The “survivor’s guilt” of the elect—-We Did NOT “Make Our Own Luck”

If you are in a room full of people, and 50 of them get gunned down by a person exercising his second amendment rights of dominion over the creation, but you escape and remain unharmed, do you suffer from “survivor’s guilt”? If babies die all around the world, but your baby is born healthy and well nourished, do you take credit for the success, or feel guilty about your “good fortune”?

President Barack Obama told Howard University’s class of 2016: “Yes, you’ve worked hard, but people who have been successful often don’t realize that God may have blessed them; it wasn’t nothing you did.”

George Will–Perhaps the most dangerous of today’s many pernicious ideas is that “life is more or less a lottery. That we are less masters of our fate than corks floating in a sea of luck.” I hope you will tune out anyone who, from this day on, tries to tell you that your achievements are not your own.

I am often told by sinners who hate the Biblical doctrine of election that they would reject their own election, even if it were true. How could they accept salvation on such terms, they ask, if one of their children or other loved ones was not elect? And the more self-righteous of these folks with “survivor’s guilt”, insist that, if there was such a thing as damnation, they would rather be damned also if even one other sinner is rejected by God and not elected by God to salvation.

The older I get, the more I remember my sins and I have many regrets. When I compare myself to other sinners, I more and more see how messed up my own life has been, how much of a failure, how much I have missed the mark, how much I have squandered my potential and poached off the good graces of other people. The older we get, the less “reversible” life feels. Sure, retirement means we don’t have to keep going in the same old direction that we regret, but the more focused I get on the fact that this could be my last day before the Resurrection, the less I see life as a wide variety of “refundable options”.

But what I cannot yet forget, God can and does forget. God does not (and never had) mercy for many sinners, but that is no reason for me to be anything other than grateful and rejoicing that God does not remember my sins. As I continue to sin, God continues to forgive my sin.

Romans 6:11 So you also must impute yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

The first command in Romans tells Christians to count themselves dead to sin, to “reckon yourselves” dead to sin.

It’s important to not forget that imperative. But it’s even more important to remember that we don’t make the indicative come true by obeying the imperative. The justified elect do not become dead to sin because they count themselves dead to sin. Nor do the justified elect become dead to sin because they are daily dying to sin.

On the contrary, the justified elect are commanded to count themselves dead to sin because Christ has died for them as their representative and substitute. Christs died for the elect so that they ARE dead to sin, as soon as they are legally “baptized into” the one death of Christ.

Even if we cannot forget our sins, God can and does forget our sins. Even though the righteousness of Christ’s death was obtained in time and is imputed in time, that righteousness is permanent and God imputed that righteousness to Abraham and to David.

Romans 4: Abraham believed God, and righteousness was credited to Abraham.
4 Now to the one who works, pay is not considered as a gift, but as something owed. 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes on Him who declares the ungodly to be justified, Righteousness is credited. 6 Likewise, David also speaks of the blessing of the man God credits righteousness to apart from works:

7 How joyful are those whose lawless acts are forgiven
and whose sins are covered!
8 How joyful is the man
the Lord will never charge with sin! (Psalm 32)

Psalm 103: For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
12 As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father pities his children,
So the Lord pities those who fear Him.
14 For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.
15 As for man, his days are like grass;
As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
16 For the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
And its place remembers it no more.
17 But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting
On those who fear Him

the law says
1. when we sin we think we are hiding from God, behind God’s back
2. when we don’t confess our sin, we still think we are hiding from God, in the darkness we love, instead of the light

the gospel says
1. there is the God who hides Himself

Isaiah 45: 15 Truly You are God, who hide Yourself,
O God of Israel, the Savior!
16 They shall be ashamed
And also disgraced, all of them;
They shall go in confusion together,
Who are makers of idols.
17 But Israel shall be saved by the Lord
With an everlasting salvation;
You shall not be ashamed or disgraced
Forever and ever.

2. this God shows up in time and place
a. between the cherubim
b. in the incarnate High Priest on earth at the cross

3. this God who hides the sins of the justified elect behind His back
Isaiah 38: 17 Indeed it was for my own peace
That I had great bitterness;
But You have lovingly delivered me from the pit of corruption,
18 For Sheol cannot thank You,
Death cannot praise You;
Those who go down to the pit cannot hope for Your truth.
19 The living, the living man, he shall praise You,
As I DO PRAISE YOU this day

the “survivor’s guilt” of the elect, mercy for me and not for some other sinners

Isaiah 43: 25 “I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins

Hebrews 8: 10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 11 None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. 12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds[ I will remember no more.”

Hebrews 10: 14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. 15 But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; because the Spirit said before, 6 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” 17 then He adds,“Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.

