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In His Flesh, Christ Died under Law (for the Elect Alone)

July 1, 2020

God’s elect were once far away, not only in our own conscience and mind, but also before God’s justice.

Romans 6: 9-10 Christ, having been raised from the dead, will not die again. Death no longer rules over Christ 10 For in light of the fact that Christ died, Christ died to sin once for all time and now Christ lives.

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 imputed with the guilt of the elect, and then that God the Son was raised from His death (His death because of that imputed guilt)

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 are imputed with Adam’s guilt. But I Corinthians 15 (and Romans 5-6) are about “us all” who were elect in Christ.

in Adam all
in Christ all

I am making two points.
Point one– These texts are not describing the non-elect. The non-elect are born in Adam and they will stay in Adam. The non-elect will be condemned and perish when Christ returns to earth. (the second death)

Point two—all the elect are born guilty and condemned in Adam. All the elect need to be “legally buried with Christ” before God. Not only do all the elect NEED to become dead with Christ, but God’s plan (Ephesians 1 is that all the elect WILL BE made alive by means of Christ’s death.

Romans 6:7 is not describing a new birth but a “being justified from sins”, when each elect sinner receives by God’s imputation the legal value of Christ’s death. (They receive legally the righteousness. Romans 5:11,17) )

If you think that “time gaps” result in “fake justice”, why do you even think that you ever need Christ’s death ever imputed to you? Are you not justified as soon as your sins are imputed to Christ? Once your sins are imputed to Christ, they are His problem, whether He ever dies to pay for them or not. Why must the payment be imputed to you, as long as your sins are not imputed to you?

Is guilt imputed before corruption a “legal fiction”?

Is saying an infant is born condemned in Adam “fake news”?

Is there any “reality” to Adam being the representative even of the
elect before their justification?

It would be wrong to claim that God the Son was ALWAYS incarnate, both God and Human, because in truth God the Son BECAME incarnate. It would also be wrong to claim that God the Son was never imputed with the guilt of the elect, as it would be wrong to claim that Christ’s death really changed nothing so that Christ continues to be imputed with the guilt of the elect. God the Son was raised from His death (Christ’s death was because of that imputed guilt).

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.

Luke 9: 29 As Jesus was praying, the appearance of His face changed, and His clothes became dazzling white. 30 Suddenly, two men were talking with Him—Moses and Elijah. 31 They appeared in glory and were speaking of His DEATH which He was about to ACCOMPLISH in Jerusalem.—-time and place

The word “departure”, which could be translated as “exodus”, is a reference to Christ’s coming DEATH (his being “lifted up”) . NOW His then future death is FINISHED, ACCOMPLISHED

Jesus is NOW one person with two natures. Jesus is NOT two persons, and the vision of Jesus in Luke 9 is not only of “the divine person”. Nor does the gospel talk about something preachers call “infinity”.

Donald Mcleod— “Jesus was glorified NOT because Jesus was always God and NOT because Jesus was God incarnate BUT BECAUSE JESUS FINISHED THE WORK (John 17)

Ephesians 2: 10 For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for
good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them. 11 So then, remember that at one time you were Gentiles in the flesh—called “the uncircumcised” by those called “the circumcised,” which is done IN THE FLESH by human hands. 12 AT THAT TIME you were without Christ , EXCLUDED from the citizenship of Israel, and foreigners to the covenantS of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility IN HIS FLESH

Ephesians 2: 15 Christ made of no effect the Abrahamic law
consisting of commands and expressed in regulations, in order to
create in Himself one new man from the two, resulting in peace. 16
Christ did this in order to reconcile both to God in one body through the cross and put the hostility to death by His flesh. 17 When Christ came, He proclaimed the good news of peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone. 21 The whole building, being put together by Him, grows into a holy sanctuary in the Lord. 22 You also are being built together for God’s dwelling in the Spirit.

A W Pink–“Receiving the reconciliation is not our laying down our own rebellion against God. Rather, we receive by imputation that which Christ’s sacrificial death has procured for us. “All things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:18). The “enmity” of Ephesians 2:16 cannot refer to that which existed between Jews and Gentiles, for that has been disposed of in verses 14, 15. “Enmity” is here personified (“slain”), as “sin” is in Romans 8:3. Thus, the verse means that all the sins of God’s elect met upon Christ, and Divine justice took satisfaction from Christ’s death.”

Redemptive history happens in Christ in history. Gnosticism and Docetism are great evils. The legal application of Christ’s redemption to the elect is by God’s imputation (and only then does the Holy Spirit give the new birth and faith in the gospel.

If you personally are elect in Christ (God’s purpose), then in time God will cause you personally to believe the gospel, and that believing will only happen after you have received by imputation the objective righteousness (something real, something that is something) of Christ’s death in his flesh by God’s imputation.

I Corinthians 15:23 But each in his own order: Christ, the first-fruits; afterward, at His coming, those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when He abolishes all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign until He puts all His enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy to be abolished is death

I Corinthians 15: 45 Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”. The last Adam BECAME a life-giving spirit.

Romans 9: “For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the PURPOSE of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calls.”

Galatians 3:16 He does not say “and to seeds,” as though referring to many, but referring to one, and to your seed, who is Christ. …..The law was put into effect through angels by means of a mediator. 20 And a mediator is not for just one person, but God is one. 21 Is the law therefore contrary to God’s promises? Absolutely not…. The Scripture has imprisoned everything under sin’s power, in order that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ be given to those who believe.

