My Prayer for Hope and Wisdom in a New Decade

For the new year, I am praying for myself, for more faith in the truth

James 1:4 Endurance must do its complete work, in order that you become mature 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously and without criticizing, and wisdom will be given to them . 6 But ask in faith without doubting. Because the doubter is like the sea, driven up and down by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 To be indecisive is to be unstable

Lord willing, I am turning 65 this year, in May. I have even less friends this year than I had last year. The only way I could go back to any “church” I know about is to be dishonest. These “churches” are way more welcoming when we agree to disagree—we don’t say anymore what we think, they don’t want to hear it–“church” works better when we don’t think about what we don’t think about…

It is difficult to get a person to understand something when their entire way of life depends on them not understanding it. I am not only talking about professionals who make an easy living off of religion. I am talking about people who want to keep going to the same church.

That church down in White Settlement, Texas, the one that kills people who come into their space to kill them, that church is not so different from other churches. We don’t kill for Jesus, but the people we do kill are not human but evil. We are heroes not evil. We are just “human”, so if you don’t vote or support the military, then maybe it’s you who is not saved. When you kill, that’s for one kingdom and not for the other kingdom, and everybody has different roles. Everybody has at least two masters.

Why not fake being normal and going back to some church? I don’t want to. Any church I know would accuse me now for not going to some church. In or out of “church”, we believe whatever we think we need to believe.

If they need the metaphors to not be metaphors, they can and do believe this without more questions. If they don’t like “legal metaphors”, they make for themselves a distinction between the legal and the personal.
I accuse them of talking about “covenant” because they don’t want to talk about election or about Christ’s death being limited to only the elect.

“Do you have to talk about that?”

When they accuse me of being “abstract”, I accuse them of rejecting the objective penal meaning of Christ’s death and of not caring much about the truth of who Christ the person is. They have a more or less personal relationship with some people in their church.

Romans 4: 19 Abraham considered his own body to be already dead (since he was about 100 years old). Abraham also thought about Sarah’s dead womb. Without weakening in the faith. 20 Abraham did not waver in unbelief at God’s promise. God caused Abraham to be stronger in his faith. Abraham gave glory to God, 21 because Abraham was fully convinced that what Abraham had promised Abraham was also able to perform.

God did not credit Abraham’s faith as the righteousness. God credited to Abraham the righteousness of Christ’s death. Abraham’s faith was not in his faith. Abraham’s faith was in the righteousness that did not yet exist. Abraham’s faith was in the righteousness not yet obtained by Christ’s death. Abraham believed that Christ would die. Abraham did not believe that Christ had already died. But God then and there imputed Christ’s death to Abraham. Back then at that time, God justified Abraham.

The justification of Abraham meant that Abraham had immunity from condemnation before God.
Before that, Abraham was condemned before God.
Before God justified Abraham, God imputed sins to Abraham.
After God justified Abraham, God no longer imputed sins to Abraham.

You can dismiss “justification before God” as a tattoo that cannot be removed, or as a “get out of punishment pass”. But Abraham had lasting security before God. Abraham could lose friends and family, but Abraham could not lose God.

Romans 4:17 Abraham believed in God, who gives life to the dead and calls things into existence that do not exist

Humans being in the image of God does not mean that humans will always live somewhere.
Humans being in the image of God does not mean that death is another form of life.
Satan was lying when Satan said we would not die.
God being God does not mean that everything has already happened.
God being God does not mean that God does not cause us to believe and hope for the future.

James 2: 21 After Abraham was justified by God before God, Abraham offered Isaac his son on the altar. 22 Abraham’s faith was not perfect but also Abraham’s faith was not fake. Abraham was called God’s friend.

So I ask God for myself faith and hope for this new year

James 3: 33 Who really is wise and has understanding? Who has wisdom’s gentleness? 14 Do not brag about believing the truth, Do not deny the truth. Do not fake the truth….16 Anywhere selfish ambition exists, there is disorder and every kind of evil. 17 But the wisdom given from above is pure and peace-loving, gentle, full of mercy and free from hypocrisy. 18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace

Job had too many friends
Satan accused God
Satan accused Job
Satan says that none of us will die

Job was a sinner
Job was not fake.
Job accused his friends.
Job accused God.

