope in the Father, Jesus received this power of the Holy Spirit as a gift because of the “righteousness of faith”. Much like Jesus, we, who believe based on Jesus’ faith, will also receive this gift of Holy Spirit as promised.

3. This Holy Spirit, given at river Jordan, empowered man-Jesus and anyone who has this in-dwelling, from Pentecost and on, to do “good works” required by the Father as ”fruits of the Holy Spirit”. Through sanctification and following the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit voluntarily, not our own will, brings forth “fruits of the Holy Spirit” worthy of “reward”. These good works that Jesus and us do, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, then are considered and credited as “our righteousness” worthy of the reward of immortality, thus salvation from second/eternal death, eventual glorification. What happened to Jesus, that after his crucifixion/death (action/works) he was resurrected to eternal life as a reward, proved this to be the sequence of events in the process of mankind’s salvation. In a “twinkling of an eye” those who “are overcomers” , like Jesus, will be changed from mortality to immortality as in,

I Cor. 15:52 New Living Translation

“It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed.”

Rev. 3:21 “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”

Rev 2:26 “To all who are victorious, who obey me to the very end, To them I will give authority over all the nations.”

Rev. 3:21 “To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.”

Matt.24:13 “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”

Summary

There was no swap of Christ’s righteousness for our salvation. Instead, there was “crediting/assigning” of his “righteousness of faith and works” to those who believe and follow his example. Imputation is specific to one person(Adam) and specific sin of Adam in Genesis, as it relates to the 2nd Adam(man-Jesus) and his righteousness of faith, given as a gift. The timing of accounting and crediting was when the Law was given to Moses so sin will be even more grievous as grace abounds. Our own righteousness, per se, is as filthy rags not worthy of reward. Rather, it is that particular righteousness that comes by us following the direction and guidance of the Holy Spirit of power, given after we believed. It has to work in us, developing our “spirit” to know wisdom(4). It has to be a product or fruits of the Holy Spirit given to us as a gift by the Father through resurrected and spirit-composed Jesus. This becomes our righteousness, (our works as fruits of the Holy Spirit,) that merits reward of immortality, i.e.,salvation from eternal or 2nd death(5). Jesus’ life on earth as a human being showed us the way, the only way, the process that leads to salvation. Let us therefore remember Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith towards our salvation.

God Bless.

References:

1.What is God? Retrieved 3/17/2018 at https://fact-s.net/2014/06/29/what-is-god-2/

2. Incarnation, Questions and Controversies. Retrieved 3/18/2018 at https://fact-s.net/2017/01/12/incarnation-questions-and-controversies/

3. Salvation Series #1. Retrieved 3/26/18 at

https://fact-s.net/2015/10/04/salvation-series-1what/

4. Kingdom of God in Human Anatomy. Retrieved 3/31/18 from https://fact-s.net/2016/12/21/kingdom-of-god-in-human-anatomy/

5. Death, what is? Retrieved 3/31/18 from https://fact-s.net/2017/05/09/death-what-is/

Original post: March 31, 2018

Does man have a sinful nature, a slave of sin?

Does man have a sinful nature, a slave of sin?

Calvinism (1)teaches under “total depravity” that man commits sin because of being a “slave of sin“(Rom. 6:20); that humans have a “sinful nature“, thus, bent towards evil and hard pressed to do “good works”. Are these teachings true?

Looking back about 10 years ago, a pediatrician, staring at an innocent and cuddly newborn, asked me, pointing at the baby, “Can you really classify this as having a “sinful nature”? Having a newborn just come out of the womb, can we really say that he/she is “naturally sinful”, a “slave of sin”? These questions were followed by a long pause on my part. It made me think as this teaching of “total depravity” has been ingrained in me for a long time as factual truth and never did I challenge it as to its veracity.

Following the Berean principle (2) it dawned on me about the narrative in Genesis. What was the state of Adam at creation? Was he created with a “sinful nature“? It appears that the Bible begs to differ as, after all God has created, Gen. 1:31 states:

And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.”

Notice that God created all, including man, “very good“. …does not have a sinful nature, but “good-natured”.

Moreover, man was shown not only his responsibility and function in the garden of Eden, but also what is right and what is wrong, providing the ability to decide and choose rightly or wrongly.

Gen. 2:15-17 “And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the daythat thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

The task was to “dress and keep it” and that the right thing to do was to eat out of “every tree of the garden” except to eat out of the “tree of knowledge of good and evil” which was in the midst of the garden. He was created “very good” and with guidance as to his responsibility and the concept of what is good and evil.

