ALL is to Gods glory (Rom.11:36). Now to
Him Who is able to do superexcessively above all that we are requesting or apprehending,
according to the power that is operating in us, to Him be the glory in the ecclesia
and in Christ Jesus (Eph.3:20,21). We do not at all have and never will have any independent
glory in an absolute sense. Gods creatures are constituted to manifest His glory,
not to create their own.
There is nothing unseemly
in the fact that God makes this present world (SYSTEM) and all that
is in it (Acts 17:24). And it is certainly not unsuitable that it should be in His
counsels to make all that is good, especially our love for Him. This love is still ours to
possess and enjoy, though His by achievement: For His achievement are we, being
created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God makes ready beforehand, that we should
be walking in them (Eph.2:10). Though God certainly has not forced us to love Him,
or rather merely to pretend to do so, nonetheless, He has introduced a myriad of influences
into our lives which He has wisely designed in such a way that they are certain to affect
us so that we genuinely and voluntarily love our Subjector. For the grace of our
Lord overwhelms, with faith and love in Christ Jesus (1 Tim.1:14).
All causal synonyms are of
the same basic significance. They point us to that which occurs or comes into being as the
product of the agency which produces it. Effects are determined by causes. Once a
cause occurs, its effect becomes necessary; it cannot not occur. It makes no difference
whether the occurrence in question is that of a nail being driven into a board or of a man
being influenced to make a choice. The existence of causality is not dependent upon
ones awareness or acknowledgement of its presence.
It is only a matter of
idiom when we say that an object falls to the ground due to the
pull of gravity, that electrical force makes a motor
operate, or that a man is influenced by his associates. Whenever we speak of
such things as good influences or bad effects, we are making
reference to the presence of causative agencies.
influence and affect are often used as figures of association in
reference to causal factors which, when acting together, cause a certain event to occur.
When these factors coalesce, they constitute an influence; that is, a cause is formed and
an effect results. Influences are always fully causal in nature. An influence that does
not influence is not an influence. A cause which effects nothing and affects no one, is
not a cause.
All genuine influences produce
their own effects. They make certain things necessary, even if they do not make other
things necessary. The other things have their own causes.
When we ask the question,
Why? we are often inquiring concerning the purpose of something that has occurred. That
which has a purpose is purposed to occurit is caused to occur for
a specific purpose. It is evident that whatever occurs for a purpose takes place due to a
cause, for it is absurd to conceive of a thing of chance having a purpose. Why? is
frequently asked as well when seeking for an explanation, for that which will account for
or reveal the particular cause of an occurrence. The word why always
presupposes causality; it merely seeks to know the particulars involved in a certain
matter. Anyone who believes in free will should never ask, Why? concerning any of
In Romans 14:12, the
apostle Paul says, Each of us shall be giving account concerning himself to
God. It is foolish, however, to think of this accounting as an occasion for divine
retribution upon free will sin. For if, as claimed by the advocate of free will, we are
not caused to choose and act as we do, then we are certainly no more responsible
for (able to avoid) our deeds than if we are caused to do them. Indeed, it would be
impossible to give any account whatever for a free will or uncaused event, in the
sense of giving an explanation for its occurrence. If we are wise, we will not dread the
day when we will give an account of ourselves to God, but anticipate it, yearning to learn
of His good purpose concerning all.
workings certainly are the greatest force, or power, in all the universe. The voluntary
love and service which they produce are created just as effectively and surely as any
compelled, involuntary servitude could ever be. For they are the product of Gods own
counsels, channeled through His achievements in the cross of Christ, and He would not have
That which is
voluntary is that which we volunteer to do, as contrasted with what is
compulsory. We choose to do such things, actually preferring them over other activities.
They are not simply the consequence of our choice of other things, but to us they are
choice in themselves. The fact that voluntary acts are those that we do by
choice has no bearing whatever on the question of whether their presence is necessary or
unnecessary, avoidable or unavoidable. That for which we volunteer is a voluntary act or a
chosen course of action. Whether our preference is itself the product of a cause or a
thing of chance will not have any bearing upon our having chosen it. For this will remain
true in either case.
would only be a rejection of divine determination. This would simply mean that man
determines his own future instead of God. It would constitute polytheism instead of
monotheism. But at least it would not be atheism (or chance). It would still be a
deterministic concept. But if, as claimed by the advocate of genuine free will, nothing
determines maneven from within himselfto choose and act as he does, then
so-called self-determination itself would be but a thing of sheer chance,
uncontrolled and uncontrollable. No one could be commended or criticized for such acts,
for their presence would be due to nothing at all.
Under such a system, all
instructionwhether entreaties, discipline, warnings or incentives, would be in vain.