James 5: 11 we count as blessed those who have been patient. You have heard of Job’s patience and have seen the outcome of that patience. The Lord is very merciful. 12 Now above all, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. Your “yes” must be “yes,” and your “no” must be “no,”.
Do not be fakes. 13 Are you suffering? Pray. Are you cheerful? Sing praises…19 if anybody strays from THE TRUTH and someone turns them back to the TRUTH, 20 they will save their life from death

John 7: So the family of Jesus said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, in order that others also see what you are doing. 4 Because no one works in secret if they seeks to be known openly. Show yourself to the world.”

Some think we will show the world what the gospel is without words, simply by what we do and by not being sinners like other people are. Matthew 5:16 let your light shine before others, in order that they give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Only by the light of the gospel can others see in what we do that our faith is NOT in what we do to prove our faith to other people.

John 7:17 If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, they will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.
John 7:17 is not teaching us that learning is not important. That would be ironic indeed–learning that learning is not important. Nor is John 7:17 teaching that learning depends on us doing God’s will, or on “wanting to” do God’s will. There is no such thing as doing God’s will before we know what God’s will is. But there is such a thing as “dead works” in which our doing is sin against God. Any doing done in order to get God to bless us is doing that God hates.

We can’t do stuff in order to trigger our believing, because we need to repent of our doing. Not only do we need to repent of doing what God never commanded us to do, but also we need to repent of any doing which displaces faith in what Christ has already done by His death and resurrection.
We can’t just do stuff, because some doing is evil in God’s sight. Some do what is true, some do what is not true.

John 3:19 This is the judgment–the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light BECAUSE their works were evil. 20 They hate the light and doe not come to the light, because their good works would be exposed as sin. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light…

Romans 6:20—when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. The fruit you were getting at that time now shames you as self–righteousness The end of that doing is death

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8 Comments on “My Prayer for Hope and Wisdom in a New Decade”

  1. Mark Mcculley Says:

    One preacher explains how you can grow more without repenting more —“I personally have run the gamut on this issue. I began by believing that justification takes place at the time of faith, not before. because of, or based on faith, but that God simply imputed Christ’s righteousness to His people within the context of bringing sinners in the new birth to faith in Christ and true repentance. I knew then, and know now, that faith is the fruit and result of Christ’s righteousness imputed for my justification before God. I knew then, and I know now that justification before God was not based on any so-called “imparted righteousness.” I knew then, and know now, that faith comes by the power of God the Holy Spirit in the new birth and not by any goodness, power, or act of my so-called “free will.” I knew then, and know now, that if God had not imputed Christ’s righteousness to me and sovereignly worked in me, I would never have believed in Christ and repented of dead works and idolatry. After hearing two fellow-laborers in the Gospel, teach that God justifies His people AT THE CROSS and not before or after that time, I began to consider this view, and it made some sense to me as I knew that the time of the cross-death of Christ the righteousness which God imputes to His people was actually produced. I also know that if this illumination is of the Lord, it will not divide brethren. In my Growth in these areas, the Gospel message did not change, neither in its doctrine nor in the way I presented it.”

  2. Mark Mcculley Says:

    Preachers who don’t take questions coverup the implications of their bad logic. We agree that faith is not the righteousness that Christ obtained by His death. But if the Bible teaches that God’s imputation of that righteousness results in spiritual life and faith in the promise of the gospel, then it seems proper to see ignorance and unbelief of the gospel as evidence of still being in a condemned legal state before God. When God justifies an ungodly sinner, does God make what that sinner believes to be different than it was before?

    1 Corinthians 2:12 -“Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, in order that we understand the things freely given us by God.

    2 Peter 1:1 To those who have obtained a faith of equal privilege with ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ

    Romans 8:10–”the Spirit is life BECAUSE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.