In the same vein, if there is any man that God deemed not only “very good” but “perfect (pious) in his eyes“, it is this man Job. Interesting description of this man, coming from the Creator:

Job 1:1 “…was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.”

Job 1:8…”my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?

Job was blessed by God but afterwards all were taken away. Yet, his response to adversity was spot on, as in :

Job 1:22 “In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

Better than Job was the man-Jesus, who described himself and Paul called “anthropos-Jesus” (Matthew 20:27-28; I Tim. 2:5) and described as:

Hebrews 4:15

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin.

Hebrews 7:26

Such a high priest truly befits us–One who is holy, innocent, undefiled, set apart from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.

Indeed man was created “very good” and with the capacity to choose to do “good or evil”.

One can argue that man, a non-spirit-composed being, was created with that capacity to choose between good and evil. But, what about spirit-composed beings. The Scripture speaks about the creation of spirit-composed angels, therefore, it is clear that they have not existed from all eternity (Nehemiah 9:6; Psalm 148:2,5). Colossians 1:16-17 explains:

“For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”

This brings us to a spirit-composed created being, Lucifer. He was a covering cherub, created perfect in many ways and in beauty until iniquity was found in him and was called Satan, as in Ezekiel 28:11-15. He chose wrongly.

Clearly, whether the created being is matter-composed like humans or spirit-composed like angels, the narrative is consistent regarding ability to choose between good or evil. We are not robots programmed to sin. Otherwise, without this freedom to choose, why do we have to be blamed for whatever wrong choice we make? No wonder, because of this wrong teaching about our sinful nature, some people blame God for our wrong choices.

Verses in support of total depravity

Going back to how this teaching came about, here are verses considered to find basis for the concept:

Mark 7:21-23 “For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”

(Notice, that the preceding verses merely directs us to where evil thoughts come from, i.e., the origin is from within, out of a person’s heart, from inside. Mechanistically, the voluntary nervous system has to think before taking an action. These verses should not necessarily translate to “sinful nature or slave of sin”.)

Jer. 17:9

The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?”

(This suggests that man indeed is “deceitful”. One can not read what is in the mind of humans. No one can “divine” the motive of man’s action. So, we have to be careful about reckless assumption. Again, this verse should not necessarily translate to “sinful nature or slave of sin.)

Rom. 3:10-18(NIV)

As it is written:“There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes.

( These verses re-emphasize the narrative teaching that even at our very best, “no one is righteous”. Our very “own good works” are as “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6) and could not come to the level God requires. Even the man Job who was “perfect” as God described him, was not perfect enough. God requires the “fruits of the Holy Spirit” that can only come after, not before, the Holy Spirit dwells in the person. The Holy Spirit of power was given toJesus by the Father after he resurrected him from death, 3 days and 3 nights in the tomb. This narrative does not invalidate the fact that we were created “perfect” though still incomplete as we need this infusion of the Holy Spirit).

Romans 6:20-21 New International Version (NIV)

When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death!

( These verses described those who are “slaves to sin”, meaning those continuing to commit sinful acts, thereby resulting in death. Yes, doomed to die. Not that we are unwittingly but instead consciously sinning)

In SUMMARY, the interpretation of this teaching of “total depravity” should be re-evaluated and the biblical verses from which it emanated may need to be taken into there proper context. Being “slave to sin” should not be taught as a powerful force or propensity to sin but rather as a “capacity” (genetic or otherwise) to do so as a choice one has to make. That being said, this can be an acceptable interpretation as another option is to “flee from sin“. We are not robots with “sinful nature” as to be unable to choose other than what we are programmed to do. If definition of “sinful nature” is taught as a “capacity” to do evil, or “totally depraved” because we are doomed to die because of Adam’s sin, then this is tenable. For we are not made to do to evil no matter what. Instead, we were created “very good” with a capacity to choose between evil and good. The “pull of the flesh” is a temptation, albeit in certain inherited disease may possibly be a genetic predisposition, but not an automatic reflex to act and do evil. Although there maybe a “bent” to do evil, there is also a cautionary option to do otherwise, which is intrinsic in man, even to those who are non-Christians or atheist/agnostic for that matter. As in Genesis, we were given a choice, ”

Deut. 30:19

“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.”

Turn away from evil and do good.(Psalms 34:15, 37:17).

Man was created “good” but incomplete. It was created as such, “on hope” for the coming Messiah, who will give us the power of the Holy Spirit, to complete us, as in:

Ps. 39:8 – “And now, Lord, for what do I wait? You are my only hope.”

Ps. 71:14 – “I will always hope in you and add to all your praise.”