God’s promises to Abraham are not only one promise.
God’s promise to Abraham is not only a promise to Christ.
God’s promise to Abraham is not only a promise about one person.
God’s promise to Abraham results in a promise to “all who believe”.
God’s law to Abraham also promises negative sanctions (for
intermarriage or failure to be circumcised)

Genesis 15:13 Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know this for certain:
Your seed will be foreigners in a land that does not belong to them.
Your seed will be enslaved 400 years. 14 However, I will judge the
nation they serve, and afterward your seed will go out with many possessions….16 In the fourth generation your seed will return here

Psalm 110: this is the declaration of the Lord to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand UNTIL I MAKE Your enemies Your footstool.” 2 The Lord will extend Your mighty scepter from Zion. Rule over Your enemies.
3 Your people will willing on Your day
4 The Lord has sworn an oath and will not take it back:
“Forever, You are a priest like Melchizedek.”

I Samuel 7:11 ‘The Lord declares to you: The Lord Himself will make a house for you. 12 When YOUR TIME COMES and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up after you your descendant, who will come from your body, and I will establish His kingdom.

Hebrews 7 For this Melchizedek remains a priest forever.
Abraham gave him a tenth of everything.
First, his name means king of righteousness,
Then also, king of Salem, meaning king of peace;
3 without father, mother, or genealogy,
having neither beginning of days nor end of life,
but resembling the Son of God—

Hebrews 7:26 For this is the kind of high priest we need— holy, innocent, un-defiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 27 Jesus does not need to offer sacrifices every day, as high priests do—first for their own sins, then for those of the people. Jesus ACTED ONCE FOR ALL TIME when He offered Himself. 28 For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak, but the promise of THE OATH THAT COMES AFTER THE LAW appoints a Son, who has been permanently perfected.

The oath to David came after God gave law to Moses. This oath from God to David was not made before creation. God’s oath was “cut into history” quite a long time after God had ‘cut into history” covenants with Noah and with Abraham and with Moses.

I Samuel 7:18 Then King David went in, sat in the Lord’s presence, and said, Who am I, Lord God, and what is my house that You have brought me this far? 19 What YOU HAVE DONE was a little thing to You, Lord God, for You have also spoken about Your servant’s house in THE DISTANT FUTURE …. 25 Now, Lord God, fulfill the promise forever that You have made to Your servant and his house. DO AS YOU HAVE PROMISED as You have promised, 26 in order that Your name will be exalted

There is no need to deny the difference between promising and doing, in order to proclaim that God will do all that God has promised.

Psalm 2: 7 I will declare the Lord’s decree:
He said to Me, “You are My Son;
today I have BECOME Your Father.
8 Ask of Me,
and I will make the nations Your inheritance
and the ends of the earth Your possession.

Worship the Son or the Son will be angry
and you will PERISH in your rebellion,
because the wrath of the Son is revealed in time
All (and only) those who take refuge in Him are blessed

The Lord Has Told You What is Good—Not This For That

June 17, 2020

Micah 6:8 The Lord has told you what is good
and what it is the Lord requires of you:
to act justly,
to love faithfulness,
and to walk humbly with your God.

I Peter 3: 10 The one who wants to love life
and to see good days
must keep their tongues from speaking lies
11 The one who wants to love life must turn away from evil
must do what is good. and must seek peace and pursue peace.

2 Peter 3: 14 Therefore, friends, while you wait for these things, make EVERY EFFORT to be FOUND AT PEACE with HIM without spot or blemish.

Not this for that
in antithesis to “this for that”
not having this in order to be having that

Philippians 3: 8 Because of Christ I have suffered the LOSS OF THINGS and impute those things to be waste, in order that I gain Christ 9 and be FOUND in Him, NOT HAVING a righteousness from my own obeying the law, but HAVING A RIGHTEOUSNESS that is THROUGH FAITH IN Christ….10 My goal is to know Christ and the power of Christ’s resurrection and the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings, being conformed to Christ’s death, 11 in hope that I will somehow reach the RESURRECTION FROM AMONG THE DEAD. 12 Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature, but I make EVERY EFFORT to take hold of the goal because I also HAVE BEEN taken hold of by Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4: 3 Help my coworkers (whose names are in the book of life). 4 Rejoice in the Lord always. 5 Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6 Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. 7 The peace of God will guard your minds in Christ Jesus.

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you. I do not give peace to you as
the world gives peace. . Your heart must not be troubled or fearful.

Romans 15: 13 The God of hope fills you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him in order that you overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Galatians 5:22 The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience,
kindness, goodness, faith

James 3: 16 Where envy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every kind of evil. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving and gentle… The fruit of
righteousness is sown in peace by those who cultivate peace.

1 Corinthians 15:15- – We would be found to be false witnesses about God, because we have testified about God that God raised up Christ—whom God did not raise up if in fact the dead are not raised.

2 Corinthians 5:2 we groan in this body, desiring to put on our
dwelling FROM heaven 3 And when we are clothed,we will not be FOUND naked. 4 we do not want to be unclothed but clothed, in order for mortality to be swallowed up by immortality

Revelation 20 :11 Then I saw a great white throne and One seated on it. Earth and heaven fled from His presence, and no place was FOUND for them. 12 I also saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. ANOTHER BOOK was opened, which is the book of life… 14 Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death… anyone NOT FOUND written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire

The wages of sin is DEATH, but the free gift of God is lasting life in Christ Jesus , by Giovanni Camacho

April 12, 2020

Romans 9:17 to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, in order that I show my power in you, and that my name be proclaimed in all the earth.””

Isaiah 10: 15 “Shall the ax boast over him who hews with it, or the saw magnify itself against him who wields it? As if a rod should wield him who lifts it, or as if a staff should lift him who is not wood!”

We are told by many preachers that the non-elect will be conscious forever and that God will torture them forever. To quote one of these preachers: ” the immortality only for the elect scheme is contrary to the gospel, contrary to the truth, and contrary to God’s Everlasting righteousness.”

Romans 6: 23 The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is lasting life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This traditional position redefines death for sin (an objective legal standard which requires cessation of life function/cessation of consciousnesses as a wage delivered by God), into a subjective experience of pain for the sinner.