Job 14: 10–But man dies and is laid away;
Indeed he breathes his last
And where is he?
11 As water disappears from the sea,
And a river becomes parched and dries up,
12 So man lies down and does not rise.
Till the heavens are no more,
They will not awake
Nor be roused from their sleep.
13 “Oh, that You would hide me in the grave,
That You would conceal me until Your wrath is past,
That You would appoint me a set time, and remember me!
14 If a man dies, shall he live again?
All the days of my hard service I will wait,
Till my change comes.
15 You shall call, and I will answer You;
You shall desire the work of Your hands.
16 For now You number my steps,
But do not watch over my sin.
17 My transgression is sealed up in a bag,
And You cover my iniquity.

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28 Comments on “The “survivor’s guilt” of the elect—-We Did NOT “Make Our Own Luck””

  1. markmcculley Says:

    n outline for an essay on why the Little Engine Could Not.
    1. We have to think about what’s in the cars the engine is supposed to pull. Is it worthwhile to make the effort merely to take some toys and candy over the mountain? Why don’t the cars contain good books and chocolate candy?
    2. We can stop being so negative and judgmental about the big engine that could but would not. Perhaps the big engine has more important priorities, or maybe it’s environmentally dangerous to take so much so energy to do so little.
    3. Before we put our mind to doing something, before we calculate if we can do something, first we need to think about if the action is needed or desirable.
    4. Having resolved to attempt to carry the cars over the mountain, we can do some analysis of the mantra: I think I can, I think I can, I think I can. Is success a matter of frequency and repetition? Is the goal to put our mind to it more often or intensely? Is it like miniature golf so that when we put the mind to it better we get a hole in one every time?
    5. Put more simply, the question becomes: why not say it four times? I think I can. I think I can. I think I can. I think I can. Surely it’s the one more time which will take the little engine over the mountain.
    6. Just possibly the mind fails to prevail over matter, because one is not yet psyched enough. In this case, the little engine needs some self-help books, some coaches and personal trainers, and also some face time with Oprah. A good breakfast pizza in the morning also helps.
    7. The little engine also needs to figure out when to say I think I can. If saying it before the attempt does not produce satisfactory results, the trick could be to say it during the attempt itself. And it never hurts to back up a little further, and get a head start.
    8. Another solution is to revise one’s goal. If the little engine never
    plans to make it all the way across the mountain but agrees that one quarter the way up is excellent and above average, then the little engine can have a sweet party when it zooms past the goal and comes to a stop a third way up. Exceeding expectations is as simple as changing the numbers of words required for this week’s essay from 4000 to 400.
    9. One possible problem is lack of contentment and equanimity. If the little engine were Buddhist, then it could learn to relax without desires to cross mountains. On the other side of the mountain, one always finds yet another mountain, bigger than the first. Doing nothing eliminates a lot of pain and suffering. It also saves on gas.
    10. If the little engine waits long enough, time travel may be invented. When this happens, both the engine and the cars can arrive on the other side of the mountain without a climb. At the end of the day, when one puts one’s mind to it, limits like gravity can be overcome, especially if we have a tax funded program designed to preserve the jobs of engineers who design and maintain miniature equipment.

    Before the war, I used to tell them that life in relation to God was the biggest thing in their lives, and that their part in the economy was nothing by comparison. Now, you people have engineered them out of their part in the economy, in the market place, and they’re finding out—most of them—that what’s left is just about zero. A good bit short of enough, anyway.

    Lasher sighed. “What do you expect?” he said. “For generations they’ve been built up to worship competition and the market, productivity and economic usefulness, and the envy of their fellow men—and boom! it’s all yanked out from under them. They can’t participate, can’t be useful any more.”

  2. knhurst1 Says:

    I have members of my family that says that they will have nothing to do with a God like that. I tear for them daily for their blindness and hate towards God.

  3. markmcculley Says:

    we can only regret things we think we have control over. If we had no choice, no agency, if we were but tossed about on the tides of fate, there’d be nothing to regret.

    People tend to say they regret things they didn’t do more than things they did… Gilovich’s study also found that “the passage of time often brings with it increased confidence that one could have performed an earlier task successfully.” That confidence may be misplaced; people do tend to overestimate how much they can control situations.

    Neal Roese, a professor of marketing at Northwestern University, who has found that people’s biggest regrets tend to come from areas of life where there was, or is, high opportunity for change.

    “There’s two sides to this idea of opportunity,” he says. “The first part is focusing on what things were under your control in the past—what I could have done? How I could have made a difference?”

    The second part is that people tend to regret more intensely mistakes that they still have the opportunity to change. If you regret not going to school for another degree, for instance, you may regret it more each year that you don’t do something about it.

    “If it’s something that’s really done and you’ve reached a state of closure, you find yourself becoming more reconciled to it,” Roese says. “But when there’s still an opportunity to fix things, then our powers of rationalization are put aside. It’s kind of like the regret is a reminder to get off your duff and do something.”

    Rationalizing and analyzing and imagining are all necessary for regret, which is a cognitive emotion, unlike something more primal like fear. If humans weren’t able to imagine other possible worlds than the one they live in, they wouldn’t be able to regret things.