Ps. 39:8 – “And now, Lord, for what do I wait? You are my only hope.”

Is. 40:31 – “They that hope in the Lord will renew their strength.”

Rm. 15:13 – “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Ps. 31:24 – “Be strong and take heart, all who hope in the Lord

Ps. 130:5 – “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits and I hope for his word.”

Rm. 5:3-5 – “Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us”.

Col. 1:26-27 – “But now it has been manifested to his holy ones, to whom God chose to make known the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; it is Christ in you, the hope for glory.”

Eph. 4:4 – “You were also called to the one hope of your call.”

1 Thess. 1:2-3 – “We give thanks to God always for all of you, remembering you in our prayers, unceasingly calling to mind your work of faith and labor of love and endurance in hope of our Lord Jesus Christ, before our God and Father.”

Our own good works will not (3) suffice God. They have to be “fruits of the Holy Spirit”. It needs guidance of the Holy Spirit which became available to us only after Jesus received it from the Father after his resurrection. It became generally available at Pentecost of that year. Without Jesus, we are indeed doomed.

May God continually guide us to the truth behind the facts.

References

1. Calvinism and Arminianism …A Commentary. Retrieved 1/19/2018 at

https://fact-s.net/2018/02/15/calvinism-and-arminianism-a-commentary

2. In Search of the Truth Retrieved 2/20/2018 at https://fact-s.net/2018/01/29/in-search-of-the-truth/

3. Human Nature: Inherently Good or Evil? Ethics of the Fathers 1:7 Retrieved 3/9/18 http://www.aish.com/sp/pg/48892107.html

Original post:3/11/18

Calvinism and Arminianism …A Commentary

Calvinism and Arminianism …A Commentary.
The subject of this commentary is what was written in italics from this link:
http://www.calvinistcorner.com/tulip.htm
The system of Calvinism adheres to a very high view of scripture and seeks to derive its theological formulations based solely on God’s word. It focuses on God’s sovereignty, stating that God is able and willing by virtue of his omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence, to do whatever He desires with His creation. It also maintains that within the Bible are the following teachings: That God, by His sovereign grace predestines people into salvation; that Jesus died only for those predestined; that God regenerates the individual where he is then able and wants to choose God; and that it is impossible for those who are redeemed to lose their salvation. 


Arminianism, on the other hand, maintains that God predestined, but not in an absolute sense. Rather, He looked into the future to see who would pick him and then He chose them. Jesus died for all peoples’ sins who have ever lived and ever will live, not just the Christians. Each person is the one who decides if he wants to be saved or not. And finally, it is possible to lose your salvation (some arminians believe you cannot lose your salvation”.



Here is my humble take (in bold parentheses) on these areas:

Calvinism
The teaching is summarized in the acronym TULIP. Is this biblical?
Total Depravity: (also known as Total Inability and Original Sin):
Sin has affected all parts of man. The heart, emotions, will, mind, and body are all affected by sin. We are completely sinful. We are not as sinful as we could be, but we are completely affected by sin.


The doctrine of Total Depravity is derived from scriptures that reveal human character: Man’s heart is evil (Mark 7:21-23) and sick Jer. 17:9). Man is a slave of sin (Rom. 6:20). He does not seek for God (Rom. 3:10-12). He cannot understand spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:14). He is at enmity with God (Eph.2:15). And, is by nature a child of wrath (Eph. 2:3). The Calvinist asks the question, “In light of the scriptures that declare man’s true nature as being utterly lost and incapable, how is it possible for anyone to choose or desire God?” The answer is, “He cannot. Therefore God must predestine.”
Calvinism also maintains that because of our fallen nature we are born again not by our own will but God’s will (John 1:12-13); God grants that we believe (Phil. 1:29); faith is the work of God (John 6:28-29); God appoints people to believe (Acts 13:48); aCalvinism also maintains that because of our fallen nature we are born again not by our own will but God’s will (John 1:12-13); God grants that we believe (Phil. 1:29); faith is the work of God (John 6:28-29); God appoints people to believe (Acts 13:48); and God predestines (Eph. 1:1-11; Rom. 8:29; 9:9-23).”