In other words, rather than being destroyed by He who can destroy both body and soul (objective standard/demand of the law), the majority tradition teaches that the non-elect sinner is instead necessarily preserved by God in full consciousness to be tortured subjectively with the impossibility of ever actually satisfying God’s righteous demand.

This tradition defines justice as not about what God requires [and will get] to satisfy His standard, but rather to what the sinner perceives, feels, and is unable to provide. In order to experience pain, one must be alive. Indeed, so much of the comfort expressed between human beings when it comes to death is the cessation of suffering. Many will comfort each other with the sentiment that at least the dead person is not suffering any longer.

Some would ascribe this belief to the false assumption that their loved one is now a ghostly “soul” carrying around a harp and a halo, though many others would conclude that their loved one has ceased to be in pain because of cessation of consciousness.

But what the sinner subjectively feels, even if caused by God, can never itself be justice, because justice is about satisfaction of God’s law which is an objective standard outside of the sinner. The demand of God’s law is what matters when it comes to measuring what is just, not the subjective experience of the sinner. To the extent that God’s law requires something, it is that something which must happen in history to satisfy the law.

IF death is DEFINED as the cessation of life and consciousness, them merely causing pain is insufficient to satisfy the requirement of divine law for death.

Ecclesiastes 3: 19 “For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. All are from the dust, and to dust all return.”

I was holding my dog when my dog breathed his last breath approximately one year ago. He was in my lap with a blanket underneath him as the vet pumped in the medication to overwhelm his system and kill him. It was an odd feeling to watch and feel the life literally leave him. He immediately began to lose that warmth of life that we all know and love from embracing others who have life. What I was left with was him, only dead. That was Frank in my hands, but he was dead. He could not feel me holding him. He could not hear me crying over him. He could not respond to me because he was dead.

Ecclesiastes 9:10 “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.”
The daughter of a close friend of mine died last year due to a genetic disease. We went to her open casket viewing, and there she was. Right there, except that she was not alive as I had seen her so many times before that. Her eyes and mouth had been glued shut, and she had makeup applied to make her presentable to the rest of us who likely would have been utterly horrified to see her prior to being “prepared for viewing.”

Death is something that many (at least seem to) embrace because of the belief that their true [and righteous] self is trapped inside, but my experiences with death have been horrifying and unforgettable.

No matter what one’s private reservations may be about “where” the deceased may be, the cold truth is that their death means that they inaccessible to those who are alive. “They have no knowledge of anything in the grave.”

Lots of mental gymnastics are exercised upon redefining “death” into “separation from God,” which is further described as sustained torture in various degrees, either in the presence of Christ and his angels or not. This is often premised upon the explicit claim or implicit assumption that man has a component to his being and composition which is inherently immortal and incapable of being killed.

This claim is further defended on claiming that because humans are
created “in the image of God” and that they are therefore have immortality as an inherent quality . In turn, this leads to the bizarre belief that human flesh is essentially a husk for a true being/essence, which is traditionally
seen as a “consciousness” awaiting “true reality” upon death of the
husk – a strange metamorphosis into a future experience, sometimes called
“eternity,” either pleasant or unpleasant. Many have been willing to
sacrifice their own flesh on the premise that such flesh is
essentially valueless because their “true home” is somewhere invisible
and inaccessible while trapped inside their body. Some haven’t
considered what the preacher in Ecclesiastes is saying in regards to
the value of life.

Even more mental gymnastics are spent on redefining the meaning of the
term “destruction” to reconcile it with keeping the non- elect alive forever because they have not been tortured enough yet. Because infinite torture demands that the non-elect sinner be sustained by God, “destruction” is preached as “separation.” This hardly makes contextual sense, much less logical sense. How is one who is sustained and tortured by God “separated”
from God? To the contrary, under the infinite torture model, it would
seem that those who have been “separated” have very much fallen into
the hands of an involved in time and place tormentor.

At times, arguing for the “dignity” or “free-will” of those being tortured is related to believing that humans are equal to God, or at least on some kind of chain of being. Living and suffering in “hell” is often presented in a manner in which God is functionally the jilted lover who will continue to execute His revenge on the wayward partner who wouldn’t play along.

This position is defended on several different grounds, most or all of
which focus on “infinite” characteristics of God. I’ve heard it said
that sin is in defiance of God’s infinite holiness/dignity, therefore
requiring infinite torture throughout “eternity.”

This is a non-sequitur for several reasons – God’s motivation for
justice is not tied to being offended by unrequited “love” or in the way a spouse might be offended at infidelity. Indeed, Romans 9 teaches that
both election and non-election occurred “apart from works” and that God’s
will involves the punishment of those who cannot resist His will. Paul
describes vessels of wrath prepared for destruction. God has already determined to display wrath apart from works. God is not a mob boss asking for loyalty or compliments.

Further, that God appointed Christ as a high priest means that God intended to decree sin (no need for a mediator where there is no sin) SO THAT He could judge the world. To that end, God uses humans as God’s instruments. Humans do not use God as their “tool”.

Acts 2: 23 “this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and
foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless
It is not for us to determine that God’s dignity demands that God engage
in the form of sustained torture as a historical result of acrimony justified by past betrayals. Human sin is one of the means by which God accomplishes God’s Holy purpose.

To what purpose would God forever torture those for whom God did not provide propitiation. I’ve argued that punishment for sin is not premised upon God’s passions, and that justice is about satisfaction of the law and not the subjective experience of the sinner. If punishment for sin was torture that never ends, there would be no logical demand for an intermittent death or judgment prior to the beginning of the torture. Indeed, there would be no basis for any person to die at all, but theoretically could remain sustained by God in the flesh and be
“providentially” tormented.

Jesus challenged his disciples in John 21 regarding John being kept alive until Christ’s return. If never-ending torment is the meaning of “death” and “destruction,” arguably no one would ever die, because they would need to be kept alive to endure the punishment.