    In psychology, contemplating “What if?” is known as “counterfactual thinking.” “Upward counterfactuals” compare reality unfavorably to an imagined alternative—for example, “If I hadn’t been sidetracked by such and such job, I would have been an Academy Award-winning actress,” offers Laura Kray, a professor of leadership at the University of California, Berkeley. “Downward counterfactuals,” meanwhile, favor reality—something like, “My job might be difficult, but at least it’s not as hard as coal mining.”

  4. markmcculley Says:

    W.H. Auden once said: “The same rules apply to self-examination as apply to auricular confession: Be brief, be blunt, be gone

    O Blessed Lord, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comforts; We beseech thee, look down in pity and compassion upon this thy afflicted servant. Thou writest bitter things against him, and makest him to possess his former iniquities; thy wrath lieth hard upon him, and his soul is full of trouble: But, O merciful God, who hast written thy holy Word for our learning, that we, through patience and comfort of thy holy Scriptures, might have hope; give him a right understanding of himself, and of thy threats and promises; that he may neither cast away his confidence in thee, nor place it any where but in thee. Give him strength against all his temptations, and heal all his distempers. Break not the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax. Shut not up thy tender mercies in displeasure; but make him to hear of joy and gladness, that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.

    The comedian Louis C.K. was explaining that he doesn’t want his kids to have cell phones because he wants them to be sad. And sadness comes when you are forced to be alone with your thoughts: “That’s what the phones are taking away, the ability to just sit there. That’s being a person.”

  5. markmcculley Says:

    “do what you love” is a legalistic command to “love your work” and “love working”

    Keynes–When the accumulation of wealth is no longer of high social importance, there will be great changes in the code of morals. We shall be able to rid ourselves of many of the pseudo-moral principles which have hag-ridden us for two hundred years, by which we have exalted some of the most distasteful of human qualities into the position of the highest virtues. We shall be able to afford to dare to assess the money-motive at its true value. The love of money as a possession — as distinguished from the love of money as a means to the enjoyments and realities of life — will be recognized for what it is, a somewhat disgusting morbidity, one of those semi-criminal, semi-pathological propensities which one hands over with a shudder to the specialists in mental disease.”
    ― John Maynard Keynes, Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren

    Click to access keynes1.pdf

    Keynes–For many ages to come the old Adam will be so strong in us that everybody will need to do some work if he is to be contented. We shall do more things for ourselves than is usual with the rich to-day, only too glad to have small duties and tasks and routines. But beyond this, we shall endeavour to spread the bread thin on the butter-to make what work there is still to be done to be as widely shared as possible. Three-hour shifts or a fifteen-hour week may put off the problem for a great while. For three hours a day is quite enough to satisfy the old Adam in most of us!

    Keynes–I see us free, therefore, to return to some of the most sure and certain principles of religion and traditional virtue-that avarice is a vice, that the exaction of usury is a misdemeanor, and the love of money is detestable, that those walk most truly in the paths of virtue and sane wisdom who take least thought for the morrow. We shall once more value ends above means and prefer the good to the useful. We shall honor the delightful people who are capable of taking direct enjoyment in things, the lilies of the field who toil not, neither do they spin.

    Psalm 49: 10 For one can see that wise men die;
    foolish and stupid men also pass away.
    Then they leave their wealth to others.
    11 Their graves are their eternal homes,
    their homes from generation to generation,
    though they have named estates after themselves.
    12 But despite his assets,[ man will not last;
    he is like the animals that perish.
    13 This is the way of those who are arrogant,
    and of their followers,
    who approve of their words.
    14 Like sheep they are headed for Sheol;
    Death will shepherd them.
    The upright will rule over them in the morning,
    and their form will waste away in Sheol,
    far from their lofty abode.
    15 But God will redeem my life
    from the power of Sheol…

    Do not be afraid when a man gets rich,
    when the wealth of his house increases.
    17 For when he dies, he will take nothing at all;
    his wealth will not follow him down.
    18 Though he praises himself during his lifetime—
    and people praise you when you do well for yourself—
    19 he will go to the generation of his fathers;
    they will never see the light.
    20 A man with valuable possessions[
    but without understanding
    is like the animals that perish.

  6. markmcculley Says:

    Verses 2-3: “I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren.”

    John Piper–Notice the translation here: “I could wish” to be accursed. The point is that Paul’s grief is so great over the lostness of Israel that he stands on the brink of damnation, ready to throw himself in, if it were possible. But it is not possible. That’s why it says, “I could wish.” The reason it’s not possible is found four verses earlier in Romans 8:38-39 – Nothing, absolutely nothing can separate God’s elect, Paul included, from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    In other words, God has not designed a world where a person can be damned because of Christ-exalting love. If there were such a world, then the Biblical standards of the world that exists would not apply, and Paul stands ready to take Israel’s place in hell. But he can’t. God does not send people to hell because they love others enough to sacrifice for them. So Paul cannot take the place of Israel; he can only grieve.

    There will always be this kind of objection that Paul was facing here: people will say, “You cannot feel real grief over the lost if God chooses freely and unconditionally whom he will save.” Paul knows this is an objection, and all he can do here is say: I really grieve over Israel, and I really believe that God is sovereign over who is saved and who is not.