Personal take:
(Mark 7:21-23 do not say “man’s heart is evil”, “sick Jer. 17:9” , “slave of sin”(Rom. 6:20) and “does not seek God (Rom. 3:10-12). In fact, when man was created, he was perfect and “very good” (Gen. 1:31). One does not have to look far to see that evil can not come out of a newborn baby who has not develop enough to distinguish good and evil. As the baby develops and has the capacity to decide and act, he/she can choose good or evil, be a slave to sin or righteousness and can seek God. A prime example is Job who was “blameless and upright ..fears God and shuns evil” (Job 1:8). True, Job was in a “death row” because of the “imputed sin” of Adam, but of himself, he did not sin although he lacked the understanding of God that he was still a sinner because all are accounted with “death sentence”, as “Adam sinned , so all sinned” with the resulting death as a consequence. Likewise, David was a “man of God’s heart” and did “good works” before his adultery. Taking all these in consideration, the context suggests that no one can discern what is in the mind of man where evil comes out from. It merely explains that action taken by man originates in the mind and that no one can divine what is in his mind. Man is capable of choosing between right or wrong, good or evil, life or death. This choice was set before us, as in:

Deuteronomy 30:15-20 New International Version (NIV)


“See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.


But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.


This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”



Nevertheless, however upright a person is, whatever good works emanating from him, those are still “filthy rags” to God (Isaiah 64:6). The “works” that God requires are those that are “fruits of the Holy Spirit”(Gal.5:22-23).


Indeed, because of Adam’s sin that was counted as sin of all mankind, no one can bring humanity back and be reconciled to the Father were it not for Jesus death counted as that of humanity’s. Jesus died instead of us, as far as the Father is concerned to pay for the consequence of Adam’s sin, which is “eternal or second death”. Without the Passover sacrifice, humanity is totally hopeless. Predestination is about salvation at the time-period that God chose for a particular person to be offered the opportunity to receive the power of the Holy Spirit. Judgment does not occur unless the person has the Holy Spirit available to him at his predestined time-period. This was first offered and received at Pentecost, then to others who believed who will manifest themselves in the “first resurrection” of “overcomers”. Others will have their time for the Holy Spirit to dwell during the Millenium-rule of Jesus/Son of God on earth and after that as in the prophecy about the “dry bones” (Ezek.37:1-14). The last time this Holy Spirit of power will be available to humans will be at the Great WhiteThrone Judgment. Those who believed/received the Holy Spirit of power and voluntarily follow its guidance will bear “fruits of the Holy Spirit”; they are the “overcomers” who “choose good over evil”. Those who outrightly reject or do not believe Jesus and those who believed/received the Holy Spirit but did not become “overcomers”, i.e., did not bear fruits, will be thrown in the “gehenna fire” at each period of the Holy Spirit’s availability. Jesus died for ALL humanity applicable to All at their predetermined time period. Jesus death is propitiation for the consequence of sin thereby a redemption for ALL from eternal death and reconciled us to the Father. But, not all will be saved; others may not achieve eventual salvation, depending on whether they become “one” with the Son and the Father through following the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ death and redemption for all do not mean salvation for all, as being predestined in the “book of life” (Rev.20:12) does not necessarily mean “once saved always saved” because anyone can be blotted out (Rev. 22:19) and has to be an “overcomer” as in Rev. 3:5). All those predetermined to have the Holy Spirit available to them at their particular time-period does not necessarily mean all of them will be saved as they have to be “overcomers”. 


In essence, if “sinful nature”, “slave of sin”, and “man’s heart is evil” mean that because of Adam’s sin that we naturally are doomed to eternal death, then this is true. If “incapable of doing good works” refers to “works that God requires” (which are fruits of the Holy Spirit), then indeed we are “incapable”. Otherwise, the teaching is problematic.)



Unconditional Election:

God does not base His election on anything He sees in the individual. He chooses the elect according to the kind intention of His will (Eph. 1:4-8; Rom. 9:11) without any consideration of merit within the individual. Nor does God look into the future to see who would pick Him. Also, as some are elected into salvation, others are not (Rom. 9:15, 21).




Personal take:
(Yes, God chooses who he elects and decides on what time period they will be, at which time, the Holy Spirit is available to them. This is not merit-based as the best of human works are still “dung” to God. Election is about who are to be in a particular time period when the Holy Spirit will “dwell in us”. Salvation comes through the gift of reconciliation achieved by the death of Jesus and the gift of the Holy Spirit that needs to be “baptized in us”. Whether we follow its guidance or not determines who will be “overcomers” and worthy of the reward of “immortal life”, which translates to “salvation from eternal death”.

In essence, if “some are elected into salvation, others are not (Rom. 9:15, 21)” means elected as to their time-period of election, then it is tenable teaching.)