Torture forever but never dead is based upon the non-scriptural belief that all humans have a component of their composition that cannot be killed, even by God. At bottom, torture never finished functionally denies that God will ever have justice over those who perish because God will be forever extracting what is due from beings which cannot die and therefore cannot give the law what it requires-their death. I think this claim to be as corrupt as claiming that sinners for whom Christ died will perish.

Hebrews 9: 25 Christ did not offer Himself to death many times, as the high priest enters the sanctuary yearly with the blood of another. 26 Otherwise, Christ would have had to die many times since the foundation of the world. But now Christ has appeared one time, at the end of the ages, for the removal of sin by the sacrifice of Himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for people to die once—and after this, judgment— 28 so also Christ , having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.

Who Gets to Decide if the Bible Says This is a Gospel Issue?

February 5, 2019

Zechariah 7:11 But they refused to pay attention, turned a stubborn shoulder and closed their EARS so they could not hear.

Luke 2: 22 And when the days of purification according to the law of Moses were finished, they brought the baby Jesus up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord 23 (just as it is written in the law of the Lord: Every firstborn male will be dedicated to the Lord 24 and to offer a sacrifice (according to what is stated in the law of the Lord: a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons)

Was the death of Jesus only the part that takes away sins, but this presentation in the temple part of the righteousness that is the “active obedience” which obtains the positive blessngs of salvation?

Luke 2 25 There was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon who was righteous, looking forward to Israel’s consolation, and the Holy Spirit was on Simeon 26 It had been revealed to Simeon by the Holy Spirit that Simeon would not see death before he saw the Messiah.

But isn’t it always better to die, and not delay death, so we can go straight to heaven to see God?

Luke 2:27 Guided by the Spirit, Simeon entered the temple complex. When the parents brought in the baby Jesus to perform for the baby what was traditional under the law, 28 Simeon took the baby Jesus up in his arms, praised God, and said: 29 Now, Master, You can dismiss Your slave in peace, as You promised. 30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation. 34 Then Simeon told Mary the mother of Jesus “Indeed, this baby is destined to cause the fall and rise of many and be opposed. The thoughts of many will be revealed.”

Romans 11: I have left 7,000 for Myself who have not bowed down to Baal. 5 In the same way, then, there is also at the present time a
remnant CHOSEN by grace. 6 Now if by grace, then it is not by works. OTHERWISE grace ceases to be grace.
7 What then? Israel did not find what it was looking for, but the ELECT did find it. The rest were hardened, 8 as it is written:
God gave them a spirit of insensitivity, eyes that cannot see and EARS that CANNOT hear,

Communication is difficult. Sometimes people listen to us and even understand what we are saying, but then “translate” what we say into something they believe. They erase the difference between what they think and what we think, in the interests of what they call peace and unity. When we notice the difference, we see that what we said has been erased—-their “translating” is them turning what everybody says into something they say. We are the dummies—they are speaking through us.

But,at many times, it’s mutual. We translate the other incorrectly because we misunderstand each other. Paul Newman–in the movie Cool Hand Luke—-“failure to communicate”. Yes, they don’t “get it” but the reason they don’t receive it is because God has not yet revealed it to them.

Or to say “it” differently, we don’t understand and don’t receive it because God has not yet revealed it to us. God is going to have to teach it to us if we get taught. God is going to use somebody to teach them what they don’t know and understand yet, but perhaps it will not be us who God is going to use to teach it to them.

When “they” cut off discussion, and start making accusations, we become defensive. It’s not a good indictment of us or of the truth for us to be told “well, you are being defensive”. Nor does it really prove anything one way or the other that they are the ones who shut down the conversation and started “hurling invective” at us. It’s possible that a person who says “there is nothing to discuss here” is correct about the thing they think needs no discussion. It’s possible that even the truth needs discussion.

To say that something is (or is not) part of the gospel begs the question—WHAT IS THE GOSPEL. I myself already had my current view on immortality as the gift of God BEFORE I learned the gospel. We can be very correct about election and still very wrong on the gospel. Before I learned that Christ’s righteousness is Christ’s death as that which justifies God and sinners, I did not yet know the gospel because I did not yet know the Bible doctrine of justification. But I think I was already correct about God’s permanent punishment for the condemned This is why I don’t worry about others separating themselves from me. It makes sense to avoid me if that allows you to keep thinking and talking about the gospel. Surely none of us should intentionally misrepresent the views of others. And we should attempt to be careful enough not to unintentionally “mistranslate” what others are saying. But at the end of the day, we all need to be taught the gospel by God.

denying the traditional view of sinners sinning forever and
being totrured forever
that just feels wrong to me
therefore it is wrong

i mean there are bad people on both sides of the wall
so don’t be saying bad stuff about real americans unless you are fair and balanced
about mexicans and other people who won’t salute the flag

you see, there are different aspects and senses to justification
in a sense, the wall has been built
but in another sense, the wall needs to be built
if the wall is in the purpose of God, in one sense the wall has been built
but in another sense, the money has not yet been appropriated,
the wall needs to be built

you can go either way with eternal justification
because there are two justifications
one before God, and in that sense you were never justified but already always justified
but justification number two not before God but before your
conscience, and in that sense you can doubletalk like trump

even though the Bible does not talk like that
sure, sanctified already (or not), and the elect were always sanctified
but in another sense, growing and progressing in sanctification
and if you should happen to say
well, that’s not what sanctification means

we could answer with a question, but is it a gospel issue?
and do we have a pope to tell us?
that eternal justification is not a gospel issue
because there are different senses to justification
but progressive sanctification is a gospel issue
shall we take a vote on the other stuff?

is a future for the Jews a gospel issue?
is keeping a day as sabbath a gospel issue?
who’s voting?
and is the vote taking place
on one side of a wall in texas?

Are those who feel that the nature of permanent death is “no big gospel deal” calling God a liar?