    Beware of over-simplifying the heart of God and the hearts of loving saints. There are more emotional possibilities in this world than you may think. Paul set us an example to follow: He taught in verse 15 that God says, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”

    • markmcculley Says:

      i usually think in categories of justified or condemned—not in terms of new birth or of election. The elect are born guilty, and the elect are not born already born again. The elect can come to assurance through the gospel that they are elect. The non-elect can learn that they are condemned but they cannnot learn in this life that they are non-elect.

      Herman Hoeksema on Romans 9:3: “What the apostle means is: were I placed before the alternative that my brethren according to the flesh be saved, or I; were I permitted to choose between their salvation and my own, could I effect their salvation by my being accursed, I could indeed wish to be accursed from Christ in their behalf … Without wishing to place ourselves on a par with the apostle, we may safely say that, in a degree, we can often repeat these words after him. Just imagine a parent who experiences the grief of seeing one or more of his children walk the way of sin and destruction. Just imagine a pastor, who, in the course of years becomes attached to his flock and earnestly desires their salvation, but who beholds many of them that are not the objects of God’s electing love. And what is true of our own flesh and blood in the narrowest sense of the word and of the Church of Christ in the world in general can be applied to mankind as a whole. Out of one blood God has made the whole of the human race, and they are, according to the flesh, all our brethren. And we can understand a little, at least, of the attitude of the apostle when he speaks of the great heaviness that burdens his soul and says that he could wish to be accursed from Christ for his kinsmen according to the flesh. And in as far as we could wish in our present flesh and blood, we could indeed desire all men to be saved.

  7. markmcculley Says:

    I meet lots of people who think Christians are basically narcissistic. As opposed to our selfishness, these non-Christians claim willingness to be damned if any other person is going to be, They are even willing to say there is no such thing as wrath or damnation if anybody besides them would have to suffer it. They seem to agree with Kant’s position—-that any action done with self-interest is suspect, any fact believed while thinking that those who believe that fact will be rewarded is a suspect fact.

    I do get it. I myself suspect myself, and everybody else, including those who think “morality means no reward”. I suspect that those who think that “Calvinists want to get paid”, also want to get paid for not being Calvinists.

    But Jesus talked about reward, about good stuff like resurrection and immortality for those Jesus loved. (see The Sermon on the Mount. Matthew 5-7.)

    Would it be less narcissistic to say–well, Jesus loves me because I love him, and He would love you too, if you only would—-

    Social Ethics as Gospel—-Bonhoeffer was critical of what he called ‘method-ism.’ Many think that to win someone for the Christian faith one must speak to him at the point of his weakness. One who makes this assumption is then predisposed to attend to the shadow side of human existence, since it is that which proves that “something more is needed.”. Such “method-ism” jumps on a man when he is down. It proves the need of God by proving we are no good without God. This is for Bonhoeffer the opposite of the gospel itself, which should be telling people, especially outsiders, about the love and goodness of God , not trying to convince people of their misery or their guiltiness.

    Only if it is not seen as a response to weakness, only if its credibility does not depend on proving human weakness, is the gospel really the good news. Apologetic approaches that try first to make the point of human lost–ness do say something true, but what they are interested in proving is not the good news.” Yoder in The Priestly Kingdom:,185

  8. markmcculley Says:

    capitalism–make your own luck and the poor be damned

    A good starting place for reading the stories of George Saunders might not beTenth of December, but The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip, a fable that is as appropriate for kids as it is for adults. The story centers around the seaside town of Frip, which consists of three families: The Ronsens, a husband and wife who look exactly alike, and have two daughters who stand very still; Bea Romo, a big, angry woman with two big, angry sons, all of whom are big, angry singers; and our heroine, Capable, and her father, who live in the red house closest to the sea. Capable’s mother is dead, and her father is crippled by it. From now on, he needs everything to stay the same.

    For example, the last meal her mother ever cooked was rice, and so now Capable’s father only wants to eat white food–Capable must paint all of his food with chalk dust for him to eat it.

    The worst part about living in Frip, though, is their issue with gappers. Gappers are small, baseball-sized sea creatures (“bright orange, with multiple eyes like the eyes on a potato”) with an insatiable love of goats. Every day, gappers invade the yards of Frip and attach themselves to their goats, shrieking happily once they’ve done so, and terrifying the goats in the process. Terrified goats deliver no milk, so every day, the children of Frip must don their gapper-brushes and gapper-sacks and toss them back into the sea…which, immediately, replays the whole terrible scenario again.

    Things get tricky, though, when a “less-stupid” gapper realizes that splitting off into three separate yards is less effective than going to the nearest yard each time. This gapper convinces all the other gappers to move into the closest yard to the sea–Capable’s yard. She awakes to find all her goats seized with terror, covered in thousands of orange, shrieking softballs. The other two yards, consequently, have none.