Limited Atonement:(also known as Particular Atonement):

Jesus died only for the elect. Though Jesus’ sacrifice was sufficient for all, it was not efficacious for all. Jesus only bore the sins of the elect. Support for this position is drawn from such scriptures as Matt. 26:28 where Jesus died for ‘many’; John 10:11, 15 which say that Jesus died for the sheep (not the goats, per Matt. 25:32-33); John 17:9 where Jesus in prayer interceded for the ones given Him, not those of the entire world; Acts 20:28 and Eph. 5:25-27 which state that the Church was purchased by Christ, not all people; and Isaiah 53:12 which is a prophecy of Jesus’ crucifixion where he would bore the sins of many (not all).


Personal take
(Matt. 26:28 “blood shed for many” is not necessarily exclusive. Rather, it’s context suggests his blood is not for a few, but so abundant and “for many”. While Jesus did not actually say in this verse that his blood was shed “for all”, it certainly “efficacious” for “all who believed”. 



John 10:11-15 the context is about protection of all from the wolf that may devour his sheep.



Matt. 25:32-33 differentiates people who were “sheep” and received eternal life from those who were “goats” and received eternal death. The “sheep” followed the guidance of the Holy Spirit whereas the “goats” did not. Nevertheless, Christ died for all, whether sheep or goats. 


John 17:9 In here, Jesus was praying ” for them”, “not the world” , his followers as their lives would be in danger after he leaves. Jesus loves all, whether believers or not. This verse does not mean that Jesus did not care for others, as they will have their chance in the future. 



Acts 20:28(?) and Eph. 5:25-27. True, “Christ loved the church and gave himself for it” but this does not necessarily exclude others from his love and that he died for all.


Isaiah 53:12 “bear the sin of many” is not exclusive as the following suggests “made intercession for transgressors”, meaning all transgressors. )



Irresistible Grace:

When God calls his elect into salvation, they cannot resist. God offers to all people the gospel message. This is called the external call. But to the elect, God extends an internal call and it cannot be resisted. This call is by the Holy Spirit who works in the hearts and minds of the elect to bring them to repentance and regeneration whereby they willingly and freely come to God. Some of the verses used in support of this teaching are Romans 9:16 where it says that “it is not of him who wills nor of him who runs, but of God who has mercy”; Philippians 2:12-13 where God is said to be the one working salvation in the individual; John 6:28-29 where faith is declared to be the work of God; Acts 13:48 where God appoints people to believe; and John 1:12-13 where being born again is not by man’s will, but by God’s. 

“All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out,” (John 6:37).


Personal take:
(True, only God decides who will be called at any particular time-period to receive the Holy Spirit of power and the one who initiates every facet of salvation. But, why should this awesome gift of God be forced down our throat? No one is forced to obey him, even those who have received the gift of the Holy Spirit as the believer may still “vomit and eat”(Prov. 26:11; 2 Pet. 2:20-22). Overcomers are those who voluntarily overcome evil with the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit. Being “one” with God is imposed but not forced in such a way that we have no choice. Calling into salvation does not mean we can not resist because there are people who reject the Holy Spirit( I Thes. 4:8; Mk. 3:28).


Perseverance of the Saints:(also known as Once Saved Always Saved):

You cannot lose your salvation. Because the Father has elected, the Son has redeemed, and the Holy Spirit has applied salvation, those thus saved are eternally secure. They are eternally secure in Christ. Some of the verses for this position are John 10:27-28 where Jesus said His sheep will never perish; John 6:47 where salvation is described as everlasting life; Romans 8:1 where it is said we have passed out of judgment; 1 Corinthians 10:13 where God promises to never let us be tempted beyond what we can handle; and Phil. 1:6 where God is the one being faithful to perfect us until the day of Jesus’ return.


Personal take:
(Only those who “persevere”, the “overcomers”, are the sheep that will never perish, are the ones who “passed out of judgment” to be rewarded with eternal life. True, God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can handle; unfortunately, some still succumbed. Indeed, God is faithful but we are not consistently so.)


Arminianism
Arminianism, on the other hand, maintains that God predestined, but not in an absolute sense. Rather, He looked into the future to see who would pick him and then He chose them. Jesus died for all peoples’ sins who have ever lived and ever will live, not just the Christians. Each person is the one who decides if he wants to be saved or not. And finally, it is possible to lose your salvation (some arminians believe you cannot lose your salvation”.




Personal take:
(Predestination is absolute as far as determining who are elected to partake in a particular time-period of “calling” and chance to have the Holy Spirit. His choice is not determined by “who would pick him” . Instead, he gives “sunshine to grass and weeds” (Matt. 5:45) as “time and chance happens to all”( Eccl. 9:11)




God bless.

Original post: February 15, 2018