Is Sonny H taking sides with “tradition”? Does Sonny H have more scruples than others? Is Sonny H less “benighted” than those who have written in detail about the various Bible texts in question?

Since Sonny H sees no difference between “unitarians” and “univeralists” and those who teach that God can and does destroy the non-elect who perish, does this mean that Sonny H cannot tell the difference between a person who still teaches Armninianism (Christ died for all without saving any) and those who have been regenerated by means of a different gospel?

Sonny–“Many of those who say very Arminian things don’t really believe those things and even though they don’t know yet know the truth, they are saved by the power of the gospel.—“If a professing Arminian is saved, it is despite their Arminianism. There are professing Arminians who are in the rudimentary stages of their faith that may be unlettered or ill advised about what they really know. However, if they are regenerate, they are not Arminian.”

What is the righteousness revealed in the gospel?
Is the righteousness revealed God’s sovereignty in regeneration or is the righteousness revealed in the gospel Christ’s death only for the sins of the elect?

Is the righteousness revealed in the gospel the infinite torture of Christ or is it Christ’s death?

Sonny Hernandez, High Calvinism, p 91—The problem of the new Calvinists lies especially in conduct…You cannot have Puritan soteriology without Puritan sanctification….p45 The sure promise of God which God realises IN US makes it impossible that we not bring forth fruits

“Hurling invective” is a phrase associated with Jean Shepherd, the writer of The Christmas Story.

if you want to think about IN THE PRIVACY OF YOUR OWN HOME the topic of immortality given and the persmenant punishment of the non-elect

If God gives us faith, does that mean that the faith is perfect and that we are not those believing

February 1, 2017

Malcolm Smith–“God works his work in you, which is the work already accomplished by Christ.

John Crowder– “God didn’t save you so you could do good. God saved you so you could be dead and then God could work through you. God does not want to you try to work. God is only pleased with what Christ does, God does not help you. God does things for you”. (Mystical Union, 2010)

Richard x–“It wasn’t me, it was the grace of God that was with me and there is no me, at least there is no me which does anything acceptable to God.”

If soundbites like the three above make you think the grace of God is being exalted, then you need to begin to ask some more questions. It is not some present work which is our Propitiation, and there is no need to confuse our present working with God’s present working.

If God gives us faith, does that mean the faith must be perfect, and if the faith is perfect, does that mean that we are not those who are believing, and does that mean it is God in us believing for us?

If God gives us faith, does that mean that God gives us a new nature, and does that mean that the new nature is not us, and does that mean that we still can’t do anything acceptable or pleasing to God, because we are still the old nature and God is the new nature?

Hebrews 13: 15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God…

Romans 7:4 –You have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we now bear FRUIT FOR GOD.

Philippians 2:13 For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”

Hebrews 9:14–”How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

The idea of the “exchanged life” is that we “let go and let God”. But we need to remember human agency. God’s sovereignty does not mean that God believes the gospel for us. God causes us to believe the gospel.

God’s sovereignty does not mean that God is doing what we do. God is not sinning when we sin, and God is not obeying when we obey. God causes us to obey. and that is different from saying that God obeys for us.

Hearing Christ preached is not the same thing as Christ Himself preaching.

The Bible does not command us to empty ourselves so that Christ will then do the believing and obeying in us and for us. The Holy Spirit does not replace us, nor does being in Christ and Christ being in us mean that Christ replaces us.

Even though Christ alone replaced us in the one and only Propitiation, Christ is not now replacing us, and we should never confuse what we do or don’t do with what Christ is doing or not doing.

The work of God in us is not the same as the death of the God-man mediator. In His unfinished work, Christ continues to intercede for us, but this intercession is not the same work as His death for us. In His unfinished work, Christ will come to raise us from the dead and to glorify us, but this future work is not the same as His completed death for us.

Philippians 2:13 describes us as willing and working, and it does not deny our agency by EQUATING our work either with Christ’s already accomplished death or with Christ’s present work in us by His Spirit.

Some antinomians deny that faith (in Gal 2:16, 3:22; Romans 3:22,26; Phil 3:9; Ephesians 3:12 ) is the human act of believing. But when I look at all the texts together, I see clearly that faith often means the human act of an individual elect person hearing, understanding, and believing the gospel.

Here’s the question. Is Christ the subject or object of faith? The view I oppose says we should read all these verses as saying, “Christ’s faith.” Faith is God’s gift to the elect, but Christ does not believe for us. Christ makes us both able and willing to believe the gospel so that we do believe the gospel. Christ indwelling in us does not believe for us,. When the elect become justified by God before God, these elect hear and understand and believe the gospel.

Even some who agree that the elect need to believe the gospel still insist that “faith” in these texts means “Christ’s faith”, either in the sense that Christ is the source of my faith, or in the sense of Christ Himself believing. But no other texts refer to the act of Christ believing, unless these debated texts do.

James 2:1 tells us, “show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.” Christ is the object of faith, and our faith is in/toward Christ and not toward His act of believing.

Romans 3:3 refers to God’s faithfulness, not to God believing for us or believing in us. “Does their unfaithfulness nullify the faithfulness of God?

Romans 3:25,26. “God put forward Christ as a propitiation by his blood to show God’s righteousness, to be RECEIVED by faith.” The receiving in this text is the human act of believing. Yes, God is faithful to His law and therefore just, but God does not justify all sinners but only of those sinners who have faith in Christ and His propitiation. This language no more makes faith the condition of salvation than John 3:16 does.

God does not love everybody. God only loves the elect, and the elect are identified as those who believe the gospel. There is no reason not to talk about election in John 3 or Romans 3, but also there is no reason not to talk about “as many as” believe the gospel.