    “It’s a miracle!” Mrs. Romo shouted next morning, when she came out and discovered that her yard was free of gappers. “This is wonderful! Capable, dear, you poor thing. The miracle didn’t happen for you, did it? I feel so sorry for you. God has been good to us, by taking our gappers away. Why? I can’t say. God knows what God is doing, I guess! I suppose we must somehow deserve it! Boys! Boys! Come out and look!”

    Saunders masterfully depicts a theology of glory in the face of suffering, the human propensity to balk at another’s misfortune and claim it as some karmic act of one’s own moral responsibility. The two other families, though surprised at their good fortune, are quick to take the credit and slow to lend a hand. In fact, they don’t lend a hand. Capable, working herself silly, is incapable of doing the task alone. Her father is no help to her, and neither are her neighbors, and so the only thing is capable of doing is asking for help. She writes a letter to her neighbors.

    The Ronsens and The Romos respond in kind.

    “Do you know what I believe?…I believe we make our own luck in this world,” said Sid Ronsen. “I believe that, when my yard suddenly is free of gappers, why, that is because of something good I have done. Because, as both of you ladies know, I have always been a hard worker.”

    “As have I,” said Bea Romo. “I too have always been a hard worker, as have my boys, and look: No gappers, just like you. I suppose one might say that we too have made our own luck. With our hard work.”

    “Work, work, work,” said Carol Ronsen.

    Capable finds no help at all. She decides to sell her goats to the neighboring town, and take up fishing to make her living. Fishing, in the town of Frip, is a no-no. Her father can’t believe it’s come to this, his daughter fishing to keep them alive, but still he won’t help. She fishes anyways.

    You can guess what happens next. With the goats out of Capable’s yard, the gappers find a new place to torment. The Romos are next in line, waking the following to a yard full of shrieking, orange goats. The Ronsens, on the other hand, are brought even greater joy!

    “I feel like praying,” said Sid Ronsen. “I feel like thanking God for giving us whatever trait we have that keeps us so free of gappers.”

    “We should,” said Carol Ronsen. “We should pray.”

    And the Ronsens prayed, thanking God for making them the sort of people who had no gappers, and they prayed that God would forgive Bea for not being that sort of person, and would have mercy on her, and, in His infinite mercy, would make Bea into a better sort of person, and take all her gappers away.

    Sound familiar? Saunders is a Buddhist.

    By ten Capable had caught enough fish for a nice dinner. The rest of the morning she swam and slept. In the early afternoon, she swam some more, made a sandcastle, and daydreamed a bit. She daydreamed about the old days when her father used to make her mother laugh by holding radishes in his eye sockets. She daydreamed about dressing up the Romo boys in goat suits and locking them in a closet full of gappers.

  9. markmcculley Says:

    God rejects some sinners on purpose and unconditionally.

    Equal ultimacy means that God ordains not only creatures but sinners on both sides.
    God ordains sinners as a means to redemption.
    God ordains sinners as a means to destruction.

    “Common grace” teaches grace for us as creatures not as sinners to be saved.

    The “secular nation-state” says that Christians can use creature not Christian standards to protect themselves by killing others.

    John 10:29 you do not believe because you are not of my sheep

    I Peter 2:8 They stumble because they disobey the message. They were destined for this.

    Mark 4: 11 Jesus answered them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to those OUTSIDE, everything comes in parables 12 in order that

    they look and look,
    yet not perceive;
    they listen and listen,
    yet not understand;
    otherwise, they would turn back—
    and be forgiven.

    II Thessalonians 1: at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with His powerful angels, 8 taking vengeance with flaming fire on those who don’t know God and on those who don’t obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 These will pay the penalty of lasting destruction from the Lord’s presence and SHUT OUT

    Romans 6: 23 For the WAGES of sin is death, but the GIFTof God is lasting life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    Psalm 16: 5 Lord, You are my portion
    and my cup of blessing;
    You hold my future.
    6 The boundary lines have fallen for me
    in pleasant places;
    indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

    Psalm 136; 10 God struck the firstborn of the Egyptians
    11 and brought Israel out from among them
    12 with a strong hand and outstretched arm.
    13 God divided the Red Sea
    14 and led Israel through,
    15 but hurled Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea.

    Acts 13:19 then after destroying seven nations in the land of Canaan, God gave their land to them as an inheritance.

    Acts 20:32“And now I commit you to God and to the message of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you an inheritance among all who are sanctified.

    Ephesians 1: 5 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ

    Ephesians 1: 11 We have also received an INHERITANCE in Christ, predestined according to the purpose of the One who works out everything in agreement with the decision of His will, 12 so that we who had already put our hope in Christ would bring praise to His glory.

    13 When you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed in Christ, you were also sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. Christ is the down payment of our INHERITANCE

    Ephesians 1:18 I pray that the perception of your mind be enlightened so you know what is the hope of His calling, what are the glorious riches of HIS inheritance among the saints,

  10. markmcculley Says:

    If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learned how to live.

    “Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone.

    “Happiness for me is largely a matter of digestion. If one’s bowels move, one is happy, and if they don’t move, one is unhappy. That is all there is to it.