    How can preachers say that assurance comes directly from the Holy Spirit by the power of the gospel (including the promise/proposition that only–as many as- believe in Christ will be justified), but then turn around and say that unbelief and ignorance of the gospel is not evidence of condemnation? First, they deny that the elect are ever condemned before God. They teach that all those who ever will be justified before God have always been justified before God. Second, they have reduced the “you need to be saved” to regeneration and the Holy Spirit giving life.

  3. Mark Mcculley Says:

    Bill Parker taught condemnation before justification in the August 2001 Reign of Grace Newsletter—“The guilt of sin is that which keep sinners under condemnation and wrath. Believers are not dead to the presence, power and influence of sin their character and conduct, but the moment God brought them out of condemnation and into the blessed state of justification, based on the righteousness of Christ, they BECAME totally and legally dead to the guilt of sin….”

    This was the consistent teaching from Reign of Grace taped sermons during that time. This was the means by which God taught me to understand and believe the gospel. I was not justified before God before I believed that gospel. As far as I can tell, these tape series are no longer available from Reign of Grace.

    In a book published in 2019,the Righteousness of God, p 145, Bill Parker teaches a different doctrine (the one taught by John Gill and some others, but denied by Abraham Booth and John Owen)—“The only way the elect have ever been under God’s wrath is as they stood legally in Christ…This means that God’s elect have never personally been under God’s wrath.”

    Henry Mahan—“When did this righteousness Christ brought in come to you? You don’t have this righteousness imputed to you before you believe the God of the gospel.”

  4. Mark Mcculley Says:

    It is a very bad over-reaction against those who say that Christ was made corrupt to deny redemptive history and to falsely claim that Christ was never MADE anything.

    It would be wrong to deny that God the Son BECAME incarnate, both God and Human. It would also be wrong to deny that God the Son was first imputed with the guilt of the elect, and then that LATER IN HISTORY God the Son was raised from His death (His death because of that imputed guilt). Because all the elect will be justified, Christ was raised from the dead. Because Christ’s death paid for all those sins, those sins are no longer imputed to Christ, and so it was that Christ was raised from the dead. This is history. This is news.

    2 Corinthians 21 He MADE the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, in order that we BECOME the righteousness of God in Him.

    I Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be MADE alive. I Corinthians 15 is not describing all sinners. I am not denying that all humans were imputed with Adam’s guilt. But I Corinthians 15 is about “all” who were elect in Christ—they will all be justified before God.

    Are we supposed to say, Randy Wages is teaching the nature of justification different now, so now let’s all teach it the way he’s teaching it? I asked Randy once, were you regenerate and had spiritual life before you began teaching that the elect were always justified before God. Randy Wages assured me that he was already effectually called before he had ever heard the doctrine of “never personally condemned before God.” But then Randy warned me that this was the best way to show that faith in the gospel is not the righteousness. Randy also told me that he had found out that some people he thought were regenerate exposed themselves as not yet knowing the gospel when he brought up to them the idea of “eternal justification before God”.

    The implication to me was that, if I had not heard or known about “eternal justification”, then possibly I was already regenerate, but if I questioned the “never under the wrath even in unbelief” doctrine when informed about it, this would raise questions in Randy’s mind about if I knew that faith was not the righteousness. Not saying it the same way Randy now says it would cause Randy to doubt if I knew the gospel.

  5. Mark Mcculley Says:

    I find it interesting that some of the very same preachers who are teaching “eternal election is eternal justification”are the very same people who also like to say that “non-election is not condemnation”. They quote CD Cole—“Election is not the cause of anybody going to hell, for election is unto salvation Neither is non-election responsible for the damnation of sinners. Sin is the thing that sends men to hell, and all men are sinners by nature and practice. Sinners are sinners altogether apart from election or non-election. It does not follow that because election is unto salvation that non-election is unto damnation. Sin is the damning element in human life. Election harms nobody.”