II Peter 1:1,“ To those who have obtained faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Hebrews 13: 20 “Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 equip you with everything good so that YOU DO HIS WILL, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”

Trust and Duty–the written commands of Christ our Creator, Lawgiver and Lord Husband

December 17, 2016

Those who are not yet justified in Christ CANNOT obey God or offer God any acceptable sacrifices. Proverbs 15:8 “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD”

Romans 6:20 ”For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? The end of those thing is death”

Romans 7:4 Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we now bear FRUIT FOR GOD. 5 For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear FRUIT FOR DEATH.”

Luke 16:15 That which is highly esteemed among humans is abomination in the sight of God.

Those now outside of Christ cannot do any good works. But those who believe the gospel are obligated to obey the written commands of Christ our Creator, Lord and Lawgiver.

Hebrews 13: 14 For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. 15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

I Peter 2:5 you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ”

Romans 12 I appeal to you therefore, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

II Timothy 3– But know this: Difficult times will come in the last days. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud … ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good,… reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to the form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid these people..All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching.. for correcting, for training in righteousness

Matthew 11:29 Take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

I john 5 2 This is how we know that we love God’s children when we love God and obey His commands. 3 For this is what love for God is: to keep His commands. Now His commands are not a burden, 4 because whatever has been born of God conquers the world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith.

I Corinthians 7: 22 For as many as who are called by the Lord as a slave are the Lord’s free person Likewise as many as who are called as a free person are Christ’s slave. 23 You were bought at a price. Do not become slaves of others

I Corinthians 9: 19 Although I am a free person and not anyone’s slave, I have made myself a slave to everyone, in order to win more people. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win Jews; to those under the Mosaic law, like one under the Mosaic law—though I myself am not under the Mosaic law —to win those under the Mosaic law. 21 To those who are without the Mosaic law, like one without the Mosaic law—NOT BEING WITHOUT GOD’S LAW BUT BEING IN CHRIST’S LAW….

Galatians 6: 2 Carry one another’s burdens. In this way you will fulfill THE LAW OF CHRIST…each person should examine their OWN WORK, and then they will have a reason for boasting in themselves alone, and not in respect to someone else

Romans 6: 18 Having been justified from sin, you became ENSLAVED TO righteousness… just as you offered the parts of yourselves as slaves to moral impurity… now offer them as slaves to righteousness, which results in sanctification….22 since you have been liberated from sin and have BECOME ENSLAVED TO God, you have YOUR fruit, which results in sanctification[—and the end is the life of the age to come

Romans 7: 4 You were put to death in relation to the law through the crucified body of the Messiah, in order to BELONG TO ANOTHER—to Him who was raised from the dead—in order to BEAR FRUIT FOR God… 6 we have died to what held us, in order to SERVE….

Romans 8: 9 if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not BELONG TO CHRIST…

8:15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, and by the Spirit we cry out, “Abba, Father!”

8:21 the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of corruption into the glorious freedom of God’s children

Galatians 6: 13 You were called to be free… don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but SERVE one another through love.

David Bishop—“If grace makes me angry, if the law of Christ makes me angry, then I have not been converted. I don’t get upset at Christ’s commandments. I get upset with the sinner-exalting attempt to use Christ’s commands as a means to establish self righteousness. I get upset at the lie that people who attempt such wickedness are Christians. I don’t get angry at our Creator and Redeemer’s law. I delight in Christ’s word revealed, I see Christ’s holiness in His commands, and my sins against Christ’s law drive me again and again to Christ to thank Him for grace and to confess His glory in my salvation.”

Click to access da-9201593255-1.PDF

David Bishop—-“Another form of Antinomianism is found in the teaching of those who say we are justified by the absence of any law altogether. They tell us that because there is no more law to condemn us, therefore we are righteous. Notice, it’s not that because Christ died for us as the reason why we are righteous. These antinomians say it’s because there is no more law to condemn us which is why we are righteous. They tell us it is impossible for Christians to sin; because, after all, there is no more law to sin against. Some of them even interpret the words “not under law but under grace” to mean that no law was ever satisfied by Christ’s death

David Bishop–Antinomianism undermines the true grace of God by eliminating justice from the gospel. It does this is by placing the blame with God’s law rather than with the sinner. It is true, as revealed to us in Romans 5, we would have not known what coveting was had the law not said do not covet. But this does not mean the law was wrong to say do not covet. No, the law was good and holy and just to say this. The problem was not with the law. Rather, the problem was and always is with us. We are sinners. Not only do we attempt to say—I have done enough of the law to make the difference. But we also on top of that sin against the law—we do what the law says not We don’t do what the law says to do.

Idolaters are Seekers, but Jesus Finds the Elect

December 1, 2016

Romans 3: 11 As many as who believe on Him will not be put to shame,12 for there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, since the same Lord of all is rich to all who call on Him. 13 For as many as who callon the name of the Lord will be saved.14 But how can they call on Him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about Him?

Romans 10: 16 But all did not obey the gospel.

Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed our message?

17 faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.

The gospel about Jesus Christ is not about a generic theis, which would not offend anybody in a synagogue. Inoffensive sermons attempt to assimilate Jesus into some universal non-sectarian idea of doing good and being content.

Acts 17: 6 While Paul was waiting in Athens, he saw that the city was full of idols. 17 So Paul reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with those seeking God and in the marketplace every day .Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers argued with him. “May we learn about this new teaching you’re speaking of? 20 For what you say sounds strange to us, and we seek to know what these ideas mean.”21 Now all the Athenians and the foreigners residing there spent their time on nothing else but seeking something new. 22 Then Paul stood in the middle of the Areopagus and said: “Men of Athens! I see that you are extremely religious in every respect. 23 For as I was passing through and observing the objects of your worship, I even found an altar on which was inscribed: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.

Romans 3—why not say, just as some who slander claim we say, “Let us do what is evil so that good may come”? Their condemnation is deserved! 9 What then? Are we any better?Not at all! Both Jews and Gentiles are all under sin,
There is NO ONE righteous, NOT EVEN ONE.
11 There is no one who understands;
12 All have turned away;
all alike have become useless.
There is no one who does what is good,

Romans 9: 30 Gentiles, who did NOT SEEK righteousness, have obtained righteousness—namely the righteousness that comes from faith. 31 But Israel, seeking for righteousness from the law, has not achieved the righteousness of the law. 32 The righteousness of the law is NOT found by faith but found instead BY WORKS.