    “Society can exist only on the basis that there is some amount of polished lying and that no one says exactly what he thinks.

    “The secret of contentment is knowing how to enjoy what you have.”

    except for the mercies of God…

    Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this so many slobs are fat age…

    I Cor 6 not everything is helpful. “Everything is permissible for me,” but I will not be brought under the control of anything. “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food,” but God will do away with both of them. The body is not for getting fat but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body….Don’t you know that your bodies are a part of Christ’s body? So should I take a part of Christ’s body and make it fat?

    I Cor 7—I don’t need to be out of jail, but also I don’t need to be in jail, therefore there is nothing you can get me for Christmas

    Was anyone already fat when he was called? He should not undo his fatness. Was anyone called while healthy and thin He should not get fat. 1 at does not matter and health does not matter, but keeping God’s commands does. Each person should remain in the situation in which he was called.

    Philippians 4: I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content…. Still, you did well by sharing with me in my hardship….. you sent gifts for my need several times. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the profit that is increasing to your account.

    18 But I have received everything in full, and I have an abundance. I am fully supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you provided—a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.

    • markmcculley Says:

      f we were to ever become dead in Christ
      It would not have been us who made that happen

      We would count in a new way and not hang our future
      On a divine life in us

      If we were dead
      We would count as loss
      What we used to count worship

      If we were to ever become dead
      We would have had it Done to us
      Death is suffered

      We would have lost making outcomes
      Depend on God causing us to obey
      Faith always continues to need the resurrection

      We do not hope for righteousness
      We hope because of righteousness
      We have passed from death through a death imputed

      Now let’s see
      If we can stand still.

      John Flavel, Keeping the Heart– “Who cannot be brought to confer with their own hearts: there are some people who have lived forty or fifty years in the world, and have had scarcely one hour’s discourse with their own hearts. It is a hard thing to bring a man and himself together on such business.”

      But what if there is something useful for you to discover in the midst of that terrifying conference with yourself in solitude and stillness with no dings, emoticons, or push notifications reaching out for you?

      What if, once you forded the deep brook of dread you met a lush quietness of soul on the other side? Or if you could shimmy through the initial cave of your discomfort in being with yourself, to find stunning underground caverns to capture your attention?

      Aziz Ansari recently said, “I read a lot on the internet. I feel like I’m on, like, page 1 million in the world’s worst book.” Most of us are reading right alongside him and could nod emphatically in agreement.

      But what if there are wonders to discover that you can’t read on the Internet?

      What if there are matters of such delicate importance that they only surface when all is quiet and still?

      Sullivan insightfully suggests:
      “The reason we live in a culture increasingly without faith is not because science has somehow disproved the unprovable, but because the white noise of secularism has removed the very stillness in which it might endure or be reborn.”

      Wouldn’t it be a pity if by mere neglect and a fear of having conferences with ourselves we strip-mined the conditions most conducive to being a human who knows what she is for and why she is here?

      It has, after all, often been in solitude where receptiveness to the most precious realities is most acutely realized.

      It’s an offer awfully hard to hear when we spend all our time in a virtual world that dulls our hearing with a “wind tunnel of deafening, deadening noise.”

      ung is treating an overworked minister with particularly “jangled nerves.” Jung suggests that the minister take the next week to change his habits—to work less, spend more time at home, spend more time alone. The minister takes those words to practice—he works eight hours, and spends the evenings quietly listening to Mozart and reading Herman Hesse. He returns to Jung with news that nothing’s changed.

      When the minister told him of his nightly rest period with classical music or novels, Jung chided, “No, I said to spend the time alone not with music or authors.”

      Realizing with fuller clarity what was being demanded, the priest replied, “Oh, you mean to spend my time all alone with just myself? That would be intolerable!”

      And Jung is purported to have sagely suggested, “You cannot stand to spend even an hour per night with yourself, and yet that same self, you are willing to inflict on others for 14 hours per day!

  11. markmcculley Says:

    sitting on the balconies of heaven looking down at the people in gehenna “get theirs”

    “Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: Lest the LORD see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him.” (Proverbs 24:17

    if you rejoice others “get theirs”, you will “get yours”?

    Schopenhauer–To feel envy is human, to savor schadenfreude is diabolic.

  12. markmcculley Says:

    come with faith alone in the gospel

    Acts 15 Some men came down from Judea and began to teach the brothers: “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom prescribed by Moses, you cannot be saved!” … 9 God made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith….11 we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus in the same way they are.”

    Romans 5: 2 Through our Lord Jesus Christ we have obtained access by faith into this grace om which we stand

    Christ will in the future glorify all those for whom
    Christ has done death

    Christ in the present intercedes for all those for whom
    Christ has done death


    born to a Canaanite Quaker family
    I come alone, without water
    alone, without clergy
    alone, without Christian parents
    alone, without promises to those born in the covenant

    access by faith into this grace, not access by clergy

    near by faith, not nearer and better by agreeing with the tradition about the real presence

    Matthew 15: 22 Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came and kept crying out,“Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is cruelly tormented by a demon.” 23 Yet He did not say a word to her. So His disciples approached Him and urged Him, “Send her away because she cries out after us.” 24 He replied, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25 But she came, knelt before Him, and said, “Lord, help me!” 26 He answered, “It isn’t right to take the children’s bread and throw it to their dogs.” 27 “Yes, Lord,” she said, “yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table!” 28 Then Jesus replied to her, “Woman, your faith is great. IT WILL BE DONE FOR YOU as you want.” And from that moment her daughter was cured.