For none of these could have any effect upon even a single person. They could affect
nothing at all; there would be no advantage to their presence, and no disadvantage to
their absence. Therefore, it is free will (in its actual chance nature), not
divine determination, that would make human effort and endeavor to be useless.
We thank God for all
things, including our love for Him; it is not a thing of caprice or chance, but the
product of a cause. Blissfully, and actually, we cant help loving Him:
We are loving God, for He first loves us (1 John 4:19)!
FREEDOM VS. FREE WILL
freedomfreedom worthy of the nameis not a power of free will. No
one can be what he is not. Neither personal maturity nor progression in the understanding
of scriptural administrations brings the power of contrary choice, or, as popularly
expressed, free will independence. The era in which any particular man may
live relative to the various administrations, has no bearing on this issue. For the idea
known as free will is false in itself, and therefore cannot be true at any
time or under any conditions. This is so even though many who do not understand, and yet
imagine that such a power is essential to spiritual adulthood, have claimed that it is the
hallmark of maturity. To the contrary, the mature believer, first of all, will recognize,
and then glorify and thank, God as God, Who alone is the Subjector of all (cf
Col.1:10; Rom.1:21). Certainly, he will not care to champion free will! In the
meantime, belief in free will no doubt will continue to prevail in the lives of those who
are puffed up by their fleshly minds (cf Col.2:19; 1 Cor.4:6,7).
Just because it is
sound, sound teaching concerning Gods deity will not be tolerated, and certainly
will not be widely accepted. The foolish cannot recognize its validity and wisdom, and
minors in Christ are not able for solid food (1 Cor.3:1, 2). It takes
wisdom even to recognize truth, and much grace to follow it. God alone can supply these.
No one, including God
Himself, ever chooses by means of free will chance. In choosing as He does, God is
subjected neither to chance nor to sinfulness. He chooses what is best, because of
His own wisdom. Out of His own perfection, He is caused to choose as He does. His
preferences do not exist by chance! It is certainly no dishonor upon the Deity for His
choices to be caused, especially when we see that their only cause is His own perfection.
Would we prefer instead for them to be due to the operation of some competing Power to
whom He must be subject, or even to be a thing of actual chance and so due to nothing at
all? Yet these are our only conceivable alternatives.
It is evident, therefore,
that the actual notions advocated under the clever and confusing banner free
will, namely the absence of causality and the presence of avoidability, are claims
which not only fail to attend even a single created being at any time and concerning any
thing, but are things from which no one is any further removed than the Supreme Deity, the
God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory.
Even God cannot deny
Himself (2 Tim.2:13); He is not free to be foolish or sinful in any way, but
enjoys the bonds of His own righteousness, goodness, love and gracious
purpose, in which He is always constrained to do what is best and act ideally. Whatever
God chooses to do is chosen because He conceives its presence to be preferable to its
absence. However, Gods choices, unlike our own, are never shortsighted, or the
product of sinful desires, but are the reflection of the perfection of His Being.
Scriptural freedom, of
which we enjoy a small measure by the power of the holy spirit of God, is freedom from
Sin, not abandonment to chance. Each of us experience this freedom even now, though in a
limited way. This is reflected in the disposition and walk of all those who are truly
in Christ Jesus (Rom.8:1-4). But we long for the day when we will enjoy its
fullness. Then we will possess such, unbounded liberty that we will not be free to
sin (cf Rom.8:29; cp 1 John 3:9; John 8:31-36).
FOR FREEDOM CHRIST FREES US!
those who were obeying from the heart the type of teaching given over to them by the
apostle Paul (cf Rom.6:17), the Romans had not gotten slaverys spirit to fear
again (Rom.8: 15).
The foolish Galatians,
however, had again become enthralled with the yoke of slavery (Gal.5:1a). They wanted to
be under law (Gal.4:21). Gods message to them was grace and peace (cf
Gal.1:3), but in their apprehensions, they had fallen out of grace (Gal.5:4b). Therefore,
the apostle shouts to them, For freedom Christ frees us! Stand firm, then,
and be not again enthralled with the yoke of slavery (Gal.5:1).
It is vital that we heed
Pauls counsel. For the power of Sin is the law (1 Cor.15:56). Those who were under
law and yet not in the grace of God, were ever in fear of death, for through
their entire life they were liable to slavery (Heb.2:15), subject to all the laws
curses at their least infraction of its precepts (cf Deut.28:15). Anyone who should be
keeping the whole law, yet should be tripping in one thing, becomes liable for all (James
Living in such an
environment, rather than eliminating sin, actually leads to its increase. At the
coming of the precept Sin revives (Rom.7:9). Sin, getting an incentive
through the precept, deludes me, and through it, kills me (Rom.7:11). We
need to be in a realm which is apart from law, where Sin is dead
God has put us in just
such a place. In His grace, He has justified us apart from law, through the deliverance
which is in Christ Jesus (Rom.3:21,24) and has placed us in Christ. Here we
are safe. Our life is hid together with Christ in God (Col.3: 3).