Many Jews stumbled over the stumbling stone. 33 As it is written: Look! I am putting a stone in Zion in order for them to stumble over and a rock in order for then to trip over,

Law “kills us” not oonly by making us thinking of more things to do wrong that we would not have thought of before. The law also kills us by being used by idolaters (all of us by nature) to try to justify ourselves before God. We think–I did the law right, or I did enough of the law right.

David Gordon –The qualification works-and-not faith in Gal 3:10-13 is parallel to the qualification works and not faith in Romans 9:32. When Paul asks why the Jews did not attain unto the Torah, his answer addressed the NATURE of the law- covenant (Torah demands perfect obedience), not the nature of the PURSUIT of the law-covenant.”

John 7: 3 His brothers said to Jesus, “Leave here and go to Judea so that the world and the church can SEE Your works For no one does anything in SECRET while he’s seeking PUBLIC recognition. Show Yourself to the world.

john 7: 6 Jesus told them, “My time has not yet arrived, but your time is always at hand. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it does hate Me because I testify about it—that its works are evil.

John 7: 19 He who SEEKS the glory of the One who sent Him is true….Yet none of you keeps the law! Why do you want to kill Me?”

John 7: 33 Then Jesus said, “I am only with you for a short time. Then I’m going to the One who sent Me. 34 You will seek for Me, but you will NOT FIND Me; and WHERE I AM, YOU CANNOT COME

Acts 17: 24 The God who made the world and everything in it—He is ….NOT served by human hands, as though God needed anything, since God Himself gives everyone life and breath and all things. … God appointed the boundaries where people live. 27 God did this in order that they PERHAPS seek God, and PERHAPS reach out and find God, though God is not far from each one of us. ..31 God has set a day when God is going to judge the world in righteousness by the Man God has appointed. God has provided proof of this to everyone by raising Jesus from the dead.”

Are You One of Those Doctrine Persons?

February 6, 2015

Doctrines as Reasons for Joy

there’s this person who did a work
and before you know if that work was for you,
you must know and agree with the doctrine
of what He did

if you don’t know what the person did,
you know neither the person
nor if that person
did anything for you

commitment to the imperative
to know the person cannot come
before we know the indicative
of what he got done

since we are children of Abraham
remember that Abraham knew what the seed had to do
Abraham knew that he himself was not going
to bring in the righteousness

one result of election
is submission to the doctrine of righteousness
obtained by Christ for the elect alone
and then imputed by God

the test of the exodus out of the false gospel
is not our testimony that
“we know the person”
the same person the crowd knows

we are not called to a tragic imperative
“to know the person” without knowing which person
the sheep don’t follow the wrong
person with the wrong doctrine

i still want to know,
how did a nice man like Jesus
get himself killed
if it was not the offense of his doctrine?

yes, it’s fact He died
but there are many possible options
to explain that fact,
and these doctrines divide

they hated His doctrine
so much they wanted Him dead
but that was a long time ago

and now the person comes into our hearts
and now there is so much more immorality
let’s worry about that
and not be so anxious about
Him being king of our doctrine

let’s gather
around a person
they say, giving reasons
why their doctrines are not doctrines
and thank their god they are not
like those doctrine persons

for this Christ was born
it’s the reason Christ came
to satisfy the divine demand
for death

and without the doctrine of that death
there will be no justifying
the gospel itself the power of salvation

Home is Where We are Together

November 6, 2014

I Thessalonians 4:13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

My son got married this summer. He and his new wife are moving into a new apartment this weekend.  We had some questions about where they would live. Would they live near her parents’ place? Would they live near where Kevin’s professional juggling partner lives? Where would their home be?  But “home” for them is where Kevin and Laura are together, wherever that is.

The majority of professing Christians (and true Christians also!) think that they are going home to heaven when they die.  I like to ask them my questions. If you thought death would actually cause you to “lose consciousness”, would you fear death (more than you do already)? Why should we eagerly hope and wait for the second coming of Christ (the next time without sins, Hebrews 9:28) or for the resurrection, when instead we could simply eagerly wait for death to take us home without ever “losing consciousness”?

This majority says that Christians are people who go to heaven as soon as we get dead, no resurrection required. On the other hand, I think the dwelling place of God will be with humans on earth.  I think that Christ ascended to heaven in order that He could come by His Spirit and prepare His people as His dwelling place.   .

I Corinthians 15: 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the first fruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death

I Corinthians 15: 45 And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord[ from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.

The last Adam was a living being like the first man Adam, but Christ has NOW BECOME the life-giving Spirit.  We who are now already “citizens of heaven” (Philippians 3:20) will one day (when Jesus our Priest and King comes to earth the second time) be changed and glorified and given immortality.

I know where my home is. Right now it’s a little “starter” townhouse my wife and I moved into 20 years ago. Home is where my wife and I are together. I hope to move somewhere else besides this house, perhaps to some place even smaller. But wherever my wife and I are together, there is home.  If indeed the dwelling place of those humans who are redeemed is up in heaven, that will be home. On the other hand, if the dwelling place of God is with humans on this earth, when Christ returns, that will be home.  “We will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.”

How is it that Christ will “bring with him the dead in Christ”?  The Thessalonians text tells us. We will not precede them. The dead will rise first. This is NOT about “never-dying souls” of dead Christians getting into heaven before the rest of us do. Leave your dead body behind. Do not pass go. Get a new body in heaven now, as soon as you die, and before they even bury your old body. No, none of that is our hope. Nor is our hope some experience of disembodied consciousness (like The Matrix) where we can engage in uninterrupted worship. That is a stoic hope. That is a hope for “positive thinkers” who know enough not to deny that they keep sinning, but who do deny that they have in them any fear of the first death.