    Giovanni Camacho I wonder what the aversion is to saying that it is by God’s will that the non-elect are condemned. It seems to be logically inconsistent to say that election is unto salvation, but that
    non-election is not unto damnation. It’s a semantic slight of hand
    that introduces some concept of responsibility for one’s own
    condemnation, rather than the sovereign will of God.condemnation,
    rather than the sovereign will of God.
    I’m guessing the reason is because of the way they think it might make God, or themselves look if they say that, but frankly, it is dishonest to say anything less. It is true that men are sinners, and the grounds for legal punishment arise out of that sin. However, it is not true to say that failure to repent is what caused them to perish Rather, Romans 9 is clear , God is sovereign over the final destination of every human created.. God before the ages made the decisions both of who to redeem and who to condemn. The non-elect were not born with a chance to avoid the second death. Saying that condemnation is merely about justice and not sovereignty creates more doubts and questions.

  6. Mark Mcculley Says:

    preacher—the prophet said to David, God never saw your sins, you were born justified and now I am only declaring to you that you were already justified

    me—is that what Nathan actually said to David?

    preacher—I never think about those things that separate me from those who say those two words “accomplished atonement”

    me–was Christ’s atoning death imputed to David before Christ died?

    me—was Christ’s atoning death imputed to David before David was born?

    me—has the atonement been accomplished if the atonement has not yet been applied to the elect and resulted in them all being already justified?

  7. Mark Mcculley Says:

    I Kings 22: 12 And all the prophets were prophesying the same: “March up to Ramoth-gilead and succeed, for the Lord will hand it over to the king.” 13 The messenger who went to call Micaiah instructed him, “Look, the words of the prophets are unanimously favorable for the king. So let your words be like theirs, and speak favorably.” 14 But Micaiah said, “As the Lord lives, I will say whatever the Lord says to me.”

    15 So he went to the king, and the king asked him, “Micaiah, should we go to Ramoth-gilead for war, or should we refrain?” Micaiah told him, “March up and succeed. Yahweh will hand it over to the king.” 16 But the king said to him, “How many times must I make you swear not to tell me anything but the truth in the name of Yahweh?”

    17 So Micaiah said: I saw all Israel scattered on the hills like sheep without a shepherd. And the Lord said,
    “They have no master; let everyone return home in peace.”

    18 So the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Didn’t I tell you he never prophesies good about me, but only disaster?”
    19 Then Micaiah said, “Therefore, hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on His throne, and the whole heavenly host was standing by Him at His right hand and at His left hand. 20 And the Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab to march up and fall

    21 “Then a spirit came forward, stood before the Lord, and said, ‘I will entice him.’ 22 “The Lord asked him, ‘How?’ “He said, ‘I will go and become a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ “Then He said, ‘You will certainly entice him and prevail. Go and do that.’ 23 “You see, the Lord has put a lying spirit into the mouth of all these prophets of yours, and the Lord has pronounced disaster against you.”

    24 Then Zedekiah came up, hit Micaiah in the face, and demanded, “Did the Spirit of the Lord leave me to speak to you?” 25 Micaiah replied, “You will soon see

    26 Then the king of Israel ordered, “ Put this guy in prison and feed him only bread and water until I come back safely.’”
    28 But Micaiah said, “If you ever return safely, the Lord has not spoken through me.”

    30 So the king of Israel disguised himself and went into battle.
    31 Now the king of Aram had ordered his 32 chariot commanders, “Do not fight with anyone at all except the king of Israel.” 32 When the chariot commanders saw Jehoshaphat, they shouted, “He must be the king of Israel!” So they turned to fight against him, but Jehoshaphat cried out. 33 When the chariot commanders saw that he was not the king of Israel, they turned back from pursuing him. 34 But a man drew his bow without taking special aim and struck the king of Israel through the joints of his armor.

    37 So they buried the king in Samaria. 38 Then someone washed the chariot at the pool of Samaria. The dogs licked up his blood, and the prostitutes bathed in it

  8. Mark Mcculley Says:

    Romans 4: David speaks of the blessing of the one God imputes 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 one
    the Lord will no longer impute sin

    Galatians 2: 16 no one is justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ.And we have believed in Christ Jesus in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no human will be justified.

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