In Romans 6:13 we are
entreated to present ourselves to God as if alive from among the dead, and to present our
members as implements of righteousness to God. Yet if the apostles words following
this statement were to accord with the popular beliefs of today, the passage would have to
read, You must do this, for Sin shall be lording it over you if you do
not. His inspired words, however, are just the opposite of this: [Be heeding
my words,] For Sin shall not be lording it over you, for you are not
under law, but under grace (Rom.6: 14).
The ground and strength of
the apostles entreaty is our freedom from Sins lordship. Since we are
under grace and Sin shall not be lording it over us any longer, we are free
from the deleterious influence which Sin produces in us through its insistent misuse of
the law of God. Law is laid down for the lawless and insubordinate (1 Tim.1:9), which, in
ourselves, includes us all. But it is not laid downeven to the slightest
degreeas a means toward the achievement of our righteousness. Righteousness is not
out of law (cf Gal.3:21b). If righteousness is through law, consequently Christ died
Those who are resting on
law, on mans obedience to legal precepts, are doomed to despair. In speaking of
himself and his fellow-Israelites, Paul says, We were garrisoned under law, being
locked up together for the faith about to be revealed. So that the law has become our escort
to Christ, that we may be justified by faith (Gal.3:23,24). Indeed, the
scripture locks up all together under sin, that the promise out of Jesus
Christs faith may be given to those who are believing (Gal.3: 22). We do
not seek a righteous standing before God by our obedience. instead, through the
work of Christ, all Gods chosen ones find such a privileged position.
THE GLORIOUS FREEDOM
OF THE CHILDREN OF GOD
entire creation has been subjected to vanity, the slavery of corruption, of which the
sufferings of the current era are the result. None of Gods creatures volunteered for
this; all were subjected to it because of God (cf Rom.8:18-22). But He has subjected us to
this experience in which we groan and travail, in expectation that the creation
itself, also [not only believers], shall be freed from the slavery of corruption into the
glorious freedom of the children of God (Rom.8:21). Therefore, we are expecting what
we are not observing, and are awaiting it with endurance (cf Rom.5:3-5; 8:25).
If we would be faithful,
our primary desire must not be for the elimination of our miseries, but for the ability to
be active in our love for God even if our trials should remain. If we would be true, it is
absolutely out of the question for us to give first place to personal gratification (cf 2
Tim.3:4,8). All manner of secular schemes and Christian concoctions may well
alleviate our pains, but only at the terrible price of imbibing their spirit and coming
under their sway. They are affording exactions rather than Gods administration
which is in faith (1 Tim.1:4).
The only wise counsel,
then, for all endurance and patience with joy (cf Col.1:11b), is the advice
which Paul gave to Timothy. It is this: Be invigorated by the grace which is in
Christ Jesus (2 Tim.2:1). There is much grace for us in Christ Jesus.
This grace is able to deal with our troubles and failings in the way that God intends
(cf 2 Cor.12:9). It comes to us through our active and grateful mindfulness of the
sacrifice of Christ in which He died for our sakes. Invigorating grace also comes to us
through our believing, understanding and rejoicing in the unbounded benefits which God
will surely bring to all through Christs saving work.
All have been subjected to
vanity, and, at the consummation, all will become subjected to God, that God may be All in
all (1 Cor.15:28). It is necessary to suffer in the vain bonds of corruption in order to
reveal the glory of the great God Who alone can deliver from such a fearful condition.
There must be sinners if sinners would be saved. If God would be glorified as their
Saviour and if they would know the unspeakable blessing of salvation from all sin and
shame, they must experience a short season of evil. It is in view of such considerations
that our apostle joyously declares, I am reckoning that the sufferings of the
current era do not deserve the glory about to be revealed for us (Rom.8:18).
The obedience of Christ
unto death, even the death of the cross, has only led to His exaltation. God is love (1
John 4:8b). If He afflicts, yet He has compassion according to the abundance of His
kindnesses (Lam.3:32). He is the Saviour of all mankind (1 Tim.4:10). God
highly exalts His Christ, and graces Him with the name that is above every name
[Jesus, Yahweh-SAVIOUR], that in the name of Jesus every knee should be
bowing, celestial and terrestrial and subterranean, and every tongue should be acclaiming
that Jesus Christ is Lord, for the glory of God, the Father (Phil.2:10,11). All are bound,
that they might enjoy this freedom. And, all are bound to enjoy this freedom! God
has given us His word on this. We long for the consummation, and await it in expectation,
with joyful confidence in the kindness and fondness for humanity of our Saviour,
God (Titus 3:4).