I think this stoic hope suits those who put on a “Sunday show”, not only for church and for others but for themselves, because they fear human emotions so much that they like to think mainly in terms of power and control. They entertain a gnostic hope for a triumphal worship before and without

1 Christ’s second coming
2 the resurrection
3 the judgement
4 the old body raised and given immortality

Look! I agreed that those with this view are in the majority. I even stipulated that, even if they are correct, the most important thing is that we will be home with God, and not like we are now in this present evil age (Galatians 1).  I did not promise to not argue for my position!  My position is that, even though the end of the ages has come, the age to come has not yet come for us, and will not until Christ comes and we are raised from death and glorified even from the presence of sins.

I Thessalonians 4: We will not precede them because they will be raised first. Not because they go to heaven first, but because they will be raised first.

Human persons, elect and non-elect, justified and condemned, will not be left in the graves. But now they wait in the graves, and then the elect will be changed in the twinkling of an eye and clothed with immortality. Then “the dead in Christ will rise first. Only then, at His coming will those saints who are alive and remain be caught up together with dead saints [all at once, at the same time)] in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air as He comes to earth. This meeting is not to go back to heaven, but the coming of heaven to earth. Thus “we shall always be with the Lord.”

The non-elect will also be raised on that day but only to come into condemnation, and then to perish in the second death. But the justified elect will be raised and “shall not come into judgment” (that already happened for them at imputation and justification) but will from then on, in the age to come, be with the risen Christ with bodies like his glorious body.

I Corinthians 10:11 These things are written for our admonition, upon whom the end of the ages has come.

Galatians 1:4 Our Lord Jesus Christ gave Himself up for us in order to deliver us from this present evil age.

Ephesians 1: 20-21 the God of our Lord Jesus Christ…has seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come

Ephesians 2:22 you  are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
John 3:13 No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man

Hebrews 9: 26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the ages; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

Hebrews 10: 12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.

Revelation 21:3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.

Was Circumcision God’s Ineffectual Grace to Ishmael?

October 11, 2014
Romans 9: 6 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.
What follows needs a sarcasm alert.

Circumcision was not a sign of Ishmael’s faith. For Ishmael, circumcision was a sign of God’s covenant righteousness. Circumcision was a sign that Ishmael was commanded to believe the gospel. if Ishmael had not been circumcised, Ishmael would not have had any obligation to obey the law by faith. or to have believe in the gospel with works commanded by the law..

In circumcision, God takes the initiative with Ishmael. God speaks favor to Ishmael in circumcision and Ishmael “could and should have” responded in faith to God’s wooing. If Ishmael had not been a covenant child , if Ishmael had not been circumcised, then Ishmael would have had to be banished from the household as one cut off from the covenant. But because Ishmael was circumcised, Abraham was able to be a faithful parent to Ishmael.

Did Ishmael, possess any advantages by receiving the sign of circumcision? Was God’s goodness to Abraham heightened because of God’s grace also to Abraham’s son Ishmael? Does our “so great a salvation” terminate only upon isolated individuals, or does our salvation include a promise of eternal life (or alternatively greater covenant curse than common condemnation) to our infants? .

Is God less good to our children in this new administration than God was to Ishmael? If Ishmael was better off for receiving circumcision even if Ishmael ultimately perished, are our children (even if non-elect in the decree) better off for being watered? Was the sign given to help covenant children or hinder them? Denying our children water denies them a blessing from God.

If you disagree that water is a blessing, then your problem is with God commanding infants and Ishmael to be circumcised because you must agree that this circumcision was grace to Ishmael, even if circumcision did not result in Ishmael’s justification before God. That was not God’s fault but Ishmael’s fault, because circumcision was God’s grace and we know that.

Because really the distinction between law and grace is not very useful, except when it comes to saying that circumcision was grace and not law. At that point the distinction is useful. And also when it comes to saying that Ishmael sinned against grace and not only against law. Ishmael was blessed with circumcision even if that did not work out for Ishmael having lasting life in the age to come.

So the distinction between law and grace is not that useful, except maybe for talking about those born outside the covenant. As Mark Jones has explained, those not in the covenant cannot be commanded to believe the gospel. And those not in the covenant cannot be commanded to obey the law. Because obeying the law is finally not so very different from believing the gospel. And that’s why we must raised our infants under the gospel and not under the law.

Because if we tell our infants that they are forgiven, then they are forgiven. And if we tell our infants that their works are good and acceptable to God, then indeed their works are good and acceptable to God. And if we don’t tell our children that they were born under grace then we would have to tell them they were born under the law, and in practical real life the distinction between under law and under grace is not that useful in parenting.

So we tell our infants that they are born under grace and loved by God. and at least that way they are sinning against grace, and if they are not under grace there is nothing to tell them, because there can be no law if there is no grace. and when you think about it, law is grace and grace is law, at least for those in the covenant. Abraham was able to raise Ishmael in the covenant, and that is good because outside the covenant there is no such thing as law or sin.

Galatians 4: 30 But what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son.

Genesis 21: 10 So she said to Abraham, “Cast out this slave woman with her son, for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac.” 11 And the thing was very displeasing to Abraham on account of his son. 12 But God said to Abraham, “Be not displeased because of the boy and because of your slave woman. Whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your offspring be named. 13 And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also, because he is your offspring.”
Genesis 17: 13 both he who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money, shall surely be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant. 14 Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”
Genesis 17: 23 Then Abraham took Ishmael his son and all those born in his house or bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s house, and he circumcised the flesh of their foreskins that very day, as God had said to him. 24 Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 25 And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 26 That very day Abraham and his son Ishmael were circumcised. 27 And all the men of his house, those born in the house and those bought with money from a foreigner, were circumcised with him.