    Matthew 7: 6 Do not give what is holy to dogs or your pearls to pigs or they will trample them with their feet, turn, and tear you to pieces.

  13. markmcculley Says:

    Them that’s got shall get
    Them that’s not shall lose
    So the Bible said and it still is news
    Mama may have, Papa may have
    But God bless the child that’s got his own

    Yes, the strong gets more
    While the weak ones fade
    Empty pockets don’t ever make the grade

    Money, you’ve got lots of friends
    Crowding round the door
    When you’re gone, spending ends
    They don’t come no more
    Rich relations give
    Crust of bread and such
    You can help yourself
    But don’t take too much
    Billie Holiday

    Matthew 25: 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed,25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

    ok then I will now show you what a hard man looks like

    analogy to another parable, i forgave you once, but when you didn’t forgive, now I won’t forgive you

  14. markmcculley Says:

    If we ever get to thinking that God is only being sovereign but not being fair to us, then we show not only that we are wrong but also that God has not yet called us by the gospel to the truth. We should not only confess that God is going to get God’s way, but we also need to learn to confess that the way God acts and judges is just.

    It’s not the gospel which makes things fair. It’s not the gospel which makes it fair for God to punish those who reject the gospel. The law comes before the gospel, and the law shows that condemnation is fair, and that we are all already born condemned without any gospel (even if we are born to christian parents). The gospel is mercy to those God elected to give to Christ. Election is love and love is not “fairness”. Christ died for the elect alone.

    God is fair when it comes to justifying the ungodly. Before the elect are placed into Christ’s death (by God’s word of imputation), not even they are justified. God has no respect of persons in the matter of justification. All who are now legally in Christ’s death are justified by God before God

    alvation by works is rational

    if you jump further over the grand canyon than I do, you should be allowed to land on the other side

    a curve is better than everybody falling into the bottomless ditch

    then you could look down and say
    it’s only fair

    it would have been arbitrary for us to both make it
    it would have been antinomian, you would not have even tried when you jump

    better a merit based economy

    than a capricious god, inexplicable animal spirits

  15. markmcculley Says:

    moralists—i told you so
    sinners–if not for the grace of God, the same with me

    Revelation 6:10 They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been. 12 When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, 13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. 14 The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. 15 Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, 16 calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”

    II Peter 3:10 But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief. On that day … works on the earth will be found out 11 Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, it is clear what sort of people you should be in holy conduct and godliness 12 as you wait for and earnestly desire the coming[ of the day of God…. while you wait for these things, make every effort to be found at peace with Him without spot or blemish

    Psalm 69: 22 Let their own table before them become a snare;
    and when they are at peace, let it become a trap.
    23 Let their eyes be darkened, so that they cannot see,
    and make their loins tremble continually.
    24 Pour out your indignation upon them,
    and let your burning anger overtake them.
    25 May their camp be a desolation;
    let no one dwell in their tents.
    26 For they persecute him whom you have struck down,
    and they recount the pain of those you have wounded.
    27 Add to them punishment upon punishment;
    may they have no acquittal from you.
    28 Let them be blotted out of the book of the living;
    let them not be enrolled among the righteous.

    Rejoice not when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles: Lest the LORD see it, and it displease the Lord, and the Lord turn away his wrath from your enemy.” (Proverbs 24:17

    Schopenhauer–To feel envy is human, to savor schadenfreude is diabolic

    Proverbs 25 (Romans 12) f your enemy is hungry, feed him.
    If he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
    For in so doing
    you will be heaping fiery coals on his head.

    The only safe place to be is inside what Christ did 2000 years ago outside of us when Jesus died for the sins of the elect and rose again.

    Colossians 3: 3 For you HAVE died, and your life is hidden with the Messiah in God. 4 WHEN the Messiah, who is your life, is revealed, THEN you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

    Assurance is not found in Jesus inside us when we eat the bread and drink the wine.

    Assurance is not found in Jesus inside us causing us to believe or obey.

    Psalm 49: The iniquity of my foes surrounds me.
    6 They trust in their wealth
    and boast of their riches.
    7 Yet riches cannot redeem a person
    or pay their ransom to God—
    10 wise people die.
    Foolish and stupid people also die
    Then they leave their wealth to others.
    11 Their graves will be their final lasting homes,
    though they have named earhtly estates after themselves.
    12 Despite their assets, they will not last.
    They arr like the animals that perish.
    13 This is the way of those who are arrogant,
    and of their followers,
    14 Like sheep they are headed for Sheol;
    15 But God will redeem my life
    from the power of Sheol.
    16 Do not be afraid when

    the wealth of man’s house increases.
    17 When they die, they will take nothing
    their wealth will not follow them down.

  16. markmcculley Says:

    Psalm 73: 16 When I tried to understand all this,
    it seemed hopeless
    17 until I entered God’s sanctuary.
    Then I understood THEIR destiny.
    18 Indeed, You put THEM in slippery places;
    You make THEM fall into ruin.
    19 How suddenly THEY become a desolation!
    THEY come to an end, swept away by terrors.

    Kidner—Against God’s sovereignty, these men of the moment are seen for what they are. Their end is “their afterward”. Their future will unmake everything they have lived for. Their judgment is not only the logical consequence but God’s personal rejection. God’s dismissal of someone as of no further account is the “I never knew you” of Matthew 7:23

  17. markmcculley Says:

    Psalm 91: 7 Though a thousand fall at your side
    and ten thousand at your right hand,
    the pestilence will not reach YOU
    8 YOU WILL ONLY SEE IT with your eyes

    9 Because you have made the Lord—my refuge,
    the Most High—your dwelling place,
    10 no harm will come to YOU;
    no plague will come NEAR YOUR TENT.
    11 For He will give His angels orders concerning YOU,
    to protect YOU in all your ways.

  18. markmcculley Says:

    OBJECT. IX. He has brought himself to want by his own fault. — In reply, it must be considered what you mean by his fault.

    First, if you mean a want of a natural faculty to manage affairs to advantage, that is to be considered as his calamity. Such a faculty is a gift that God bestows on some, and not on others. And it is not owing to themselves.
    If we should forever refuse to help men because of that, it would be for us to make their inconsiderateness and imprudent act, an unpardonable crime, quite contrary to the rules of the gospel, which insist so much upon forgiveness. — We should not be disposed so highly to resent such an oversight in any for whom we have a dear affection, as our children, or our friends.

  19. markmcculley Says:

    gifts not to the worthy

    arbitrary, lottery

    to ungodly enemies

  20. markmcculley Says:

    Matthew 2: 13 A‎n angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Get up! Take the child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. For Herod is about to search for the child to destroy Him.” 14 So Jospeh he got up, took the child and His mother during the night, and escaped to Egypt.,,, 16 Herod, when he saw that he had been outwitted by the wise men, flew into a rage. Herod gave orders to massacre all the male children in and around Bethlehem who were two years and under, in keeping with the time he had learned from the wise men. 17 Then what was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled:

    18 A voice was heard in Ramah,
    Rachel weeping for her children;
    and Rachel refused to be consoled,
    because they were no more

  21. Mark Mcculley Says:

    I felt a level of survivor’s guilt,” said Myles Washington, 21, one of
    the graduates expecting to receive tens of thousands of debt relief
    from Mr. Smith. “There were students that were here that were just as smart and just as talented as us that didn’t have the opportunity
    because they had to leave early.”

    jordan Long, 22, was one of those students — and would have been a recipient of Mr. Smith’s pledge had he stayed at Morehouse. He arrived on the campus from Oakland, Calif., in the summer of 2015. “I loved the idea that I was walking on the same campus as Martin Luther King Jr.,” he said.

    Mr. Long paid for the first two years through a combination of help
    from relatives and federal student loans, accumulating more than
    $60,000 in debt. But by the end of his sophomore year, he had packed his bags for good. “I didn’t have enough scholarship money and I didn’t want to have to put that kind of a burden on my family,” he said.

    Mr. Long, who is now a community college student, learned about Mr. Smith’s gift on social media. Then he took to Twitter: “I left
    Morehouse class of 2019 to avoid debt and this billionaire just paid
    the graduating class’s debt of

  22. Mark Mcculley Says:

    Jeremiah 31:  15 This is what the Lord says:

    A voice was heard in Ramah,
    a lament with bitter weeping—
    Rachel weeping for her children,
    refusing to be comforted for her children
    because they are no more.

    16 This is what the Lord says:
    Keep your voice from weeping
    and your eyes from tears,
    for the reward for your work will come—
    this is the Lord’s declaration

  23. Mark Mcculley Says:

    Isaiah 8: 12 Do not call everything an alliance
    these people say is an alliance.
    Do not fear what they fear;
    do not be terrified.
    13 You are to regard only the Lord of Hosts as holy.
    Only the Lord should be feared;
    only the Lord should be held in awe.
    14 The Lord will be sanctuary;

    the Lord will be a stone to stumble over
    and a rock to trip over, a trap and a snare

    I Peter 1: 17 You are to conduct yourselves IN FEAR during the time of your temporary residence. 18 For you know that you were redeemed from your inherited empty way of life…. with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish. 20 Christ was chosen before the ages but was revealed at the end of the ages for you WHO THROUGH CHRIST ARE BELIEVERS in God,who raised Christ from the dead and gave Him glory, in order that you OBEY THE TRUTH

    Luke 1: 49 the Mighty One
    has done great things for me,
    and His name is holy.
    His mercy is on those who fear Him

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